The Alan Hull Songbook

Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre,


A few years back, a really interesting project came to light based on some old, quarter-inch tapes found in Alan Hull's studio following Alan's sad and untimely passing. Whilst some of the recordings were "familiar", a good number of them were unreleased ideas and musings, piano or guitar accompanying the lyrics. Fortunately for us, Ian Thomson digitised all 80 (or so) of them, and both Dave Hull-Denholm and Ian worked on a number of them to bring them to life, the results of which were ultimately released on "Some Other Time".

Whilst the duo has since played a number of shows, gigs by The Alan Hull Songbook have been relatively scarce and not...overly promoted. Recordings of some of them have been kindly shared over the years and they're very, very good. I've wanted to catch them for some time now and so, when our sartorial custodian of all things Lindisfarne dropped me a line to say a couple of shows had been announced, we jumped at the chance. Mind, so did others, and despite getting in early we ended up with two of the last remaining of the 60 tickets. Despite this show being in Barnoldswick, it turns out that attendees were coming from Barrow in Furness, the South Coast, Sunderland as well as Newcastle.

Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre (BM&AC) continues to attract some top, top talent and regularly hosts shows ( Peter Barton runs the show, a complete enthusiast & a musician of some renown in his own right. He punches well above his weight given what he achieves at the BM&AC, his enthusiasm seemingly a form of alchemy creating something magical. It's basically the cellars of three modest, terraced houses knocked through. Stage is in the middle cellar with a few seat in front with seating and a bit of standing off to the side two areas. Low ceiling (about 2 inches higher than a double-bass). But it's special. It has a crackle in the air all its own.

Tempusfigit & I made our way down in good time and, being "chaps of a certain age", intended to partake in a little sitty-doony light repast before the show. Lots of great looking cafes & bistros but, despite many circuits of the town in the drizzle, we struck out. Barnoldswick was shut.

So, following a nevertheless delightful box of chips sheltering in a shop doorway we headed to the venue. Now, there's a bit of a theme beginning to develop whenever Tempusfugit & I are allowed out together inasmuch as we struggle to find the door. Could see the sign on the outside, but wandered round and round for what, to most, was bloody obvious. As it transpires, entry is gained via McCullough's, a warm and fabulously stocked Irish bar. The way in is down some stairs through a hole in the floor in a chained-off corner of the bar.

The room itself is no "hole in the ground". It's a warm, congenial space, the walls decked out in framed music memorabilia & black and white photos of some of the greats. Home grown seating arrangement (cinema seats, church pews, stools etc) and everyone is individually led to their allotted position. Despite its quirky layout, everyone gets a decent view and sound is consistent throughout due to speakers in pretty much every available nook & cranny.

Dave & Ian look genuinely pleased to be there and pleasantly surprised by the venue. The show is split into two sets, 25 tunes interspersed with musings, anecdotes and banter. If you're reading this then you're probably a bit more than a casual fan of Lindisfarne. Whilst I love the band, it's a welcome opportunity to get to listen to related music a bit off the beaten track, and this duo deliver that admirably. And tonight's show reminds us of just how great a songwriter is, played with the class & integrity he'd be pleased with. At the risk of repeating myself in earlier blurbs, Alan's lyrics are more relevant today than they were when conceived, his observations shouting louder than ever in the 21st century. That said, love is also a common theme. Never sickly sweet, always genuinely touching and moving. It matters.

So, whilst we still get to enjoy stripped down renditions of some of Lindisfarne's finest songs, there's a lot to pique the interest of the more ardent Alan Hull fan, one or two numbers which are, as yet, unreleased. We look forward with interest to Volume II of the Alan Hull Songbook.

Given the intimate venue, an audience of (largely) passionate and knowledgeable listeners and the quality of the players and material, there was a special connection throughout. To use a cliche (and lyric), magic in the air. A rare and special atmosphere.

Highlights were...numerous (if that isn't a contradiction in words). Beautiful "new" tune in Where's The Little Girl, passionate Statues and Liberties, fabulous Money Game but, for me, (and having extolled the virtues of all the lesser-played material), tonight's take on Clear White Light Pt2 alone was worth the effort and journey.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings - I hope you enjoy what I'm able to share. Tempusfugit has kindly put together some terrific artwork, included as part of this upload.

Tonight's songbook consisted of:


S101 Walk A Crooked Mile
S102 Where’s The Little Girl
S103 Lady Eleanor
S104 Some Other Time
S105 Money Game
S106 Country Gentleman’s Wife
S107 Never Been The Same From Today
S108 Log On Your Fire
S109 Hoi Poloi
S110 Opposites
S111 January Song


S201 New song- Good Things You Told Me
S202 Little Things
S203 Statues And Liberties
S204 Treat Me Kindly
S205 Clear White Light (original non-Lindisfarne)
S206 City Song
S207 Meet Me On The Corner
S208 Run For Home
S209 Justanothersadsong
S210 Clear White Light Part 2
S211 All The Way Home


S212 297 Words
S213 Winter Song
S214 One World


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Please share this recording in the sentiment intended - for free and to spread the joy and knowledge of great music.

The Alan Hull Songbook is:

Dave Hull-Denholm - guitar, keyboards, lead vocal
Ian Thomson - electric bass, upright bass, backing vocals

Of course, support the band - BUY the OFFICIAL music, get out to the gigs and spread the word.

Also, if you're able, help the good causes they're helping, the latest being

Finally, get behind Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre in whatever way you can. Worth a visit regardless of where you live. Something happening there. A church of great music presided over by Peter Barton, Pastor extraordinaire.

Images for all shows as well as full size images for this show.

Images for this show:

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