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‘Especially For You – From The
Liner Notes by James F.
Cullinan (Finbarr International)
Music is an integral part of my
life, both personally and professionally. My business is selling compact
discs by mail, specializing in the music of the Fifties and the Sixties.
I care passionately about this music, for it was not only the background
to my youth but also the centre of it; and I care that it thrives and
that it is not forgotten.
All our sales are in back
catalogue ‘name’ acts. Attempts to introduce unknown names from the era
usually fail, for people only want what they know. To try and introduce
unknown contemporary acts, even though they may perform Fifties’ and
Sixties’ music with the same conviction as anyone of the era, is
financial suicide. I have lost thousands of pounds in promoting through
my catalogue acts in whom I believed in passionately. Yet contemporary
acts approach me constantly, feeling that to get their album listed in
my catalogue will help their profile, but the sales are never
Peter Williams approached me on
the recommendation of Spencer Leigh whose biography of Billy Fury,
"Wondrous Face" I had just published. I received his two Fury tribute
albums and was spellbound – indeed almost moved to tears! For here was
an artiste of unequalled sensitivity and power who understood the Fury
magic. I gave the albums a rave write-up in my catalogue, which normally
would make no difference, for when people’s minds are closed there is
nothing one can do; but this time I was wrong, and was pleasantly
surprised when the first of the two tributes turned up at No. 14 in our
in-house sales chart! In my experience this was almost unheard of for an
unknown act. It was a double surprise, for ‘tribute’ projects are
usually anathema in my market. More gratifying still was the interest in
Williams’ other albums which I began carrying.
So what is so special about
Peter Williams? At the risk of sounding conceited he MUST be special for
me to be impressed. I am hard to please and I find most contemporary
recordings of Fifties’ and Sixties’ styles wanting. Often they are
technically perfect, yet leave one cold. Hearing Williams for the first
time in 2005 was for me the single most exciting musical discovery of
the new decade. And if he or Hank Marvin entered the room and I had the
choice of only shaking hands with one I would unhesitatingly move
towards Williams. But of course without Hank Marvin there would probably
not be someone like Peter Williams, but that said he is no Marvin clone.
On the contrary, Williams is very much his own man. He possesses an
indefinable ‘X’ factor, an emotional charge which I find in no
comparable guitarist. He communicates a rare sensitivity and warmth
which no amount of technical proficiency can inculcate.
The present disc was never
intended for public hearing, it consisting of recordings which did not
fit in with Williams’ album projects. But those who have heard them have
convinced the guitarist that they should be released. Here is lovely
music which should not remain hidden and unheard. It is typical of his
‘proper’ albums in that it is hard to pick tracks which stand out for
the material and performance are consistently of a high calibre.
Doubtless each listener will have his own favourites. The disc’s
strength lies in its power to grow on the listener. Having already
listened to it some nine or ten times I still find it growing on me, and
am amazed to find certain tracks which did not strike me at first now
going around and around in my head!
If there is one track I would
single out for attention it is the one dedicated to Steve Etherington –
Williams’ Manager, MOONLIGHT SHADOW. Though never intended for
commercial release any deejay with a modicum of imagination should play
this track, not once… but again and again. I doubt if anyone exposed to
its hypnotic and irresistible melody would not want to seek this CD for
this one track alone. Why are deejays so reluctant to believe in a
record and play it again and again? Are they – or their employers –
terrified that they might – gasp! – create a hit? In 1959 Santo &
Johnny’s instrumental masterpiece SLEEPWALK was a complete flop. It was
not played, nobody wanted it, nobody cared. It was a flop along with the
hundreds of other records competing in the market at the same time. Then
somehow Alan Freed, a man never afraid to believe in a record, got hold
of it. He loved it and wouldn’t stop playing it. It became the biggest
selling instrumental of the year. Perhaps in today’s rigid environment
there is no scope for jockeys to believe in what they play, but why not?
If I had a radio show with the freedom to play what I wanted I would
play MOONLIGHT SHADOW week in week out. Listener indifference would turn
to attention, and attention would turn into action. THE POINT OF THIS CD
BEING AVAILABLE IS THAT IT SHOULD SELL.
