This album, recorded at dawn on a chilly 17th November 2013, was simple and enjoyable to make, sitting as I was on a little ‘head’ in Morecambe Bay just behind the fabulous art deco beauty of the Midland Hotel. My Father, Jim, had turned 80 the previous Thursday 14th November and I had driven him to Lancaster from Stratford-Upon-Avon so that he might say hello and goodbye to his birthplace. He has always admired the Midland Hotel and, as a young boy, he dreamed of staying there now he was, in Room 217. I found out later that I had recorded at the exact spot in the Bay where he used to paddle in the shallows with his Mummy and Daddy.
The previous day, Saturday, we had walked around Lancaster and visited some of his old friends and neighbours, one of whom, Nellie, remembered him as a 2 year-old toddler and called him "Jimmy". She is now 92 and has lived in the same two-up-two-down council house since it was built in 1927. So when I recorded, early that morning, I had a head full of voices and as the sunrise shone its grey light on the incoming tide, I felt a gladness that was both welcome and refreshing.
The cover of the record shows the top window of the room in the John O’ Gaunt pub in Market Street, Lancaster to which Dad was brought back from the midwife’s house after his birth. The rear cover shows him with Nellie, at No.3 Richmond Avenue, Lancaster.
My rather grand(iose) introduction was Northern end-of-pier intentional, but my voice is so rough in the early-morning that I sound like a Capstan Full-strength/Whisky-voiced comedian, backstage in his dressing room at the Palace Theatre. Or perhaps I’d lost myself in the part...
'A Yard Foot And A Thick Wide’ is one of Dad’s sayings and always comes out when we are measuring something together. His favourite Spoonerism is “A Shistol Pot!” and he will often ‘Inposstigate the Vestibilities’ He swears blind that he knows a man called Hamilton Sandwich. Or was it Athelstone Popkiss?
This record is for him - Happy Birthday Dad.