Tag Archives: Dave Stewart

Deconstructing Star Blind

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.

Link : Inside the Music Online – Star Blind

Grats Dirk & Dave!

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.

Happy birthday, Dirk & Dave!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cav2RuLvMIA

Northettes, We Love You!

The Northettes
The Northettes as they appear in the sleeve of Hatfield and the North (1974)

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.

Lobster In Cleavage Probe by Hatfield and the North on 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.”

 

Source : Progressive Ears

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 :

Amanda, Barbara and Ann – we love you!

The Collapso and Pip Pyle’s T-Shirt

In 1978, founding member, keyboardist and composer Dave Stewart left the Canterbury supergroup National Health to play with Bruford. However, even though the skilled musicianship and experimental sounds of National Health found themselves in an increasingly hostile environment after the rise of punk, the band was invited to come and play on BBC’s TV Show Old Grey Whistle Test on January 9th 1979. Dave Stewart temporarily rejoined the band for this one-off show, the only televised performance in the band’s history.

The song they performed was Dave Stewart’s composition The Collapso from their brilliant second album Of Queues and Cures from 1978. Their performance did not go off without a hitch. A visibly drunk John Greaves has some trouble on bass which may also have been what causes Phil Miller to lose the melody on his guitar in one of the song’s more climactic moments, but even these problems are dwarfed by the awesomness of National Health playing one of their classics.

 

After watching this clip a few times, I noticed drummer Pip Pyle was wearing a long-sleeved white t-shirt with a parody Ford logo on it saying “Fraud”. Certainly, something like that should still exist and so I checked the internet and lo and behold, it certainly does. Not only did I find such a logo in an acceptable resolution, but the site I found it on, Ford Visteon – a Fight for Justice, is encouraging it’s use. In case any of you would like to head on over to cafepress.com or spreadshirt.com to make your own Pip Pyle Fraud T-Shirts, I’ve hotlinked here a version which has the white background trimmed away and replaced with transparency.

Just click the image for full resolution!

National Health – 1977 – National Health

National Health is the eponymous debut album of Canterbury scene band National Health and was released in October 1977 on Affinity Records. The album features lengthy, complex instrumental compositions reminiscent of Hatfield and the North and is considered by many to be a classic album from the Canterbury scene.

Production

The album was recorded in in London in March and April 1977. Studio engineers were Mike Dunne, Paul Northfield & Brian Gaylor. The producer was National Health and Mike Dunne.

Track listing

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]All songs by National Health.

Side A

  1. Tenemos roads (14:32)
    • Dave Stewart
  2. Brujo (10:13)
    • Alan Gowen

Side B

  1. Borogoves (Excerpt from part two) (4:12)
    • Dave Stewart
  2. Borogoves (Part one) (6:29)
    • Dave Stewart
  3. Elephants (14:32)
    • Dave Stewart, Alan Gowen

Personnel

[cc_half_col_left background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]National Health

  • Alan Gowen
    • Acoustic [tracks A2, B3] and electric piano, moog
  • Amanda Parsons
    • Vocals
  • Dave Stewart
    • Organ, acoustic and electric piano
  • Neil Murray
    • Electric bass guitar
  • Phil Miller
    • Electric guitar
  • Pip Pyle
    • Drums / cowbell, gong, tambourine [A1] / glockenspiel, finger cymbals, shaker, bells [A2] / Pixiephone [B2][/cc_half_col_left]

[cc_half_col_left background_color=”f1f1f1″ radius=”6″ shadow_color=”888888″]Guest musicians

  • Jimmy Hastings
    • Flute, bass clarinet [A1], clarinet [B1]
  • John Mitchell
    • Percussion [A1], temple blocks / guava [A2], congas [B1][/cc_half_col_left]

[cc_clear]

On-site links

On-site reviews

  • None!

External links

Arzachel – 1969 – Arzachel

Arzachel is the first and only release by the band Arzachel which was a pseudonym for the band Uriel comprised of members Clive Brooks, Dave Stewart, Mont Campbell and Steve Hillage. The album was made in order to capitalize on psychedelic rock which was in fashion at the time of its making.

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]Dave Stewart on the history of Arzachel

What happened with Arzachel was this : we – the members of Egg, that is – knew a guy who had a demo studio in Gerrard Street, Soho. This chap, Peter Wicker, knew a foreign gentleman called Zack, who had a record label and was anxious to release some of this “psychedelic” music which was currently fashionable. We knew how to play this psychedelic stuff, having spent many happy hours at the Middle Earth Club listening to bands like Love Sculpture and Sam Gopal Dream. A deal was struck. We were to record an album in an afternoon – hey, no problem! – in exchange for a pitifully small amount of money that, at the time, seemed enormous. As we had just signed an exclusive deal with Decca, we thought it would be advisable to use a different name, so we settled on “Arzachel“, the name of a crater on the moon that Mont spotted on an astrological poster on the wall of his toilets. We also called in our old mate Steve Hillage to play guitar, sing and generally make things even more psychedelic. We rehearsed for a day, then whipped out the album in about eight hours. On side 2, most of the stuff was improvised, and we ended up banging away on a final chord for about five minutes, all of us watching the hands of the studio clock. As soon as it reached quarter past, we knew we’d recorded enough material for an album, and brought the piece – entitled “Metempsychosis”, yeah! – to a merciful halt…

Source : Calyx

The album was first released on the Evolution label and quickly became a collector’s item. It has since been rereleased on CD.

