Monday 15 February 2016

Surviving Lindisfarne TV Clips 1971-1996

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From meeting dream-sellers on street corners to the fog drifting over the Tyne, Lindisfarne had a knack for writing visual songs so it makes sense that there should be a feast of goodies for the TV coverage section of our next band. There's a frustratingly small amount of clips of Lindisfarne from their heyday (1970 to 1972) alas for several reasons - firstly this was the end of the era when music programmes tended to be junked rather than kept so a lot of the band's performances are sadly probably lost; secondly unlike some other groups Lindisfarne's music didn't travel that well - they were a peculiarly British phenomenon by and large so didn't have the endless invitations to perform for American or European TV like some of our other bands (with one or two exceptions); thirdly, the band weren't well known enough to hire the first eighteen months of their 'first career' - and were simply too busy during the second, with gruelling tours and concert stage shows. However if you like reckon that the Lindisfarne reunion albums are worth a listen and have some interesting things on them in between the weird rock and roll cover albums and 1980s production sounds then you're in luck, because the band seemed to be never away from a television camera between their return in 1978 and their final bow in 2003.There's an interesting and roughly equal split this week between TV music shows, music videos and concerts, although watch out for the unusual addition of Lindisfarne appearing on children's TV and on local news items which don't normally feature on our list! Lindisfarne were always regarded as something of a sloppy live band - actually that was only true on some nights as they were another of our AAA band who left things just loose enough for the magic to shine through while occasionally messing up and we'll cover the swing between the thin line of slickness and sloppiness throughout this article.

The other bad news as usual is that official Lindisfarne releases are few and far between - there aren't that many DVDs out there and certainly nothing featuring anything in the way of 'classic' clips, just the 1990s and 2000s era band in concert. There are a few repeats on BBC4 every so often though, usually the same clip of [36] 'Fog On The Tyne' from the Old Grey Whistle Test which seems to be shown for any old excuse ('Northern musicians' - check, '1970s number ones' - check!, ‘folk-rock hits’ - check!, songs name checking sausage rolls featuring mandolins – ‘check’!), although for the majority of this listing you're back looking at our old friend Youtube again I'm afraid. However the good news is that all of the clips featured here are available on the official Lindisfarne youtube channel (accessed through - along with a fair few solo performances and unscreened audience or privately filmed concerts that are a little out of our remit for this article (to keep things orderly, however, do check out our own Alan's Album Archives Lindisfarne Youtube playlist featuring all of these items available from at

As usual a few caveats before we start. Firstly and most obviously some things are missing - Lindisfarne performed a handful more TV appearances than this, especially early in their career, which have been lost to the ages and short of inventing a time machine there's no way I can go back and review them on first broadcast; we could take it on other's people's face value what things were like but that starts getting difficult and mistakes creep in; this is instead a list of what's survived rather than what was as seen by my own rapidly-declining pair of eyes. We've shrunk this list down to concentrate on the music rather than the interviews out there, although we've made a few exceptions when the band have something particularly interesting to say. We've cut out the many Alan Hull and Jack The Lad clips out there not for reasons of quality but out of quantity - they're all there in the official Youtube list anyway if you want to see them (and you should, particularly the riveting 'Malvinas Melody' from 1983), although we've added Hully's solo acting performance in the TV play 'Squire' because it is does play such a key part in his oeuvre and ditto the only two surviving clips of Jack The Lad in a studio (as opposed to a performance at a gig, which we've left to review another day). Do please bear in mind that while this list is as close to chronological order as I can work out, biographical details for all things Lindisfarne are a little sketchier than some other bands out there so might not quite match up the order we've got things listed in here (one day in the future when I'm eleventy-ninety-two we'll make this an interactive site you could chop and change, but till then you'll have to put up with the odd mistake I'm afraid). Finally, I would never dare call this a 'complete' list, even of TV clips that still exist - there's bound to be something that was on late at night on some random channel in deepest Moldova I never had a chance to see (we're big in Moldova you know, with more hits there than almost any other country - and no I don't know either!) As usual if we've missed something obvious then feel free to drop us a line! Right that's about all I think: come and join us on our journey through the clear white light of the TV screen as we celebrate the moments when Lindisfarne was 'court in the act' of making music in front of a TV camera...

1) Old Grey Whistle Test #1 ([27] 'Meet Me On The Corner' [36] 'Fog On The Tyne' UK TV 1971)
This time around Lindisfarne's most famous pair of clips come at the beginning of this list, with a much repeated couple of versions of two of the band's biggest songs. The highlight of this video goes to Si Cowe's hairdresser, whose really let his locks grow for this one, while Hully performs in a beanie hat, Ray seems to have turned up in a public school boater and Jacka seems to have arrived wearing his old school p.e. kit! This is a great pair of performances from the leading BBC music show, though, and you can see why they get repeated so many times with 'Fog' sounding much like the record (suspiciously so – is this one largely mimed with them singing along to the LP?) but 'Corner' is given a delightful slow 'unplugged' arrangement with Rod's bass booming and Jacka's harmonica apparently pre-recorded as it plays behind his singing while Ray thumps a very large bass drum!

