Phillip Goodhand-Tait - Radio Songs
reviewed by: Dmitry M. Epstein

A songwriter par exellence goes it alone and wins hands down.

Always a singer in his own right, Phillip Goodhand-Tait is more famous for writing songs that other artists, such as Gene Pitney and Roger Daltrey, brought to mass attention. Both recorded "Oceans Away", a beautiful song that its author chose to open this unique performance, recorded for Radio Bremen in 1977 completely solo with only a Steinway to roll the voice on. The result is intimate and uplifting, the atmosphere working miracles with covers: it spurns "Doris Day's into an elegant rock-a-drama and transforms two Buddy Holly covers, "Everyday" and "Oh Boy", from effervescing rockers to candlelit blues. "One More Rodeo", though, doesn't lose an iota of its galloping grace, while the cinematic "Parade" and "Leon" can give Elton a melancholy run for his millions. There's no mistaking where the mood comes from as "The Lady Lives in England" kicks the ache of its melody into the bitter-sweet gears, and "Angeltown", then a brand-new paean to London, soars in its imaginary fog.

Times might change since then but in 2010 the veteran is still able to turn back the clock: this collection is augmented with Phillip Goodhand-Tait's praying before Ricky Nelson altar - now with a full band - and reminiscing about the past in "Radio, Play That Song Again" that is a fitting bottom-line to this moving concert.


Phillip Goodhand-Tait: The Last Laugh

Reviewed By: Malcolm Carter

They say you always remember the first time; no, not just that, but the first time you do or experience anything that you go on to do many times throughout your life. Now, the very first gig I attended wasn’t one of Goodhand-Tait’s but if my fading memory hasn’t completely given up on me then I am sure that the Stormsville Shakers, the band he fronted, was among the first five acts I saw live.

What I do remember is a friend telling me how good the band were and, being local heroes hailing from Guildford, it felt wrong not to show some interest at least. I can also remember this same friend being excited when one of Goodhand-Tait’s compositions, ‘Gone Are The Songs Of Yesterday’ was chosen for the B-side of the Love Affair’s single ‘Everlasting Love’ which was to eventually hit the number position in early ’68. That band or their managers were obviously quick to realise that Goodhand-Tait’s songs were far too good to be hidden away on B-sides which resulted in ‘A Day Without Love’, ‘One Road’ and ‘Bringing On Back The Good Times’ being chosen as singles for the band. Goodhand-Tait also wrote some fine album tracks for the Love Affair like ‘Build On Love’ which is still played round these parts some 40 years after he wrote it.

It was to Goodhand-Tait’s credit that he had moved so effortlessly from the r’n’b sounds of the Stormsville Shakers into the classic pop sound that the Love Affair made so popular. It made no difference that the Love Affair were criticized in the press at the time for not playing on their records. A good song is always a good song and that’s all that matters; with Goodhand-Tait’s name on the writing credits it was guarantee enough that at the very least the song would be great, despite who sang and played on the recording.

But time changes everything and bands like the Love Affair hit hard times as the more reflective sounds of the solo singer-songwriters started to attract attention. Again Goodhand-Tait was ready for the change. Signing initially to DJM Records (home at the time to Elton John) then to the more hip Chrysalis label Phillip released a number of albums in the 70's with varying degrees of success. But having your songs covered by artists such as Roger Daltrey and Zoot Money just shows that Goodhand-Tait’s writing skills had not deserted him.

Since then Phillip has been involved in various projects in the video / music field but it wasn’t until the early 2000's that he began thinking of recording his own songs again. In 2003 he played at the closure of Guildford Civic Hall with the original Stormsville Shakers which in turn led to more gigs and an album. That brings us to this latest collection of original songs, ‘The Last Laugh’. Quite what I expected to hear from Goodhand-Tait after all these years I wasn’t sure of but it is a pleasure to say that without a doubt he has lost none of his song writing prowess over the years.

Renewing his acquaintance with one of the songs he wrote for the Love Affair , namely ‘Bringing On Back The Good Times’ was a worrying sign. Could he actually add anything to the soulful vocals of Steve Ellis after all these years or was it going to be a karaoke-like stab at former glories? While Phillip’s vocals are not as soulful as those of Ellis and the song is taken at a slightly slower pace than the Love Affair version the composer does add something to the song. While it can be debated that it lacks the punch of that 40 year old recording, it has brass and back-up vocals from Julie Staines and Lidia Cascarino-Close who feature heavily and impressively on the album, ( Phillip’s very own Sue and Sunny?) and proves that Goodhand-Tait writes songs that stand the test of time.

The nine new originals are outstanding. Phillip’s lyrical wit is scattered throughout these songs, ‘I Remember Comedy (when it made me laugh)’ and ‘The Old Fool’s In Love Again’ (despite starting like the Batman theme) are prime examples. But these are not the annoying ramblings of the grumpy old guy Phillip reckons he is in the opening line of this album; when he does have a moan it is done with such humour it raises a smile rather than the blood pressure.

I might well be alone in this, but none other than Randy Newman crossed my mind a number of times when I first listened to this album. Even vocally Phillip is not so far removed from Newman and lyrically he matches him every time. If ‘Paradise Grill’ is the sound of a grumpy old guy looking back over his life before facing the crematorium then Phillip is welcome to moan and groan to me for hours.

