Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Crane still raising the roof 40 years on.

FORTY years after he first sang and strummed his guitar for friends and family at home parties in the out-buildings of what is now the Lovibonds Brewery, singer-songwriter Dominic Crane returns on Friday, April 3 (Good Friday), to provide an evening of music as part of the brewery’s regular friday night programme of live entertainment.

FORTY years after he first sang and strummed his guitar for friends and family at home parties in the out-buildings of what is now the Lovibonds Brewery, singer-songwriter Dominic Crane returns on Friday, April 3 (Good Friday), to provide an evening of music as part of the brewery’s regular friday night programme of live entertainment.

Dominic’s home was at the back of the Wine Rack off-licence in Market Place, where he lived as a teenager throughout most of the Seventies with his parents, who ran the shop which was then Victoria Wine.

“When we first moved to Henley in 1969,” Dominic explained, “the shop was called Wine Ways, an expanding new chain of off-licences with a very modern image that had taken over a number of existing businesses, including Lovibonds.

“When we arrived the remains of the brewery were in evidence but very derelict. There was a large stock of empty antique glass and ceramic bottles which provided my mum with a number of opportunities for homemade present-giving that included candle holders and spice containers.”



Dominic, who attended Sacred Heart Primary, Blessed Hugh Faringdon in Reading and King James sixth form, was also a member of the Kenton Children’s Theatre Group, run by former Springfield Mike Hurst’s mother, Flavia Pickworth.

He continued: “Meeting Mike at such a young age was a very encouraging encounter in my life. When it was discovered that I played the guitar and sang, Flavia started writing slots into each of the shows so that I got to do a number.

“Mike was very good at suggesting songs, sometimes with more chords than I’d been used to playing, but he showed me a few shortcuts that made it easier for my challenged, small 13-year-old fingers.

“I clearly still remember the feeling during an encore of The Streets of London thinking, â??I really want to do this for the rest of my life’.”

Not quite sure how he was to achieve this, one thing Dominic had picked up on was that most of his musical heroes had attended art school. Fortunately, apart from music, art had been the only subject he had shown any interest in at school, so he left Henley to do a degree in commercial art at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1977. Graduating in 1980 and having been in a number of bands at college, Dominic found himself back in Henley.

“I was attending interviews for design jobs but my heart clearly wasn’t in it and meanwhile I worked in the off-licence,” he said. “Not surprisingly my heart wasn’t in that either, I used to sneak off into the house to record ideas for songs when I should have been re-stocking the shelves with Blue Nun.”

He continued: “I have this amazing story about an encounter I had with George Harrison that occurred when I was on a lunch break and contemplating what I should do to get into music full-time.

“It was life-changing to say the least. I tell it sometimes at my gigs but I’m going to save it for the Lovibonds gig, especially with Friar Park being so close by and my old school pal Ian Maguire’s mum who had been his housekeeper.

“Suffice it to say it resulted in me taking the plunge, moving up to Birmingham, signing on â?? as you could in those days â?? and joining a band.”

From there things seemed to fall into place for Dominic, things that seemed at the time quite mundane, but 30 years later appear to have some historical significance.

Close associations with Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Beat, Stephen Tintin Duffy, Ocean Colour Scene and Pop Will Eat Itself eventually led to a publishing deal with Virgin and from there record deals with East West and Island.

After making the most of all the rock ’n’ roll experience had to offer, Dominic now prefers a more sedate approach to performing and songwriting, working as an independent artist and selling his music online.

As one critic recently remarked, “It isn’t quite rock ’n’ roll, but it sure is beautiful”.

Dominic will be appearing at Lovibonds Brewery on Good Friday with Dave Sutherland on double bass and Harry Boylan on the chromatic harmonica. If you’re partial to Elvis Costello, Neil Finn, Jackson Browne or Paul Simon you won’t be disappointed.

l Advance tasters can be heard at www.cdbaby.com/cd/ dominiccrane and www.facebook.com/Dominic CraneMusic



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