Click on bottom R/H Corner of any picture to enlarge
IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE MOTF THEN YOU ALREADY ARE!-Pete Perry 1969
MOTF THOUGHTS: Nothing is Owned - even our lives are merely on loan to us... Pete & Nikki 2009
Please feel free to browse - there's a lot to see!
* * * * * * *
AMBITIOUSPLANS FOR THE FUTURE at ACORN RECORDING STUDIO
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE AT ACORN RECORDS...
Spurred on by the Influences of KEV CRASE and ROBERT KEMP during the making of THE FAMILY ALBUM, and the continued encouragement and help of RICH SMYTH, FRANK W SWAINE and DAN VALAQUEZ, we are approaching the completion of our very own recording studio, ACORN RECORDING STUDIO, so that we can record talking books and other projects, as well as THE FAMILY ALBUM VOLUME TWO...
ready for business soon!
The next stage: Family Favourites Volume Two, Featuring My Little Princess, Overture to The Tree & The Wall , (an epic version of 'Oak Tree' in several movements) and Polaroid Bears Cabaret Version, with Pete, Nikki and Dan Valaquez, 'The Saints in Paradise' with The Rapides (see credits below) and Dan Valaquez, plus other members of The MOTF... and more songs from The MOTF, including Sal Blues, Jigsaw, A Hymn to My Guardian Angel and That's The Way It Is...
The next two songs to be recorded...
'My Little Princess' was one of the favourite songs in The MOTF, back in 1968, particularly amongst the girls.
Interestingly, it was about a young woman who came to me in my dreams, or astral travels.
Years later, I met her, in the form of Nikki! So we are going to include this on a second MOTF Album.
'The Saints In Paradise' was written later, in 2009, the year I married Nikki, but eventually recorded by Dave Barber of Coda Music, with Pete on vocals, accompanied by The Rapides Jazz Band, in 2014.
The musicians were: Bass: Paul Brownless (now retired from playing due to ill health) Keyboards: Richard White. Banjo: Sam Hall, and George Winston Howe on Soprano Sax.
The original recording was so full of fun and life, that we are using the original, with added embellishments.
* * * * * * *
This (below) is the insert for the current album - the final one has now been decided..
The Making of THE FAMILY ALBUM!
Well folks, the recording of 'The Family Album' is going extremely well, taking place in various locations around the country, and mixed at STUDIO 45...
Thursday 11th February 2016
The final Mix!
Yep, The final mix has now started of all 10 songs on the album: Don't Forget To Wind Me Up. Petals of a Child's Mind, Show The Children We Care, Nobody Cares About Polaroid Bears, Speak To Me, Francesca, Oak Tree, Love Love Love, Greet The Morning and Crying For The Children.
So the final stretch has begun, and Frank Swaine and Rich Smyth have been alerted to begin the process of designing the inserts, recording the final tracks and marketing the music.
We will keep you updated!
Thursday 28th January 2016
Completing 'Petals Of A Child's Mind' and 'Don't Forget To Wind Me Up'
Having laid down the main vocals, as well as the instrumental tracks, it was time to bring our very good friend TRACY SLATER (see picture right) in to do the spoken parts and harmonies for 'Petals Of A Child's Mind', as well as some harmonies on 'Don''t Forget To Wind Me Up', and what a great job she did!
Like Amanda Jayne Clark way back in October, Tracy proved to be a source of inspiration too, adding her own touch to the songs, which gives them a very very special 'Family' touch.
Tracy Slater has proved to be an invaluable addition to the whole project, as indeed, so is Kev Crase, who is engineering and overseeing the whole project, together with Robert Kemp.
There was a bit of light relief when, during the playback of 'Don't Forget To Wind Me Up', Tracy and Nikki started dancing around the studio!
Yes, it was that kind of atmosphere, so, hopefully, people will be dancing to the track once it's released!
Thursday 21 January 2016
Well, after a break for Christmas and The New Year, Pete, Nikki and Kev Crase had intended to resume the recordings on 7th. HOWEVER! Pete went down with bad Bronchitis, which almost, but for Nikki's expert nursing skills, turned into the more serious bronchial Pnuemonia, so that session had to be postponed. Then the week after, the 14th, had to be postponed due to other commitments by Kev Crase, so the trio finally got back to work on the album on 21st!
