|FEW GROUPS, however talented, can expect instant success on the folk scene.
Club audiences automatically compare them to the old hands, who have been doing
the rounds for many years. But there are a small minority, with a combination of
luck and ability, who manage to attract early recognition.
One such group is Tudor Lodge, who signed a contract with Philips last week. They were formed a mere twelve weeks ago, and already they have the prospect of recording radio and television shows for broadcast later this year.
Having arranged to hear the group play recently, I arrived at a crowded pub in Hammersmith. But without room to wield pen and notebook we eventually had to resort to an interview in the group’s van.
The group is a very simple and pure combination of acoustic sound. Ann Steuart has a distinct talent in the musical field backed up by lengthy training in music college.
John Stannard, who plays rhythm guitar for the most part, and Lyndon Green, the lead guitarist, are responsible for the composition at the moment, although Ann promises that she has some strong opinions that she wants to put into music.
Ann, singer and expert flautist, is a striking introduction to the trio. She has a vivacity which is immediately obvious without being overpowering, and counterbalances the steadier natures of Lyndon and John, the two male members of the group.
Born in Greenwich Village, New York, she came to England to join Tudor Lodge after meeting Lyndon and John the previous summer.
“I was over here visiting my mother in the summer of 1969, and I met John and Lyndon at a club in Uxbridge,” Ann recalled. “I was singing with my sister, and we started following them around the folk clubs. By that time we all knew each other. We were knocked out with them, and they got knocked out in turn.
“I had to go back to New York to finish a two year music course. They were intending me to be an opera singer, but I didn’t think it was a very good idea. I did get a lot out of the training programme though.
“I learned the flute in High School. They just chucked me straight into the orchestra. I also met this weird chick who had this group. She heard that I played the flute and asked me to join it.”
As she had been brought up in the U.S., I asked Ann how English folk clubs compared to the American scene.
“It is a lot better here than in the States. There are many more places to play at here,” she replied.
| Although John was born in Hove, Sussex, and Lyndon in
Adelaide, South Australia, they both met up in the Thames Valley.
John has lived in Reading for the past fifteen years, and played the organ in a local pop group for three of them.
“After I left the group, I started playing the guitar, and just drifted into folk clubs,” he said. “I met up with this guy and we liked playing together. Eventually we called ourselves Tudor Lodge, named after a pub in Reading — at least I thought that was the name, but later found that it was called something else. So we should have been called Tudor Bar, or something like that, if we had got the name right.
“I met Lyndon around January of last year at Windsor Folk Club. From that moment we teamed up, and have just stayed together. We didn’t turn professional until later. We were just playing on a professional basis within an area of about 50 miles around Windsor.
“When we first began playing together we had problems with practising and getting together for gigs. Lyndon was living in High Wycombe for some of the time, although he moved to a number of places. He had to drive to my place every night that we wanted to play."
I asked who John regarded as his main influences since turning his attention to folk styles. His answer showed just how together the group was.
“One of the biggest influences upon my guitar style has been Lyndon. I like going into clubs whenever I can and listening to whoever’s playing, because you are bound to learn something. I suppose that in the beginning I was influenced by Bert Jansch, but so was everybody.”
In the 18 years that he has lived in England, Lyndon has developed into a fine lead guitarist within the framework of Tudor Lodge. He played for his own amusement before joining John.
“I started learning the guitar by playing Beatles songs and things like that,” he told me. “One of the first songs I learned was by Peter, Paul and Mary. I heard an album by them when I was about sixteen and was very impressed.
“They are still one of my biggest influences, along with Ralph McTell, who came along later. I never enjoyed playing blues. A lot of people who play that kind of thing don’t really know what it is they are singing about. They have never felt the blues, really.”
With such potential Tudor Lodge has provoked interest from many, including John Pearse, but their appeal will have to remain directed towards live audiences, for it will probably be the New Year before their first album is released.
