Being unable to perform during the Coronavirus Pandemic forced me to finally get round to recording my own music. I've written the songs, played various guitars - acoustic and electric, bass guitars, and sung the vocals. The rest has been added using clever software, except for the sax on the title track, which was played by my son, Nick - a fine musician in his own right.
Save Me From The Wreckage - The Album
I actually wrote Save Me From The Wreckage a while ago, but revisited it during the Corona Virus lockdown. I also changed it a little to make it more relevant to what many of us have been going thorough over the last year or so. I’ve actually been very lucky. I have had my wife to keep me company, and I’ve been able to work on my music whenever I felt daytime TV was just getting too awful! So, in a very real sense, this is about both my wife and my music. This whole album has arisen from the wreckage of the last year or so – I. would probably never have spent the time needed to finish off all these songs otherwise. I’m sure it will strike a chord with people who have been going “stir crazy” confined to their home all day too.
Friend For Life is all about my Yairi guitar. It occurred to me that this guitar has been my constant companion since about 1975. Many things have happened to me, people have come and gone, I've had different jobs and the world has changed completely, but my guitar has always been there for me. It has probably saved my life on more than one occasion.
It has suffered a great deal, been re-fretted a couple of times, and been more or less rebuilt by the lovely people at Auden guitars. Thanks to them it is now playing better than ever.
I’m constantly amazed at the difference between attitudes to shooting people in the U.S.A. I felt I should write a Country and Western song about it. At least You Mustn’t Kill Your Neighbour makes a change from songs involving popping a cap in sensitive areas, or slapping your bitch up!
The Hoods is about the first rock band but I was in. I was the vocalist, going under the name of Tony Verne, back in the early 60s. They were exciting times, when everything was new. I'd like to dedicate this to Terry Clemson, our guitarist, who died recently. He went on to play with some wonderful people, backing Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, Screaming Lord Such and so many others that his credits are a roll call of Rock ‘n Roll greats. More recently he was playing with his own band, the TT’s.
Singing River was originally inspired by the book “If the Legends Fade”, an account of the 1830s walk of a Yuchi Indian girl, Tom Hendrix’s great, great grandmother, from Oklahoma Indian Territory back to her native Alabama. As I wrote it, I realised that the places that are important to me have rivers running through them, and it’s those rivers I think of first – whether the Thames, the Seine, the Amstel, or even tiny rivers like the Mimram, in Hertfordshire.
Jazz fans will understand that Liquorice Stick is a common nickname for a clarinet. This is a naïve and simple song about a young lady who wanted to take up the instrument. Obviously no other meaning there at all. I have to admit that I wrote this thinking about the late, great, George Melly, who I saw at Ronnie Scott’s. If he’s listening up there somewhere, I hope he likes it.
The idea for Standing By The Wall came to me when visiting Vindolanda, a Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall. I also read the trilogy about it by Adrian Goldsworthy. It’s original chorus included reference to Vindolanda. I hadn't been working on it for long before I realised that it was relevant to many other situations. At the time President Trump was demanding that Mexico should pay for a wall to stop immigrants getting into the USA. And I was reminded of a visit to Berlin when it was still divided by a wall, and you could get shot trying to cross it from East to West. I'm sure you can think of many other places where there are troubled borders, from Jerusalem, via India and Pakistan even to China – where the Great Wall was built in 221 BC.
Computer dating can be a bit hit and miss. Rose Without a Thorn is about an encounter that didn’t quite work out the way I hoped it would. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?
If I had a Chance – Just a simple unrequited love song, but hopeful. I rather like it.