Win Holst – The Planets, Conducted
By Mike Batt
Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Guild to offer three lucky readers the chance to win Holst – The Planets, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Mike Batt.
To mark the centenary of the first performance of Holst’s The Planets, Guild is proud to present the first complete release of a recording that multi-talented music legend Mike Batt made in 1993 that has remained in vaults until now.
Produced by Robert Matthew-Walker and engineered by Abbey Road’s Simon Rhodes in the first 20-bit digital recording of the work, Mike’s fresh and insightful approach to the score together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s brilliant playing provide an inspired account of Holst’s masterpiece and the CD concludes with a rousing performance of Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1.
Speaking about the recording process, Mike recalls that “this recording was made on the first occasion of my ‘meeting’ the RPO. I’ve worked with them many times since, but a first meeting with a new orchestra is always a thrill. I asked them to imagine we had a live audience, and to see if they could mentally synthesize the adrenalin that goes with a live concert, without a safety net. It really is a different mind-set.”
This focus on recreating the feeling of live performance comes across instantly and to stunning effect, with Suite opener ‘Mars – The Bringer Of War’ grabbing the attention of the listener with its distinct 5/4 rhythm and blaring brass section.
The vitality of this recording sets it apart from other versions of the works, and producer Robert Matthew-Walker recalls that “Mike’s recording of ‘The Planets’ is virtually unique in my experience for having possibly the fewest number of edits of any of them. Most of these individual movements are complete takes, done after careful and detailed rehearsal by Mike.”
Guild Music recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and in that time has built up a catalogue of some of the finest and rarest classical recordings made available to the public. From world premiere recordings of orchestral and chamber music to its roots in choral and organ repertoire, Guild has built up a catalogue of over 600 albums, including Light music and a Historical series containing such gems as Leontyne Price’s only complete recording of Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess and Beecham conducting Wagner’s Gotterdammerung from Covent Garden in 1936. Mike Batt and the RPO’s interpretation of Holst’s The Planets is a fine addition to a distinguished list.
Guild Music CEO Nicholas Dicker described it as “the best recording of The Planets I have ever heard. Mike’s interpretation is like a breath of fresh air, tempi well chosen, marvellous orchestral detail, all helped by a demonstration quality recording. I am very proud to be releasing this on Guild so the world can witness what an extraordinarily talented and versatile musician Mike Batt is.”
Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
The Planets – Suite for Orchestra H125 (Op.32)
1. Mars – The Bringer of War
2. Venus – The Bringer of Peace
3. Mercury – The Winged Messenger
4. Jupiter – The Bringer of Jollity
5. Saturn – The Bringer of Old Age
6. Uranus – The Magician
7. Neptune – The Mystic *
Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
8. Pomp and Circumstance March
No.1 in D
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
* Ladies from the John McCarthy Chorus
Conducted by Mike Batt
Recorded at Watford Town Hall, 25 August 1993
Recording Producer: Robert Matthew-Walker
Recording Engineer: Simon Rhodes
About Mike Batt
Since he entered the musical world in the late 1960s, Mike Batt has developed into one of the most remarkably versatile musicians Britain has ever produced. In a career spanning 50 years, his varied musicianship has been consistently demonstrated by his achievements in each of the wide-ranging genres he has tackled.
As a hugely-successful singer-songwriter, composer of musicals, film scores and symphonic orchestral music, as music director and recording producer of an impressively wide range of different solo artists and bands – several of whom he discovered personally.
Batt’s engaging personality and thoroughgoing musicianship has brought him consistent international acclaim. In music administration, Batt served for many years a deputy Chairman of the British Phonographic Industry.
As a composer of popular music, he is perhaps best known for his song “Bright Eyes” for the film Watership Down, which became a transcontinental No 1 hit for Art Garfunkel.
Batt has composed and produced a string of hits for many artists, especially with the novelty Wombles group – which association produced eight hit singles (one founded upon a Mozart symphonic movement) alongside four gold albums – including an amusing encounter with Pierre Boulez, taking a break from recording Schoenberg’s ‘Gurrelieder’ at the time.