Tudor Lodge Shine at Folk Prom
TUDOR LODGE proved to be a fine group to balance the electric folk laid down by Fotheringay at the folk prom recently held at the Civic. For they play a haunting type of acoustic music — full of gentle, simple beauty. Ann Steuart has an admirable talent. Her voice rises and falls in perfect relation to the song she is singing. Ann was born in Greenwich Village, New York in 1949. The other members of the group are John Stannard, from Sussex, and Lyndon Green, an Australian. John and Lyndon played local clubs on an amateur basis from February to June, 1969, when they met Ann. Ann, however, had to return to the States to finish a two-year college music programme. She returned later and in the few months the group have been together they have made a big impact upon the contemporary music scene. So successful have they been, in fact, that they are already working on their first album and there's a possibility of an early single release. And if the response from other audiences through the country is as favourable as the one received in Barnsley, then those records should sell a lot of copies.
The lack of people at Hampstead Country Club on Thursday did nothing to deter Tudor Lodge from presenting their usual polished act of poise and professionalism. Tudor Lodge are trio who are going to be enormous. Ann Steuart, John Stannard and Lyndon Green have scarcely been together long enough to get to know each other but already they are working on an album — and it’s no more than they deserve. Since the Cambridge Folk Festival there’s been no looking back, thanks to the arrival of Ann, a trained flautist with a hypnotic personality, from the States.
Tudor Lodge “Tudor Lodge” (Vertigo
The image the trio projects and the music played have always contained gentility and fluidity. Their songs have relied on harmonies rather than melody lines. In order to strengthen the impact of their music, a surplus of instrumentation has been added on this album. More often than not, this is superfluous. Its benefit is that it does draw attention to an essential fault. That is that there is a lack of aggression and variation of mood within the basic framework of the music, and however many third clarinets and second oboes are added they cannot compensate for this. It may be argued that this is a matter of personal preference, but really any music must have its climaxes, its ascents and descents. In providing these, “The Lady’s Changing Home” is one of the best tracks. If more of the album had relied on the guts of a rock accompaniment then it would have been improved. Alternatively the simple, determined guitar instrumental “Madeline” played by Lyndon Green is a relief after the flowery musical competence which characterises parts of the record. For all but a few genii, eccentrics and storytellers, the task of a song writer is to epitomise what is generally known anyway. Against this yardstick can be measured the success or failure of a song. John Stannard’s “I See A Man” for instance, demonstrates that old soldiers never die, they are just forgotten. But his lyrics, with their device of situating the singer and the listener on a distant observation post, are apt to touch patronage in their search for sympathy and righteousness. The subject matter of their songs is overwhelmingly environmental, as in “Forest” and “Recollection” impressions of nature, and as such, not as memorable as a storyline or specific situation. Even the one song not written by a member of this group falls victim to this. Ralph McTell’s “Kew Gardens” is ephemeral and trivial compared with so much of his creation. In a more positive vein, there are good qualities in the record. There are refreshing tunes and effective lyrics, and the two are seldom united with such success as in Ann Steuart’s “Two Steps Back.”
This diatribe (whether valid or not) prompted a letter the following week:
ANDREW MEANS in his review of Tudor Lodge’s album stated “the task of
a songwriter is to epitomise what is generally known anyway. Against this yardstick
can be measured the success or failure of a song.” That sounds like the
statement of an academic who has never written a song. Certainly if he used a
yardstick like that, (or any kind) he’s unlikely to have any success at all. I
don’t think you can apply rules to songwriting. Perhaps “Try to be
tuneful and not pretentious” was a good guide, but then there has been much
success of late, in both pop and folk with tuneless and pretentious songs, but
I’d hate any would-be songwriters to be strangled by Mr. Mean’s mean
—Peter Charlton, West Ealing, London
Thank you, Mr. Charlton
Disc and Music Echo — September 4th 1971.