‘Even When The World Ends’ is a contender for the best love song Phillip has ever put to tape ; a touching ballad made all the more beautiful by the back-up vocals of Julie and Lidia which is further evidence that he has lost none of his talent for composing stunning melodies. This is one of those albums where the favourite song changes with each listen. At various times each and every one of these tunes has been replayed as soon as it ended with the thought that "now that’s the best song here", but if I had to choose just one song it would be ‘On A Day Like This’; the fade out with Phillip and the girls simply singing the title over and over is stunning.

This album is better than we had any right to expect even from an artist as talented as Phillip Goodhand-Tait. Maybe by taking a break from recording for so long did the trick for Phillip, I’d be hard pushed to come up with any other artist who has been around as long as he has who is still making music as striking and relevant today as the music he was making all those years ago. Sure names could be mentioned but think of all the mediocre songs and albums we have had to endure to get to the good stuff, Goodhand-Tait, on this evidence at least, never lost his way.


From: Maverick Country Music Magazine - February 2008 issue.

From 1960s r&b band the Stormsville Shakers to 1970s singer-songwriter mentioned in the same breath (and certainly on the same label) as Elton John, this is a man who spanned the genres. Here, in his first solo set for 30 years, he manages to unite the two, still being a keyboard playing (and sometimes pounding) singer, but being backed by a warm soulful sound which settles somewhere between Memphis and a New Orleans bar. Goodhand-Tait’s equally warm, soulful voice sounds equally at home with darker lyrics (the slow, sad Even When The World Ends) as it does on the brighter numbers such as the very British I Remember Comedy (When It Made Me Laugh). Backing, in rich, full vein, is in part by members of the reformed Shakers (including original bassist Kirk Riddle) and includes a brass section which manages to at once be loud and subtle. But whatever the sound, the song is still the thing, never more apparent than on a joyful romp through the number one hit he wrote for Love Affair, Bringing On Back The Good Times. ND


Phillip Goodhand-Tait: An Evening with Peggy Sue

From: 'The Bobby Vee Connection Magazine' Vol 5

Phillip has also been in the recording studio on his own and has kindly sent a copy of his new solo CD 'An Evening With Peggy Sue' for me to review, on which he has recorded a number of Buddy Holly, other well known tracks, as well as some of his own compositions.
The CD has beeb recorded with Phillip on vocals and keyboards. I have enjoyed listening to it on a regular basis over the past few weeks, mainly whilst driving: which I find is the best place to really listen ot the content of a CD, without any outside distractions.
The Buddy Holly songs that Phillip has laid down on this disc are well known to most of you. He has reworked them with, in some cases, slightly different arrangements which suit his vocal style. Similar to Bobby's 'Down the Line' CD Phillip has interpreted Buddy's songs in his own way, and I must compliment him on the way these songs have been presented.
The CD starts with a well worked medley of 'Peggy Sue Got Married / Peggy Sue'. It would be interesting to hear Phillip's interpretation of the third part of the trilogy 'Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue?'
The other Holly tracks are 'Heartbeat', 'Raining in my Heart', a really nice version of 'Everyday', no wonder it received great acclaim in 1973, and a slow version of 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man'.
The other familiar tracks are a real bluesy smooth flowing 'Shop Around', without the canned audience we are used to in Bobby's 'Live on Tour' version, he also does a great version of the Elvis Presley classic 'Heartbreak Hotel'.
Among Phillip's self penned tracks are the wonderful 'Oceans Away' which had been a favourite of mine for three decades.
'One Road' sounded so familiar to me when I heard it, but I couldn't figure out from where; then it struck me. It was recorded in the mid sixties by Love Affair, with the unmistakable voice of Steve Ellis on vocals.
'Medicine Man' is a track that has really grown on me, after a slow start. 'Not Really Here Right Now' and 'The Peacemaker' complete the set.
All in all, it is a pleasant CD package to listen to and good to drive to. I congratulate Phillip on the content.

Paul Bowen


From: 'Blues Matters!' Magazine Issue 37

I was first introduced to Phillip Goodhand-Tait may years ago. I think it was about 1970 when he supported The Faces, I forget the exact venue. Originally the driving force behind The Stormville Shakers, singer/songwriter and master of the keyboard, Phillip has had a distinguished musical career of the past 40 odd years
He has recorded with Larry Williams and Johnny 'Guitar' Watson. His is also a prolific songwriter, with many of his songs being performed and recorded by some major artists.
This album is described on the extremely brief and misspelled sleeve notes as "Just a few songs I have always liked to play and sing.” As you will guess from the album title most of the tracks are Buddy Holly songs. They are all here, a mix of 'Peggy Sue' and 'Peggy Sue Got Married', 'Heartbeat', 'Raining In My Heart', 'Everyday' and 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man'.
However, these are not just covers; somehow Phillip has given freshness to songs, a new life and interpretation. There are other songs that have been updated; there is an excellent version of 'Heartbreak Hotel'. I was more impressed with his own compositions, my favourite on the CD being a song called 'The Peacemaker'
Accompanied only by his Yamaha Keyboard, this is an easy listening and very enjoyable effort.

Steve Nicholson

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