Saturday, April 26, 2014

Morning Way by Trader Horne

My home town Peterborough  had a great music scene in the 70's for a town of its size. You could see local talent like Lloyd Watson who was a brilliant guitarist and once supported David Bowie at The Rainbow and Colin Hodgkinson who is one of the best bass players in the world who founded the band 'Backdoor'. They played in The Falcon on Cathedral Square at weekends. The Spinning Wheel at the Bull And Dolphin was a popular venue. There were always gigs at the Tech College and even Queen played at the Town Hall in 73. In 1969 Cloud 9 replaced the Folk Club at the Grand Hotel off Bridge Street.Saturday nights were Soul nights but what I really liked was Sunday night when it was 'Progressive Rock'. We used to go every week regardless of who was on. For an impressionable person of 18 which I was  it was magical,they had strobe lighting and psycedelic light shows. Before the bands came on they used to play all the latest 'underground' music such as 'Freebird' by Lynyrd Skynyd and 'Born To Be Wild' by Steppenwolf. We used to sit cross-legged on the floor right in front of the stage and shake our heads to the sound of the music.I bet to the bands we looked like a bunch of muppets.
I saw some great bands at Cloud 9 such as 'The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown','Atomic Rooster' with Vincent Crane on keyboards and Carl Palmer on drums, The John Dummer Blues Band with Nick Pickett on violin. The Greatest Show On Earth who had Norman Watt-Roy later of Ian Dury's Blockheads, Amazing Blondel who played all this 'musick' from the middle ages and played strange instruments like crum-horns etc, Curved Air with the beautiful Sonja Kristina (.I actually saw Curved Air in the Mini Friar cafe in Bridge Street on Sunday afternoon before their performance at Cloud 9) and lots of other bands. There were two bands though that really made an impression on me. On August 23rd 1970 I saw a band called Skid Row.They were an Irish rock band with Brush Sheils on bass, Noel Bridgeman on drums and this 17 year old kid called Gary Moore on guitar."My god he is great", I thought to myself as Gary played these amazing licks on his guitar,he was a year younger than me but I knew he was a genius, in my book he was up there with Jimmy Page and all the rest of them. I read about the sad death of Gary recently,I will write more about him later but not now.

The other band that made a real impression on me at Cloud 9 were Trader Horne.That was on March 15th 1970 almost exactly 41 years ago,(Who knows where the time goes indeed). I know the date because I looked it up on t'internet.I think I really liked them because I am a folkie at heart. I was already a big fan of Fairport Convention and lots of other folkie stuff. Trader Horne were Judy Dyble who was the original singer with Fairport and Jackie McAuley who had been a member of Them with Van the man Morrison. After Judy left Fairport she was a member of Giles.Giles and Fripp who became King Crimson. After Van left Them they carried on for a while eventually becoming the Belfast Gypsies who were quite popular on the continent and made 3 albums I think.When they broke up Jackie roamed around Europe and Morocco for a while before meeting up with Judy in Notting Hill and forming Trader Horne.The night I saw them they were really tired. If my memory serves me well Jackie asked the audience if anyone could put them up for the night. They had played at Van Dykes in Plymouth the night before and had driven all the way to Peterborough which is a helluva way and Jackie had done all the driving.. That's what it was like in 1970, you could be all over the pages of Melody Maker or NME but still driving yourselves around the country in an old Bedford van.
They had just released their album 'Morning Way' and after seeing them that night I meant to buy it but I never did.There was so much great music about in those days.Some how I never got around to buying that album.Forty one long years went by  but a thing of beauty will never die,and finally the internet age began.People moan about the sad demise of the local record shop but I don't agree.You are never going to find a band like Trader Horne in your local record shop these days are you?.I think Youtube is brilliant,one night recently I stumbled across them and I wondered if their album was available and lo and behold it was.I think because of the internet it is becoming worthwhile for record companies to re-release little known gems from the past and with paypal you can pay instantly and a couple of days later a CD plops through your letter box,voila! What could be easier? I had a win on the Rugby and the football last week so I treated myself to Trader Horne's album.I must say it is quite magical.The opening track 'Jenny May' is very catchy and quite childlike visions coming into view.I think Jackie wanted to write a children's album originally.The next two tracks are quite Tolkienesque,'The Children Of Oare' with the sounds of waves crashing on the shore. and 'Three Rings For Elven Kings'.The next track really reminded me of 'The Incredible String Band', 'The Hangmans Beautiful Daughter', an album Judy actually sang on.'Growing Man' is a great song with Judy and Jackie sharing vocals.The lyrics are quite profound,Wisdom lies in truth itself and sorrow hides in scorn'. .The next track is called 'Down And Out Blues' which is an old Bessie Smith song and I think although it is sung superbly by Judy it doesn't quite fit in on this album. It breaks the enchanting spell being cast by the other songs.The next song is 'The Mixed Up Kind' which has some really nice harpsichord and I ought to mention that Ray Elliot also from 'Them' and John Wilson who I think also played drums for Them at one time plays on this album.'Better Than Today' is the next track featuring some really nice flute playing, I should also mention that Jackie wrote most of the songs on this album.';In My Lonliness' is a wonderful song showing the beauty of Judy's vocals.'Sheena' is really catchy and I think it was released as a single.It is great pop music.I have seen this album described as 'Acid-Folk' but I think that is silly but 'The Mutant' is very psychedelic, a brilliant piece of work.'Morning Way' the title track is next with Judy and Jackie sharing vocals, a quite wonderful song.'Velvet To Atone' is a wonder to behold, I think it was co-written by Judy and Martin Quittinton who went on to write Maggie May with Rod Stewart..'Like That Never Was' is another superb upbeat song with amazing vocals'Here Comes The Rain' is a good song.'Goodbye Mercy Kelly' is a great song to end the album,Goodbye Mercy Kelly Goodbye.The album is very pastoral, very English but this track is very Irish.Such a shame this album didn't get the recognition it deserved when it came out.

I have really enjoyed listening to this record and I'm pleased I finally got around to buying it 41 years after seeing the band live .

The End.