More bits about me Music
People, when they meet you, naturally want to know more about you. Not just the official biography, but more interestingly, the things that make you tick.
The Desert Island Disk page.
Music Art Books Places
The beauty of doing this website at last, is that I can answer the questions, but also be a bit self-ingulgent.
I will be keeping a journal-blog type page on this site, but here is my attempt to tell you what helps fill my life and time, especially, painting. I'd love to be invited on that programme, Don't you have that list, in your head, or like some sad politician, I once read about, scribbled on a piece of paper in their desk drawer, just in case they got that call from the BBC?
CLICK ON ANY OF THE HIGHLIGHTED LINKS TO GO TO SITES
I love music, at the last count on my Ipad, I had 2637 music tracks on there.
I recently cleared out my CDs and downloaded the tracks from albums or the complete albums onto my Mac Itunes player. But, I kept those CD albums, that I love and that I listen to from beginning to end, and would never part with. Modern technology is wonderful, I love the way in which you can press the shuffle button on my Itunes list and the computer picks tracks at random. With 2637 to chose from, you don't know what's going to be thrown at you, but, because I chose them in the first place, I know I will like them.
I have to laugh though, at the ITunes Music Store list of recommendations sometimes. Especially, when after I bought some tracks by Harry Chapin, or was it, James Taylor, a message from ITunes advised me that, because I'd chosen, said artists, ITunes was now recommending I buy Puff, the Magic Dragon, by Peter, Paul and Mary. Much as I was brainwashed, listening to songs like that and Tubby the Tuba on Children's Choice, with Uncle Ed Stewpot, Saturday mornings on the radio as a child, I think, it wasn't hard to resist the temptation to buy, and ignore ITunes recommendation!
My list is probably two thirds full of bands and progressive rock music that I discovered in my younger years and saw in concert, mainly at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester when I lived up north. However these days, with the advent of ITunes etc, there are some great new bands that I now listen to, and follow with interest.
I also listen to classical music. I used to go up the hill from where I lived, years ago, in the High Peak of Derbyshire, to use the Halco copyscanner (like a Grant projector) of a friend of mine, Mike Roberts, the cartoonist. See www.miketoons.com, also check out the textile work of Mike's wife Margaret at www.margaretmroberts.com . I couldn't afford such a massive and expensive machine as this when I first started illustrating so I used to take up residence in the corner of Mike's studio. He listened exclusively to classical music and so , got me more and more hooked as I listened to the music he was working to. So began my discovery of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gerald Finzi et al.
I'll start backwards, and tell you some of the stuff I've been listening to in the last few years, before I do my CDs, I'd rescue off the shelves, if I had to bit.
At the moment I listen to my favourite, recent band, Spock's Beard, with or without Neal Morse. I listen to all their CDs from beginning to end. It's modern progressive rock, at its best. www.spocksbeard.com
Their last album released in 2013 by Spock's Beard. Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep. Well worth getting hold of, if you like brilliant progressive rock and brilliant musicianship.
I love Transatlantic too, another of the groups that Neal Morse is involved in. www.transatlanticweb.com. The first 3 studio albums they've produced are exceptional. SMPE... Bridge across Forever....and The Whirlwind ( totally exceptional - if you're going to buy one of their albums, this is it) They are my favourite albums by the group.
The 4th..... Kaleidoscope , recently released is OK, but felt like an exercise in doing things for the sake of it . Much as I love Neal and the boys, it felt like a mish-mash. The vocal, democracy didn't work either.
I saw them perform it at Camden Forum. London, recently. Amazing fan-base..... they can't go wrong ? Can they ?
The V.I.P 'meet and greet' thing was very wrong. Charging fans to meet them! The Lord wasn't pleased ! ..........Neal.
I think you need to Refund them ! That's the impression I get !