Another charming tune, and
after Peter Williams I cannot listen to any other version, is THEME FROM
THE BOYS. ANNIE’S SONG is a lovely song in anybody’s hands, but
Williams’ version is so tender that it almost hurts.
Haunting and magical is his
rendition of HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN, and WHEN THE GIRL IN YOUR ARMS
compliments the original with its beauty and simplicity. CRYIN’ IN THE
RAIN and ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM sound better all the time; and our
man’s jaunty treatments of songs associated with Sammy Turner and Tommy
Bruce, Paul Anka, Rick Nelson and Clarence Henry are great fun.
He wonders how at age 59 he can
still make it. I tell him that one of my best selling authors (I also
publish books on mysticism) got his first book published at age 78, and
then wrote a number of best sellers for me over the following 20 years!
I have every reason to believe
that Peter Williams’ future is bright.
James F. Cullinan
(For catalogue write:
5 Godwin Rd, Folkestone CT20
or phone 01303 259316;
Special thanks go to James F. Cullinan for writing the Liner Notes for
this album. I was very touched when I received them, and I thank him
dearly. I would like to thank Deano for creating the backing tracks for
me to use on this album.
He is a really gifted musician, and is able to re-create the music I
need perfectly. Ronnie and his team at CME Duplication in Glasgow, for
mastering and producing my CD. The encouragement to release these tracks
from my Manager – Steve Etherington. Chris Eley from The Sound Of Fury
Fan Club who always listens to my tracks to give his approval. He has
been a great help in the past in helping to market both of my Billy Fury
tribute CDs. Harry Whitehouse on the Billy Fury web site and the people
on his infamous Message Board. David Hemmings for the photography, Dell
and his Good Rockin’ Tonight show on Tuesday evenings on the wonderful
Radio Caroline. The local BBC Radio Presenters for playing my stuff –
Big George Webley, Stephen Foster, Bernie Keith, Spencer Leigh, Billy
Butler, John Holmes, Susan Marchant, John Randall, Julie Mayer, John
Pilgrim, & Mike Barry at CRMK Radio.
would also like to thank John Leyton, Dave Lodge and Tommy Bruce, Brian
‘Licorice’ Locking, Graham Hunter, Todd Slaughter of The Official Elvis
Presley Fan Club, David Parker – The Beat Magazine, Mark Newsome –
Thunderbolt Magazine, Davy Peckett – New Gandy Dancer Magazine, Robin &
Norma Speechley, John Fisher, Bob Thomas, Pat & John Reid, Roy ‘The
Professor’ of Nervous Records, Rockin’ Jan, Ray & Angela Mudie, Bob
Tanner for his enthusiasm for my work and for being the best Managing
Director I have ever worked for during my publishing career, Pauline
Swindells, Moya Gleave of The Billy Fury Fan Club in New Zealand,
Margaret and Eric Gunn, Phil of Hollywood Music for keeping me in guitar
strings, Geoffrey Strachen for creating my effects, Dave at Hobgoblin
Music and Albert Mirwald who looks after my web site.
special thanks to my mentor, Mr Bert Weedon (who taught me to play the
guitar) and his lovely wife Maggie. Two very special people. Finally,
special thanks to all my family, and friends in the Conservative Club in
The Technical bit.
often get asked what do I call my guitar? Well, it gets called many
things when recordings go wrong as you can imagine. But, if I have to
have a name for my axe then let it be called ‘The Stallion’ from this
day forth. It has now recorded 5 CD’s apart from around 500 ‘Live’ gigs,
and is still going strong. It is my wonderful white Mexican Fender
Stratocaster. I wouldn’t change this guitar for anything in the world.
am often asked what gear I use to record my instrumental CD’s.
record using a specially programmed Zoom 508 into an Ibanez VA3 Virtual
Amp into a Yamaha AW16G professional Audio Workstation. The final mix is
sent to an Alesis 3630 Compressor/ Limiter/ Noise Gate and then mastered
onto Mini Disk and through optically to a Pioneer CDR.
Snail Mail: 5 Stone Hill, Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Snail Mail: 21 Vicarage Rd, Hampton Wick, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey