Fans of Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskins can consider themselves a little more musically gifted in 2012 as Dave’s deconstructed their song Star Blind from the 1991 album Spin which was re-released last year. In order to help you figure out how it goes, there are helpful descriptions and even sheet music to help you along. Anyone with the know-how who would like a peek inside Dave Stewart’s highly composed mind should check it out.
PS! My Chrome browser has a problem with properly displaying the media content on the site and so you might want to opt for a different browser.
Today is the birthday of Dirk Campbell and Dave Stewart who were both born on Dec. 30th, 1950, which means they are both 61 today.
Not only do they share birthdays. Anyone with rudimentary knowledge of the Canterbury scene will likely be aware that the two played together back in the days (when Dirk was known as Mont), creating the rock band Uriel together with Steve Hillage sometime after the three met in the City of London School, 1966. Uriel later turned into the formidable Egg which released 3 albums. Dirk and Dave also collaborated in early National Health. Since those days, they seem to have had continuing friendship and respect for eachother. I’ve read more than once Dave call Dirk a genius at composition and I’m sure I’ve also read an interview with Dirk where he claimed that Dave’s playing was the best thing about Egg.
Those days are more distant past now than ever (literally speaking), but the two are still musically active, if not collaborating at the moment. Dirk’s latest is an ambitious album called Music from a Walled Garden, released in 2009, a follow up to his Music from a Round Tower from 1996. Dave Stewart is still making sweet music with Barbara Gaskin with their latest release being the album Green and Blue, also from 2009. Both have also made music for television.
Today is the day to celebrate them both, so please share your favorite music/stories/whatever you like!
Although I have a feeling Mont has distanced himself more and more from his days in Egg, I hope he wouldn’t mind so much me celebrating his and Dave’s birthday with Egg’s “A Visit to Newport Hospital”, the opener track to the album The Polite Force. I thought it fitting as it’s quite brilliant and composition is credited to them both.
The Northettes were a vocal trio made up of Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. Although they are most famous for contributing to Hatfield and the North’s two studio albums, the first released in January 1974, the girls had sung together in 1971/72 in Dave Stewart & Chris Cutler led Ottawa Music Company which, sadly, left no recorded legacy. Between the Hatfields two albums, they also sang on Egg’s 1974 album The Civil Surface. Amanda also sang with the band Gilgamesh and, after the Hatfields broke up, went on to sing with the earlier line-ups of National Health and also appeared in Bruford while Barbara Gaskin (after coming back to England after a long trip to Asia) also sang in various musical projects like Red Roll On, Bruford and National Health.
The sound of The Northettes has been described as heavenly and angelic; voices that can lift the spirit and soothe the soul. Their harmonies certainly added new dimension to the music of the Hatfields. Their singing on top of the jazz-tinged progressive rock that the band played was unlike anything ever recorded before and still sounds fresh and unique today. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of hearing them, here’s Lobster in Cleavage Probe from Hatfield and the North’s debut, courtesty of Grooveshark.
Fans of the Northettes may wonder; what happened to them? Where are they now? Many will be familiar with Barbara Gaskin’s musical and romantic partnership with Dave Stewart which has lasted to this day, but the fates of Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal are a bit more mysterious. In an interview with Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin on Progressive Ears, Dave was able to shed some light on the mystery.
PE:Whatever became of the other Northettes?
DS: After leaving National Health Amanda got a job in television and is now married with two grown-up children – she isn’t actively involved in music as far as I know. Ann Rosenthal sent us a nice message recently containing this update: “I live in rural Shropshire, work as a Business Analyst, keep chickens, am both a qualified gardener and management consultant (confused?) and am passionate about hill walking and climbing mountains. Love Annie.”
It seems neither Amanda or Ann continued their musical careers which makes me wonder if they’re aware of the way their musical contributions continue to touch the hearts and minds of people today, old fans and new. So, on the chance they might read this, I would like to say on behalf of myself, the site and the rest of the fans of Hatfield and the North whom I’m sure would agree with me when I write :