Navigation image Click here to return to the welcome page Return to the welcome page Click here to see a list of Magna Carta's recorded works Click to see list of forthcoming events See the Guest Book, and make a contribution Hear some clips from the band's albums Click here to see articles written about and by the Band Click to see the story of Magna Carta Click here to see biographies of Chris, Linda, & friends Thanks to all who have made this web site possible Click here to see the Notice Board Click here to see our privacy policy Click to find the Magna Carta management and adminstration details See the site's Hit Count statistics See a photograph of Harvey Sprout

Current page: Notice Board

Current page: Notice Board

Notice Board - a.k.a. Latest News



TFOE-albumcover


CONTENTS:

20th CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL, ONTARIO, CANADA

PHOTOS 20th CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL

50 YEARS OF MAGNA CARTA

GEORGE NORRIS R.I.P.

MORECAMBE CONCERT CANCELLED!

DETAILS GEORGE NORRIS' FUNERAL

GEORGE NORRIS SINGS HUNGERFORD BRIDGE

GEORGE HENRY NORRIS - Passed away on April 2nd. 2019

R.I.P. GEORGE NORRIS

REACTIONS FROM FRIENDS AND FANS

MAGNA CARTA CONCERT IN LANCASHIRE IN MAY

CANADIAN CONCERT CONFIRMED

GREAT REVIEW OF 'LOVE ON THE WIRE' ALBUM

HINDOLVESTON - NORFOLK. Saturday 23rd. February

A NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE FROM CHRIS

NORFOLK CONCERT IN FEBRUARY

LOVELY MESSAGE ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM



20th CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL, ONTARIO, CANADA

5632

Chris and Wendy photographed by Don Wolan


Chris Simpson wrote:

I was more than delighted to hear from the Mayor of Ingersoll after Christmas, inviting us one more time to play at the Festival. What was so very sad, as it was to be the last time. Twenty years and this then was it.

Ted Comiskey, the wonderful and vocally talented Mayor who is the lynch pin of the whole event, has finally had enough of the responsibility and the effects of a demanding role. I just felt honoured to be asked yet again.

Outward bound on Air Canada (infinitely better than Transat) on July the 11th, we were picked up by Julia at Pearson Airport down the miles and on through the evening traffic jam out of Toronto. We made it in good time and checked in to the Comfort Inn a tad on the weary side, for long haul was ever thus.

The wonderful Will Stock and I went with Julia to Chucks, a kind of up market roadhouse specialising in fine steaks and noise. We knew so many people there. The noise mostly consisting of alcoholically unkempt youths baseball hats on back to front, eventually ebbing away and we had a great time.

Friday 12th we hit the main stage shortly after friends from Holland, and the wondrous Beaker Granger (a committed Yorkshire patriot) on drums. Superb. Ken Nicol, as ever living up to his Steeleye Span past, spellbound the audience with superb guitar, mandolin and vocals. The bouncing Penguin herself, Wendy Ross no less, on violin. Stunning as ever. Will Stock, from Richmond, North Yorkshire and a bass player right out of the top drawer. I hung on in there with the songs.

Saturday was Workshops and as ever, we played three venues with other great players. Valdy springs to mind, one of Canada's vintage players and a true troubadour, and the New Zealander, Graham Wardrop who does things with an acoustic guitar that enter into the realms of disbelief. My now long gone and old time friend David Bowie would have been blown sideways by Graham's version of 'Space Oddity'.

A few more beers, then finally on Sunday, the last one. We got a monumental reaction and so sad that that was, as they say the end. The day before was my birthday and this spilled over into Monday.

We went up to the Six Nations Reservation, and then in the evening a wonderful collection of souls at Ted and Sherrie's for my full birthday bash. Never to be forgotten.

Tuesday we checked out and up to more hospitality with Steve, Cathy and Leanne. Down the road with Julia to Pearson, and some tears, for that was the end of a chapter.

Never to be forgotten, for in the vastness of Canada Ingersoll shines like a jewel in a crown.

