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Album Launch

The Australasian album launch for Ayres that Meads and Pastures Fill will take place at the Wellington Folk Festival, New Zealand in October 2015. Bob Cross will be playing selections from the album. Fans from the antipodes who can't get along can order the album from this site. See the discography page.
Mike Billington will have copies on sale at his solo gigs starting with Northwich Folk Club (29th August 2014), Cross Keys Uppermill (15th October 2014)and Potteries Folk Club in Stoke(15th January 2015).

First REBEC album due for release, 1st August 2014

Bob and Mike have finished work on the first Rebec album with Bob sending the digital files from New Zealand over to England for Mike to add the other parts. The album includse eleven of the band's best known material with one instrumental from their club, concert and festival days back in the 1970s/80s. The final mixes have been mastered and the booklet designs finalised so a release date will be 1st August 2014. Copies can be ordered from the shop at www.eponarecords.com

Other musicians have been engaged with violin supplied by Nicola Smalley and Imogen Seal,'cello by Ruth Spargo and Paul Hickman, viola da gamba by Roger Child (who also played lute on the Tom Yates LP Song of the Shimmering way) and Rebecca Millington on clarinet. Paul was a member of the last lineup of Rebec and was in the line up that represented England at the Interfolk festival in Budapest, Hungary in 1990. The album cover depicts John Waterhouse's Hylas and the Nymphs. The original painting hangs in Manchester Art Gallery and Rebec are grateful to the gallery for permission to use the image. The album will be called Ayres that meads and pastures fill. This was the cover that Rebec had planned back in the 1970s when a vinyl deal was on the table. Bob and Mike were going to recreate the scene in a suitable local Cheshire pond and there were willing offers to pose for the photo. It was thought that now we are in 2014 it would be best all round to use the original Waterhouse painting.

Mike Billington has released his first solo album Sol Invictus. The album is a mixture of traditional and contemporary material ranging from Long Lankin, The Snows that melt the soonest, Bonny at Morn and Flowers of the Forest to contemporary songs such as Up like the Swallow by Bob Stewart, Closing Time by Mary Asquith and Bide a While by Tom Yates.

Mike sings and plays guitar, bass guitar,Appalacian dulcimer, ukulele, recorders, tin whistle, glockenspiel, melodeon, Spanish bagpipes, Highland bagpipes and percussion. Session musicians include Phil Davenport, Mickey Van Gelder and Jozeph Roberts on guitars, Nicola Smalley on violin, Ruth Spargo on 'cello, Rebecca Millington on clarinet, Bill Pook on Indian harmonium and backing vocals provided by Fiona Simpson, Bram Taylor, Mickey Van Gelder and Shelley Rainey and Karen Dyson of The Bailey Sisters. Furthermore, Maartin Allcock (ex Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull) makes an appearance on sampled string bass and concertina on the Tom Yates' song Bide a While.There's also a bit of Chaucer in there as well!

Mike has teamed up with Joe Beard who was the leading light behind the 1960's cult band The Purple Gang. Joe wrote a series of songs called The Edge which tells the story of the legend of Alderley Edge where a farmer, on his way back from Macclesfield market, is persuaded to sell his horse to the wizard to team up with King Arthur's knights under the Edge of Alderley. Mike did the narration for the production back in the late 1990s when the project was broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester. Mike will also be playing recorders, crumhorns and bowed psaltery as well as narrating for the new production. The band called RADNOR also includes Rosa Sheard (vocals) Andy Stark (keyboards) and Sean Brennan (fiddle) and, of course, Joe who plays guitar and sings. Any organisation wishing to book the RADNOR to perform this event, which will include the suite of songs tracing the story of the myths and legends of Alderley Edge, narration and an impressive slide show should contact Mike via this website.