Caedmon: the Netherbow Recordings

So, recently my wife (bless her long sexy legs cotton socks) cleared out the ‘media’ shelves – littered with CDs, DVDs, video tapes and audio cassettes. A few of the video tapes she decided to keep because we haven’t or can’t replace them with DVDs, but the cassettes? They all went into a couple of boxes which I dumped in the bin this weekend.

But when she was sorting them out (bless her shapely thighs cotton socks), she kept back the tapes marked up with the names of bands I’ve played in, dumped them on the studio desk and said ‘you might want to look through these before we bin them’.

Which of course I didn’t.

But then Ken popped down for a sleepover this weekend and I thought I should cast a cursory glance before he arrived (aren’t glances always cursory?). In amongst these dusty records of disappointed hope was a cassette with a typed label:

CAEDMON: Netherbow Arts Centre, A.V.A. Unit. Engineer: George Anderson.

No date, unfortunately.

Well well well, could this be a cassette copy of the long thought lost Caedmon recordings from the Netherbow? (By the way, at the time, the Netherbow top floor was kitted out for radio broadcast interview recordings and the like – we’re not talking Abbey Road here.)

So when Ken arrived, I slapped it into the only remaining cassette player in the house and promptly crashed my computer audio system.

I’ve spent the rest of the day recording the tape into the computer and trying to improve the sound. The quality is poor – it is after all an audio cassette tape which is more than thirty years old, but it does feature some songs which I don’t think have ever been published before.

Track listing
1 Life’s all right (is that the right name?)
2 Worlds and Friends
3 God is Love
4 Tears may Linger
5 London Psalm
6 Caedmon’s Hymn
7 Death Knot
8 Sea Song
9 Sunchild
10 Caedmon’s Song
11 Born to die
12 Give me Jesus

If I’m right (which is not often) there are at least five songs on there that have never seen the light of day, namely

  • Life’s all right
  • God is love
  • Tears may linger
  • Death Knot
  • Caedmon’s Song

I’ve also heard rumours that someone has ‘reel to reel’ tapes of a Caedmon recording. Is this the one?

7 thoughts on “Caedmon: the Netherbow Recordings”

  1. ‘Life’s all right’ is ‘Ivory Tower’ Jim… (you wrote it!). There is a version of Ivory Tower on Kissing Spell’s “Caedmon ‘Live'” but the other tracks are a find.

    David Heavenor says he has reel to reel tapes of Caedmon LIVE. (see responses 1973 – 1978).
    Perhaps George Anderson has the original? Or the Netherbow?
    Has anyone a contact for George?

    Ken

  2. Another lost recording surfaces! This is terrific.

    Give Me Jesus is my favourite recording of yours – I know you didn’t write it – followed by Beyond The Second Mile.

  3. Sorry boys, all I have is memories. I lost all recordings,most of my hair and my sanity many years ago but I can still remember those sessions and Gordon Strachan bringing in a Women’s Guild to discover us recording in our underwear…..the heat! The recording can never have been that great as the equipment was quite basic. I remember cutting the wires to the erase heads to facilitate dubbing of harmonies. Lindsay Robertson might just have a reel to reel as we recorded Ann Mccaig at about that time and he kept some of the originals.If anything sufaces I would love to hear it. I would also love to hear from anyone who was around in those days

  4. Aha! George! I mentioned our escapades to Katrina last year, but you were moving house and incommunicado, and then she forgot. I know she forgot because I mentioned it to her a couple of weeks ago and *then* she remembered. Ken said you’d been in touch and were reminiscing. He also suggested we ought to contact Tom Morton.

  5. “I’ve spent the rest of the day recording the tape into the computer and trying to improve the sound. The quality is poor – it is after all an audio cassette tape which is more than thirty years old”

    If you wish to improve the sound of an audio cassette then it’s best to start with a good quality deck, not necessarily “the only remaining cassette player in the house” in order to produce the best analogue signal prior to digital conversion. Even if the tape was originally recorded on mediocre equipment then a quality hi-fi deck in good condition will result in a more solid-sounding output. Why not pick up a second-hand Nakamichi -the Rolls-Royce of cassette decks- on eBay (on account of their age, and perceived obsolescence, they’re nothing like as expensive now as they were in their ’80s heyday, when they could cost anything up to ten times the cost of an upmarket record turntable!)? I have two ‘Naks’ myself, one I bought new in 1986, and the other is 28-29 years old! Both blow any iPod into the dust!

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