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Current page: Notice Board

Notice Board - a.k.a. Latest News





MAGNA CARTA - BILSTON, 20 October 2018




Hi, just about Everyone,...

I think firstly, the very best wishes from this side of the canal, and in deepest Huddersfield, for a 2019 that raises it's head above the protracted agonies of a world spiralling into amorphous roads. I am 76 years old and I have seen and experienced riches beyond belief, and not the monetary kind... The heartfelt joy of friends; the endless observations of people on a street; in a bar maybe, or simply a supermarket, and the faces..ever the faces, caught , as my songs have tried to do; painting a picture of what is within.

This year, as most of you know, Cathy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.. (sweet, Lord, it is everywhere, and no -one knows why) She has been a lesson; a monolith (monothithos- a stone of power and standing) of fortitude and encompassing optimism. She took the whole programme on board down the year....the dreaded 'chemo'. Together we sailed through that, but for all her mind power, I could sense the uncertainty.

Then the 'Radio' (therapy).... I went everywhere I could with her hospital wise, and observed first hand the incredible caring of the staff. It made me see, that we DO have saints (and sinners) here on earth. These wonderful people do not perform a job at all...they are dedicated to a vocation. Blessed by God, long may they run.

Then, maybe, I am trying to let go after 50 years (in May)... In 2018 we played some wonderful concerts. I don't want to do it anymore...and that is what I feel when we go out there, then it takes two minutes to kick in and then that this is the best place in the world to be. On the stage reaching out to hearts.

At this point, I should point out that we do have another saint of a different kind. A sometimes tetchy soul who gets exasperated with my hearty dislike of media... Facebook in particular (in my parlance, composed of people with a delusion looking for an illusion) ...namely the lovely, professional and hard working webmeister (and jolly good egg) Harry Pater. Lord, bless him.

Cathy just put her head around the office door (still attached thank heaven, to her body), to say that she can but send her love and heartfelt thanks for all the love from all the countless hearts and souls who sent undying beams of love to fry the problem at its source. It worked. Me? 'Thank you' barely skims the surface.

And now, Harry having sent me an thrilling Xmas gift, it really made me think. A question down the decades: who, or what is Magna Carta? It is a who host of DVD's... spanning 50 years...

What hit me most? The early footage of a very young band in front of a French film company in London. Me, Glen and Lyell and some 'flower child' cavorting around moored boats on the Thames.. Then, for me, in terms of image (beard and hair) Glen, Me and Davey Johnstone performing 7'O Clock Hymn/Midwinter that took the whole thing somewhere else. Dare I say it, the image was spot one; the music very 70's and but for Davey's untimely leaving for Elton John (Fat Reg) it was timeless... For sure God has a sense of humour.

On through the years. Song after song and some great performances with Linda and Matt, it was only until I sat spellbound, watching a 'Lord of the Rings' sequence with 'Lord of the Ages' as a soundtrack, I figured, ...WOW! Then on to where we are now. A superb line-up (check 'Walk Away from Heaven') up on Middlesmoor, at the top of Nidderdale, and a track from a heralded album, 'the Fields of Eden'.

The excellent Repertoire have just released 'Love on the Wire'... 37 tracks charting the journey. I feel now we might just have turned the circle around to where it began. The song remains the same but the road has changed oh, so much.

On line.... on line... on line... nameless faces locked onto iPads and iphones whilst the High Street bleeds to death... Russia sending out death missives; Media Cold War... Then, God help us, knife crime etc., etc., You all know what I mean.... 'If I had words like a hammer, If I had powers unreal, Then I would tear down Megiddo, I would bring you songs of Love...'

So much has changed, but then again so much has not.

Love each other,

As ever and always,

Chris - 6th. January 2019


MAGNA CARTA will be performing at Hindolveston Village Hall on the 23rd February 2019 from 7:30 PM.

Details on the Calendar page!

MAGNA CARTA - BILSTON, 20 October 2018

"MAGNA CARTA acoustic folk/rock band" (as they are presented on Facebook) was one of the few English acts I was smitten by in the seventies, with a string of albums that remain favourites to this day, especially "Magna Carta", "Seasons", "Songs From Wasties Orchard", "In Concert" and "Lord of the Ages". Their unique brand of "folk" music was no doubt made accessible to my ears by the obvious influence of Simon & Garfunkel and American country and blues.

I got to see the early band just once, around 1976, perched on three stools in a small coffee shop in Egremont on the edge of the Lake District. Sadly I didn't take my camera or tape recorder and can remember next to nothing else, except that we really enjoyed the show.

Fast forward a few decades, during which I thought Magna Carta had simply disbanded, and then it was catch up time - leader Chris Simpson had been plying his trade around the globe with a revolving cast and was still at it, although by now just staving off full time retirement. It was great fun tracking down all the albums I'd missed and reading many tales of the studio and the road. And so it was a delight to see the band again last month for the second time in a couple of years and to hear Chris's trademark sound through songs new and old. Here's hoping for more - as one of Chris's songs puts it, there's "Life in the Old Dog" yet.

I've just added a few pic's from this month's gig at Robin 2 with joint billing from Matthews Southern Comfort, who played a typically pleasant and melodic set, laced with anecdotes from Ian Matthews.

MC band
Wendy Ross
Chris and Ken
Matthews Southern Comfort

With best wishes, Text and photos: Peter Cross


Chris Simpson received the message below, from John Heaton, about the new Magna Carta album "Love On The Wire". John gave his permission to publish it on this website, thank you for that John!

Landed yesterday & I was right!

Just as you canít have too much beer or chocolate, you canít have too many Magna CD's. A sort of Best Of, if you will, but with the difference that itís live recordings.

Any live performance - be that sport or music - has an excitement level that TV or studio finds hard to replicate, so this double album is more than welcome.

At the risk of sounding like a psychophantic old git, your music has been one of lifeís great pleasures for most of half a century. I donít think a day goes by without me humming Magna songs to myself, so this particular album brings back all sorts of happy memories of Magna gigs across the years.

Nearly all in the north of England or down in London. Back in the late 70s there was another Chris Simpson who attended Magna gigs in London. A student at Kings, if I recall, so tracking yourself at so many years range!

Itís great to hear the slight style differences between the different eras, but underlying it all is the same beautiful weaving together of words & notes in harmonious fashion.

My only tiny carp is that youíve written so many great songs that they canít all be got onto a double album!

Lord of the Ages, Two Old Friends, Wish it was, Putting it back together, Wild Bird, Strangers in the Land of Ulysses, Mixed Up Sensations, Greenhow Hill, etc.

Yes, thereís got to be room for a Live on the Wire 2, says he cheekily...

In the meantime, the yesterday face with the Stan Gordon moustache is smiling down on you.

Have a great weekend - whatever youíre getting up to. As a Northerner in exile, I will be going to Ebbsfleet to see the local team play Harrogate Town.

Another trip down memory lane. 50 years plus since I watched them on Wetherby Road.

See you!


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