Batt has conducted several of the world great Orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Stuttgart Philharmonic in classical programmes as well as in popular music concerts and recordings.
For Your Chance to Win
Tell us which hit song did Mike Batt compose for
Art Garfunkel for the film, Watership Down?
a) Blue Skies
b) Bright Eyes
c) Rabbit Tales
d) Waterloo Sunset
To Enter the Competition
Tell us which hit song did Mike Batt compose for Art Garfunkel for the film, Watership Down? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:
* Please label your entry
Mike Batt Competition
* This competition is open to our
UK readers only
* Names and addresses of entrants will not be shared by third parties and will be deleted after the competition has closed
Nine Below Zero Tour with From The Jam
After supporting UK legends Squeeze last year – and securing a reputation as “one of the best Blues bands around today” with their scintillating live performances – Nine Below Zero have announced they will be back on the road, supporting From the Jam on their ‘40th Anniversary All Mod Cons’ tour.
This follows their April headline tour where they performed highlights from their iconic debut album ‘Live At The Marquee’.
When asked about going back on the road with From The Jam, lead vocalist Dennis Greaves said, “We are really looking forward to touring with the boys and doing an in your face, maximum RnB set. Bruce and Nine Below Zero go way back to when we played cnd rallies together on the embankment of the river Thames. We would meet regularly on the tour circuit, on the motorway, in hotels and in bars”
In 1980, newly formed Nine Below Zero released their first record ‘Live At The Marquee’, launching them on a career path that would see them become one of the most popular British Rhythm and Blues acts of the time – warranting regular TV performances on The Old Grey Whistle Test and The South Bank Show, as well as support slots with The Who and The Kinks.
Audiences will be able to hear classic tracks from such as ‘Homework’, ‘Riding On The L&N’, ‘The Hootchie Cootchie Coo’, ‘11+11’ and ‘It’s Never Too Late’.
More information for From The Jam
From the Jam – comprised of legendary former ‘The Jam’ bassist Bruce Foxton, vocalist & guitarist Russell Hastings, drummer Mike Randon, and Andy Fairclough on Hammond and piano – have toured relentlessly for the past 11 years, having headlined almost 1000 shows.
“The energy in rehearsals is great and we’re really looking forward to getting back on the road!” says Foxton.
The band will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of The Jam’s 3rd studio album, All Mod Cons. The set will include classics such as ‘Down in The Tube Station at Midnight’, ‘A Bomb in Wardour Street’, ‘Billy Hunt’, ‘Mr Clean’ and the ‘The Butterfly Collector’.
Throughout this time, they’ve gained a reputation for the kind of incendiary live performances that sealed the reputation of The Jam all those years ago, being described as “incredibly exciting” by the Daily Mirror and “sounding dynamic as ever” by the Daily Record.
11/10/2018 Dorking – Dorking Halls
12/10/2018 Margate – Winter Gardens
13/10/2018 Salisbury – The City Hall
18/10/2018 Stoke on Trent – Keele Students Union
19/10/2018 Coventry – The Empire
20/10/2018 Scunthorpe – Bath Halls
26/10/2018 Middlesbrough – The Empire
27/10/2018 Blackburn – King Georges Hall
28/10/2018 Sheffield – The Leadmill
02/11/2018 Oxford – Town Hall
03/11/2018 Dartford – Mick Jagger Centre
08/11/2018 Leeds – Stylus
10/11/2018 Manchester – Ritz
15/11/2018 Leamington Spa – The Assembly
23/11/2018 Cambridge – Corn Exchange
24/11/2018 London – Shepherd’s Bush
29/11/2018 Lincoln – The Engine Shed
30/11/2018 Northampton – Roadmenders
01/12/2018 Norwich – Open Norwich
08/12/2018 Nottingham – Rock City
For more information about Nine Below Zero click on www.ninebelowzero.com
NYC-Based Rachael Sage returns with her brand new album ‘Myopia’, a daring project that shows this multi-instrumentalist in a whole new light…
‘Myopia’ is Rachael’s 13th album since she founded her own record label MPress Records two decades ago, and it signals a departure from the piano-centric releases that we have come to expect from this musical enigma.