Chris.



PHOTOS 20th CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL

All photos by Don Wolan


3603

The Comiskeys: Chris, Sherrie and Ted


3990

Wendy & Chris


3999

Will Stock


3881

Graham Wardrop from New Zealand. He plays unbelievable guitar


3894

Beaker Granger who played drums and Ted Comiskey who organised all the Festivals


3979

Beaker Granger


3978

Ken Nicol


3977

Chris

3996

Chris' guitar en Ken's mandolin


3995

Wendy


4046

All musicians with Ted Comiskey


4434

Will Stock on fretless bass


5640

Chris


5371

Chris & Daniel de Jong



50 YEARS OF MAGNA CARTA

On May 10th 2019, it's exactly 50 years ago that the first ever Magna Carta was held, at The Coalhole Folk Club in Cambridge!

Webmaster Harry Pater wrote a lengthy article for Dutch online magazine Classicrockmag.nl - because that's in the Dutch language we can now provide you with an English translation, done by Chris Abrams.

You can read the full story here



GEORGE NORRIS R.I.P.

George's funeral

Chris Simpson wrote: "The funeral for George took place near Bedford on Friday 3rd May. It was a blessed occasion with heartwarming stories of the George we all remembered.

He touched the hearts of so many in his life with his voice and guitar and I do believe round the next bend of the road he'll be doing the same.

Go well, old friend, for there, beside the road, stands the pilgrim of the year to be."

Chris Simpson



MORECAMBE CONCERT CANCELLED!

Unfortunately Magna Carta's concert on Friday May 3rd at The Platform, Old Station Building, Marine Road, Morecambe, Lancashire has been cancelled, due to problems with the venue.

Those of you who already bought tickets: please contact the organisation for refunds, phone 01524 582803 or through their website.



DETAILS GEORGE NORRIS' FUNERAL

Several people have asked for them: Here are the details concerning George Norris' funeral:

George's funeral will be on Friday 3rd May @ 3pm at North Hertfordshire Memorial Park and crematorium, Bedford Road, Holwell, Hitchin, SG5 3RT then afterwards at the Bird in Hand for afternoon tea, Bedford Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, SG16 6DZ



GEORGE NORRIS SINGS HUNGERFORD BRIDGE

A previously unheard George Norris recording from quite a while ago in 1992.

Hungerford Bridge




george norris-gruitpoort

George Norris at De Gruitpoort, Doetinchem, NL, 30.09.2011 (photo: Harry Pater)


GEORGE HENRY NORRIS - Passed away on April 2nd. 2019

Chris Simpson wrote this eulogy for George Norris:

George came into my world and the world of Magna Carta -if memory serves me well- in 1980. I was living in Tring at the time and having met George through a mutual friend, Mike Lousada, for some inexplicable reason, he rolled up at Hugh Stuart Hall, Nottingham University, in the guise of our sound man, about which he knew comparatively little. The road is a rare trysting ground, and his first assessment of Magna Carta was somewhat scathing. It did not portend any suggestion of the road we both ended up taking, but on that occasion it was just Glen Stuart and I on stage and he was blown away.

He lived in Bedford at the time, and bit by bit we explored the musical edges of our world, and I realised that much more of a 'folkie' than me, his compass of classic songs and styles was formidable. For instance, sitting in his Mum and Dad's council house one afternoon with guitars, he sang Jimmy Webb's "the Moon's a harsh Mistress" and then "Take it Easy" the Eagles/Jackson Browne classic. Then Lennon and McCartney's "Things we said Today". He had an amazing voice and prodigious repertoire. We had some amazing times.

I played the Tring Festival one Summer, and for reasons that elude me completely, I introduced George onto the stage to perform a couple of songs. He had a wonderfully cookie penchant for wisecracks and hit me with one of his adlibs so in a fit of mindless camaraderie, I broke a Spanish guitar over his head.

