The Musicians as featured on the album
Neil Fraser & Nick Fry
Chris Peebles & Richard Parkinson
Ricky first started singing in cover bands in the late 1970s early 1980s… he picked up a guitar for the first time in the late 90's and learned a few tunes, as sing alongs or at the drunken end of an evening. He then found himself singing a few tunes at an open mic in the Dreel Tavern in Anstruther one dark night a few years ago. With the varied and active music scene in the East Neuk of Fife, it didn’t take long before he became a frequent contributor to the many open mic nights and gigs that take place every weekend.
Tower Blocks was written in early 2000 whilst Neil was working as an office clerk in a soulless office block topped with towers resembling Darth Vader’s helmet. He spent his lunch breaks wandering around the complex variously daydreaming and being appalled by the repetitive depressing concrete ugliness of it all. After almost a week of typos, incorrect file placements and generally failing to comply with company policy on pretty much any level Neil was given Friday afternoon off which he put to good use starting to compose Tower Blocks. Almost 20 years later it remains a favourite in his live sets.
Demi has been playing music from a early age and has had the opportunity to try out many instruments. She started with guitar and is largely self taught. Over the last two years she has been focusing on the dobro. She came across this Stevie Winwood song from the Blind Faith album while trying out new tunes for the dobro and was struck by the way it was immediately playable and suited her voice. It developed into a dialogue between her voice and the dobro.
Having played in various bands together since their youth, such as Beggars Benison in 1998, Chris and Scruff have become a team where few words are wasted. Here a note from Richard Francis Parkinson:
"Here's what we have to say about only a fool!! Fek. I wrote music because chords were good for runs I was trying out. Just so happens Chris wrote a vocal melody over it. The rest is history".
"I’m an amateur musician from the East Neuk who gained the confidence to play in public for the first time recently after encouragement from some of the supremely talented musicians on this album. I chose to record Times Like These by the Foo Fighters after hearing a wonderful cover by the late Glen Campbell. It’s a song of hope and Campbell’s version uplifted me greatly following the death of my brother Nick, who died aged 40 on 19th December 2016. Nick worked as a sound engineer and sang in bands and this song is dedicated to his memory."
Mike Bowden moved to the East Neuk six years ago, and immediately knew that he had found his home. A singer songwriter for more years than he cares to remember, the atmosphere of the area gave new vitality to his music, while meeting and becoming part of the local musical community added a new dimension to his work.
He is a very happy soldier!
Top Cat is a song about childhood and the loss of innocence. The cultural references are unlikely to be understood by anyone under the age of fifty!!
Music drew them together in a "delicate" way at first. But there was no chance of "falling slowly". Music and love had gripped them and they realised there was "no other way". So they thought "hey ho" let's build a big family boat and call it "hummingbird". The smallest of "The family" took a brush and painted The boat bright "pink" and said no! Let's call it "good hope". When the boat was built there was a realisation as to how far he had come since "knocking on heavens door" and how much better life was with music, love, "the family" and "good hope". Finally they used the music as a glue to fit their sail and they set sail "into the mystic". And wherever they roam and no matter how far from home they can always hear the melody of "wish you were here" but now it brings a smile instead of a tear.
Iain is a Chartered Accountant by qualification, but a teacher by inclination. He has worked in Hamburg, picking up fluent German there and in Genoa, where he failed to pick up fluent Italian. He taught auditing at Sheffield Hallam and Stirling Universities and is co-author of a textbook on auditing. Iain is a Gaelic learner and in the past 18 months has been taking an interest in Gaelic song. His song – Leanabh an Àigh – is a hymn composed in the 19th century using a traditional Gaelic melody, made famous in the 20th century when ‘Morning Has Broken’ was set to it.
As a very excited 16 year old guitarist I was desperate to get my pre-ordered copy of the new Steve Miller album 'The Joker'. So was down Derrick's Music store on Oxford Street, Swansea every Saturday for at least 3 weeks before it finally arrived. The album turned out to be a classic, and one of my favourite songs was, and still is 'The Lovin' Cup' which is why I picked it for the George Street Sessions. Steve's deceptively simple yet melodic country-blues style struck a chord with me, and I have been trying to emulate it ever since.
Jim Tribble - is a Composer, Performer and Teacher who enjoys the great variety of music in the East Neuk.
"I specialise in not specialising and play a variety of instruments. I have recently been working on music from Renaissance Scotland on an instrument called a Virginal (small Harpsichord) and wanted to see if its unique and complex sound could be captured on hard disc. Hope you enjoy listening to the result as much as I did recording it."
