The 1978 Album

The 1978 Original Album:

01. Ten Maidens Fair, Ken Patterson
02. Maker Man, Ken Patterson
03. Death Of A Fox, Jim Bisset
04. Sea Song, Simon Jaquet
05. Aslan, Simon Jaquet
06. Beyond The Second Mile, Sam Wilson
07. Living In The Sunshine, Jim Bisset
08. Storm, Caedmon (the band)
09. Columba’s Song, Jim Bisset
10. Smile On Your Face, Simon Jaquet
11. Caedmon’s Hymn, Caedmon (the poet) & Jim Bisset
12. Give Me Jesus, traditional spiritual

The Studio

The album was recorded in a tiny home studio in Edinburgh – known to aficionados as ‘Barclay Towers’. No idea what kind of technology was involved, save the incessant fiddling with EQ to try and filter out the buzz of a fluorescent light strip over the cooker that was inadvertently left on during one take.

We recorded over two successive Sundays and mixed at a third session. It was four track reel to reel recording ……. live with occasional overdubs.

Instrumentation

For us as musicians, highlights included using a cup and teaspoon to create the latin style percussion on ‘Maker Man’.

For the recording we borrowed Ever After’s Fender Rhodes but still depended upon my own Crumar Compac Piano which had three sounds: piano, clavichord and harpsichord. I bought it for £100 second hand. There was no touch sensitivity, but it seemed very modern at the time. All organ type sounds were played using the piano setting whilst sliding the volume control from 0 (when hitting the key) to the appropriate volume, to avoid the attack at the start of the note.

‘I played an Ibanez classical guitar on Maker Man that was bought in 1969. I sold my ‘Smiley Joe’ banjolele to raise money for the transaction. I’ve recently been buying ukuleles again to use in primary school work in my region!

The cello was a German instrument from around 1890.

The Album Sleeve

I designed the sleeve with a black Rotring pen on 3 sheets of paper, one for red print, one for brown and one for gold. The Kissing Spell CD replaced gold with green. The buff base colour was intended to be lighter, but inexperience or miscommunication with Blackwoods the printers (famous for The Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, 1817 – 1980) resulted in the colour that collectors now own. I had a few books of celtic designs as well as having an interest in Roger Dean (Yes album covers) and storybook illustration (Arthur Rackham, Mabel Lucie Attwell, Charles Heath Robinson & Bilibin), these influences are more evident on Charisma Folk Club posters from the time.

Sam handwrote the sleeve notes and Angela the lyric sheet insert.

The single was included because the intended six tracks per side on a vinyl LP proved impossible to produce and we didn’t want to leave tracks 6 and 12 unreleased’. Ken Patterson.

10 thoughts on “The 1978 Album”

  1. I find the history of the making of albums to be such a joy….and surprize. You hear these fantastic albums with near mythic reputations and really mind boggling sounds and arrangements…..and discover years later that these great artifacts were put together by a group of students or unrelated musicians who never stayed together that long and were recorded in a front room somewhere !
    I was reading up on the recording of a truly great LP, “The Truth” by D.R. Hooker and was amazed to discover that the band on the album weren’t a band at all but a fledgling group of musicians that only rehearsed for a short while before recording that tour de force.
    Caedmon’s album, because christian bands in Britain were few and far between at the time {though interestingly, Scotland had a few of the more edgy groups that made records in the early 70s/late 60s } is all the more interesting. I have to say that it would be interesting regardless of when it came out though. It stands up there with anything I’ve heard in the folk rock dept of the time, be it Fairport, Horslips, Spud, Steeleye, Parchment, Waterfall and others. I’ve long felt that fame, big budgets, great instrumentalists/singers, state of the art studios and hot dog producers count for nothing at the end of the day……if you simply don’t have the songs. And whether they are brilliantly recorded or not, good songs will nearly always shine through. And Caedmon’s album has those in droves. It’s well recorded too !
    I can’t quite remember how I first came to hear of the album. Last year, or maybe the back end of 2006, having thought I had a pretty comprehensive knowledge of “christian” rock of the late 60s and 70s, I discovered that in fact I did not !! And I subsequently, over a period of 18 or so months discovered literally hundreds of groups of that era that I’d never heard of and lo and behold, despite what John J. Thompson says in his good book “Raised by wolves”, that most of these groups didn’t record, actually, bucketloads of them did. In all kinds of circumstances, {be they buddies in a bedroom, groups using downtime in “real” studios, bands recording as a means of testing studio equiptment, students playing while at college/university and laying down an album of their reportoire, outfits just recording live at a gig} people layed down their music and I am grateful that they did. Perhaps a little selfishly, I’m kind of glad that these artists stayed outside the mainstream and didn’t kowtow to commercial constraints (well, some of them didn’t ! ). It gives a slightly different slant to the music and where they were coming from and also gives a certain retrospective kudos to it all. I hope that doesn’t sound daft, but I know what I mean !
    Great album, in every way.

  2. Thanks for your contribution Grimtraveller. Have I spotted a Bruce Cockburn connection? Isn’t there a song of his under that title?

    His ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are?’ is a particular favourite of mine. And have you noticed the similarity (in looks and talent) between him and our own Simon P Jaquet?

    Ken

  3. After considerable effort, I finally got a CD of “Caedmon.” I
    noticed that the first split-second of “Ten Maidens Fair” and “Give Me
    Jesus” are clipped. I wondered if this was a manufacturing error or
    if the master tapes were somehow damaged?

  4. I’ve just listened to my copy in iTunes (loaded from an original CD) and I hear the same (“en maidens fair…” and just the first part of a strum missing). I guess if anyone has a record and record player (that won’t be Jim) they could check whether it afflicts them as well. Whilst Simon (I think) has the master tapes I don’t think any of us is near anything that could play them (would David H’s tape deck do it?).

    IIRC the original tapes went off to be mastered with a note reading “noise gating required on some endings”. It may be that there was some overenthusiastic gating used on the beginnings as well.

  5. To Ken,
    Yes, definitely a Cockburn connection. A grim traveller in dawn skies……I discovered his music by accident about 21 years ago and it just knocked me out. Still does, actually.

  6. Re: older recordings remastered:
    I’m a recording engineer by trade and would be very interested in helping restore any previously unpublished live or studio recordings. I would also love to try to produce copies of “Ten Maidens Fair” and “Give Me Jesus” that are not clipped.

  7. How is Angela ? When I was an animal nurse in Halifax she worked with us for a time and that’s how I got my Caedmon LP. Its journeyed a bit with me – I went to Canada last year with thoughts of living there – decided against it and amongst the few items I brought back with me to the UK was my Caedmon LP. Pass my best wishes to Angela if she remembers me – I was the Scottish one who liked folk music!!

  8. Hi mac man,

    I’m sure with a little wit and ingenuity, PPL could probably find a few places to download the album on the wonderful web whether we like it or not.

    In the meantime, we’ll bear your impassioned plea in mind as we look towards our 40th anniversary celebrations.

    Thanks for your interest and support.

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