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Current page: Notice Board
FINALLY: DETAILS ON SPANISH AND UK CONCERTS!
HOLLAND - THE FINAL CURTAIN TOUR
MESSAGE FROM CHRIS
UK CONCERT POSTPONED!
CHRIS SIMPSON INTERVIEW ON DUTCH WEBSITE
MAGNA CARTA ON LOCAL DUTCH TV STATION
PHOTOS DUTCH TOUR COMING SOON!
LATEST NEWS: CONCERT IN SOEST ADDED!
CHRIS SIMPSON INTERVIEW ON RADIO APELDOORN
NEW DUTCH INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS SIMPSON ONLINE
8th CONCERT ADDED TO DUTCH TOUR
THE FINAL CURTAIN
DAVID BOWIE AS I REMEMBER HIM
MARTIN'S CAFÉ RELEASED ON CD
Just in: details on the upcoming two confirmed Magna Carta concerts in Spain and one in the UK in March.
All information can be found at the Calendar page.
Despite his illness (pneumonia) Chris Simpson managed to write a lengthy piece about the last Dutch Magna Carta tour in November/December. At the end of this piece you'll find links to lots of photos from five of these concerts. The direct link to this page is here!
Dear all and everyone.
After some stunning dates in Holland the Grim Reaper has had a go at finishing me off...
Not yet my friends!
Pneumonia has hit me for six so we have to postpone the Clitheroe Grand Theatre concert until March.
Chris, December 22, 2016.
Last week we announced the first British Magna Carta concert for 2017. Unfortunately, due to Chris Simpson being ill, this has to be postponed! As soon as a new date can be announced, we'll let you know at this website. Let's all hope and pray for a quick recovery!
After the sold out concert at De Amer in Amen, Drenthe, the Netherlands, Chris Simpson was interviewed for Dutch music website Livestreammagazine.nl by Jolanda Bansema and Henry Knegt. You can read the full article here!
Magna Carta visited the studiocomplex of Omroep Ede in this Dutch town. They performed some songs and were interviewed for a programme called Mooi Zo. Here's the link to see this segment.
We have collected photos from most of the concerts during the la(te)st Dutch tour; these will be published on this website very soon. Do YOU make photos (or good quality videos)? Please don't hesitate to send them to the webmaster. Thank you!
Magna Carta has added an extra concert during their last Dutch tour, on Wednesday November 30th at Allurepark 't Eekhoornnest in Soest (where the band always stays when they are in the country). Details on the Calendar page.
On Tuesday, November 15th, you can listen to a 30 minute Magna Carta Special on Radio Apeldoorn, promoting the concert on November 25th in that Dutch town's Gigant theatre. The special can be heard between 21.30 and 22.00 local time (so: 20.30-21.00 UK time), as part of the weekly 2 hour programme called 'RockRevival’. Besides Magna Carta music there will be a live interview (by phone) with Chris Simpson. You can listen to the programme directly via the station's website. Repeat: Saturday November 19th. between 23.30-midnight local time (22.30-23.00 UK time). It's also possible to listen to the special at a later date on the website's special 'missed programme' feature.
This morning (November 3rd, 2016) an interview with Chris was published on Dutch Soundz magazine's website, by editor Jean Paul Heck. It's in the Dutch language, by the way.
The Dutch Fields Of Eden Tour will end on Sunday, December 4th, at Theater 't Pand in Gorinchem. Please go to the Calendar page for details.
I think every act/artist decides to retire with appropriate fanfares, and then discreetly appears as large as life again!
Sinatra was great at that.
The Beatles never did.
We did our fair share of that. The Carré, etc., etc.
A man has to stop somewhere - and I have been out there across the world for 47 years.
Adventures beyond compare.
From the Himalaya to the Rain Forest, from North Yorkshire to Accrington, from Damascus to Baghdad, from hanging out with Bowie, George and Ringo, the Royal Family, 'Seasons' live in the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, then sharing a camel skin bag of water with a Bedou (the last of the desert nomads) in the Wahiba sands (Oman).
I always told my father 'I want to be an adventurer'. I was, am, and always have been. The music took me every which way and further.
I thought we'd only ever make an LP. Now here I am. 23 albums later.
