Showing posts with label Branch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Branch. Show all posts

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Goodbye to Scots Legend Rab Noakes

Rab Noakes Oran Mor

A Present with no Past has No Idea, Quote Rab Noakes Branch song. Good Roots

So sad to hear the news of our loss of singer songwriter Rab Noakes - what a true gent and legend of Scottish music. Rest in peace. I've had the privilege of taking Rab's photos at several concerts over many years since 2010. 

I’ve had several chats with him over the past decade, both in person and online. I have such fond memories in my twenties we used to sing his early songs. More recently my son played an excellent version of his classic Gently Does It and Moonlight and Gold.

Rab was always a smartly dressed folk singer songwriter, and one of the top guitarist. He drew influences from the 60s radio growing up in Fife, much as his musical hero Bob Dylan did too. While he drew on many influences. The story of the song mattered to Rab, so his chat between songs laid the musical scene and atmosphere.

In the 60s and 70s, Rab played with greats such as Gerry Rafferty and Lindisfarne. When I hung out in the folk scene then, i remember well the harmony singing of Noakes songs, such as Branch, Clear Day, Together Forever. Back in 2007 I saw Noakes still going strong at an Oran Mor gig. He often includes a fifties classic, this time a song my husband remembered his mother singing. He is also a dedicated Dylan follower – check out his excellent version of Dylan’s Mississippi. 


Martha Rafferty & Rab Noakes

Noakes says music is all about the dialogue and more about performing than simply the song. Those residency night gigs were artists can learn their craft in front of the live audience and the live performance when 'flying' in the heart of the music toughens you up and you have to learn loads of songs. He played in Denmark six nights a week.
 Noakes ran his own production company Neon. 

Rab led several tribute concerts at Glasgow’s major music festival. Celtic Connections, for Gerry Rafferty and Michael Marra. I expect we will have a concert for Rab – it’s the passing of a whole generation of the folk scene – and we look forward to the passing of the baton to the younger generations. 

He will be sadly missed, his music lives on and in my memories of my son playing his classic "Gently Does it" and Rafferty's "Moonlight and Gold".


Rab at Milngavie folk club

He has been at the forefront of Scottish folk music for over 50 years, and has recorded over 19 studio albums. He often performed at the Glasgow music festival Celtic Connections. In 1970 Noakes released his first solo recording Do You See The Lights, a blend of easy going country rock, with a line-up that included Robin McKidd, electric guitar and jazz bassist Ronnie Rae, and included songs Too Old To Die, Together Forever and Somebody Counts On Me. In 1971 Noakes was a founding member of the folk rock band Stealers Wheel, along with Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, He played on the first album by Gerry Rafferty’s Can I Have My Money Back, notably Mary SkeffingtonHe also played with the band Stealers Wheel. 

Noakes songs have been covered by Lindisfarne (Together Forever) and Barbara Dickson.

I will post some extracts on his songwriting from my nine RAB NOAKES reviews. 

Rab at a house party

**RAB gig reviews on my blog

2010 -  Oran Mor

2012 -  Concert for Gerry Rafferty

2012 – Milngavie folk club

2013 -  Concert for Michael Marra

2014 -  tour Barbara Dickson

2016 - MFC

2017 – Celtic, Old Fruitmarket

2022 - MFC

Rab with Alice Marra Celtic Connections

Eddi Reader, Rab Noakes, Dougie MacLean

Rab & Kathleen McInnes

Rab & Barbara Dickson
Rab & Jill Jackson

CHATS with RAB 

A gentle, questioning soul – with a generosity of spirit. 

I sat beside him at a couple of times at Celtic press release mornings. I told him of my sons guitar playing but that he lacked confidence, Rab said in his young days, performers laid the ground work playing the folk clubs for years – but today people seem to often expect quick, instant results. I told him my son enjoyed playing some of the folk tunes, particularly Gently Does It – I had taken my son to our local folk club to see Gaughan, Noakes, Dylan at Braehead Arena. My son also enjoyed rock and pop and learned electric guitar and bass from the rock band the Red Hot Chillis!

 CHATS with Rab at Celtic

I sat beside Rab at the Celtic Press launch on Tuesday. He seemed to know me - maybe from his Oran Mor gig, my review and photos for him and his chatting to me on FB. Cool and what an interesting guy. 

He’s a massive Dylan fan too!  I asked him if he mentored younger artists – he said no he wasn’t going to simply give his secrets away! He said that too many young people expected things on a plate, and that they were spoon-fed everything. He had to put in years of graft to learn his craft and he thought that was the way things should be done.  He mentioned all these music schools now where they are simply ‘given’ everything rather than finding out for themselves. 