He was a small, diminutive figure with an accent not unlike an army drill sergeant. He loved reading but was not blessed with good eyesight, and always wore glasses with lenses like milk bottle bottoms. A later Magna luminary, Douglas Morter no less, offered the theory that in fact George in fact must be endowed with incredible eye sight to be able to see through them...

I then moved up to Yorkshire and George came up there many times. I was writing a lot of songs and we worked on them in a little rehearsal room on the end of my garage we dubbed Funky Plateau. George did a great version of Doc Watson's "Southbound". By then we had added Al Fenn, a truly great gentleman from Cheltenham, and a tasty guitar player too. He and George were a superb double act.

We went into Ric-Rac studios in Leeds, and put down six tracks. Elton's "Rocket Man" I recall was one. I then dreamed up a fictional name for George, Boris Norris and his Hot Blue Fingers. He then pointed out he had a solo gig in a place with an unspeakable name, Potshrigley.

So off we went to turn the world upside down. Not exactly Madison Square Garden, and indeed the organisers were not aware of George's approaching stardom. A piece of A4 on the door sported the legend (in biro) for one night only, 'Boris Norris and his Hot Blue fingers'. Me, Al, the late Bob Duesbury on bass and Boris himself. The audience were underwhelmed, but the Blue Fingers performed as if their lives depended on it, and the maestro almost freaked himself to death, such was the passion he poured into his art. But the world was not yet ready for him.

Then after much rehearsing and alarums and excursions in 1982, we made the 'Midnight Blue' album at Strawberry studios in Stockport, which spawned the hit "Highway to Spain" - lead vocal George. Prior to that, we had completed the first of many British Council tours, and toured India, Nepal, Bangla Desh and Pakistan.

George excelled himself, sporting a voluminous pair of World War Two shorts that flapped around his bony knees like spinnakers and a pair of clip-on sun glasses. He also sported a small recorder to capture the spine tingling flavour of the Orient.

For reasons known only to God, as we meandered down the platform in New Delhi station to catch the steam strain (one of the many legacies of the Raj) to travel to the Taj Mahal, George disappeared in a cloud of steam from the engine then was born off surrounded by a Hindu wedding. He almost missed the train.

He was a great character, and I would much rather remember his prodigious stage energy, his compassion and killer sense of humour and true sense of the ridiculous. We played some great shows across Europe and the world. And so many of the memories were funny.

I had to give a lecture on the Indian trip to an audience of exotically beautiful young maidens who listened to my ramblings in respectful silence... suddenly, there was a sound like a large porker backing into an echo chamber, louder and louder it got ending in a sort of seismic gargle. It was George snoring.

He was not a drinker. The one occasion he imbibed a respectable amount of whisky in the Yemen, he pronounced himself 'just fine' and walked into a wall. Not a fashion statement sort, he bought a pair of cuban heeled boots in Portugal. Over the border after that into the land of the Basques - Pamplona. They had had the running of the bulls the day before and the bulls had smashed our stage to pieces. A new one was built, but VERY springy. On we went and as Douglas rightly observed, watching George's antics, "he's going to get a mic lead wound round those boots". He was right. Suitably pinioned, George who by now had the title 'Captain Snapper' (because he snapped at waiters) fell off the stage into the arms of the audience who thought it all part of the show. Still playing, he was passed back and forth over the heads of the crowd who regaled him with jets of wine from proffered skins. He kept on playing.

Writing this, I realise we have such a legacy of George stories, it would fill a book. He loved Magna Carta and always tried to be helpful. It didn't always work. He bought a big tea thermos to refresh us all on the road. With the flask he had a bag of white powder (milk). We were picked up by the police in Luxembourg who were looking for a dope pusher. They found George's powder bag and thought it cocaine. We were all arrested. Sammie, the roadie and born again Christian, had a pet rat in his coat pocket. He had neglected to tell us about this. A policeman fleeced Sammie and the rat bit the policeman. "God bless" said Sammie. He left MC to follow his real musical love - folk. He could play for hours and the late Lee used to say "listen to him...he's folking again".

