Here’s another (hopefully) interesting digression for those of you who have been following my rambling yarns about the songs on my retrospective AFTER THE DAM BROKE.

Back in 2013, when I was re-mastering the songs for this compilation with Steve McGough at Stebbings, a journalist called Grant Gillanders walked in with a cassette tape (remember them) of songs he’d been given by Dennis ‘Nookie’ Stott.

‘They’re songs he recorded with you in the late 70s,’ Grant said.

I was ecstatic. This tape represented my first foray into the songwriting world after I chose to walk away from the stage in 1977. I’d long since lost the songs after handing my copy of them to a publishing company in 1978. It was a delight to hear them again.

Here’s how the tape came about:

I’d written a bunch of songs and contacted Kevin Furey, (who’d played guitar so brilliantly on GARDEN FRESH), to ask whether he’d like to play on the demo sessions.

At that time Kevin was lead guitarist for a group called Chicane comprised of Dennis Stott/drums, Viv McCarthy/Bass (both from Larry Morris’s Rebels) and Graham Gill from the Dallas Four on keyboards.

Much to my delight Kevin not only agreed to get involved but also assured me that all the guys would like to do the session. That proved to be a real bonus. Not only did I get a rock solid band but also some bloody good backing vocalists as well — they could all sing.

In next to no time I found myself rehearsing with them on Sunday mornings at the INNER CIRCLE (aka The Flying Jug) in Avondale. And within weeks we were laying down tracks in Mandrill Studios with Dave Hurley engineering.

All of this was great fun for me. Despite working with fantastic studio musicians when recording, I was not used to playing with a band. My live shows were usually just me accompanied by an acoustic guitarist, like Chris Thompson or Dave Marshall or, occasionally, with Mike Harvey on piano.

So rehearsing and playing in the studio with a rock band was a huge buzz for me.

We recorded about 8 songs in this demo session and I’ve often regretted not recording and releasing some of them myself since they came to nothing. For nearly 40 years they’ve lain forgotten on the shelves of a publishing company in New York that refuses to return the songs to me. This is an all too familiar tale in the music worldly, sadly.

However, thanks to the foresight and safe keeping of Dennis Stott, the songs are no longer lost to me and it’s my great pleasure to share some of them with you now. While the quality of the cassette tape leaves a lot to be desired I hope you’ll enjoy them anyway.

If nothing else you should hear why I have every intention of asking Kevin Furey to play on my next demo session.