Track listing

All songs by Uriel / Arzachel.

  1. Garden of Earthly Delights – 2:45
  2. Azathoth – 4:21
  3. Queen St. Gang – 4:25
  4. Leg – 5:40
  5. Clean Innocent Fun – 10:23
  6. Metempsychosis – 16:38
Personnel

In the album credits, the members of the band used pseudonyms with fake biographies.

Simon Sasparella

Lead guitar and vocals. Sim was born in Seatoller, Cumberland in 1948, and has been playing guitar for 11 years. His dark Northern ruggedness is offset by the coolness of his manner. These two qualities are reflected in his playing – heavy, emotional work, and soft, subtle sounds. He believes that music is the only really physical art form – and is in a lifelong search for the ultimate musical power, on the same scale as the rocky Lake District crags from whence he came.

Njerogi Gategaka

Bass guitar and vocals. Njerogi was born in Mzumi Springs, a small border town in the north of the Kenyan Rift Valley. He trained to be a Manjanga drummer for the local Kyuma dances, but came to England with family in 1962. He lived in Brighton for five years, then moved to London, where he formed Arzachel with Sim, Basil and Sam. He believes that music stems largely from the sexual urge, both of which have an integral part in rhythm, having been taught this as part of his drum training.

Basil Dowling

Drums. Basil was born in Tottenham in 1947; as one would expect, he was an ardent Tottenham Hampton F.C. supporter in his younger days, but decided it would no longer be wise to go to football matches when his wiry bushy hair reached shoulder-length. He has been in seven groups, playing every conceivable style of music from dance band to skiffle. Basil is a heavy, violent drummer; he has been known to break fourteen sticks in as many bars. He believes that if it were not for Arzachel’s music, his violence would still be expressed in seat-slashing and toilet-roll throwing.

Sam Lee-Uff

Organ. Sam was born in Lewisham in 1949 – he could play the piano when only two years old, and began to take organ lessons at the age of seven. He was expelled from public school, and spent eight months living on crusts, playing a battered accordion on street corners. This he refers to as his “hang-up” period. When the Psychedelic scene began to blossom, Sam joined various unsuccessful groups. Arzachel was a result of meeting up with Sim and Njerogi. Sam’s favourite artistes include Heinz; Mike Ratledge; Holst; P.J. Proby; Vincent Crane. He believes music to be an expression of one’s inner being – this expression, he says, will lead to the ultimate spiritual liberation of one’s personality.

External links

Uriel

Uriel was an english blues rock band comprised of the members of Egg and guitarist Steve Hillage. After Steve Hillage left the band in 1968 to resume studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury, the remaining three-piece made up of Mont Campbell, Dave Stewart and Clive Brooks evolved into the band Egg.

Arzachel

Uriel was re-united during the summer in 1969 and recorded a psychedelic rock album. Because Mont, Dave and Clive had signed a contract with Decca, they called themselves Arzachel to avoid any potential legal problems.

[cc_full_width_col background_color=”f1f1f1″ shadow_color=”888888″ radius=”6″]Dave Stewart on the history of Arzachel

What happened with Arzachel was this : we – the members of Egg, that is – knew a guy who had a demo studio in Gerrard Street, Soho. This chap, Peter Wicker, knew a foreign gentleman called Zack, who had a record label and was anxious to release some of this “psychedelic” music which was currently fashionable. We knew how to play this psychedelic stuff, having spent many happy hours at the Middle Earth Club listening to bands like Love Sculpture and Sam Gopal Dream. A deal was struck. We were to record an album in an afternoon – hey, no problem! – in exchange for a pitifully small amount of money that, at the time, seemed enormous. As we had just signed an exclusive deal with Decca, we thought it would be advisable to use a different name, so we settled on “Arzachel“, the name of a crater on the moon that Mont spotted on an astrological poster on the wall of his toilets. We also called in our old mate Steve Hillage to play guitar, sing and generally make things even more psychedelic. We rehearsed for a day, then whipped out the album in about eight hours. On side 2, most of the stuff was improvised, and we ended up banging away on a final chord for about five minutes, all of us watching the hands of the studio clock. As soon as it reached quarter past, we knew we’d recorded enough material for an album, and brought the piece – entitled “Metempsychosis”, yeah! – to a merciful halt…

Source : Calyx

Members

  • Clive Brooks (drums)
  • Dave Stewart (keyboards)
  • Mont Campbell (bass, vocals)
  • Steve Hillage (guitar, vocals)

Discography

  • Arzachel (1969)

External links