Sunday, September 4, 2022


Funny how it all comes round. I used to rant against this song back in the day. As a dyed in the wool afficianado of the original Lindisfarne line up, as eulogised here, I baulked as they went their separate ways, into Jack The Lad and the Lindisfarne Mk II. Erring always on the side of folkie, I was always going to find greater attraction with the former and shaggier offshoot. Even, if truth be told, the material was a bit meh.Whilst Lindisfarne retained the two main singers and the most prolific of the songwriters, I missed the other guys, and took offence. Alan Hull, that prolific writer, with his eye more on his burgeoning solo career, meant that Mk II were a pretty lacklustre ensemble, quietly breaking up after a couple of ill received albums. Jack The Lad  had fared little better, so, when the opportunity came to regroup for a one-off gig at Newcastle City Hall, the original five piece all leapt at it. That led to a reprise a year later and they decided to make it a going concern again in 1978.

But I hadn't kept up, had I? I thought the Lindisfarne that brought out this featured song, later that same year, from the presciently titled Back and Fourth album, was still the Mk II line up. Plus it was drenched in strings, making for far too much saccharine for me to imbibe. As the new engagement with success and the charts failed and faded, so the band again drifted out of my awareness. Sure, I knew they continued to play Newcastle City Hall on a regular annual basis, but, adding insult to injury, a version of Fog On The Tyne, the song, in cahoots with fellow Geordie, the footballer, Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne, was such anathema to my ears as to make their name mean nothing to me. (And, by golly, bad it truly was.)

As the years unfolded, the band began slowly to splinter once more. First Ray Jackson, the other vocalist and the harmonica and mandolinist left, then Simon Cowe, the wild haired guitarist. Yes, they were replaced, with, Hull even bringing in his son-in-law to help bolster the band. Little did he know how shrewd a move that might later become. Hull then died; a heart attack taking him far too young, but the band still played on, drafting in yet more new members. They then broke up in 2004, this time, one might imagine for good. However, remnants of the band, with even the odd original, still managed to tour under various guises: The Lindisfarne Story and Lindisfarne Acoustic being two of such, and the former resurrected the Newcastle City Hall shows. Ray Jackson, meanwhile, mindful of the legacy beginning to unravel, took the bones of those left and revived the band, proper. OK, he was the only original, but Dave Hull-Denholm, Hull's son in law, as mentioned, was considered continuity by proxy. On drums, in an unusual change of style, for him, was ex-Roxy Music thumper, Paul Thompson. Odd, unless you recall Roxy themselves hailed also from the North East of England too.

Give or take couple of years and Jackson, wearying a life on the road, sought an exit. Luckily, old mucker, Rod Clements, was waiting in the wings, taking control of the franchise. As the author of Meet Me On the Corner, their biggest hit, he had more right than many, Simon Cowe, the never more hirsute guitarist having now also died and Ray Laidlaw, the drummer, continuing to fly a flag for the Lindisfarne Story offshoot. Anyhow, cut to the chase, any good? I caught ‘em at  Wickham last year, the answer a resounding yes. Especially as they encored with the featured song!