Stories behind some of my adventures in Music production


At the beginning: 1989

Bridge Recordings was formed in 1989. After twelve years of almost continuous live performance I decided to focus my attention on production. Ronnie Johnson was one of the first musicians I met when I moved to England in 1984 and we had worked together with some success in duos and bands for several years.
On New Years eve 1988 we had a New years eve gig booking in London that paid enough for a four piece line up, John Edwards on bass and Charlie Morgan on drums. I immediately hit it off with Charlie and very quickly we decided to form a business partnership to explore musical productions and our joint interest in making high quality recordings. Our first album production on Bridge recordings was  solo album for Ronnie Johnson, ‘Give them enough rope’  recorded in a one week session at the Mill Studios in Cookham.
The Mill was a well established professional recording studio used around that time by Elton John, Jimmy Page and Chris Rea. It had a top of the range Neve VR desk and a second smaller room with an EMI desk. Price wise, the Mill was at the upper end of the Studio market running at £1,000 per day. Quite expensive at that time, especially in the context of a guitar instrumental album.

Preparation of the tracks for the album occurred as the first Iraqi war was looming and socially this was an influencing factor in the direction of the songs. The title track "Give them enough Rope" articulates that feeling vividly. I particularly enjoyed the distraction of working with Ronnie to the constant battering of mindless pro-war propaganda presented through the rolling news networks.

The engineer for this album, introduced to me by Charlie, was John Etchells who it soon transpired, is simply a fabulous person as well as an exceptional sound engineer. This was to be the first of many albums we worked on together.

John Edwards took time off his day job with Status Quo to provide the bass and Charlie Morgan, who was at that time touring with Elton John, played drums.

All the tracks on the album represent first or second takes. A studio live approach aimed at getting the 'groove' in the timing between bass and drums. The three players had all played together regularly since teenage years and had a good telepathy with regard to timing. A 'White English' timing thing.

The cover photograph was taken by world famous photographer John Graham in his Wimbledon Studio and has been published in its own right as a guitar advertisement. Faced for the first time with the challenge of coming up with album artwork, I found myself in the New Malden home of Sku Richards, who owned one of the first Macs capable of running Quark Express, and she put together the booklet.

The mixed master were then mastered for CD by Simon Heyworth at Chop em Out, which provided me with a great day out in Ladbroke Grove. At that time CD manufacturing was a thriving business and Disctronics were one of the largest CD pressing plants. I had a 1,000 first run made, which was exceptionally optimistic.

We then faced the challenge of releasing GIVE THEM ENOUGH ROPE. I met a small independent distributor who took one hundred copies and never paid for them, providing me with a valuable introduction to the ways of the music business.  I traveled to the Midem show in Cannes and sold 100 copies to a South African dealer, Terry Fairweather. Later the album was included in a distribution deal with 'Grapevine distribution'. The track 'Little People' was played extensively on Melody Radio on Zoot Money’s show. Several dozen copies were sent out to press for review. Neville Marten in Guitarist magazine proclaimed the album as 'a work of considerable merit.'
Radio in Japan has played the track 'BBHC' which led to some mail order sales to Japan.

In its first release the album sold almost 2 000 copies, achieved mostly by becoming (almost certainly) the first album to be sold via that barely emerging phenomenon in the UK, the internet

In 1992 I started selling Bridge Recordings albums through Terry Days 'Music Maker Publications’ - Guitarist magazine etc, and we collaborated on many Internet projects at a time when the Internet was just beginning to emerge. Terry was one of the first to invest in a T1 line and set up a dedicated server for web publishing through which I was able to launch a Bridge Recordings web site and sell CD's directly in a way that had never existed before. It all seems so obvious now, but it wasn’t then.

Despite not being a commercial success 'ROPE' has now become something of a cult album, where the quality of the performances along with the high production values have helped everyone involved in some way.
Shortly after the release of the album Ronnie started working with Van Morrison and told me of numerous occasions whilst on tours around the world with Van where fans would bring their copy of 'ROPE' for signing in places as diverse as Monaco, San Francisco and Brazil.

