|The Lindisfarne File|
|Original source: Melody Maker 1972|
|discovered by Michael Clayton|
Evolution: Rod Clements and Ray Laidlaw formed the Downtown Faction Blues Band in Newcastle in the summer of 1966 and renamed it Brethren in the summer of 1969, when their colleagues were Jeff Sadler, Simon Cowe and Ray Jackson. Jeff Sadler (lead Guitar) left in December 1969 and was replaced by Alan Hull in the spring of 1970. Changed their name to Lindisfarne in August 1970.
First Public Appearance: Ashington Cellar Club, Northumberland, May 1970.
First Broadcast: Night Ride, December 1970.
First TV: Disco 2, January 1971. Record Producers: John Anthony and Bob Johnston.
Record Label: Charisma Records, 87 Brewer Street, London W1R 3FJ (01-734-9186).
Management: Mother Management, 87 Brewer Street, London W1R 3FJ (01-734-9186).
Agent: Charisma Artists, 87 Brewer Street, London W1R 3FJ (01-734-9186).
Publishers: Hazy Music, 9 Ravenscroft Avenue, London NW11 0SA (01-455-4556).
First Major British Tour: With Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis, January 1971.
First American Tour: With The Kinks, February 1972.
Next British Tour: With Genesis and Rab Noakes (sic), Oct, 1972.
Transport: Band travels in Ford Microbus with aeroplane seats. Mercedes truck for equipment.
Sound Engineer: Ian Cowe.
Equipment Management: Charlie Cameron.
Tour And Personal Manager: Micky Sweeney.
Singles: “Clear White Light” c/w “Knacker’s Yard Blues” (20/Nov/1970), “Lady Eleanor” c/w “Nothing But The Marvellous Is Beautiful” (21/May/1971), “All Fall Down” c/w live version of “We Can Swing Together”(1/Sep/1972).
Albums: “Nicely Out Of Tune” (1/Nov/1970), “Fog On The Tyne” (15/Oct/1971), “Dingly Dell” (15/Sep 1972).
Maxi-Single: “Meet Me On The Corner”, Scotch Mist”, “No Time To Lose” (3/Dec/1971).
P.A.: Burman 300-watt custom built by Greg Burman, of Newcastle. Three 100-watt slave amps, 2 x 4 channel mixers, doubling up with separated volume controls, giving 16 channels. Six 4 x 12 and two 2 x 12 speaker cabinets, two Vitavox horn cabinets, five Shure Unisphere mikes (vocals), one Eagle condenser mike (acoustic guitar), one Beyer mike (vocals, harmonica).
Alan Hull: Rhythm guitar, vocals, piano, songs.
Born: Newcastle, 20/Feb/1945.
Education: Rutherford Grammar School until 16.
Musical Tuition: Took piano lessons at 9, started playing guitar at 11, wrote first song at 12.
Musical debut: On leaving school, began playing piano and lead guitar with local groups.
First Professional Job: Newcastle 1965-66 with The Chosen Few, who recorded four of his songs for their two singles. Disillusioned with group scene, quit Chosen Few and spent two years as male nurse at St Nicholas’s Mental Hospital, Newcastle, working out his aims and ideas. Returned to music scene as folk singer in 1968 and had a single “We Can Swing Together”, released by Transatlantic in summer of 1969. Started his own folk club in Whitley Bay, January 1970, where he first heard Brethren, although he already knew Si Cowe and Ray Laidlaw. Sat in on some bookings and joined them May 1970.
Principal Compositions: “Winter Song”, “Clear White Light”, “We Can Swing Together”, “January Song”, “Fog On The Tyne”, “All Fall Down”.
Songwriting Inspiration: Boredom and fear. Human suffering at the mental hospital.
Favourite Songwriter: Bob Dylan.
Favourite Single: “Strawberry Fields Forever” The Beatles.
Most Influential LP: “Highway 61 Revisited”, Bob Dylan.
Favourite Singer: John Lennon.
Favourite Musician: Neil Young.
Residence: Tudor house (with dartboard) at Barnet.
Instruments: Yamaha six-string acoustic guitar with De Armond pick-up and Martin bronze heavy guage (sic) strings. Fender Esquire electric with La Bella medium gauge strings. Hohner electric piano, Fender Bassman.
Rod Clements: Bass guitar, violin, songs.
Born: North Shields, 17/Nov/1947.
Education: King’s School, Tynemouth and Durham University. BA in Genearl Arts, (English, Anthropology, Ancient History), June 1969
Musical Tuition: Started playing guitar at 14, while attending boarding school in Durham. Took up bass guitar at 15.
Musical Career: Played with friends at school parties and concerts. Left school in Summer 1965 when 17, returned to North Shields, became gardening shop assistant and made acquaintance of near neighbour Ray Laidlaw. They formed Impact (autumn 1965), which lasted a few months and had only one gig at Cullercoats Co-op Hall. They formed Downtown Faction in summer of 1966.
Influences: Paul McCartney, Charlie Mingus, Chris Stainton, Alan Spenner, Carl Radle, Rick Danko (bass), Dave Swarbrick, Richard Greene, Mick Wilson (violin), Beatles, Bob Dylan (folk/blues), Leon Russell, Van Morrison, Rolling Stones (general).
