Ronnie Harwood's biography - chapter 7Back in the Studio with Georgia RecordsGerry Hogan of Hogan's Heroes

Ronnie formed Georgia Records in early 2007 promote the work of a variety of bands and musicians, often working closely on the projects with engineer Ed Adamberry at Edsongs Studio in Hendon, North London. Florida Sun's 'Always in My Heart' was the first album release on the label, followed by Johnny Rey's 'Talk To Me'. This features songs written or co-written by Ronnie including 'I'll Never Be Lonely', 'Still In My Heart', 'Dreams', 'Senorita' and the title track he wrote with Hiller and Stevens.

The musicians on 'Talk To Me' supporting vocalist Johnny Rey (who with his rock 'n' roll band Johnny and the Jailbirds performs under the name Johnny Red) include Geraint Watkins and James Compton on piano and accordian, Andy Hamilton on tenor sax, and Gerry Hogan of Hogan's Heroes on steel guitar. Jay Stapley and Ronnie are on guitars, with Howard Tibble on drums and Samantha Scott on backing vocals.

Geraint Watkins, James Compton, Jay Stapley, Howard Tibble and Andy Hamilton had all also featured on 'Always in My Heart', along with Roger McKew and Nigel Jenkins on guitars, Rick Brown on bass, Jamie Talbot on sax, Simon Gardner on trumpet, Mike Wells on percussion and Anthony Thompson on backing vocals.

Ron Harwood Band 2001 - Geraint Watkins, Carlo LittleIn 2009, previously unreleased tracks recorded by the Ronnie Harwood Band with Ronnie on lead vocal in 2005, were discovered by chance. The tracks feature a vibrant mix of rock, blues and country rock, with Ronnie accompanied by many familiar faces including Carlo Little (percussion), Geraint Watkins on piano, Andy Hamilton on sax, Roger McKew and Billy Bremner on guitars, and Gerry Hogan on steel guitar. Mick Underwood, John Dillon, Rick Brown and Bob Stout also feature.

The live studio tracks, each recorded in one take giving them a great sense of spontaneity, had been almost forgotten until Ronnie uncovered what he believes to be the only remaining 2-track copy. He mentioned it to Kevin O'Byrne, a friend of drummer Mike (Mick) Wells and the person responsible for collating Ronnie's memories here in this biography and for putting this website together. Ronnie knew Kevin would like the rockin' style of the tracks but the recording needed work to correct some tonal issues and add back some lost edge.

On playing them, Kevin loved the tracks and set about restoring the live, raw feel of the music with some careful studio processing. The result is the album 'It's a Fabulous Thing', released in digital form in 2010, with the tracks now available in our online store as individual downloads.

Pete Stothard: The Song Book

Pete Stothard is lead singer and rhythm guitarist with Country and Western band Texas Tornados, formed in 2004, though Pete was already well known on the Line and Western Dance scene and had been brought up in the world of Country music from an early age.

"I met Pete through my good friend and guitar player Roger McKew," Country Singer and Guitarist Pete StothardRonnie explained. "I was talking to him about the song I'd just recorded, Elm Hill Marina, and that I needed someone that could sing Country. When producer Stuart Coleman heard it, he'd said to get a country singer. That's when Roger said that he was playing in a Country band. He played the song to Pete and from that we met up and started working together on an album."

"I wrote the song when living in Nashville," Ronnie continued. "Elm Hill Marina is on the Percy Priest Lake, east of Nashville. I would visit the marina many times, made lots of friends there, one who is mentioned in the song; his name is King."

Pete Stothard Song Book coverThe Pete Stothard Song Book was released in 2012 and features twelve tracks, all but one written or co-written by Ronnie including, of course, Elm Hill Marina. The tracks are available on CD or on iTunes.

"On the Song Book CD I got Pete to sing my arrangement of a Bill Monro classic, 'Kentucky Waltz'," Ronnie added as he handed me a copy of Pete's album. "It's a song I remember well in my early teens; my aunties would play it at the parties we had at my Nan and Grandad's in Hornsey Road in the early 50's. Another track on the Song Book CD is 'You Make Me Happy'. This was actually the first recorded version but has since been recorded by Sophie Madeleine, The Ukuleles and used in TV ads."

The Pete Stothard Song Book features musicians Ronnie often turns to, including Andy Hamilton on tenor sax, John Dillon and Howard Tibble on drums, Ed Adamberry on bass and programming of the brass and strings, Jay Stapley and Ronnie himself on guitars, Geraint Watkins (piano on 'Must Be My Love') and of course guitarist Roger McKew. There are some notable guest appearances too from Gerry Hogan (pedal steel guitar on 'Elm Hill Marina'), Maurise Reisman on accordian, Phil Bennet (fiddle on 'Kentucky Waltz'), and Mat Holland (trumpet on 'Senorita' and 'Maria').

The Art of Writing the 'Feel Good' Song

In 2010, Ronnie's composition 'You Make Me Happy' was picked up by PartyBingo and used in their UK TV Ad campaign that year. The song was also recorded by Sophie Madeleine and her version subsequently used on a major TV advertising campaign by Postbank in Germany in 2011, and by 'Pets at Home' Sophie Madeleine singing You Make Me Happyfor their UK TV commercial aired during 2012. The song was released in 2011 as a digital single and is available as a download via Amazon.co.uk.

'You Make Me Happy' signalled the beginning of a new musical chapter for Ronnie. With the music business having gone through a huge change in recent years, particularly distribution methods and the effect that has had on A&R and sales to consumers, finding commercially viable avenues for music has become increasingly difficult. Ronnie didn't specifically write 'You Make Me Happy' with advertising in mind, but his natural uptempo, bright musical style is well suited to use on marketing and advertising campaigns, and the classic pop style travels well.

 

 

 

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