Tracks that made the album are: Give them enough rope, Gary Shaw, Francine, Burundi Brothers, Mill Valley days, BBHC, Livin, Sofa, Little People, No middle man




Early in 1991, I went to the Red Lion pub in Brentford to visit Charlie, who was doing a gig with a singer I had not heard of, Willy Finlayson. It was a Sunday lunch gig, and when I arrived the place was packed quite literally to the rafters. The band was an all star line up, including guitarist Mickey Moody.  

Willy Finlayson is a fantastic singer and in this gig he was very much at the height of his powers with an unusually good set. Largely on impulse, egged on by Charlie’s enthusiasm, I decided to make a live recording of this set up.

For the recording John Etchells was again the engineer. Researching mobile recording studios led us to the Advision mobile truck, at that time £850 per day, which was on hire to Prince for the two weeks before we used it. Around that time I met Dave Mackay, who owned a Mitsubishi digital multi track, which, with considerable effort because its a heavy machine, we loaded onto the Advision truck for the recordings with the agreement that we would mix the album at Dave’s Studio in Woldingham.

The venue was booked for Friday Night, Saturday night and Sunday lunch to enable us to record three versions of each track. What followed was a great fun weekend with huge amounts of energy crackling around.

The 'Hurters' on the album are - MICKEY MOODY on guitar, MATT IRVINE on keys, NIGEL PORTMAN SMITH on bass, and CHARLIE MORGAN on Drums.

Willy was in fine voice throughout. All three shows were packed and those present will remember the electric atmosphere in the room.

The album was mixed in four fun filled days at Dave Mackay's studio in Woldingham by John Etchells. There were a 'very few' overdubs on the vocal parts, mostly because of technical limitations with live sound, but in essence the recording remains an honest reflection of a top class group of musicians. The track 'On the air tonight' has a special value, with the crowds participation playing an important role in the arrangement.

John Graham again provided the cover photography, with Willy using my Casio Stratocaster for the cover picture ,and the artwork design was by Sku Richards.

The album was released in mid 91 on a small scale and via gig sales and internet promotion sold close to 2,000 pieces. Following an approach from Germany, there was a license deal and the prospect of a release in Germany followed by a tour. I visited Germany to make the arrangements and had a super time, meeting Albert Lee, staying at Frank Farians former studio, and drinking some excellent German beer, however the proposed tour and release never quite materialized German release never materialized. Another reminder that making money out of recordings is not easy. The album though remains an honest recording of some great musicians playing at the top of their game.

The songs that made the album are: Get on Board, Shaky Ground, Do you really mean it, On the air tonight, Its all over now, Fire, Cash, I got news for you, Aint nobody, No soul, Moody's Mississippi, You don't know like I know, Hummin.




The first two albums were mastered at 'Chop Em Out' in Ladbroke Grove by Simon Heyworth, with whom I shared many musical interests. Simon had completed a Channel 4 production called 'Living with the blues'. From this original source material which comprised dozens of two inch tapes stored in his shed, we ploughed through hours of blues recordings to find some of them were classics. Three Months later, after much editing, overdubbing and compiling, we had the bones of what finally was released as BLUE BRITANNIA .

The art director on this one was Stuart Catterson, the art director at Music Maker publications where I had begun producing cover mount CD's for Terry Days magazines. For the cover design I commissioned Stuart to paint a 6 foot square canvas oil of Britannia with one breast revealed. (This being the blues I felt some breast and a National Guitar were essential).

The album was released through my newly acquired three year distribution contract with Grapevine/PolyGram in 92. Radio 2 played the track 'Bluemonia' by Mickey Moody for months. Other great moments include Cliff Aungiers version of 'Guilty' and Steve Marriots 'Hambone.'