He met Jennie and I am sure they imbued each other with a fair slice of happiness then she moved on to the next world some time ago.I know that broke his heart. But now he'll know all the answers and somewhere around the next bend, they'll be getting some timeless music. And Lee will be there, nodding sagely.

He's folking again. You can't keep a good man down.

R.I.P. George. With love and memories,

Chris.



george1

R.I.P. GEORGE NORRIS

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that former Magna Carta guitarist/singer George Norris peacefully passed away on 2nd April 2019.

George was known under his nickname Captain Snapper and was born on December 30, 1945 and he played in Magna Carta from 1980-1982 and in 2011.

George played in a duo called Joint Venture with his partner Jennie Hay, who sadly passed away in December 2017, shortly after George was diagnosed with cancer.

george-jennie

George and Jennie performing in Zevenaar, NL in September 2011


Biography

George wrote his biography in 2011, when he toured The Netherlands with Chris Simpson and Laurens Joensen. You can read it here.

chrislaurensgeorge

Magna Carta 2011: Chris, Laurens and George

Photos: Harry Pater



REACTIONS FROM FRIENDS AND FANS

Tom Hoy wrote:

I first met George in 1975 at the Tring Festival; even then he was a walking juke box. I’m so grateful that we got to spend some time together at the Eekhoornnest where all the Magna Carta ‘waifs and strays’ assembled for the 40th Anniversary concert in 2009. They say people are a ‘one off’ - in George’s case it was true.

Those thick glasses, his hesitant speech, his short stature, his unique dress sense- even the master of description, Charles Dickens, would have had trouble to concoct his unique character - but the bottom line is - he sang like an angel and loved his music.

Rest in peace George; at least there’s a lot of singing in heaven.

With love, Tom


Linda Simpson wrote:

Rest in peace George!

I like to think that you are with Lee now; having a good natter about old times.

All the George Norris stories in the Magna Carta archives will continue to be told, and your many friends across the world will still listen to the recordings and remember concerts.

No one can live forever but not everyone gets the chance to touch so many people in their lifetime.

You have indeed left your mark and will be missed.

Linda


Shirley Abbott wrote:

My name is Shirley and I am Lee Abbott’s widow. George and Lee played together in Magna Carta for more years than I can remember.

Not only was George a fellow band member but he was a devoted friend to our family. He was Godfather to both of our children, Tom, born in 1987 and Pud in 1989. We all loved him dearly.

He faithfully got the coach up to Leeds every August Bank Holiday to be part of our annual Summer Bash. A huge, fun and live music filled garden party. I always had to make sure that there were garlic mushrooms left for George. He happily - and beautifully - played his guitar and sang for hours, much to the delight of the children.

After Lee’s death, I kept in touch with George (and Jennie) but it was clear that he seemed to struggle after her death.

Latterly my texts and emails were unanswered. The last contact we had was a phone call to my daughter, Pud, (in January I think), when he thought he had called Dorothy (his sister, I know). He wouldn’t respond to us trying to contact him afterwards and we were concerned for him.

We have lost a minstrel, a man with a beautiful voice and kind heart. The world was not always kind to George, he didn’t get the breaks that he deserved. It has been a privilege to have him in our lives, an honour to know him and we have been blessed to hear his beautiful voice and musicianship.

I have an image of George and Lee, beyond the Pearly Gates, greeting each other warmly and happily chatting about the old days, jamming and retelling hilarious stories of a bands life on the road. It warms my heart.

With kind regards.

Shirley Abbott
Tom and Pud



dougchrisgeorge

Magna Carta ca. 1981 in Brielle NL: Doug Morter, Chris Simpson and George Norris (photo: Doug Morter archive)


Doug Morter wrote:

I have just learned of the passing of George Norris, my fellow band mate in Magna Carta, from 1980-82, although George and I came from different directions, we had a special time together touring all over Europe and the Middle East, also playing the re-union concerts together. A real character, George was blessed with a unique voice, and, affectionately known as Captain Snapper, due to his penchant for wearing a rather jaunty sailor captain's hat, and a penchant for being abrupt with waitresses, he will always be remembered as being a true 'one off'.

