All On The First Day
Recorded in 1971 and 1972 by John, on a Ferrograph mono tape recorder, at a series of London flats. Mastered at Eden Studios, Putney, London. All songs composed by Tony except Snugglyug, with John.
Notes on the Shadoks Records re-release 2001
All On The First Day by Tony, Caro and John was first issued in 1972, the result of a one-year burst of creativity triggered by a lucky encounter between us - three hippy folkie musicians - and our first decent tape recorder. It all started like this.....John and Tony had met in their hometown, Derby at the age of 11 and played together in various rock bands (called beat groups at the time) from their early teens. They graduated in the mid-60s to the folk club circuit in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire where, like everywhere else on the folk scene, experimentation was competing for attention with the traditional stuff. And if you are wondering where our sympathies lay in this little episode, check out Don't Sing This Song.....They headed off to university in 1967, John to Sheffield and Tony to London. In London Tony met Caro, just arrived from Bristol, and they began playing the university folk clubs together. On graduation in 1970 John came down to London, others joined us and a flat-cum-commune was born.
A lot has been written about the sixties and seventies as a social phenomenon, as a time of upheaval of values. However, at the time we had no idea that we were in some kind of historical transition. We were just being there. For all we knew, the eighties and nineties were going to be equally radical, or maybe there was not going to be any eighties and nineties at all. Vietnam was still raging, the Cold War was at its height and nuclear destruction was just around the corner - or so we thought judging by the Armageddon visions of Apocalypso and Children of Plenty. But man, did we have a lot of fun. The only rule was anything goes, everything is equally valid. Consequently, making candles, tie-dying trousers and getting into alternative mental states were at least as important as John and Caro’s day jobs and definitely more important than Tony’s postgraduate studies. The anarchy, naturally, permeated the music as well. Of course we loved Dylan and the Beatles, but at the time we were probably most impressed with the deliberate do-it-yourself amateurism of the Incredible String Band. Thus, on finding a battered old violin in a junk shop (Meg II) Tony naturally assumed he could play it (You assumed wrong - John). And it seemed perfectly reasonable to play two flageolets - neither of which were in the key of the song - simultaneously on Swordsman of Samoa.
The songs were recorded by John on a Ferrograph tape recorder with track-to-track facility - quite low-tech even for the time, but the best we could do with almost no budget. The machine allowed us to overdub in mono, but only by re-recording the backing track every time. That meant you had to play the part right and mix the backing track in at the right level all in one go - tricky even on a good day. Luckily we didn’t know the rules or we would probably never have started, let alone attempted to mix in backwards guitars and seagull noises in Sargasso Sea! After a while we figured enough people had told us they liked the tracks, and that we had enough outlets through friends, clubs etc., to put it out on a record, so we saved up our cash, chose our favourite tracks at the time and had them mastered at Eden Studios in south London. We pressed 100 copies, we sold them quite quickly, then moved on.... Now, almost 30 years later, the reissue of All On The First Day has given us a chance to reassess what we did and did not include, and to adjust the balance a bit. The EP included with this reissue contains two out-takes from the album - Swirling Sphere and Children Of Plenty, and two tracks we recorded while the album was being pressed - All On The First Day, from which we cannibalized the album title, and Forever and Ever. These two tracks - both live favourites - benefit from us having just found a wonderful new lead guitarist, Simon Burrett, who had his own recording contract (with a band called Frame). We still play with him today.
Shortly afterward we augmented the band further with Jonny Owen (Caro’s brother) on harmonica, Julie Doré (Tony’s sister) on backing vocals and Rod Jones (another childhood friend from Derby) on keyboards and started gigging in earnest under the name Forever and Ever. We played the rounds of the London colleges, worked with various drummers, and all in all had a great time. A few rough recordings remain of those gigs, including some reminders of pleasing audience responses and one graphic episode of Tony getting electrocuted and being catapulted off stage at University College London. Despite minor setbacks like this, we built up a nice little following but then, as often happens with bands, life got in the way.......we all split for different cities and different careers, kids arrived, the game changed.
Were happy to say, though, that we’ve gone full circle and are together again - living within a few minutes of each other in London, still making music, still writing and recording songs. When we did All On The First Day we just recorded what was in our heads without worrying about what style or musical category we were in. Being under no pressure to deliver or to conform, we were able to jump from unashamed romanticism (Waltz For A Spaniel) to calls for revolution (Children Of Plenty) to trippy dream sequences (Eclipse Of The Moon, Morrison Heathcliffe) to personal angst (Hole In My Heart, There Are No Greater Heroes) with hardly a blink. Although the music we make today benefits from better studio equipment, the same philosophy remains. It’s about how you feel at the time, and its the act of creation that’s important. All On The First Day is about how we felt in the early Seventies - we hope you catch the vibe.
Notes on the Gaarden Records re-release 2010
The band thanks the widely-scattered group of devotees who have kept this album alive through the years - especially Thomas Hartlage, who dug us up from obscurity in the first place, and Tony Lambright who lovingly nurtured the current re-release. We are always amazed how this shoestring project by a group of impoverished hippies seems to have a life of its own. Huge thanks also to the following; Simon Burrett, Julie Doré, Rod Jones and Jonny Owen, who helped us flesh out the music in later years (watch this label for upcoming live releases!): To Barbara Doré for constant support and encouragement: To ArtManiac (whoever you are) for putting all our tracks on YouTube: To Beach House for covering Snowdon Song (Lovelier Girl).
And John, in case there was ever any doubt, this re-release confirms that you’re still here. We love you, man.
Also the label thanks:
Gaarden Records would like to thank Tony and Barbara Doré for being into this idea, Noel Javier for his infinite design and layout wizardry, Michael Lambright, Anthea Zeltzman, Alex Scalley for putting us all in touch, my family for their support and Mom for not minding that I spent the baby money you gave us on these records. She has plenty of stuff already...