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Current page: Notice Board

Notice Board - a.k.a. Latest News



TFOE-albumcover


CONTENTS:

SHORT NEWS

VIDEO OF DUTCH TV APPEARANCE FOUND

LORD OF THE AGES UP IN ANNUAL DUTCH TOP 2000

VIDEO FROM THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL CONCERT

GREAT NEW ARTICLE

THE FIELDS OF EDEN ON VINYL?

MAGNA CARTA AT THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL 2015

FINALLY: THE MUSIC VIDEO!

AIRPORT SONG IN DUTCH TOP 1000

MATT'S BAND'S NEW VIDEO

ANOTHER GREAT REVIEW

CHRIS SIMPSON: MR. DALES' DIARY

CHRIS SIMPSON: THE ONLY ROAD HOME

SHOOTING A VIDEO

MAGNA CARTA - THE FIELDS OF EDEN

FIVE STAR REVIEW IN RECORD COLLECTOR!

FIVE STAR REVIEW IN CLASSIC ROCK SOCIETY MAGAZINE!

NIGEL SCHOFIELD REVIEWS THE FIELDS OF EDEN

ANOTHER DUTCH REVIEW

NIGEL SCHOFIELD REVIEWS "LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL"

CHRIS SIMPSON INTERVIEWED

CANADA 2015

VIDEO FROM CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!

DUTCH REVIEW OF THE FIELDS OF EDEN

MAGNA CARTA BACK TO CANADA!

MAGNA CARTA VIDEOS FROM 1971!

WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK OF 'THE FIELDS OF EDEN'

JUNE 15th...

THE RADIO INTERVIEW

NEW MAGNA CARTA SINGLE

MATT's BAND SUE THE NIGHT

THE 'LISTEN IN' AT SOEST

WORLD PREMIERE 'THE FIELDS OF EDEN'

ALL ABOUT HETTIE'S CONCERT

FINALLY: DETAILS ON THE PROMISED "DUTCH EVENT"

THE FIELDS OF EDEN COMING SOON!

HETTIE'S CONCERT SOLD OUT!

HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK

LINDA PLAYS GRASSINGTON AGAIN

THE CONTINUING STORY OF THE CONTINUING STORY #7

DOUG MORTER’s NEW CD

THE CONTINUING SAGA

COMMENTS ON THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL ALBUM FROM MAGNA CARTA FANS

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MAGNA CARTA!



SHORT NEWS

Chris Simpson has been at the legendary Abbey Road studios, mastering the new vinyl releases to be issued by Repertoire – probably in March 2016, but the date has not yet been officially confirmed. His full story of the visit, plus confirmed UK tour dates should be with us in early January. Exciting times for Magna Carta!



VIDEO OF DUTCH TV APPEARANCE FOUND

A video of Magna Carta (Chris and Linda) appearing on a Dutch TV show sometime in the 1990s has been found on YouTube. Thanks to Ruben van Aefst who spotted it and told us. It's a recording of Terminal Case Of You credited to Linda Simpson & Magna Carta. This link is now also on our Videos page. If you see any other Magna Carta (related) video that's NOT on this page, please don't hesitate to contact the webmaster! Thank you and... enjoy!



LORD OF THE AGES UP IN ANNUAL DUTCH TOP 2000

Magna Carta's song Lord Of The Ages from the album of the same name is again featured in the annual Dutch Top 2000. This list has been compiled by listeners of radiostation NPO Radio 2. The song is now at # 1346 (last year it was at # 1379). It will be played on December 27th between 10.00 and 11.00 local time (09.00-10.00 UK time). The full list can be downloaded at this link. Top 3 this year: # 1 = Imagine-John Lennon, #2 Bohemian Rhapsody-Queen and #3 Hotel California-Eagles.



VIDEO FROM THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL

On the 5th of December Magna Carta performed at the Great British Folk Festival at Butlins in Skegness, Lincolnshire, England. Here's a link to a video of the closing song of the evening, Uncertain Times, with lead vocals by Laurens Joensen, Doug Morter and Chris Simpson. On violin Wendy Ross, on bass Will Stock and on drums John Shepard.



GREAT NEW ARTICLE

In the November/December 2015 issue of Classic Rock Society magazine there's a great (2 page) article based on an interview with Chris Simpson, written by Steve Pilkington.

Here's a direct link to the article (pdf), so you can read it for yourselves. The magazine will be in the UK shops shortly and can be ordered through this link.



THE FIELDS OF EDEN ON VINYL?

Several people have asked us if the new album will be released on vinyl. So far the answer was “we don’t really know”. This is still the case, but after contacting Talking Elephant Records about this matter, the reply was “at the moment we don’t have plans to release a vinyl edition.” We (Magna Carta and the record company) would like to know how many people would be willing to buy a vinyl edition. Please note that it would be a double album (because it wouldn’t fit on a single vinyl album), which would probably cost about £ 20 – 24; this is because producing a vinyl album is much more expensive than doing a cd.

We would really appreciate it if you would let us know if you are interested in a vinyl copy and are willing to pay £ 20 – 24 for it. Please let us know by e-mailing us through the webmaster. Thank you very much in advance!



MAGNA CARTA AT THE GREAT BRITISH FOLK FESTIVAL 2015

Magna Carta will be playing the Great British Folk Festival at Butlins in Skegness, Lincolnshire, England, on Saturday December 5th, 2015 (the festival is from Friday 4th to Monday 7th December); this is just confirmed!

As soon as we know the exact time etc., we’ll let you know through the website. So please do visit the website regularly!

Some info on the festival: the location is Butlins Resort, Skegness, Lincolnshire, PE25 1NJ, England. Tickets: from £79 for weekend Read more at this website!



FINALLY: THE MUSIC VIDEO!

The music video accompanying the Walk Away From Heaven single is now ready. This video was shot in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales by James Wall. Here's the complete version... just click here to watch it in its full glory on YouTube!



AIRPORT SONG IN DUTCH TOP 1000

Dutch radio station NPO5 Nostalgia is broadcasting the NPO Evergreen Top 1000. Magna Carta's Airport Song is at # 935.



MATT'S BAND'S NEW VIDEO

Dutch up and coming band Sue The Night, which features former Magna Carta's Matt Barnhoorn just released a new single and video called Look Forward. It's the fourth single from their debut album Mosaic. In the video you can see the band on various concert- and festival stages in the previous months. You can see the video here.



ANOTHER GREAT REVIEW

Dean Antony Walls wrote this review on The Fields of Eden

''Tell your Friends, tell your Family, put a billboard on your back and shout it from the rooftops, Magna Carta are back and better than ever before!

Just over 5 years ago on our wedding day, we baptised our eldest son Sheldon George. During a service that will never be forgotten, his Godfather Chris Simpson took to the altar to recite the most beautiful poem for our son. It touched our hearts deeply and probably most people in the little church of St Oswald's in Arncliffe. Whilst passing me the sheet it was typed on, Chris whispered that it may even make it onto his next album. The thought was a lovely one but remained just that until I listened to The Fields of Eden by Magna Carta.

I had been looking forward to hearing the Royal Albert Hall recordings and was not disappointed when I finally did, so to hear that Chris was working hard on another new album was a bonus. I love the honesty, Beauty and flow of his lyrics anyway and the musical composition always gives them harmony but this album is on a different level entirely!

It starts off with some very emotive strings on 'Anemos/Child of the Light' before it blasts into life with' Long Time Running' with Irish American influences and and Chris's voice crisp, clear and youthful. The foot was tapping and the grin was growing as the Slide Guitar crept in at the side of some incredible and at times funky fiddle playing. Great lyrics doesn’t say enough about this track, it is sublime!

I had to stop the album right there and then to listen to that track again, just to see if it really was that good and it was better. The Harmonica and Acoustic Guitar at the start of 'Walk Away From Heaven' reminded me of Cowboy Junkies and led into a very beautiful love song with musical whispers from one of my favourites 'Sting of the Gin'. When Chris sings the title line, you really believe that he would and it leaves a lump in your throat.

'Fields of Eden' with its gentle Piano and Cello talking to one another, takes one on a journey that becomes very personal to the listener, superbly meandering through the Yorkshire Dales landscape with visions of long grass, wild flowers dry stone walls and the inquisitive glance from the odd Lamb or two. A fascinating voice begins to tell a story before another musical adventure begins with hints of Dire Straits and more.

