Friday, 17 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I would like to take this moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. A big big thanks to all Big Big Train spotters and enthusiasts for your relentless well wishes and support. We've received some incredible reviews concerning Far Skies Deep Time over the last few weeks. 

Greg, Andy, Dave, Nick and I will be at the English Electric drum recording sessions and photograph shoot which will happen in between Christmas and New Year. I'm really looking forward to getting the drums down on the new material. Strangely enough it will be the first time that all five of us have been in the same room at the same time. Life imitating art!

We've been busy preparing the audio files for the next album and adding them to Pro Tools. After the drums are down the rest of the instruments will be added and layered and then it's a questions of polishing the performances until they gleam.

 I don't know which instruments I'll be playing yet I'll have to wait until I have an overview of the album. Usually the instrumentation suggests itself depending on the themes, characters and locations within the works.

In addition to this I have been writing scenes for the Big Big Thing. I've had a rough structure of events for some time and have initially been immersed in research for the characters, places and theories to support the story. 

I'm writing the story in prose with notes and sketches which will help structure the narrative and pace of the piece along with the lyrics.  It's a large task but it's getting there and the characters are evolving in a natural way. They've begun to have a life of their own. As promised I'll keep you informed of developments.

Mario Giammetti's interview with me concerning my involvement with Genesis and the Calling All Stations album is now available in DUSK magazine. I will put a link to the English translation as soon as it is available.

Greg and I have been interviewed for Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine. So expect some BBT coverage in the new year.

So, that's all from me for 2010.

Have a wonderful Christmas and all the very best for 2011



Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Watcher of the Far Skies...

Far Skies Deep Time is now out there in the world and many fine people are saying some very fine things about it. I'd like to thank all Big Big Train Spotters for the continued support and best wishes you've sent our way. 

I've been rather quiet blog-wise recently. I've been busy delving into my past... my past... my past........

I've always felt a little uncomfortable talking about my Genesis vocalist auditions because it was a big deal for me at the time and it was something I had to move on from when it was over. It was something I thought I had moved on from.

To be honest, I think I've avoided taking the time to look back and properly reflect upon it. It's been a fair few years now since it happened and my modern life in the 21st century is so busy with family life, work stuff and Progressive Rock shenanigans... it's tricky finding the time.

Gregory Spawton is rather keen on Genesis (as some of you may know) and he has on occasion, gently asked me about the recordings I made with them, only to be answered with grunts and scowls. As far as I was concerned it's history. Over and done... 

One silver morning Greg said that Mario Giammetti, a notable Italian journalist, wanted to interview me concerning my experience auditioning and working with Genesis on Calling All Stations. Mario is the guiding light of Dusk Magazine (an Italian Genesis enthusiasts publication) 

Mario's many questions were detailed and made me carefully consider the order of events. So I've been going back through old cassettes, diaries and pictures from that period. I knew it was going to be a huge task because once you take the lid off something like this, one thing leads to another and more questions are born. 

Despite my initial worries about raking through old memories, I found the whole experience very cathartic. Mario was fabulous and I came away from it feeling like I've addressed a few issues, had my say and lain a few ghosts to rest.

The interview will be available in Italian in Dusk magazine. For those of you who do not speak Italian (myself included) there will eventually be a link established to direct the curious to an english translation of the article.

When it's available I'll post it here.


Photograph of David Longdon by Amy Mumford, August 2010

Friday, 8 October 2010

Exploring New Spaces & Reinventing Ourselves

Not long now until the e.p release date and so it's all systems go! The publicity is in place, the layout of the artwork is being finalised and the Far Skies Deep Time mixes have been given one final loving polish.

Some BBT spotters have wondered how the Brel element on Far Skies Deep Time will sound. Although The Wide Open Sea features a trace of the late Jacques Brel as the narrator, please don't expect me to be singing in the style of Mr. Brel. I've also tried to resist the urge to break into an outrageous Belgian/French accent! 

I've now managed to set up my music production equipment in our new family home. There is beauty and simple pleasure to be found in planing the signal flow and layout of various pieces of hardware. 

My family and I have been busying ourselves unpacking the boxes that we recently packed so frantically and discovering the tempo and heartbeat of our new surroundings. Exploring the new spaces and reinventing ourselves. Learning how we will live... here. 

