GDR = Grimm Doo Records. Why ‘Grimm Doo?’ – Well my studio has not always been up to speed equipment-wise and myth has it that my old 16 into 2 desk used to growl at people if it didn’t like what it was being played. We have since removed it and all taste filters from the building and the problem seems to have cleared up. Anyway, is some of last years crop of releases, available in the big www on all digital platforms.
Made in Britain it used to say that on stuff – remember? Now it says ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in Swaziland’ … but MORGANISATION loves all things British – Shakespeare, Churchill, tea, Spitfires & Hurricanes, The Beatles, 007, fish & chips, Foyles War, did I mention tea?… Yes we love all that and why not – Here in the middle of the lock-down at Grimm Doo studios, Birmingham, we are safe at the heart of the empire. What do ya mean the empire’s gone??? Well never mind, we’re Made in Britain. Flippin ‘eck, aint that enough?
The Secret Album was recorded in conditions of discretion which have remained to this day. Some would call it absolute secrecy, but anyway it’s time Jim and I put and end to all that cloak and dagger stuff.However, we are still not sure if the studio was ever paid for, so we don’t want to draw too much attention, you understand.After all, we’ve survived obscurity for this long, it isn’t so terrible. Hence our marketing strategy has consisted of furtively passing CDs to people inside plain brown paper bags. In case of trouble and in order to spread the blame, Jim and I would like to point out that Richard Tandy was the producer and that we were immensely egged on by guitarist and vocalist Bob Daffurn (born with magic fingers and a left-handed guitar). Steve Wheate was also heavily complicit in the proceedings, both with encouragements and the wonderful throb from his drumkit. Dave
These album notes above were written in 2010. Sadly I have to report that Jim died on 10 April 2012, after a short illness.
The Morgan Album was produced by Lou Reizner in London in 1970 and then released the next year in America, where I sat with The Bird (aka Warren Samet) in our apartment in Miami while he wrote these liner notes for it:
Dave Morgan is among the new wave of lyrical, acoustical folk-rock performers who have taken the recording industry by storm. Forceful, earthy, and yet gentle he is an artist who fell into the musical pudding rather by accident at the ripe age of twenty-two. Now twenty-eight, he is a veteran of several rock groups in England, still having manage to find the time to write two hit songs, ‘Mary Collinto’ and ‘Something’ plus all the songs on a soon-to–be-released LP by a new group, Wishful Thinking.
Dave has a deceptively rangy voice and the ability to call upon a throaty, gravel-like quality which can change in a moment to a sound that is soft and sensitive. Virtually self-taught, he assembles things which he has heard with things that he feels, and comes up with a sound that is distinctly Dave Morgan. The Bird
Now in 2021, 50 years after its debut, the original Morgan album is being re-mastered for release on vinyl with its 11 tracks on an accompanying CD plus 6 bonus tracks of material from the period.
Dave’s rock and pop songs featuring ELO pianist Richard Tandy and former bass player Martin Smith. This collection began life as a one-off for the ELO fan club back in 1992. It has been in constant reprint ever since and is now a classic collectors item of punchy, melodic pop-rock.
Every so often, a brilliant album is condemned to oblivion by blunders in marketing. Such has been the fate of the 1985 concept album “Earth rise” by Richard Tandy and Dave Morgan; the former being the keyboardist of the Electric Light Orchestra, and the latter a fellow Brummie.
In the early eighties, a musical period when concept rock albums where out-of-fashion and “not done”, Tandy and Morgan constructed a timeless gem out of a bunch of demos by singer-songwriter Dave Morgan. The “Earth rise” story is about an intergalactic space traveller, who, in the emptiness of the Galaxy, is longing to return to his one love on Earth; in the end, he realises that true love has always been present within himself (“The secret was always inside”). Apart from the science fiction form, the content is really about universal questions, and both the compositions and the lyrics are impressively haunting: “Feeling so lonely / Feeling so blue / Feeling so empty / Like all this distance between me and you”, and “Travelling one thousand worlds, searching for only one…” Who hasn’t done this one way or another in his/her lifetime?