The tracks continue and all with a different twist, 'The Same Rain' follows a very Jazzy groove with much Blues and other influences following on. I could lament about every track on the album but you will just have to listen to it and enjoy where it takes you.

I will however give a special mention to track 7 'This Time Around' and when the words 'Hey little Man...' began, that day over 5yrs ago came flooding back to me. The Beautiful poem that Chris recited for our son on that special day is incorporated into this song that Sheldon will hold close to his heart for ever more. It says much about the Beauty of this man that he would do this but the Fields of Eden Album has Beauty all the way through it, from Chris's Lyrics, to the quality of the musicians surrounding him and the recording of the whole thing is Alpha Omega! One thing is for sure, it deserves a wider audience than it may receive, but for those of us that experience it, we can know for sure that this is a Masterpiece and if this is the shape of things to come, then I can't wait for the next one from the not so 'Old Dog!''

Dean Antony Walls.



CHRIS SIMPSON: MR. DALES' DIARY

Tykes News published a lengthy interview with Chris Simpson. You can read the full article here (pdf file); NOTE: you need a program like the free Acrobat Reader to be able to read this).



CHRIS SIMPSON: THE ONLY ROAD HOME

Nigel Schofield interviewed Chris Simpson of Magna Carta. You can read the full article here (pdf); NOTE: you need a program like the free Acrobat Reader to be able to read this).



SHOOTING A VIDEO

On September 6, 2015 a video for the Magna Carta single Walk Away From Heaven was shot in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Below you can see five photos that were taken on that day. We'll let you know when and where the video can be seen, as soon as we know this!

videoshoot2
videoshoot1
videoshoot3
videoshoot4
videoshoot5

Photos by John Shepard



TFOE-albumcover


MAGNA CARTA - THE FIELDS OF EDEN

The Fields of Eden is being heralded as the greatest album they have ever made. The brainchild of writer/musician Chris Simpson, it is a paean of praise to his homeland in the Yorkshire Dales. He grew up in a smallholding on a hilltop, minus electricity and the turning Seasons on the doorstep. His dislike of towns was inbred at an early age. Currently he lives with his beautiful wife, Cathy, in Huddersfield, but their piece of heaven is situated on a Narrowboat on the canal at East Marton, on the edge of the Dales, a few miles north- west of Skipton. Time stands still there, and ever a world traveller, to come home to the boat is a re-charging of the batteries.

In 1969, and living in London at the time, he coerced an A&R man from Mercury/Phonogram to a session showcasing his songs at the April/Blackwood CBS studios. Simpson recalls that they were 'very rough' but for the A&R man the songs were diamonds. He was plied with liberal dollops of Glenmorangie and Simpson made him sign a beermat as a sign of good faith. He then turned up at Phonogram, Stanhope Place the day after, and argued that the beermat constituted a contract. The A&R man with his brain still in pieces, could not argue. Magna Carta was signed. They set out on the road playing folk clubs.

Two years later after the huge success of their second album 'Seasons' they performed an extended version of the work, together with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in the Albert Hall. Davey Johnstone was still with them, prior to joining Elton John.

Simpson was ever true to his roots. He never played the nostalgia card, simply using his magnificent childhood backdrop as a kind of blueprint from which he regarded the changing world. Nigel Schofield in reviewing the Fields of Eden, claims Simpson is one of the greatest lyricist on the planet. He often uses soliloquys as a means of not only championing the spoken word, but making the point stick The piece also hits home with some thought provoking truths ...' Change, just for the sake of change, goes nowhere. It is the last resort of those whose wells of inspiration have run dry...' and ...'consider, Pilgrim on what ground you stand. The road winds where it will for it has no master, but let your footsteps take you down to the plain and you might just find that the best way forward is back...'

So apart from the Dales, what shaped the man's music? Chris soaked up everything he heard, from Donegan's 'Rock Island Line,' (which fired up a nation of guitar players) to Elvis' Sun sessions; the Everlys; Buddy Holly; Chuck Berry; Jerry Lee Lewis and onwards. He soaked in the music of the time mixing it with a growing awareness of folk music; Country ( he met his great idol, the late Chet Atkins) and the Blues. He watched the fledgling Rolling Stones start, and caught the young Bob Dylan at the Troubadour and Martin Carthy at the King and Queen, Foley Street, London. 'Seasons' was written on cornflakes packets. When they showcased it live at the St. Martin-in-the-Fields folk club, the audience were stunned. Then again in the Valhalla of Rhythm and Blues, the Marquee in Wardour Street. Same result. Quite a pedigree.

Like John and Paul, he also loved the music of the greats, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin and Antonio Carlos Jobim, the master of the samba. If it felt good to his ears, then he took it on board and fed it into the musical lifestream of Magna Carta. If someone had told him back in 1969 he would sell some 8,000,000 albums and, so far, work in 78 countries across the world and be out there playing for 45 years, he would have recoiled in disbelief. Never happy to be branded 'folk', he simply mixed in its richness.

As ever, the lyric was of the utmost importance. He found that in Holland and Germany, his lyrics were taught as English in schools. His classic 'Lord of the Ages' gave hope and strength to the suffering people of Kosovo. After the celebrated Albert Hall concert, Magna Carta were invited to Kensington Palace by HRH Princess Margaret. A few months later they were in the Festival Hall for a concert of poets. The late great, Robert Graves was the shining star and he praised Simpson's lyrical skills. The two of them ended up in a West Indian dive in the Fulham Road, shooting the breeze until sun-up. Rubbing shoulders with the famous and infamous, he refers to great times with David Bowie who, after they had done a Palladium show, expressed a fear that he would be only a one hit wonder with 'Space Oddity.'

And so it has been through the years of varying fortunes until now, when in the Fields of Eden, a mature artist takes a seasoned look at our world with the Dales as a backdrop. For example, up on the hill as a child they were ever at the mercy of the weather. So in the 'Same Rain' he ponders the mystery of a rain that has always been there, and its effect on the ages. One should also mention his guitar playing. As innovative as his lyrics and incorporating the influence of so many styles from Scotty Moore (with whom he shared another memorable evening) to Paul Simon and his idol, the late J.J.Cale, you can know it is him from the other side of a playing field.

The Fields of Eden is on Talking Elephant Records. You can get it from all contemporary outlets and surviving stores. The sessions were at the brilliant Will Jackson's Soundworks studio in Leeds and most of it was recorded live by brilliant players. Don't miss it. It will serve you well!



FIVE STAR REVIEW IN RECORD COLLECTOR!

In the latest issue of Record Collector magazine you can read a FIVE STAR review (5 out of 5) on The Fields Of Eden.

Here's the full text:

The advantage of abundant experience

When respected musicians of a certain age make a new album, the results can often be quite embarrassing. Happily, Magna Carta’s Chris Simpson has fashioned a rich and mature delight that has all the benefits of experience. For The Fields Of Eden he’s worked with a group of musicians who fit together seamlessly on songs that immediately enter your consciousness and sit there like old friends. From the opening overture of Anemos/Child Of The Light, the songs flow beautifully one into the next, with the 16-minute, five-sectioned title track providing a central statement that provides a link to the album’s Arcadian artwork.

Simpson himself gives full credit to his co-producer Will Jackson, whose instrumental arrangements carry the songs so well. Violin lines balance acoustic guitars, the occasional sax and slide guitar, while all the players – including Steely Dan’s Elliott Randall – are totally simpatico with each other. Simpson’s vocals are of a perfect vintage, with even a couple of expressive spoken sections working, making this one of the finest folk albums for many a year.

Talking Elephant | TECD 287 Reviewed by Kingsley Abbott



FIVE STAR REVIEW IN CLASSIC ROCK SOCIETY MAGAZINE!

