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I Don't Hear A Single
  Updated Tue, 11 Dec 2018 06:09:17 +0000
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Category I Don't Hear A Single RadioIPO Liverpool 2018Sugarbush RecordsMick DillinghamThe Garden Of Earthly DelightsBest of 2017The RagamuffinsBig StirGretchen's WheelNick PiuntiSomerdaleThe StanleysXTCAlbum Of The YearBeaulieu PorchDot DashFernando PerdomoGreg PopeMartin NewellMothboxerPlasticsoulRyan Allen And His Extra ArmsThe ArmoiresThe JunipersThe Legal MattersThe Luck Of Eden HallThe Sunset SpiritAlbum Of The Year Radio SpecialAllen ClappAndy BoppBill LloydCaddyCaper ClownsCheap TrickChris ChurchChris RichardsCrime SceneDavid James SituationDom MarianiEd RyanFelix Hagan And The FamilyIan McNabbJohn HowardKen SharpKurt Baker ComboLisa MycholsMichael CarpenterMo TroperMott The HoopleNick HeywardOdd RobotPezbandPink BeamPugwashRob BonfiglioRob Clarke And The WooltonesRobyn GibsonSeth Swirsky.SloanSparksSumnerThe Anderson CouncilThe BoppThe BordellosThe Cherry BluestormsThe FlywheelsThe Gold NeedlesThe John Sally RideThe MoveThe Nature StripThe NinesThe Orange PeelsThe Well WishersTodd DillinghamWeezerWyatt FunderburkYou Am I1881A View Of Earth From The MoonAgony AuntsAlice And The LoversAllah LasAllyson SecondsAnchor & BearAndrew TaylorAndy MackayAndy ReedAnton BarbeauArmchair OraclesArmstrongArtful DodgerArts & LeisureB-LeaguersBaby ShakesBad BadgerBad CompanyBalkan FalconBaltoBe Bop DeluxeBeachheadsBeautiful SouthBelinda CarlisleBenny Maradones And The HurricanesBernard ButlerBertling Noise LaboratoriesBerwangerBig SchoolBig SunsetBill MajorosBilly LyallBird StreetsBlaine CampbellBob Of The PopsBonny DoonBoo HewerdineBrain CircusBram TchaikovskyBrandon SchottBread & ButterBrenyamaBrinsley SchwarzBrotherhood Of LizardsBryan EstepaBulletproof LoversBusman's HolidayButch YoungButtercupCait BrennanCaliforniaCamelCaptain WilberforceCayetanaCheap HorseCheap StarChilli Willi And The Red Hot PeppersChris MullinChris PriceCinderpopCity MouthClub WowColin's GodsonColoursCommunionsCorin AshleyCrystal DriveCuddly SharkCupid's CarnivalCurry CutsCursed ArrowsCurveyCustard FluxDaisyDaisy HouseDamien BinderDan VapidDan WilsonDanny WilkersonDaryll-AnnDatura4Dave KerznerDavey LaneDavid Brookings And The Average LookingsDavid DundasDeacon BlueDeaf SchoolDeborah HenrikssonDeer TickDiamond HandsDodgyDogs Die In Hot CarsDoug TuttleDragmaticDream MachineDropkickDuncan MaitlandEarwigEvenEx NorwegianFacebookFaerground AccidentsFake PalmsFarewell MilwaukeeFast RomanticsFastballFitsFloating OperaFrancobolloGarfield's BirthdayGary CrowleyGentle BrentGlam RockGoodo.GospelbeacHGreg IeronimoGroovy UncleGurrHave Your SayHello BearHenry ChadwickHornalHotfoot JacksonHuxley Rittman And The Rusty HitmenI Do Hear A SingleI Me MineIan HunterIan PersonIcarus PeelIdentical SunsIf It Feels Good Do ItImperial State ElectricJane's PartyJason FalknerJeff RosenstockJim RuizJohnny ChastainJonny WeathersJunebugJustin LevinsonKen SimpsonKiddLast GiantLemmoLife On MarsLilliputLittle StevenLiverpool ExpressLongplayerMagic BusMagpieMajor MurphyMarjorie FairMark BacinoMatt PurcellMatthew SweetMerriesMerry WidowsMicah GilbertMichael RobertsMichael SlawterMick TerryMidnight RerunsMighty WahMike Daly And The PlanetsMimi BetinisMod PopModern SpaceMorganMorgan FisherMotel BedsMy Little HumMyracle BrahMystery JetsMystery Lawn MusicNamesakeNatural ChildNew WaveNewsNewsroundNick FraterNick KnowlesNightmenOld Future CrashOne From The ArchiveOne Way TicketOoberonOrgone BoxOverend WattsP. 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There's A Big Stir Going On
Category Big Stir
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I thought it was about time that I wrote more about Big Stir. There are many kindred spirits around, but the success and growth of Big Stir makes me stand back and applaud the most. The growth of the collective over the past two years has been heart warming to say the least.

