A fair isle: Lindisfarne, the story

Took a murky trip through murky mists and murky traffic to the Princess Theatre in Hunstanston to catch old friends of my family telling the Lindisfarne Story. Original drummer Ray Laidlaw and long-time friend and collaborator and latterly singer Billy Mitchell enthralled with tales of the bands rock and roll origins in the early 1960s, their being two years early for the blues explosion and ultimately their platinum-selling breakthrough album.


There were songs and stories, archive songs and films, laughs and emotional tales of the late Alan Hull who died.aged just fifty, two decades ago and of original Simon Cowe who we learned tonight died not longer after Laidlaw and Mitchell set off on their nationwide theatrical tour. From the website: “Tyneside group Lindisfarne – Alan Hull, Rod Clements, Ray Jackson, Simon Cowe & Ray Laidlaw – exploded onto the UK music scene in 1970 with a string of unforgettable songs. The likes of Lady Eleanor, Meet Me on the Corner, Fog on the Tyne…quickly established the band as the standard-bearers for acoustic-based rock.” Their classic and orchestral Run For Home, of course, being the finale to tonight’s two-and-a-half hour show…and segued into video footage of a full orchestral performance in Newcastle for a Bobby Robson benefit concert. It had always been Hull’s dream to do the full orchestral version himself, but that wasn’t to be.


A highlight of the evening was having my parents there and their having the opportunity to speak to these old friends and to see them perform a wonderful and nostalgic show.


Hilarious that the BBC banned Lindisfarne’s song “Fog on the Tyne” because of the line “we can have a weewee, we can have a wet on the wall” and not the far more lewd last line of the verse…