Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas song by River

Here is a video reconstructing the live performance of River's great Christmas song Heaven Come Down in October 2004. The song, written by Sue Mack (Sue McClellan of Parchment) featured on their live album River Live at the Riverhouse and also on the studio album Rise Like The Sun. The music is taken from the live album and Sue Mack can be seen on the right leading the band.

The song was performed acapella - without instruments. Who can name what songs Parchment performed acapella?

Happy Christmas!

With thanks to Sue Mack for agreement to post this video.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Death in Jerusalem

Somebody has uploaded Death in Jerusalem to YouTube. This classic psych folk track is the first song from Hollywood Sunset to appear on YouTube. We've added it to our playlist. The photo is in fact Trinity Folk, not Parchment.

Link to playlist: 
Parchment playlist

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

UK pop chart Sept/Oct 1972

1 Slade Mama Weer All Crazee Now 
2 David Cassidy How Can I Be Sure 
3 T Rex Children Of The Revolution 
4 Faron Young It's Four In The Morning 
5 Rod Stewart You Wear It Well 
6 Donny Osmond Too Young 
7 Michael Jackson Ain't No Sunshine 
8 Lieutenant Pigeon Mouldy Old Dough 
9 Roxy Music Virginia Plain 
10 Lynsey De Paul Sugar Me 
11 Sweet Wig-Wam Bam 
12 Drifters Come On Over To My Place 
13 Cliff Richard Living In Harmony 
14 Jackie Wilson I Get The Sweetest Feeling 
15 Blackfoot Sue Standing In The Road 
16 Dandy Livingstone Suzanne Beware Of The Devil 
17 Judge Dread Big Six 
18 Mott The Hoople All The Young Dudes 
19 Junior Walker & The All-Stars Walk In The Night 
20 Gary Glitter I Didn't Know I Loved You (Till I Saw You Rock 'N' Roll) 
21 Hurricane Smith Who Was It 
22 Bill Withers Lean On Me 
23 Derek & The Dominoes Layla 
24 Little Eva The Loco-motion 
25 Hot Butter Popcorn 
26 David Bowie John I'm Only Dancing 
27 Peter Skellern You're A Lady 
28 Partridge Family Breaking Up Is Hard To Do 
29 Hawkwind Silver Machine 
30 Elton John Honky Cat 
31 Elvis Presley Burning Love 
32 Parchment Light Up The Fire 
33 Seashells Maybe I Know 
34 Donny Osmond Puppy Love 
35 10cc Donna 
36 Alice Cooper School's Out 
37 Bee Gees Run To Me 
38 O'Jays Back Stabbers 
39 Hollies Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress 
40 Carpenters Goodbye To Love

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Song contest winner

We're delighted to announce that Shining Light by Peter Hunt is the winner of our Light Up the Fire 40th Anniversary contest.

Owing to a disappointing shortage of entries, the second prize hasn't been awarded. However we think our winner is a great example of a contemporary interpretation of the Light Up the Fire theme by a new musician and deserves its place. It has superb guitar work, great lyrics, great pace and high production values and well deserves to win. We've added the song to our Parchment play-list.

As the anniversary is still under way we're going to keep the second prize open until September 30th. That is a prize of £60.

Just a normal guy walking down the street
when he looks up from the ground and what does he see
he sees a need for love, a need for hope
he sees a need for God

Monday, September 03, 2012

#lutf40 anniversary entry

Here's a great entry that's come in for the Light Up the Fire 40th Anniversary contest. Don't forget the deadline for entries is on Saturday. There may be extensions granted - please contact us, pfblog99 at,  if you want a little more time.

 Does anybody know how many songs were entered for the original contest in 1972? Parchment won it with Light Up the Fire. The singer Judy Mackenzie came second with Let There Be Light. This latest entry follows the theme.

 We are now in the 40th anniversary of the month of the release. The song hit the charts and charted at the end of September. I do not have the date of its release - I would imagine mid-September. Not high but check out our original posting to see who and what else was in the charts. The competition was very, very tough.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Let's celebrate the 40th of a great song

We've had some great ideas suggested for marking the 40th anniversary of the release of Light Up the Fire. Sadly band reunions and new releases are outside the scope of this site. Over to you John, Keith, Sue, Jeff, Brian and Pete!

Here is how we are kicking things off:

Can you compose a new song in the spirit of the original Light Up the Fire?

Our first prize will be £90 (UK pounds) and our second prize will be £60 (UK pounds), payable through PayPal. These may be extended if other sponsors come on board. The original emerged from a competition for a great song - so I think this is a great way to honour it.

