28 September 2021


 A look back at recordings I made over my career.

Part 11. THE TALE OF A VILLAGE  cassette   Steel Carpet Music  MATS005   1991

 This album was not important in itself but the project which gave birth to it was and influenced a lot of work I did afterwards. 


In 1990 I was asked by North Kesteven District Council if I’d like to run a project in the village of Bassingham to involve the villagers in writing songs about the village. My memory says that it was somehow through Rosie Cross, who I knew through the band Pyewacket, but I have no record of that. A year or two before I had been in the band for a community play in Derby (West End Best End) and was excited by the form so I leapt at it. 

Over the next 9 months or so I worked with individual villagers and groups including the primary school, the WI and the Nursing Home. They wrote some songs and I used their info to write more and we came up with 10 songs in total. At the end we performed them in a concert at the village hall which was recorded and broadcast by Radio Lincolnshire. I wrote at the time that it was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’d ever done. Then I produced this cassette which was obviously mainly for local consumption but might have sold a few more. Most of the songs would have only been of interest to the people of Bassingham except for The Ballad of Mr Leakey. This was a great melodramatic (true) story about a Victorian vicar, a suicide, a ghost and a stain which always returned however much it was washed away! 

The song I wrote from info supplied by several different people worked really well. I intended it to be performed by the local village pop group—lads of about 15/16—and they did play it at the concert, but I made a major mistake, I wrote it in 3/4 time and kids don’t understand that. The drummer, particularly, struggled! So for the tape Colin assembled a band of his friends with an American airman from the local base on lead guitar (thank you Robin Crandell). I told them to make it sound like Dire Straits, and they did. I love it!

Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvGwHe_ym38

 Later I included it on my Cottage By The Shore album which will be next up.


The Tale of a Village

Bass the Saxon

Children’s Song

Mum, I’m Bored

If It Wasn’t For The War

The Enclosures

Bassingham, Future


The Ballad of Mr Leakey

Bassingham, Our Village Home

The project and the whole experience laid the ground work for later work such as the Mountsorrel Community Play and The Jenny & the Frame & the Mule at Cromford.


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