2) Pop2 #1 ([30] 'Together Forever' [37] 'No Time To Lose' [27] 'Meet Me On The Corner' [35] 'Train In G Major' [21] 'Jackhammer Blues' Swedish TV 1972)
'Has anybody heard of Woody Guthrie?' says Rod to an uncomprehending Swedish audience as Lindisfarne become the latest AAA band to appear on this popular music concert show. Goodness knows what the  crowd or the viewers at home made of it all - Lindisfarne don't exactly play their better or more popular songs at this gig and give a rather sloppy performance even  by their standards, with the jadedness of what turned out to be the band's farewell tour clearly biting by this point. Not that the camera-work helps much - it takes a good half of 'Together Forever' until the camera pans from the band's back view to the front! Rod does all the introductions oddly enough and even speaks a bit in French, though he doesn't seem too sure about what he's just said! A rocky 'No Time To Lose' played a tad slower than normal is about the best performance on offer here. The band are all interviewed while squatting in front of their drumkits but in common with all the other 'Pop2' shows a translation takes place while the band are speaking which makes it all hard to hear. The band look incredibly bored and tired, not looking at each while they take turns in speaking slowly and shyly at length. The most interesting chat is Alan talking about 'not being that keen on America but we'll have a go and see what it's like…’ and Rod replying to the line 'are you all particularly pacifist?' with the line 'well, I suppose we're not particularly violent!'  The band all look impossibly young - but of course they were back then. Oh and the other big development is that Jacka and Ray have both grown beards! Well lengthy stubble...

3)  Pop2 #2 ([36] 'Fog On The Tyne' Sweden TV 1972)
The return of Lindisfarne to Pop2, for one song only – at least that’s my guess  given that the lengths of the beards and clothes have changed! It's a long song though, one of the longest live versions of the band's best-selling hit around. Rod introduces it as a ‘simple little folk song', which must surely have been incomprehensible for their Swedish audience in translation! Hull quips that the performance sounds like 'Bobby Dylan' as Jacka gets going on the harmonica and the song takes an age to get going before Hull finally stops improvising and starts singing.

4)  Old Grey Whistle Test #2 (Lindisfarne Mark II [68] ‘Taking Care Of Business’ [69] ‘North Country Boy’ UK TV March 1974)
Three years on from their first appearance Lindisfarne are back and looking a bit…different. It’s not just that the band have four new members standing behind Alan and Jacka. It’s not that their hair is longer or that they are more snazzily dressed. It’s their attitude: gone is the fun-loving band who play gigs as something to do between twin binges and in are a band who are disillusioned, fed-up, cynical. Hully doesn’t sing ‘Taking Care of Business’, the first song from ‘Roll On Ruby’ he sneers it, putting on a Lennonish grimace while the rest of the band – even Jacka follow suit. A gorgeous live rendition of ‘North Country Boy’ is warmer and much more Lindisfarny, but even here the song feels much more hopeless and desperate than the finished record, a chaotic mass swirl of harmonies on the ‘gotta keep it clean!’ over the end of the credits more a prayer than a call to arms. For his part presenter Whispering Bob Harris doesn’t make any mention of the fact the band have changed line-ups! An important clip though as I think this is the only one of the Mark II band on telly to have survived. 

5) Jack The Lad Cinema Advert (1974)
Deciding to think outside the box, Lindisfarne decided to advertise their second album 'The Old Straight Track' in a unique way with a series of rarely seen adverts shown not on television but in cinemas. Their advert is a mock-up of several genre films that all reflect some aspect of the band's sound and perhaps something of their split musical personality. It starts as a bawdy 'carry on' comedy with Billy trying to undo the chastity lock on a wench's dress while the rest of the band sit around in medieval garb munching grapes (with Walter's head served on a plate!) to the tune of [110] 'The Wurm'. Next up is part of [87] 'A Corny Pastiche' with the band as a gang of finger-snapping jacket-wearing street thugs (the visuals and sound really don't go together!) before the quintet wind up doing some country dancing! Finally the band appear dressed as Newcastle United for a sports flick with Si (eventually) scoring a winning goal against Phil! The advert ends with an amazing forward somersault from Si and he actually scores a winning goal at the end of it (no stunt double required, honest!) Mad, but in a good way. I think. 

6) Squire (Alan Hull acts in Drama by Tom Pickard 1975)
Geordie playwright Tom Pickard shared many of the same creative fuel and influences as Alan Hull and it was inevitable the pair's paths should cross somewhere down the line. The meeting came in the final days of the 'Lindisfarne Mark II' band when they were invited to add a few songs to the soundtrack of a TV play Pickard was working on about unemployment in Newcastle. The director, also a Lindisfan, desperately wanted Hull to actually appear in the piece too and offered him the lead role, dismissing Alan's argument 'but I can't act!' with the word 'you can read can't you?!' Actually Hull is a revelation in the role of a man recently laid off and while slightly stiff adds a real sense of sadness and helplessness to the character who must have reminded him so much of his pre-Lindisfarne self struggling to make a living and feed his young family. Ken Loach must surely have been a fan as it’s very like ‘I Daniel Blake’ in retrospect, a Geordie fighting the world as it throws everything they can at him for daring to be nothing more than unemployed, though talking about the ‘past war, the one before’ when Thatcher’s government not Cameron’s and May’s reigned supreme. Hull would write a whole album based around the play as his second record, also named 'Squire', though not much of the album made it into the soundtrack and the two are loosely linked rather than it being a 'soundtrack' album. Sadly the play itself is rarely seen and long overdue a DVD release (preferably with Ray Davies' similar role in 'The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Piano Player' on the back!) The best quote from the film: Alan’s chat up line to his benefit supervisor - 'You can come round and arrange my furniture any time you want!'