In the latest issue of Classic Rock Society Magazine you can read a FIVE STAR review (5 out of 5) on The Fields Of Eden. Here's the full text, written by Steve Pilkington:

MAGNA CARTA – The Fields Of Eden (Talking Elephant)

Many will, of course, remember Magna Carta for the massively popular Lord Of The Ages album, amazingly now some forty years ago. With main-man and songwriter Chris Simpson still at the helm, this new album goes closer than anything in those intervening decades to capturing the unique spirit of that milestone recording. With its over-arching theme of the power and beauty of nature in its unspoilt perfection, the album skips through a variety of styles, from the Dylan-esque balladry of Long Time Running and the achingly personal Walk Away From Heaven, through the tongue-in-cheek blues shuffle of European Union Blues and the elegiac majesty of The Wild Geese (The Spirit Of The Wild Northlands). The Same Rain offers a thought-provoking lyric about how nothing ever truly changes, and gives genuine pause to ponder.

Underpinning everything, however, is the sprawling 16-minute centrepiece of the title suite itself, recalling the similarly epic title song to Lord Of The Ages – moving through five distinct sections, from string-laden opening and closing movements to the powerfully evocative poetry of Stonebeck and the timeless message of the self-titled central song itself, this is a triumphant piece of work which cannot help to give the listener pause to reflect on the true meaning and implication of ‘progress’.

All in all, from sleeve art to lyrics to music, this is a magnificent tribute to the beauty, and indeed the legacy, of the unspoilt Fields Of Eden which remain, be it at home or abroad. If you find yourself fortunate enough to live in one of those still-green areas of this sometimes not-so-pleasant land, listen to this album and treasure the fact. Once it’s gone, it can never be recaptured, other than through works such as this...



NIGEL SCHOFIELD REVIEWS THE FIELDS OF EDEN

Respected music journalist Nigel Schofield writes:

The Fields of Eden - Magna Carta

Harvey (via Talking Elephant)

The problem with releasing a classic album early in your recording career (let alone two) is that you set yourself something to live up to, something to be measured against: it promotes the lazy critic to respond “Yes, but it’s no [insert title]”. So…Magna Carta…down the winding lanes that lead from Seasons and Lord of the Ages…despite songs of total brilliance, fascinating line-up changes, international number ones, major ‘turntable hits’, sell-out concerts world-wide and an ongoing clarion of awards…still those millstone milestones loomed large in the receding distance.

Officially, the band called it a day (or almost) on several occasions. The Fields of Eden changes all that. No need for comparisons: this is their best. A collection of eleven new recordings that set Chris Simpson’s band back full square in the heart of the Dales and the peak of their form. There are political observations, worldly wise career commentary and, of course, love songs that reflect the only road home. Home – the Yorkshire Dales – dominates the album in song titles, evocative descriptions and its tone of rugged, uncompromising beauty. Like the classic Seasons, Field of Eden has a suite at its heart. It is not, however, a song suite, but rather songs without words, redolent of Butterworth and Delius, superbly crafted and exquisitely performed that provide the context for the masterful title track and a poem which is probably the finest thing Chris Simpson has ever written, bat none. If you can hear it without uttering an affirmative “yes” then the fault lies not in the star but in yourself.

Not all the songs are new. The sublime Wild Geese comes from the early 80s and finally has the recording it deserves: Walk Away From Heaven and Life In The Old Dog Yet merited a namecheck but no lyric in 2002’s Complete…Magna Carta book. Here they fit in perfectly with the flow, feel and, most importantly, quality of the CD: Life, a live recording from Hartlepool in 1996 serves as a coda (no cheap “bonus track” schmahm here!) and becomes a statement of intent and visionary self-belief in what would be achieved almost twenty years hence.

Nigel Schofield



ANOTHER DUTCH REVIEW

Dutch online music magazine Maxazine published a review on The Fields Of Eden. You can read it here (Dutch language!).



NIGEL SCHOFIELD REVIEWS "LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL"

Live at the Royal Albert Hall - Magna Carta (Repertoire)

Classical concerts and Proms aside, there have been many classic gigs at the RAH – Cream’s farewell, the late sixties Pop Proms, Concert for George, Led Zeppelin, The Who’s Tommy, The Waterson Family and Dylan in ’65 and ’66 (even if the bootleg of the latter was really in Manchester!) Another is June, 23, 1971, “The Meeting of Two Worlds”, as it was billed - Magna Carta, accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted and arranged by John Dankworth. The heart of the concert was a performance of Seasons, already acknowledged as a classic less than a year after its release, with new lavish orchestrations. The event was recorded, but never released: instead we got In Concert, recorded in Amsterdam, in 1972, a rockier affair that didn’t include Seasons.

The Albert Hall Concert recordings have become legendary: over the years, rumours have abounded – the tapes turned out to be unusable; they had been accidentally wiped; destroyed; lost; discarded during some kind of rationalisation. Perhaps what Chris Simpson still refers to fondly as “the night” now survived only in memory. No truth in the rumours, as it turned out. In the face of record company denials, Chris discovered the tapes still existed, tracked them down and organised their belated release.

So how has it turned out?

First of all, forget about inferior recordings or damage tapes: the sound here is superb: moreover Chris and Dave Ashton have done an exemplary job of mixing and mastering. The first seven tracks are what you’d expect to hear at a Magna concert in ’71: a track apiece from the last two albums; three from their first; a song and a supercharged banjo version of Mason’s Apron to showcase new recruit Davey Johnson. Then comes Seasons.

Imagine, Vaughan Williams hearing Chris Simpson rather than turn of the century source singers: what you hear here might have been the result – intricate, considered arrangements that develop, extend and enhance original melodies while remaining faithful to them, providing a setting and a background for the work which is breath-taking. Magna Carta deliver a performance of a lifetime. The piece, delivered as a single track, an integrated, contiguous whole, lasts just short of 37 minutes. It alone is commanding evidence for saying Magna Carta are the most unjustly overlooked band from the late sixties cross-over of electric and acoustic music: herein, folk, medieval, hard rock and prog interplay with the spoken word and astonishing vocal harmonies, all of which is enhanced by a setting informed equally by post-classical and jazz. A heady mixture, to be sure, whose inability to be defined or pigeon-holed are part of the reason which histories of sixties genre-rock tend to omit them. They await rediscovery by a new generation.

I bought the LP (for such it was then) a couple of weeks after release: on replaced vinyl, 8-track and CD it has been a companion ever since. To hear Seasons again, in a new light (and sound), and to be amazed and moved by it once more is an experience I shall cherish, like the two very different versions of the suite, for a very long time.

Nigel Schofield



CHRIS SIMPSON INTERVIEWED

Chris Simpson was interviewed by Graham Chalmers about "The Fields Of Eden". You can read this lengthy article (pdf) here!



CANADA 2015

Chris Simpson writes all about the 2015 Magna Carta concert at the annual Canterbury Festival in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada:

Hi, Folks,

As time runs past with ever increasing speed, the Canterbury Festival came around again. I think it is the 4th time we have done it. One of the things I like about it, and there are many, is that there has never been a contract. Anyone in our highly circumspect business will tell you, namely that crossing the Atlantic into the wilds of Ontario, on a verbal handshake over the phone, is lunacy.

But that does not count on Ted Comiskey, the Mayor of Ingersoll. A man with a heart like a lion; a wonderful voice (he sings and buys stuffed Moose for his friends) and an unfailing capacity to move mountains and given the festival is free, find the money from sponsors. He did. And he does, and his family are as wondrous as he is.

So Wendy; Will Stock, Doug Morter and I got together a couple of times to run through a set list. It sounded fine and lubricated with... er... cups of tea... we ran a whole cornucopia of classic Magna C.. Then comes the witching time, and we are up at 6.0 (when in the evening the Dutch are having dinner) and off to Manchester Airport. An easy ride on a great train service.

Check in. Then the Angel lounge. Even the lubricious Doug, after the festivities of the night before, is firing on one cylinder. Wimp.

LOVE to travel. To leave a pouring rain in Manchester, then six or whatever hours later, to touch down and the temperature and hot lands seep through the doors. Wonderful.

Into Pearson in Toronto. We go through the usual debacle of guitars etc., etc. But we are in. Steve meets us in. Long hair and a smile to match. Roll on down the kilometres (why can't they do like America and have miles. A far more sensible measurement, as a Dutch policeman once told me).

Stop for a bite to eat. And already you get the impression as the maize fields and dotted farmsteads roll by, this is a VAST land. We have flown 3,000 miles over the Atlantic and the West side of Canada, another 3.000 the other way across the spine of the Rockies.

