01) The Lamplighter's Lament
02) Tick Tock Ticking
03) Wide Awake In The Heart Of You
04) The Winter Mermaid
05) Strictly For The Birds
06) Plastic Mac
07) House Of Mystery
08) Ghosts Of Utopian Cities
09) The Woman Of Tomorrow
10) Vulcan Street
11) Serene In Silver
12) What's A Boy Supposed To Do?
13) My Life In Neon, My Life In Sound
14) Lost Light
15) The Last Lamplighter (For John Henry Griffiths)
The Last Lamplighter is an album of songs and instrumentals issued as a download only via Nelson's Bandcamp page issued on 24th August 2019.
Originally titled The Last Lamplighter (Return to Vulcan Street), the subtitle was dropped at the artwork stage.
The album was recorded between January and May 2019 and was largely compiled from material that had been omitted from the Stand By: Light Coming... album issued simultaneously.
The recordings making up this album are likely to be amongst the last completed on Nelson's trusted recording and mixing set up that has served him so well since 2002. This operational change stemmed from Nelson's Mackie D8B mixing console having become unreliable and expensive to repair. It will be interesting to see how Nelson makes the transition to his new computer-based system that he acquired in March 2019 and which will receive its inaugural use in time for his next recording project.
Amongst the guitars used on these recordings were two new acquisitions – a Backlund Super 100 MDX purchased by Nelson's fan base in honour of his 70th birthday the previous December and a Musicvox Space Cadet that Nelson acquired from the funds left over from the donations received for the birthday gift.
The album took shape immediately after Nelson had selected material for Stand By: Light Coming... on 18 April 2019. The starting point for this was to select the best material from the 11 surplus recordings from the January to April recording sessions. As this material was insufficient to make up a full album, Nelson recorded additional tracks in late April and early May 2019. He then added in two tracks, 'Serene in Silver' and 'The Woman of Tomorrow' recorded for, but not used on, Auditoria and Drive This Comet Across the Sky.
The Last Lamplighter was mastered at Fairview by John Spence on 10 May 2019.
With the album successfully mastered, Nelson turned his attention to the album artwork. Assembly of the sleeve design fell to Martin Bostock working with images that Nelson had selected as the recording sessions that resulted in this album neared completion.
Available for purchase as a digital download here in the Dreamsville Store.
'The Last Lamplighter':- "Is a brand new album and is intended as a companion piece to 'Stand By: Light Coming...'
Many of its tracks were originally intended for the latter album but running times dictated otherwise. I decided to combine them with tracks I'd laid aside for an album titled 'Vulcan Street', an album and title I'd abandoned. A few more tracks were also recorded to make up the track count and the 'The Last Lamplighter' was the end result.
'The Last Lamplighter,' at first, had a subtitle: ('Return To Vulcan Street,') but this was dropped from the final artwork.
"The album contains 15 tracks of mostly vocal-based songs but with a couple of instrumental interludes. It has an eclectic mix of styles.
"The title track is dedicated to my Great Grandfather on my Mother's side of the family, (John Henry Griffiths,) who actually worked as a lamplighter in the city of Wakefield in the 1930s and '40s. He passed away in the early 1950s when I was very young but I can remember visiting him in his bedroom at Marriot's Buildings where I was born. He spent his last couple of years in bed and seemed to be a gentle old man although my Mother tells me that he was sometimes difficult and often drunk when she was a child. She acknowledges that he mellowed in his old age and that he liked and looked forward to seeing me. My Mother also recalls, as a young girl, sometimes accompanying him on his rounds as a lamplighter on the then cobbled streets of Wakefield. A romantic image that inspired the album's title track.
"What was to be the central track of 'Vulcan Street' is also included on the album. 'Vulcan Street' conjures images of terrace houses, infernal factories and sparks and fire in my mind, the industrialised grey and foggy North of the 1940s and '50s. Had there been a Vulcan Street in Wakefield back then, I'm sure it would have had its lamps lit by my Great Grandfather.
"This new album is a download only release and is exclusively available from my Bandcamp page or via the link this website. It comes complete with downloadable artwork which you can print out to use when burning the album to a CDR.
I hope you will enjoy it!"
"Have been more or less constantly working on the 'overflow' album, titled 'The Last Lamplighter,' which will contain tracks that did not find a place on the 'Stand By: Light Coming...' album. Some tracks were left off that album because there wasn't room for them, others were left off because they didn't really feel right to me, (although several fans have expressed an interest in hearing them.) So, I've been experimenting with different track lists for 'The Last Lamplighter' in an attempt to make an interesting album from the left over material.
"After some soul searching, I think I've come up with a good solution. A few of the left over tracks have now definitely been consigned to the waste bin. These are not songs that I consider worth hearing and I certainly won't miss them. Others, however, sound ok and I have included them in the album.
"But to make sense of it all, I've had to record some new tracks to not only bring the track count up to scratch, but to add mood and variety. I now feel the album has a real purpose, both as a companion piece to 'Stand By: Light Coming...' and as an album in its own right."
"And what about 'The Last Lamplighter (Return To Vulcan Street.)'? This is an album made up of tracks left over from the sessions that produced 'Stand By: Light Coming...' so, inevitably, a certain amount of the thematic structure is carried over from one album to the other. There are a couple of references to 'clocks ticking' and the passage of time in these songs too, but there are a few diversions, particularly in the five instrumental tracks that are included to break up the vocal ones.
"As for the sonic qualities of these albums, I'd say that they were textured and richly rendered, noisy at times, spontaneously put together, never perfectly executed, sometimes abrasive, quirky, even scary, sometimes tender and naive. Hopelessly flawed, but perhaps forgivably and poetically so. At the end of the day, it's just stuff that emerges from Being."