It started very well indeed, as Kev and Robert Kemp had added a superb backing track to 'Petals of A Child's Mind', which was one of Pete's daughter Deborah's (pictured) favourites.
Appropriately, the day before, 20th January, was Deborah's 50th Birthday, after undergoing a serious brain procedure a few months back, so there were many reasons to celebrate!
This One is for her.
Next week, we have invited our dear friend TRACY SLATER (Pictured below) to add a talking part, and to join in the backing vocals.
Pete, Nikki and Kev also lais down a little number called 'Don't Forget To Wind me Up', which was originally written by Pete in the Seventies, to be included in Pete's as yet unperformed Children's Christmas Musical, 'CAROL & THE CHRISTMAS TOYS'.
MOTF Member Aitch, an old friend of Pete, Nikki and Kev's, had already laid down a great backing track for this, so all Pete had to do was add the lyrics. They are hoping for Nikki and Tracy to add backing vocals next time.
So there you have it so far - for previous recording sessions, READ ON...
Thursday 17th December 2015
This week, an old MOTF favourite, PETALS OF A CHILD'S MIND was started, and there is a great story behind this one...
in The Summer of 1969, Pete and his housekeeper of the time, Carol Austin, took Pete's gtwo daughters, Vivien and Debbie to The local park, Shephalbury, in Stevenage, as it was a nice warm Summer's day.
The grass was full of daisies, so Debbie asked Pete to make a daisy chain, which he did.
Debbie then took the daisy chain and put it on her head as though it were a Princess's tiara.
Carol, half to herself, muttered, 'Petals of a Child's Mind', which inspired Pete and Carol to write the song.
It is a dreamy child-like song, and Pete has laid down the vocals, with Kev laying down a preliminary accompaniment, which he and Robert will add to, until they all meet up again on 7th January 2016, due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Then they will be joined by Tracy Slater, who has agreed to add a child's spoken voice to the track, as well as adding harmonies, possibly along with Nikki and Tracy's daughter Emily.
WE WILL KEEP YOU POSTED IN THE NEW YEAR....
Thursday 10th December 2015
Having put 'Speak To Me' to bed after last week's recording session, (apart from the addition of flutes and mixing), we started on another late-comer to The MOTF's repertoire this day.
'Crying For The Children' is an environmental piece, which came to Pete in a dream in The Eighties, soon after the demise of 'MOTF Switchboard' Magazine.
The treatment We, Kev and Robert have given to this song, (which was originally worked on with our good friend Aitch), is a real break from tradition, with Pete's vocals carrying the melody against a bleak, chilling, wind-whistling background.
There is still work to do the following week on this, but it is coming along nicely... A CHILLING MESSAGE FOR US ALL...
Friday 4th December 2015
Many original members of The MOTF, way back between 1968 - 1971 will remember Pete ('Uncle Pete' as many called him back then) saying to them 'Speak To Me' when he noticed that they were worried or concerned about something, - and sure enough, many did, with Pete telling them, 'Before I say anything, please remember that advice is for USING, - not necessarily for TAKING, - as I can only advise you on what I would do in your circumstances, because only YOU know the whole complexities of your situation. I cannot possibly put myself in your shoes... so I won't, - in fact I have no right, - to object if you choose to do soewthing else...'
Later in 1970, as 'Oak Tree International' was drawing towards the end of it's existance, Pete wrote a song about this, and called it 'SPEAK TO ME', - quite appropriately!
Well, today, after reviewing all the songs recorded so far, and the seven that are ready for the final mixing down, He, Nikki and Kev started on this one, hoping to complete it, and maybe a couple of others, next week.
It is an important part of the whole story and concept of The Magic Oak Tree Family, so we are hoping it will meet with everyone's approval...
Thursday 26th November 2015
We almost completed a re-imagined version of the song Pete wrote in 1968, 'Love, Love, Love', with Pete on main vocals, Nikki on backing vocals, and Rob and Kev supplying guitars, plus strings.
Thursday 6th November 2015
Vocals and some of the backing laid down for 'Greet The Morning', with Pete, Kev Crase and Nikki... now awaiting further instrumentals from Robert Kemp and Kev Crase...
