Aug 4 2011: Both Sides Of The Bridge: Humber Bridge Suite and Humber Bridge Variations for Group (Writers Reign Productions, 1980)

Like Peter Hall’s The Estates and New Town Suite, as posted here on the 19 July, Both Sides of the Bridge is a privately pressed recording of music made to commemorate the grand opening of a large scale public infrastructure project. Where Peter Hall composed his music to celebrate Bracknell New Town in Berkshire, the various people involved in this recording are anticipating the completion of work on the Humber Bridge, begun in 1971, and – according to the record’s sleevenotes – “scheduled for completion in late 1980/early 1981”.

The record divides into two parts: on the North Side (there is no side one or two but instead a ‘north’ and a ‘south’ side) there is Suite: The Humber Bridge, an orchestral work by DJ Newstone and SL Burnby, arranged in five parts, to “celebrate the building of the Humber Bridge, painting a series of pictures of its development and creation”. Performed by the Arthur Burgan Humberside Concert Orchestra under conductor D. Scotney at the Humberside Theatre, it’s highly accomplished (in a mainly light orchestral manner) but probably not, in the end, essential listening.

The South Side is, to my ears anyway, somewhat more interesting: a rock-based set of Humber Bridge Variations For Group performed by Stoneferry. The Variations consist of the six-piece taking cues from the orchestral suite and interpreting these in new ways, most successfully, to my ears, on a track called Spinning that sounds like exactly the sort of intriguing but unclassifiable thing – all synthesisers, drums and otherworldly atmospherics – I find myself listening out for when checking the contents of dubious looking 1970s library LPs.

Click here to hear Stoneferry: Spinning (1980)

2 Responses to “Aug 4 2011: Both Sides Of The Bridge: Humber Bridge Suite and Humber Bridge Variations for Group (Writers Reign Productions, 1980)”
  1. Les Naylor says:

    Hi Wayne, it’s good to see someone recognising our efforts on this album after such a long time. Steve (Burnby) and Dave (Newstone) worked hard composing, planning, and designing all for these recordings (with help from the rest of the band and orchestra) which was self-financed and self-promoted resulting in quite low sales. The orchestral (North) side was recorded in one afternoon by Keith Herd for which I took a few photos that are hidden in my deepest archives and the rock (South) side at Keith’s Fairview Studios, Willerby in one day too. The complete work was performed live once only, as I recall, at The Locarno Ballroom in 1980 without a hitch and here we are with a once only entry on the www! Thanks for your kind comments on what was a really enjoyable project for all involved.

    • wayneburrows says:

      Great to hear some detail about the project: so many of these one-off projects were composed and released and it’s always fascinating to find out more about the people and circumstances behind them. I hope if you find the photos one day you’ll post them up somewhere – would be interested in seeing what Stoneferry looked like!

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