Pete Atkin began writing songs with Clive James when they were both part of the Cambridge Footlights in the late 1960s by any standards an exciting time to be involved in music. Clive and Pete found that they shared a love of the energy of contemporary pop and rock and roll combined with a regard for the achievements of the great Tin Pan Alley songwriters Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, et al and they saw no reason why these traditions should not be brought together, no reason why the words shouldn't matter as much as the music, no reason their songs' subject matter should be limited to arms and charms and moon and June.
The result was the beginning of a large catalogue of remarkable songs which found a growing audience through the half dozen albums Pete went on to make in the 1970s, plus many appearances on John Peel's legendary Radio 1 show, and live gigs at universities and folk clubs all over the country.
It turns out that the people who grew to love the songs then didn't forget them, and when in 1997 Steve Birkill tentatively created a website devoted to them, those fans began to find each other and Pete once again, with the result that Pete revived his performing career (which he had never completely abandoned). That in turn led to new songs, to new recordings, and to Clive and Pete touring the UK and Australia with a two-man extravaganza showcasing the songs. Tonight heralds the start of yet another new phase in Pete's musical career. He has been based in Bristol since 1990 but he hasn't performed solo in the city since 1975, so it's all the more fitting that tonight sees the debut of Pete with a band for the first time in all those years. Simon Wallace perhaps best known to St George's audiences for his appearances here with Claire Teal first got to know Pete and Clive's songs as a student in the 1970s, so he was an obvious first choice as musical director.
Even more exciting, in the course of preparing for tonight, things went so well that Pete and Simon, along with Mark and Roy, decided to record what they were doing as they rehearsed. The result will be a brand new CD due for official release in the autumn featuring many of the songs included tonight.