This was written by Pete in 1970, and one of the last songs ever performed by 'Oak Tree International'...
OAK TREE, POLAROID BEARS and FRANCESCA are now all completed and ready for the final mix.
Monday 26th October 2015
Members of The Appropriately-named FIRESIDE FAMILY, AMANDA JAYNE CLARK, together with her Daugher LORIEN and Son SKY travelled down from Wales to join us in the studio to help us record a new version of the old 'Switchboard' Classic 'Show The Children We Care'
- and what a session it turned out to be!
We started at 9 am, and continued through to 6pm, and completed the whole track, - so that is another that is ready for the final mix.
Anyone who remembers the original, with Steve Charles and Lucy Sian Clark on lead vocals and Amanda Jayne (Yes, the very same!) and Lucy Sian Clark on backing vocals will be in for a pleasant surprise.
This time around, Pete takes on the lead vocals, with Amanda Jayne and Lorien providing backing and added vocals, whilst Nikki has added a speaking part.
We don't want to give too much away, but there are various styles in there this time, from Rock through to Gospel, which defies any 'pigeon-holing'!
* * * * * * *
All instrumentations are supplied by Kev Crase and Robert Kemp of 'Unhinged' and 'Stormchaser'.
The atmosphere during recording was electric, with everyone putting in their two-penn'orth, and getting inspiration from each other....
All the old songs from the Sixties are being recorded, 'Oak Tree', 'Nobody Cares About Polaroid Bears'. 'My Little Princess', 'Francesca', 'Petals Of A Child's Mind', 'Jigsaw', 'Falling', 'Love Love Love', 'Greet The Morning', 'That's The Way It Is', ''Speak To Me', 'Sal Blues', as well as some later compositions, 'Show The Children We Care', 'Crying For The Children' and 'The Saints In Paradise'.
Already on board for this project are Rich Smyth, Katie Brookes, Dan Alvarez, Kev Crase and Robert Kemp (see picture below), Amanda and Lorien Clark, Tracy Slater, and others.
OAK TREE, FRANCESCA and NOBODY CARES ABOUT POLAROID BEARS are ready for the final mixdown.
Now we are starting work on SHOW THE CHILDREN WE CARE, plus two songs that were written by Pete in 1970, but were never performed, JIGSAW and THAT'S THE WAY IT IS... in fact, Pete sang them for the first time at STUDIO 45 recently, and Nikki commented with a 'WOW!'
SO EXPECT TWO SONGS THAT ARE UNIQUE, AND VERY DIFFERENT TO ANYTHING YOU HAVE HEARD BEFORE!
On top of all this, there are exciting plans afoot to increase the effect of The MOTF Worldwide, with a new website, blogs, and merchandise... involving original Family Member Frank Swaine and Rich Smyth... Here's a taster of what's to come...
* * * * * * *
SERENDIPITY part TWO!
THE OWL AND THE OAK TREE
By Pete Perry
Throughout my life, The Oak Tree and the Long-Eared Owl have played an important part in my life.
When we lived in Walthamstow during The Blitz, every bird seemed to leave London, - except for a long-eared owl that lived in a hollow in a huge old Oak Tree at the bottom of our garden in Brettenham Road.
That memory stayed with me all my life, - but it doesn't end there...
Before our film company, FILMART STUDIOS, formed by myself, Derek Soall and Cyril Smith, settled upon that name, we tried out various names for our company.
Firstly it was my idea to call it CAREFREE CARTOONS (see picture) and then THREE OAKS was suggested by Cyril, ( who worked at Halas and Batchelor who made the feature-length cartoon film 'Animal Farm') and finally, FILMART STUDIOS was suggested by Derek (who worked at Pearl and Dean, who made most of the cinema adverts of the time)
When I moved from Walthamstow to Stevenage in Hertfordshire with my wife Dorothy in 1963, we lived at 22 Longfields, which was in the OAKS CROSS area. Even the name Stevenage is significant.
Stevenage began as a Saxon village in 7th Century Hertfordshire. It was called Stith ac, which means strong oak. In those days trees were used as meeting places and perhaps one large oak used in that way gave Stevenage its name.
