News, Views & Sweaty Shoes
As you may have read elsewhere, my long-time comrade, Andy Weaver, has died. I first met Andy in the Spring of 1995. He was playing solo, as Chicken Legs Weaver, at the Grapes, Sheffield, and throughout his performance I could hear a Double Bass - my Double Bass! After the gig, I introduced myself. Over the next 10 years me & Andy shared alot, not just the ups & downs of a band struggling to make an impression, but also life's difficulties.
The highlight of our friendship & musical relationship has to be our trip to Ithaca, upstate New York in February, 2003 to record with Johnny Dowd. I left Chicken Legs Weaver at the end of 2004. Me & Andy stayed in touch until early 2008 when he & his wife, Joi, moved to London. I never saw him again. At some point they moved to Bristol to be closer to Andy's family but in late 2012 Andy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Treatment went well, Andy feeling strong enough to arrange to play at Sheffield's Club60. Sadly, on his way to the gig, he became ill and was unable to perform. He was admitted to the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield and died on July 23rd.
Andy was, of course, a great blues musician but I believe his real strength was that he was a team-player, working with the musicians around him to create something new. Personally, I'll miss his energy & enthusiasm, his commitment to music and the sound of his voice. But most of all I'll miss those 'remember when' conversations that we'll never have. Thank you Andy Weaver, it was a privilege - I'll never forget. Nx
As always, my favourite gigs of last year.......
2011 was not a great year for me.................some good gigs though!
2010 - some of the best bits........
If you're a regular visitor, you may have noticed that Baby Long Legs aren't doin' much - I think it's fair to say that we've split up! Not because of musical differences, or a major fall-out, it's just that sometimes life gets in the way. Proper jobs (3), Babies (2) & Mortgages (2) have all colluded to make it virtually impossible for 5 people to get together & make music occasionally. I'll miss it, it was great fun.
Anyway, me & The Wheel have continued to rehearse as an acoustic duo and
now have a collection of songs to perform as 'House of Charms'. Our first
gig will be at The Cremorne, London Rd., Sheffield, supporting Bertie
My good friend, Thorpe Hesley, has been very busy recently. He's created a web-site dedicated to the memory of Don Valley & The Rotherhides (1986-1992). www.donvalleyandtherotherhides.com is very much an on-line archive of all things Rotherhides, featuring bucket loads of photos, flyers, press cuttings and rejections! There's also more music than you can shake a stick at, and the opportunity for you to add to the collection. Enjoy, I did!
Long, long ago, before electricity had reached South Yorkshire, Don Valley & The Rotherhides decided to make a video for the track 'Dreaming of the Day that Margaret Thatcher's Dead'. They roped in local film-maker Steve Jinks, who managed to get hold of one of them Steam-Powered Video Cameras. And now, 23 years later, the result can be seen on YouTube. One or two people in it look vaguely familiar, if you can tell me who they are, please get in touch - it's been a while!
Neil McSweeney has a new album out and I'm on it! It's called 'Shoreline' and I play some minimal Double Bass on 3 or 4 tracks. For more information please go to www.neilmcsweeney.com
Baby Long Legs have 2 tracks included on the new Sheffield compilation CD 'Everyday Music for the Average Person'. 'Hard Boiled Egg' & 'Eventually' were recorded with Alan Smyth at 2Fly Studios some time ago! The CD also includes tracks from Balor Knights, Benjamin & the Goliaths, Matt Black, La Folie, The Letter & YoYo Static with artwork by Jon Birdseed. The CD will be a launched at the Grapes on Friday, September 4th and will also be available from Record Collector, Broomhill.
Here's the usual.......2008.
The Listeners, Grapes, Sheff. 19/3
And them DJs.........
Karma All Stars, Airy Fairy, Sheff. 4/10
Baby Long Legs have released an album! 'The Grey Doesn't Matter' is a collection of tracks from 2 recording sessions - 1 with Alan Smyth, the other with Simon Banks. At the moment it's only available at gigs. Some tracks can be heard at myspace.com/bllband, if you'd like a copy but can't get to a gig then please leave a message there.
Favourite gigs of 2007
Scaramanga Six, Grapes, Sheff. 17/2
Baby Long Legs are going to be playing Live on the Radio soon! No, not that radio, BBC Radio Humberside. We'll be on 'Raw Talent' on the evening of Sunday, August 5th. The session will be syndicated to other BBC Radio North stations and is available on-line here.
