Sublime and obscure English folk appeared only on an acetate of 1975. First issue 500 copies. ROBERT HINCHLIFFE was born in 1954 in England, his father playing the piano and his mother a classical music enthusiast. As a young man, he learned to play the guitar by himself, listening to a lot of different artists from DJANGO REINHARDT to FAIRPORT CONVENTION. He finally took a few lessons from a FRANK WHITE, blues guitarist based in Sheffield (see here). As far as playing in front of an audience, ROBERT HINCHLIFFE appeared at the free festival of Windsor in 1974 (along with GONG, FLEETWOOD MAC, WITCHES BREW, BLISS...), and also played at a number of pubs and folk clubs around England, including the Top Spot Snooker Club in Huddersfield where he still plays these days, and where he was finally unearthed.
He also managed to perform on stage on the other side of the pond, in Miami, Florida and in Floyd, Virginia. HINCHLIFFE recalls playing with various drummers (Gary Goode, Steve Hawkins, Martin Hunt), bass players (Gary North, Dave Mallick), the pianist John Greeney, guitar player Pete Billington (nowadays in The Simon Lasky Group), and vocalists Deborah Hasham and Marie Appleyard. Hinchliffe himself did a lot of sessions for others as a guitarist, in a few different local studios such as Fairview Studios near Hull and the Leader Sound Studio in Elland (near Huddersfield) where he also recorded a few of his songs in 1979.
A local lad had a friend who was working for the Melody Maker and he advised Robert to send a tape to his uncle on the Isle of Wight. Through this person, he got a meeting with Swan Song (LED ZEPPELIN, BAD COMPANY, DAVE EDMUNDS...) circa 1979/1980. He left with them a tape but also the sole acetate he had of a 1975 session, along with a letter in which he explains his plans to arrange the songs present on the cassette. He never heard anything from them after that and the acetate ended up being sold with other records years later. The letter that had been stuck inside the sleeve contained an address in Mirfield where he lived between 1978 and 1981. Robert never had the intention to release the tracks featured on this platter, considering the sound to be too rough, favoring other compositions and the sound he managed at other sessions. The two acetates and the sleeve with the typo on California…
The drawing appearing on the sleeve made for the acetate in 1976 was the work of Robert's uncle, Walt Whitworth.
In the early 80's, he formed The Crying Gypsy Café with three other musicians from Sheffield, playing his own songs with an electric band. They played often in town, appearing regularly on stage at the Broadfield Pub. He then formed a duet with a saxophonist, Cut Loose, playing an odd blues-based music. These days, ROBERT HINCHLIFFE still performs between Huddersfield and Miami! Another copy of the acetate is still in the family collection, but Robert doesn't remember any other copy being made.
Released by Cameleon Records in a limited edition of 500 copies, this vinyl project has been made possible thanks to the precious help of René Debot, and to the meticulous restoration work of François Terrazzoni at Studios Parelies. It took 16 whole hours to reach a satisfying remastering, knowing that we had chosen to keep the recording as rough as it had been taped, without changing its general mood, or correcting any of the original flaws of the homemade 2-track session.