Ragged Valentine

Ragged Valentine is my first acoustic album (released June 2008). My dream was to record a collection of my songs, as a bit of a landmark for my memories and a chance to capture where I have been musically. I also wanted to draw together some of the really great friends and musicians that I have gigged with over the past few years.

I pulled together ten songs about love: from the inevitable serenades to songs about friendship, a song about caring for the planet, and a couple of sad songs about those times where it felt like there was no love. I think I have ended up with quite a nice balance of moods and it is certainly a good selection from my scribblings on this subject.

Me looking thoughtful, with Janet about to record flute in the recording booth

When it comes to the love though, I have been truly blessed by the friends that willingly gave their time to play on the album. Their excellent musicianship has injected real magic into the songs. The variety in sound is fantastic. I asked different combinations of musicians to play on each song: from Janet’s piano on Breathless, to Stu’s lilting, melodic guitars on Jealousy and Colours; there are great rhythms with Rikk’s percussion and Eric’s bass, and more fine guitars from Carlos and saxaphone from Gavin. I am blown away by how good it has turned out and I am so grateful to everyone who played.

My album was recorded and engineered by Mac, at his studio in Didcot (see Mac’s site on youtube). Working with Mac was excellent fun. He is a top guitarist himself and has a fine ear for sound engineering. Add in the top-quality bits of shiny kit, that he has to record and mix with, and you can hear how brilliant he has made us all sound on the CD! I am grateful as well for his patience…it took me a long time to piece this all together.

I have a lot of thanks as well to give to Lou. She came down to hear me record the final vocals, which was a real confidence boost – always helps when you are good friends with a choir master!    :o)    Lou also added some sparkle to a couple of songs with some lovely, harmony vocals.

Ragged Valentine – pictures

Above are a random collection of photos from the recording of Ragged Valentine.

Alongside me (vocals and rhythm/arpeggio guitar) the album features: Carlos Chadderton (syncopated rhythm and lead guitars), Eric Butcher (bass guitar), Stuart Clark (classical-style guitars), Gavin Taylor (saxophone), Janet Barlow (piano and flute), Rikk Smith (percussion) and Louise Rapple (harmony vocals).

Launch gig

For even more gushing prose, this link takes you to my commentary on the album launch gig. It was a lot of fun…

Categories:   Recordings  
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