OK! I surrender, I submit, I give in, I now have a Myspace site. www.myspace.com/nortonlees It has a selection of live photos from my indistinguished career and at some point it will have an alternative 'History'. One day, if I pull my finger out, it might even contain some of my own music!
Right, 2006, some of the best bits...........
The Carol-Anne Showband, Earl, Sheff. 21/1
Credit where Credit's Due..........
Brian & Ash for the small & perfectly formed Grapes
Baby Long Legs recently had a video made as part of a music video competition, '2 Weeks 2 Make It'. It was made by Sally Eldin-Dalziel & 'Little Heroes', a team from Sheffield Hallam University, using the track 'A Nice Idea'. As the competition title suggests, it was quite a rushed job! Is it any good? you tell me, you can watch it at YouTube.
Baby Long Legs have released a 3 track CD. The 'Beards at Dawn' EP features live favourites, 'A Nice Idea', 'It's Not Funny' & 'Floor Turtle'. All tracks wre recorded at G2 Studios, Sheffield, earlier this year. It's available at gigs and on-line at The Laundrette.
Don Valley & The Rotherhides will be reforming
to take part in a
celebration of the life of Linda Smith, who died in February. Linda was
based in Sheffield for many years and shared the bill with The Rotherhides
on several occasions. There will also be appearances from Betty Spital,
The Chuffinelles, Jeremy Hardy, John Hegley & many others.
The event will take place at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield on
I seemed to spend more time in clubs last year, but still saw some great gigs - these were the best;
Benjamin Wetherill, Grapes, Sheff. 8/1
Shefstock, 30 & 31/7 (My, how you've grown!)
Ian Hutchinson (Rumpus) has put a band together recently to perform material he's written over the last couple of years. 'Baby Long Legs' is; Ian - acoustic guitar & vocals, Dave (Rumpus) - drums, Me - that bass thing wot I do, and the duelling guitars of Hannah (ex Yamaguchi) & Dan (Supersonic Winds of Neptune). It's great fun but may be a short term project, so see it soon or miss it! 1st gig at the Boardwalk, Sheff. supporting Aziz, Thurs. Oct 20th
04/08/05Chicken Legs Weaver have a track on the recently released 'This Is Punk Rock Blues Vol I' compilation album. The track is 'Street Cleaner' which was recorded by Lyndon Hobson at Axis Studios, Sheffield in February 2004. This turned out to be my last recording session with Chicken Legs, the aim being to record demos - presumably, Punk Rock Blues Records were impressed! For more details, go to their website. (www.punkrockblues.co.uk)
As you may have noticed, I've not been gigging with the lovely Hazel Leigh of late, due to her other commitments. However, we have managed to finish a mini-album! It was recorded & produced by Justin Morey, and we're both really pleased with it. There won't be an official release until we start working together again. If you can't wait that long, (and it could be a long time), then get in touch to obtain a very special copy. Enjoy the summer - I will, Norton.
There's a 'new' Chicken Legs Weaver album out! It's called 'Wishbone Hands' and is a limited edition, vinyl release on the Ecstatic Yod & Shagrat labels. It's a collection of live recordings from 2001/02, with the wonderful E.J.Tankersby on drums. I haven't heard it yet, 'cos I ain't got a turntable, but I'm told it sounds really good. In Sheffield, you can get it from Jacks Records. On-line you can get it direct from the Ecstatic Yod Store and various other distributors.
Nobody has ever asked me for my 'Best of 2004', or any other year, and I doubt if they ever will. Now I've got my own site I'm going to do it anyway. I saw some excellent gigs last year, mostly by unsigned bands. These were my favourites:
Damien Rice, Octagon, Sheff. Univ. 19/2
After a lot of soul-searching, I've decided to leave Chicken Legs Weaver - musically,
it's the hardest decision I've ever made - but I feel it's the right
one, and time to move on. I told Andy, Mik & Martin in September
that I'd be leaving at the end
I'd like to wish Chicken Legs good-luck and all the best for the future. Thanks to Martin Bedford for all the time & effort he's put in, to Mik Glaisher for his energy & commitment to the cause. And finally, a massive thanks to Andy Weaver, we've been making music for almost 10 years, and been through a lot together. Andy, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
I've finally done it - got my very own web-site together. Of course I didn't do it on my own - Big thanks to:
Nick Robinson for his expertise & patience, Trish for all her help, support & creative input, Olive Grove, not only for being there, but also for remembering some of it.
All those who have contributed photographs.
And finally, a huge thank you to all those who I've shared music with through the years - it's been a privilege.
Please check back soon for some proper news!