I have so many stories and memories, and along with The Chief, Chris Simpson, we will always cherish those memories. In fact the last memory, and conversation I had with George, was at the funeral of fellow band mate, Lee Abbott, who also left us far too early.

IP George, never forgotten, and the stories will always be told, because they bring joy to all who knew you, and more joy to those who wish they could have.
Sincere condolences to your family,
Doug Morter


John Shepard wrote:

Very sad to hear the news today that George Norris (aka 'Captain Snapper') has passed away, age 74.

I have very fond memories of playing on my first tour with him in Norway with MAGNA CARTA acoustic folk/rock band, and him taking a lot of the lead vocals on the first recording sessions I did with them. A lovely man with a voice of an angel, here he is singing one of Magna's most played songs, Highway To Spain. RIP George.

John Shepard


Laurens Joensen wrote:

Dear George, rest in peace old picking friend.

It was great playing with you.

Your spirit and music will always be there...

My love goes out to you and all your family and friends.

Laurens


Walter Goyen wrote:

R.I.P. George Norris. George was a singer/guitarist in the UK band Magna Carta in the 80's and at some reunion concerts. I first saw him live in 1982, just after the release of the "Midnight Blue" album. Some years ago George and Jennie visited our house for a dinner. Such sweet people! I made this photo in 2010, at Amsterdam Carré, at the Magna Carta Farewell concert (although they never stopped). Thank you, George!

MC Carré 2009 by Walter Goyen

Magna Carta at the Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam, 2009: Chris, George and Doug


Hans 'turf' Veen wrote:

When I was asked to be tour manager in 2011 in Holland, George was there and every gig we were so fortunate to hear and see him play songs the way only George could play them.

And before and after the gig he was the sweetest guy to make fun with and make fun of, like only the English can.

I feel privileged having known him even for a short period of time.

R.I.P. dear George... I won't forget you...

Hans



Suzan St Maur wrote:

So saddened to hear of George's passing. What a talent! I knew George before he had even heard of MC, when he would come and guest at our folk club in Stony Stratford (home of the Cock & Bull story, no connection) which is now part of Milton Keynes (definitely a connection). He would either perform solo or sometimes with a lovely lady with a very powerful contralto, named "Saffron".

My most electric memory of George was watching him perform "Mule Skinner Blues" whacking the daylights out of a 12-string acoustic guitar that was nearly as big as him, and threatening to break windows two streets away with his vocal rendition of this great classic. Thank God we didn't have amplification and microphones at that club, or he would have set off an avalanche on Mount Snowdon.

Wonderful guy who will be much missed.

Suze StM (used to sing as Susan Denver)



Bill Prince wrote:

I knew George for almost 50 years, although our paths diverged when both he and I moved away from Bedford.

You may remember a gig at Bedford Civic Theatre when Martin Simpson was brought in at very short notice as a replacement for Diz Disley. I remember George in a bit of a flap, until I managed to get Martin to come. What a night it was!

Bill Prince



Pamela Ward wrote:

It is with deep sorrow I have to say goodbye to my dear friend George Norris. We worked together as session musicians on numerous projects associated with Brewhouse Music. Not many people will be aware of his work as a children’s entertainer. We recorded many songs for a Danish production company with songs and rhymes for young learners of English. The projects were Act Respond and I Can Sing A Rainbow and we had enormous fun recording them. Our versions of The Hokey Kokey and Old Macdonald Had A Farm were memorable. George was also known in Japan for a short while in 1998 as we recorded songs together for an album titled Songs Of The British Islands at the request of the British embassy in Tokyo to celebrate Festival UK which was going on in Japan all that year. We recorded 14 tracks together for that album.

A man of many and diverse talents he could step up to perform at the drop of a hat. I was one of the judges at the National folk festival a few years ago and George had been booked to do a 15 minute spot during the judges deliberations for a music prize. Poor George ended up playing for over an hour as we judges took so long to decide on the winner. He took it all in his stride.

I also have George to thank for tickets to a Lonnie Donegan concert at The Stables in Wavendon. George never drove and relied on public transport. One afternoon I received a phone call from him explaining that he was the support act for Lonnie Donegan later that night. He was able to get to the venue but the last bus home left before he finished his act. Any chance of a lift in return for a free tickets to the concert? I of course agreed and the concert was wonderful. George was superb.

George was a most gracious and generous man; always keen to promote and encourage others to be the best they could be with his inimitable style and support. I remember times when I would go tempo rubato but George was unflappable and would stay with me all the way. A superb guitar player and accompanist.

I am with you George. Thank you and God bless.

Pam Ward.


george on boat
george and jennie

The photos:

One day George thought it would be a good idea to organise a Riverboat Shuffle. He hired a boat and with about 40 friends we cruised up and down the river at Cambridge with wine, good food and instruments. It was a lovely sunny day and we sang songs all afternoon. I took the photo on the boat. George is standing and Jennie is sitting on the right hand side. I took the other photo of George and Jennie at a singaround at our local folk club. (photos by Pam Ward)




george

George rehearsing in the cabin in Soest (photo: Harry Pater)


Harry Pater wrote:

The first time I saw George Norris was on March 13th, 1982 during the concert at the famous Pyramide Club in Emmen, the town I lived close to. This was a great venue, where I have been able to see many Dutch and international acts, like Frankie Miller, Harry Muskee and 'my band' Lumberjack.

Well... I just wrote that I saw him, this must be corrected: since the stage in that venue was very low (maybe 20 centimeters high) and since it was very crowded and standing room only, it was almost impossible to see any of the five musicians present (next to George were Chris Simpson, Doug Morter, Lee Abbott and Adrian Shepherd). They could all be heard perfectly, but I only saw a glimpse of them. In those days it wasn't like nowadays, so after the concert had ended we went home, so we didn't meet the musicians.

When the 40th Anniversary/Farewell concert was held at the Royal Dutch Theater Carré in Amsterdam, on May 11th, 2009, I was there, of course. Invited personally because of my work as Dutch press officer and webmaster. I had a perfect seat, row 2 in the middle of the venue, so a great spot to take photos (and I made hundreds that night). It was a wonderful concert and it was great to see so many former Magna Carta musicians doing their parts, including George Norris, who sang a beautiful version of Highway To Spain. After the show I met Tom Hoy, Doug Morter and George, all for the very first time. It was great to chat to them, but because so many people wanted to talk to them, it was just for a short time.

As you all know this farewell concert wasn't the last, because one British and one Canadian concert followed as well as a solo concert by Chris in Belgium. In September that year Chris went to South Africa, with Tom Hoy joining him. In 2010 Nick Hall joined Chris for a concert at the Harrogate Festival and in September 2010 another South African tour with Nick.

In the summer of 2011 Chris told me that he would be doing a Dutch tour in the autumn, with George Norris and Laurens Joensen joining him. They did 16 concerts that were very successful! The day before they started the tour I went to see them in their cabin at 't Eekhoornnest in Soest, the holiday park they have been staying since the 1970s. George immediately made me a nice cup of coffee and it was great spending the afternoon with these three musicians, with lots of humour by all of them. Later top photographer Paul Bergen came for a photoshoot, which I had also done about an hour earlier.

I went to see them on several occasions, including the concert at the local Gruitpoort theater. After the soundcheck we all (including tourmanager Hans 'Turf' Veen and Walter Goyen) went to a nearby Italian restaurant to have pizzas. I was sitting across George and that was very nice and funny. The show went great, as did the others I went to.

I just want to say that I am grateful to have met this very friendly, funny and amazing musician. He will be missed, that's for sure. Rest In Peace, George. Thank you for the music!

