25 September 2021




A look back at the recordings on cassette, vinyl and CD I have made over the last 40+ years. 

I originally posted this series on Facebook but then thought it was worth putting in a more permanent format. 

 I’ve made, or been  on well over two dozen albums over the course of my career—cassettes, LPs and CDs. Some were ‘proper’ main-stream solo folk or storytelling albums, a few were very low key souvenirs of particular projects which were never intended to reach a wider audience, and others were ‘group’ albums of various kinds.

Part 1  TALES OF THE LAND & SONGS OF THE SEA. cassette VFM 1978

(Also known as Traditional English Folk Songs vol 1 this tape had various covers over the years.)  I stopped work and went professional in 1978 after laying the groundwork by a decade of organising clubs and doing semi-pro gigs around the country. By a very lucky chance to coincide with that I managed to get a contract for 3 albums with a strange little firm called VFM who sold cassettes in Boots and Woolworths and places like that. They weren’t a folk label, much of their output was Easy Listening or C&W, but it really worked for me. I didn’t make much money from it but it was amazing publicity. For years after I’d go to a town or city for the first time and be greeted by people saying “I’ve got a cassette of yours. I bought it in Woolie’s…” And even now I get the occasional enquiry as to whether they are available on CD because the tapes have worn out! (They’re not!)

The album was recorded in a day in the room over a music shop in Spalding with the annual Tulip Parade going on outside, but not much of the noise seeped through! Technically the album is pretty primitive. I think it was recorded on what was not much more than a domestic tape recorder but there are some good songs.

There were just 9 tracks—all trad—and it was all solo, apart from some backing vocals and recorder from Sue and some lovely harmonica from Keith Warwick, one of the very many talented musicians from around Luton where we were living at the time. Keith was also a very keen climber and shortly afterwards he was killed after falling off a mountain.


Unfortunate Tailor, Rambling Sailor, Polly Vaughan, 

The Willow Tree/Sir George Gordon (morris tunes)

The Irish Girl, The Queen of the May, 

Bonny Green Woods

The Highwayman Outwitted by the Farmer’s Beautiful Daughter

Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy

I still do 4 or 5 of those and have re-recorded Rambling Sailor and The Irish Girl on later albums.

Picture by Ray Aspden. 


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