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Abbey 1990

The Abbey Album was conceived on Boxing evening 1990 while on the Island of Iona in West Scotland.

Iona is where I spent the majority of my formative years, and Hogmanay that year was the chance for me to go back to Iona and catch up with everyone after a prolonged absence.

John Black (my Iona brother) insisted, after hearing me play one or two of my new 'unfinished' songs on acoustic guitar that we enter the famous Iona Abbey one evening and record them on his byre tape recorder, a device he played loud music on while milking the cows.

I can recall us both entering the byre and switching on this ghetto blaster and playing 'My woman from Tokyo' at full throttle to the total alarm of the cows.

That evening we arrived at the abbey.  It was cold and dark inside and my fingers quickly seized up but then recovered.

The result of the recording was quite eerie! The wind, sea and the rain making discernable noises in the background while my voice and guitar resounded throughout the ancient building. No amplification was used, and the tape device John used to record the songs was simply perched precariously on a candle stand!

The original  recording was heard by a producer at the time who decided to release the songs on cassette.

The recording became known as 'The Abbey Album' and has been hailed as a work which helped pave the way for large ambient spaces to be utilised for vocal recordings in recent times.

In 2006 I made a journey  back to the abbey in Iona with producer Mark Tucker in order to record a new acoustic abbey album but utilising modern recording techniques and state of art modern equipment. Unfortunately this recording did not work out and the masters remain in wraps.

The original Abbey Album became an epitaph for John Black the crofter from Iona who died of cancer not long after the album was finished. It is dedicated to his memory.

Track List

Fine by me
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Shining Blue
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Depend On you
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All in a woman's touch
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You and me together
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Make me smile
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Wherever you may be
See Lyrics