To see very talented musicians at the top of their game watch the DVD or YouTube footage of the concert at the Shepherd Bush Empire, from the Whirlwind Tour.It really is well worth watching, It's the concert I would really like to have been at. Anyone who went was very fortunate.
Neal Morse is my favourite of all recent musicians, his solo albums are brilliant and inspirational to me. His career in music. The progressive rock music he composes. His emergence from the rock business to his Christian calling and ministry, whilst keeping that musical integrity and public interest, is wonderful, and closely parallels my career in art. I'd love to meet him. Just read his autobiography Testimony, and also listened to the audiobook of it. It is a terrific story, and gives hope to everyone, of a certain age, who feel let down by life,and think it's too late to achieve their heart's desire, or think they've missed the chance of doing something in life. Well worth a read, or listen. You can get any of the CDs, books or audiobooks, at,
The songs Bridge across Forever and Rose Coloured Glasses,by Neal Morse, both on Transatlantic albums are truly beautiful, and mean a lot to me.
Groups like these below are well worth checking out. Buy their albums at (click)RADIANT RECORDS Amazon or go to iTunes to download
CLICK THE UNDERLINED NAMES TO GO TO A BAND'S WEBSITE.
Life Signs Great album of the same name came out 2013. Great musicianship. Life Signs
Frost, their first album Milliontown is brilliant. Frost DeeExpus Project, too. Their first album Halfway Home is exceptional. DeeExpus Project .
also album King of Number 33 (March 2012)
So too are the groups,
Unitopia Great Australian rock band. Well worth investigating. Unitopia
IQ. Albums.....Frequency, The Wake etc, etc are brilliant. The track, Closer from the Frequency album, is one I truly love
The Wake IQ live 2010 at De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, Holland is a brilliant CD and you get a DVD of the concert too. If you want an introduction to the band, then this is a great introduction.
Steve Hackett. Brilliant guitarist, songwriter and composer. Love his stuff. If you can get the box set of live concerts from the 80's 90's etc, it's well worth it. - just to hear Steve hilariously struggling with speaking Italian to a very enthusiastic Italian crowd. Makes me smile every time. Click here to go to Steve Hackett site Caravan - The Land of Grey and Pink Caravan . Just bought their 40th Anniversary boxed edition of this wonderful album. 3 CDs. The original, the BBC recordings and a remixed version of the whole opus. Great value, and great music.
Gentle Giant - Acquiring the Taste
Yes - The Yes Album
Close to the edge
Pink Floyd - Great albums, My favourite track is Echoes (from Meddle) . I was so sad to hear Richard Wright had died.
Camel - A Nod and a Wink Camel
Frank Zappa - Hot Rats
Genesis - Fox Trot
Selling England by the Pound (and every early album with Peter Gabriel in)
plus Trick of the Tail
Wind and Wuthering ( excellent, with Steve Hackett, before he left and they went poppy and commercial and basically lost it) Genesis Saga - Chapters Live album ( every album, over the last 30 years with Michael Sadler in - couldn't stand the last one without him) He's back - THANK GOODNESS ! Saga
Beatles - Abbey Road
Led Zeppelin - 2
Roger Waters - Radio Kaos
Mike Oldfield - The Songs of Distant Earth
Neil Young - Everybody knows After the Goldrush Harvest ( Like a Hurricane.... fav song... my anthem) Neil Young Jackson Browne - The Pretender Late for the Sky etc. etc ( Sky Blue and Black. fav song ) Jackson Browne
Larry Norman - In Another Land & Only Visiting this planet.
I saw him in concert He reached millions. He inspired me greatly, when I was a young student. I realised, because of him, that Christians didn't have to be clap-happy and clean cut like Cliff Richard. They could be long haired , real rockers and excellent musicians, just like Neal Morse today. I was actually relieved to find out recently that he was as human, as the rest of us. That he had his failings, a love of women and like the rest of us , fell from grace at times. Just like David, in the Bible. Thank goodness for that ! Larry Norman
This song blows my mind, it's so powerful and beautiful.
