The other day I had an order from a Bandcamp customer for a couple of albums including Roadblock. Just getting an order of any kind is a morale booster, but this was special as it was the last CD copy of the Roadblock album, which I put out in 2008.
I don’t know how many I had printed at the time, but I suspect 200. Now I’m down to two which I’m keeping for myself.
It was pretty much self-recorded and self-produced (I was using Cubase at the time); the experience led me to work with more expert producers – Daniel Davis, Gerry Callaghan and Jennifer Clark – for the subsequent albums. Having said that, it’s quite good and I would venture that Come With Me as an arrangement and production can stand alongside any of the tracks I’ve done with other producers.
I played most of the instruments myself, except for Mary Robbs on violin on a few tracks and Nelson Wright on djembe on one.
Of all the albums I’ve done it’s definitely the darkest and saddest. Roadblock, Anywhere But Here and The Spell wallow in melancholy, but the only completely upbeat rockers are When I Came Home From Egypt, and I’ll Be Back.
When it came out I was gladdened to get a positive review from prog journalist and King Crimson biographer Sid Smith. ‘A crisp production presents acoustic-based songs laced with some dreamy slide guitar, arctic Lanois-style trimmings and some gorgeous violin flourishes and arrangements.’ He was full of praise for the most melancholy tracks but disliked the upbeat ones. See the review here.
The photos for the sleeve were taken by the late Andy McFarlane on a walk through the area in South Queensferry known as the VAT Run.
Nelson, Mary and me at the Roadblock launch gig at The Lot.
How have the songs fared since then? Come With Me is still in the Heaven Sent repetoire and is probably my favourite of all the songs I’ve written. We’re now rehearsing When I Came Home From Egypt to get that onstage again. Best of the Blues and Anywhere But Here feature occasionally in my solo shows. Anywhere But Here actually got into an American independent film called Godot where it was played over the closing credits.
After Roadblock I went on to work with Daniel Davis for All The Time In Heaven, which is probably just as melancholy but somehow doesn’t wear it on its sleeve so much.
Anyway it was nice to be reminded of Roadblock and to see someone interested enough to buy the last CD copy!