The Big Star Label Album Roster is now Nine Artists strong, you can find more details here. The wonderful Weekly Digital Singles will see number 8 released this week and has already featured Lisa Mychols, Michael Simmons, Karla Kane and Lannie Flowers. These two song singles cost a bargain One whole dollar here.

Big Stir have also made it a mission to bring the Community together. Issue 3 of The Magazine is about to hit the streets, Rex and Christina host a Weekly Radio Show on Woody Radio and most relevant, they are bringing labels together. The links with both Spyderpop, Futureman Records and Karma Frog are a joy to behold. It's long needed, the scene maybe small, but it is fragmented, that is being addressed with Big Stir at the front of the barricades.




The monthly Showcase continues in Burbank and Croydon with some fantastic names. The likes of Lannie Flowers and Danny Wilkerson were at the recent Burbank show and John Borack spins the Burbank tunes. All of this is happening whilst The Armoires finalise their second release.

I remember in IDHAS's early days, beseeching them to bring their entourage to the UK. I wanted the UK to witness their West Coast Monthly Live Showcase. Come they did, centring a UK Tour around Liverpool's 2017 IPO Festival. As they toured the country, the line ups were incredible. The Stateside Touring Circus consisted of The Armoires, Plasticsoul and Hux And The Hitmen with David Jaggs of The Ragamuffins at Manchester and the UK's finest joined them as the tour rolled on.

Spygenius, The Fast Camels, mylittlebrother, Toxic Melons, Artisam, Charms Against The Evil Eye and Sunshine Bloom joined in with the Fun. The Tour was so successful that a Spin Off UK Arm of Big Stir was started in the South, fronted by the excellent Spygenius.





The Big Star Britannia version has already seen the likes of Anton Barbeau, Blake Jones And The Trike Shop, Picturebox and Nick Frater added to the appearance list and there are plans are afoot for further Big Stir expansion in both America and the UK.

There's no let up from the label with new releases planned for Anton Barbeau and also the highly anticipated new album from Kai Danzberg, which has a January Release. In Deed and Leslie Pereira And The Lazy Heroes have also been recently added to the label's roster. As IDHAS expands, you can bet your life that it will have a link to Big Stir.

Rex and Christina, I Salute You!



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I Don't Hear A Single Volume 56
Category I Don, ', t Hear A Single Radio
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Volume 56 is now on Mixcloud. The format is still new songs in continuous mix. No artist intros. I've thought of adding them, but people say they like the hour long no break model. I will sound out people if that needs to change.

There is so much great new music around, that this week I've extended the hour long normality to 78 poptastic minutes.

The playlist details are on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous adventures on Mixcloud here.

The new talky 2 hour radio show is not too far away now, details will be posted on IDHAS and it is completely different to this.

