I started up a record label Tram Records as a hobby and to promote some amazingly talented friends. About the same time I found myself playing the guitar after a long lay off and wrote a batch of songs. I'm a bit of a 60's, lo-fi buff so handily my primitive four track cassette recorder kept things nice and rough around the edges.
Alex Baker on the story behind "Northbound for the Hamptons" Album Release
"I've been messing about with guitars for years and finally decided to throw together my song writing ideas a couple of years ago. My inspiration has partly risen from my love of records recorded on vintage or primitive equipment. I never liked the 80's and the ascendancy of the 48 track studio. I thought the Beatles sounded better on the Starclub bootleg - likewise Alexander "Skip" Spence on the three track "Oar" record, Elliott Smith on his early home recordings and Hammell on Trial in his basement. The list could go on forever but you get the gist - less can be so much more. So I got a four track cassette recorder and recorded a dozen or so songs in the spare room. I don't like computers either and I wouldn't know what buttons to press anyway - so that kept things simple as well.
I'm a bit of a guitar nut so I guess the record is soaked with guitars plus a twelve string, mandolin and harmonica for good measure. I played all the percussion parts on a cardboard box - I got the idea from Dylan's "Masked and Anonymous" film. To finish off I got some friends in to colour in a few songs. Anna Jennings, an old school pal, has a beautiful voice and came up with some lovely harmonies for "Man in the Photograph" and "Medicine Cabinet". Kevin Harris, another old school pal and an extremely talented pianist added a beautiful piano part to "The Empty Stagecoach". Finally, Matthew Grist, my fellow Tram Records cohort and constant source of encouragement and inspiration added piano and gospel organ part to "Love/Hate"
The story behind the "Northbound for the Hamptons" title is simple enough. I'm from Northampton, a small town in the middle of England, which few people seem to have heard of and is nowhere near Southampton. As a poor joke I have for years referred to the town as being just north of the Hamptons (which doesn't exist) to geographically challenged inquisitors. It's also a song I wrote which didn't quite fit in with the record but I'll maybe do again another time."
Alex Baker October 2005
You can write to Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org
Not at the moment - possibility for the future. Maybe some Tram Records nights if enough interest
Leonard Cohen, Wilco, Calexico, Creme Brulee, Dylan, Bonnie Prince Billy, Hank Williams, Buff Medways, Matthew Grist, Pacific Ocean Fire, Blue Aeroplanes, Bad News, Neil Young, Mazzy Starr, Galaxie 500, the La's, Beach Boys, Tim Buckley, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Hammell on Trial, Jonathon Richman, Katherine Williams, Paul Westerburg, Nick Cave, South San Gabriel, Velvets, Kelly Joe Phelps, My Morning Jacket, Sonic Youth, R.E.M, Tom Waits, Lou Reed, Cowboy Junkies, The Byrds, Duane Eddie, van morrison, white stripes, the chills, flying nun records, beta band, belle & sebastien, the smiths, teenage fanclub, smokie, can, curtis mayfield, devandra banhart, fairport convention, husker du, luna, pixies, incredible string band, pentangle, simon and garfunkle, gram parsons
A Tascam four track cassette player