Magna Carta interview with Chris Simpson
Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I’m really happy you will answer few questions for my Magazine. First, I would like to ask you how did you first come in contact with music as a young boy and what are some artists you liked?
I grew up in an old house on a hilltop in the Yorkshire Dales. No electricity. Just loved the natural world and this permeates much of my work. Picked up on Sun recods on a crystal set, Elvis-‘Mystery Train’; Chuck Berry; Everlys; Buddy Holly and so on. These were the early influences.
I made several singles in the 60’s. Two under the name Chris and Forbes; two under the pseudonym Paul Stewart.
I was living in London at the time playing in rock n’ roll bands. We supported Cream at one gig. Saw the Rolling Stones start, and picked up on everything happening then. Gradually followed my real forte which was the acoustic guitar. Watched the Pentangle ( who became friends later) Ralph McTell etc etc and started writing my own thing with a strong spiritual context. Started to do floor spots in the folk clubs with an Australian guitarist I had met called Lyell Tranter. Glen Stuart joined later.
The first LP was in fact braking Glen in on already established tracks. I think the harmonies are rough compared to ‘Season’s the next album, produced by Gus Dudgeon and containing the hit single’Airport Song.’ The first album was not produced. Just allowed to happen. Had it been, ‘Spinning Wheels of Time’ would have been a smash.It still ahd good songs though and we had a fiar few to choose from.
Folk Clubs to start with, in a transit van doing the miles. Then the Cambridge Festival and bigger and bigger concerts.
I assume you mean ‘Seasons.’ Gus was the producer and he was great. Sadly dead now. Lyell left for many reasons and in came the great Davey Johnstone. We made two LP’s with him before he joined Elton John.. His best acoustic work is still, in my opinion, with us.But the album that really did it after Davey left and Stan Gordon joined was ‘Lord of the Ages.’ Rick was and is still a dear friend. He was on three MC albums.
‘Lord of the Ages’was originally a poem written for Glen to recite at the end of an album. I demo’d it at a friend’s house who at the time lived next door to John Lennon. I go him to recite the words ( my friend that is) and as he did, the tune came to me. I had it done in half an hour.I don’t know where it came from all I know is that it was given to me.It’s power is incredible, and I received an e-mail from Kosovo which touched me very much. As their people were being killed they hid underground and the only thing that kept them going was ‘Lord.’ I felt very humbled.
‘A couple more albums’!!!!! There are 28 altogether!!
These days I am supposed to be retired. This means I am working my ass off! Canada on Friday; straight back to a Dutch Festival then the Dutch tour in the Autumn.If you can, give that as much promotion as you can.