TUDOR LODGE have put up a good show for their first album
“TUDOR LODGE” (Vertigo 6360043 £2.30) and come over as
completely unpretentious. The trio have had a lot of experience in folk clubs
and it’s paid off for them. With the exception of Ralph McTell’s
“Kew Gardens” the material is all original. Their vocalist, Anne
Steuart, is an accomplished flute player as well as being a fine singer. One of
the best tracks for arrangement, singing and lyrics, is “It All Comes
Back To Me Now” although the entire album is well thought out and
Folk on Tap — Spring 98 issue
Folk Roots — August/September 1998
Some avenues and alleyways of popular music didn’t half sprout
potatoes. Take a handle like Progressive British Folk — for there was
such a house. Tudor Lodge: two blokes, guitars, crushed velvet loon pants and a
winsome wench in skirts, lived in it for a very short time, circa 1971.
“It All Comes Back” is a hippy period piece peeking into dusty
cupboards of past members, unlocking club live takes, demos, lost B-sides, and
most significantly of all, three tracks with Linda Thompson who was a short
stay member. Carol King’s “It’s Going To Take Some
Time” is the brightest of material that could well have been sampled to
fill out “Dreams Fly Away” With extensive research and sleeve bumf,
it’s worthy archaeology. Until these releases, a lone album on Vertigo
was Tudor Lodge’s legacy. “Let’s Talk” follows up 26
years later though there’s been a live on-off career for some time.
Original John Stannard, and lassie-come-lately Lynne Whiteland play simple,
delicate, straight-down-the-line acoustic roses.
|The Summer 1998 issue of Marquee (Tokyo, Japan) yields some very extensive notes and review comments — we understand it’s very flattering, but cannot confirm this as it is all in Japanese. However, in the same issue, a music emporium called Garden Shed listed Tudor Lodge as No 1 in their chart of Progressive Rock/Trad Folk!!|
A Letter from a Fan — July 8th 2001
It’s neat that you guys take the time to reply to fans. For me, that adds an extra touch that the so-called “popular” artists (i.e. Madonna, etc..) don’t do.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been a music fan for the last 25-30 years (and am a wanna-be guitarist playing acoustic guitar but not at the professional level) and I have about 1500 CDs in my collection. I can tell you that your 1970 album is SOOO much better than any of the so-called “popular” artists of the US/Britain right now. I can’t tell you how much it irks me that great music like yours has to be “hidden” or “cultified” to a few select folks worldwide while junk like NSync or Madonna continues to make millions and millions. Those people may be entertainers but I consider you guys artists. Your Tudor Lodge 1970 album is timeless. There’s nothing old sounding about it. It could have easily been played/recorded today. I can't say the same for all of the top-40 stuff out today as it may make millions but it is like a “dot.com” where it will quickly be forgotten as fast as it was popular. Your album (and many artists doing albums like yours) is too good to be forgotten and will surely be discovered by folks for years to come.
It must be frustrating to be putting out such good music and having a limited fan-base while some guy with a tattoo reading “Born to kill everyone” gets up in front of MTV and shouts swear words to a rap song (that only took him 5 minutes to write) and takes his 5 million dollar check to the bank because he just delivered an “American Hit” whereas you guys sweat and labor over writing honest/sincere songs with excellent melodies and lyrics and then get very little recognition. That’s why I respect you guys way more than any of the new bands.
I’ve lived in America all my life and I can honestly say that most of my favorite albums are not from America (except for the older jazz/folk ones). But other than REM or a few others, America has not put out anything decent in the last 20 years. REM may be one of the most popular bands in America but your album is still better than any of theirs. I can’t find a single weak song on your 1970 album. In-fact, I loaned it to someone and they were blown away by its beauty and came back and said, “I never heard of these guys.” I told him that it is a great album and there are hundreds more from the 70s from Britain, Italy, Spain, France, etc... Sadly, there’s not much of a market for that kind of great music here in the US.
Thank you, Theron. May your days be long, your health be excellent, and your life be fruitful.
Mojo — Summer 2005
Vertigo completists have been known to pay silly money for this Reading trio’s 1971 debut - a fact which has enhanced its reputation. Deservedly so? Yes, if you scoot straight to side two, with its Pentangular acid-folk yarns (Willow Tree, Forest) and exquisite baroque instrumentals (Madeline). Less spectacularly, the songs on side one will only interest people who thought Fairport Convention were improved by the departure of Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny.