Principal Compositions: “Meet Me On The Corner”, “Road To Kingdom Come”, “Train In G Major”, “Don’t Ask Me”.
Songwriting Inspiration: Dissatisfaction with 20th Century Western society.
Favourite Songwriters: Dylan, Jagger/Richards.
Favourite single: “Hey Joe”, Jimi Hendrix.
Favourite Musician: Leon Russell.
Favourite Singer: Bob Dylan.
Most Influential LPs: “Blonde On Blonde” (Bob Dylan) and “Sticky Fingers” (Rolling Stones).
Residence: Terraced house (1906) at Finchley, London.
Instruments: Rickenbacker fretless bass with Rickenbacker or D’Angelico strings. Thomastik strings on fiddle. Ampeg bass amplifier with 2 x SST power speakers. Violin amplifier is a Fender Twin Reverb. Also plays acoustic guitar and piano.
Ray Jackson: Vocals, harmonica, mandolin.
Born: Wallsend, 12/Dec/1948.
Education: Western Secondary Modern School, Wallsend, and Newcastle College of Art and Industrial Design. Diploma in graphic design.
Musical Training: Grandfather taught him to play mouth organ when he was 10. Won talent contest at Butlin’s. Hearing Little Walter’s harp on Bo Diddley’s “Pretty Thing” converted him to the blues in his teens during the R and B boom of the early 1960s.
Musical debut: With a local group, The Zulus, in August 1964. Formed his own band Autumn Sales, with some friends. Was a lorry driver, building site labourer, shop assistant, then struck up friendship with Ray Laidlaw at Newcastle College Of Art and became acquainted with members of Lindisfarne. Joined them when they were reforming in summer 1969.
Influences: Sonny Terry, Big Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson (harmonica).
Favourite Single: “Paper Back Writer”, The Beatles.
Favourite Singers: John Lennon, Marvin Gaye.
Favourite Musicians: Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie.
Residence: Shortly moving into a new bachelor flat. At present living with his parents in North Shields.
Instruments: Harmony electric mandolin, Fender Pro Reverb 40-watt amplifier. Hohner Echo Super Vamper harmonicas in keys A, B-sharp, C, D and G. Also plays bugle.
Ray Laidlaw: Percussion.
Born: North Shields 28/May/1948.
Education: St Cuthbert’s Catholic Grammar School, Newcastle, and Newcastle College of Art and Industrial Design, where he met Ray Jackson.
Musical Career: Started playing drums when 14 and was soon in a group called The Aristokats, in which Si Cowe, who lived nearby, played guitar. Joined The Druids, who were successful locally in the early heyday of The Stones, Kinks etc but broke up at the beginning of 1965. Got together with Rod Clements, who lived around the corner, and formed Impact, which was simply The Druids with Rod replacing the old bass guitarist. Impact led to The Downtown Faction, which they launched in the summer of 1966. It became one of the most popular groups on Tyneside.
Influences: Levon Helm, Brian Bennett, Ringo Starr, Barry Wilson, Charlie Watts, John Woods (drums), Beatles, Stones, Bob Dylan, Fairports, Shadows, Everley Brothers, Buddy Holly.
Compositions: “Laidlaw’s Lament,” circa 1964, his one and only song written to win a bet.
Favourite Single: “Strawberry Fields,” The Beatles.
Most Influential LP: “Revolver,” The Beatles.
Favourite Singer: John Lennon.
Favourite Musician: Ringo Starr.
Favourite Songwriters: Lennon/McCartney.
Residence: Is single and still lives in Newcastle.
Instruments: Premier drum kit. Cymbals are one Paiste 20 inch ride, one Paist 16 inch crash, two Zildjian 8 inch splash and two 14 inch Super Zyn.
Simon Cowe: Lead guitar, mandolin, piano, vocals, songs.
Born: Jesmond Dene 1/April/1948.
Education: King’s School, Tynemouth, with rod until 13, then Fette’s College, Edinburgh.
Musical Tuition: There was always a guitar lying around the house when he was small. Took piano lessons from age 5.
Musical Career: Joined The Aristokats, with Ray Laidlaw, during his school holidays, 1963. Became photographic assistant in camera shop on leaving school and was asked to do publicity photos for Downtown Faction by school friends Rod and Ray. Becamer their unofficial road manager and joined them as second guitarist, early 1968. Started plaing bass when Rod Clements left in October 1968. When Rod came back in summer 1969, reverted to guitar and began playing electric piano.
Influences: Jeff Sadler, Harvey Mandell, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Taylor (guitar), Ray Jackson (mandolin), Chopin (piano).
Principal Compositions: “Go Back” (“Dingley Dell,” Lindisfarne).
Songwriting Inspiration: Love, disappointment, skin, animals.
Favourite Single: “Voodoo Chile,” Jimi Hendrix.
Favourite Singers: Turtles.
Favourite Musician: Frank Zappa.
Most Influential LP: “Folk Blues And Beyond,” Davy Graham.
Favourite Songwriters: Leonard Cohen.
Residence: Victorian terraced house in Stamford Hill.
Instruments: Gibson stereo guitar, Gibson Cromwellian guitar, Fender mandolin, Fender 80-watt Twin Reverb amplifier. Also plays Dutch/Japanese flute and home made instruments.