Watering the Spirits

9 May


I don’t suppose many people will know this one!

Tom Hall was a Northampton musician and, between 1987 and 1997, we lived opposite each other. Him at 52 Birchfield Road and me at 55. We weren’t mates or anything – just ‘alright?’ and ‘how’re you doing?’ as we passed on the street.  That I never bothered to know him better is a regret. I saw him perform a few times in local pubs with ‘The Bareback Riders’ the ‘Strungout Sisters’ or the ‘Phippsville Rockets’ (we lived in Phippsville) so it didn’t seem necessary, in a blokeish sort of way.

Tom was a ‘character’ with a penchant for brightly coloured and patterned dungarees (a ‘sartorial provocateur’ in the words of an admirer). He’d released a few albums in the 1970s as part of the folk outfit, The Celebrated Radcliffe Stout Band one of which I own on vinyl on the Plant Life label but he was probably too eccentric to  succeed in the ‘business’ despite being a quietly talented musician.

This CD, issued around Tom’s 50th birthday, includes a piece  (Madame October)  with his chum and Northampton’s undoubted  Mage/Top Geezer, Alan Moore.

There are ten pieces on this album and it does have something of a valedictory air about it (especially the poignant and stand-out  ‘John the Road’) but it’s not a sad album – more of a celebration of a life well-lived with enthusiasm and  good humour. All make me smile – especially’ Tales From the Langeman’ and ‘Blues for Jimmy Rogers’ .

Tom Hall died in 2004 and if you ever encounter this CD, buy it.


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