A while back in May 2016 when the world was a very different place, I was asked to work on and pull together a recording for the London Branch of the Northern Ireland Supporters Club. They were about to make their way over to Paris to support their football team in the upcoming European Championships.
The track titled 'Making Our Way to Paris' was a reworking of the old Smokie hit 'Living next Door To Alice' and fanatical supporter Richard Cathcart had come up with a first draft lyrical idea and asked if I could tidy it up and then pull together a little band to make a recording that he and his fellow devotees could sing on.
I called in my JINSKI duo buddy Dave Kennedy, producer Dave Maughan and my old friend drummer Neil Ramshaw. We put together and recorded the instrumental track for the song and I did the lead vocals. I then headed off down to London (on a train … can you imagine?) having booked some time at Resident Studios in Willesden. I was met there by a 30 strong contingent from The London Green and White Army. They were brilliant and we absolutely captured the ‘joie de vivre’ that I wanted for a rousing chorus line on the track. The result was a charity single released in aid of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund For Children.
It had been a nice project to work on and I thought that would be the end of it but out of the blue came an unexpected bonus. We were asked to appear ‘live’ on BBC 1 The One Show and play the song at the end of the programme. To be honest the prospect was both exciting and a little daunting. So with Neil on stripped down drum kit (a snare drum!), Dave Kennedy and Dave Maughan (bass guitar) I headed back down to London for a session at the Beeb! The London Green and White Army met us there, we had a 10minute sound check and then were told to wait for the call. We were in good company as on the show that evening were Geordie chefs The Hairy Bikers and comedian David Walliams…there was even a buffet laid on backstage…friends will know that I must have been a little nervous that night as I only had about a dozen sandwiches instead of clearing the table!
The performance was to be just outside the studio on a little concourse and when the time came and we were counted in the result was a top notch performance with the heavenly choir from the Green and White Army excelling themselves. Well done one and all!
In the end Northern Ireland had a decent run in the European Championships, the track got a lot of publicity including a feature on Channel 4 News and importantly it raised a good sum of money for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.
P.S. Hope you like the pics … we decided to get into the spirit of things when recording the track by wearing Northern Ireland football shirts but I have no idea why it was thought I should wear a wig!
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