Tracks on the album are:
Got to move, Gamblers blues, Sandiago Serenade, Blood red river, Ho long blues, Born under a bad sign, Bluemonia, Guilty, Out of order, Highroller, Hard times/Killing floor, Forgotten the Blues, Hambone, Perfect Strangers rag, Love thats all, Living with the blues, One more whiskey, A Little security.

Musicians appearing: Peter Green, Geoff Bradford, Chris Farlowe, Micky Moody, Jerry Donahue, Ronnie Johnson, Snowy White, Steve Marriot, Richard Newman, John Spencer, Cliff Aungier, Charlie Morgan, Jeff Allan, Dave Mattacks, Danny Thompson, Paul Jones, Dave Pegg, Dave Kelly, Mike Simmonds, Joe Brown and Gerry Conway.

As the album featured many fine British guitarists, GUITARIST magazines publisher TERRY DAY was instrumental in helping to promote the players and the album through his Publications.

Sadly Cliff Aungier, whose version of Sandiago Serenade is such a highlight of the album, passed away in 2004.



Through the association with the wonderful Terry Day at Music Maker Publications, we (Terry, myself and Nigel Reveller) prepared the first 'budget priced' sampler taking the best Guitar based tracks from all the albums. This was a 'pile em high - sell em cheap' approach. Unusual for me as up until then I had not considered making a record specifically for the purpose of 'selling'. The guiding force behind this was Nigel Reveller, the distributor, who felt that the album might encourage sales of the top price albums from which the featured tracks originated.

One new track was recorded for the release. A song I wrote that year called Stranger. Recorded at Dave Mackay's studio, the musicians were - Ronnie Johnson on guitar, Geoff Dunne on drums, Phil Mulford on bass and vocals by Ken Anselm. The song, Stranger, was always well received at gigs, so I decided to take advantage of the release opportunity by making a good recording of the song to be included on the album.

Chris West, a talented musical all rounder and a friend for many years, was the engineer. The track was recorded first take, and mixed the same day. One thousand pounds all in for musicians and studio. The vocalist - Ken Anselm, unable to find a babysitter for his 11 year old son James, brought him with to the session, and he provided the quite remarkable harmony on the track.
The packaging design was by Stuart Catterson, and I mastered the album myself at Riverbank
The album was released through Grapevine/PolyGram, and moved over 8,000 pieces to retail.
The song STRANGER received some attention and generated some PRS for me. Other moments on the album include James Litherlands 'Easiest way to go' and Ronnie Johnson's 'BBHC'. Most of the artists who appeared on the album were also the subject of an interview with me for Music maker Publications.



The introduction to Louis Ribeiro came via Terry Britten, who called me to introduce the drummer with Jive Nation- Harbans Sri.  Louis Ribeiro was playing the South African Music circuit around the time that I left South Africa. He had moved to London, where he was working the pubs and clubs for a few years prior to sending me a cassette with some of his songs.

At that time we had a studio in Ripley (Black Barn Studios) and after playing the songs to Charlie Morgan, we decided to produce a proper recording of this fine writers work using 'down time' in the studio as well as introducing some session musicians to supplement Louis regular band. Charlie Morgan was instrumental in arranging the recordings. Liane Carrol, Roy Villanis and Ken Anselm came in to help the vocal side. Doug Boyle added his distinctive guitar sound, and Mo Foster came and did the bass parts in two cheerful sessions.

The end result shows the songs in an honest and accurate way. The artwork is by Stuart Catterson, who also contributed greatly to adding the CD-ROM aspect to the CD, which was one of the first 'Enhanced CD's' including a multimedia ROM part on the disc.

The album promotes great affection after one listen, and I receive many nice comments from those who bought the album.
Sadly on presentation to the trade I was told it 'fell between two markets' - World Music and Rock. This created a problem for selling into retail, and on the advise of my distributor, the album was not given a mainstream release.
Instead, we concentrated on Web sales and sales at Jive Nation gigs. This reached about 2 500 sales at time of writing.
Louis and Jive Nation continued working the London circuit, establishing a loyal fan base.

