1 ) Paul Howard and The Arkansas Cottonpickers, an 8-piece band with Becky Barfield girl singer, was big on the Grand Ole Opry. 2) Paul Howard has been toiling in song for more years than he cares to remember. He started out playing bass and writing songs for Dark Horse and This Happy Breed. When he was 20 he summoned up the courage to start singing. Paul started doing solo gigs as well as playing duo gigs with guitarist Jo Clack, and fronting The Tender Trap.
2) Paul Howard has been toiling in song for more years than he cares to remember.
He started out playing bass and writing songs for Dark Horse and This Happy Breed. When he was 20 he summoned up the courage to start singing.
Paul started doing solo gigs as well as playing duo gigs with guitarist Jo Clack, and fronting The Tender Trap. His first ever recording, "We Will Win", was included on the compilation LP "Not Just Mandela", alongside The Neurotics, Billy Bragg and The Housemartins. This song brought about the downfall of Margaret Thatcher.
He and Jo Clack won ?1,000 in a local talent contest in ?86 and spent the winnings on recording and a new guitar, which Paul plays to this day. Paul and Jo gigged extensively around this time and released "Winter's Here Again" and "The Unification EP" on Davy Lamp Records. The latter received rave reviews and went about ending Apartheid in South Africa.
Around about this time Paul was regularly playing at The Mean Fiddler. One of his support acts, Tanita Tikaram, remembered Paul and invited him to tour England, Scotland and Ireland with her. The NME reviewed one of Paul's gigs at the time and proclaimed; ?... if there is any justice anywhere then Paul Howard will be massive". In a way the reviewer was right...
Paul and his trusty manager Kevin visited Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Dublin, Belfast, Leeds and many more, receiving encores most nights.
Meanwhile, Paul's band the Tender Trap also won ?1,000 in a talent competition. Remembering how sensibly he had spent the last prize money, The Tender Trap spent the lot on flowers and circuses.
Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq was an early champion of the band. Writing in the NME; ?... Paul Howard has a voice that could warm a thermometer at twenty paces". Paul and The Trap are name-checked in Lamacq's biography, Going Deaf For A Living. Other reviews followed in Well Red and The Guardian, bringing the band to the attention of various record labels. Having read all the music biz self help books, The Tender Trap signed with the first label that offered them a deal!
The first single on Musicdisc was "Irish Ivan's Spirit Song". The song was played widely on Radio 1, Capital, XFM and GLR. Paul played and was interviewed on The Chris Evans and The Johnny Walker radio shows. Good reviews followed in NME and Time Out and that year the band were invited to play the Glastonbury festival. Two further singles were released and the band's LP were completed at the legendary Rockfield Studio in Wales. The LP was released abroad but was denied a UK release due to legalities. The band broke up after various tours and "The Patron Saint Of Heartache" LP gathers dust in a West London warehouse. For more information on how Musicdisc operated, read "This is Pop" by Ed Jones and published by Cannongate.
Disillusioned with the music industry Paul jacked it in... for about four weeks! He began playing pubs, clubs and parties with Darktown and The Goodfellas. He released an LP of songs called "Wings" and joined The Liberty Cage with Paul and Swill from The Men They Couldn't Hang. The Liberty Cage released Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" as a single, garnering much air-play, and they toured extensively.
Also at this time Paul and Jo Clack began writing and recording together, again under the name Lee Boo. They produced an album worth of songs that may soon see the light.
In 2000 Paul formed a punk blues band called Gaffer Hexam. They released a CD of two songs that Paul had written with writer, visionary and psycho-geographer Iain Sinclair. It was not unusual to see a Bad Seed or a Libertine at their gigs, which were pretty intense affairs. They had two tracks on the "This Is Punk Rock Blues" compilation, and split up.
Now, bruised and bloody, Paul is back for more, returning to what he does best - writing,playing and singing his own songs. Paul has just released an album's worth of songs produced by William Hayter at R2R Music entitled "In The Shadow of Christchurch", see more below.