9,000,000 records sold so far (I never got a penny. The manager did. But God has a sense of humour. He is dead. I am not). I still have and love all the gold and silver albums.
78 countries toured...
The scenario has changed.
We are doing great gigs with RAM (Rock Artists Management'). We pick and choose.
Suddenly there is a faming interest in my books.
We owe Holland so much.
So many adventures. Fricandels. Mosselen.
Dawn highways, and ever the love. The sadly late Herman Brood, who dived to oblivion off the top of a Hilton, to Jan Akkerman and me playing J.J. Cale, to the bandits, crooks, self-styled entrepreneurs, assholes, vagrants and no-hopers… we survived.
I wrote 'Lord of the Ages' and so on. It had to come from the heart. I gave you all I could. You gave it back to me.
This last weekend I was in Krakow with a beloved friend.
We went to Auschwitz. I cried in my soul and in my heart.
I had written 'Wish it Was' - and so many more, and looked for the good. It was there all right against horrendous odds.
But the evil was pulsing as it is now. Threatening and pushing against the light. More than ever.
We are here but for EIGHT shows.
The way things panned out I did not want to do any more (tours in Holland).
But I love the land and the people.
We gave them our all.
And again this time you have the very best.
You. With love... it is all there is.
Thank you and come on in and each of you bring 300 people to help it all along.
'Seasons' East Marton, Nr Skipton, North Yorkshire.
Cartoon of David Bowie (ca. 1969) kindly provided and drawn by Ruben van Aefst (Karikatuurlijk).
Chris Simpson was asked by French musician/journalist Jerome Soligny to contribute to his forthcoming book about David Bowie. Jerome who used to know David Bowie very well, is currently working on a «Bowie as a musician» book - with a foreword by Tony Visconti - to be published next year. It’ll feature interviews of about 100 of his musicians/producers/sound engineers… Below you can read Chris' contribution:
More about this project can be found here
We had made the first Magna Carta album using my self-penned songs in 1969 in Phonogram’s London studios. Three of us,- and not at all sure where it would lead. If it would in fact lead anywhere.
We set off across England mostly, playing in the folk clubs that then sprang up like mushrooms in every town and village. We found a ready audience who, much to my relief, loved what we did. In fact the very first gig was in the Coalhole Folk Club in Cambridge, and in we went with ten songs.
These were mostly from the album and we played them all and then, believe it or not, we played them again. Nobody minded and off we went back to London £5 richer and full of the fact that what we had seemed to work.
London then was a stimulating scene roving across Rhythm and Blues, Folk, Rock n’ Roll, and what came to be known later as ’Progressive’.
But the ‘Times they were a-changin’. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez arrived in London and added to the whole cavalcade, kicking down the traces, and heralding the dawn of a new era both in music and fashion. Dylan you could never pin down or categorise. So many have tried and failed in the attempt.
The whole vast rolling gravy train was ignited by the unforeseen explosion of four lads from of a one-time jazz cellar in Mathew Street, Liverpool: which after their 200 plus gigs there, turned into a rock roll Valhalla. No one in their wildest dreams would imagine that a musical Armageddon would come out of a cold, grimy backwater in the North West. A stark and forbidding city leaning wearily on past glories. The Beatles.
This whole scene was a fertile bed that spawned amongst so many, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Free, the Small Faces, the Who and folkwise the Pentangle who based their sound on the unique twin acoustic guitar sound of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, underpinned by the string bass of the brilliant Danny Thompson.
He played on our first album and wrote the sleeve notes. And thanks to Danny, It meant that we were able to play support to the Pentangle on numerous occasions, emphasising the point that as is so often the case, to get the breaks, it is not what you know, but who you know. We were very lucky.
One night on returning from Manchester down the freezing motorways to London, I decided to break the rules and write a concept album.
By dawn I had finished it, written on corn flakes packets glued together to give me more writing space, and containing soliloquys - the spoken word.
Things ran on ahead from there. Gus Dudgeon heard it and wanted to produce it. He saw us live with the Pentangle at the Lyceum and having sold a creditable number of copies of the first album, we were off, so to speak. Gus had learned production the only way, starting off as a tape operator at the Decca studios. He was just brilliant and became a good friend.