Billboard review of 2005 Akarma Vinyl Release
An exquisite reissue, the eponymous debut album by Tudor Lodge taps into both the perpetual collectibility of the early-’70s Vertigo label catalog and the mid-2000s’ growing fascination with British folk-prog of the same era. The trio of Lyndon Green, John Stannard, and Ann Steuart, backed by a heavyweight band of folk and classical legends (the redoubtable rhythm section of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox included), Tudor Lodge were unashamedly pastoral — their music is the sound of a summer’s day in centuries past, where “grey-backed squirrels run to safety” (“Forest”), ladies “disappear into the sunset, shrouded in organdie and wine” (“Willow Tree”), and even bloody battlefields become a place for quiet contemplation (“Help Me Find Myself”). And, all the while, clarinets twinkle, violins sigh, and cellos call to one another across the verdant fields. Recorded in a mere two weeks in early 1971, Tudor Lodge is very much a child of its times — hopeful, gentle, and so delicately melodic that, even with harmonies hurtling like asteroids across “I See a Man,” there is a Spartan simplicity to the record that surely exacted a major toll on the latter-day likes of Belle & Sebastian — a comparison that the almost raunchy guitar and psych-soaked wah-wah of “The Lady’s Changing Home” only amplifies. In its original vinyl form, Tudor Lodge was released in a grandiose six-panel die-cut sleeve, decorated with the intricate penciled sketches of artist Phil Duffy. In common with Akarma’s other Vertigo reissues, this fabulous packaging has been restored in its entirety. Like the music, it’s breathtaking.
Jo-Ann Greene, All Music Guide
Amazon review of the first album
released in 1971 on the Vertigo label, this eponymous album is a
classic example of what now seems to be called progressive or acid
folk. Based on the core trio of John Stannard, Lyndon Green and
American flautist, Ann Steuart, the band was augmented for this album
by the rhythm section of Pentangle — Terry Cox on drums and Danny
Thompson on bass.
Another Amazon review of the first album
Tudor who? you may ask. Tudor Lodge — named after the pub
in Reading where they played this is early 1970s British Folk at its best.
Simon D. Jones
Answers.com review of “It All Comes Back”
With Tudor Lodge’s Vertigo label debut rightly acclaimed among the most exquisite jewels of the early-’70s progressive folk movement, it was always a major cause of frustration that that was all there was. No follow-up album, no circulating outtakes — what you saw was all you got, and Tudor Lodge ascended into immortality accordingly. Almost 30 years on, It All Comes Back arrived to prove that the vinyl was no fluke, and that Tudor Lodge truly were one of the greatest bands of their era. True, little here absolutely matches the farsighted vision of the debut, but it maybe wasn’t meant to. Rather, it gathers up a mixed bag of music recorded by the band members between 1971 and their official reunion in 1997, opening with three rough but enchanting demos pairing guitarists John Stannard and Lyndon Green with Linda Thompson in the early ’70s. At the other end of the disc, a scratchy live recording from a 1971 Windsor Folk Club gig and the much sought-after non-LP B-side “The Good Times We Had” complete the survey of Tudor Lodge’s “classic” era. In many ways, however, it’s the ragbag of offerings that occupy the space in between that’s the most interesting. Five Stannard solo demos, recorded with a bevy of friends and session men, offer an inkling as to how Tudor Lodge might have sounded had their own three-piece lineup been permanently expanded, while a couple of songs that were originally taped at one of the 1980 reunion concerts have been more or less completely re-recorded to preserve the spirit of those shows, if not the actual sound quality. Finally, two “new” recordings — an orchestra-less remake of “It All Comes Back to Me” and the 1997 composition “Home to Stay” — are powerful enough to draw anybody into the albums that the reunited Tudor Lodge have released since this set was compiled.
Dave Thompson, All Music Guide
Pastoral Folk, 8 Jan 2010 by Pseudonymous (Canada). This review is from: Tudor Lodge (remastered digi) (Audio CD)
I heard the name of Tudor Lodge mentioned in the early 90’s, but only very
recently became acquainted with their music, the name having lingered in the
back of my mind for all these years. I listen to a fair bit of traditional folk,
folk-rock and psych-folk, and Tudor Lodge reside most assuredly at the bright
end of the spectrum. At first I was blinking in the sunlight for large portions
of the set, used to more shadowy music, but I quickly fell for the charms of
More from Amazon...
The sole album by this trio of singer/guitarists seems to me to be more mainstream than folk, though that’s not a criticism. All but one of the songs are self-penned. There are no dark corners in Tudor Lodge’s world. Though some of the lyrics are sad, this is a light, airy, feelgood vibe album that doesn’t always have a lot to say. I’m thinking particularly of ‘Forest’ which is little more than a description of woodland. The band’s strongest point is American Ann Steuart, who not only adds piano and flute, but has a voice of shimmering beauty. The album is bolstered by several other musicians and there’s a generous dose of woodwind across the tracks. Perhaps the one faux pas is the male vocal on ‘Recollection’ which I imagine is that of the writer, Lyndon Green. He makes up for it though on the brilliant acoustic instrumental, ‘Madeline.’ Well worth investigating.
And another, from Head Full of Snow, August 3rd, 2011...
HFoS is presently on summer holiday, hence the lackadaisical approach to posting over the past week, this week and, indeed, the next. Never fear, we were allowed to bring our games in on the last day of term and even wear our own clothes, which is always a bonus. I, myself, chose Game of Dracula and proceeded to thrash all comers. The soundtrack to this final day of inertia at HFoS Towers happened to be this rare beauty: Tudor Lodge, a fine old dose of progressive folk rock, by the band of the same name.
Originally released in 1971, Tudor Lodge is as pleasant as an English pasture. A testament to inoffensive, folkie fun by a trio of lovely people, sporting lovely tunes.
A foul night on the beer could find a mid-morning salve from a listen to the 13 tracks that sit innocuously on this splendid reissue. Largely acoustic, this is what it sounded like in certain quarters of England during the late 60s and early 70s. Hell’s teeth! One wishes it was still the same — long hair, flutes, the occasional piano and a soft voice guiding you onto the jagged rocks, courtesy of the ethereal timbre Ann Steuart traded in.
In fact, Ann Steuart does all of the above, accompanied by the able hands of Lyndon Green and John Stannard on guitars, as well as a host of session artists (including Pentangle drummer, Terry Cox) tickling everything from the bassoon to the occasional violin.
Pop all these seeds into a relatively fertile furrow and you’re sure to produce something as chipper as this. A joyous slice of unbridled innocence, carefully calculated to cause absolutely no offence to anybody alive, once alive, or yet to live. Whimsy, gentle harmonies and the lightness of a sea breeze drifting inland from the Devonshire coastline, are what make Tudor Lodge what it is: a bracing 45 minutes worth of folkie serenity, unburdened by cynicism.
The closest the album comes to political comment (the cornerstone upon which the majority of folk sounds have evolved) is ‘I See a Man’, regarding the poverty and plight of an old soldier, but what Tudor Lodge lacks in teeth it makes up for in melody. The undoubted highlight is the single ‘The Lady’s Changing Home’ (the B-side of which, ‘The Good Times We Had,’ is included as a bonus track), with a bridge that shares more than a little in common with Bobby Bland’s ‘Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,’ recorded three years later.
Also worthy of note are the instrumental and decidedly medieval hues of ‘Madeline’ and a spirited cover of Ralph McTell’s ‘Kew Gardens.’
All in all, music suited to a summer’s meadow and the perfect soundtrack to start the HFoS summer holidays. See you in September.
Here’s a nice review of ‘Dream’ from Orexis of Death...
Recently released, it is brilliant folk-rock album full of excitement, beauty and haunting melodies. Unlike the recent re-union rush of old groups that have managed to spend their money and are trying to capitalise on their glorious past, Tudor Lodge are still true to themselves and their calling. Their album is not a regurgitation of the past but a creative evolution wrapped in melodious sweetness and flowing harmonies. Amazingly delicious.