The alchemy of the internet has eventually been established over this last weekend and emails emerge from Mr. Spawton and Mr. Poole, aboard the Big Big Train.

Big Big Train July 2010 
Left to right:- Andy Poole, Dave Gregory, Greg Spawton & David Longdon
Photo by Amy Mumford

Full steam ahead lads!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Far Skies Deep Time e.p release date

The Poole and The Aub have finally completed the mixes for the Far Time Deep Skies e.p, shortly before The Aub had to dash off and do the live sound for the Spock's Beard european tour. Jim Trainer has been finishing off the images for the artwork. Greg and I have been busy preparing promotional material for the release. Things like this...

Ladies & Gentlemen
Far Skies Deep Time e.p 
will be released on
25th October 2010
Please note
For the first two months of release
the e.p will only be available to people who are on 
the Big Big Train mailing list
Join the mailing list at 

I've been running on silent in blog-land for the past couple of weeks because we (my family and I) are in the long and drawn out process of moving home. I finally reached the point where I had to dismantle and box up my studio earlier on in the week. I have been recording in a converted attic room for the last six years and although it may convey a romantic, poetic image to the casual reader... in reality it gets very closed in when I stand up. Often resulting in me either banging my head, the headstock of my guitar or both. Not for much longer though my friends because by the end of this week, I shall have a proper designated room in the new place. Hurrah!

Once upon a time, when I was younger and the world appeared to be much simpler, I seemingly had plenty of time to do things that did not revolve around the demands of offspring and the increasingly time-thirsty world of work. I had time to sing and play music at my leisure...

Earlier on this year, a bout of laryngitis had taken it's toll on my voice and in order to pull out all the stops for the Far Skies Deep Time vocal sessions I began giving my voice a regular work out. I vowed to keep up the pace and practice religiously.

David Longdon: 'Sea & Sky' Aug 2010
Photograph by Amy Mumford

So, cassock on and prayer shawl in hand I have been stealing occasional moments when I can run through a few things and blow the cobwebs off my vocal chords and get my fingers moving across the fretboard.

Afterwards, I feel entirely euphoric. I have now performed quite a few sets for Jerry and Beavis*

Got to go. Must put more things in boxes.



*My two nonchelant cats.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The meaning of life & death, being dumped and sleigh bells!

"Why don't you just call it an album then?" is a question that Greg, Andy and I have been asked a lot recently. I suppose the Far Skies Deep Time e.p is quite lengthy as far as e.p duration goes. That's not a bad thing though in these harsh times is it?

The Far Skies Deep Time e.p is not intended to be the follow up album to The Underfall Yard. I know it may be considered to be so because it has been released directly after TUY but as far as Big Big Train is concerned. It's not.

In our opinion the e.p contains some of our best work to date and it has given us the opportunity to stretch out and explore some different areas. It has been a highly enjoyable experience all round.

If you've followed my last two blog entries, you'll know that The Wide Open Sea is a supernatural tale, featuring a trace of the late Jacques Brel. It is merely intended to be a ripping yarn, a fantasy story and that is all. 

I would like to point out that we, Big Big Train have written this piece out of respect for the work and legacy of Jacques Brel.

The Jacques in our piece is a trace. I am not implying any religious connotations of any sort here. Our Jacques' situation in the piece does not represent purgatory of any kind. The Jacques featured in The Wide Open Sea is preserved in energy form from the intense life force of Jacques Brel, burned into and then suspended in the elements. Like a sophisticated recording, playing and replaying.

Jacques despite his suspicions is unaware of what he is. If you think this is an unfortunate and cruel condition to be in, then consider the predicament of our own human condition aboard this spinning rock, orbiting the sun. We may find comfort in spirituality, family, friends and to a lesser or greater extent, material things but we're really none the wiser as to why we're here - and what 'here' actually is in the larger context of .... 'what?'

Moving on then....

Brambling is a song that is as old as the hills. It is a song of life and concerns a certain rite of passage that sooner or later we all experience.

'And this wound that hurts you so,
Is the hurt you need to grow.'

I endeavored to give the lyrics an 'ancient wisdom' feel to them. It is a song concerning the first time we fall in love with someone and the inevitable heartbreak we feel when it ends. Although it pains us, it is this experience which helps us to grow emotionally.

British Racing Green is a song that Greg has had 'in progress' for ages. Sometimes that's just the way it is. Occasionally it's possible to sit down and everything will come together quickly. Other songs take a while to reveal their true identity.

Greg and Andy sent me the audio file and I set to work. I noticed the lyric points out that the song is set during christmas time.


Okay.... it's going to be a Big Big Train Christmas song then! Bring on the sleigh bells The Poole!

Andy 'The Poole' Poole,  David Longdon adding sleigh bells to British Racing Green
Aubitt Studio: Southampton: July 2010
Sleigh bells kindly loaned by my daughters.
Photograph by Amy Mumford

Don't despair regular BBT spotters, It's not going to be a happy christmas by any means. British Racing Green is a lovely tune. I added a bass part to the chorus, a choir, theremin, plucked strings, flute and delivered the vocal in a sighing manner. The end result sounds something like Prefab Sprout covering 10cc's I'm Not In Love, produced by Todd Rundgren

The e.p is being mixed as I write this post. Jim has (once again) done some great images for the artwork.

You'll not have much longer to wait until the arrival of Far Skies.....

Thanks for your encouraging comments you've sent in to me after reading my blog. I hope it helps to keep you all in the loop.



Sunday, 22 August 2010

The Wide Open Sea: Part.2

The Wide Open Sea comprises of eight sections. Here is a brief account of their contents:-

Part 1: The Sea Is My Blood
An atmospheric introduction conveys dazzling sunlight, playing across the surface of the restless ocean, the tumbling power of the crashing waves then at other times, the pummeling rain and the fathoms beneath.

Jacques is aboard The Askoy. He feels at one with the sea, the rain and stars. 

Part 2: From Cradle To Calvary
He is voyaging to Les Marquises islands. It is a highly emotional time for Jacques because he knows that his remaining time is short. He has deliberately occupied his thoughts with the physical tasks of navigating and sailing these waters and also inevitably allowing himself to reflect upon his achievements in his remarkable life.

Jacques feels as though the intensity of his thoughts are somehow scoring a deep mark across the very canvas of life itself! Such is his passion.

However, he suspects something is profoundly wrong with his situation but he can't put his finger on what it is. Despite his grim prognosis, he feels bursting full of life out here at sea but still he wonders... how can that possibly be?

Part 3: The Pleasures And The Dreams of Men
Jacques recalls playing to packed out audiences in Paris 1964. He remembers the zenith of his fame, those intense performances and the profound impact he made. His physical delivery and the acting out of each character and story. The making of a myth and the building of his legend.

David Longdon recording the Accordion for 'The Pleasures and the Dreams of Men'
Aubitt Studio, Southampton: July 2010
Photograph by Amy Mumford

Part 4: The Harbour Lights
Jacques draws inspiration from the people and sings directly to us.  His songs contain acute observations of how we live. He reflects our lives, our hopes, fears and dreams and we recognise ourselves in his music. Jacques fully understands and accepts the responsibility of what he represents.

He finds poetry in the lives of the young, the old, the foolish, the brave, the beautiful, the ugly, the poor and the wealthy alike, as each of us play out our given time on the carousel of life.

Part 5: Far Beyond The Cardinal Points
Jacques has increasing suspicions that all is not as it should be. How long exactly has he been at sea? He feels strangely absent and yet entirely present. How can this be?

Part 6: I'm So Very Far From Here
There are points on his voyage when Jacques feels so far removed from himself, his home, his life and those he has loved and those who have loved him.

How can he recall so much and in such vivid detail? It is as if he is physically present in these scenarios. How does he know he is bound for Calvary?

Part 7: Let Us Speak Of Love
Jacques knows it will not be long before his life comes to an end. He concludes that whatever his circumstances, the most essential thing is to have lived life, to have made a difference to the lives of others,  to have loved and to be loved in return.

Exactly at this point, Jacques experiences a deja vu moment and gently the edges begin to soften and blur once again as a slow comforting forgetfulness descends......

The ache in his chest reins him back in once more, back to his duties aboard the Askoy and his recollections.

