Monday, June 05, 2006

Take A Man Who Only Knows The Good Time Scene

Longdancer

Two - in my opinion - excellent albums that have never been released on CD to my knowledge. Can't think why - unless Dave Stewart is ashamed of them?

UPDATE (March 2008) - Hux Records are releasing these on CD soon, so the downloads have gone.

In 1976 I was playing bass guitar in a folk-rock group called Crannog that had a Monday night residency in The Queens in Crouch End. It was a very popular gig, and every week the pub was packed (I was even asked for my autograph once as I wandered round Crouch End between Harum Records and John Beeby's Music Place on a Saturday afternoon). The leader of the band, Kevin McCabe, was an old friend of Barry Dransfield, and Bazza used often to get up and play with us. Great stuff, and the heaving throng loved it as well. We'd stay behind in the pub after closing time for several hours jamming.

After a while I decided to leave the band, and Bazza suggested Brian Harrison as my replacement. Brian was the bass player in the Dransfield band, who had just come off the road after touring support to Tom Paxton (!) to promote their magnificent 'Fiddlers Dream' album, and he got the job. I formed my own band (Brahms & Liszt) but still went to see Crannog most Monday nights and often got up to play with them.

Previously, Brian had been in a band called Longdancer with Dave Stewart and Steve Sproxton, both of whom also came to The Queens from time to time. I duly sought out and bought their albums.

The first Longdancer album was mostly acoustic, and the songwriting was shared between the four members. Dave wrote a couple of rather twee hippy ditties, Brian wrote some sombre ballads, Sprocker wrote the (for me) standout tracks, and Kai Olsson wrote the remainder.

LONGDANCER - If It Were So Simple

1. Silent Emotions 2. Hold Up The World 3. Don't Turn Out The Lights 4. Trivialities 5. Time To Pay 6. Too Much Too Soon 7. Take A Man 8. Crying Out Loud 9. Ballad To Hillary 10. If It Was So Simple

Apparently there was some friction between Dave and Kai, with the latter wanting to stay acoustic and DS wanting to go electric. Either way, KO left before the 2nd album and was replaced by a full-time bass player (Matt Irving) and drummer (Charlie Smith). Both of these were more-than-competent musicians (and I love the boxy drum sound) but not so hot on the songwriting stakes and their contributions (Rosemary and Sandy's Song, respectively) are by far the weakest tracks on the album. By contrast, Dave Stewart's songwriting had improved no end and he's taken over from Sprocker as the star of this album - particularly 'Cold Love'. If you can ignore the fact that 'Sweet Leaves', written with his then-wife Pam (who I rather liked) is a love song to dope, it's actually a rather lovely song. The recorders date it a bit though...

The production was by Del Newman (presumably responsible for that great drum sound - check out Cold Love again), who also played synth (VCS3?) and contributes the perfect ending to that same track.

LONGDANCER - Trailer For A Good Life

1. Trailer 2. Take A Song 3. Sandy’s Song 4. Rosemary 5. Country Song 6. Sweet Leaves 7. Mother Nature 8. The Ship 9. Cold Love 10. Hard Road

Dave went on to form The Catch, The Tourists, and then The Eurythmics and fame. Steve didn't do anything musically that I'm aware of. Brian played with Crannog for a while and then went off to the States to work for Dave. Kai went solo. Matt played with Screaming Lord Sutch along with his brother Jaques 'Fifi' Irving (a damn fine drummer), Charlie joined Crannog and then did some local pub gigs with me and Roddy Rogers. Finito.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. I never thought I'd see Longdancer posted. I've had the first album on vinyl since the 70s but haven't had a turntable to play it for years. And I've never heard their second album. I can't thank you enough for these links.

10:52 pm  
Blogger datdemdar said...

My comments are pretty much as the last Poster. Loved the 1st LP and I also never knew they had a 2nd. My thanks.

2:48 am  
Anonymous Ivan said...

Hi from Australia I have been a Longdancer listener since the 1970s. I would love to get a copy of If it was so simple on CD.