Check in, but only after we have been down to the Festival site and a warm, hugging welcome. Including the Mayor (God bless his shillelagh- he's half Irish). And so it goes and becomes a blur of people and events.

Canadian breakfast is the killer. You can go into a fast food joint called Tim Hortons (being English, I outrage at the punctuation, should be Tim Horton's- he was apparently a hockey player who hit the big fast foot in the big-time and should be buried under a giant apostrophe). Anyway, we make our own waffles, and add obscene amounts of Maple Syrup. A swim in the pooled a hot tub. Then we are off.

As ever guitars, and down to the site thronging with people on a hot day. We line check and play our first full set with the inimitable Beaker Granger on drums. No rehearsal. Just tracks we had sent him via the Internet. He was spot on.

So that was the first one, and it went down so well to a crowd smiling in the sunshine. On went the day and a few beers (cups of tea). I can say it now, but our brilliant young bass player Will Stock was actually 18. Under age for alcohol. We said nothing. He and I got on a flight in Doug's room with G&T's and apparently ordered and ate a Pizza... sometime later…

On through the weekend. We played two workshops which I loved, then Saturday night, after hanging out with Piers up at his pool, to come down to catch the legend, Garth Hudson of The BAND fame. We all crowded around for this.

After all this was the musical tapestry that shaped a part of our lives. The Basement Tapes, Bob Dylan at Big Pink etc. Onto the stage with his wife, Maud, in a wheelchair. They were an hour and a half late. People were damp and cold sitting on the grass. As his drummer told me, this is lucky, most times they just don't turn up. I felt anger. If you are supposed to be a legend... then act like one. There where flashes of BAND magic interspersed with mumblings between him and Maud...as to what to do next. The crowd began to leave... I then realised what 45 years on the road has taught me. Underestimate no one, and remember without them out there in whatever form: -you are no one. We went home to bed.

But, I have to add, Garth Hudson may rest on his pedigree, but the real star that night was Magoo; a tall benevolent singer/guitar player who went out on a limb for wenovolent, and kept them all going until Mr. Hudson and his wife, deigned to take the stage. HE was the real star. A true pro.

Two workshops, then, the day after, which I loved. Small periphery crowds, telling stories and playing whatever we wanted. I recall Doug playing Donovan's 'Colours'. So we did it. Why? Because it is such a great song. All too soon it is the last set on Sunday, featuring The Fields of Eden. We got Ted at the end up on stage, but the audience was on its feet already. A wonderful accolade.

Soon, the site was back to a park again... Then the day after, Niagara, with Loue Anne, and in the evening, and more hospitality with the Comiskey's on my 73th birthday. More than a few cups of tea, then bed.

The Fields of Eden has been a huge hit here, and 'Walk away from Heaven,' in particular. Sadly it is all over, so much love and so much music. We go back with Steve, via Port Dover on the edge of Lake Erie, - 200+ miles across and 250' feet deep. Check in to Angel Lounge at Pearson, then up and across the skies again, 39,000' up.

Another day. Another time. And one left behind us caught up in the joy of friendships and music. I get home, as ever, jetlagged, but read more stunning reviews for TFOE.

Long may we run!

As ever, Chris.



VIDEO FROM CANTERBURY FOLK FESTIVAL 2015

As you all know Magna Carta played at the annual Canterbury Folk Festival in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada. Here's a link to a video of a part of the concert. From left it's Doug Morter, Chris Simpson, Wendy Ross and Will Stock, with on drums a special guest: Beaker Granger.



HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIS!

Today, July 13th, Chris Simpson celebrates his 73rd birthday in Canada. Happy birthday to you, Chris!

chris-soest

DUTCH REVIEW OF THE FIELDS OF EDEN

Dutch music magazine Lust For Life published a ***-review of the album The Fields Of Eden. This week it's also featured as 'album of the week' on their website. Comments are welcome (there are already two).



MAGNA CARTA BACK TO CANADA!

Magna Carta will be back in Canada this summer. The band will be playing at the annual Canterbury Festival in Ingersoll, Ontario, between July 9th-14th. More information on this website. AND: It's a FREE festival!

Magna Carta will consist of: Chris Simpson, Wendy Ross, Will Stock and Doug Morter.



MAGNA CARTA VIDEOS FROM 1971!

Two great videos of Magna Carta performing in 1971 can be seen on YouTube: Seven O'Clock Hymn / Midwinter and Country Jam. Just click on the links and... ENJOY!



WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK OF 'THE FIELDS OF EDEN'

Here you can read what people think of the new Magna Carta album 'The Fields of Eden'. Please don't hesitate to share YOUR opinion! You can do that through the Guest Book (see the above menu) or by e-mailing the webmaster, just click on this link!



Comments on Amazon.co.uk

Below some comments on the album by people who purchased the album through Amazon.uk:


***** Magna Carta on top form again By P. Cross on 23 Jun. 2015 Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase

This is a thoroughly satisfying album, which carries the traditional hallmarks of the best Magna Carta recordings and leaves you looking forward to the next spin. There’s a familiar mix of musical content, perhaps a touch more bluesy than most, with fine acoustic picking and some classy accompaniment from piano, violin, sax and a variety of different guitars. This time there’s even a jazzy little excursion and a dash of flamenco too. The overall impression is of uplifting melodies and thoughtful observations, with some memorable turns of phrase in the lyrics and the narrated passage of the central title track.

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The packaging complements the music well, from the beautiful front cover to the informative notes and the selection of photos of Chris Simpson's beloved dales and his beloved fellow musicians who gathered to create this offering.

The final track slightly jolts the listener on first hearing, as it was recorded at a gig around the end of the last century and sounds immediately different from all before. I wonder how this particular live track gained such elevated status from amongst the thousands of contenders but it seems to come with a sense of mischief and fun and, like the packaging, with some real personality too… of the kind that any corporate mangle would have probably ironed out right at the start.

I grew up with Magna Carta’s first half dozen or so classic albums from the seventies, against which “Fields Of Eden” can proudly stand. It’s a reward for the discerning ear and has fired me up for an enthusiastic trawl through some of the group’s albums I missed during the intervening years, to see what other delights may yet lie in store.


***** Instant Magna Carta classic By P. Hampton on 16 Jun. 2015 Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase

I couldn't wait for the CD to arrive so went strait to the autorip and I am so glad I did. What a great album. It is everything that you want from a Magna Carta record and then some. The title track is brilliant and so evocative of times gone by, I absolutely loved it. There is no filler on this album it is 100% classic Magna Carta, with a mixture of musical styles that keeps the listener interested to the end. This album is a corker.

Great job Chris, there really is life in the old dog yet!


***** Pure Brilliance - Tony Cox By GuitarTony on 18 Jun. 2015 Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase

Chris and the gang do it again!! A wonderful new release chock full of some of the best evocative music and lyrics Mr Simpson has come up with. The album moves through an eclectic set of styles, is refreshing and above all sincere. Magna Carta in all it's various guises has always been known for creating that warm feeling you get when you listen to music that is from the heart and comforting. No "Doom and Gloom", just from the heart!! I have been an avid follower of the band all the years they have been performing and I have to say this album ranks among the very best they have done. Good on you Chris, keep on rockin'. Bye it!!




Review on Amazon.de (in German)


***** Wow

Von Byrdsfan am 21. Juni 2015 Format: Audio CD

Vor vielen Jahren hat mich ein Jugendfreund und ehemaliger Klassenkamerad auf das Album „In Concert“ einer mir damals noch völlig unbekannten Folkloreband namens „Magna Carta“ aufmerksam gemacht, welches gerade im Rundfunk vorgestellt worden war. Ich habe es mir daraufhin angehört, war begeistert und bin es noch heute. Nach und nach habe ich mir dann noch andere Alben von Magna Carta zugelegt und diese Sammlung in Laufe der Jahre erweitert. Auch wenn mir die meisten Alben weitgehend zusagten, vor allem die aus der Anfangszeit, so habe ich doch das Live-Album in Verbindung mit den „Songs From Wasties Orchard“ immer am meisten geschätzt. Natürlich enthielten auch andere Alben („Magna Carta“, „Seasons“, „Lord oft he Ages“, „Prisoners on the Line“ ) großartige Lieder, aber die Begeisterung für das jeweils ganze Album konnte ich nicht mehr empfinden und mit weiteren Veröffentlichungen wurden auch die Lieder, die mich zu „packen“ wussten, immer rarer.

