STRING DRIVEN THING ON THE ROAD, AT SEA & IN THE AIR
Part 1 – UK
The release of Songs From Another Country in 2009 was the catalyst for the next few years of going out on the road and playing lots of live gigs. Travelling the length and breadth of the UK, we performed in Achmore up North in the Highlands, at Fifestock in the East, Caradale in the West and our southern sojourns took us to club and festival venues across the border in Saddleworth, Burton-on -Trent, Cambridge, London, Shrewsbury, Skegness, Bakewell and to the famous Boom Boom Club in Sutton where Graham made one of his rare appearances with the band. Pauline also made one of her even rarer appearances. The logistics of organising these events is horrendous with, at the time, both Andy and Dick holding down very responsible jobs. Hiring transport and booking hotels are probably the more simple tasks involved in the process. As a result of their jobs, the line-up who recorded the album were not always available to go on the road but, we were able to call on excellent deputies when required. Robin, Chris’s son, was a more than capable replacement lead guitarist for George and, of course, he eventually became a permanent member of the band. The step-in rhythm section comprised Ronnie Garrity on bass and John Bradley on drums.
The hardest part is keeping track of where everyone is and making sure they know “when & where” for the soundcheck & performance. I remember well the time that we travelled to Shrewsbury to perform at a birthday party for Chris Hewitt of Ozit Records fame and Pauline agreed to come along and reluctantly take to the stage for a few numbers. She had not performed for some time and was extremely nervous. Shortly before the band were to take the stage, I lost her but, after tearing round the massive Buttermarket venue, I eventually found her and I can honestly say that this was an amazing gig. Graham also travelled up for the gig and I will never ceased to be amazed as to how he & Chris immediately gelled without having rehearsed.
We crossed the Atlantic a couple of times with trips to Easdale from where a boat transported the band and gear over to Seil Island. After an intimate acoustic gig in The Puffer Bar, we were asked back with the full band to perform in the Community Hall. An amazing weekend was had by all and there is a cracking photo video of our time there on You Tube with “Easy To Be Free” as the backing track.