Whilst at our home in Longfields, we were often visited in the garden (above) by a Long-Eared Owl, as though it were still protecting us, and when we moved to Great Offley, where I was Garden Steward at Offley Place, there was a large Oak Tree in the field behind our cottage, and another in the grounds by Offley Place, which was, at the time, a training college.
(See picture, left, of Vivien in The Rose Garden)
Also, at the extensive gardens that I maintained on the estate was often visited by - yes, you've guessed it, - a LONG-EARED OWL, which lived in the Oak Tree!
From Offley, we moved to Blackpool, Lancs, where my first wife, Dorothy, hailed from. She wanted to be near her father, who had recently had a heart attack.
I took on a top job on Blackpool Corporation, in charge of a gang of three men, where we created carpet bedding schemes, and created a woodland garden, which featured a huge oak tree, in which lived - a long-eared owl!
Ironically, considering we had moved there out of concern for her father, Dorothy died suddenly in June of that year, soon after I had finished the woodland garden (See picture, Left: The last picture taken of Dorothy and our daughters in the woodland garden, May, 1967, a month before she died)
Apart from being devastated at her death at the age of only 31, I was left to bring up my two little daughters on my own for four years, apart from a few months, where firstly, my two sisters helped out by looking after them whilst I moved from Blackpool back to Walthamstow, and then on to Stevenage, and taking them on holiday, which I could not afford to do myself, and a month when I fell ill, and our friends and ex neigbours Marjorie and Ken Gollop cared for them.
Moving back to Stevenage, I set out on a four-year campaign with local MP of the time, Mrs Shirley Williams, (see picture, left) to introduce a One Parent Family Allowance, so that other single parents wouldn't have to struggle as I had done.
I pointed out that, at that time, if a woman was widowed, she recieved a widows pension, whereas a man left with children rto raise,got nothing, as The State assumed his family would look after his children whilst he went out to work to earn money.
I was not prepared to do that, as I wanted to bring my OWN children up, and Mrs Williams admired me for that, and set up a working committe, whilst I wrote reams and reams of information for them to sift through.
I even explained how difficult it was for me, with two little daughters to get them to a toilet whilst out shopping, (Do I take them into the Gents, or wait outside the Ladies, and ask a woman to take them in? Either way, it would be risky!) and so I suggested 'Baby Changing Rooms', available for parents of either gender, in every shopping centre.
Since then, these basic facilities are available all over the world (see picture, Left, of such a facility in Iceland.)
Ironically, these came into effect in 1972, soon after I married for the second time!
Whilst in Stevenage, in 1968, a teenage member of my gang on Stevenage Corporation, Philip Undrell, took an interest in my problems, and offered to help me clean my council house up at 39 The Oundle, (which again, was in the OAKS CROSS area of Stevenage) as the previous tenants had done a 'moonlight flit!'
He brought his friends, Roger Moores and Alan 'George' Nash around to help, and very soon, as the news spread that a 31-year wise old hippy had moved into Stevenage, dozens of young people turned up for advice on drugs and other personal matters, and to help me out with the children as a thank you.
After a few months, one of them suggested that, as we were like a family, we should call ourselves THE MAGIC OAK TREE FAMILY, and spread my philosophy on compassion, the environment and World Peace to as many people as we can, and to help people out, as we all helped each other. I came up with a symbol for the newly-formed family (See picture, left).
I also drew a mural on the largest wall in the living room, and mambers of 'The Family' helped me paint it in. I was full of meaningful symbols to do with The Family philosophy...
Soon after The MOTF was formed, one of the members remarked 'Wouldn't it be great if we could turn the whole World into one big Family, and end Hatred, Jealousy, Greed, Envy, Prejudice and War forever, and bring Love & Peace to The World?'
Since then, and with the help of The Internet, The MAGIC OAK TREE FAMILY (MOTF) now has members all over the World.
Soon after I moved in with Nikki at her small flat, we moved to a larger flat in OAKS CROSS, before finally moving to our present address, where a small OAK TREE SAPLING was growing (a new start maybe?)
Now, - moving on to the present time...
Whilst in Lister Hospital Stevenage awaiting an Angiogram after a heart attack, I was getting somewhat fed up, as my procedure had been delayed twice.
One morning, I unplugged myself from the monitor and wandered over to the window of the ward.