Seit „Fields of Eden“ ist alles wieder anders. Ein großartiges einstündiges Album vom Anfang bis zum Ende, das ich nach all den Jahren nicht mehr erwartet hätte! Ich erspare mir Details zu den Texten und zur Musik, dafür gibt es sicherlich kompetentere Personen. Aber es war mir eine große Freude, heute dieses Album anzuhören und genießen zu können. Die Instrumentierung und den Gesang empfinde ich als äußerst gelungen und nicht nur einmal hörenswert. Selten schaffen es auch so viele Lieder, sich auf Anhieb in meinem Kopf einzunisten. Den Titeln „Walk away from heaven“ (wieso erinnert mich dies an Mark Knopfler?) und „This time around“ (was für eine wundervolle Melodie!) sowie der 16-minütigen Suite „The Fields of Eden“ (für mein Hörempfinden noch schöner als „Seasons“ oder „Lord of the Ages“) gelang dies problemlos. Möglicherweise schließen sich beim zweiten Hören sogar noch weitere Lieder an? Kandidaten dafür gibt es durchaus… Great job, Mr. Chris Simpson! Hope you will do so soon again!


Opinions left in the Guest Book:

Paolo Giorgi wrote:

Well, I am in front of my mac just listening to FoE for the first time. I am impressed by the freshness of everything, a step in the future and a journey through the past at the same time. Chris' voice is terrific, harmonies are perfect, guitars, mandolins, banjos, slide and ... more wrap all the melodies and, at my age, still allow me to hope for a better world and I cannot hide tears. Thank you, Magna; thank you Chris. Paolo



Dave Edwards wrote: Received my F of E today Played it al the way to Stoke and back. Loved it.... Great lyrics and haunting melodies best since Seasons & Wasties. Thanks Chris and everyone


Tony Cox wrote:

Hi Again Chris, What a cracker, brilliant album. Up there with the best. I do hope it brings you the reward it deserves. The more I play it the more I love it, a great work. I have left a review on Amazon to help to let people know what they might be missing!! Keep up the Good work. Very best regards.

Tony & Maureen Cox Steeple Claydon, Bucks.


Robin Hannan wrote: Been a fan for over 40 years. Arrived on my birthday the 15th. This album now is something else. It has the lot. Tells you so much about the man and where he comes from. Fabulous musicians too. Great job by Will Jackson. I hoped it would be good, but it\'s gone way beyond my expections. For me, best album since Wasties.


Algy Kazlauciunas wrote: Hello Chris, Cath & the rest of the team. Received my copy of Fields of Eden on Sunday, together with the new deluxe version of The Stones 'Sticky Fingers'. Was not sure which to play first but FOE won out in the end - excellent selection of songs and of course 'Fields of Eden' is a majestic piece of work - a little rough around the edges when you first gave it the light of day but now a polished gem!!!


Paul Butterworth wrote: Hi Chris,Cath, Just got my Fields of Eden CD (WOW) Been playin it all morning. It's better than I hoped. Sometimes the best way forward is back, there's life in the old dog yet. Love; Pauly B XX.


Alan Nicholson wrote: Just got cd. Never stopped playing it.....fantastic. Love \" this time around\" .


Rory Stanbridge wrote: I have just received your latest album "The Fields of Eden" to review for Fatea Magazine. It is absolutely wonderful so thank you for continuing to show Yorkshire at its very best.




magnaseal

JUNE 15th...

Today it's 800 years ago the Magna Carta was sealed. Today is also the day that the new Magna Carta album The Fields Of Eden (the first studio album since 2001!) is available. Today you can listen to a special radio programme on BBC Tyne Tees Radio, dedicated to the music of Magna Carta, by John Foster http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02stc7h which is also available online after it's been aired. It's a four hour show and Chris Simpson is being interviewed in the third hour, with some songs from the new album being played.



THE RADIO INTERVIEW

As you probably know Chris Simpson was interviewed on BBC Radio Tees by John Foster on June 15th. You missed it? No problem, you can listen to the programme by clicking on this link. The interview is between 2 and 3 PM and starts at 2.08! Please note that this programme is only available for a limited period, until July 14th!



NEW MAGNA CARTA SINGLE

The new Magna Carta single Walk Away From Heaven can now be heard on Soundcloud. It's a slightly different version than on the album The Fields Of Eden, which will be released in just a few days, on June 15th!


walkawayfromheaven


The 'B-side' is The Same Rain, just click on the previous link to hear it! thesamerain



MATT's BAND SUE THE NIGHT

Matt Barnhoorn was on Dutch radiostation 3FM (the Dutch version of BBC Radio 1) on Tuesday June 9th, playing with his band Sue The Night their new single Fools Gold.. You can see and hear them playing on popular early morning radioshow GIEL.



THE 'LISTEN IN' AT SOEST

Well this was a strange one! By that I mean, it was an idea to link it in with other PR, but I had in 45 years never done anything like this before. For sure we'd played albums and done showcase sets for record companies, but like this... never. But I wanted to do it.

Initially, the idea was to meet up with Holland's best music journalist, Harry De Jong with Harry Pater. Harry de Jong has interviewed anyone worth interviewing and gave our Albert Hall concert Five Stars and it don't get any better than that.

So we land up at the glorious Eekhoornnest, on Thursday, where you get wooden cabins in the forest, and the fabulous De Jongs have put up with us since 1975. Just so good to see them all again.

I took the two Harrys off to The Smickel for a pancake (each) and it is one ancient and beautiful place, originally a blacksmith's shop, it has sand on the floor and the feel of endlessly passing time. Off back to the Eekhoornnest and Cathy made coffee for the two Harrys and Harry De Jong talked about his interviews with Johnny Cash to name but one luminary, meanwhile I found Danny De Jong (God, they're everywhere) and down we went into Piers' beautiful Squirrel studio, deep under the forest floor. We played him 'The Fields of Eden'. Suffice it to say Harry De Jong loved it. 'It is a masterpiece', said he, and to my joy we have heard that a lot recently. Later on he told Harry Pater (who ran him home) that he was just blown away. Totally.

Chris

Sunday

And so the 'Listen In' on the Sunday. It all got set up in the Cantina. A mic. and Piers masterminded the tracks. I was all for just letting it play, but Harry De Jong had said, "you should tell something about the songs and The 'Fields of Eden'." Well, as you all know, I am a man of few words, but a few can be coaxed out over a cup of tea. I looked to about forty people, didn't want any more... a sort of taster, like doing Hettie's which was how we started, oh, and by the way, if you check out the website: Graham Pawson's review is stunning (see below!).

Anyway, where were we? Yes, in they came, mostly familiar faces, Cathy and Hans Veen, (an artist in the world top class (it says here) sold CD's. A lot, as it turned out. On went the album, and I told a little (I said a little) stories and anecdotes. I could not believe just how they LISTENED. 'The Fields of Eden' blew them away. It ended with Andrew Jackson's gorgeous voice... OK, my words, but his delivery is simply stunning.'Sometimes, the best way forward is back.' It ended on Wendy's violin and Cathy's gorgeous classical piano. Silence... then the roof fell in to a standing ovation. And so it went. The great joy for me - and everyone - Matt Barnhoorn turned up. So good to see my old and beloved friend, and we pushed back the years and got fairly silly! We even sang our hit 'Aunty's Gorilla.' Harry Pater called this a 'silly' song. Silly boy. It is a classic.

Everyone hung out afterwards, staring unbelieving at my cup of coffee... Good folks old and new, and so good to meet up with Mari and Peter Kühn. They have every Magna Carta record and came down from Hamburg. Lovely people. As were the entire audience. It was a truly wonderful time. Hope you all enjoyed it. Cathy and I did.

Love always, Chris. June, 2015


WORLD PREMIERE 'THE FIELDS OF EDEN'

On Sunday May 31st. some 30 people from all over The Netherlands and two from Hamburg, Germany, came to the canteen at Allurepark 't Eekhoornnest in Soest, NL. Now there's a special page dedicated to this even. Just click here to visit this page.



ALL ABOUT HETTIE'S CONCERT

You can read all about AND see photos on the Hettie's concert in Skipton here.



