John Tams has announced his retirement from Home Service – we thank him mightily for all his work with us and wish him well!
“A combination of circumstance not least and most recently an 8-part television drama series has drawn me reluctantly to leave Home Service effective from September 13th 2015”, said John. “This decision, whilst difficult, aims to avoid compromising the future for Home Service at a time when my restricted diary would make forward planning impossible. There are no issues beyond this and I leave my friends and colleagues, some of almost 40 years standing, in the certain knowledge that they are ‘The best damn band in the land.’ I send them my fondest thoughts and support for their continuing success. I’ll miss you lads!”
We are excited to announce that we have now regrouped with two new members and a revamped brass section.
Replacing Tam would never be an easy task, but with John Kirkpatrick joining our ranks we have found exactly the calibre of character and musicianship required. John will take over the lead vocal role and add his inimitably masterful accordion.
Also, we must announce the emigration of Jonathan Davie to Thailand. Huge gratitude and best wishes are due to Jon, whose replacement has also taken a lot of consideration. However, we can heartily welcome the wonderful Rory McFarlane (ex Richard Thompson band) to join us on bass.
Furthermore, now we have John K on board, Steve King will be not only be gracing the keyboard, but freed to stand tall amongst the brass section and exhibit his skills on tenor saxophone, helping to create an even more dynamic sound. The new line-up has already begun recording a new album at Morden Shoals Studio – watch this space to follow its development!
We shall miss you both greatly Tam and Jon, but know that you both wish the band all good fortune in its future voyage of discovery…
Artists’ website: http://www.homeserviceband.co.uk/index.html
Our very own Dai Jeffries caught up with Graeme Taylor last month to talk about his pivotal role in Home Service, the bands history, his accident and his other theater and musical projects.
The band has had quite a journey since the highly successful festival season in the summer of 2011 which put them back at the epicenter of the folk rock map, Home Service was then nominated in two categories for Radio 2’s Annual Folk and Roots Awards, where they secured ‘Best Live Act’ at The Lowry, Manchester in February 2012.
The reunion of this classic band came about after the discovery, in early 2011, of some previously unheard live recordings made by their faithful sound engineer on a couple of cassette tapes that had languished in the back of his wardrobe for the last 25 years. These recordings, made at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1986, exhibited a power and commitment that was never fully captured in the studio, so a live album release immediately became inevitable.
Home Service was originally formed from the creative nucleus of the Albion Band line-up that produced the classic “Rise Up Like the Sun” album, singer-songwriter John Tams feeling the need to explore more contemporary themes in his writing and its musical interpretation. Songs like “Walk my Way”, “Alright Jack” and ”Sorrow” were anthemic observations on the unfairness of Thatcherite Britain and its social inequalities. The crushing irony is that they sound as potent now as they did then, thereby making this band’s work as relevant as ever.
Listen to Part 1 of the Graeme Taylor interview below: Continue reading Dai Jeffries Interviews Graeme Taylor from Home Service
The stark acapella ‘calling-on song’ “A Quarter Hour Of Fame” takes a knowing pop at the industry known as ‘pop’ for, if Simon Cowell were to take even the slightest interest in a ‘folk’ band I’m sure he wouldn’t know what to do with them. So, in a track that lasts a mere 44 seconds it would appear the new line-up of The Albion Band mean business much like their predecessor. Forthright views conveyed with a passion were always part of the original band’s make-up thanks due in no small part to the lyrics of John Tams and I’m pleased to say Katriona Gilmore (fiddle) and Gavin Davenport (guitar/concertina) continue in that spirit. Continue reading THE ALBION BAND – Vice Of The People (Powered Flight Music POWFCD02)
Lifetime Achievement Awards for Don McLean and The Dubliners
Four Awards for June Tabor & Oysterband
Good Tradition Awards for Ian Campbell and Bill Leader
Broadcast from The Lowry in Salford for the first time Continue reading BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 Winners Announced
The Guide Cats for the Blind album series was produced to raise funds for a project run by the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB). Guide Cats Volumes 1 to 4 enabled the Association to create “EyeT4All”, a programme of life changing computer workshops for blind and partially sighted people. The work doesn’t stop there. With funds from Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’ will empower community centres for blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK to hold “EyeT4All” workshops for themselves. Continue reading Les Barker’s Guide Cats for the Blind Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’
This recording should be a required purchase by every music consumer who considers themselves tuned in. My formative years of the folk-rock scene in the UK were amazing in that I was lucky enough to witness in their full glory acts such as Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention, the Celtic styled JSD Band and Five Hand Reel and the quintessential English sound of the Albion Dance Band and later The Home Service. Of course, it was pretty selfish of us to feel that the band should be exclusively the preserve of the ‘folk’ world and that we, in a way would smother the band’s very existence by classifying it ‘folk’ music.
Still, we’re lucky enough that from the vaults comes this more than welcome release lovingly restored by the band’s lead guitarist Graeme Taylor and released on David Suff’s excellent Fledg’ling Records. This time I hope that the band are given the air to breath and flourish without the stigma of pigeon-holing. In some ways this octuplet (I’ve always wanted to use that term) come across as a traditional imbued Jools Holland Orchestra with first rate vocals (courtesy of the legendary John Tams) and a wind/brass section to die for. Every song and tune on the CD strike the right note with not one track out of place and (all too rarely) leaves you clamouring for more. This is an album that will make you proud to be British without the feeling the music’s been hijacked by some football team or other for their own nefarious purposes so let’s just wallow in the grandiose performances of “Alright Jack”, “Battle Pavanne/Peat Bog Soldiers” and the mellow “Rose Of Allendale”. Still, enough talking…I’m off for a serious dose of nostalgia and hopefully there’ll be many more who will join me in saluting the return of one of this country’s greatest musical ambassadors.
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