Here is how to enter:
1/ Record your song and place it on YouTube.
2/ Add the hashtag #lutf40 to your notes together with a link to this site.
3/ Add a comment here with a link to your YouTube entry. We will retain all links that pass the basic standards for entry.
The deadline for entries is Saturday September 8th 2012.

What you need to be thinking about:
Great melody!
Great lyrics - it's that first line "Colours of day dawn into the mind" that captures the imagination.
To capture the other ingredients you need to listen to Parchment's music. We're posting some of the best clips on the Facebook page.

These include:
  • great instrumentation;
  • great voices;
  • great arrangement (which was down to John Pantry - but see what you can do);
  • powerful message. It doesn't have to be the same message as Light Up the Fire but it should be spiritually exciting. I recently tried to find a song in our church song-book with a similar message to Light Up the Fire. We ended up singing the original - very cheerfully - as there was nothing else.
  • it doesn't have to be a folky syle! Any style is acceptable but it needs to stand out.
Some terms and conditions: By entering you attest that the work is your original work and is not in breach of someone else's copyright. It remains your copyright. Entries must not previously have been published as a commercial recording. We reserve the right to refuse entries. The judges' decision is final.

Our facebook page

Friday, June 29, 2012

The story of Light Up the Fire

Here's some links which bring together the story of Light Up the Fire, now known to many as Colours of Day.

Our original account of the story of the single
Magazine cutting about the launch of the single
How Colours of Day became a hit in schools
Video of a decent schools version of the song

This link takes you to Sue McClellan's version of the words on the River web-site.

Here's a tribute to the song on the Cross Rhythms website.

And here's our new facebook page. If you're on Facebook please like it!

* Details of the anniversary competition will be announced tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Just before we announce details of the 40th anniversary competition - yes it will be a competition - here is the nearest you will get to the sound of Parchment in the modern world.

I came across these wonderful twin sisters, the Carrivick Sisters, recently. They combine English folk and US bluegrass - rather like Parchment did often, especially on Rehearsal for a Reunion.

Their instruments include the dobro - featured here, the mandolin, guitars but also the banjo and fiddle. They also frequently sing in harmony. Sadly as there's only two of them you  mostly only get combinations of any two in any one song. They don't do gospel and although the ingredients of the mix are similar to Parchment, the sound isn't so similar. Did Parchment even play the dobro like that?? But if ever you want to see a dobro in action, track them down as they seem to perform live incessantly. This link takes you to some comments John Pac made on this site a few years ago about Parchment's dobro.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So what are we doing for the 40th anniversary?

I hope to make an announcement soon.....

Monday, February 27, 2012

In demand

Two Grapevine albums were among a clutch of the rarest folk-gospel-prog-psych rarities auctioned on ebay over the weekend.

The albums I tracked were:

Water into Wine Band - Harvesttime - £460  - 14 bids (and apparently sold by Oxfam)
Whitsuntide Easter - Next Time You Play a Wrong Note GRV109 - £142 - 22 bids
Reynard - Fresh From the Earth GRV 102 - £22.77 - 5 bids
Linda Rich - Apple Tree - £14.82 - 2 bids

All that were missing were Caedmon,  Candle Factory and Voiz (GRV 110).

Strictly speaking Whitsuntide Easter and Voiz are rock, not folk - although Whitsuntide is quite folk-rocky.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Parchment play-list

Further research has identified a small collection of Parchment songs on YouTube. Here's a playlist - with some nicely made videos. Enjoy it!
 The tracks are: 
  • As long as I can see you - Shamblejam 
  • Working Man (Trinity Folk) - Sound Vision in Concert
  •  Light of the World - Shamblejam
  •  Son of God - Light Up the Fire
  •  Love is Come Again - Light Up the Fire 
  • Don't Let the Morning Come(tribute) - Shamblejam 
  • Light Up the Fire (schools version) - Light Up the Fire

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Light Up the Fire - Schools version

Here's a lovely video of a schools version of Light Up the Fire

It's the 40th anniversary of the song this year. What are we going to do to mark it? I have some ideas this site may sponsor. Any ideas out there?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More on Reynard

Reynard were Grapevine stars and their albums continue to fetch a premium on the second hand market. They specialised in  electric folk and were a Liverpool band related by blood to Parchment (two members were cousins).

There are now two new downloads of their albums available at The Ancient Star Song, complete with full album art.

They can be found here:
Green Anthem
Fresh From The Earth

Here is our original posting on Reynard, complete with comments from most of the band members.