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Back on the Road on a Clear Day

This one was written by Rab Noakes, Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan.

Performed by Rab Noakes with Rafferty and Egan on backing vocals.

Wonderful.

And while I’m here, this is Joe Egan:

Seventies Cheese – Gerry Rafferty

I may have posted another version of this a while back but some kind soul has uploaded this better quality video.

The display of hairstyles and facial topiary is awesome!

And so are the dynamics, the jazzy keyboard, bluesy guitar and Rafael Ravenscroft’s sax

I wondered if the drummer was well known Scottish runner Frank Clement who sported a similarly impressive Rasputin like beard around the same time (Sadly it isn’t)

Seventies Cheese – Gerry Rafferty, John Martyn

Double helping of the cheddar.

Despite being on several 2010 death prediction lists, Gerry Rafferty was 63 yesterday. Like his fellow Scottish singer songwriter the late John Martyn, Rafferty emerged from the folk clubs of the sixties. Like Martyn, Rafferty has had a decades long battle with the booze. Their careers both took a simultaneous downward curve in the 80′s as they lapsed into total unfashionability.

Both great songwriters and musicians, both with a reputation for being difficult and laconic but both with people who would swear the opposite on their behalf. Martyn’s Grace and Danger and Rafferty’s On a Wing and a Prayer are both albums made on the back of break ups with their wives, and are both intense and heart rending.

The main difference between the two was that Martyn was lauded by the critics whilst commercial success was more elusive. Rafferty’s career was perhaps the converse.

This is Rafferty with what looks like an audition for The Hair Bear Bunch from 1979

And here is Martyn with Danny Thompson from 1977

30 Years Ago

Unbelievable, certainly to me is the fact that it is thirty years ago this week that this song was released. From the wonderful City to City album, this is most probably the first record you think of when the name Gerry Rafferty is mentioned (although a close no. 2 would be Stealers Wheel Stuck in the Middle). The sax intro is one of the best known and recognisable in music played by Raphael Ravenscroft who also appeared on several Pink Floyd albums. Billy Connoly once recounted the first time he met Rafferty at a Humblebums gig in Paisley. Rafferty had come up to talk to Connolly and mentioned that he wrote songs. The two of them ended up at a party where Rafferty played Connolly some of his songs and very soon they teamed up. Once they parted ways and after a solo album (Can I have My Money Back) Rafferty teamed up with fellow Scots Ian Campbel, Rab Noakes and Joe Egan to form Stealers Wheel. They were billed as the Scottish Cosby Stills Nash and Young, but before they ever recorded Noakes and Campbell returned to Scotland and Stealers Wheel underwent various personel changes to record an eponymous album (which contained Stuck in the Middle) before Rafferty and Egan continued themselves under that name for a further two albums. A management company going bust and lengthy legal battles meant that Rafferty was effectively grounded for about three years during which he concentrated on writing songs. Baker Street was one of these. It’s a classic.

The Death of Society?

Like everyone I was shocked by the tragic and senseless shooting and killing of an eleven year old boy (apparently by a teenager) in Liverpool this week. The televising of the boy's parents reaction was truly heart rending. The title of this thread was a tabloid headline on the day after the killing. It is of course reminiscent of Margaret Thatchers' most famous quote that "There is no such thing as society"

 

Television went one step further and re showed the famous clip from the 1979 Tory Conference when then Home Secretary "Ol' Oyster Eyes" William Whitelaw spoke about the "short sharp lesson" i.e. boot camps which were to reduce, nay erradicate the problem of youth crime. The media seem to be advocating a return to this prescripitive approach but there doesn't seem to be any evidence to suggest that it worked.

 

 

 

 

This track from Gerry Rafferty's 1980 album Snakes and Ladders entitled The Garden of England contains part of Whitelaw's speech at the end of the song.

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Great Scots

The first one is the wonderful Frankie Miller. The second by Stealers Wheel featuring Joe Egan on vocals. Frankie was a highly respected artist whose songs have been covered by many artists including Bob Seger and Delbert McClinton. Sadly he didn't become the superstar he should have. He's still alive but unable to speak after major illness a few years ago.

The Stealers Wheel clip is from a time when Gerry Rafferty had (temporarily) chucked it and had gone back to Scotland. He and Joe Egan were great songwriters and recording artistes and whilst Rafferty went on to great solo success, Egan simply faded away after a couple of solo efforts. I intend to do a feature on Stealers Wheel/ Gerry Rafferty at some stage. Check the hairdo's of the band!  

 

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