Part 8: Calvary - The Sea Is My Blood (Reprise)
What Jacques has an inkling of but does not actually know is this....

Jacques Brel est Mort!

The Jacques Brel featured in The Wide Open Sea is not really Jacques Brel at all. Jacques Brel died in 1978 and is buried in Calvary cemetery. 'Our' Jacques was created from the powerful life force ebbing from the 'real' Jacques whilst he sailed his last voyage to Les Marquises.

Forever cauterised and suspended by magnetic fields, held within the elements. Some may say he is a spectre, an apparition or merely just another ghost story from the wide open sea.

Jacques is a trace*. A residue left behind. Fated to be forever played and replayed over and over. Aware and yet unaware. Here and yet elsewhere.

Jacques is still out there...

Still so far away from himself...

One with the sea, the rain and the stars...

*Trace. Now then BBT fans. Heads up! This is important! What we have here is a seed and from this seed has grown our Big Big Thing! (Shhhhhh.................... not a word to anyone!.....................)

Saturday, 14 August 2010

The Wide Open Sea: Part.1

"After this, I don't think we'll be doing another epic! At least not on this scale...." 
So said Big Big Train collectively to themselves during the final moments of the vocal tracking sessions for The Underfall Yard in the summer of 2009.

After completing the album we embarked on some collaborative songwriting and one of the first pieces Andy Poole thought had possibilities was a huge sprawling atmospheric track with the working title of The Wide Open Sea. From the off it was destined to be a huge undertaking.

Brel Book & Candle
The Wide Open Sea lyrics, vibraphone, banjo and Brel book:  All good to go! 
Far Skies Deep Time e.p sessions: Aubitt Studio Southampton UK: July 2010
Photograph: Amy Mumford July 2010

Big Big Train spotters out there will know that The Difference Machine already contains a track called From The Wide Open Sea. When you hear TWOS for the first time the association between the two pieces is apparent. FTWOS is a segment taken from TWOS.

Greg had read an article concerning the last years in the life of legendary Belgian singer/ songwriter Jacques Brel and thought it would make a good subject for a piece of music. TWOS was to be about the time Jacques spent aboard his boat The Askoy II.  In 1973 Brel had begun to sail the world but when he reached the Canary Islands he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. He went to Paris to receive treatment and then eventually returned aboard The Askoy to resume his voyage. Brel later arrived at Les Marquises Islands. He recorded one last album in 1977 called Les Marquises.  Jacques died on 9th October 1978 aged 49 and was buried next to the grave of Paul Gauguin at Calvary CemeteryAtuonaHiva Oa, Les Marquises (French Polynesia).

The title of the song is taken from a line found in Mort Schuman's translation of Brel's Amsterdam.

"In the port of Amsterdam
There's a sailor who sings
Of the dreams that he brings
From the wide open sea..."

I received the raw files from The Poole in the autumn of 2009 and was instructed... 
"Do what you want with it. Let's see what happens..." 

It didn't neccessarily have to be about Jacques Brel at all but I liked Greg's idea. This is a fine example of the many similar interest that we share in common. I have been a great admirer of Brel for many years and I've spent a great deal of time in France, where his legacy is still quite rightly revered. I also have several albums of his material and have enjoyed interpretations of his work by the likes of Scott Walker, David Bowie, Marc Almond, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and many others. So the opportunity to write a song about Brel's time on board The Askoy was something that caught my imagination immediately.

I researched Jacques' life and death. Listened back once again to his music and watched live footage of his electrifying vintage performances where each song is melodramatically played out. He does not waste a single note and he delivers each line as though his life depends upon it. 

TWOS moves through several different sections so the idea of having each section representing episodes in Jacques' life seemed to be the right way to go.

I tried to keep as many of Greg's sparse guide lyrics as possible. They made a sort of weird sense and captured the spirit of Jacques at sea. The sections came together and I wrote my lyrics around these isolated pieces.

As the track began to take shape I noticed that the timeline of the track was unusual. The thread of the narrative was unsettling. How could Jacques (in our song) know all of these things about his life,  even his own death when he was on board The Askoy and had not yet died?

One Saturday morning I was having breakfast with my daughters and we were listening to a rough mix I'd done to track the progress of the song.

'What's this Dad?" said my eldest daughter "It sounds like ghosts!"


