2003: Yellow-bellied Wonderland LP

‘A concept album about Lincolnshire’ as one friend wryly observed. True, the title does allude to the flat, damp farmlands of this vast English county but the album’s nostalgia for lost corners of England attempted, at least, to be further reaching: Hide Me Joe is about an old road trip across the North Yorkshire Moors to the vampire town of Whitby; The Last Great Days recalls Brighton’s legendary and anarchic comedy club, The Comedy Dairy; Some Corner of the Evening toasts a pub culture that’s slowly dying.

Oddfellows Casino Alistair Strachan and Emma Papper

The album was recorded on an old Roland VS 840 8-track whose limited memory forced me to keep the instrumentation relatively uncluttered, and marked the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Alistair Strachan and Emma Papper (the Space Horns, pictured above), whose languid and jazzy style really helped define the early Oddfellow’s sound. I guess we were all OD-ing on Pharaoh Sanders and Alice Coltrane back then…

* A ‘yellow-belly’, for those unfamiliar with such colloquialisms, is a term once used to describe anyone born with Lincolnshire’s wet fenland between their toes.