THE "LISTEN-IN" IN SOEST

Because of too many work the review of the "Dutch Event" has been posponed to Tuesday June 2nd. Below there's one photo of the event:

chris_matt

COMMENTS ON "THE FIELDS OF EDEN"

I have just received your latest album "The Fields of Eden" to review for Fatea Magazine. It is absolutely wonderful so thank you for continuing to show Yorkshire at its very best. (Rory Stanbridge)



FINALLY: DETAILS ON THE PROMISED "DUTCH EVENT"

SUNDAY MAY 31ST. THE CANTINA, 't EEKHOORNNEST, SOEST.
3 PM - A 'MEET AND GREET' AND 'LISTEN IN' TO THE ALREADY ACCLAIMED 'THE FIELDS OF EDEN'.

Holland has been a second artistic home down the 45 years of Magna Carta. As has been the immortal Eekhoornnest

It has been an ongoing battle with the business to find the lost 1971 Royal Albert Hall tapes, which I did, and then another battle to get hold of them. I will have copies of that album, -given 5 stars in Holland- and of course The Fields of Eden.

It will be so good to meet all those who can make it and roll back the years. Then, hopefully, more dates in the Autumn.

Whatever ideas you have about being somewhere else that day, forget it and make sure you are there. Here's -hopefully- great listening, in a world that all too often does not listen anymore.

Love, Chris, May 15th. 2015.


PLEASE NOTE: You are welcome from 15.00 hours on Sunday May 31st. in the Canteen at Allurepark 't Eekhoornnest, Birkstraat 118b, 3768 HL Soest (between Amersfoort and Soest). You don't have to reserve tickets, because there are NO TICKETS, it's free of charge (or in Dutch: gratis entree!). See you all there!



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THE FIELDS OF EDEN COMING SOON!

TFOE-albumcover

Chris Simpson writes:

At last! At last!

The first copies of 'The Fields Of Eden' rolled up today. It has been a long and sometimes thorny road but at last it is here.

This is now the selling in period here and it will be available from June 15th.

There will, however, be an event in Holland on May 31st for a 'listen in' and copies will be available.

There are those that say this is the best ever.

Hope they're right!

Chris, April 30th. 2015.

DETAILS on the event in Holland will follow a.s.a.p.!



hetties


[photo by Cathy Simpson]


HETTIE'S CONCERT SOLD OUT!

Chris Simpson writes: "The Hettie's concert in Skipton is sold out with NO advertising whatsoever. How on earth we are going to get them all in is beyond belief but quite exciting.

Now a mail from lovely John Shephard the drummer. He wants to do it. I said can you play on a postage stamp. He reckons he can. So why not. It is one of those situations when the audience will be amongst the band and vice versa. Meanwhile, somewhere down in London town, they are manufacturing The Fields of Eden."

Love and intergalactic hits, Chris.



HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD AND BACK

elephant

[Photo by Cathy Simpson]


Thank heaven I love travelling. Cannot even begin to figure how many hundreds of thousands of miles I've done in my time. But every time a plane door opens and the scent of heat, jungles or deserts makes its way through the aviation scent, you know you are on your way to a whole new bag of adventures. March was no different.

Climbing the sky up and out of Manchester: and touchdown in Dubai, dinner and a few drinks later. Then up and out again the lights below winding off like serpents into the deserts, and then some hours on (and a few more drinks) we land in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Standing behind Buddhist monks at immigration. The first impression is of happy, smiling people. That stayed the same throughout our time there. Along single roads through jungle; and the main form of transport is three wheeler taxis, driven apparently by mentally unstable people whose chosen course in life is to grind your senses to pulp amid endless salvos on the horn. On past numerous shacks and shanties selling everything but mostly home grown vegetables. Reg and Nisha (she is Sri Lankan) live on their coconut farm. We loved it. Saw a few snakes, but not the big monitor lizard.

We travelled over a lot of Sri Lanka. Up into the mountains around Kandy with one of the world's highest waterfalls to take your breath away. The tea plantations and the remnants of the British Raj. Stopping by a roadside shack advertising 'honey with bees'. They kicked a fire into life under a cauldron and we had tea. That in itself is not remarkable when you think the world's tea is being picked up the road. But I loved the scent of woodsmoke. To an elephant sanctuary and Cathy and I washed a baby elephant in the river. He put his trunk up like a periscope. Then to a game park in the south that had much of everything.

We trundled off in a big 4X4 with a deck on top. I was up front, Cathy behind me, and a German chap sitting on the other side. Some time later we spotted a leopard who had killed a buffalo and hauled the carcass up into a tree... and the mongoose who was showing off to Mrs. Mongoose, suddenly realised the leopard was in the tree above him. He beat an exit at impressive speed.

Onwards and lake after lake studded with enormous water lily leaves. The snouts of the crocodiles just breaking the water and the buffalo standing neck deep, we ran into a herd of elephants. Always impressive, for this is the Indian elephant and not as big as their African cousins, who have bigger ears and tusks. We watched them trundle down the slope into the river.

A few moments later… and a big bull elephant - and they are big - came out of the bush and ambled towards us. You do not argue, for in situations like this, he is the boss. The German guy sitting next to me dived into the rear of the vehicle, thinking his last moment had come and I stayed where I was (I had no option) and found myself being caressed by the elephant's trunk as he tried to get into the truck. A fascinating situation and not one to relish too much. I did find it incredible and figured he was looking for bananas. He had his tusks wedged over the side of the truck and given he could have tipped it over with ease (they can lift a log as if it were matchwood) it was with relief we managed to get away from him and off down the red dirt road. The driver took us to the seashore to calm down and there was a monument to the Tsunami, for this was where it struck first.

A week later we were in paradise. A coral atoll in the Maldives. Heaven on earth, baby black tip sharks cruising along the shoreline; big rays windmilling along the edge of the reef, and huge fruit bats coming in out of the west to hang upside down in the coconut palms... bliss. Back to Sri Lanka again and then the end to an incredible time and a harvest of memories.

Back on the case in England and Malcolm and I got The Fields Of Eden sleeve together. It is in production now on (strangely prophetic) Talking Elephant records! Nowadays it takes 8 weeks to release from the final master and sleeve so it will emerge in June to coincide with the sealing of the original Magna Carta, 800 years ago. It has been a long drawn out saga but now there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have also finished my book 'Seasons in the Dale', so need to find a publisher for that.

I also wanted to kick things off with a small gig up here to portray just how we started. I think it was about 18 people in the Coalhole folk club, Cambridge, some 44 years ago. Strange to look back and remember. We were in the Royal Albert Hall two years later...

So. On May 9th. we are playing in Hetties' Bistro in Skipton: myself, Tom Hoy, Wendy Ross and Will Stock. It will be full (and basically is) at 55 people. I love that for it is how we started. The little places and then we'll do a big one later.

Here's to the Fields of Eden.

And blessings to you all.

Chris, April 9th, 2015.

P.S. If any of you fancy giving an elephant a ride. Then think again. THEY ARE BIG.



LINDA PLAYS GRASSINGTON AGAIN

Linda Simpson writes:

"Hi Everyone, I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that I’m on the Grassington Festival again this year, this time with Ian Diment; an amazing pianist."

Linda with Ian Diment

Linda Simpson with Ian Diment (photo by Adem Ince)

 

"Since leaving Magna Carta I have played mostly solo apart from the few times, like the last festival, when I was lucky enough to be able to gather great players together. A couple of years ago I landed on permanent moorings in Tipton and, not knowing anyone in the Birmingham area, I started busking in the city and soon started to pick up musical contacts. It was a rather chilly day in March 2014 when a young man stopped to talk to me, his name was Ian Diment and he told me that he played piano. At the time he was doing a music degree, which he later passed with first class honours, but he was not doing much live musical work then as he needed the time to study.

We had a chat and it turned out that he had a love of narrow boats so, the next time I was out on the boat, I gave him a call and asked if he wanted to crew for a day. He was there like a shot and was a great help. We found that we got on well and so decided that once he had finished his degree we would see if we could do something together musically. I was rather apprehensive when I found out that he was classically trained to Grade 8 and also had perfect pitch, but we did get together and played a few things through ... turned out he liked to play just about any style and we had so much fun I started to relax a bit.

It was a new world for me. We had had piano on a few Magna Carta tours and gigs but we were always predominantly a guitar based outfit ... now it was just me, the guitar, and a piano. It was a new page in my music book and suddenly I was able to look at songs like ‘Cry Me a River’ a la Alison Moyet, ‘I’ll Say Goodbye to love’ by The Carpenters and even ‘I can’t make you love me’ , George Michael’s version. Of course I am also writing songs but I’m not a prolific writer and to be honest I am happy if I am singing great songs, they don’t have to be mine!!

So I am now on a slightly different path. I have played some of my favourite Magna Carta songs to Ian and we are presently working on ‘Wind on the Water’ and ‘Rings around the Moon’, I have a couple of new songs myself and I’m having a ball working on all this lovely material. It is pushing my guitar playing to a new level and I can’t wait to introduce Ian to everyone ... I’m sure you will all love him. We have done a couple of gigs but Grassington will be our first ‘proper’ concert and I am so looking forward to it. The tickets go on sale on the 13th of April They can be purchased online at www.grassington-festival.org.uk or by Telephone +44 (0)1756 752691



THE CONTINUING STORY OF THE CONTINUING STORY #7

Well 'hi there' again folks, Happy New Year and I figured that as the Lady Catherine and I are heading out to Sri Lanka and the Maldives on Friday, a line or two as to the state of play might not be a bad idea.

I think as it was all left last time, the situation was we had superb reviews for the Albert Hall album, some of the best ever. Then month followed month, and there I was wondering just what was happening.

As you all know for reasons known only to God and the Devil, Thomas Neelson, the boss of Repertoire, pulled the plug on The Fields Of Eden. Given I financed it myself, this was a strange one, and one nobody who has heard it can understand. A very high powered record executive in Holland (you know the Flatlands and home to fricandels, mosselen and Lee Towers) said it was the best album we've ever done, and arguably better than 'Lord of the Ages'. That is good to know but there I was out in the wilderness again.

The legend Jon Astley who masters albums for Repertoire, and has engineered the Who, Abba and Clapton to name but a few, regards The Fields Of Eden as classic. In his words, 'a lovely album'. Though, that does not get it out there.

So I called up Talking Elephant - a fine little company who I regard as friends, who have released not a few Magna albums. I suggested I send them a pre-run copy. They came back pretty sharpish, just blown away. So, folks, glad to say it is in production right now. Wonderful Dales photographs and just what you would expect. They release through all the same outlets as Repertoire, so nothing is lost on that score and people I can relate to at all points.

So. Release date? As many of you will know, this June is the 800th anniversary of the sealing - not signing, of Magna Carta, one of the greatest charters of freedom ever. I intend to go for every publicity gambit there is. All newspapers, BBC, interviews, etc., etc. So when we come back, it will be all systems go.

Then, as some of you know, there was a book I wrote called The Visitor. It sold out and all the time I am asked for copies. Well interest in that has flared up again. A TV company would like to film it- but it will be costly. But apart from anything else we have the music for it. Patrick Stewart (Mr. Star Trek) would love to be in it.

Then there is a TV programme on the countryside here. They are going to do a new series and rumour has it they want to do one programme on myself and the Dales (we were and are the greatest music export to come out of the Dales) which would be very handy.

THEN, I wrote for The Dalesman, some 15 stories. The editor was Terry Fletcher, who edited The Visitor. So down the last 15 years I wrote 'Seasons in the Dale'. Many times! Finally I have finished it and I am told it is good. Hope so.

You will find all the sources to the music in there. It is of a different life and a different time when the world was a different place. The old house on the hill, with its resident ghost and no electricity. I wrote looking back I realised 'I had gold in the palm of my hand'.

So we'll see where it all goes from here. See y'all soon,

Love,

Chris, March 3rd, 2015.

 


harvey

The President of Harvey records avoiding the Press....



MAGNA CARTA NEWSLETTER #34

Today, March 4, 2015, the latest Magna Carta Newsletter, issue #33, was sent to all subscribers by e-mail. Did you subscribe, but did NOT receive this issue, please check your mailbox! Why? Because every time we send out a Newsletter we immediately receive error messages, almost 100% of these state that the mailbox is full! Or maybe you forgot to let us know that you have changed your e-mail address? Please let us know! Do you want to subscribe? Please send us an e-mail telling us that. You can reach us directly at newsletter@magnac.com. Thank you!



DOUG MORTER’s NEW CD

Most of you will know the great Doug Morter, who played on several Magna Carta releases (including the forthcoming The Fields Of Eden). Doug is in a musical duo with Alan Thomson and they just released their album Roadworks.


dougcd

The album can be purchased by visiting Doug’s website



THE CONTINUING SAGA

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Chris Simpson at home in Huddersfield [photo: Cathy Simpson]

 

Well, that was the year that was. Another one chalked up and more battles to fight and hopefully win. It was ever thus. I look at 2014 and it is a case of the half empty glass and the half full glass. The pessimist says... 'my glass is half empty', the optimist says… 'my glass is half full'. I have always tended to be an optimist (you have to be in this business) but there are times when I don't know which is which.

It took 30 years lost and then ten years of fighting to get the Albert Hall tapes out. But given the wonderful reviews it was certainly worth it. It took Dave Aston and I, 36 hours of mixing at Digital Audio in Skipton. An acoustic nightmare from 1971, but even Davey called from some Elton gig in the States to say he thought the sound was superb.

Then The Fields of Eden with an all-star cast. I ended up paying for it, but at least I own the recording. We recorded it at Will Jackson's Soundworks Studio in Leeds. He is a unique man. A stunning engineer. A world class player on just about anything. And a musicians' musician. As you all know the new operation on the ulna nerve in my arm did not work. I can only play by watching and that is a hit and miss affair. I went into the studio one morning to overdub a solo. A few years ago it would take but a few minutes. If I have not got it in one or two shots. Drop it. Will, so gently, and diplomatically, said ...'er, hmmm… I have an idea.' He had. Picked up a Gretsch, popped it into a tuning and listen to his stunning slide on 'Long Time Running'. The man is a genius and I love him. Cathy also played piano on the overture to The Fields of Eden. I sent rough copies to people and the end result was a mindblower. Would you also believe that The Fields of Eden was regarded by those who have heard it as well ahead of Lord of the Ages… Given that evergreen album is still in the Dutch 'best records ever' chart (which ain't bad for a 1973 recording), that is simply amazing.

June, I think it was, we all got together at Burnsall for the Grassington Festival, and what a night that turned out to be. So many faces from the years path, and all-star players to boot. As ever Doug Morter turned in a sparkling and, on occasions, very funny performance, but The Fields of Eden with the full compliment of musicians and Andrew Jackson, played ABOUT the home patch and ON the home patch and stunned the audience. Hard one to follow.

Summer drifted on into Autumn. A Kingfisher landed on a bow warp on the boat and Cathy caught that magic creature on my mobile phone camera... Many people go through a whole lifetime without seeing one. There were halcyon days of fine weather and the veg. garden blossomed. We went up into the hills with the rifle and never came back empty handed; dreamy nights on the canal after a couple of 'cheeky ones' in the Cross Keys at the top of the lane and the owls hunting under the harvest moon.

The boat is a very good place for interviews. Journalists love it; it is something different, and the sound system in the boat is a bit good. and being steel you can winch it up a tad and not blow the roof off. All the good interviews were done there; Colin Irwin and (bless him) Graham Chalmers from Ackrills newspapers who syndicates throughout the north. He loved the Albert Hall concert and then I hit him with The Fields of Eden. 'That is one of the best things I have ever heard', said he and good as his word, blasted three articles in the press in so many weeks.

I wanted to get the Fields of Eden out and went down to London to sort that out. We agreed- November. Then it got postponed. No discussions; no meetings - just postponed until after February. Not a bad idea, I thought as Christmas is a train smash. Then in the autocratic record company regime: 'we're not doing it'. 'How do you mean?’ ‘We are not doing it.’ Hell, a nice Xmas present. Have they not got f**kin' ears? It was ever thus. Now I have two companies after it and you know what? God sure works in mysterious ways, for if the album had gone out last November, we would have missed all the ancient MAGNA CARTA 800th. Anniversary celebrations this year. So this has turned out well.

