BEALES, TREVOR - Fireside Stories (Hebden Bridge circa 1971-1974)
"Anti-counter culture loner folk from a teenage attic in the heart of rural Northern hippiedom. Today the valley town of Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire is world-renowned as something of a bohemian backwater. It wasn't like this back in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, when a disparate selection of radicals, drop-outs, heads, musicians, artists and writers started to be attracted to the Calder Valley. Over time, those seeds of radicalism and collectivism ensured Hebden Bridge evolved into a place where people could be themselves and all shades of individual oddness not only tolerated but actively encouraged. But back at the turn of the dreary 1970s it remained a monochrome world defined by its unforgiving surrounding landscapes, where the old gritstone over-dwellings were stained with soot and rain lashed down for weeks. It was here that Trevor Beales, who was born in 1953, grew up, and from where he drew musical and lyrical inspiration. The discovery of Bob Dylan, Django Reinhardt, The Byrds, and James Taylor at a young age, lead to him picking up a guitar at the age of ten, and he was soon writing his own originals and performing them at local (though often remote) folk clubs and pubs. Recorded in the attic of the family home at Ivy Bank in Charlestown on the verdant wooded slopes at the edge of Hebden Bridge between 1971 and 1974, these early recordings are collected here for the first time and mark Trevor Beales long-overdue solo debut. In these songs is a suffer-no-fools sense of realism that is defiantly Northern, yet also expresses a worldliness that belies Beales's young years, whilst also showcasing an inherent storyteller's ear for narrative. Two aspects of this music make it remarkable: Beales' natural ability showcases a sophisticated guitar-picking style that was leagues ahead of many of his (older, more recognized) contemporaries. This is music that can confidently hold its own with pioneers such as Davey Graham, Michael Chapman, Dave Evans, Bert Jansch, and Jackson C Frank, as influenced by jazz, blues and steel guitar as any of the old songbook classics from ancient Albion. Secondly, his lyrics are a far cry from either the naïve bedroom scribblings of a teenager who has barely left his upland home, nor do they fall foul of the type of lazy cliches and sub-Tolkien imagery that was still in abundance in the early 1970s. Trevor's music is grounded in reality -- his reality. Trevor Beales died suddenly and unexpectedly on March 29th 1987, aged 33. He left behind Christine and their young child Lydia. Sleeve notes by Hebden author Benjamin Myers." - Basin Rock .