Harry Pater




MAGNA CARTA CONCERT IN LANCASHIRE IN MAY

Magna Carta will be performing at The Platform in Morecambe, Lancashire on on Friday 3rd May

More info at the Calendar page




CANADIAN CONCERT CONFIRMED

On July 13th. (Chris' 77th birthday) Magna Carta will be performing at the annual Canterbury Festival in Ingersol, Ontario, Canada.

More info at the Calendar page




GREAT REVIEW OF 'LOVE ON THE WIRE' ALBUM

Below you can read the review of the 'Love on the Wire' album by Steve Pilkington from Rock Society magazine (Nov/Dec 2018 edition).

Read the review hereLotW-review.




HINDOLVESTON - NORFOLK. Saturday 23rd. February

MC1

Tucked away in the Norfolk hinterland, you get the impression that the land sleeps around you.In part this is true, for it is an ancient and mysterious part of England.

Not so long since we played in Sharrington, organised by the boundless tour de force, Chris Abrams. And that was sold out, and delightful. Chris had a hand in this one too, but Colin Wrighton organised this, and once again it was a performer's delight.

The Norfolkians are most hospitable, and truly appreciate us hauling ass (as American truckers would put it) from the north to this sleepy corner of the country. Cathy and I rolled up the night before at Chris and Annie's house to be taken for a fine Thai meal and afterwards for an inspection of his wine cellar. All in all it had been a long day before, with a run through with Ken and Wendy on our Narrowboat in the morning in North Yorkshire; down to Huddersfield to load in, and off to Norfolk. We made it in fine style.

The day after, everyone turned up, which was good, otherwise we'd have looked really silly. We had the inimitable Will Stock on bass (taxi'd down by his lovely girlfriend, Mel) and it underlined the fact that he is indispensable. A great man and a killer player who knows just when to lay in and then back off. We were treated to a magnificent buffet by the Wrightons.

MC2

The Hall filled up and we were off. Magna songs old and new; an intermission, the second half and ending with the Fields of Eden. The reaction was mindblowing, and some people had come a very long way to be there. The whole scenario was aided and abetted by Paul, a superb sound man.

Such a fine feeling, and you only get that with a small audience. It is like a family.

MC3

But sold out is sold out. I'll go for that every time, and thank you folks for being so warm and appreciative.

A few wines back at Chris's and then the day after we headed North again.

A memory to last forever. Long may it run, Chris.

Photos by Chris Abrams




A NEW YEAR'S MESSAGE FROM CHRIS

Reflections upon 2018 - a tumultuous year!

Hi, just about everyone,...

I think firstly, very best wishes from this side of the canal and, in deepest Huddersfield, hope for a 2019 that raises its 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 maybe on a street, or in bars or supermarkets, and the faces, ever the faces, caught, as my songs have tried to do; painting a picture of what is within.

Last 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 to all; a monolith (monothithos - a stone of power and standing) of fortitude and encompassing optimism. She took the whole programme on board down the year including 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 at 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 find I don't want to do it anymore... that is what I feel when we go on stage, then it takes two minutes to kick in and I know 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 hardworking 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 a thrilling Xmas gift, it really made me think. A question down the decades: who, or what is Magna Carta? It is a whole host of CD'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. It captured myself, Glen, Lyell and some 'flower child' cavorting around moored boats on the Thames. Then, for me, in terms of image (beard and hair), Glen, myself and Davey Johnstone performing '7 O’clock Hymn/Midwinter' that took the whole thing somewhere else. Dare I say it, the image was spot on: 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, that 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




NORFOLK CONCERT IN FEBRUARY

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

Details on the Calendar page!




LOVELY MESSAGE ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM

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 can’t have too much beer or chocolate, you can’t have too many Magna CD's. A sort of Best Of, if you will, but with the difference that it’s 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 life’s great pleasures for most of half a century. I don’t 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!

It’s 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 you’ve written so many great songs that they can’t 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, there’s 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 you’re 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!

J



Notice Board for 2018 Right Arrow