Good to see other afficionados out there!!!

9:40 am  
Blogger David said...

Great stuff. Longdancer was one of my favorite bands during my teenage years and I still dust the two albums off once a year or so and give them a listen.

7:08 pm  
Anonymous harry said...

hi
never thought longdancer is still so much alive.i have asked iain matthews about the album(he produced the first one)but he could not tell me if it ever came out on cd.maybe we should give elton john a call,it was his record company.

6:40 pm  
Anonymous relayer said...

Ohhhh !!!

I can´t believe my eyes... I have been looking for the Longdancer albums half of my life, and when I find this blog and try to download them, rapidshare told me that they are not longer available after some weeks of inactivity. On my knees, could you repost them...?

Please, please. Thanks in advance.

5:24 pm  
Blogger Witchseason said...

I have reposted these - see http://witchseason.blogspot.com/2007/05/re-ups-daisy_1824.html
Cheers

7:43 pm  
Blogger Walter said...

Could you please repost both albums again?
Many tanks,
Walter

12:00 am  
Anonymous patquig said...

I saw longdancer at the kelvin halls glasgow in the early seventies along with jackie whitren who i think was also with elton johns rocket label they were both support acts to loudon wainwright whom i'd gone to see and though it was a long time ago i always remembered both acts as they were so enjoyable that night. was'nt aware D.Stewart played with them, good to know that.

2:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I`ve got "If It Was So Simple" as a gift to my birthday in 1974. It`s the only Vinyl which I remand to me. The other 2.500 I have sold.
I know three guys who owns this record. They all are proud owners over the years. Thats not remarkable, because I am from germany. Probably, we are the four guys in germany, who bought this record. So nice.

Bernd

1:07 am  
Anonymous John C. Falstaff said...

I have an April 1974 Rocket Records PR
sheet, just before release of 2nd LP.
Just found it inside that LP (listening
for the first time in decades; yes, I too
have a new turntable).

Can scan it and send to owner of this blog
to post here??

There was a final non-LP single, but I never
found a copy (and I forget its name).

5:05 am  
Anonymous Michael said...

Typical!

I have the If It Was So Simple album and have just put it onto CD and used a programme to clean up the scratches from the well used vinyl. Took about twenty hours. Now I'm reading that it may come out on CD!

Actually that's excellent news. I first heard If It Was So Simple in 1973 whilst it was being played in a record shop. I had to have the album. My favorite musician at the time was Ian Matthews so it was a nice co-incidence (or maybe not) that he co produced this record.

I later bought the second album but was disapointed. Still love the first and play my home made CD regularly. It's one of the few albums I can listen to in it's entirety. Dated? Yes, but still lovely!

1:08 pm  
Anonymous The Saint said...

Hi. I'm Dan from Australia but during the early 70's, my sis and I lived in Hoddesdon and Hertford. She worked in record shop and got hold of a copy of Longdancer which I absolutely loved. Magna Carta-ish, Still have the LP, great cover, great music and theres a new band going round now which everyine is raving about...Fleet Foxes, and they are having commercial success with similar sound as the beautiful Longdancer

11:02 pm  
Blogger lee said...

Hi all. I love these two albums too. Steve Sproxton is my uncle.

10:52 pm  
Blogger Witchseason said...

Hi Lee
Say Hi to Steve for me. I didn't know him very well - just nodding acquaintances in Crouch End - but he might remember me.
Thanks for the comment.

4:56 pm  
Anonymous Henning said...

Hi Witchseason,

Greetings from Norway :-)

I have been looking for these two albums for a while and was really looking forward to being able to get them on CD.

However, after waiting for an announcement from Hux records for a year of so, I finally contacted them the other day asking for an estimated release date. Their response was (quote): "No definite plans, though it is something we would like to do."

Would it be impertinent for me to suggest that this might qualify for a repost of these two albums?

I would really love to have access to this music in any form or fashion...

7:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the longdancer album
had it stolen in 81 could never replace it

12:44 pm  

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