The album was released in 1985 on vinyl and cassette, but for all kinds of reasons, marketing was totally absent. The album got no airplay at all, which, as we all know, is deadly for commercial success. Given the proper airplay, tracks like “Spaceship Earth”, “Zero zero” and “Pictures in my Pillow” could easily have been massive hits, given the combination of commercial sound production and emotional impact.
As a minor point of this release, I found that the track order has been changed, which means the story just doesn’t seem to flow as logically as it did on the original release. Moreover, “Zero zero” has now been ‘relegated’ to the end of the disc, and 3 tracks added as ‘bonus tracks’: ‘Pictures in my Pillow’, ‘Ria(backing)’ – a mix of ‘Ria’ without any lead vocals, and ‘Starclipse One’ an alternate mix of the instrumental which precedes ‘Purpose’ on the main suite of songs. While they may not fit into the concept story lyrically, I feel that on the original release they came at exactly the right spot. Also, two left-over tracks (‘Wheels’ and ‘Caesar of the Galaxy’) have now been inserted without really adding anything significant. But hey, track order is easily rearranged when playing the CD, and, most important of all, the tracks are still the original recordings, not re-workings.
Jan van Aalst (abridged from his Amazon review)
Songs of love and fun released for the millennia in 2001. Some classic songs ‘City Girl’ and ‘Do you Mind’ are amongst its 16 tracks, plus a bonus trackette (‘Alfonse’) not mentioned on the flyer. Here is what one fan said about ‘Mistress Caroline’:
Wow!… I feel Like I’ve just been abducted, ‘tinkered with’ and returned disabused of all boredom and despair. What a track! The Penumbra of possibilities ignites the curiosity to know all the secrets within the unseen… And no, I did not have to pay him anything.
Reel 2 is a CD album full of quirky items: ‘The Bit in the Middle’ was done with Tony Kelsey, Lisa Carter and me huddled around a borrowed 8-track cassette deck, while we were all splitting our sides laughing at some joke of the moment. But Lisa was deadly serious when she sang that great high bit after the bit where dust cart takes off (that’s what Jeff Lynne called it!). ‘Do you Mind’ has ‘Pip’, my next door neighbour singing the really low bits while a Russian girl, Natasha appears at the end with ‘Yes I do mind, Really!’ Finally my friend George Styles finishes the album off with one of the crazy messages he left on my answer phone.
Released on a CD Digipack in 2012, ‘Across the Divide’ is a journey over many musical styles piloted by the common thread of Dave’s song writing style. Eleven songs take you to places that feel familiar to you but you know you’ve never been there before. An eclectic musical gathering from Dave, working in his home studio ‘Grimm Doo’, helped by a fusilade of passing musicians plus engineering and production skills by Martin Smith.
‘Seven’ is the lucky number for fans of British guitar music… an album of seven superbly crafted songs to be revealed on the seventh day of the seventh month … Dave Scott-Morgan, hit songwriter and former guitarist with the legendary Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) unveils his seventh album, Seven, performed with his multi-talented music creation tribe MOrganisation. Seven is an irresistible roller coaster ride through latter day Beatlesque pop, drawn from different wells and different times. It includes contributions from Birmingham legends including Tony Clarkin (Magnum), Richard Tandy (ELO) and even the late Carl Wayne (The Move).
“Bubbles” is a collection of ten tracks including a stomping cover of the Buddy Holly classic “Well … All Right” alongside original compositions which exhibit the influence of Bob Dylan in places, with welcome nods to The Beatles and, of course, Dave’s old pal Jeff Lynne. This 2019 version of “Bubbles” dispenses with the old opener ‘I’d love to see you’, going straight into ‘On a Plane’ which grabs your aural attention straight away. Next the bluegrass flavoured “Black Dog Day” signposts a change of genre before a new version of the quirky “Mistress Caroline” (originally found on Dave’s 2001 “Reel Two” album) makes its appearance, preceded by ‘The Rockford Bubble’ which is Alan Piano-Smith’s solicitor-speak rendition of Lord Rockford Moses will being read! The interestingly entitled “The Queen, The Prince And The Dish” is next, a song in memorium to an old friend of Dave’s. The last four tracks have all been proof tested in Morganisation’s live shows and all translate nicely into studio tracks. The crowd pleasing rocker “Knower” is followed the beautiful homage to wartime heroine Violette Szabo GC: “Gibraltar Farm”. The anthemic “Are You Ready?” and finally the catchy “Big Brown Sky” close out this highly enjoyable outing which also serves as as a reminder (if it were needed) to the songwriting legacy of one Dave Scott-Morgan with a little help from wife Mandy, and talented guitarist Alex Lowe.