The album instead focuses on her guitar playing with inspiring contributions from Hoboken based Guitarist James Mastro (Patti Smith, Ian Hunter) who Rachael has affectionately coined the ‘King of Wah’.
Comprised of the eponymous title track ‘Myopia’ (named after the eye condition from which Rachael suffers) and 13 additional songs, this album navigates delicate subject matter with ease and sensitivity, and in the process showcases Rachael’s true versatility as a musician and a performer.
It is an album about starting again, about new beginnings and seeing clearly. The title ‘Myopia’ acts as a metaphor for society’s often narrow-minded and short-sighted approach to diversity and difference, whilst the album itself is a protest against this bigoted outlook.
The tracks, with their infectiously catchy melodies and beautifully honest lyricism, come with a reminder to be compassionate and kind even in the face of prejudice.
‘Alive’, a gutsy and dynamic track, (inspired by the fierce talent and passion of Frida Kahlo) features a strong retro-rock electric guitar part, whilst ‘Snowed In’ (a track that taps into the global paranoia that surrounds Edward Snowden) is driven by an atmospheric, and almost cinematic, guitar riff.
The dark and electronic ‘Haunted By Objects’ describes the experience of a hoarder whose only option may be to set everything on fire, while ‘This Darkness’, a protest piece about the Dakota Pipeline, explores the courage of the Native Americans and their resistance to the destruction of their environment.
During her career Rachael has shared the stage with artists such as Grammy nominee Beth Hart, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, and Ani DiFranco – to name but a few – and last Spring saw Rachael take to the stage in a UK tour with synth-pop icon Howard Jones.
Rachael’s beautifully distinctive sound has also landed her an invite to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as leading her to win awards such as The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and several Independent Music Awards.
She has also had 22 of her tracks featured on hit TV show ‘Dance Moms’, where they accompanied Sia’s breakout video star Maddie Ziegler and other stars of the show.
And now Rachael returns with her album ‘Myopia’ (released October 19th), an album that, at its core, is about the redemptive power and excitement of creativity.
“This is a warm-weather record,” says Rachael. “These are songs about getting out there, thawing things out, and unearthing the truth. Sometimes you can’t do that in the dead of winter. But when the sun is shining, even the murkiest future appears hopeful.”
To follow Rachael on Social Media, click on links below:
By Jenny Itzcovitz
Brian McFadden, originally from Westlife, and now firmly established as a solo singer, is releasing a new soul album, ‘Otis’, in November and touring in April. We caught up with him and find out about the early days of his career, his new projects, and recent work with Keith Duffy and Boyzlife.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?
“I come from Dublin in Ireland and I’m now living in Rochdale. I’m a lifelong singer and songwriter. I have written more number ones than I’ve sang on, and I’ve been the singer on quite a few! I’m also a TV presenter and I play golf.
“I was born on 12th April 1980 and started my career in Westlife. I wrote some songs for them, went solo, had solo hits and wrote lots of songs for other people such as Girls Aloud, Nashville artists, and also the Commonwealth Games theme.
“I have had lots of collaborations from Delta Goodrun and Christian Lo Russo, to Ronan Keating and my good friend Keith Duffy who I’m in Boyzlife with.
“I have also done a lot of TV presenting work, from being a judge on ‘Australian Idol’ to ‘Who’s Doing The Dishes’ and ‘Good Morning Britain’ when it was Daybreak on ITV.
“I am currently about to release and tour with a new album of soul classics called Otis. This is a collection of re-works of Otis Reading songs, which I’ll also be touring with in 2019 and performing for 4 nights at The Boisdale, Canary Wharf in November. I also still regularly tour with Keith Duffy as Boyzlife.”
How old were you when you started singing and playing the guitar? How did you learn to play it? And who inspired you?
“I was 3 when I started singing and 15 when I started playing the guitar.
“Michael Jackson was my inspiration, it was him, all the way. But I was also heavily influenced by The Commitments – hearing them got me into Soul Music and that’s why I’m making the Otis album today.”
How did you join Westlife? What was it like to be part of such an iconic band?
“I auditioned, there were thousands of other people and obviously I was just the best,” he jokes.
