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From Baker Street to Llanerfyl

Created on 07/01/2011 @ 12:36


The music industry has been mourning the loss of Gerry Rafferty this week who died aged 63 after alcohol finally won its battle with the Scotsman.
And it struck a chord locally for one musician who can relate to Rafferty’s most famous hit, Baker Street, more than most.
Ian Gomm (right) has had a lifelong association with music, having gained notable success as both a recording artist, since starting his career as an apprentice with EMI's mechanical and engineering departments.
Just a year after Baker Street was topping charts across the world in 1978, Gomm had teamed up with the saxophonist Raf Ravenscroft who played the famous introduction to the song.
The pair enjoyed considerable success with one single reaching number 12 on the US top 100.
Here, mywelshpool looks back on the incredible life of musician Ian Gomm and has a listen to his latest work:
Perhaps best known as one of the guitarists/vocalists for the seminal pub rock group Brinsley Schwarz, Ian Gomm began his career in music as an apprentice in EMI's mechanical and engineering departments.
During his five years with the label, Ian also fronted several R&B-inspired trios, opening for bands such as the Who, the Move, and Pink Floyd. By 1970, Ian was ready to pursue playing music full-time; he quit his job at EMI on a Friday and was playing with Brinsley Schwarz by Monday.
Ian's versatility as a singer, songwriter, and guitar player (he was named "Best Rhythm Guitarist" by NME in 1971) helped the group make the transition from folky country-rock to straight-ahead pub rock - Ian's recording debut with the band, Nervous on the Road, is one of the group's best albums and features one of Ian's strongest songs, "It's Been So Long." He stayed with Brinsley Schwarz until the group folded in 1975. Ian then moved to Wales, where he built his own studio and recorded sessions by the Stranglers, Amon Düül, and Alexis Korner.
He also worked on his own material and signed to Albion, who released his solo debut, Summer Holiday, in 1978 produced by Martin Rushent, who also was The Stranglers, The Buzzcocks and The Human League's record producer. The following year, Stiff/Epic issued the album as Gomm with the Wind in America, where the single (featuring saxophonist Raf Ravenscroft of "Baker Street" fame) "Hold On" reached number 12 in the Hot 100 and led to a gig supporting Dire Straits on their Sultans of Swing tour.
Subsequent solo albums included What a Blow, The Village Voice (which included "Louise," a song that became Phil Everly's first solo hit) and 1986's Images, his final release of the '80s.
Ian spent the rest of the decade building a new studio, Mountain Sound, and writing more songs. Producing and engineering also kept him busy until 1997, when he released Crazy for You.
In 2000, he returned to the studio with Jeff "Stick" Davis of the Amazing Rhythm Aces and Pat McInerney of Nanci Griffith's Blue Moon Orchestra to record Rock 'N' Roll Heart, which was released in 2002 and also features performances by the Rhythm Aces' Russell Smith and Griffith. Last year Ian recorded a new album at Bos Studio, Llanerfyl with American Jeb Loy Nichols who now lives in Carmel, Adfa.
Coming from different generations and countries, Ian and Jeb (right) may not initially seem to be candidates for collaboration, but the two singer/songwriters share similar roots in soulful country-rock. The pair explore these roots on the quietly wonderful duet album "Only Time Will Tell", singing songs composed by several of their mutual idols - the great Jim Ford, Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, and Clover - along with throwing a handful of their originals into the mix.
The pair isn’t the only players here - they’re supported by a handful of other veteran roots rockers, most notably Clive Gregson - but the nice thing about the album is that it’s so intimate that it feels like they’re the only two musicians in the room, just laying back, strumming acoustic guitars and singing some of their favorite tunes.
"Only Time Will Tell" is never more complicated than that, but its simplicity is its charm: all its warmth derives from Gomm's and Nichols' shared love for these songs, and if you happen to also love these songs, it’s hard to resist this record, but if you’re unfamiliar with the tunes, their heartfelt warmth will win you over.