7)    Supersonic? ([124] 'Rocking Chair' Jack The Lad UK TV 1975)

As far as I can make out, the only Jack The Lad TV clip to have survived the years is a fine live performance of one of their greatest numbers for an unknown TV show circa 1975 (although if I had to guess I'd say that the timing and weird set design would suggest the short-lived ITV series 'Supersonic' on which The Kinks also played this year and look equally awkward on; the audience are too far away to see but sound like they're children - how great would it have been if Jack The Lad had sung their 'be wary of adults’ song [88] 'Lying On The Water' instead?) Billy's vocal is notably deeper than on the record and he plays his Geordie accent down a bit too! The layout behind the band is, well, bonkers, Billy up front with a red light on him while the rest of the band play on what looks like scaffolding: that's Ian 'Walter' Fairburn on fiddle and various other things on 'our' left, Phil Murray on bass in the middle, Si Cowe on mandolin on the right and way at the back and up high Ray Laidlaw on the drums. For some reason it appears to start snowing indoors partway through the song...It's a great performance though despite all the distractions and it's a tragedy that there aren't more clips of this great band around.

8)    [156] Run For Home (Music Video 1978)

A rather odd video for Lindisfarne's comeback single, which appears to be an all too literal idea of them being back home, playing on top of a windy bridge that's obviously meant to be on the Tyne! Along the way the band dress up in tuxedos to mime being a string quartet. As you do. And indeed as they will again on the video for ‘Start Again’. Note that Rod has now grown a fuller beard rather than his traditional goatee style, which will be back to normal by the end of the year!

9)    Top Of The Pops #1 ([156] ‘Run For Home’ July 1978)

While other AAA band’s ‘Top Of The Pops’ clips collection have been cut short by video wiping and cataloguing indifference, amazingly this is genuinely Lindisfarne’s debut appearance on the UK’s premiere music show a full eight years into their career. Not long back together, the band look the most nervous we will ever see them even though they’re clearly miming not performing, Hully hiding behind some dark glasses. This is the first time in these clips Alan is shown sitting at the piano and it’s altered the usual three-front two-back Lindisfarne formation, with Rod now on the right and Si in the middle in a colourful jumper. There’s still a great atmosphere in the studio though with the TOTP audience clapping along and in many ways this is the happiest Lindisfarne will ever be – at peace with their past and a big hit rattling up the charts. Alas it’s all going to be downhill from here. 

10) Top Of The Pops #2  ([152] 'Juke Box Gypsy' UK TV 1978)

Rather sadly Lindisfarne only made it back to the TOTP studios twice more and this second time it's not a song you might be expecting to see, the flop and rather graphic follow-up to 'Run For Home'. The band in fact censor themselves with a whole new second verse for a family audience: 'Magic medicine feels so fine, you can be my doctor any ole' time' replacing the line 'one injection and it feels alright, one more poke and you can do it all night!', a line they definitely couldn’t say on TV! However no one censors the chorus line 'hold your dress up high!’ Alan is up front and centre this time, with Si and Jacka sharing a microphone behind him and clearly enjoying themselves!

11) Unknown ([152] 'Jukebox Gypsy' 1978)
More of the same, with a second censored performance of the second single from 'Back and Fourth' but a live one this time and performed in a much grumpier mood than last time. Here a short-haired Si Cowe stares out the camera with a scowl as Hull keeps looking over as if to check he's OK - have the famously combustible pair just had a row backstage?

12) ([153] 'Warm Feeling' German TV 1978)
Filmed for an unknown German TV programme, a fully bearded Jacka takes the lead on his own song while Alan and Si share a microphone and get the giggles, with Rod later joining in too for a piece of the action when he sees what's going on. The pair even play back-to-back in a very rock star manner while Jacka tries his best to stay in character.

