Good things come to those that (work at it, & then) wait….possibly

Having recently finished recording/producing/mixing, & then physically getting my new (very first) solo album, ‘A Bathful Of Nasturtiums’, ‘out there’ to the general public, it was with a sense of satisfaction that I actually made my deadline date. I felt good. Everything was in place for the launch at Filey Folk Festival (see previous blog). The problem was, due to my lack of folky-ness, it didn’t sell any albums. So, all I had to do now was PROMOTE IT!! But how? I decided to start with local radio, & booked a spot on BBC Radio Humberside (the David Burns Show), followed by Vixen Radio (a community radio station, with ‘The Foxes Den’ show). I played several open mic nights, that alerted people to the songs & the album – & the fact that several local musicians had helped out too. A few copies were going here & there, which was great…..& word of mouth also spread the news. But what next??

Initially, I sent out a few promotional copies, including a couple to reviewers, but apart from the two radio stations & a reply from one reviewer, I’d heard nothing. Then suddenly, there in my Inbox, was a copy of a forthcoming review, written by Alan Clayson! As this was my very first solo attempt, it was all a bit daunting. Would he be kind, brutal, honest, not honest but polite, or any combination of these things? When I started to read it, I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was good. It was VERY GOOD! It was an uplifting experience, that made the making of the album really worthwhile. I was sent into a strange sort of euphoric state. Yes!!! So, I suppose I ought to let you read the glowing review. Here it is……

no2 Bath texture 12.3x12.3 copy

Graham Graham Beck

A Bathful Of Nasturtiums

‘A Song For Those Not Listening’, the third track in, ought to be compulsory listening for the critic who either skip-listens or doesn’t bother at all with most of the musical flotsam-and-jetsam that washes up round his word processor every week – because if A Bathful Of Nasturtiums is treated so, he’ll be overlooking perhaps 2013’s most entertaining album thus far.

Its maker, Graham Graham [sic] Beck was at art college in Hull at the same time a Wreckless Eric with whom he formed Ruby and the Takeaways. When the group sundered, Eric achieved qualified pop fame while Graham Graham continued to waver and spring between music and art – which may be why part of the appeal of A Bathful Of Nasturtiums is the tactile sensation of looking at and handling a package that actually contains a cut-out-and-keep Batman mask (germane to the CD’s ‘I Am The Batman’ finale’) and a sachet of grass seeds (‘All Praise To The Manicured Lawn’).

Of the twelve listed tracks, my fave rave at present is ‘Fig Roll Overkill’ in which a sense of longing as much as the wretchedness of addiction to this biscuit pervades. Conversely, following ‘I Am The Batman’, there’s five untitled instrumental minutes of uneasy listening that I found more obscurely captivating. These, however, are but two of many startling and witty expressions of commendable sentiment framed in diverting, highly detailed and often quirky arrangements.  Moreover, if no Scott Walker, Beck’s understated approach to, say, ‘The Fag End From Hell’ or nostalgic ‘Unreliable Memories’ is as loaded as the most Joe Cocker-esque vocal explosion.  He’s no slouch as a keyboard player either. Finally, as Janice Nicholls – the girl who used to pass judgement on the latest releases in the ‘Spin A Disc’ section of Thank Your Lucky Stars – often said, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.

Alan Clayson


Now, you can possibly imagine how I felt, having read it & then re-read it, & then re-reread it in case I had misread it (was it all some weird, illusionary, mystical experience?) . But no, there it was in black & white in my inbox. It’s given me, & my confidence, a boost. I feel as though, at last, I’m doing something right! Now all I’ve got to do is convince other people……





Better late than never…(Fresh From Filey Folk Festival)

This post was going to be entitled just ‘Fresh From Filey Folk Festival’, but due to the vagaries/quirks/annoyances/really, really frustrating, & stupid things that happen online (yell, scream at computer, tear hair out – & there’s not much of that left!), the internet DIDN’T deliver!! I’ve been about three days without it, & further more (& even more-annoying, if that were possible?), I haven’t been able to login to my own website or blog. Disaster! However, we’re all back to normal here, for now. So here’s the original blog that should have appeared some days ago (get it while it’s there, here or wherever…):

Fresh from Filey Folk Festival – a lot of ‘f’s there, & I’m sure there were a lot of ‘f-words’ being muttered in the audience, when I played my solo set, on the 4th May, at the aforementioned folk festival!

Traditional folk music, & after all, that was what this festival was based on, will always be ‘traditional’. You can’t sway a determined audience with ‘modern technology’ (& I was only using a 1988 keyboard!). Perhaps it was the integrated drum machine that put people off. Perhaps it was my less-than-traditional songs, or the way I presented them. Perhaps it was my not-too-serious approach to playing at such a festival.

I’ve nothing against traditional folk – I quite like some of it. Without it, music wouldn’t be where it was today. Then again, without trad. jazz, rock ‘n roll, 1960’s pop, disco, punk, new wave, techno etc. etc. (I realise I’ve missed out quite a few genres here), music still wouldn’t be where it is today. If I can be tolerant towards all musical styles, then why can’t the purists? It’s a bit like the ‘Classical crowd’ who always shun/dismiss anything beyond early 1900 as being too radical. Perhaps folkies are still in shock over Bob Dylan taking up the electric guitar. Well, it makes you wonder.

2013-05-07-1865Filey Bay.

When I played a short set the other night (post-festival) in Hull, the barman said that my songs reminded him of Jake Thackery – which is ironic, since he was a folk singer, popular in the 1960’s & 70’s, & toured around the folk club circuit at the time!!

2013-05-04-1664Metallic lobster – Filey seafront.

I suppose with me starting off my set at Filey F. F. by saying, “Look. I know this is a folk festival, so I might as well be honest with you, I don’t play folk music. But if you pretend I’m playing ‘folk’, you might quite like it?!” With this endearing statement, a few members of the audience left. Several more left after a couple of numbers. However, to their credit, numerous people stayed, & were really appreciative – particularly the younger audience (several even tapped their feet!). But unfortunately, it doesn’t sell albums – at least, not my new solo album….’A Bathful Of Nasturtiums’, if you’re interested (available from my website – plug, plug!)…at:!/~/product/category=4013858&id=23572351

2013-05-04-1689Buckets & spades – it must be the seaside!

Two phrases came to mind when I was in the middle of my set: ‘Folk isn’t necessarily a four-letter word’, & ‘There’s nowt so queer as folk’. Luckily, I said neither. I know honesty is the best policy, but at times, I do wonder….

I’ll be back at the festival again next year, determined to play, but maybe take along my piano instead & ‘folkify’ my songs instead. I rise to the challenge!

2013-05-06-1859The caravan I stayed in for the festival, north of Filey (my first-ever ‘caravan experience’).

2013-05-07-1868Calm, peaceful, quiet, relaxing & quite deserted – Filey beach & sea, having just had a ‘nice cup of tea’ & biscuits, before heading back to the city….& home.