“Those years were amazing, it was such a good experience and one I’m really thankful for, but it’s my past. I appreciate the launch it gave my career, but I was very young and I was a very different person back then. I’ve moved on.”
Do you have any special memories? What was it like to have such a huge following? What were your favourite songs to perform?
“I couldn’t pinpoint one special moment, the whole thing was life changing and I’ve had a great life. ‘Flying without Wings’ is my favourite song to perform.
“As for my fans, I wouldn’t be here without them, but the following can sometimes be overwhelming. I don’t like being out in the streets as you’re conscious of just being watched all the time and there are so many demands on your time too. I tend to walk everywhere very quickly with my head down and my hat on!”
You left Westlife in 2004. Why did you decide to go solo? What was it like to go it alone?
“I just wanted to be on my own, we were very young and me and the other guys were very different. You know when you’re in a band like that you’re with people 24/7 and after a while the differences start to show.
“I don’t think I’m really cut out to be in a boy band to be honest. When I see Keith and the guys together in Boyzone, they still work well together because ultimately they are all still good friends.”
You went on to release the fabulous album ‘Irish Son’. Can you tell us how you wrote it and what Ireland means to you?
“What can I say? It’s my home country, but the inspiration isn’t such a positive, happy song. It was about the Christian Brothers beating us, and about now being 6 foot tall and able to defend myself, so there’ll be beatings no more.
“Those guys aren’t so brave when you’re all grown up. It’s no secret that abuse was rife in Ireland in the Christian and Catholic schools and considering they’re men of the cloth who preach goodness …..
“They’re pretty brutal and handy with their sticks! Irish Son is a coming of age song about being able to stand up for yourself.”
I love the song ‘Real to Me’, can you tell us how you wrote it, made the video, and your inspiration?
“I wrote it with a pen,” he jokes. “No seriously, it was a quick 15 minute song, it just came to me…
“I think the inspiration is pretty obvious, the lyrics speak for themselves. You’d have to ask the video director about the video, but it’s essentially created around the lyrics.
“It features my past self, full of pretention and my current self (at that time) keeping it real.”
Later on you went on to form Boyzlife with Keith Duffy from Boyzone – mixing up the best of Westlife and Boyzone. How did you get together? And what type of music do you tend to perform as a duet? Do you ever experiment and try and different sounds?
“Keith and I perform Boyzone and Westlife hits and a few of my solo hits… you could call us people pleasers.
“As yet we haven’t intended to do anything, other than go out on the road, play what our fans want to hear and have a load of fun. Who knows we may develop and start writing some Boyzlife original material, but at the moment it’s all about the nostalgia and the hits. Boyzone, me and Westlife have had enough number ones between us to do a full set of just those.
“Keith is one of my best mates. We have a laugh together, we drink too much, party too much on the road and get up to mischief. We’re a bad influence on each other. But there’s nothing better than being with your mate having fun, doing what you love, and performing every night. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
Do you have fun hanging out together off stage? I understand you play semi pro golf together. How did you get involved in this and what do you enjoy most about playing together?
“I’ve been playing golf my whole life, so has Keith so we bonded over that a bit when we first met. It was our escape.
“When we were touring we’d always end up going off to the golf course on a day off or for a few hours if we were free. We play all around the world now as semi pro golfers I guess.
“We do tournaments and have been to most clubs around the globe. After our families and our careers, golf is probably the thing we do most.”
You are shortly releasing a solo album including a collection of Otis Reading covers and soul classics. Can you tell us about it and your favourite tracks?
“The new album is a collection of Otis Reading covers, but perhaps not the obvious ones.
“My favourite track is probably Angel, but I’ve not got a favourite yet, that’ll come when I start performing the album and touring it. It’s when you start singing something live with an audience that the magic happens and that’s when you really get a favourite song.”
Where did you record it? Who did you work with? And how long did it take to put it together?
“It was recorded in Castleford near Leeds with Dan McCormick, my producer and a gaggle of the finest Soul musicians in the UK, and vocalists Mica Paris, Andrew Strong and an absolutely amazing lady (soul singer) whose name I can’t pronounce or spell for that matter, but when she sings it makes you feel unworthy.. she’s so good.”
