Surfin’ On A Maybe

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Raven’s Croft is now available for download from all of your favourite stores. No, not that one. They don’t sell MP3s, do they?

Physical CDs will be available at a later date.

The Television of Cruelty: Raven's Croft


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Credits

Ian Williams: Vocals, acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, mandolin, electric guitars, keyboards, melodica, lap steel, percussion
Dave Shaw: Drums
Jenny Williams: Backing vocals
Graham Hills: Bass
Dave Saunders: Bass

Recorded at Abbey View and Little Monkey Studios, Cheltenham.
Mixed and mastered at Little Monkey Studios.
Engineered and co-produced by Ian Williams and Dave Saunders for Mrs Poverty Productions.

Cover design by Peter Brooks Design.
Cover painting (minus raven) by John Malcolm Williams (1933-1999)

Raven’s Croft
Wo...

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The Picnic Tree video

Jack and I made this video for The Picnic Tree from Dead Sea Shanties. It was all shot near Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, on the way to a tree we can see from our house that we call the picnic tree (we had a really great picnic there once). Ironically, the tree itself  doesn’t appear in the video, although the last zoom-out shot was taken at its foot. This might be an artistic decision. In The Nettlemen, the story that’s told in the second half of Dead Sea Shanties, the tree takes on a more tragic significance, being the place where the childhood friends had once played.

Watch The Picnic Tree on YouTube

It's nice to share...
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Endless Street video

This fabulous video was made by Pete Brooks for the song Endless Street from the Season 2 album.

Watch Endless Street on YouTube

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No resistance to R – A – V – E – N – S… Raven’s Croft!

CD Cover Master Final Flat small_smallerAs we’re so close now to release you’re probably asking yourself, “But what IS the running order?” And, even if this thought was far, far away from your mind, we’re going to tell you.

1) Raven’s Croft

2) Dancing In The Damage

3) Will You Still?

4) Firework Show

5) Introducing The Band

6) 20,000 Years

7) The Futures Never Know

8) Photographs

9) The Fortune Teller

10) Just Drive

11) As All Days Must

The picture, by the way, is the cover, co-designed with designer Pete Brooks. And let me tell you, Pete would be beavering away on the rest of the CD layout were he not navigating his narrow boat up and down the canals and rivers of England for a month… The painting is by my Dad, John Malcolm Williams, who sadly passed away in 1999. Adding the raven felt like scrawling on his work.

Finally for to...

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Introducing the band…

imageNearly there with the new album. Let’s see…

  • Recording complete: drums added. Tick.
  • Album mixed. Tick.
  • Album mastered. Tick.
  • Album listened to. Tick.
  • Last minute worries voiced. Tick.
  • Album re-mastered. Tick.
  • Photo shoot organised. Tick.
  • Photo shoot reorganised. Tick.
  • Photos taken. Tick.
  • Co-producer/engineer/bass player photographed. Tick.
  • Cover art finalised. Tick.
  • Photos sent to designer. Tick.
  • First draft of CD cover. Tick.
  • Audio and artwork uploaded to CD Baby. Tick.

It was always going to be a huge challenge for Dave Shaw to add his drums right at the end of the recording process but the combination of his excellence as a drummer and engineer Dave Saunders’s patience and professionalism served us handsomely...

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Mixing It Up

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We’ve been working very hard on new album Raven’s Croft. So far we have 11 tracks written and partially recorded. All tracks have been recorded at Abbey View (my back bedroom studio) and we’ve had one session so far at Little Monkey Studios in Cheltenham (pictured), where the drum recording, mixing and mastering will take place.

Adding the drums at the end of the recording process is, as my old Nana might have said, completely a**e about face (we often had to add asterisks to her utterances) but we’re having to make the best of it. Drummer Dave did a spectacular job on Saturday but there’s a lot more work to do. Adding real drums to tracks I’ve already smoothed together is fraught with danger – it’s just too easy to destabilise the whole song...

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Raven’s Croft

 

JohnPeel276Raven’s Croft. Raven’scroft. Ravenscroft.

It’s the name of the album we’re working on. It’s a make of crystal glassware. It’s also a place, so I’ve discovered, a “deleted” village in Cheshire. And it’s the real surname of the late John Peel, father of indie, Champion the Underdog, hippy, punk, BBC DJ, the Blank Generation’s funny uncle. Eschewing pomp and pretension, he nonetheless affected a Liverpudlian accent in the 60s to wow a beatle-obsessed America. He also turned up for presenting duties on Top Of The Pops but, as far as I know, avoided joining the caravan of rain-sodden fun that was the Radio One Roadshow.

On his nightly radio show, John Peel introduced a lot of people to a lot of music they wouldn’t normally hear...

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Will You Still?

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As it was quite a nice day today I thought I’d stay indoors and work on my studio tan. Coming on nicely, thank you.

I wanted to get a version of Will You Still? recorded. This is another new song for the Raven’s Croft album, lyrics again courtesy of John Bingham and music by me. Started with the piano part, a lilting waltz, piped through a (virtual) guitar amp and some heavyweight compression. It’s not perfectly played but I’m thinking that that’s the way with this album: I really want an organic feel, as far away from electronic music as I can get without trashing all my electronic gadgets.

I then added some guide drums and bass (to be replaced by the real thing in the near future), 12-string, vocals and electric guitar. And you know, it does sound lovely, even if I do say so myself...

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Easter 2013

IMG_0257On Easter Saturday mysterious bass player “G” (real name Graham Hills) popped round to lay down some bass licks on 20,000 Years and The Fortune Teller. The session was a great success, Graham’s bass adding extra drive and vigour to the tracks. Considering that these were songs we last played together years ago in short-lived Americana act Kurtz Riverboat Company, this was a sure sign that his his marbles are still just about intact!

Graham also brought round his sax and we’ll definitely be using it on new song Dancing In The Damage, which has a reggae feel. I know, folk and reggae don’t normally go together but I reckon we can make it work.

I’ve also now written the ukelele song, As All Days Must, and put together a rough demo so the ukelele band can learn it. They’re the Worcester Ukelele...

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Songs for the new album

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Been giving some thought to new album Raven’s Croft. I have a huge pile of lyrics courtesy of Mr John Bingham, along with a couple of songs of my own. A first stab at a track listing looks like this:

  • 20,000 Years
  • The Fortune Teller
  • Just Drive
  • Dancing In The Damage
  • Will You Still?
  • Pete, Bob And Lula
  • Emily
  • Cheap Room, Upstairs, Top Left
  • Some Other Saturday
  • Boys O’ Galway
  • As All Days Must

The first two and Emily I wrote myself, the rest are JB lyrics, two of which now have tunes, Just Drive and Will You Still? Interestingly, John has his own tune for Just Drive, written with his brother, but I think he’s OK for me to use my own!

I’ve also been collecting folk/ethnic instruments together for the recordings: a mandolin, lap steel, two tin whistles, a blues harmonica, a banjo ukulele and a me...

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