Keith Hale

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Keith Hale
Keith Hale, songwriter, producer and performer
Background information
Born (1950-11-06) 6 November 1950 (age 63)
Origin Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England
Genres Pop, rock, jazz
Occupations Songwriter, record producer, musician
Instruments Piano, Hammond organ, Roland Jupiter-4, ARP Explorer, Guitar
Years active 1969–present
Labels Safari, Arista
Associated acts Comus, Blood Donor, Hawkwind, Space Cadets, Ginger Baker, Toyah, John Bentley

Keith Hale (born 6 November 1950) is an English songwriter, composer, record producer, performer and music teacher, most notable for his work with Toyah Willcox, Hawkwind and Ginger Baker.

Biography[edit]

The Yorkshire-born musician moved south when he was ten. Whilst in his final year at primary school he won first prize in the Cadbury's National Essay Competition for Schools. As a teenager he moved back to Hull to join Nothineverappens[1] "Yorkshire’s premier psychedelic band". Returning to London he collaborated in "Silly Balls", a mixed-media project designed to maximise audience participation but this proved too unwieldy to be commercially viable. His distinctive keyboard work and songwriting ability led him to being asked to join Comus in 1973. Later projects included his own band Blood Donor,[2] Hawkwind, and Ginger Baker, before a long and successful association with Toyah. More recently, Hale writes and arranges school music productions, teaches keyboards and participates in songwriting workshops.

Career[edit]

Comus[edit]

Comus recorded an album for Virgin Records in 1974 entitled To Keep from Crying. Hale played keyboards and marimba.

Blood Donor[edit]

Toyah – Sheep Farming in Barnet co-produced by Keith Hale

Determined to pursue his own musical vision, Hale formed Blood Donor[2] in 1977. It had the then highly-unusual line-up of two synthesizer players, two percussionists and a bass player. This group battled against a backdrop of punk rock, supported J.J. Burnel,[3] and was signed to Arista Records in 1979. Various producers were used including Steve James and John Cale[4] although they recorded the first album with Tonto's Expanding Head Band and Stevie Wonder producer Malcolm Cecil. Internal disputes between record company and management meant that this album was never released, although two singles were – Rubber Revolution[5] and Rice Harvest. The latter, featuring a Vietnamese children's choir, is regularly revitalised for Hale's school productions.

Blood Donor[2] can be seen performing Rice Harvest in the 1980 ATV documentary Toyah, at Toyah Willcox's Battersea warehouse where they frequently rehearsed.

In 2002, they reunited for a one-off 25th anniversary concert which took place at The Old Market in Hove, UK.

Hawkwind[edit]

In 1980, Hale joined Hawkwind, replacing Tim Blake who left during the Levitation tour. Together with drummer Ginger Baker, Hale left after a well documented band bust up[6] at Rockfield Studios.

Ginger Baker[edit]

Following Hawkwind, Ginger then asked Hale to get a band together for which he enlisted the help of old friends Billy Jenkins and Ian Trimmer, as well as Blood Donor bassist Rikki Legair. Known as Ginger Baker's Nutters[7] the band undertook two long European tours and recorded two live albums, Live in Milan 1980[8] and Ginger Baker in Concert.[9] The band broke up when Ginger had to leave the UK for tax reasons.

Toyah[edit]

Toyah – Warrior Rock featuring Keith Hale

Hale turned his attention to other projects, which included a long association with Toyah. He co-wrote and co-produced her first album (and EP/AP) Sheep Farming in Barnet and her first single Victims of the Riddle. In February 1981 her version of Hale's song It's a Mystery reached no 4 in the UK Singles Chart. He then joined Toyah’s band for more touring[10] and TV work including Warrior Rock: Toyah On Tour, a double album recorded at the culmination of a 25-date UK tour, during two nights at the Hammersmith Odeon in July 1982. Toyah Willcox had this to say in 2011 – "So when it comes down to Warrior Rock, I know it’s one of the best live albums ever made! And I’m confident about that and two fingers to everyone else about it really!".

Space Cadets[edit]

Hale, along with former Blood Donor colleagues John Bentley[11] and Gordon Coxon released one experimental self-titled 'acid-jazz' album in 1988.[12]

Jasper Fish[edit]

Nicknamed Jasper Fish by Ginger Baker (a reference to Hale originating from a fishing city), he recorded two albums in the guise of Jasper Fish and the Alice Band. Alice is the name of Hale's daughter. Supported Jools Holland in 1998. Described as 'very much in the Canterbury style of the '70s'.[13]

Mind Your Head[edit]

Project with Squeeze bass player and former Space Cadet John Bentley. Performed showcase at Ropetackle, Shoreham, 2 May 2008.[14]

Musical director and music tutor[edit]

In the present day, Hale writes and arranges many children's musical productions[15] in the Kent and London area and teaches keyboards and songwriting at Charles Darwin School.[16] He has participated with members of Squeeze's Chris Difford's songwriting workshops in Italy.

Discography (selected)[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nothineverappens – Recordings. "Nothineverappens". Britishmusicarchive.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Behind The Lake... guide to the musicians of Toyah". Orbit.force9.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Strangled Special Guests". Strangled.co.uk. 16 September 1978. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Crosstalk: Your Feedback to SOS". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Starfarer. "Approved History of Hawkwind Part 2 – 1976–82". Starfarer.net. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Ginger Baker's Nutters "Ginger Baker Live"". BandToBand.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Live in Milan 1980 – Ginger Baker". Billboard.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Ginger Baker – In Concert (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "TOYAH – The Official Toyah Willcox Website". Toyahwillcox.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "John Bentley – Biography". Johnbentley.tv. 16 April 1951. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Space Cadets, The* – The Space Cadets (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "SOS". Soundonsound.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "NEW BAND: Squeeze bass player at Shoreham – Entertainment". Worthing Herald. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  15. ^ admin on (8 March 2012). "Raglan at the Bromley proms! | Raglan Primary School". Raglan.bromley.sch.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Charles Darwin School – Staff List". Cdarwin.com. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "ChartArchive – Toyah – Four From Toyah (EP)". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "ChartArchive – Toyah – Anthem". Chartstats.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Behind The Lake... guide to the musicians of Toyah". Orbit.force9.co.uk. Retrieved 26 July 2012.