Christmas 1974


Christmas 1974 - notes

Through Christmas carols, this recording tells my story of Christmas 1974 when I lived in Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire.

  1. The Coventry Carol
  2. Ding, Dong Merrily On High!
  3. See Amid The Winter’s Snow
  4. The Coventry Carol
  5. O’ Come All Ye Faithful
  6. The Rocking Carol
  7. Away In A Manger
  8. Interlude
  9. Three Kings From Persian Lands Afar

After 36 years, I returned there on December 13th - 14th (2013) to make this record.

The weather was foul as I recorded, the rain fell in buckets and the wind from the sea blew so fierce and cold that I had to retreat to the calm of my car, where I tried to play in the most cramped of conditions. The Eden guitar is no small-fry and neither am I so, as per usual, I used what I had and did the best I possibly could under the circumstances (at one point, I gave up trying to hold a plectrum and simply hammered the fingers of both my hands onto the fretboard).

In September 1974, I was eleven years old and had started to attend a dreadful grammar school in nearby Poulton-Le-Fylde. The school was populated largely by monsters, teachers (‘masters’) of the worst and most brutal kind, and pupils whose behaviour was increasingly praised the more disgusting it became. By Christmas, I was desperate to get away from the place. I remember the bus journey from the school back to my home at the end of the last day of term and I was elated and totally relieved to be free for the next two weeks.

It is this journey that I have tried to capture in the music, 36 years later, retracing the original route. The feelings I had on the journey home that day came back to me so vividly and powerfully that once again I became the terrified little eleven-year-old who was so alone and desperate to return to the safety of his native North-East, back to Gran and Grandad, Cullercoats Methodist Church and my old accent.

I am used to facing my inner demons on a daily basis but making this record was quite a test. I’m not sure if the music is good or bad but I’m pleased that it is now made and in your ears, should you choose to listen to it.

Please note, I intend no irreverence to these sacred pieces of music.