This week's show features 23 superb songs. Details of how to listen to number 56 are provided by the link after the playlist below :


01 Cinderpop - Saline
02 Bill Lloyd - Working The Long Game
03 Jim Lea - Lost In Space
04 Lannie Flowers - Doin' Fine
05 Andy Partridge - Humanoid Boogie
06 The Sunset Spirit - Mary Jane
07 Mick Terry - Emily Come Back
08 Mayday Parade - Never Sure
09 Fernando Perdomo - We Were Raised With Headphones On
10 Car City - Connecting The Dots
11 Downstate Darlings - King James
12 Gleeson - Through The Motions
13 Medicine Head - Forgive And Forget
14 Peter Baldrachi - Change
15 The Wild Wild - Mrs Low
16 Kimberley Rew - Chain Pub
17 Mikah Wilson - Sunshine Grooves
18 Karla Kane - Goodguy Sun
19 Cleaners From Venus - The Children Of Waterloo Square
20 Leafy Seadragon - Disagree To Disagree
21 Super 8 - Drive You Home
22 Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness - Teenage Rockstars
23 Pat Buchanan - Sandbox



I Don't Hear A Single Volume 56


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Mick Terry - Days Go By
Category Mick Terry
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It's been a long wait since Mick Terry's excellent debut album, The Grown Ups and although I knew this was coming, it's been a real impatient wait. I'm also a big Jim Boggia fan, so their collaboration seemed like a match made in heaven.

What has transpired is an incredibly mature album, very different to that poptastic debut. Yes those Pop Sensibilities are still present, particularly on the magnificent show stopper, Emily Come Back, but Days Go By goes much further.






This is a real Singer Songwriter album with nods to Motown and Philly, particularly on Arthur's Tale with it's Temptations like feel and Everybody's Talking. Riverbend is like Jackson Browne with a crack Country Rock band.

Pop's A Dirty Word is great 70's Pop Rock, there's a fair few name checks to remind you of this, it's very Elton John, in fact and Elton and Billy Joel spring to mind on a fair bit across the album. Rocking In The Photograph is Terry at his pop best with it's Madness like piano, a sort of take on Ben Folds.The Glitter Guitar makes you think of Pilot on Magic and January.






Stars is in Easy Listening territory and features some great Slide playing, Friends Like That has a Toto like intro accompanied by a splendid Brass Chorus accompaniment. Ignorance Is Bliss has a melancholic beauty in it's stripped down way, with a wonderful Pedal Steel solo.

The album was recorded in London, Philadelphia and New York and that shines through with the influences on display. Boggia's presence glows too. But for all this variance, it's Terry's trademark pop that shines through on the magnificent, Emily Come Back, one of the best songs that you'll hear this or any year.






You can listen to and buy the album here. It is available on Vinyl, CD or download. The CD is available on the Kool Kat label in the States and Elsewhere here.



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Semisonic - Feeling Strangely Fine 20th Anniversary Edition
Category Dan Wilson, Semisonic, Trip Shakespeare
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20 years since Feeling Strangely Fine! Wow!  Released here in the UK at the back end of Brit Pop, Dan Wilson finally got the success that he deserved. He was no newcomer, almost 37 on release on this, the band's second album.

I'd got in to Trip Shakespeare in late 1986. I'd got really fed up of the UK scene, New Romantics was not for me and after brief respite courtesy of Glasgow, it became all dance nonsense. Through the 80's I'd concentrated more on the States and Canada and a few fellow music fans exchanged tapes via Pigeon Post.

One such tape had Applehead Man on it and I was hooked all the way through to the end. I still consider Lulu to be one of the great lost Masterpieces. After being dropped by A and M, Trip Shakespeare called it a day and via Pleasure, Dan Wilson and John Munson formed Semisonic with Drummer, Jacob Slichter.







Pleasure had released an EP, which was followed by the Semisonic debut album, Great Divide. The debut is a fine album, although it felt very different to the Psych of Trip Shakespeare. It was this follow up that hit the bucks.

It was aided by two big singles, Closing Time in the US and Karaoke favourite, Secret Smile in the UK. The album is a fine thing indeed, obviously the two great singles are present, but the rest is pretty dandy. The hypnotic keyboard riff of Singing In My Sleep, probably my favourite song on the album.