THERE, ACROSS FROM THE HOSPITAL, I SAW A LONG-EARED OWL SITTING IN AN OAK TREE!
I texted Nikki to tell her about it, and she agreed that this was a good omen.
Soon after I had read her text, a member of the Cardiac team came over to me and told me that I was going down to the cardiac suite, - and this time, it would DEFINITELY proceed!
I was discharged to go home the next day, after a full week in hospital!
BELIEVE WHAT YOU WILL, BUT I KNOW THAT SOMEHOW, THE OAK TREE AND THE OWL HAVE A HUGE INFLUENCE ON MY LIFE, AND GUIDE ME ON, AGAINST ALL OPPOSITION...
ABOVE: Pete in The Sixties, when he weighed only SIX STONE!
LOVE & PEACE TO ALL
* * * * * * *
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES -
That is the way I see the Human Race,
- AND THIS IS WHY...
* * * * * * *
I was born into a world where one World War (The first) had ended just 19 years previously, and the Second World War was about to begin in just another two years.
King Edward Vlll had abdicated, and his younger brother Bertie (George Vl, see picture on the right) had been thrust into the role of King.
So I was born into this world of uncertainty, in the middle of The Great Depression, which was world-wide.
In this country, across Europe and in The USA, people couldn't find work, and the poor had to rely upon hand-outs and soup kitchens. (Sound familar?)
Indeed, things were so bad for my parents and two older sisters, that when my mother discovered that she was pregnant in August 1936, she tried to abort me, and even fell down the stairs, as she was so weak with hunger, weighing only six stones!
Despite this, I hung on and was born 10 months later on 30th June 1937, weighing in at 10 lbs, which almost killed my mother. (There was no NHS in those days!)
In the First World War, they had started bombing cities in The UK with Airships, and in the Second World War, they had developed the V1 Flying Bombs, and the V2 Rockets.
It ended with The USA dropping of The Atom Bomb on Hiroshima, and everyone was horrified at the sheer atrocity of its destruction, as nobody was really sure how powerful this evil weapon really was!
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES!
We have mined the good Earth for precious metals, precious stones, chalk, slate, coal, peat, and other so-called 'Natural Resources', without knowing why Nature laid them down in into the good Earth the first place, - and we wonder why the holes we leave behind under our feet collapse, and sink holes open up in motorways and on housing estates after periods of heavy rainfall!
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES!
We are extracting every ounce of crude oil and gas from rocks beneath our feet, and deep in the sea bed, - again, without knowing why Nature took billions of years to turn rotting vegetation and animal remains into what we child-like and petulant Humans call 'Natural Resources' - as though it was put there for our sole use. IT WASN'T!
WHAT IF IT WAS ACTUALLY PUT THERE FOR SOME GREATER PURPOSE, SUCH AS - TO PROTECT THE EARTH FROM CLIMATE CHANGE, OR TO LUBRICATE THE CONTINENTAL TECTONIC PLATES TO PREVENT SUPER-EARTHQUAKES?
A BIT LATE NOW, ISN'T IT?
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES!
Not only do we burn oil in the form of petrol in our motor vehicles and other forms of machinery, we also turn other by-products into plastic, which never rots, and chokes animals and birds to death when they become entangled in it.
We also allow it to spill it out to sea and in our rivers, coating sea creatures and sea birds in crude oil and threatening their very existence- so not only are we using up something which nature may have had a Grand Plan for, we are also polluting our air, oceans and rivers into the bargain, - and killing our fellow creatures on this planet...
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES!
Politicians, after they have been found out misbehaving, or making genuine mistakes, have a habit of re-iterating that old worn-out phrase, 'There are lessons to be learned'. Well, - that is all very well and good if, indeed, they DID learn lessons from their mistakes and misdemeanors.
The trouble is, they never DO!!
We have suffered air, water and soil pollution through the misuse of oil and other chemicals, we have caused suffering and even death from oil-soaked wildlife, whilst the practice of fracking, common in The USA has been proved to cause earthquakes, as well as water pollution - AND YET POLITICIANS, INCLUDING THE UK GOVERNMENT, INSIST THAT FRACKING IS THE 'ONLY WAY FORWARD\!'
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?
KIDS PLAYING WITH MATCHES!
* * * * * * *