Di Williams cassette Take Route

In Search of Di Williams

This is the start of a quest. In the mid-1980s I was living in Manchester. During this time I got to know a singer called Di Williams. She first came along to a folk club I ran with Lynne Percival at the Lamplight Club in Chorlton. She seemed a slightly eccentric figure, in charity shop clothes […]

Songstories #16  - Shift Shuffle

Songstories #16 – Shift Shuffle

A few weeks ago I watched a video on Taxi TV where Chuck Henry, a musician living in California, showed how he makes a living building hip hop and dance tracks, not for the charts, but for TV and films. They’re called ‘cues’ and you’ve heard them in the background of scenes – when someone […]

Greek engraving of sad musician with lyre

Songstories #15 – The Spell

I’ve written some sad songs in my time, but this must be the saddest.  It’s a sprawling 7.5 minutes. The theme song, the bit about the spell that opens and closes the song, reflects on how youth feels invulnerable, invincible, even if you know it’s not forever – ‘safe for the moment’. It bookends some half-told […]

Songstories #14 – Time Starts Now

This was a song I recorded ‘between bands’ – the time in the mid 90s between the end of Hungry Ghosts and the birth of the Innocents.  I’d sung it a few times live with Polly Phillips but didn’t have the knowledge or skill to record it.  The arrangement was almost all down to producer […]

Illustration by Gustav Dore from the

Songstories #13 – Only The Sea

I’m going right back today, to the early days of Out of the Bedroom at the Waverley, captured on the 2003 album Waverley Nights.  The original lineup of the Innocents – me, Alison Tunnicliffe (then Hennessy) on violin and singer-songwriter The G on percussion with the song that usually closed our set, Only The Sea. […]

Songstories #12 – The Water Is Wide

Romantic Fiction Collected by Norman Lamont This was a track on Romantic Fiction 2. A traditional Irish song, I first heard it on Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review live album, sung as a duet with Joan Baez.  I noticed it had a lot of shared lyrics and melody with Carrickfergus, one of my favourite Irish songs […]