 

I agree. I worry so many young artists in the folk scene for instance have less depth of character in their voice. He said he enjoyed the thread on FB chat with me - interesting thread he said! I told him how interesting the book festival is, and that many authors are also painters and musicians too. I spoke of the Dylan ‘Forever Young’ photos, probably my favourite of an artist.  He remarked that Dylan had so much character he must be good for photos. And I told him of the Chinese writer who when he paints only listens to music for weeks and tries not to think in words at all.   

 

*On Facebook I posted – “The best music is timeless’

Rab replied, ‘No, the best music is very much of its time, and that a present with no past has no future.’ 





Noakes was born in St Andrews Fife in 1947 and grew up in CuparHe drew influences from the 60s Radio growing up in Fife, much as his musical hero Bob Dylan did too. While he drew on many musical influences. In 1963 Noakes moved to London and worked for the Civil Service, and he played folk clubs at night. He returned to Scotland in 1967 and began a duo with Robin McKidd and they played their first gig at the Glasgow Folk centre. In 1769 he played a months residency in Denmark. Noakes was a founding member of the folk rock band Stealers Wheel, along with Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. 

In 1970 Noakes released his first solo recording Do You See The Lights, a blend of easy going country rock, with a line-up that included Robin McKidd, electric guitar and jazz bassist Ronnie Rae, and included songs Too Old To Die, Together Forever and Somebody Counts On Me.

He played on the first album by Gerry Rafferty’s Can I Have My Money Back in 1971, notably Mary SkeffingtonHe also played with the band Stealers Wheel. He performed with Lindisfarne in 1972, on songs Turn a Deaf Ear, Nicely out of Tune, Together Forever, and Fog on the Tyne. He recorded with Lindisfarne for a John Peel concert and in 1995 produced a Radio 2 programme The Story of Lindisfarne. 

One of Noakes's best-known recordings, "Branch", from the Red Pump Special album, was released as a single in 1974 (recorded in Nashville Tennessee and produced by Elliot Mazer) and received Radio One airplay.  He played on a Woody Guthrie tribute album 1987, and toured with the Veraflames – along with Pick Withers, Rod Clements and Fraser Speirs.


Rab & Gerry Rafferty

Rab & Stealers Wheel



 

Monday, 30 July 2018

Rab Noakes Anniversayville

Thanks so much Rab Noakes for the early hard copy of your new CD - and I am thrilled to have my Photos on there! 
Great band surrounding Rab Noakes Music top songs, some new, some old. Plus backing vocals with Jill Jackson and Kathleen MacInnes.. ...Things get better with maturity! Well done.


In the 60s and 70s, Rab played with greats such as Gerry Rafferty and Lindisfarne. When I hung out in the folk scene then, i remember well the harmony singing of Noakes songs, such as Branch, Clear Day. 
Back in 2007, I saw Noakes still going strong at an Oran Mor gig. He often includes a fifties classic, this time a song my husband remembered his mother singing. He is also a dedicated Dylan follower – check out his version of Mississippi. 

Noakes says music is all about the dialogue and more about performing than simply the song. Those residency night gigs were artists can learn their craft in front of the live audience and the live performance when 'flying' in the heart of the music toughens you up and you have to learn loads of songs. He played in Denmark six nights a week.
Noakes now runs his own production company Neon. 

Some of my Rab Noakes images
Rab Noakes performing at Celtic concert for Michael Marra
Rab Noakes at Celtic with Eddi Reader and Dougie MacLean
Noakes at Milngavie folk club
Rab Noakes at the Old Fruitmarket Anniversaryville concert January 2018

NEW ALBUM 2018 Rab Noakes -'Welcome to Anniversaryville'
https://itunes.apple.com/…/welcome-to-anniversar…/1394881656
One of my favourite Noakes song, Gently Does It
And a few years ago you'd been on this road so long
Now they're building a highway to take you home
Gently does it for a change
I used to think you were just like a mountain range
Your big boots stomped where small men feared to tread
I can hardly believe what I've just read
They say you can't travel any more
But you've got the key to a new front door
And don't you know 'cause you once said it all
When you stand so high you've got so far to fall
Not everyone can look you eye to eye
'Cause you get difficult, dangerous I'm damned if I lie
But we all pay the price
And they place your ante high.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Casting Robert the Bruce! Our Branch Economy


Today they are casting in Glasgow for a big Netflix movie on Robert the Bruce. An English casting director is coming up here to Glasgow, who will get 20%, and who has never worked in Scotland.