The production on the first album was a very unskilled business. Gus was the opposite, great intuition and a studio craftsman. He was also beginning recording songs written by an office boy from DJM records called Reg Dwight, who played in a band called Bluesology. At one point Gus said to me, ‘Oh I wish he and his writing partner, Bernie, could come up with a hit.’
Much later, Reg changed his name to Elton John and the rest is history. Around this time Gus had, I sense, some animosity towards a New York, anglicised, producer, Tony Visconti, over just who did what in a hit recording by a London Beckenham Arts Lab folkie with a pseudo-afro haircut. The artist called himself, David Bowie.
When we discussed with Gus the production of ‘Seasons’ he then said we should have Visconti as an arranger. This was interesting as I noticed that with Elton arrangements, Gus always used Paul Buckmaster from the Third Ear Band.
We met Tony and I was so impressed with his grasp of everything musical. He was lovely. And incredibly skilled. Then aware that we were walking in the corridors of musical greats, we were suddenly in Tony’s house in South London. He was so hospitable.
A lovely fragile Edwardian house, sleeping on the edge of rolling lawns and as Tony pointed out, the ghost of a young girl often strode the grounds beneath a parasol. We sat there with our acoustic guitars to run ‘Seasons’ through with him.
‘Do you mind if a friend drops in’, he asked, ‘he lives upstairs.’ We were fine with that, and a young guy came on down with his wife Angie, and introduced himself. Slim, curled hair, sparkling eyes and I noted, long fingers and a dichotomy in his eyes.
The man was David Robert Jones…He introduced himself as David Bowie. I thought, ‘oh wow, this is a man with a hit record.’ Gulp. We played, on two acoustic guitars the whole 21 minutes of ‘Seasons’. When it ended, David sat on the floor, silent, staring a hole in the trendy, elegant, sandy floorboards, next to Angie…A warm summer breeze ruffled the trees in the garden beyond the French windows, half open to allow the voices of the summer to seep through.
Oh, that the vignette with the parasol would silently parade like gossamer across the lawn beyond David’s head… Silence. As if in silent contemplation of the floorboards, hands crossed over his knees, he said, ‘That is one of the most beautiful things I ever heard.’ And that is the sheer inescapable, fragile beauty of music. Music, ineffable, indestructible, emotive... and evocative, but at the same time heartrending, or uplifting. The triumph of creation. There was always music.
Roll forwards to the next year. Along with Dusty Springfield and an all star cast, we were to perform at the London Palladium for a Royal Charity show. I was delighted to meet David again. We rehearsed our set and played the show. David went out with curls akimbo and sang ‘Space Oddity’ and an assorted, I thought privately, innocuous, collection of tunes. Afterwards, so sadly, I tried to sober up a broken Dusty Springfield.
Then going back to David’s dressing room, we nattered on about rock n’ roll destruction, and then he put his hand on my arm, and said…‘Chris, my dread in this world we are in, is,’…he paused, ‘ I don’t want to be just another one hit wonder…’
‘Don’t worry,’ I said,’ that won’t happen to you,’ but such is the way of things and in our nefarious world, I was not so sure Lady Public is a fickle mistress.
Last time I saw him, I was going up one side of Wardour Street, in Soho, he up the other. We met and hugged each other in the middle of the road. ‘Hey, man’, he said, ‘weren’t you always into that Elvis/Sun thing?’ For sure.
I followed him up into Trident Studios and hooked up with Marc Bolan, then the front runner of an acoustic outfit called Tyrannosaurus Rex. I played a borrowed Les Paul, we cooked our way through an afternoon of Memphis music riffs. For some reason I thought the song was called ‘The Prettiest Star’…
I will never know, but some years later, in conversation with Scotty Moore, Elvis’s guitar player, I asked about Memphis riffs… ‘You had to be born to it,’ said he.
So was my friend for a short while,- David Bowie.
Chris Simpson, Magna Carta.
Magna Carta's 1977 album Martin's Café has now been released on Talking Elephant Records.
The Discography section on this website had NOW finally been updated. All CD albums that were released since 2007 have now been added!
Please note that not all track information has been added yet; please do come back to the website to check if this has been done!
LINKS You can find other websites on Magna Carta in the Links section.
ARTICLES You can read various articles on Magna Carta in the Articles section (updated).
You can read what Chris, Linda and Matt wrote about the farewell concert at the Carré in 2009
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