Never You Mind is Billy Swan Piano Rock, great Pop. This Will Be My Year, a Slichter Song, is all Jangle and Riffs at pace, it's an absolute corker. California simply weeps. All 12 songs stand next to each other wonderfully. Of The Four Bonus Tracks, Beautiful Regret has long been a favourite of mine, certainly hints of Trip Shakespeare here.

The band recorded one more album, 2001's All About Chemistry, a much lighter softer affair, that to be honest was sadly a tad dull. From there on, Dan Wilson went on to an excellent, if infrequent, solo career. However is work as a Writer and Producer for the likes of Dixie Chicks, Pink and Taylor Swift. He also wrote three songs on Adele's 21, most notably Someone Like You.






Fans will be disappointed to only have 4 Bonus Tracks added, all of them B Sides. It's known that there were around 60 demos for Feeling Strangely Fine, but only 20 were Studio Recorded and apparently, only these 16 mixed originally. But maybe the other four would have been welcome.

However, it is worth noting that the original album sound was really iffy, unfeasibly loud which distorted a couple of songs. I don't know if that was because of the mastering or the way it was recorded with the band. All that is solved here.

I know most of the cool people will already have the album, but the master is great and it's also available for the first time on vinyl. This is also a great time for a generation on to catch up on one of the great 90's albums.






You can buy the album on CD Download or Vinyl everywhere. The likes of Amazon offer a free download with a physical purchase. There are also still some Special related items available on the Pledge Music Site here.



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Cinderpop - Bricolage
Category Cinderpop
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When Music Forums list inspired groups, I often rightly see The Sugarplastic, XTC, The Orgone Box, Ooberman etc, but I rarely see Vancouver's Cinderpop and I have no idea why. They are as equally important and at times more inventive.

Kevan Ellis remains one of the great underappreciated talents. Cinderpop's Back Catalogue stands comparison with anyone and for those of you who have missed out, Bricolage offers you the opportunity to repent and join the Church Of The Poptastic.






This is a Best of and includes their most recent 2017 recordings, Saline and Ephialtes And The Greeks. These two songs bookend the selection of what's gone before. The band's albums were always highly original, so gathering a selection of songs makes them seem even more eclectic and rightly so.

Dead At The Side Of The Road probably sums them up best, it's magnificent, but even that doesn't give you much of an inkling of what you are about to witness across the other 15 tracks. Yokahama and Yogi Bear are gentle Psych Pop, Oliver 8 and Blonder are in your face Indie Rock Outs.







Bumblebee is like a Psyched Up They Might Be Giants, Cinnamon Winter and Folding Time are in The Sugarplastic Territory, the latter almost Prog. Bastion Cooper could be The Orgone Box, Ephialtes And The Greeks is Folk Rock.

What you have here is a collection that would grace anyone's collection and is guaranteed to get you raiding the internet to find their back catalogue. Carlsberg don't do bands, but if they did they'd probably be Cinderpop.






You can listen to Bricolage here and buy it at all good establishments.



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The Sunset Spirit - Sometimes EP
Category The Sunset Spirit
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One of the biggest surprises from last year were The Sunset Spirit. The debut album, From The Top, was refreshingly great Pop Rock and against all the International competition, only the magnificent Chris Price album beat it to the I Don't Hear A Single Album Of The Year. In any other year it would have won.

Not content with that, the single, To Have It All, also finished as Runner Up in Song Of The Year. Beaten only by Sparks in that section, it is amazing for a debut offering to feature so highly in these parts. You can read my review of From The Top here.

I'm delighted to report that the band are back and Fife's finest have expanded to a six piece. The new 5 Song EP, Sometimes, is more of the same, but with a much expanded sound. The addition of a Lead Guitarist has really fleshed out the sound, particularly on Time To Shine and especially on the magnificent, Mary Jane.






The Organ is still plentiful and Stuart Shields Vocals are as Spot On, again a cross between Glenn Tilbrook and Neil Finn. However. it's the sound that grabs you. The killer riff on Mary Jane, Better Man is wonderfully melancholic, You're Alright has a Classic Rock Feel, particularly on the closing Guitar solo.

Get It Right is the only thing that betrays their roots a little, it's almost Runrig. Anyone thinking that the debut album was a flash in the pan can feel reassured. The Sunset Strip have got bigger and better.
Sometimes is available to buy on the likes of iTunes. You can also listen to it on Spotify here or Apple Music here.



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Ken Sharp - Beauty In The Backseat
Category Ken Sharp
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No waiting around for a decade for the follow up to New Mourning. Two years on, Ken Sharp releases Beauty In The Backseat. My review of New Mourning covers a lot of Ken's background, you can read that review here. This allows me to concentrate on the job in hand, that being this splendid 2018 affair.

Sharp is very much known Power Pop wise, but Beauty In The Backseat provides much more than that. It feels far more at home in the Pop Rock world of the 70's in all that it does. The 16 songs here last for an hour, something not usually the case in Power Pop and the slightly longer songs allow much more in them.






The style, arrangements and sound are very much into that Post Glam Rock world. Albums that appealed to Mum and Dad as much as the kids. Here in the UK, those albums were gathered up willingly, think Pilot, Jigsaw and even 10cc.

There are quite a few guest appearances here. Ace Frehley riffs on Rock Show, Kasim Sulton adds vocals to Mona Lisa Smiles. Ruti Celli plays some wonderful Cello on The Day That David Bowie Died and even the magnificent Marshall Crenshaw gets involved on Miracle.

It's also quite a coup to get John Oates in on the act for Philly Kind Of Night and nice to hear IDHAS favourite, Rob Bonfiglio on Backing Vocals across the album. For all these appearances though, the greatest plus point is the involvement of Fernando Perdomo. The man never seems to sleep and I don't think that I've ever heard a bad song that he's on. He plays on all of the album and Co-Produces and it shows.






There's a real Summer feel to the whole album. That Philly influence can be heard at times, but it's the Pop that shines through. Pull The Strings is pure John Miles, The Hardest Part is very teeny bop David Cassidy and there's also a song about Cassidy present here, that is much more Jangly though.

You can imagine Sharp playing Ring On Your Finger on Soul Train, the same applies to Sinking. Miracle is almost Motown. Lemons To Lemonade will appeal to most, but it's Mona Lisa Smile that hits my buttons most. You can imagine it in a Partridge Family episode.






The album marches on from New Mourning's welcome return. It's far more Philly Sound than that album and very very 70's, but it works beautifully. It's a corker of an album that should be added to your collection.

You can listen to and buy the album here. You can find out more about all things Ken Sharp here.


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I Don't Hear A Single Volume 55
Category I Don, ', t Hear A Single Radio
Published:
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Ok it's about time that we got the weekly hour long thing back on the road with Volume 55 after a fair break. This will now only appear on Mixcloud to make things easier to find. The format is still new songs in an hour long mix. No artist intros. I've thought of adding them, but people say they like the hour long no break model. I will sound out people if that needs to change.

The playlist details will be on here and by clicking the Mixcloud tab. You can listen to the previous adventures on Mixcloud here.

The new talky 2 hour radio show is a couple of weeks away, details will be posted on IDHAS and is completely different to this.