That's it!

The Wide Open Sea will be a ghost story!

TWOS clocks in at approximately 17 minutes, give or take a few seconds and so BBT once again find themselves in epic land but this particular epic is a different beast to The Underfall Yard

Stay tuned.

To be continued...

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Good Vibrations

We (BBT) spent the 30th and 31st of July in the good company of  Rob Aubrey at Aubitt Studio in Southampton, recording vocals etc for our new Far Skies Deep Time e.p.

David Longdon: Far Skies Deep Time e.p sessions: Aubitt Studio, Southampton UK: July 2010
Photograph by: Amy Mumford

Friday saw the arrival of the vibraphone! What a clever thing it is too - instant Vision On, gallery browsing music. Those of you old enough will immediately understand me, while younger readers without the aid of Wikipedia will wonder what on earth I'm talking about.

We loved having a proper vibraphone in the studio, possibly because of the whole adventure of sourcing one in the first place! The Poole and I tried very hard indeed to make sure we had one for the session.

We tried everywhere. I tried my local music provision and was asked,
"Do you want one with a working motor?"
"Yes, of course" I replied "why would I want one without a fully functional motor?"
Unsurprisingly in the health and safety conscious 21st Century, it all boils down to risk assessment for heavens sake!

You may well roll your eyes but if the modern hirsute youth in the haste of ... er youth,  happens to stand too close to that whirring vibraphone motor, there may be a danger of their hair becoming entangled in the rotating machinery.......... I know, I know but you can't be too careful....... can you?

Eventually after much enquiry and hard slog, The Poole eventually bagged one! What a trooper! Hat's off to Andy.

It was a non-collapsible vibraphone though! Quite tricky to negotiate through studio doors but eventually it was positioned close by the Aubitt sink unit, facing the control room.

After initial scepticism (why don't you just use a keyboard preset, audio instrument or samples? etc ) worries were  consoled by the wonderful noise generated by the vibraphone. The sound is truly magical. It shimmers and swirls. It blends and blurs magnificently.

At this point you may be asking yourself...

"Hang on a minute, why are a progressive rock band using a vibraphone?" Well, the astonishing Ollie Halsall played one in Patto and that's more than okay with me - check out their track Magic Door)

The vibraphone was included because of a song on our new e.p called The Wide Open Sea. (Please wait for my next blog entry for further details)

The song is important for numerous reasons, not least because it has become the initial stimuli for that Big Big Thing we were talking about earlier.

But Shhhhh..... I don't want to say too much about that at this point.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Far Skies...

I'm getting ready to drive down to Aubitt in Southampton UK at the end of July to record vocals, mandolin, accordion, flute, banjo etc for Big Big Train's Far Skies Deep Time e.p. I can't believe it was a year ago when we did the sessions for The Underfall Yard.

How time flies.

So, it's time to restring the mandolin and do vocal warm ups once again. 

Monday, 5 July 2010

Daniel Manners climbs aboard the Big Big Train

I'm very pleased to announce that my old Louis Philippe band amigo Danny Manners has contributed some double bass playing to British Racing Green. A song which will feature on our forthcoming Far Skies Deep Time e.p

Danny's bass parts were recorded by Ken Brake at Regal Lane Studio, Regent's Park, London, UK. I've received glowing reports from Andy and Greg concerning Danny's performance on the track.

I first met Danny when Philippe asked me to join his band in order to play some live dates in London and Paris. 

My first album with Louis was Jackie Girl. The album also features Dave Gregory. It is where Dave and I first met each other.

Working with Louis and Danny is always an educational experience. I've learned so much about harmony, melody, musical arrangement and recording techniques.

Danny taught me to listen carefully to the harmonic details and dot the i's and cross the T's. He also introduced me to Gentle Giant

Danny is not only a fabulous bass player he is also a beautiful pianist. Check out the Louis Philippe Live album and also Louis and Danny's Francis Poulenc album Nusch

I'm delighted Danny is playing on British Racing Green and I think you will be too.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Big Big Thing: Part 1

We (BBT and our significant others) converged in Wales back in April to have a weekend away and discuss future plans.

I'd been listening to The Wall over the Easter period. The title of my first blog entry makes a nod towards it.

