Earlier this year I was asked play some pedal steel guitar on a couple of recording sessions. The first session I played on was for Shadow Captain, (aka Stuart Todd). The songs were Goodbye and Clandestine Lover. I played drums on that on too. That’s due for release late 2019/ early 2020. Andy Fernihough, who is well known as a musician and as the studio manager at Crash Rehearsal Rooms, has been working on those recordings. So when the Sums, formerly known as Smaller were looking for some different sound, Andy suggested that I could do some steel on their new album, Better. I played on two tracks, Contraception Is Rife and Salt of the Earth. I first saw, lead singer, Digsy perform with Smaller at the Liverpool Lomax, supportingOasis. Later I played on the same lineup a few times in venues like the Picket, when I was in the Marbles.
I bought the steel from a friend in about 2006, some of it was hand made but it has a Ronnie Bennett pickup on it. It’s hard work to play the mechanisms are very stiff, but I’ve persevered and managed to get some good things out of it. I need to practice more. Some of my favorite steel players are Buddy Emmons, Buddy Cage (New Riders), Jerry Hogan (Heads Hands and Feet), JayDee Maness (Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Red Rhodes (Mike Nesmith), Weldon Myrick (Areacode 615) and of course Jerry Garcia,
Recently I got the chance to perform at both of Liverpool’s fantastic Cathedrals. I was invited to take part inLiverpool Hope University‘s The Big Hope 2.
On 13th of June I performed a version of John Lennon’s Imagine at the Anglican Cathedral. It wasn’t until a few moments after I arrived that I learned that I would be performing it as part of an address by Father Michael Lapsley, a South African Anglican priest and social justice activist. Below is a video from that event. The reverb of the Anglican Cathedral was amazing.
On 19th June I returned to sing at the Metropolitan Cathedral to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone. I was originally asked to sing Cohen‘s Hallelujah but some of the lyrical content was brought into question. Below is a video from that ceremony. I fluffed a few words, but I was quite nervous.
It was an honor to be involved in the event and am very pleased to have been given the opportunity to sing solo in both of Liverpool’s amazing Cathedrals.
This version of Michelangelo by Jimmy Campbell was recorded for submission to BBC Radio Merseyside to celebrate their 50th Birthday. Billy Butler, a former Cavern DJ who has been with the station for over four decades, invited members of the music community to submit covers of songs released in 1967.
Jimmy Campbell tribute – 50 years since the release of Michelangelo.
In his lifetime, JimmyCampbell received very little recognition, despite being an excellent songwriter. Born in Liverpool, he was a member of the Merseybeat group the Kirbys. Apparently, they adopted this name following a mix-up by the Cavern Club Compare, Bob Wooler, who announced the area that they originated from instead of the band name, which was the Panthers (previously the Tuxedos). After becoming professional The Kirbys recorded for RCA under the management of Brian Epstein’s former secretary Beryl Adams. His songs were recorded by his contemporaries; the Escorts, the Merseys and the Swinging Blue Jeans.
Moving with the times and steering toward a more psychedelic flavoured sound the band changed their name to the 23rd Turn Off (an exit off the M6). The group’s first single was Michelangelo and was released on Decca’s Deram label in 1967. Very few of the Merseybeat artists, such as the Beatles, were able to successfully make the artistic transition from exciting beat music to credible psychedelia, but Jimmy did. There is a collection of tracks from this period called The Dream of Michelangelo it features recording by the Kirbys and some 23rd Turn Off demos.
He went on the record three albums as a solo artist for the Fontana label: Son of Anastasia (1969), Half-Baked (1970) and The Jimmy Campbell Album (1972). During this time he also worked with Billy Kinsley, of the Merseybeats, and recorded an album called Yes it is (1971) as Rockin’ Horse.
I’m not going to say too much about Jimmy’s music here as it is something I’d like to write more about in future.
In this recording I played the guitar and vocals live, that’s how I came to get the lyrics muddled in the last verse. I later doubled the vocal and added a shaker, tambo and a cymbal. The vocals were recorded using an Audio Technica AT4033 and the classical guitar was miked with a Rode NT3.