Patty Vetta & Alan Franks
This debut album by a stunning vocalist and a world-class songwriter, whose names will only be known to a discerning few, destroys the myth that there is no undiscovered talent in the world of popular music. The freshness of the songwriting of ALAN FRANKS, and the sympathetic vocal performances of PATTY VETTA combine to create an album of such high quality that it will enjoy a place in the mythology of popular music - although whether it will sell a million copies is something else entirely... Those who have operated small independent labels know that working with a little known act can prejudice survival, yet sometimes the temptation to share with a wide audience music which is by turns interesting, catchy and lyrically impressive cannot be resisted. This is such an occasion.
A few autobiographical words from Alan: "I was born and brought up in London, and first started to try and write songs when I heard the popular music of the Fifties. One of my favourite singers and epertoires was Marty Robbins, because I simply loved the idea of so much narrative being crammed into such a short space. Then I heard the songs of Cole Porter, sung by all sorts of people, and thought there could be no higher art form than all those sophisticated rhyme schemes in such cahoots with the musical line. Although I could hear a lot of music in my head, I had no way of getting it out, and so the songs were rarely more than poems. I sang in the choir at Westminster Abbey, where I was at school (with Andrew Lloyd Webber), and learned the guitar by slowing down the rims of records by people like Leadbelly, Jack Elliott and Pete Seeger. I also liked Leonard Cohen but had to speed his records up to get the same effect. While I was a student at Oxford University (with Bill Clinton) I started writing review songs - a three minute Country and Western version of the Fall of Man is all that remains from this time - and performed at the Edinburgh Festival. I have written a number of plays, the last of which starred Prunella Scales at Greenwich and Guildford, published a book called "Boychester's Bugle", which was to have been a comic novel except that people seemed to take it rather seriously, especially someone who thought there was a portrait of him in it. I work at 'The Times', writing articles mainly about people in the arts, but I have also been a diary editor and humorous columnist there. I first started working with Patty when she recorded the music for a play of mine, and in the past three years we have started to perform regularly, with Charlotte Moore and Tony Harris. I suppose I have written well over a hundred songs, although I would not own up to all of them. There is a particularly tasteless one about love and disability which I shall never play again..."
And from PATTY: Patty Vetta was born in Pangbourne, Berkshire, into a large family. Spent her early childhood on horseback. Sang the Magnificat at 5 years old, solo, at Sulham Church, so it was fairly likely that the would sing. Her second cousin is the (very) famous opera singer, Dame Janet Baker. Patty sang in pubs until she moved to London at age 17 where she started work in a recording studio, which she thought was a good move Within a couple of months she was asked to do some voice overs and jingles for clients too skinflint to pay for a proper singer. Soon after she met the wife of the leader of The Settlers, remember them ? One hit wonders, and that was in 1962. Nevertheless, they were still doing cabaret in the 1970s, so she went all around the world singing 'Grow, Grow, The Lightning Tree' and being asked why she had lost her Australian accent. After two years of this, the group split, with Patty and the other singer/guitarist, Steve Somers, now a dj and sometime winner of 'New Faces', continuing to work together. With him, she performed on loads of TV and albums, doing backing vocals for Don Everly, Johnny Tillotson, Roy Clark, Joe Brown, Tom O'Connor, Ronnie Prophet, Bert Weedon, Terry McMillan (Nashville Superpickers), and Freddy Weller (Paul Revere and the Raiders). She has since been a longtime member of the Wes McGhee Band (13 years), and has also recorded with Pete Sayers, Paul Millns, Tony Maude and Joe Giltrap, and has toured with Johnny Cash and Billie Jo Spears ('Well, nobody's perfect, and I needed the money'). She now keeps goats and grows vegetables and loves Alan Franks's songs to death. To sum it up in Patty's words, 'All I can say is that I've loved every bloody minute of it and I wouldn't change any of it for the world'.