Mawson and Wareham Music Ltd first issued Joe Lives! on LP in 1971 and Northern Drift in 1978. In 2009, these recordings were digitally restored by Ken McKenzie, who recalls his first encounter with Alex Glasgow: I first met Alex Glasgow in 1965. I had won the British Amateur tape recording Contest and Alex invited me to be interviewed by him on what was then the BBC Home service. He was charming, friendly and witty as he guided me through the live interview. I didn't meet Alex again until Brian Mawson asked me to record Northern Drift at the Edinburgh festival. By this time, I'd moved from amateur recordist to professional recording engineer. This meant that I'd learnt the valuable skill of being able to charge for my work. Alex was still charming, friendly and witty, as was his co-star, Henry Livings. Later, I saw another facet of Alex's character when someone made a racist remark. Alex switched to full-on battle mode and verbally destroyed the bigot. We recorded four shows in two days and later edited the material down to fit on a vinyl LP.
The year 2011 is marked by three notable anniversaries: 10 years since Alex Glasgow died, 170 years since the birth of the Tyneside Bard Joe Wilson, and 40 years since the staging of Joe Lives! – the one man show that Alex wrote for actor John Woodvine. As if you needed reasons to pair up the recordings of Northern Drift and Joe Lives! on this double CD.
Film-maker and producer John Mapplebeck has this to say about Northern Drift: Alex and Henry belonged to an age of political certainties. An age when for the first time since Cable street, the barricades were back. Mick Jagger's street fighting Man had plenty of opportunities to exercise his talents, whether it was in front of the American Embassy in Grosvenor square, across trafalgar square in the Poll tax riots, or at Orgreave in support of the miners.
01 Festival time Alex Glasgow 02 I Wrote A sonnet Once Jack Marriott 03 Budding Gardener No 1 Jim Andrew 04 Nigel Alex Glasgow 05 Sammy Bell Alex Glasgow 06 The Butcher Leonard Barras 07 Keep Yer Hand On Yer Halfpenny Alex Glasgow 08 Aesop Leonard Barras 09 The freezer song Alex Glasgow 10 Budding Gardener No 2 Jim Andrew 11 A Dark shirt Alex Glasgow 12 R.I.P. Alan Garner 13 Maggie Gee Alex Glasgow 14 Our Harold Brian Thompson 15 As soon As this Pub Closes