Will you be touring to promote the new album? Can you tell us your plans and what we can look forward to?
“Yes, we are about to play the following dates in April 2019.
April 8, Glasgow Oran Mor
April 9, Manchester Ruby Lounge
April 10 Liverpool The Cavern
April 11 Birmingham Jam House
April 13, Southampton The Concorde
April 14, Milton Keynes Stables
“In the meantime I’ll be playing at The Boisdale Canary Wharf from 6th – 9th November. It’s a great venue to perform in www1.boisdale.co.uk
“I am also on tour with Boyzlife in October, but won’t be playing any of the new material on that.”
You recently presented the Soul Music Awards at Boisdale Club in Canary Wharf in September. What does it mean to you? And did you perform there?
“Jools Holland and Fearne McCann were presenting. I won Best Male award and performed live.
“Emily Chapel who’s a brilliant up and coming artist – female singer songwriter accompanied me. She won best newcomer and Alexander O’Neal won Lifetime Achievement.
“Boisdale are really supportive of new music and soul music. It was great to be presented an award by Jools. I’m hoping he’ll invite me to play with him at his Hootenany. I dropped a big hint or two!”
What music do you listen to when you are relaxing or driving in your car?
You must have met some interesting musicians and celebrities over the years, who was the most exciting and have you had any interesting collaborations?
“Sinead O’Connor was amazing to work with. It’s hard to pick “meetings” with people out of your life and tell a story – things happen and you meet people all the time.
“I’m a big fan of films so it’s always exciting when I meet film stars. Matthew McConaughey was the coolest by far. I was a little bit star struck by him, he’s very funny.
“Jennifer Anniston flirted with me once and held my hand, that was quite impressive…
“Apparently Gemma Collins from TOWIE was planning on taking me to bed, but I was more interested in a bucket of KFC. I think I was using the bucket as protection. Anyway KFC give me free chicken vouchers now, so that worked out well for me in the end!”
“Mariah Carey when we recorded a duet, kept trying to make me eat oysters. I’d never tried them and I kept saying they looked like snot – she insisted and literally force fed them to me, which resulted in me vomiting everywhere. I don’t think she’ll try force feeding anyone anything again and I’m definitely never going to eat oysters again.
“I met Johnny Depp once, but nothing happened. It’s just cool to be able to say you have had a pee at a urinal with Justin Timberlake while I was whistling an N Sync tune absent mindedly, which was pretty embarrassing.”
Do you have any special musical souvenirs that you have collected over the years? Do you have any particular treasures or gifts that you were given?
“Just my memories! I’m not a hoarder or collector.”
What other projects are you working on at the moment? And what are your plans for the future?
“None, it’s all about Otis for me at the moment. Which comes out on 2nd November.”
Get your tickets to see Brian McFadden at The Boisdale Canary Wharf from 6th – 9th November. Tickets include a three course dinner at www1.boisdale.co.uk
Win CoCo and the Butterfields Goodies
Sixtyplusurfers has teamed up with Fifth Element to offer three lucky readers the chance to win a CoCo and the Butterfields Goody Bag.
Our fabulous Goody Bag includes CoCo and the Butterfields new E.P ‘Monsters’ and a cool Black T-Shirt with a pale grey CoCo and the Butterfields logo.
Dynamic and anthemic, acoustic pop act CoCo and the Butterfields are to unleash a new collection of finely-crafted gems with their Monsters EP, released on November 2nd. By turns delicate, yearning and breezy, the tracks capture the band at the peak of their powers with songs about devotion, lost love and the redemptive power of supporting the vulnerable.
The release features this summer’s singles Monsters and Puppets – with their soaring melodies and sumptuous harmonies – which have helped to swell their growing number of fans even further.
The nucleus of the band, multi-instrumentalist/vocalists Tom Twyman and Dulcima Showan, coalesced in the ancient, beautiful city of Canterbury, Kent, where they honed their craft busking on the cathedral city’s streets. They have expanded to a five-piece, swelling the sound but not losing that core signature of polished acoustic Americana-folk, high on heartfelt emotion and air-punching crescendos.