Scottish casting agents have been told they cannot participate – a new software was introduced and they were not informed of it – these are agents who have done the casting for big productions such as Trainspotting and Outlander.

The Scottish agents have worked with the Scottish actors for many years and know their strengths and weaknesses. When Brat Pitt filmed here in Glasgow for his movie World War Z a few years ago, it is not always successful to bring in outsiders who don’t know the place, culture, stories or the people.


In both Ireland and Wales they have separate Tv and film agencies and they protect using local crew for TV and film productions – but not here in Scotland. 

The problem in Scotland is that Creative Scotland is too big an umbrella organizing that covers all the creative arts – art, books, music and film and tv. When TV and film are money-making industries that bring in a lot of money and they are not poetry! 


Scotland is treated as a branch economy, where decisions that are often best made in Scotland are being made in London. Being London-centred is not always in everyone’s best interests. Also a branch economy, is always the first to suffer in any downturn.

After the Lyceum theatre lost its photographer a few years back they thought they needed to go to London to get a good photographer. Award-winning photographer Douglas McBride contacted them and said, ‘I am here in Scotland and can do good images for you! ‘

These casting Scottish agents claim this is the first time in 30 years they have not even been allowed to compete. Scottish government money may be involved in the funding for this Netflix production – growth funding.
Yet Scotland will loose out financially. Changes need to be urgently made here for a separate Scottish TV and film agency. There will be a new film studio built south of Edinburgh. 


We in Scotland now have to choose, do we want to continue being a branch economy or run our own businesses?

(PS Casting for men with beards!)

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Rab Noakes at Milngavie folk club

Noakes was among old friends and new on Saturday at Milngavie folk club.
He has many song gems in his studied repertoire - as well as his own quality songs - some unexpected such as Cliff Richard's sing along Dynamite; some hoped for with Dylan's Time Out of Mind outtake track Mississippi; some remembered with his radio hit of the 70s Branch. 

He spoke of Nashville, Lindisfarne, Hank Williams, Joe Strummer, Kathleen McInnes, Monroeville, Alabama.. when he made the comment - 'Where it is easier to get in with a rifle than a guitar!' He holds a relaxed friendly banter with his audience.

Noakes gets to the heart of songs in a real and natural unaffected way. He is a massive Dylan fan and this came over in his interpretations and mood of the songs. It was good to hear him sing the Twa Corbies; his Michael Marra song and his other cover song choices.
SONGS tonight:
Out of Sight, It Happened All The Same, I’m Walkin Here, Branch, Goodbye Blues, Where Dead Voices Gather, Your Clear White Light, Standing Up (Blue Nile song), Slipping Away, Roll on Saturday, Highway 61, Hard Cash The Guernsey Kitchen Porter (Michael Marra song), The Twa Corbies, Mindful, By the Day, Dynamite (Cliff Richards song) Don’t Say Money Doesn’t Matter, Mississippi (Bob Dylan song)

I'm a fan of Rab's older songs …but his new material steps things up several notches and there are many classics in his newer songs. 
His song evolution is interesting and his song writing has evolved and deepened with more subtle undertones and story-filled lyrics. From his Americana and rock n' roll country blues, to his east coast Fife influences - they are all here.

I strongly recommend the new album for the song quality and the live one take recording standard. Rab's music challenges in a subtle way and his songs gets under your skin along with his melodic quality guitar playing and vocal expressions. 

Noake's NEW ALBUM has the title I'm Walkin Here - based on the Dustin Hoffman film midnight Cowboy when Hoffman says to a taxi driver , I'm Walkin Here'  - and has collaborations with Barbara Dickson, Roddy Hart, Jill Jackson, Jimmie Macgregor, Alice Marra, Emma Pollock, and more.  This is a 2 CD - one with new material the other with older songs. http://rabnoakes.com

Noakes was ably supported by guitarist and songwriter Rowan Ross. http://www.rowanross.com/


Noakes is a Scottish singer songwriter who played with Stealers Wheel with Gerry Rafferty and also with Lindisfarne.


Friday, 28 December 2012

Rab Noakes Milngavie Folk club Dec 2012

For a man who's been touring for a very long time Rab Noakes looks fit and well. He was asked how long had he been singing in front of people and he answered that he thought it was about 60 years but that it seemed like no time at all. In fact 'it didn't too seem a day too long.'

