Brian Willoughby Marks 50 Years In Business With New Album

He might be mostly known as a former, if longtime, member of STRAWBS and co-writer of such classics as “Taking A Chance” back in the ’80s, but this ensemble were but a single entry in Brian Willoughby‘s career which spans five decades. The aforementioned connection landed the guitarist a prominent role in THE MONKS, laying down memorable lines on both of their LPs and moving back into the previous band soon after "Suspended Animation" had seen the light of day, and he was a session player on multiple platters, jingles and TV themes, yet Willoughby’s first noteworthy appearance found him alongside Mary Hopkin when Brian met, on his 22nd birthday, the approval of Tony Visconti and began working with the songstress. There would be stints with many other artists, including his namesake Connolly from SWEET and Nanci Griffith, yet it’s the fateful audition for Mary that the veteran’s forthcoming album’s title refers to.

Demonstrating his skills to her and Visconti, Willoughby delivered a piece called “Twiddly Bit” – a term lead Strawb Dave Cousins, who sent his friend to Hopkin, coined to describe Brian’s six-string parts – and “Twiddly Bits” is what his new record, a celebration of the British artist’s 50th year as a professional musician, is called. It’s comprised of 19 instrumental cuts, the original guitar-based tunes, often autobiographical, where he plays all the instruments, with a little help from his wife and creative partner Cathryn Craig and a couple of old pals, some of the numbers harking back to the old times – like “Twiddly Bit” which Willoughby orchestrated now, having remembered Mary’s erstwhile suggestion, or “The Middle” which used to be a song on Brian and Cathryn’s “In America” album from 2016, so there’s enough to enjoy for both aficionado and casual folk-rock listener alike. The review is forthcoming, and the set, scheduled for March 25th release, looks like this (read the review):

Tiddly Bits

1. Busterchops
2. Clara’s Theme
3. Twiddly Bit
4. Narrow Waterfall
5. Aunt Gen In The Clouds
6. The Borders
7. White Stratosphere
8. Buenos SueƱos
9. Long Tall Kelly
10. The Point
11. The Middle
12. Kitesurfing
13. Glenarm 1949
14. Rosie’s Tale
15. Red Steel Tracks
16. Peace Pipe
17. Dunavil Beach
18. Uisce Beatha
19. She Rang Our Bell

February 13, 2022

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