Ever the ones for pushing the possibilities when it comes to lyrics, the track Monsters shows how CoCo and the Butterfields take their writing into new realms, showing how support and reassurance are the tonic which can calm the inner turmoils that plague so many of us.
Tom explains, “It’s about promising someone with anxiety that you will always be there for them, not just physically but mentally; willing to help them in any way you can. It’s their vulnerabilities that make these special people in our lives who they are, and fill us with love for them.”
In addition to the title track and Puppets, their fifth EP also features Giants, Animals and Robots. Its release will also coincide with an unplugged version.
The Monsters EP comes out on November 2nd, along with an unplugged version of the EP.
Upcoming Live Dates include:
6 October, Chapel Arts, Bath
11 October, Voodoo Rooms (Ballroom), Edinburgh
13 October, Bury Met, Bury
19 October, Acapela, Cardiff
29 October, St Davids Hall, South Petherton
3 November, Colyer-Fergusson, Canterbury
23 November, Peaker Blinders, Paignton
24 November, Watering Hole, Perranporth
7 December, Lea Hall, Rugeley
21 December, West End Centre, Aldershot
Follow CoCo and the Butterfields on social media. Click on the links below:
For Your Chance to Win
Just tell us the name
of the new EP by CoCo
and the Butterfields?
To Enter the Competition
Tell us the name of the new EP by CoCo and the Butterfields? Then send in your answer together with your name, address and telephone number to the Sixtyplusurfers email address below:
* Please label your entry
CoCo and the Butterfields Competition
* This competition is open to our
UK readers only
* Names and addresses of entrants will not be shared by third parties and will be deleted after the competition has closed
Michael Armstrong is releasing #LookingForTheWorld on 23rd November with Harbour Light Music.
“I am releasing this, only my second album, on the eve of my 45th birthday,” says Michael.
“As I write this, I realise that I have morphed into my father,” muses Mike. “It happens to all of us. We spend years trying to establish ourselves as independent forward thinking individuals and then we reach an age where suddenly the years that came before seem so much simpler.
“Wasn’t life easier then? Weren’t there more opportunities? Weren’t physical CD’s better than digital downloads? Wasn’t the music itself, the bands and the characters of a far higher standard? These youngsters won’t be played in 10 years time, let alone 50…Rover, fetch me my pipe and slippers.
“And so, over two years ago now, I set about the task of making an album ‘like they used to’. Real songs, real musicians and real life. It is an album with a beginning, middle and end. It has an unashamedly retro feel about it even though it has been made with all the latest hi-technology.
“I wanted to listen to a new album that resonated with the music that I love and that still, to this day, is played on the radio across the globe. My influences are clear – Paul McCartney & The Beatles, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, Supertramp, ELO, The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen. All these artists and bands, or at least those that are still with us, sell out concerts at the drop of a hat. People still want to hear their songs, their stories and to be in their presence. So do I.
#LookingForTheWorld (irony at its best) looks back to a golden era. It derides the dumbing down of society, celebrates family, looks at love and fidelity, gives a kick to reality TV, touches on the state of world politics, and of course, in the true tradition of any singer-songwriter, it bemoans the hard life this troubadour has had to struggle through to make himself heard. Woe is me.
“As with my debut album I’ve been lucky enough to enlist the help of some incredible musicians, not least, legendary guitarist Elliott Randall, famed for his work with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers and, in particular, for that solo on Reelin’ In The Years.
“As much of the album was written and recorded during some of the most turbulent times in our history – Brexit, Trump, Terrorists and all – and with the fragile mind of an artist such as myself (if you’re creative then you’ll suffer from depression) it’s a wonder that it’s ultimately such an upbeat affair. Credit for this has to go to my co-producer Warren Bennett. “Every ‘ying’ needs a ‘yang’ and our partnership has undoubtedly made this the album that it is.”