13) A Little Summer Music ([162] ‘Make Me Want To Stay’ [153] ‘Warm Feeling’ [16] ‘Turn A Deaf Ear’ [160] ‘Marshall Riley’s Army’ [13] 'Lady Eleanor' [152] ‘Jukebox Gypsy’ [27a] ‘Meet Me On The Corner’ [157] ‘King’s Cross Blues’ [156] ‘Run For Home’ [36a] ‘Fog On The Tyne’ UK TV 1978)
A little seen but very wonderful show, this is the first of two almost back-to-back TV studio concerts Lindisfarne gave, this one for ITV. Though sadly these clips have been long missing from anything official the full unedited tape exists on Yotube and is very interesting, not least for the fact that the band perform out of order, the ‘opening’ captions added to ‘Lady Eleanor’ (the first song transmitted)  appearing about halfway through. The band are on great form with Jacka particularly chatty (it’s a shame so many of his between song patter gets cut from the final version) and the band are still enjoying fame at this point. The twist this time is that the audience aren’t random Tv audience fans who’ve never heard of the band but competition winners. ‘You did better than me actually’ jokes Jackas, ‘I didn’t know what the answer was!’ though we never do find out what was asked (‘pin the matchstick on the right member of Lindisfarne’ is Jacka’s joke though – he’s not quite sure what the question was either!) There are many firsts here – as the first full-time show that exists in telly form this is the debut in this list of all sorts of classics in the Lindisfarne canon including ‘Lady Eleanor’ amazingly, which is much faster than normal here and comes with a fierce Laidlaw backbeat – the closest to a punk version! - and features Hully testing out his pinging guitar with the ‘Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’ riff over the opening (faded for transmission). The harmonies are particularly fine on this version, although Si loses his way slightly on the guitar part. ‘Eleanor’ is the highlight but there’s some other canny stuff here too: without the orchestra the ‘Back and Fourth’ material sounds more Lindisfarny somehow, with Jacka offering what seems like an entire talk on the history of Jarrow before ‘Marshall Riley’s Army’, a much stronger Hully vocal on ‘Make Me Want To Stay’ and Jacka joking that his own ‘Warm Feeling’ composition was written by a new songwriter named ‘Preston Both Ends’. The biggest surprise is a dangerous and sweaty ‘Juke Box Gypsy’, which makes so much more sense done like this for sexy lust rather than poppy love. Elsewhere the hits sound great with a particularly fun encore of ‘Fog On The Tyne’ and a swinging ‘Meet Me On the Corner’ although unexpectedly it’s ‘Turn A Deaf Ear’ that sounds the best, jacka introducing it as a song from 1970 ‘when men were men and women were…glad about it!’ and Si’s latest variation on the ‘giant poster’ on his wall being…’Hillary’ for reasons best known to himself. A classic, please put this show out on DVD somebody! 

14) Revolver ([157] 'King's Cross Blues' UK TV 1978)
'This group thought what about writing a song about travelling on a train from King's Cross? Yeah, wonderful idea isn't it?' Peter Cook's dour and sarcastic intro aside, this is one of Lindisfarne's better performances of one of their better songs on the period, a nicely retro rocker written by Jacka for a change and sung by him with gusto (just as well as the camera barely shows anyone else!) Si has a nasty scar on his cheek this week, though he's only seen in one passing shot (is this why?)

15) The Kenny Everett Video Show ([156] ‘Run For Home’ VHS 1978)
Back in 1978 Kenny Everett was in all sorts of trouble with his usual employers the BBC and for him the release of video-tapes was a God-send. Though not the first to make a standalone music-related video compilation (that was Monkee Mike Nesmith with ‘Elephant Part’s believe it or not), the idea was brand new and Everett makes for a suitably manic DJ, cutting and pasting videos the way he usually does with sound. Though it makes sense for Everett fans it’s a shame as a rather good and specially shot performance of ‘Run For Home’ in front of two random cubes is cut in two without reason. And no, sadly, the band and host never meet or interact and all Kenny does is announce (sixteen and forty-two minutes in respectively) that ‘This is where the story begins - Lindisfarne are playing their latest hit’ (an introduction so good he does it twice!) Technically the episode is ‘series one volume two’ for those who want to track down a copy.
16) [168] Brand New Day (Music Video 1978)
A rather odd video for a rather odd song, this was Lindisfarne's attempt at a big hit sequel to [156] 'Run For Home' that didn't have its predecessor's 'legs' in all senses of the word. Much of the video is shot through a distorted filter, which is apt given the lyrics about seeing the world through different eyes, but doesn't exactly make for comfortable viewing. The band are back at the Tyne Bridge yet again and seem to have learnt from past appearances there judging how warmly dressed everyone is!

17) [169] Call Of The Wild (Music Video 1979)
Winning the award for the most 'bonkers' Lindisfarne music video (and that’s really saying something!) is this flop single from 'The News' which starts off with the band performing naked in a cage (modestly covered up by their instruments before they sing more normally fully-dressed inside a TV studio). Suddenly though we're in a dream-scape of the band performing a top a steam engine and then at a zoo (‘Yorkshire’s ‘Flamingo World’) where Hull looks deeply nervous in the elephant's cage and later looks downright terrified perched up on a giant hale-bale being taken down a road on the back of a truck! None of this is anywhere in the lyrics by the way... To be honest it all seems a bit desperate and OTT and all a bit too 'wild' for me! This video was made in a hurry after the original plan to shoot the whole video in the theme park came to nothing – the director had shot some scenes and had blocked out his shots already for lots of others, but he and the band got thrown out when the proprietors got wind of the band being ‘naked’! (Yeah, because the animals are always fully clothed, aren’t they?!) Instead Ray Laidlaw co-directed the video on the hoof in various Newcastle areas including the band’s local The Tanner Arms and a sequence in New Bridge Street outside a building run by the BBC in the middle of the night so they wouldn’t get arrested…

18) Rock Goes To College (UK Concert 1979 [43] Court In The Act [13] Lady Eleanor [162] Make Me Want To Stay [157] King's Cross Blues [156] Run For Home [156] Brand New Day [11] We Can Swing Together)
Between 1978 and 1981 The BBC ran a series dedicated to filming gigs that were taking place on college campuses (it was a sequel to a popular 1960s BBC series 'Jazz Goes To College' - see if you can guess which element they changed!) While many of the acts featured appealed to younger crowds, capturing the end of punk and the start of new wave, a few popular 'oldies' acts got the go-ahead too. The shows were quite a coup in their day, simultaneously broadcast on BBC 2 (television) and Radio One (err, radio, just in case you hadn’t guessed that). Lindisfarne were the ninth band to play in the series and their gig took place at Essex University. Though not the best gig Lindisfarne ever played (the band seem a bit tired - with a comment made that they're in the 'middle' of a forty date tour that’s greeted by something of a groan - and veer towards sloppy rather than slick), it at least one of the longest that still survives. DJ Pete Drummond introduces the band wearing a very fetching Lindisfarne T-shirt but sadly doesn’t chat much, unlike some other gigs in the series. The band are belatedly promoting their 'Magic In The Air' live album and mainly stick to older material from that record, although there's a nice version of recent hit single 'Run For Home' that's arguably the highlight, alongside a rare live rendering of the band's recent flop single 'Brand New Day' and a pumped up 'King's Cross Blues'.
19) Cambridge Folk Festival ([197] 'Stormy Weather' UK Concert 1982)
Sadly only one short performance by Lindisfarne was ever broadcast on this anthology. I'm amazed it's this song that got through to broadcast to be honest, Hull angrily referencing the Falklands war in his rap about taking off his 'uniform'. It's a great performance with an impassioned Hull spitting fury as he drives the band on to a faster and harder performance of this 'Sleepless Nights' classic than most other live performances, with Jacka even doing his exercises during the intro to make sure he keeps up! There's a false ending the band don't often use on performances either. The festival was run every year from 1964 in the UK and is now over half a century old, by the way, so it was a big deal for Lindisfarne to be playing there at all – trust them to dust off one of their harder-edges rock songs for it! 

20) [186] Nights (Music Video 1982)
The first of an unprecedented four music videos shot to promote the album 'Sleepless Nights', this is one of the bigger budget ones with the band fooling around in an amusement arcade in Whitney Bay. The music director clearly picked up on the 1950s feel of the music and provided a video very like 'That'll Be The Day' full of Butlin's Redcoats, young girls and the like. Jacka does a good job as a romantic lead, but the scene is well and truly stolen by the carnage going on behind him: Ray, Alan and Rod 'aah' along on a carousel motorbike while in front Si mimes his guitarwork in the back of a big red truck! The end is interesting, taking a very long time to fade out to nothing and featuring a slightly longer edit of the song in the process. 

21) [187] Start Again (Music Video 1982)
Another fun music video has Lindisfarne having fun in the dressing up box as they each re-enact a different story that the song's vague lyrics about re-starting a relationship could be telling. Shot in the same stately home seen on the cover of the 'Sleepless Nights' LP we see Jacka as a former millionaire-turned-tramp (a regular role!) trying to woo back the lady of the manor (who keeps her clothes on for the video!) Alan is the butler, Rod the gardener, Si the cook and Ray the chauffeur. Everyone but Jacka also appear as a smartly dressed string quartet who play to the lady before Jacka the Tramp joins in from the window. Along the way Jacka tries to hurl a chair at the quartet in protest at his ex’s new posh friends and he takes over Si's job and presents his ex with a cake re-iced with the words 'start again' - despite throwing said confectionary out the window, the lady of the manor invites Jacka up a very long flight of stairs up to bed before the servants discover him and throw him out! Weirdly enough the video ends with the ex watching Lindisfarne on TV, although that specially shot clip of the band performing lasts for precisely five seconds before the video ends (The band won't be this big budget again for the rest of this article!)

22) [196] I Must Stop Going To Parties (Music Video 1982)
Hello this is Alan's Album Archives inviting you to a party! There's a conga line running through Alan Hull's living room and he's had enough. In a video as funny as the song, Hull opens the door to the camera with a sad look on his face surrounded by lots of tinsel and party-poppers but the party-pooper is interrupted by a mad crowd of people in costumes: Jacka as a hobo, Rod as a devil (playing the 'Terry' in the song with a maniacal grin all over his face!), Si is a cat (I think!) and Ray is a clown who somehow wins himself a cup of tea during a 'pass the parcel' game (it’s that kind of a party!) Jacka and his harmonica finally lead everyone out the door to deliver his final message ('The punch has all been drunk - and the drunks have all been punched!', heh heh heh). However that old devil Terry/Rod rings Alan up and suddenly everyone's back in his house all over again. Much to his annoyance! A fab video that's just like one long Monkees romp.

23) Meet Mike Elliott ([192] 'Sunderland Boys' UK TV 1982)
A rare mimed performance from the band on this final entry from 'Sleepless', with Ray miming to Rod's song. It's an apt choice of material given that compere and comedian Mike Elliott was from Sunderland and he knew the band well, even touring with them as a 'support act' for a while, although Elliott was more comfortable as a documentary-maker, filming several region programmes about North-East traditions. The band give a very 'serious' performance with Rod up front unusually while Alan wearing thick sunglasses plays to the right beyond a stack of keyboards. Jacka does a good job remembering all the tongue-twisting words in this video!