In this 2019 version the introduction to ‘Mistress Caroline’ has been split off as ‘The Rockford Bubble’ primarily to help disc-Jockeys cope with the talking and musical sections of the narrative. Finally five of the ten songs have been remixed: ‘On a Plane’, ‘Mistress Caroline’, ‘Well Alright’, ‘Gibraltar Farm’ and ‘Big Brown Sky’.
Adapted from an original review by Keith Sinclair, NOV 2016.
It’s the end of May and I took some time off from producing the new SEVEN album to work on this track for a planned re-issue of the ‘Bubbles catalogue in the near future. It now starts and ends with somebody breathing, which you will either love or hate, but I think it fits great. It’s not there to make a deep statement or be morbid or anything, it’s just something to epitomise the story line:
Lord Rockford, posthumously spitting in the eye of blood suckers sat in a paneled office, listening carefully and waiting to hear their name attached to lots of green sheets of paper…
The solicitor holds up a solitary sheet of A4, half hiding behind it, concealing a watered down smile from avid onlookers, as he speaks the Lords’ mind loud and sure, enunciating every syllable with relish, and remembering the words before they were translated into legaleese: And being as he is, very much of perfectly sound mind, he is going to leave the whole flippin’ shebang to Caroline.
‘Who?’ – ‘Who is Caroline?’
That girl Rocky had puffing his pillow and preening his dahlias and fetching and carrying and all. And who knows what else she was taking care of, ay? I said so at the time. I didn’t like the look of her. That canny smile and that walk she had with her frock dancing in the wind. I did say but nobody listened to me…
Well it’s 2019 and we’ve all been living on easy far too long. ‘ON A PLANE’ is MOrganisation’s single from the album ‘Bubbles’, but just now in 2019, with Brexit at the top of the everybody’s playlist, I heard this song again with a message for our predicament. So a verse now says ‘I’ve been searching in Red White and Blue’ (give the old one a spin to see what the colours originally were). The flag of the United Kingdom is indeed Red and White and Blue so take it from there. ‘And the ravens sent to feed me..’ Some might recognise the imagery borrowed from the biblical story of Elijah, who was prodded to leave his place of comfort. And yes, this is a story about leaving a situation that is familiar, predictable and safe, and heading off across an unknown horizon. It’s Airport escapism from an escapee, a scared stiff one. Okay, I’ll stop waffling now. Let’s face it – it’s only a pop song! – one propelled along by the nimble fingers of guitarists Tony Kelsey and Alex Lowe. Check it out.
Yes I know it’s an old chestnut but cut me some slack. Come back in a bit …
Well it’s true. The biggest talking point is that I was once part of the stage line up of the cosmic British band ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA (ELO), and also I was the writer of a top ten Pan-European hit (‘Hiroshima’ sung by Sandra). I did a whole bunch of work with Richard Tandy, ELO’s keyboard player, most notable being the album EARTH RISE and my name is on ELOs SECRET MESSAGES and Jeff Lynne’s ARMCHAIR THEATRE album. But all that was way back and now things have changed beyond recognition.
I’ve become a record company and a publisher too and I’m also the guy who licks the stamps and makes the tea. Phew! – As well as all that I’m down in the boiler room doing my proper job – writing, recording, playing gigs and loving every minute of it! I record all my songs at my home studio, affectionately known as ‘Grimm Doo’ (legend has it that the mixing desk used to growl at people. But that was years ago. Now I use Protools software. The desk has gone but the name ‘Grimm Doo’ remains). When I’m not doing music, I teach people to fly aeroplanes down at Wellesbourne airfield near Stratford-on-Avon. The bottom line is I am a writer – of songs mostly but also books and sermons too.