the story of an album - track by track
|Chums, comrades, brothers, cronies, pals, mates, cobbers, buddies, chaps, friends, boon companions, fellow travellers, soul mates, kindred spirits, bearties, AMIGOS. Of course, as usual, the title was the last thing to be decided upon, but in retrospect it is SO apt. Because that above all else is what this latest Lindisfarne album is. A bunch of mates making music together because that's what they do best and what gives them, and hopefully you a great deal of pleasure. The simple things are always the best.|
|It all started one drizzly February afternoon in the Cygne Nero off the Via Lazzaro Papi in Milan. Six Amigos sitting round a table sipping Dos Equus beer and tossing ideas around for a new studio album to be released before Christmas.|
|Maybe it was the fact that we were in foreign parts, maybe it was the time of year, maybe it was the beer but through the mist emerged a simple idea. Let's return to our roots. Let's go back to the essentials and make a record for US and the thousands of solid supporters we have back in England. In other words let's record an album of songs. Songs we can happily play on stage without any gimmicks. Songs that will involve the audience. Songs that anybody can sing and everybody can remember. Remember them ? Songs ! The first three L.P.s were packed with them. Back and Fourth had its fair share and the others a smattering. O.K. Lets pack the record with belters.|
|Once the idea had sunk in and everybody was charged up with it, the time scale of the task began to dawn on us. A September release would mean getting into the studios in March, ready to record the first belter. Anybody got any songs ? Whoever said that neccessity is the mother of invention was dead right and it's true that at certain times, pressure is very good for concentrating the mind. So from that drizzly afternoon surrounded by all things lation to the comfort of your own stereo system, here is AMIGOS - the best thing Lindisfarne have done for yonks.|
Take your acoustic guitar up to the attic and write, that's exactly what I did. I've always found that even if your mind is blank you can start strumming anything and something will evolve. Maybe not very good at all, but if you keep at it, it gets better and you find yourself in a different world. And if you just let the world come, you'll have a song. Only this time I was babysitting my six-month old granddaughter Roxanne who inspired the whole thing. Thinking about her future and the plant she would be iheriting from us led to the idea of one world. It's optimistic, idealistic, some might say naive, but I can't wait to do it on stage and Roxanne absolutely loves it.
So everybody in the band is now in writing mode. Me and my buddy - yound Marty Craggs - in a hostelry of the parish we reside in, happen upon a splendid lady nurse who shall be nameless. So Sheila said, "He can't be in love with her - because his voice didn't change when her name was mentioned. 'cos when you're in love, everything changes". Craggs disappeared for ten minutes then came storming out of the toilet claiming, "there's a song in that". Two days later in the said attic, the song was written. Thank-you Sheila.
Working for the Man
Then Clem (the gentleman in the band) has a word in my shell-like. Got a song - needs a middle bit. So, back to the attic. The song is there. Typical Clem. To me, says it all. Me and Rod over a hot 4-track. No bother. Middle bit works fine - off to the pub. The song speaks for itself.
Roll On The Day
I didn't mention in the preamble to this piece that all these tracks were recorded in Reel Time studios in the celestial city of Newcastle Upon Fog on the Tyne and huge thanks must go to Tom, Ken, Steve and Mickey. Perhaps the subconcious reason for mentioning it under this title is that all of them had a great feeling about this particular baby. Rod apparently had been working on another song with Marty which didn't happen and being the gentleman he is said to Marty "Remember the chorus you used to fiddle with in sound checks! ..." Well that became the chorus, Rod put the clothes on it, Lindisfarne did the rest and the result is a song for the world. May favourite.
You're The One
"Coming in fast on the last farlong. That's what Meep Meep said to me (Who he? - Ed.). Actually he's Colin who knows more about Lindisfarne than anyone I know (including the band) and this is nearly his favourite. A song I wrote on the steam piano. A nod to Rubber Soul or should I say Help !
Wish You Were Here
Simon's guitar/banjo, Jacka's harp, Rod's slide guitar, Laidlaw's slap-happy drums, the sour-cream vocals of the old fellers, the throw away (but deceptively poignant) words, the unforgettable chorus - Oh how I wish you were here - aren't we all. Quintessential Lindisfarne - Amigos.
Do It Like This
A daft song. It's good to have another one on a Lindisfarne album. Look at what happened to Fog on the Tyne and in a lesser way, I Must Stop Going To Parties. This was born three years ago as an after - gig bit of silliness whereby (egged on by the Amigos) I would thump the nearest piano submission and shout fairly abusive things to the nearest person in sight (usually one of the crew). Lanky Logic (Ray L...) and gentleman Rod kept on at me to make it a proper song. So I turned the joke back on myself and this is the result. Don't blame me!
Anyway The Wind Blows
A handsome young body builder told me that this was his favourite track because he is living in the spirit of the song. That is to say he had to move to the south (you know A1(M) - aim south cos that's where the jobs are) in order to make a decent living for his family. Rod has captured the frustration of separation and alienation and Jacka's vocal is an inspiration.
I'm going to have to keep you guessing on this one as to who is the object of ridicule. Walls have ears! What I'm happy to tell you is, I'm not entirely to blame for this snivelling piece of blasphemy. It's only fair that the main instigator (if it comes to a court case) should be properly named Jimmy Barrett. That's him your honour. It wasn't me, honest. He's a scouse git and if I knew his address I'd immediately send it to No. 10
When The Night Comes Down
Ever been down the Bigg Market on a Friday Night ? Watch out for Sax players. This song, again, has a message of optimism. The night is an ocean but if we stick together we can see the light.
Don't Say Goodnight
My friends, don't let the evening end. It's only half pŘast three - we've got more bottles to see off - tomorrow, it only brings you sorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow is another day - so don't say goodnight. I.K. which brings us back to.
........... Simple, isn't it ?
Alan Hull, 1st November 1989