Also been in touch with old friend Patrick Stewart, who hosted me in Hollywood some years ago whilst on the Startrek series, and lived in Hebden. There is talk now of filming The Visitor. And, (if it comes off) a programme on yours truly and the Dales. Meanwhile, I have to say, I have struggled in all this with writer's block on 'Seasons in the Dale'. No excuse now not to finish it.

Christmas came and went. Last weekend the canal froze over and the ducks crash landed on the ice. So it may be by the next spurious outburst you will be holding The Fields of Eden in your hands. It won't let you down. Believe me.

Love to you all,

Chris,
Huddersfield,
January, 2015.



COMMENTS ON THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL ALBUM FROM MAGNA CARTA FANS

Yes friends... they just keep on coming in, all these great comments on the RAH album! Do YOU want to share YOUR opinion with us? Please use either the Guestbook (see top menu) or contact the webmaster. We'd really appreciate your opinion!



Dear Chris! You can be so proud of yourself, Glenn and Davey! What a wonderful performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!! But also the beautiful songs without orchestra sound so energetic and bright!! This CD makes me so happy and is already one of my favourites!! I listen to it almost every day and it makes every day a special one!! Thank you very much for all your music from your heart. It often helps me in difficult times too. With lots of love, Linda Dijkstra


If Lord of the Ages was a "sizzler",then RAH is a timeless masterpiece of history and The Fields of Eden is priceless.If any of you fans haven't heard the latter two - switch on your speakers and get ready for MUSIC of perfection.Great feelings and I am sure 2015 is going to be THE year of Magna Carta. Bogsy

RAH is a masterpiece, thank you. Was in concert in Summer. Great songs / great musicians / relived memories....... Come on Chris you need to get the guys out again in 2015....please Alan Nicholson


Was given the RAH cd for Christmas, wonderful, brought back so many happy memories and my husband really enjoyed it, too- a bonus, means that I don't have to listen to it alone! Look forward to hearing your next concert dates, as couldn't make Grassington as were in Germany. Hope all is well with you. Helen Rowe


Just purchased the live CD and its fab I saw this very line up just a few months from the RAH concert at Burntwood Baths (Staffordshire) What a line up that was.... Chris's superb lyrics Glens amazing harmonies and Shaggis's brilliant instrumentals. The CD has great sound quality and its almost like being in the hall Well done Chris for tracking the recording down. Thanks again for the music Dave Edwards
Hi Chris; Wow Wow I've just plaed RAH for the first time, came in the post this morning, old times , last time I heard seasons live was Leeds playhouse, still got tears in my eyes. Can't wait for THE FIELDS OF EDEN. LOL Pauly B.
I must have been away when news came of the release of this album so I only discovered it within this newsletter. Thanks to a speedy Amazon service I ordered it on Wednesday afternoon and was playing it on Thursday afternoon! Oh yes, it brought it all back. I was there that night, sitting high up in the Royal Albert Hall proudly listening to and watching this amazing band. I had met Magna Carta in 1969. I was assistant producer on a children’s TV music programme called “Monster Music Mash” which starred (bizarrely!) the Alan Price Set and Bob Kerr’s Whoopee Band. We had a folk music spot for which I was responsible. I’d already booked Pentangle, Archie Fisher, Shirley Collins, The Johnstones, Johnny Handle and Dave & Toni Arthur but I was keen to have someone new on the scene. I think it was Philip Swern who gave me the Vertigo album “Songs from Wasties Orchard”. I played it to the producer, Magna were booked. I think it was their first telly; we also gave a telly debut to a bovver-booted band called Slade! I can’t remember what they played that day in Manchester though I remember Glen playing Chinese bells on one song.
I do remember the RAH night though and re-living it on the CD was a huge pleasure. It was a great night and how wonderful that we can now re-live it as often as we like. Peter Charlton

Fantastic release; thanks Chris for this historical document. It gave me the same feelings of In Concert, with the plus of the orchestra. I will never stop hearing and playing Magna's songs: they are still so fresh and deeply touch my emtions. Paolo


Like many others there that night in Burnsall a few months ago I purchased the Live At The Royal Albert Hall CD with heady anticipation. For many years I have heard the story of 'the lost tapes' and then Chris' struggle to get hold of them. So it was with real excitement that I put the CD into the player the following day. I was a little nervous for two reasons - firstly because so often great anticipation is not matched by the reality and secondly because 'Seasons' has been such a part of my life for 40 odd years and I know and love every note of it. How would a different arrangement, albeit one with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, come close to the original?

Firstly I was greatly impressed by the overall sound quality. A great job done in the mixing and mastering. Secondly, Chris is spot on in the excellent CD liner notes - the band was incredible that night. Thirdly it brought back the amazing impact that my first Magna Carta concert had on me as a 15 year-old in the mid-70's. I loved the tight harmonies and the acoustic guitars. I have often felt Chris underplays the contribution of his own singing voice. It is terrific here and dovetails so perfectly with Glen Stuart - this was the sound that first 'got me'. And then 'Seasons'. I need not have worried. I found I was loving hearing the orchestral arrangement and admiring the creativity that realised the potential. It provides another 'take' on one of my favourite pieces of music and never competes with or detracts from the guitars and voices. It is both different and enhancing. And as such it is fantastic that this is now available to all of us unfortunate enough to not have been there.

This CD has taken things full circle for me as I'm sure it has for many other long-term Magna Carta fans. I have much enjoyed the ride for many years and it is great to see Chris keeping on keeping on...

Peter Tuffs , York


Hi Chris well I have just had my first listen to the RHA cd and now I can see why you wanted the tapes so badly. Why has no one taken this “Seasons” as a sort film track they can do fantastic things with pictures so it would make a fantastic short film track. I am sure that I will hear more next time I have a trip in the car on my own! I may post the insert to you to be signed as every other lp or cd is signed.? Hope all is well with you and yours, looking forward to fields of eden cd.

Cheers for now Les & Sue (Tring)


Hi Chris, hope you're well. Just a note in passing - I'm still listening to Fields of Eden album and still loving it. Backroads is a wonderful song, in particular.

Regards, Graham Chalmers


Dear C.J.!
I've just purchased the RAH-CD with big expectations, after you've told me so often about these concert recordings! Now, after having listened to it several times I must say it's really a lost gem, a must-have for every serious music listener!
Especially the orchestral "Seasons" is a real masterpiece! It is so powerful, speedy, beautiful, relaxed, slow and silent. I love it! And at the end the seconds of silence after the last note faded and before the applause issurging and not ending! Marvelous!
I had to tell you that in this open letter, as other people also should know (if they didn't already) what a great musical entity Magna Carta was (and still is)!
Thank you very much for your great music and for being friends now for so many years!
All the best from Germany,
Andreas


Nelson Vieira da Silva wrote: "Christopher Simpson, :)
This is really amazing! I keep listening, listening, listening!!!! Brilliant!
This is more than music, this is magic!!!
Thanks for all the magic that you give to us!!!"


Having been a fan of Magna Carta for over 40 years this CD was a must have. Although I have most of the tracks on various CDs hearing them live in the setting of the Royal Albert Hall is wonderful. Whilst the heavily orchestrated version of Seasons is a bit of a shock, if you sit back, close your eyes and visualise MC and the orchestra in the Albert Hall then it works, in fact some parts are enhanced by the orchestral backing, especially Spring. The quality of the recording is brilliant and well done to Chris for working so hard to get hold of these recordings and allowing us all to hear this magical concert.
Phil Gardner


What a great album. Given the build up to it's release I was a little nervous as to whether it would be as good as I was hoping. No need to worry, it is an absolute gem.
Seasons is amazing, I would love to hear a studio recording of this version, it would sound fantastic. With the technology available today I am sure it would be possible to add the orchestrations to the original and expand accordingly. (It would certainly keep some musical boffin gainfully employed for a while if nothing else).
Chris Simpson should be a superstar and this album proves it.
Phil Hampton

 



happynewyear

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MAGNA CARTA!

We'd like to wish everyone of you a great, happy and healthy New Year and that all your wishes for 2015 may come true!

2015 is the year that the new Magna Carta album The Fields Of Eden will be released; This is scheduled for February 2015. Please return to this website regularly, since Chris Simpson is currently writing a new episode to his continuing story of Magna Carta!



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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