This week's show features 14 superb songs, ending with a magnificent 18 minute Rundgren-esque final song. Details of how to listen to number 55 are provided by the link after the playlist below :


01 Ex Norwegian - Good Intentions
02 Andy Bopp - Sure And True
03 Cursed Arrows - Near Death Daydream
04 The National Reserve - No More
05 Greg Pope - She's Already There
06 Groovy Uncle - Howard Eno
07 Matt Berry - Rainbow
08 McPherson Grant - Not My Cup Of Tea
09 Fever Feel - Lose Your Mind
10 Otto Niklasson Elmerås - It's Over
11 Hawk - Allison's Gone
12 Dennis Gurley - Every Other Summer
13 The Imperial Sound - Daylight
14 Nick Frater - The Sombrero Fallout Suite


I Don't Hear A Single Volume 55 





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Be-Bop Deluxe - Sunburst Finish Deluxe Edition (3CD and DVD)
Category Be Bop Deluxe
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One of the advantages of age is to witness the reassessment of artists that you loved when young. I remember ELO being largely disliked by the mass unwashed and at best being a guilty secret. Now everyone loved them all along.

Be Bop Deluxe are another example. To me, they were one of the best bands around. To many more, they were Second Division Rock. Bill Nelson was and still is one of the most innovative guitarists and although the band were incendiary live, you couldn't quite pigeon hole them.

Most Rock Guitarists didn't wear three piece suits or had short hair. Plus, the music was so diverse, in essence a sort of Sci Fi affair, but wrapped in Prog, Blues and Pure Pop. Nelson's Guitar Playing marked Be Bop Deluxe far in excess of average, bordering brilliant.

Now of course, everyone loved them, maybe they always did or feel guilty for missing them, hopefully many are discovering them. Sunburst Finish is the band's third album, a halfway point in their five album career. It's always probably the most accessible and maybe their best.

The Guitar solos of the first two are reined in, with a focus on the songs. Nelson still lets rip on Crying In The Sky and the magnificent Blazing Apostles took on a new life as a rock out live, it could last beyond 12 minutes. The former shows all you need to know about his axe hero reputation.

But the songs here veer more towards Pop Rock, beautifully so, particularly on the opener Fair Exchange, There's a ton of inventiveness across all eleven tracks. Ships In The Night is Pop Reggae, Life In The Air Age is Southern Rock. Sleep That Burns is a mix of the continental and Prog. Sunburst Finish is a masterful album, labelling Nelson as a Pop Rock star that you felt he never wanted to be.

Bill Nelson was not one to stand still. After the mixed reaction to the minimal BBD final album, Drastic Plastic, Bill Nelson's Red Noise was to virtually invent New Romantic and then head for an extensive solo career. His solo work encompasses Instrumental, Ambient and the odd Rock Out. All of it is wonderful and his prolific nature has cost me a lot of money over the years and is probably the best value for money that I've ever bought.

Esoteric have done a lovely job with the set. The 3 Audio CDs contain the remastered album and  2018 Stereo Mix plus outtakes. The third disc contains a 1976 BBC Radio 1 In Concert and a Peel Session.

The DVD contains the 5.1 Surround Stereo Mix plus Video from the 1976 appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test and the Promo Video for Ships In The Night. The Booklet is a 68 page extravaganza with an essay of Recollections from Bill Nelson.

Also included are a facsimile of The Sunburst Finish Tour Program, Postcards and a replica poster. This really is quite a set and a great testament to a fantastic band and a fantastic album. You can Pre-Order the deluxe version from Cherry Red here. There is also a link on that page to buy the cutdown 2 disc version.


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Sgt Kipper : The Advent Of Todd Dillingham
Category Mick Dillingham, Todd Dillingham
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At ASH, we have always been long term admirers of the magnificent Todd Dillingham. So I'm delighted that his brother Mick has written this article about how the musical adventures began.

Mick is a dear friend of mine. As a journalist, he is outstanding. People often complement me on the music I recommend and how much I know. Well I know less than half of what Mick knows. His consistent uncovering of great bands and artists is awe inspiring.

He has also been involved in all things ASH related from the very beginning, approaching nine years now. Mick hasn't been writing as much lately, which is a crying shame, I'm hoping this is about to change. You can find more of his work here

There is no better person to write about the beginnings of Todd's psychedelic delights than Mick.


