Every Song Sings A Story
EVERY SONG SINGS A STORY.......50 YEARS OF ATKINSONGS
I began writing in the late 1960's, inspired, as were many others, by Bob Dylan who proved that you did not need to be a great singer, great
guitarist or have an electric band to write a great song. Since then, I have come up with more than 400 songs. In the 1970's new influences made
their mark - English traditional song, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and
Kris Kristofferson. The early imitative Americana was replaced
by something that became more distinctively an 'Atkinsong' and many
of those 1970's songs have endured to become staples of my repertoire
today. I produced two limited run vinyl albums,
The Beggar and The Sand
The songs stopped coming in the 1990's as life changed with marriage and the arrival of children but started again in 2001 and continue, if less often, to this day. Joining the
Chester Song Writers Group
in 2010 brought to an end the relative isolation from fellow-musicians in which I had worked hitherto and a new edge to the songs came with a search for distinctive subject matter. In 2015, there was unexpected interest from people in different parts of the world in those early albums and a good audio copy of
The Beggar and The Sand
LP found its way to me from the USA. This, plus fine covers of early material by
Yvet van der Tuin
encouraged me to curate the best of my recordings in CD format
Financially, this has been supported by the discovery of unexpected value in the 'collectable' status of those early vinyl albums which earned
for me; 'rare vinyl' collectors seem prepared to pay a lot more than that
. I am moved by the generosity of friends who returned their copies to me (and moved in a different way by the few who refused to part with their copies!). So the song curation project has been self-funding and I have been able to support some good causes (right).
Things continued to take unexpected turns. Recovery of recordings from neglected reel-to-reel tapes and ancient vinyl led to the production of 4 new vinyl LPs:
The Mersey Tapes,
The Manchester Tapes
and a reissue of
The Beggar and the Sand
. This was made possible by the people -mainly from outside the UK - who committed to these productions and were not discouraged by a high unit cost per LP. The preference of a couple of customers for hand-created sleeves presented me with the 12 inch sleeve as my canvas, much more rewarding than the small area offered by a CD.
More recently, cassette recordings from the 1990's have been retrieved, including many songs not recorded elsewhere, and a few that had been forgotten altogether. Not everything was 'good' but there were gems among the garbage. The curation project has now yielded recordings of 172 of the songs and currently 15 albums (details on the
). Last up, we have recovered from tape recordings of Agapé, a trio of which my wife Jackie was a member back in the early 1970's. They sang Christian songs and one of these is on the
As a 'song writer', my task is to attend to the songs that find me, not to go looking for them. T
he song seems to come when
wills, not when
. For me, a 'good' song is one that does 'good' by being sung, listened to, enjoyed, benefiting others.
It is a two-way thing between me and the listener. A song sung is a song alive. The 'best' songs sing many people's stories. Songs compete for attention and admiration in an over-crowded arena, but singing the listener's story, not just the singer's, is the real prize. I am very grateful to the people who make my songs - by their listening, by their singing, by their encouragement, and by being in them, whether knowingly or unknowingly. I hope my songs sing their stories too.
SUPPORTING GOOD CAUSES
People give generous support by buying vinyl and CDs. Costs have
been kept low by producing the
majority of recordings at home.
Of the surplus remaining after
has been donated to a
variety of good causes.
Atkinsongs has also helped
Chester Songwriters raise £430
for Music Action International
through sales of a compilation
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital
Disasters Emergency Committee
Music Action International