Louis always enjoyed a good smoke, and it may be that this contributed to his early departure, to cancer on 23 October, 2007. A lovely musican and a gentle person who helped the lives af a great many people.

Order HERE


Growing up in South Africa in the seventies, I met and started a friendship with an exceptional musician, Jose Alves. Sometime after I moved to London in 84, Jo emigrated to the US, and settled in Los Angeles. We stayed in touch through the years and in 1997 he came over for a visit, bringing a cassette of songs he was working on with another expatriate South African Greek, Dino Archon. Dino is a wonderfully talented singer/songwriter, known in South Africa for his work with 'The Assylum Kids'
I thought the songs and the attitude behind them - brilliant and it didn't take much persuasion to get Charlie Morgan to agree to make his drumming the fourth element in the music.

We flew Dino and Jo over to London for a week, and recorded fourteen tracks in Black Barn Studios.
Again the idea was to capture performance recordings - first or second takes only. These were very exciting sessions, and a lot of energy passed onto the tape.
After the guys went back to LA, the tracks were mixed over ten days at Jacobs studio in Farnham. The engineer for the album was Robin Black. The artwork was done by Dino, who has a design business in LA (Interface). The band went on to do some select gigs in Los Angeles, and the album attracted hints of interest from major labels without ever actually selling any copies. A sad reflection on the nature of the business side of music as these songs and this album reflect a very high standard. Kiss the Fear - should have been a worldwide hit.

Songs that made the album are: Sun comes in, Step into the whole, Pink suit, Black sugar, Kiss the fear, Just like the rain, Too late, Stay, Hunters, Kill heaven, Bloodline, Gypsey



SAS BAND: 1997

Spike Edney came to visit at the Barn in 1997 with a recording he'd written called 'Original Sin'. At first the idea of a 'covers' band with a few original songs didn't appeal. Until I went to see the band live. An SAS Band concert really is a great night out.

Chris Thompson is a fabulous Rock singer, and the steady flow of 'guest singers' at an SAS BAND show keeps the excitement factor constant.

Recording the album took almost two years. Most of the players involved work a busy schedule with other acts, and getting the parts in place was a juggling act of some proportions.

Some highlights for me were - Ian Anderson agreeing - and then playing the flute on 'Baby You're a rich man', the day Peter Green came down to play the solo on 'That's the way God Planned it' and Spike's trombone part on 'Didn't I blow your mind this time'. This production was by far the biggest and most expensive I had ever undertaken, as the high degree of attention being paid to the parts meant endless days in the studio, seemingly for little more than a tweak on a snare fill. I had a few nightmare days of calculating that a change on the reverb for the end line of one song had cost £3,000, and then been discarded as no better than the reverb used in the first place. Grr.... More lessons on the economics of Music production. Eventually though we agreed on a final format having finished the mixing at Roger Taylors Mill studio.

The engineer was Robin Black The packaging design was Stuart Catterson.
The album was released in 1997 via Grapevine/PolyGram. This album was an immediate 'hit' on the web site, where over 3 000 copies were ordered via the web within a Month of the first pressing arriving.
Sales at the live shows eventually added a further 2 000. This is the biggest selling album on this website to date and I think it remains an extremely high standard of work.

Songs that made the album: You're the voice, The name of the game, Baby you're a rich man, Sail on Sailor, Dirty mind, Didn't I blow your mind, Original sin, Dreamworld, Once more, Hey jealousy, Angels, That's the way god planned it, For you.  




After completing a first solo album with Hugh - Dedication in 1996, I remained totally impressed by Hugh's extraordinary skill with the nylon strung guitar. (As widely heard on the George Michael 'careless whisper' song)

The idea for this album was to produce a recording based on ideas improvised on the acoustic guitar. A Mindwash between the courses of other musical styles, and what I consider a valuable alternative to the manufactured dross that forms the chart best sellers.

Over a one year period Hugh and I would meet over a cappuccino at the Cafe Rouge in Esher, where we would brainstorm an idea before driving down to the studio in Ripley. Once there - with a variety of Hugh's excellent guitars, and with a selection of top quality microphones, we would record hours of improvised parts.
Out of the nine or so hours of material recored, I edited the best hour in a working context, and this became the album.

The engineer for most of the sessions was Robin Black. The designer was Stuart Catterson.

Highlights of this period for me are hard to specify as working with Hugh is always a pleasure, and being around the sound of such beautiful instruments is never a bad thing. There was a special thrill in hearing Hugh interpret a guitar piece I had written, which appears on the album as 'Hearts'.

The album was never made with a view to being a million seller, so there has not been a Mainstream release. It is available only from the web site and directly from Hugh.
To date it has sold around five hundred pieces.



One of the very first albums I ever owned, and admired, was Silverbird, so when the opportunity arose to work with Leo, I was thrilled. Leo was setting out on a live tour at a time when he was exploring the blues side of life. A few misfortunes conspired against him and I was in the fortunate position of being able to help him reverse the trend.

The album came together very quickly. It had to. With my old mate Chris West engineering (And driving the Volvo estate) we recorded 5 shows during Leo's 99 UK tour, traveling to the gigs with a 'Radar 24 Track' using the quite excellent Oram Mic Pre amps, borrowed from John Oram for this purpose.

With five versions of each track to choose from, an intense Month of editing and decision making followed, made pleasurable by the constant reminder in the tracks that Leo Sayer is a quite wonderful singer.

The album was mixed at John Orams Studio in Kent using his fine Oramsonics board. Simon Heyworth mastered the Recordings, and Stuart Catterson worked with Leo to complete the design. Donatella Piccinetti took the stunning photos which appear in the design.

Players are: Ronnie Johnson - Guitar, Simon Baizley - Guitar, Josh Philips - Keys, Geoff Dunne - Drums, Jeremy Meek - Bass.

Songs that made the album: The Show must go On, Moonlighting, I Cant Stop Loving You (Though I try), Raining In My Heart, Orchard Road, Blame it on the Night, Giving it All Away, One Man band, Endless Flight, Easy To Love, More Than I Can Say, Thunder In My Heart, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, When I Need You, Long Tall Glasses, How Much Love, No Looking Back


CD and Video recorded at Shepherds Bush Empire, February 2000. A lot of work and a lot of fun. John Etchells was the engineer. Every track has its own story. Everyone involved is remarkable in some way. ALmost all the songs were worldwide hits, being performed by the writers.

I particularly enjoyed breakfast at Richard O' Brien's, hearing the background to his fabulous version of 'The Time warp.' Arthur Browns story telling, from his front row seat in British music, at his local in Brighton to discuss the brass arrangements for 'Fire' was another great moment. Admiring the black swans in Roger Taylors magnificent home in Surrey, and .... well I could go on for hours. It really was a fun time. On the sadness side, the lovely Paul Young (No not that one - the Mike and the mechanics/Sad Cafe one) died shortly after recording the quite fantastic version of 'Every day hurts.' that appears on this album.

1. Blinded by the light | Chris Thompson
2. Big area | Mark Shaw
3. All I need is a miracle | Paul Young
4. Every day hurts | Paul Young
5. Time warp | Richard O' Brien
6. Fire | Arthur Brown
7. My Generation | Leo Sayer
8. California Man | Roy Wood
9. I just wanna make love to you |Stevie Vann
10. 2-4-6-8 Motorway | Tom Robinson
11. Every Time you go away | Paul Young
12. Just good friends | Fish
13. Radio ga ga | Roger Taylor
14. Hammer to fall | Tony Hadley
15. The show must go on | Chris Thompson


VIDEO Runs for Two Hours - including 'THE SHOW' plus additional footage..... CD's £14 (Plus P&P) - ORDER

DVD £10 (Plus P&P) - ORDER


An unusual project, whose origins lie in the famous musicians joke 'how many guitarists does it take to change a lightbulb. Answer 11. One to change the lightbulb, and ten to say 'I can do that better.'