I am a singer-songwriter and guitarist from the East Neuk of Fife. I was born in George Street, Cellardyke, before moving to Tornerseland, aka Pittenweem. I played at Waid Folk Club back in the day and was part of Poetry Roadshow with Poem 73. For 35 years, I played with my brother in bands called Swig Banned, Handl, Gollum, Taywailer and MnMnM. I played far and wide and even did a gig inside Peterhead Prison. My song on this album is called East Neuk Point of View and it’s about having a point of view.
Sharon was born in Paisley and is a frequent visitor to the East Neuk Scene. Although playing and singing for the past 25 years, she only began publicly performing around a year ago. Sharon’s musical inspirations are widely eclectic from classical to folk - although she does have Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd and James Taylor listed as her top three desert island discs. Sharon has been learning Spanish Guitar for some time now and promises that this will make an appearance...possibly next year! She has dedicated this song to her mother.
Dougie Andrews is a singer songwriter based in Scotland who splits his time between Glasgow and Cellardyke (Fife). As well as performing his own material he often plays as After The Harvest - playing solely Neil Young songs. He has provided music for 4 short movies and periodically plays bass with The Cuthbert Abernethy Quartet. The Reaper is a song which tells the story of this famous ship, which is currently berthed in Anstruther Harbour. Dougie has a family connection to The Reaper - his father-in-law, a yacht surveyor, was involved in the ships restoration process.
"I am a guitarist and songwriter from Anstruther. I’m usually a melodic player and not renowned for singing, but I chose to do the unexpected for this album and sing one of my own songs, as well as play guitar. The song I chose is satirical and about the complete nonsense that we are fed by some of the professional media. I decided to use nursery rhymes and played them with a slightly native American groove. This is to underline the fact that even the most innocent things can have an alternative, darker side to them that is hidden. I wrote this song a couple of years ago and the more I thought about it, the darker it became.
Richard Francis Parkinson (Scruff)
Cellardyke born Richard, was taught violin at school, the classical instrument did not hold his interest and after leaving school he locked it in its case. Over the next 25 years he worked with many folk musicians as Artist in Residence for Orkney Folk Festival and Director of Fiddle Frenzy in Shetland. Inspired by Shetland fiddlers he picked up the instrument again. In 2014/15 he performed at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo with Shetland Fiddle group, Hjaltibonhoga, and has concentrated on composing since. This tune is from his show ‘The Bernicia Suite’ commemorating a fishing tragedy featuring a six piece band with narrations and projections.
Two Shades of Gray came together due to a misunderstanding. Nick Fry had just introduced John Moncur and Clive Gray as fellow musicians to Paul and Mo at the East Neuk Hotel, to see if it was possible to obtain a gig. Following this short introduction Mo turned to John and Clive asked what the name of our band was. Being polite, we did not correct her and say we were indeed two separate musicians: John with a strong traditional background, and Clive who was more a electric blues guitarist. So that evening we meekly admitted that we were called ‘Wanted’, the name that was on Johns T shirt at the time. We still haven’t plucked up the courage to admit to her that we were not a band.
Two Shades of Gray
The Tay Sliders are four local musicians, three based in Fife, one in Dundee, and all close to the River Tay. Their Music is a mixture of Folk Blues Country Bluegrass Rock and Trad. The band members are Alain Breidenbach, more fondly known as Big Al a very talented musician /singer playing various instruments. Well known in the Jazz and Blues Circuit . Bob Aimer a local musician singer who is well known in the Fife Folk Circuit and has played in various bands throughout his musical career such as The Delta Liars and Scalded Cats. Dick Halley , bass, guitarist, singer who has huge experience of Country and Rock n roll recently returned to Scotland from Australia. Eleanor Wilson who joined the music scene late in life and started playing fiddle ,mandolin and cahon over the past 10 years. We chose our song for the George Street Sessions CD as it gives a Folk / Rock taste of The Tay Sliders.
"I'm a singer/songwriter from the East Neuk, who sings with Safehouse and Emporium. Some folks say I resemble Jesus but the only religious experience I've had was running naked around the Ring of Brodgar on Orkney. I don't really know where this song came from. The bugger just popped up in ma head, like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn...it appeared 'as if by magic'.
In the film 'the Guns of Navarone, Anthony Quinn, playing the part of a partisan is asked by a British Commando how far it is to the top of the cliff … 'Two Cigarettes' is his answer. Made me think about the relationship between time and space!! …. but the song is nothing to do with that!
Bobby is originally from Glasgow and has been visiting the East Neuk frequently for the past 11 years. He started playing guitar at the age of 50 after being bought a guitar as a gift and has become a regular face on the East Neuk music scene. He gets enormous pleasure from the emotional expression which is reflected in the songs he plays.