Songs about time, rain, coffee and love - dedicated to our old friend and brilliant bass player, Dave Gillbe.
Profits to cancer-related charities, principally Willen Hospice, Milton Keynes, UK
In the early summer of 1977, in the Staines/Ashford area of Middlesex, the band 'French Lessons' arose from the ashes of 'Blazer' (Richard Gleave & Dave Gillbe) and ‘Supercruiser’ (Ian Lee-Dolphin & Martin Plumb), following an advertisement placed in 'Melody Maker'.
Together with drummer Geoff Coxon, we played mostly original material from Ian & Martin, along with compositions from friends of the band, such as Richard Higgins (an old school and university friend of Richard's) and former members of 'Blazer', Lawrie Wright and Alex Lawrence. These were mixed with a few classic 'covers' of the era from bands/writers as diverse as Racing Cars and Gerry Rafferty.
Over the following years we played gigs mainly in the west of London, such as Chelsea College but we also hit the M1 to remote places like Dunstable Queensway Hall (now sadly replaced by a supermarket) and Warwick University, where our original and sometimes slightly quirky songs went down especially well.
Eventually French Lessons stopped gigging so we separated and worked with other bands over the years, but we never actually broke up.........
In 2006 we re-convened and finding that we could still remember the songs, were planning a reunion gig when, tragically, Dave Gillbe was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
At his 'wake' in September 2008, amongst many other people with whom he had played during his life, French Lessons performed a short set at The Cock Hotel in Stony Stratford with Colin Kempster on bass and Steve Wright on drums (both from the Curvy Love Dogz).
Ian, Martin and Richard soon agreed that a fitting tribute would be to record some of those original songs and release an album. At least half of all proceeds from the sale of every CD recording or download will go to the Willen Hospice in Milton Keynes and other cancer charities such as Macmillan Nurses.
Although we did record some demos in the late 70s and a live recording exists of a major concert at Staines Town Hall from July 1979, no 'professional' recordings existed - until now - A Stop In Time.
....and so to : French Lessons 2013
Ian Lee-Dolphin Vocals/guitar
Martin Plumb Vocals/keyboards/guitar/bass guitar/percussion
Richard Gleave Guitars/bass guitar/VST instruments/backing vocals/engineer
Derek Edmond Drums
On these recordings, Ian, Martin and Richard play all of the instruments, apart from the drums for which Derek Edmond kindly volunteered (and of course, the banjo - thanks Tim Mason!). Ian took the lead vocal, with Martin and Richard on backing vocals. Cameo appearances are made by Delia Gleave as the French Mistress / Mystery Shopper and Diane Turner (Our Glamorous Assistant) on rain-stick.
Invaluable advice, generously offered by Craig McLeish and Steve Askew (of Kajagoogoo fame) has been gratefully received.
The songs, listed below with descriptions from the songwriters, cover a variety of styles, ranging from rock, through pop, jazz-rock to 'prog', touching on country, folk and a little bit of humour along the way.