One day in 2001, I visited a friend, Diana Cooper, at one of her fabulous shows. I enquired after the music she used so effectively in the context of her show. I felt that I could provide a musical style for her 'Angelic' work.  In no time at all, working with pianist Pete Stone, we had seven exciting new pieces of music.

Diana loved the music and started using the album at her workshops. The first print of 1,000 pieces sold out within two weeks via Diana Coopers web site. Subsequently the album kept being re-ordered. Totally surprising to me, as it transpired that his album, which had cost the least to produce, was selling the most, without any marketing. Word of mouth it seems is still the most cost effective market force.  It also started a flow of correspondence from people who had enjoyed positive experiences from listening to the music. I was thrilled by the thought that this album has helped people improve the quality of their lives. This motivated me to explore the genre further, with some success.

'Angel Inspiration' includes beautiful piano performances by Pete Stone, and the sound of a lovely Taylor acoustic guitar that was consumed by fire shortly after this recording was made, consistent with the sequence of unusual synchronicities that characterised the making of this album, not the least of which was the Twin towers incident the day after the recordings were completed on September 10, 2001.



Music for Kumeka 2004

Following the positive reaction to the Angel Inspiration album, came MUSIC FOR KUMEKA. Again Diana Cooper was the driving force. Diana has a close relationship with Kumeka, her spirit guide, and asked me to produce a musical album to introduce him more widely.

After around nine months of sound design and frequency adjustments, an interesting album emerged. The album contains some fine inspirational performances by friends including Peter Stone on piano, Becky Whiting on Flute, and a vocal cameo from Leo Sayer.

The album was featured in the Cygnus Review, which helped to sell out the first pressing within a Month of release. MUSIC FOR KUMEKA has become my best selling album to date.

Preview Music FOR KUMEKA



After making the Kumeka record, I was having so much fun with the medium of Meditation Music' that the suggestion to do an album inspired by the Golden age of Atlantis was too much to resist.
This album took around three months to complete, and features acoustic guitar, marimba, flute, lots of atmospheric strings and some acoustic piano by Peter Stone.   



Angels and Unicorns 2007

When the August 2006 bombing of Lebanon started, I was working with Hugh Burns. During a break we found a similar position in respect of the frustrating role of the unwilling spectator to terrible injustice. In the ensuing Months we spent many hours preparing the pieces that were to become 'Angels and Unicorns' as a audio background to help facilitate clear thought.

This album was featured in the 'Cygnus Review' an influential New Age publication.

This is my fourth album in the meditation music genre, and until the next one, my favorite.


Working with Hugh Burns on further developing our writing skills in the genre of healing meditation music, we focussed on the Celtic traditions. In particular, the tale of Turlogh O'Carolan, the blind Irish harpist who travelled Ireland, articulating the musical Zeitgeist of the people and the times into a unique association of notes that define the qualities of Celtic Music.

Nearing the end of the album we felt a few voices would be appropriate in the context. Zoe Zak appears on two tracks, and Alan Tarney, who I had played the work to and who has worked with Hugh for many years, contributed a quite fabulous layered vocal to the track 'Breathe'. I felt that in the making of the album, we came as close as we possibly could to achieving the qualities that make a great meditative recording.

This is my fifth album in the 'consciousness raising meditation music' genre.


7 Bach Meditations 2009

For the third album with Hugh Burns in the genre of healing meditation music, we focussed on the compositional style of Bach.

Bach’s transcendent compositional approach is presented here in a unique way, with a variety of stringed instruments placed in an ambient context around the contemplative guitar styling of Hugh Burns, to explore and extend the composers spiritual intention.

7 Bach Meditations is an ideal point of focus for a meditative ambiance.


Great music for:

Spa relaxation
Coffee shop
Calming children

Listen to mp3 sample

Order 7 bach Meditations HERE