The Lost Doves

The Lost Doves – Set your sights towards the sun

The Lost Doves

I have known Ian Bailey and his music for several years. We even have a show together which combines his wonderful solo album ‘Empty Fields’ with some of my poetry. It’s a very emotional affair. So when he told me he was releasing a new CD, my interested was and truly peaked.

The CD doesn’t officially get released until the 21st of September (though this may change), but lucky old me managed to get my hands on a copy. So with much excitement (I am a fan after all), I unwrapped the CD and placed it into my system.

The first thing that made this project stand out was the fact Ian isn’t working alone. His previous releases have been solo works whereas here he’s teamed up with singer-songwriter Charlotte Newman to form a duo under the guise of ‘the Lost Doves’.

This is a collaboration of new material, with a couple of exceptions. ‘She’s Waking Up To Close Her Eyes’ and ‘See Saw’ both being originally recorded as purely single acoustic guitar track on ‘Empty Fields’ but have now been given the full band treatment here.

The sound quality of this recording is nothing short of outstanding. Produced and recorded by the duo at Ian’s ‘Small Space Studios’ between late 2019 and pre-lockdown 2020, the space generated around the instruments and vocals is the kind of high production values you’d expect from Rock Fields in Wales, not a small studio in Preston.

There is a depth to the sound and an emotional tone that allows you to connect to each track. Both Ian and Charlotte have amazing voices that are allowed to shine against some incredibly well-played music. The talent on show from the duo is evident with each note played. This is certainly an album for music lovers.

As a duo ‘The Lost Doves’ are still finding their way in terms of style. There are definite influences from the chiming overtones of The Byrds to prog-rock to British folk and all coming from the hearts of two people who adore the music they are playing. The contrast between the beautiful ‘Waves’ and the powerful ‘The Clowns Are Coming To Town’ is as stark as it is creative. This is a project that has started life in the studio and still needs time to grow. In saying that, judging them by using these tracks as a starting position, that growth is going to be amazing.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first listen to this album, and enjoy it more and more with each subsequent spin. The reworked tracks from ‘Empty Fields’ are fresh and a nice departure from the originals. The new songs are well crafted and demand your full attention while blasting out of your speakers.

‘Set your sights towards the sun’ is available to pre-order here.

It’s well worth adding to your collection.

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Gormless: a book of poems by Rich Davenport

This blog is a review of Gormless by Rich Davenport (ISBN 987-1-913256-14-2). But first, some history.

My first encounter with Rich Davenport came by way of a poetry slam. I was in the middle of touring my collection ‘The Book of Colin’ before an official launch. My good friend, Big Charlie Poet, had recommended I have a go at the Spotlight Slam in Lancaster, so myself and my partner Heather decided to make a night it. We book a lovely little B&B close to the venue and, armed with a comedy poem entitled ‘The Sexual Olympics’ ventured forth to see what all this poetry slam thing was about.

I had been up and performed my piece with the tittering response from the audience I wanted then returned to my seat, feeling quietly confident at placing in the top three for the night. Then stepped forward, Rich Davenport. H.G. Wells would probably describe him as a ‘Hulk, bigger than a bear.’ I would then add, but twice as cuddly.

As soon as he stepped onto the stage, it was his; delivering quickfire poems filled with nonsense and wit. The audience loved him. I loved him. Laugh out loud, smart and wonderfully performed. His work appealed to me in the same way as Spike Milligan’s poetry does.

That night, after he picked up his winnings, I booked him for the book launch. His work had the same effect that night as well. It was a fun year attending the same nights as Rich. A lovely generous soul and a brilliant performer. The only problem was, Rich Davenport has M.E.

It is a cruel disease that strips people of all their energy and leaves them unable to pursue their passions. This affliction caused Rich to drop out of the poetry and comedy scene for too many years. In this hiatus, I tried to get him to publish some of his work, but it never came to pass. Time moved on, and I lived in the hope that Rich would feel well enough one day to venture onto the boards once again.

But then something amazing happened; he announced the publication of a small book of poetry. Chin Beard Books had achieved what I had failed to do; they had got him into print. With a limited run of just 100 copies (unless it sells faster than Usain Bolt dashing to the toilet because of the sudden onset of the squits), I was quick to the ‘here, have my money’ button.

And thus it arrived, forty-three pages of daft poetry that had me laughing at over breakfast, much to my partner’s annoyance. ‘The Ballad of BLOODY NORA’, about a nit nurse who just loses her mind one day and goes on a killing spree (honestly, it’s BLOODY funny), ‘A Flutter Of Petticoats (or Cop This Jane Austen)’, which is a collection of three fart oriented couplets, and ‘Pantalones De Amor (Trousers of Love)’ with a direction for it to be read with the voice of Antonio Banderas, all had me spitting my Linda McCartney sausages across the table.

These wonderfully funny words are complemented with some beautiful artwork from Minty B. His drawings, published in colour throughout the book, add a cheeky smile to the work. The painting of ‘Bloody Nora’ is an image I would love to wear on a t-shirt. 

To sum up, I loved this book, but then I am a massive fan of Rich. However, I am also someone who doesn’t just blow smoke up someone’s botty. It is a thin book, he doesn’t write long poems very often, but the stuff that is in these pages is hilarious and something you will go back to again and again; especially when you need a cheering up.

For me, Rich Davenport sits alongside other great comedy poets: Spike Milligan, Pam Ayres, John Cooper Clark, Ashley Lister, and John Hegley.

If you manage to get a copy of Gormless, you’ll be one of the lucky ones, and if you manage to catch him live ever, you will be in for a treat. The following is a limerick taken from Gormless with kind permission of Rich Davenport. Enjoy.

An ambitious young gymnast called Fritz
Tried to force himself into the splits
But he pushed down too hard
Ruined his leotard
With a violent attack of the squits