24) Multi-Coloured Swap-Shop (UK TV 1982)
Ray, Rod and Jacka were the only bandmates to turn up to the windy and wet outside broadcast of frantic children's show multi-coloured swapshop, where the band seem mis-cast somehow, without the ‘punk’ or ‘gunk’ the show was known for. Jacka tells presenter Keith Chegwin that 'they're a bit tired' and that the band have performed thirty nights and have another ten night run in Newcastle. Ray admits they don't buy each other presents at Christmas and says with feeling that his new year's resolution for 1983 is 'not to do this again'. The band are actually on to promote the single 'Nights' in between telling bad jokes (Rod: bell ringing is very a-peal-ing!') and confuse the heck out of Chegwin who can't get used to the idea that the band members in front him are named Ray Ray and Rod! We don’t see Lindisfarne giving any swapsies away either, at least on my copy, which was the whole point of the show (Dear Multi-Coloured Swap-Shop, please could I swap my copy of ‘C’mon Everybody’ for another LP? I don’t care what it is, at long as it isn’t The Spice Girls!’)

25) The Chosen Few Reunion ('Come In' UK TV 1983)
In 1965 a twenty-year-old Hull formed a new band named The Chosen Few with his old school pal Alan Brown on bass as a chance to make a bit of extra money and find a release from the daily grind of the gruelling week of low paid jobs. Other members who came and went included Mickey Gallagher - who later became one of Ian Dury's 'Blockheads' - on piano, drummer Andrew Jackman and a lead vocalist called Rod Hood. Hull was the guitarist and already the band's main composer back then and the band were good enough to win a prestigious talent competition with Radio Luxemburg – I can see why, having heard the resulting studio recordings, which were easily good enough to make it if not quite up to Lindisfarne standards. However the band's first two singles released on Pye flopped and talent scout Cyril Stapleton effectively 'fired' the band after one strop too many over the lyrics to Hull's proposed third single. The band fell apart and most of them didn't see each other again for eighteen years. Reunited for a TV show, what's interesting is how similar the band all look - they all look like rockstars, even the ones who returned to more 'normal' lives! The band perform nice versions of first single 'I Won't Be Round You Anymore' which has a lovely Byrdsy flavour (particularly the more gloomy Gene Clark half of the stage) and second single 'So Much To Look Forward To' which is pure 1964 Beatles! The band turn in a great performance considering the band had been apart for so long and Rod is a particularly fine vocalist in the 'soulful pop' Jacka mould - it's a shame that the reunion didn't last longer than just this one night as Alan for one is clearly having fun!

26) Around Midnight ([238] 'Day Of The Jackal' 'On The Other Side' 'Malvinas Melody' Alan Hull UK TV 1983)
This performance made the final cut of our TV show despite being technically a 'solo' performance because it's such a fascinating insight into Hull's creative process. The performances of the most controversial and grittiest sounding songs respectively from his 1983 LP 'On The Other Side' are deeply serious, featuring a smartly dressed yet scowling Hull at his most outrageous. ‘Malvinas Melody’, banned by the BBC for being ‘mean’ to Margaret Thatcher (ha!) is presented over on rivals ITV with footage of what The British were really up to in the Falkland Islands away from the hooray cries of the papers. 'Malvinas' is particularly strong, though all three songs are well performed, with a preview of ‘Jackal’ a full ten years before Lindisfarne re-recorded it for ‘Elvis Lives On The Moon’. However all this drama and anger contrasts greatly with the softly-spoken and rather shy interview where we see Hull at work in his home studio, slowly watching his songs come together, all of which takes place underneath the giant staring eyes of a cardboard cut-out of John Lennon! Hull talks about writing twenty or thirty songs every year, most of which he throws away for not being good enough for anyone but him to hear (oh to have saved some of those for posterity!) and his memories of writing [36] Fog On The Tyne on top of a bus that was stuck waiting at a stop. Hull adds about his own personal songwriting process that 'each song has its own inspirational point – it could be a TV programme, something from the TV, something somebody said, something from a book or whatever'. Hull talks about never ever wanting to write the words 'I love you' in a song and breaks off to play an early version of his very Paul Weller-ish solo song named 'Fly Away'. Hull then talks about enjoying Lennon's work best of all his rock and roll heroes, that he misses him three years after his death and that after finding the cardboard cut out 'John was the executive producer on this album - there in spirit!'