Over the past few years I've been listening in depth to classic concept albums, Thick As A Brick, Tommy, S F Sorrow, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway etc (there were many others and I'm sure you all have your own choices in mind......) and considering what it is about these albums that makes them work so well.

It was during our welsh weekend that Big Big Train decided to do something on a grand scale. A big big thing. I mentioned in an earlier blog that I would have loved to work again with Jerry Hope. Jerry would have been perfect for such a collaboration. His superb imagination, his way with words and his storytelling. Sadly not to be...

Instead I've done a great amount of thinking about the conversations Jerry and I had. The books that Jerry and I shared with each other including such gems as   Iain Banks' The Bridge, Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood, Alasdair Gray's Lanark: A life in Four Books, Michael Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius books. (Jerry and I were both, more than a little in love with Una Persson)

The project is coming together and I'll keep you posted as things develop.



Thursday, 10 June 2010

Accordion On!

I've recorded some accordion on Fat Billy Shouts Mine as requested by Mr Spawton. It suits it very well.

I braved the west midlands car park, lovingly known as the M6 (both ways) and set off to Hobgoblin at The Custard Factory in Birmingham UK to collect it.

Thanks go out to Mark who works there (he plays a mean accordion and you can see him on the left in the picture included in the above link ) for being so helpful and making sure I bought a suitable 'box' for recording.

It is easy enough to record and it will be heard on The Wide Open Sea and possibly Brambling too. All the above tracks will be featured on Big Big Train's  Far Skies Deep Time e.p due out later this year.

WARNING: It is not advisable to play the accordion naked! I've not tried it but it struck me as being an unwise thing to do.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Full Marks for Mr Bentley's Victorian Brickwork Drum Cover

I'd like to draw your attention to this. 

It's a drum cover of Victorian Brickwork by Ryan Bentley. Ryan did this as a piece for his Music Performance coursework and was awarded full marks for it! Good work Ryan.

Those of you who regularly read this blog will note that Ryan is a regular contributor to the comment pages and is a BBT enthusiast. If you look to the right of this post you may also spot Ryan as a follower of this blog.

Greg, Andy and I are flattered that Ryan chose to do it and we think he's made a splendid job of it.


Photograph by Eloise

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Heart of Winter

In my last post I mention that Jerry Hope and I had not managed to remain in touch.

At that time I had gone through a divorce and had started a new life in Derby eventually leaving for Shropshire and fatherhood. Jerry had moved from Derby over to Nottingham. Nothing unusual about that, life goes on at a frantic pace and people do what they must.

I first met Jerry when Andy Moore invited me down to take part in a Music/Arts/Spoken Word Cabaret called The Escape Committee. Those involved included Mo Pickering, Edward Symes, Dave McNicholas, Mr Johnson (Andy Moore's fabulous band) Mark Gwynne Jones, Rob Gee, Jerry Hope and me.

The Escape Committee performed at the Lizard Eclipse Festival in 1999 and we made the Channel 4 news by being paid in sweet and savoury Cornish pasties!

Jerry wrote The Heart of Winter specifically for Wild River and the version I used for the album performance was his first take. He nailed it in one! It's full of drama and Jerry's choice of language coupled with his performance makes the piece engaging and magical.

Last night I decided to call Mo and Edward Pickering-Symes to catch up. Eventually the conversation got around to Jerry and Ed said he had bad news for me. Sadly Jerry died of cancer in 2008.

So, if you own a copy of  Wild River play Joely and at the end of it listen to Jerry recite his beautiful poem The Heart of Winter.

Something's aren't meant to last...............

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Wild River

Wild River is my first solo album and it is now available to buy from the Big Big Train shop.

The album is about transition, going from one life into another and from one century into the next. It was also a reaction against the writing I'd been channeling into my band The Gifthorse. It was released in 2004 and was recorded after the demise of The Gifthorse and after the Genesis auditions.

I've always enjoyed acoustic and experimental music and Wild River showcases my enthusiasm in these areas. I was hungry to explore, create and work with some interesting people.

Wild River is intentionally eclectic by design and that's still fine by me. No apology!

I fondly recall the sessions and the many friends who contributed to the album. I am grateful for Andy Lymn's relentless enthusiasm (even now I still feel it, although he's half way around the world.) 