Another Christian band I saw and loved and have the CD is, After the Fire. They knew how to rock, too. After the Fire
James Taylor. He's a great singer, and comes across in recent concerts I've seen, as a wonderful, genuine, human being.
Sandy Denny, her beautiful voice haunts me, she died too young, saw her in concert 4 times. With Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and solo. Can still see her, singing The Sea, and Banks of the Nile, on stage, at Manchester Free Trade Hall, in my head. Beautiful . Sandy Denny
Crosby Stills and Nash. Their music was ever-present in my formative years. Graham Nash comes from Manchester too.
Barclay James Harvest (was shocked to hear of the death of Stuart 'Woolly' Wlolstenhome) . They come from up north, like me. Barclay James Harvest Moody Blues. Search for the Lost Chord etc had that visual thing inside your head. As a young art student, it was great to work to. Mike Pinder's mellatron started off that symphonic rock thing. Moody Blues Alan Parsons Project. Again, the music conjures up pictures. Alan Parsons The Enid. I believe they've just reformed. They made a great fuss of me, after a concert in Loughborough, years ago. They were fans of my artwork. I came away with lots of their albums and merchandise, heaped upon me. The Enid
It Bites - Tall Ships album
Once around the World It Bites Great album Map of the past. (March 2012)
and many, many more.
These are my all time favourites.
My all time favourite composer is Ralph Vaughan Williams. His 3rd and 5th Symphonies especially. The Romanza in the 5th Symphony gives me goose pimples, so does The Lark Ascending. I can't believe someone can have all that music and layering of sound within their head. Iona Brown's violin playing on my Neville Marriner's version of the piece is otherworldly.
The London Symphony, Sea Symphony, Dives and Lazarus, Fantasia - Thomas Tallis, etc,etc, leave me astounded. I'd love to have met him, just as I would have liked to have met................... Ralph Vaughan Williams
Aaron Copeland. I love his Quiet City and Symphony No 3.
Dvoraks Cello Concerto and Violin Concerto. The Water Goblin.
Beethoven Emperor, Piano Concerto
Rachmaninov . Isle of the Dead.
Monteverdi Venetian Vespers.
John Rutter Requiem & Magnificat: Of a Rose, a Lovely Rose ( another truly beautiful song, that speaks to the heart)
I love the recent soundtracks for Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's Band of Brothers and The Pacific, they really move me. They bring home the personal stories and tragedies of war and the sheer futility of war. Even today we're still at ! Peace will never have a chance, even today, with World leaders who all seem to want to start wars here and there. Can't they all just give us a break, and try to build a better world, instead of destroying it and the people on it ! They will one day have to stand before God and answer for their carnage.
The theme for the film Contact
Soundtrack for the first Narnia film
The Wedding...... From the film Deep Impact
and the song, Moon River.
also, songs by Fred Astaire, If you feel like the proverbial, stick Pick yourself up on, and I guarantee, you'll do what the man says !
The track of music I would choose, out of all tracks, both rock and classical, on my desert island would have to be
Ravel - The second movement, Adagio assai from his Piano Concerto in G major, played by, and conducted by Andrew Litton, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
It starts quietly, the piano drifting along, until the orchestra joins it, then goes slightly dis-chordantly. Then it pulls itself together. All the time the piano is doing its own thing, drifting in and out. Then there is a crescendo. The orchestra takes on the melody, and the piano does its drifting in and out thing. It is sad and beautiful, and sums up life, the lives of people, new birth, the loss of loved ones. people we remember. Forgiveness. At the end the piano and orchestra's melody slows down, almost to a halt, with the piano's simple chords fading away. Absolutely, spine-chillingly beautiful. Ravel The Andrew Litton - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra version, is the one I've grown to love.
The Leonard Bernstein version, below, is the closest I can find to give you a sample. It starts slow, but, give it a chance. The music is haunting.
My Desert Island disk.