1. Too Many Cars
2. Doin’ The Time
3. Gold Dust
4. She’s All Kooky
6. Looking For The World
7. A Love That’s True
8. The Haunting Of Hetty Biggs
10. This Green & Unpleasant Land
11. A Place In My Game
12. Those Shoes
13. Rosie’s Brother
14. Queen Of Hearts
For further information visit www.michaelarmstrongmusic.co.uk
The Kinks Exhibition
The Kinks on Hampstead Heath
1968, photograph by Barrie Wentzell
Proud Galleries is delighted to announce ‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’, an exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary multi-format release of The Kinks’ sixth studio album, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.
On display is a selection of rare collector’s items including specially commissioned artworks by members of the band and vintage memorabilia, with a collection of photographs documenting this remarkable period in the band’s history. Each work is handsigned by surviving band members Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory. ‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ explores the album’s defiantly British sensibilities and commemorates what is now considered to be the high point of The Kinks’ outstanding career.
The Kinks on Top Of The Pops
1968, photograph by LFI Avalon
The Village Green was originally released by The Kinks in November 1968 and became the final album from the original quartet: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory. Despite a positive critical reception upon its release, the album did not perform well commercially, perhaps due to the band’s deliberate step away from the musical trends of the era.
Audiences have come to value the album’s timeless quality, with Pete Townshend of The Who describing it as, ‘Ray [Davies]’s masterpiece… what makes him the definitive pop poet laureate’. Defying the 60’s typical approach to rock ‘n’ roll, The Village Green offers an affectionate and charming ode to the countryside through vignettes of English life. The album is adored by fans due to its ageless wit and multilayered musical innovation and has become a definitive piece of British pop culture, created by a band that refused to follow fashion.
Ray Davies at Top of the Pops
c.1969, photograph by Andrew Maclear
The exhibition features photography from the album artwork photoshoot in Hampstead Heath, captured by established music photojournalist Barrie Wentzell. The original quartet lounge on the grass against the historic backdrop of Kenwood House, which, according to Wentzell, was “Ray’s favourite location to film”.
Presented alongside prints and memorabilia is a special edition, supersized artwork produced by Morgan Howell to commemorate the album’s box set release. The artist reinterprets the bonus track WONDERBOY as a three dimensional sculpture in his trademark style, using paint and canvas to mimic the creases and wear of a 50 year-old vinyl sleeve. Admirers of the band will be given the opportunity to view and acquire a variety of these rare pieces, each hand-signed by The Kinks.
‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ coincides with BMG’s 26th October 2018 multi-format reissues of The Village Green album, presenting an extensive collection of works relating to this record. These include newly remastered CDs, LPs, digital albums and a beautifully produced Deluxe Box Set containing remastered versions of the original album on CD and LP, a wealth of previously unreleased bonus audio material, a hardback photobook with new band interviews and previously unseen photos, 7” singles and reproduced memorabilia.
The exhibition aims to reintroduce the nostalgia of the Kinks’ most memorable album to a 21st Century audience and offers an insight into the enduring escapism the band created 50 years ago. When asked to describe the record, Ray Davies has said that; ‘everybody’s got their own Village Green, somewhere you go to, when the world gets too much’.
The Kinks recording at the Playhouse Theatre, 1968, LFI Avalon
‘The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society’ launches on 3rd October 2018, and runs from 4th October – 18th November 2018. Opening times are Monday to Saturday: 10am till 7pm, Sunday: 10am till 6pm Entry is free.
Venue is Proud Central, 32 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6BP.
For details visit www.proud.co.uk
Sir Paul McCartney Podcast
From left to right, Dr Simon Barber, Sir Paul McCartney and Brian O’Connor
For any music fan, getting to talk songwriting with Paul McCartney sounds like some kind of fantasy, but for one Birmingham City University academic, his dream has become a reality.
Dr Simon Barber, Research Fellow in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR), alongside collaborator Brian O’Connor, known as Sodajerker, the creative partnership of two long-time friends who love songwriting. Their independent podcast, ‘Sodajerker On Songwriting’, is comprised of interviews with some of the world’s most successful songwriters.
Paul just released his 17th solo studio album, ‘Egypt Station’, on Capitol Records. So to mark the occasion, the songwriting enthusiasts were delighted to sit down with Macca at LIPA to talk about the writing process behind the record.
Watch the podcast with Paul McCartney at www.sodajerker.com/podcast