Todd was always the classic bedroom musician, first and foremost. An eccentric outsider not really built for this big bad world of ours. He always loved music and for his fifth birthday got the latest Beatles album and by his teens he had a big record collection and went to a lot of gigs. He taught himself how to play guitar and was quite a superb player, but Todd being Todd, he never really did anything with it other than entertain us all with his ability to make up silly songs on the spot.

In his mid twenties he wrote a few songs, The Summer, Fading Just For You which he went into a tiny studio to record. But then one day he won a couple of hundred quid on the horses and went and bought himself a four track Tascam recorder. More brilliant songs started pouring out, matched by musical invention and quality playing. These home recordings, most of which remained unreleased, though a handful turned up on various releases, were staggering stuff and eventually brought him to the attention of Nick Saloman.




Art Into Dust was Todd?s first album, the bulk of which was recorded in a couple of days up at Mick Crossley?s (Flight Reaction) place in Saffron Walden with Nick Saloman (Bevis Frond), for release on the man?s Woronozow label.

Todd?s song Lament has already appeared on the fourth Ptolemaic Terrascope EP, given away free with the magazine (and played on the John Peel show!). Another track Reality appeared on the Woronziod sampler. Todd also played his first (of only ever two) live appearances with a short acoustic set supporting The Bevis Frond at an all dayer at The Dome in Tufnell Park. He was very nervous and sat on a stool during his four song set.

Twink, the legendary drummer from Tomorrow, The Pretty Things and The Pink Fairies who happened to be in attendance that day and aware of Todd?s nervousness beforehand very kindly and spontaneously grabbed maracas and a tambourine and joined him on stage to play along. The crowd also got behind him and cheered and clapped after each number with warm appreciation.

Saloman had been dragging his heels for a few years over doing the album by then, so it was a relief when he finally decided it was time. No sooner had the recording been completed then Todd was given the chance to record down in Canterbury with the legendary Richard Sinclair, Andy Ward and Jimmy Hastings.

With some money from our Father, we headed down the Canterbury to spend five days recording at the same studio as Sinclair was using for the Caravan of Dreams album. In retrospect the studio was too big for the task, but an album?s worth of tunes was captured.




When Saloman found out about this, his nose got out of joint and he decided not to release Art Into Dust after all. A few months later, Voiceprint came on board wanting to release Wilde Canterbury Dream. On hearing about the unreleased debut they decided that it would be cool to release that as well, a few weeks after Wilde Canterbury Dreams. So Todd went from nothing to two albums just like that.

Expanding the original album for the Voiceprint release, Todd added a home demo, Am I Alone and two tracks recorded recently with Andy Ward in East London. Little Green Pears, with a young Canterbury based guitar player Nicky Johns and a mind bending 24 minute version of the Floyd?s Interstellar Overdrive on which Andy shines like a thousand stars on the drums. This then was Todd?s second but really first album Art Into Dust.

Todd was very prolific at this point and the thousand pounds or so made from the first two Voiceprint albums was ploughed back into recording using small studios, first in East London and then another in West London.

Andy Ward (Camel, Caravan Of Dreams and later Bevis Frond) was the only constant, not only was he a lovely bloke to hang out with ,but one of the best drummers this country ever produced. The brilliant Terry Burrows a.k.a Yukio Yung of Chrysanthemums fame often came down over the next few years to lay some superb stuff down.

Andy got electric violin player Anthony Aldridge down to the studio a couple of times, one of them on  the same day that Rob Ayling of Voiceprint arranged Mike Wedgewood of Caravan/Curved Air fame to join in. First Mike and Anthony overdubbed their parts onto the Vast Empty Spaces suite that Todd and Andy had been working on that dominates the album of the same name.



Then Todd and Mike recorded Little Sister together that also made it to the third album. The musical highlight of the session was the epic prog monster Janus At The Gates of War, recorded live in one take, Todd and Anthony in the main room, Andy and Mike in the drum room. Peter Giles was the engineer (no not the Crimson bloke) and he was also a fine keyboard player always up for playing along.

