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Tudor Lodge

Formed in 1968 and named after their local Berkshire pub (the Tudor Lodge in Reading), guitarists John Stannard and extrovert Roger Stevens almost immediately disbanded, leaving the former to fulfil booking commitments. With fellow singer-songwriter, Australian-born Lyndon Green on board, the duo played a residence at the Windsor folk club early ‘69. By that summer, the pair had found a third member, American Ann Steuart, who’d been studying to become an opera singer, while also on a 2-year music course at college. In 1970, and with the aid of manager Karl Blore, the trio inked a deal with Phillips fledgling rock offshoot Vertigo (then stamping ground for heavies, BLACK SABBATH and URIAH HEEP). Premiering their new songs supporting prog rockers KING CRIMSON (at The Marquee in early ‘71), the twee triumvirate of TUDOR LODGE recorded their eponymous studio in only a fortnight.
TUDOR LODGE (1971) {*7}, was well received, although poor sales limited its wider appeal – its subsequent value rose to over £120. Featuring additional musicians, including PENTANGLE’s rhythm section of DANNY THOMPSON and Terry Cox, bassoon-player Graham Lyons and jazz muso Tony Coe, the album has since become a staple of every Brit-prog-folk aficionado. Light and airy, over half the songs stemmed from Stannard, the most gracious of them being breezy opener `It All Comes Back To Me’, The MAMAS AND THE PAPAS/LOVIN’ SPOONFUL-like `Would You Believe?’ and the PETER, PAUL & MARY-esque `Help Me Find Myself’. Steuart, herself, was responsible for `Two Steps Back’ (and the darkly-dark group composition `Willow Tree’), while Green’s contributions comprised of `Recollections’ (featuring TIR NA NOG’s Sonny Condell on African drums), `Forest’, baroque instrumental picker `Madeline’, and flop co-penned 45 `The Lady’s Changing Home’. The only cover to surface from the dainty dozen was a cover of RALPH McTELL’s `Kew Gardens’, another strictly for the PP&M purists.
On the back of two high-profile slots at the Cambridge Folk Festival and on stage at 5 a.m. at Clacton’s Wheeley Fest, the pastoral trio supported the likes of FAIRPORT CONVENTION, STEELEYE SPAN and GENESIS, but all was not well with homesick Steuart; she upped sticks and returned to the USA, while replacement Linda Peters (soon to be wife of RICHARD THOMPSON) depped for a short stint in early ‘72. In 1981, John, Lyndon and Ann reunited for a one-off gig, while unknown singer Lynne Whiteland joined old retainer John in an all-new TUDOR LODGE duo.
Their long-awaited return was complete via DREAM (2000) {*5}; Whiteland was now responsible for more than half the songs, while 2003’s RUNAWAY {*5} she was afforded more with Stannard on only two; latter-day sets comprised UNCONDITIONAL (2006) {*5} and STAY (2013) {*5}. Their heyday over, TUDOR LODGE will be remembered for their melody driven debut, with its numerous re-issues from all around the globe.
© MC Strong 1997-2010/GPD-GFD // rev-up MCS Aug2015

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