27) Newcastle City Hall Christmas Eve Concert (UK Concert 1984 [197] 'Stormy Weather' [202] 'Living On The Baseline' [15] 'Winter Song' [186] 'Nights' [192] 'I Must Stop Going Parties' [156] 'Run For Home' [36] 'Fog On The Tyne' [11] 'We Can Swing Together')
By the 1980s the Lindisfarne Christmas shows were legendary and had taken place at Newcastle City Hall most years since 1976. In 1984 Tyne TV, which broadcast only to the North East of England, broadcast the full half hour concert which is only the third 'complete' show filmed for broadcast by the band. Alas it's rather a scruffy show by their high standards with the City Hall a very echoey venue for the TV cameras. However this is a show still well worth watching as the band throw in a few surprises, including the poverty blues 'Living On A Baseline' which won't be released until 'Buried Treasures II' in 1992 and an exclusive a capella arrangement of 'Nights' that's really rather good, complete with Rod's comedy bass line and constant 'aaaahs' and including a delightful King's Singers style chant in the middle. The concert is worth digging out for this bit alone (it's at the end of 'part one' Youtube fans!) Along the way there's a comedy bit in ‘I Must Stop Going To Parties’ where a ringing phone is brought on stage to invite Jacka to a party while lots of balloons and streamers are thrown on stage and Si and Alan fall asleep back to back, revived by two nurses with a bottle of scotch! (Unusually Jacka sings all the verses, not just his closing speech). 'Fog' meanwhile includes a festive improvisation around 'Sleigh Ride' and sports an even longer ending than the version on 'Lindisfarntastic' complete with Jacka putting on his pompous voice to read out the final verse, while 'We Can Swing Together' ends with a version of 'auld lang syne' with the new Geordified lyrics reading 'awae the lads!' Surprisingly two of the band's core quartet of hits aren't played tonight: [13] 'Lady Eleanor' and [26] 'Meet Me On The Corner', which must be pretty unique for a Lindisfarne show too!

28) Pebble Mill (?) (UK TV [209] 'Shine On' 1986)
By 1986 Lindisfarne are in commercial free-fall and no longer the Tv must-haves they once were. Rank outsiders for the Christmas number one at a hundred to one? You know that Lindisfarne are having a troubled decade and to be honest this single isn't one of their more inspired moments, despite having something of a festive feel about it. One of the last times to hear the full sweet 'n' sour harmonies line-up together with a song that sounds suspiciously like 'Instant Karma' by Hull hero John Lennon, the band's front line seem a little grumpy in this video though the 'back row' are giving it their all with a special 'dance'. That's new keyboard player Steve Daggett at the back, while poor Si has to play up some steps that have appeared on his side of the stage to make way for Marty! By the way this is an 'educated guess' that this show is from Pebble Mill - it has that 'feel' about it which readers of a certain age will recognise ('The One Show' meets the 'Shake and Vac' ads from the 1950s) but I don’t actually know. Certainly it’s from a ‘polite’ daytime show rather than a rowdy ‘evening’ one!

29) Party Doll (Music Video 1987)
In 1987, with their record sales on the wane, Lindisfarne were getting desperate. Desperate enough to take up the invite to record a speedy 1950s hits-heavy rockabilly 'party' album in a hurry. The resulting effort 'C'mon Everybody' is something of a karaoke kamikaze record and generally regarded as something of a mistake - believe it or not tie-in single 'Party Doll' is one of the better moments. This promo video is also one of the band's cheapest and least interesting, although you do get to see the band dressed as 1950s rockers complete with greased-back hair and a house full of party guests. Along the way Jacka gets a kiss from an extra that he's clearly not expecting and Si is particularly, erm, merry!

30) Lindisfarne Christmas Show 1987 ([156] ‘Run For Home’)
It seems likely, from what I’ve read and people I’ve spoken to, that another legendary Lindisfarne Christmas show was taped and broadcast, sometime shortly after the festive period of 1987. Alas though the only track I have yet to see is a very poor copy of that old chestnut ‘Run For Home’. A band that are clearly the worse for wear and sweaty by the end of a gig don’t give the best performance ever but it’s still packed with atmosphere. Hull ad libs ‘It don’t mean a lot to me, but then maybe perhaps they do…’, while there’s an extended ending with a Marty Cragg saxophone solo that’s a nice try but doesn’t quite come off. 

31) [228] Do It Like This (Music Video 1989)
Lindisfarne's last music video is a retro-rocker from the 'Amigos' album that's most notable for being the first without Jacka in the band. Hull is on great form keeping a straight face on this song about a pair of newlyweds while the band try and do everything they can to put him off - 'Never thought I would be a teenage bride' he sighs while a grinning Ray Laidlaw forces himself into shot! Somebody off camera throws Hully a broom in time for the 'married' verse ('Clean up the kitchen! Put out the trash for the rag man!') while the band are seen doing some very odd dancing up and down a flight of stairs and synchronising their pint drinking at a local pub! It's all very Lindisfarne, thinly poised between comedy and tragedy throughout in which everyone seems to be having fun - even poor Si, who being the smallest member is made to stand at the front of the crowd scenes and after multiple re-takes and getting bored is shaken by Hull behind him something rotten! (Oddly enough Si mimes the keyboard part on this track, played by Hull on the record, while Alan plays a guitar part that isn’t there). One minus point though - whoever made the 'mock up' graffiti on the wall behind the band spelt Alan with two 'L's not one! (As a fellow Alan with one 'L' I notice these things!) Sadly and shockingly this appears to be one of the last ever filmed appearances of Alan Hull with the band he'd led for so long before his untimely death from a heart attack in 1994 at the age of just fifty, the year before the show released posthumously as ‘Access All Areas’ and mere weeks after recording the 25th anniversary show ‘Another Fine Mess’ (and featured in our DVD section).