Noakes guitar playing is both melodic and assured. He has written many memorable and thoughtful songs, that are sometimes full of pathos, over his career in music - such as Branch, Eden's Flow, Clear Day, Together for Ever, and Turn a Deaf Ear. He mixes folk, blues and rock n roll styles. He played with well known Scottish singer songwriter Gerry Rafferty in his pop-folk band Stealers Wheel in the early 70s. I first heard Noakes songs in my twenties when we had singing sessions and his songs were always favourites for harmony singing.

During his long career there has been influences by a wide variety of music from skiffle to the Rolling Stones. He mentioned guitarist Dot Watson, who was his first reference point, and said that he enjoyed 'rootsy' country music rather than 'pop' country. He saw The Rolling Stones in 1964 at the Barrowlands and explained that in their first albums they were gatekeepers for many to interesting blues artists, such as Rufus Thomas's 'Walkin The Dog' which Noakes performed.

Noakes had an older wooden guitar with him as he likes to use different guitars for different melodies. His latest album 'I'm Walking Here' will be Tin Pan Alley and 21st century Skiffle Music.

Noakes enjoyed sharing his fond memories of his musical career and had many interesting anecdotes. He remembered phoning Dylan's manager about the old Scots songs that Dylan sang on his Bootleg album in 1961. He frequently mentioned Gerry Rafferty, whom he remembered with great affection and said when he first met him he was an unassuming young man from Paisley with all these outstanding songs. Noakes explained that Rafferty often used the day as a metaphor for life in his songs. He spoke of the Humblebums' Concert at the City Hall in 1969 and how after Rafferty died in January, 2011, he strummed a guitar melody about the loss for a long time. Eventually, while at an art gallery in London, Noakes wrote words that seemed to work with the melody on his smart phone. The song was the poignant 'No More Time', which Noakes performed in his second set.

He spoke of the recent loss of another legend, Scottish singer songwriter Michael Marra. He described Marra as a master of location and brevity, with words that resonated wider. He performed Marra's 'Oh No More Will I Roam No More, It's Over.'  Noakes is organising a concert in Marra's memory for Celtic Connection 2013 called 'All Will Be Well'.

During the interval a fan asked Rab to sign his vinyl of Red Pump Special, and Noakes reminisced about the day the photographs for the back cover were taken in Edinburgh.

SET (1). Brighter blue, Blues Around Me Now, That's the Way the Whole thing Ends, Out of The Blue, Walkin the Dog, Branch, Light in my Heart, Seeing is Believing, Turn a Deaf Ear,
SET (2)  Highway To Take Me Home, Absence, Goodbye, Oh no more will I roam no more, it's over, ( Marra), Bye Bye Blackbird, No More Time, Moonlight and Gold, That's the Way the Whole thing Ends, Encore: See what booze has done for me, Mississippi,

Rab is quiet and unassuming, and his demeanour, look and sound remind me of Buddy Holly and those 'Americana rock n' roll week day blues'.  He hails from St Andrews.
I especially enjoyed his song Gently Does it (Standing Up album 1995). He is a big Dylan fan and for his encore sang a excellent version of Mississippi. I was pleased my son came and he has been playing this song since the gig.  Nice to hear!

Noakes says music is all about the dialogue and more about performing than simply the song. He spoke of those residency night gigs were artists can learn their craft in front of the live audience and the live performance when 'flying' in the heart of the music toughens you up and you have to learn loads of songs. He played in Denmark 6 nights a week. (I hope those residency nights are not in the past with those large tv screens so prevalent in bars nowadays?) Noakes now runs his own production company Neon.

It seems to me that these intimate venue gigs enrich and soothe the soul. His new album will be called I’m Walking Here – and will be Tin Pan Alley, 21st century Skiffle Music.

Noakes was supported by Colbeg,
It is fun for me to follow the older folk tunes and folk artists alongside the newer pop music songs. I begin to wish some of these older folk artists would collaborate more with the younger musicians.

A two way street though. Experience and wisdoms might be passed on and the energy and enthusiasms of the younger artists could inspire and innovate. Mumford have cleverly mixed dance rhythms with folk tunes to great success.
 Gently Does It
  • (Rab Noakes)
And a few years ago you'd been on this road so long
Now they're building a highway to take you home
Gently does it for a change
I used to think you were just like a mountain range
Your big boots stomped where small men feared to tread
I can hardly believe what I've just read
They say you can't travel any more
But you've got the key to a new front door
And don't you know 'cause you once said it all
When you stand so high you've got so far to fall
Not everyone can look you eye to eye
'Cause you get difficult, dangerous I'm damned if I lie
But we all pay the price
And they place your ante high.