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Trader Horne

A long time ago, in another time dimension (1970 to be exact) I had shoulder length hair and was into psychedelic folk rock and the like. Around that time I bought an album by a duo called Trader Horne,  British folk-rock with an Olde English, fairy-tale air.  The Album had a Nothern Ireland connection in that one of the duo was none other than our own Jackie McAuley from Them.
Here is the story of that short lived duo.

Judy Dyble was the lead singer with the original Fairport Convention in 1967. She left a year later in 1968 and put a “musician Wanted” ad in Melody maker
When Peter Giles responded by telephone, the call was answered by Judy`s then-boyfriend Ian McDonald. This led to both of them working with Giles, Giles and Fripp, the ensemble which was to mutate into King Crimson.
However, a month later Judy and Ian’s relationship was over and she left.
In 1969 Judy was sharing a flat with an old school friend, and the guitarist Martin Quittenton. Martin`s friend Pete Sears had been jamming with Jackie McAuley.
Jackie McAuley had been organist and guitarist with Them during their “Angry Young Them” period, and when Van Morrison had split the band some of them including Jackie and his drummer brother Pat had kept going, attracting the attention of Los Angeles producer Kim Fowley. He christened them the Belfast Gypsies and recorded with them a spirited rewrite of Gloria called “Gloria’s Dream”, as well as the psych beat track “People! Let’s Freak Out” which they released under the pseudonym the Freaks Of Nature. Then Jackie had briefly formed a band with Paul Brady in Dublin, called Cult, and travelled across Europe and Morocco widening his musical horizons.
Judy, Pete and Jackie rehearsed some songs together with the intention of performing them as a three piece with Judy up front.  Then Pete disappeared (he was very much in demand and went to America to form Silver Metre with Leigh Stevens, and then on to join Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship and just about every other good band in the known universe) leaving Jackie and Judy to form Trader Horne.
The name came from the late John Peel who said it was his nanny Florence`s name (Florence Horne). She was known as Trader Horne, a reference to the explorer and ivory trader, Alfred Trader Horn
…. It was John Peel who had encouraged the duo to continue to perform together.
The duo signed to Dawn (a subsidiary of Pye Records) releasing one album “Morning Way”and two now highly collectable vinyl singles “Sheena” and “Here comes the rain”

Trader Horne then set off on the road. Judy takes up the story here….

And what a road it was. We seemed to be careering from one side of the country to another, then up and down with not a lot of breaks in between. I seem to remember being really tired and as for Jack – well he was doing a lot of the driving as well as playing. At one time we were appearing on a lot of those local TV magazine shows, the ones that followed the six o’clock news. We did travel to Belfast, it was in the middle of the dreadful times there. It looked forlorn in the rain with all the barbed wire. But the welcome at the TV station was warming.
We recruited a couple of extra musicians to play with us, Hugh Thomas on Guitar and Ian Gumblefinger (I do believe that was not his real name) on bass and xylophone. Hugh also helped with the driving, so I guess we must have acquired a van from somewhere, perhaps it was Hugh’s.
One nice memory of Trader Horne. Appearing on a Grampian TV music programme along with Cat Stevens amongst others. The flight back from Aberdeen was delayed by fog, so Jack and I listened to ‘Tea for the Tillerman’ being virtually written in front of our ears, and singing along with it. That was magical.
A single was released called “Sheena”, with a Judy Dyble song on the flipside, “Morning Way”, which became the title track of their only album. It was quite unlike anything either had done before, ethereal and whimsical and imbued with childlike wonder, with Tolkeinesque lyrics and a soundscape fleshed out with flutes, harpsichords, auto-harps and celeste. Assisting on the album were Ray Elliott, on alto flute and bass clarinet, bass-guitarist John Godfrey who arranged much of the album, and Andy White on drums.
Most of the songs were written by Jackie McAuley, whose original intention had been to write a children’s album, but Judy Dyble contributes both “Morning Way” and the beautiful “Velvet To Atone”, which she wrote with Martin Quittenton from Steamhammer. There is also a version of Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” (here titled “Down And Out Blues”), and all the tracks are knitted together with a recurring instrumental theme.
Another single followed the album: “Here Comes The Rain” backed with “Goodbye Mercy Kelly”.
Trader Horne were due to be launched at a festival set up specifically for the purpose, the Hollywood Music Festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Typically, though, Judy had broken up the band (in what she called a “tantrum”) shortly before and went off to get married to Simon Stable. The festival launched Mungo Jerry instead.
The biggest waste of two talented musicians.
Here`s Judy
 again….
Anyway, Jackie and I made the ‘Morning Way’ album, (Brian Patten wrote the sleeve notes) and released a single and then I don’t know what happened. We were supposed to play at the Hollywood Festival but I had some sort of tantrum/brainstorm and ran away from everything. I was living with my husband to be at the time, Simon Stable, DJ and music writer extraordinaire. I left everyone in the lurch and I hereby now apologise to all. So that was the end of that.