Check out Beth Noble and her astonishing performances. Lee Horsley's fiery Hammond Organ. Enjoy the bass playing of Richard Lymn and Andy Moore. I salute them all!

The Magic Club, in my mind  was the sonic combination  of Andy L, Beth and I. Listening back to Wild River always invokes many powerful memories of a time when my life was completely different.

The wonderful poem The Heart of Winter at the end of Joely is written and recited by Jerry Hope. Jerry and I have unfortunately lost contact so if by chance he finds this or if it finds him, I'd love for us to do some more work together.

Dave Gregory adds his liquid guitar phrases and throws bombastic/melodic Mellotron parts into the equation. We first met when we were recording Jackie Girl with Louis Philippe

Last and by no means least are the astonishing contributions by my old friend Michael Brown. I've known Michael since we were at college together. He played the beautiful layered atmospheric guitar introduction to In Essence. He also plays the solo at the climax of Wild River. Michael mixed the album and continually bombarded me with encouragement throughout the whole process until the work was completed.

Wild River defiantly wears its heart on its sleeve.

David Longdon & The Magic Club

Left to right -
Beth Noble, Tony Young, David Longdon and
Dave Walker
Photograph by Dave Shaw

Friday, 30 April 2010

Big Big Train

Big Big Train:- (L to R)  Dave Gregory, Greg Spawton, Andy Poole
                                     & David Longdon

Photograph by Amy Mumford 

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Master of Time Pt. 2

I've added the banjo, church organ and swift analogue synthesiser to Master of Time. I've also done a flute solo to link the harmonium part into the quick synth section.

The audio files are separated and they'll soon be off down to The Poole in Bournemouth to be added into protools.

I used the verse melody from The Wide Open Sea on the end section of Master of Time. played as a string line, to link it in with the e.p theme.

And finally...

edited images from our ss Great Britain photo shoot have been sent to Greg and Andy, so once we've decided which ones to go with, new pictures of BBT will shortly be appearing on our various sites.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Master of Time

Yesterday I received a rough mix from Greg and Andy of our version of Anthony Philips excellent Master of Time. The lead and backing vocals along with Fat Billy Shouts Mine (see excerpt Fat Billy Shouts Mine Taster) were recorded at the close of The Underfall Yard tracking sessions back in the summer of 2009.

So far I've added a music box accompaniment to go with Greg's beautiful guitar introduction and some church organ at the end of the choruses. I'm thinking of using a banjo in the bridge and adding some rampant analogue synthesiser when it all kicks off later in the arrangement.

The song is a demo featured on the remastered and expanded version of Anthony's The Geese and the Ghost album. If you've not heard it, it's well worth listening to.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

SS Great Britain, Gregsy & the XL XL Train

Thanks to the digital ingenuity of Mr. Gregory Spawton and his Camera Obscura, Amy and I have been processing images both collectively and also individually from our (BBT's) and Mr Dave Gregory's  recent photographic shoot aboard the good ship ss Great Britain currently harboured in the most resplendent Bristol docks area. The i-photo is working overtime and to quote the great Captain Beefheart  "it's the best batch yet!"

Enjoying this whole blogging thing............... although,  admittedly...... it's still early days yet

Bon Nuit

Sleep tight

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Feeding the tortoise

Okay, now that I'm getting the hang of this blogging malarkey, I thought I'd feed the tortoise and have another go at it

All concerned at BBT: Central Station are busy writing, arranging and doing lots of pre-production to material that will be featured on our new e.p which will be released later on this year. The new material is not intended to be the follow up to The Underfall Yard (English Electric will address that particular chestnut) it's been about us exploring writing together and reaching out into some unexpected areas.

Greg and Andy have really welcomed me into the fold since joining the band back in January 2009 and it's been a natural progression... no pun intended.

The great thing is,  it's only the beginning

Is there anybody out there?

Hello and welcome to my blog

Frustrated as I am with The Book of Space and My Face, I've decided to try out the blog option. I hope I will find it within me to be diligent and feed it it regularly like a much loved tortoise. Time will tell.

I'll also comment upon developments aboard the Big Big Train and I'll pontificate on my solo work and future collaborations

Shall we commence?