A history of Lindisfarne - part I: 1969-1973
Anyone with more than a passing interest in Lindisfarne should go and see The Lindisfarne Story and track down a copy of Dave Ian Hill's authoritative biography Fog On The Tyne (Northdown Publishing ISBN 1900711 07 9). However, at the risk of boring die-hard fans, there now follows a brief synopsis of one of the country's most talented and underrated bands.
(Please note; albums mentioned are all of studio material – live albums and compilations are omitted deliberately – for further info please refer to the discography section on this website. )
The formation of Brethren - an amalgamation of most previous members of Downtown Faction (who had already recorded one unreleased album). Personnel being Simon Cowe (guitar)- ex Aristokats, Rod Clements (bass)- ex Impact, Ray Jackson (harmonica/vocals)- ex Zulus, Autumn States and Ray Laidlaw (drums)- ex Aristokats, Druids, Impact.
Around this time, entrepreneur Dave Wood and singer songwriter Alan Hull ran a folk club at the Rex Hotel, Whitley Bay. Brethren soon join forces with Alan- ex Dean Ford & The Crestas, High Five, Clik, and The Chosen Few (who had some years previously released two singles, and had a series of shows on Radio Luxembourg). It was at this venue that the Lindisfarne sound was born - sometimes billed as Alan Hull and Brethren, or Brethren and Alan Hull - depending on who secured the gig! Meanwhile tracks for a sampler LP were recorded for Dave Wood's new Rubber Records label. This album Take Off Your Head And Listen would be released a little while later, with the tracks credited to Alan Hull & Bretheren (note the spelling!).
The band are signed to the Charisma record label in June, making a debut appearance at the Newcastle City Hall in July, and after a name change to Lindisfarne, their first album Nicely Out Of Tune is released in the November.
Touring starts in earnest, and they prove popular on the festival scene.
Famous producer Bob Johnston collaborates with their second LP Fog On The Tyne - released in October of that year.
Now things are hotting up! The Rod Clements-penned single Meet Me On The Corner enters the top five. Fog is biggest British album of the year.
After two U.S. tours a third album Dingly Dell is released in September. A re-release of the single Lady Eleanor is also a hit (having made little impact a year previously).
1973 proves too much for the band and after touring abroad they decide to call it a day.
The band splits into two - Si, Rod and Ray Laidlaw form Jack The Lad, calling ex-pat Billy Mitchell (strings, vocals - ex Callies/ session work) home from Canada.
A new Lindisfarne is formed featuring Ray Jackson and Alan Hull, joined by Kenny Craddock (keyboards/ vocals), Charlie Harcourt (guitar/ keyboard), Tommy Duffy (bass/ vocals), with drums by Paul Nichols. Most of this talent was originally roped in for the first Alan Hull solo LP Pipedream (1973).
The 'new' - or MKII - Lindisfarne, release a new LP Roll on, Ruby.