Trader Horne continued briefly with Saffron Summerfield replacing Judy, before Jackie McAuley embarked on a solo career. It is hard to imagine an album like this being made today, though at the time it could have sat in your album rack alongside Donovan, Trees, Vashti Bunyan or Keith Relf’s Renaissance. The song Morning Way was included on a retrospective anthology called Paisley Pop, an umbrella title for a genre unrecognised at the time. Listen to this album and time travel to an unrecognisable world.
The pure voice of Judy Dyble can be heard also in the first Fairport convention album and the first version of king crimson’s “I talked to the wind”.

 

As a postscript to this story, there was a Trader Horne reunion in late 2015 when Jackie and Judy got together to perform the “Morning Way” album after 45 years.
They played to an audience of 300 people in The Bush Hall in London where they were joined by Jackie`s brother Brendan plus a band of friends and musicians.

Ernie Graham

Thought I would kick off this new blog by introducing you to very underrated songwriter from Belfast.
Ernie Graham was born in Belfast in 1946,
and was training to be a mechanic, when he joined his first band Tony & the Telstars in 1965, as rhythm guitarist. Graham soon split for England hoping for potentially bigger rewards. It was there that he met another local guitarist Henry McCullough and the two, on returning to Ireland, began putting together their own band, which was initially known as the People. They changed their name to Eire Apparent in a bid for major stardom. That didn’t quite happen, but they came close, the band toured with Jimi Hendrix, who also produced and played on their only album, “Sunrise”(1969). (more of this in a future post)
I remember seeing them supporting Jimi Hendrix at Queens Festival back in 1967, in the Whitla Hall at Queens.

The band broke up in 1970 and Ernie decided to go solo. Eire Apparent had been managed by Dave Robinson, who’d since established Down Home Productions, with Brinsley Schwarz and Help Yourself.
Help Yourself and Graham played Glastonbury in 1971 and also played a gig together in January 1971, as this Melody Maker ad shows:


Having befriended Help Yourself’s singer and songwriter Malcolm Morley, Graham invited the band (and members of Brinsley Schwarz) to back him on his solo album,
which was recorded early in 1971 and issued that April. The Album remains something of a hidden gem, even in the easily accessible treasure chest of today`s digital music.
The album was described at the time as one of the “most hauntingly beautiful albums of the pub rock scene” and as “one of the most distinctive and memorable albums of it`s time”.
It was well-received but sold poorly, prompting Ernie to join Help Yourself for a few months (he can be heard on their second album, “Strange Affair”, released in May 1972, though he’d left them at the end of 1971).



The opening track,  the gorgeous, Dylanesque “Sebastian,” is built on a lyrical acoustic guitar part. Ernie Graham reveals himself to be a songwriter and player of extraordinary sensitivity .

“The Girl That Turned the Lever” could be right off any album by “The Band” and has been describes as one of the finest working-class/folk-style compositions this side of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,

Ernie went on to form pub-rockers Clancy in mid-1973. They released a couple of LPs on Warner Bros. before he went solo again, though he only managed one solo 45, a cover of Phil Lynott’s ‘Romeo & The Lonely Girl’, for Robinson’s Stiff Records, in 1978.

Clancy – Jeka Rose
from the  album “Every day”

Clancy – “Back on Love”
from the album “Seriously Speaking”

Ernie Graham solo single.
Cover of Thin Lizzie  “Romeo and the Lonely Girl”
backed with “Only Time Will Tell”


In the early 1980s, Ernie tried forming a band with Larry Pratt, who had briefly been a member of Clancy, but when this failed, he gave up being a professional musician, worked on the railways, including as a guard on the Orient Express, and was training to become a counsellor, but his “strong alcohol dependence”  caused his health to fail, and he died in April 2001.
He passed on in 2001, ignored by all but the most devoted fans and critical music scholars
You might think this sounds like a charmed CV for a lad born in Belfast, but for Ernie Graham, the phrase ‘the luck of the Irish’ was probably a bittersweet one during his lifetime.
Fame and fortune seemed always to be just an arm`s length away…

Welcome

Having spent the last 15 years promoting and supporting local music here in Northern Ireland and further afield I have finally retired.
With time on my hands and still enjoying local the local music scene, I have decided to get back to my passion which is the history of local music here on the island of Ireland.
Each week I will feature a solo artist or band who influenced me and many other people growing up here in Ireland from the 1960s through to about 2000.
Thiss will hopefully bring back some happy memories for those who grew up here during that period and maybe introduce some new listeners to the music of that era.

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