Todd was never really Rock Star material but if you plopped him down in a modest studio, boy could he create, sometimes recording and mixing four or five songs at a session. Andy Ward was amazing and there was a synergy between him and Todd that meant that he easily and brilliantly kept up with the breakneck pace. 

Andy actually found refreshing when recalling the often interminable time spent in the studio with Camel. Like the three days spent sitting around in some big expensive studio, bored to distraction, while the engineer miked up the drums.  Todd?s approach to all the talented musicians he was fortunate enough to record with was straight forward and clear: just play entirely what you want to play and that was it.

Vast Empty Spaces came out on Voiceprint soon enough and sold out within a few months and the money from that helped continue the recording.



Todd had so many songs at this point and was writing more every week. As the recording sessions mounted up he would sort through the pool of recordings and compile the next album from them. With Bevis Frond?s offer to put out Sgt. Kipper on Woronzow and with so much great stuff to choose from, far too much for Kipper alone, the idea of self releasing Astral Whelks was born. It was released in a limited edition of 450 copies and was very much the sister album to Sgt. Kipper. With its potent blend of Psych, Prog and Folk Pop it remains many folk's favourite album by the man.

The opening three songs had already seen the light of day on various vinyl singles, but all were noticeably alternative mixes done at the time of recording. The next three tracks were from the same sessions with Andy and Terry blazing away. Janus also made its debut. While it and the title track were long prog epics, The Turquoise Mountain with Peter, Andy and Anthony was the biggest of all.

Based on the adventures of Brian Blessed?s attempt to climb Everest, the vocal version did not quite work, so most of the vocals were stripped away in a second mix (and the song redone as The Blessed One, which remains unreleased).

The Summer was one of Todd?s oldest songs and had already appeared on the Wilde Canterbury Dream album, dating from the very first real studio session Todd ever did a few years before. The version on Whelks was all new with Andy on drums and the only appearance of younger brother, Peter, on bass.

As a teenager Peter had been in Todd?s first and only attempt at forming a band, Coloured Rain (This was when Todd had just started writing songs seriously and he had a dozen or more gems already home demoed.) Unfortunately the other two members of the band (on drums and rhythm guitar) were low on talent and high on delusions of grandeur. After three or four rehearsals it became clear that Todd?s songs and those of the drummer, (who was a big Police fan and insisted on singing his third rate Police knock offs in a fourth rate Sting voice) where not really sitting well together

What sealed the band?s inevitable fate was a really useless, amateurish day up on Hampstead Heath spent "filming a video" or two with nothing more than a rented home video camera and with no thought of how it was going to be edited or any such important issues. Let's hire a camera and go up the Heath was the plan in its naive entirety. It really was a hopeless shambles. At one point two Italian girls who were there with a friend taking glamour photos wandered over to see what was going on with the video camera (quite a novelty in those days). The drummer basically bigged up the whole thing up and told them they could be in the video if they wanted, dancing along to one of his songs.

So while the band mimed along, these two dumb girls gave it their sexy dancing all. The other two band members thought it was great, (it wasn?t), the Dillingham brothers wanted to curl up and die with embarrassment. Later it started to rain and as they sheltered from it, the non-Dillingham members of the band started going on about the certainty of being on Top Of The Pops and playing Wembley within the year.

Todd and Peter left the band a few days after. Peter moved up north a while later and on one of his visits back to London, Todd thought it would be nice for him to pop down the studio and play bass on one of those Coloured Rain songs, The Summer, from all those years before.


Sgt. Kipper was the main focus though and a lot of the best recordings were earmarked for that. It was to be a full length cd and a double album on vinyl . Unfortunately some sort of technical snafu on the vinyl art meant that Todd made not one penny from the release.  

With no money forthcoming, the next studio was an even smaller affair and though some amazing recordings were produced, in the end we couldn?t even scrape together enough to continue even that. There was a EP and a ten inch for Pink Lemon but there was little money to be made from them.  A while later Todd got married and moved to the States and stopped making music until a few years back when he started up again.


  more...

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