TONY HAZZARD

| January 1, 2011

www.tonyhazzard.com

A REMARKABLE new album by an iconic songwriter of pop’s golden age will be on general release from February 2016.
Tony Hazzard’s The Hallicombe Sessions is the result of extraordinary musical collaboration that spans two continents and half a century of song.
Tony, author of such legendary hits as ‘Fox on the Run’ and ‘Ha Ha Said the Clown’, recorded the album at his home studio in Cornwall with the American songwriter, performer and producer Matt Harding. The pair met while Tony was on tour in Spain, hit it off musically and personally, and this year Matt made his first trip to the UK to work with Tony.
Matt was convinced that a pared-down, intimate approach suited Tony’s songs, and so the pair recorded The Hallicombe Sessions unplugged-style over just a week in the summer.
Tony says: “We started out with no preconceptions at all, and the music just evolved into what we hope is an entirely new environment for these songs.”
These songs span Tony’s near half-a-century in showbiz. One of the tracks is a 60s song called ‘She’s Not You’, which he hasn’t performed in decades. “I played it to Matt and he loved it – insisted it should be on the record,” says Tony. The music stretches through the 1970s (the beautiful ballad ‘Journey’s End’) to new material, like the haunting folk song ‘The Spice Trader’.
Tony said: “We’d record a take, then go outside, sit in the sun and chat. Matt fell in love with Cornish beer, Cornish pubs and the British sense of humour.”
Matt, who’s performed all over the world and fronted his own band, The Matt Harding Project, said: “I think the relaxed, happy atmosphere permeates the record and the intimate feel puts Tony’s voice and great songs front and centre.”

About Tony
Tony Hazzard was the author of international smashes like ‘Ha Ha Said the Clown’ and ‘Fox on the Run’ for stars ranging from The Hollies to Manfred Mann, from Cliff Richard to Andy Williams. In an eight-year period from 1966 to 1974, he penned a host of top 20 hits recorded by The Yardbirds, Gene Pitney, Herman’s Hermits and many others. He also sang on Elton John’s first three albums and performed live with him, wrote for TV and cinema (winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival) and worked as a session singer and guitarist.
Tony’s songs are played, sung and recorded all over the world – Fox on the Run won a Citation of Achievement from BMI in the USA, having become a bluegrass standard, while songs such as Fade Away Maureen, recorded by The Yardbirds, have become much anthologised psych-pop classics. Tony’s 1970s singer-songwriter albums Loudwater House and Was That Alright Then? are cult collectors’ items.
After a long break from the music business (during which time he retrained as a counsellor and ran one of Britain’s leading drug and alcohol rehabs), Tony released his first album in 35 years in 2011, Songs From The Lynher. This has now been followed by The Hallicombe Sessions.

TRACKS
1. The Spice Trader 4.58   
2. Loving On The Run 4.34
3. Journey’s End 4.01
4. Angela Finkelman’s Eyes 3.40
5. Shipping Lanes 3.17
6. She’s Not You 3.09
7. Old Wave 3.21
8 Seventy, Not Out 2.13
9. I’ll Be Still In Love With You 2.24
10 Another Day For Me 2.54

TRACK NOTES from Tony

The Spice Trader: The words “Cinnamon Skin’ came into my head. I liked its sensuality and rhythm. I then expanded it into: “I caught sight of her cinnamon skin as her silken dress unfurled”. This was even more sensual (and sexual). I’d been wanting to write a ‘folk song’ and I felt this had the makings of one. Given the cinnamon reference I started to think about spice traders and so wrote a story-song about an 18thC spice trader. I decided to call him William Kempthorne, again because of the name’s inherent rhythm, but also because it’s that of a friend of mine and an old Cornish name. I researched spice trading in the 18th, so all the references are based on reality.

Loving On The Run: This was written many years ago, but I couldn’t remember the third and fourth verses, so I wrote new ones. I’ve since learned there are several songs with this title, but I’ve never heard them. The song changed over the years, from an uptempo straight country song to this more reflective version, and I deliberately used a simple finger-style uke accompaniment to give a hint of sparse mountain music, if there is such a thing!
Journey’s End: Again, this is an old song. I recorded it in 1976 with Richard Barnes on the Hazzard & Barnes album (no longer available) but have since enjoyed playing it solo with just guitar. The H&B album sold very few copies so I thought it was worth reviving. The lyric is largely true (I still have the Martin guitar).

Angela Finkleman’s Eyes: This is based on a real event “back in the fifties: those innocent years”, although I changed our ages from about nine to eleven, for rhyming purposes. After a lot of detective work I managed to track down the subject of the song via email, having not seen her for nearly sixty years, in order to get her permission to record the song. I heard nothing for a long time then received an email with the subject: ‘My hair isn’t grey’. There was no message: just a photo of her taken in 2014 in Florida in a boat, with her two grandchildren at her knee (see last verse).

Shipping Lanes: Inspired by a couple I knew in the late 70s/early 80s. They eventually split up. She actually drove a 4-wheel drive but I changed it to a ‘pickup truck’. The last I heard, he was living on an island off the coast of southern Ireland, building boats. I like singing this and audiences seem to connect with it.

She’s Not You: Another old song: this time, even older: mid 60s. When I started writing professionally, I used to go into the studio almost every week to record a demo, using the same musicians. Because the publisher was looking for hits, many of the songs got left on the shelf if the publisher felt he couldn’t place them. I no longer have any of the original acetates or tapes but still remembered this one in its entirety. On a whim I played to Matt and he said something like: “Love it! Let’s do it!” So we did.

Old Wave: I first recorded this song for an eponymous album in 1983, as a response to New Wave (remember that?). The cover had been designed and painted, by artist Owen Bell, but the album was never quite finished and therefore never released. There has been some interest in releasing this very synth-driven album but so far nothing has materialised and probably never will, so I thought I’d record the song just with acoustic guitar.

Seventy, Not Out: I wrote this just before my 70th birthday but was too superstitious to sing it in public before then, just in case I didn’t make it! Luckily I had a gig the next day and was able to play it then. It’s about celebrating the fact of actually managing to reach this age, and letting younger people know that being old doesn’t necessarily equate with being dead, and that those of us of a certain vintage can still be full of life (and occasionally naughty, too!).

I’ll Be Still In Love With You: The melodic inspiration (and overall feel), just four notes, came from the song ‘Silver Threads Among The Gold’, composed in 1873 by the wonderfully named Hart Pease Danks, with lyric by Eben E. Rexford. The latter had written some verses entitled ‘Growing Old’ and a revision of them became the lyric. The four notes I stole form the melody of both song titles. I wanted to convey a similar feel to the original song. Someone said it sounds like a hymn so I feel I’ve achieved that. It was previously sung by Richard Barnes on the Hazzard & Barnes album, for which I wrote the string arrangement. After forty years I thought I’d like to record my own version.

Another Day For Me: The newest track on the album, prompted by waking one morning and sensing the sunlight while my eyes were still closed. It’s about looking back to the past, to younger days, and contemplating the speed at which life rushes by, but at the same time celebrating the amazing fact that I’m still alive. Looking through these notes, I’ve realised that two themes run though these songs: ‘how life changes and moves on’, and ‘old age’, which I suppose is appropriate at my time of life. Also, I write very few songs these days: I feel I’ve written enough to justify my existence. But it’s interesting to revisit old songs and sometimes see and interpret them in a different light

www.tonyhazzard.com
All Songs by Tony Hazzard © Tony Hazzard

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Category: artists, In The Whitehouse

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Katie Whitehouse: booker of gigs, seeker of adventures, writer of stuff, fingers in pies and lover of life.

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