32) [36b] Fog On The Tyne Revisited (Music Video 1990)
Lindisfarne return to Top Of The ops one last time, with a specially taped video that was only screened once. Gazza is the star and seems to have swallowed some happy pills in the dressing room as he gets a bit manic reading the auto-cue and coming as close as he can to singing. The band’s response to this is interesting: Marty is treating this as his big moment in the spotlight, Hully is reisgned to hamming up to the camera and ‘leaning’ on the footballer in a ‘this is fake and I don’t mean it!’ way, Rod gets the giggles, Si looks as if he’d rather be anywhere else and Ray is looking forward to his paycheque. Jacka, of course, hated the whole idea and stayed away, while this is Si’s last clip with the band for a reason (Hully too, for different reasons sadly). On balance Jacka was arguably right given the knock to Lindisfarne’s credibility and this video was much-mocked, but it’s not that bad – if you’re in the right company and drunk enough, with just enough of the original lyric and melody peeking through. The re-runs of this clip on ‘Top Of The Pops 2’ helpfully added the caption ‘Football managers would probably frown on feeding their squad sickly sausage rolls these days’(!) Oh and a health warning: don’t try to keep up with the arm-waving or your arms will tire somewhere around the second verse. It’s probably a good thing this Lindisfarne dance step didn’t really take off!

33) North-East News ('Walk A Crooked Mile' UK TV 1996)
'Alan wrote some of the best songs in the whole world and I'm so proud to be able to sing some of them'. The world's first glimpse of a post-Hull line-up came with an appearance on local TV. Rod admits that Hull's death was a 'shock' but 'they've got to carry on somehow' and he and Billy talk about how well and how long they've known each other. The band turn in a moving performance of one of Hull's last songs from his unfinished 'Statues and Liberties' album in unplugged form within the TV studios. Billy sounds good singing this song and the material fits the sound like a glove. Lindisfarne are re-born! Over the fade a teary Rod adds that 'Lindisfarne without Alan is a strange concept to swallow, but he quite often used to stand at the side of the stage with a big smile on his face watching us sing his songs for him and anyway the thought of doing less work for the same money appealed to him! When we've been rehearsing in my mind's eye I've seen him in the sides again watching with a smile on his face, willing us to get on with it!' Sniff, tearful stuff!

34) Middlewich Boat Festival ([13] ‘Lady Eleanor’ UK 2015)
A shock return, twelve years after the last gig under the official name, sees Rod recruited as ‘Head Lindy’ alongside old hands from all sorts of eras: Dave Hull-Denhom, Ian Thomson and – most amazingly – Charlie Harcourt from the ‘Mark II’ band. Much as I will always miss Jacka, it somehow sounds right hearing Rod singing his own ‘very very old song…so old even your Grandma might remember it!’ Played acoustically, with a bluesy lilt, Lindisfarne sound mighty fine and oddly faithful to the original given the many changes down the years and this 25th anniversary of one of Britain’s longest running festivals looks like a fun place to be. 

35) Cookin’ In The Kitchen (‘United States Of Mind’ [35] ‘Train In G Major’ [156] ‘Run For Home’ Online 2015)
A really sizzling idea! Indie label Boomchang Records figured they needed a publicity gimmick and that Youtube seemed to be doing well they may as well get their own channel with exclusive live performances by the bands on their label…in a kitchen. Tagline: ‘Some cooking tunes and some great banter’. Lindisfarne never have been on this label but as the regular host is none other than ‘seventh member’ Steve Cunningham (whose grown a natty goatee since we last saw him) it was inevitable the band would be on some time or another. This fascinating six-part interview (well, more of a chat really) is fascinating: Dave gives an early hint about working on Alan Hull’s home demos, Rod says that being back is ‘the last thing I expected – it’s strange to be both the oldest and the newest member!’, the whole band discuss the Lindisfarne family tree (in 2003 it ran to 33 members – it’s probably doubled since!), everyone discusses the then-new Paul Weller cover of ‘Meet Me On The Corner’, Charlie talks about knowing Alan since ‘the age of twelve, thirteen’ and Steve jokes ‘thankyou’ about Rod handing the bass role over to him in the 1980s. We also get some music of course: an exquisite ‘United States Of Mind’ with Alan’s son-in-law at his best and a lovely slow lilting ‘Train In G Major’ with Rod re-claiming the lead vocal in the manner of Brethren’s early days, though ‘Run For Home’ with another Denholm lead sounds a tiny bit ropey.      


'Nicely Out Of Tune' (L) (1970)

'Fog On The Tyne' (L) (1971)

'Dingly Dell' (L) (1972)

'Roll ON Ruby' (L) (1973) 

'The Squire' (AH) (1975)

'The Old Straight Track' (JTL) (1975)

‘Jackpot’ (JTL) (1976)

'Magic In The Air' (L) (1978)

'Back and Fourth' (L) (1978)

‘The News’(L) (1979)

'Sleepless Nights' (L) (1982)

'Dance Your Life Away' (L) (1986)

‘Amigos’ (1989)

'Elvis Lives On The Moon' (L) (1993)

'Here Comes The Neighbourhood' (1998)

'Promenade' (2002)

Si Cowe Obituary and Tribute (2015)

Surviving TV Clips

Live/Solo/Compilation Albums Part One 1970-1987

Live/Solo/Compilation Albums Part Two 1988-2015

Essay: Keepin’ The Rage On Behalf Of The Working Classes

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