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Thank you

…for visiting my Friends & Family Vol. 2 page! Here we are again, 12 months after the release of Friends & Family “volume 1”, with more songs written and dedicated to more friends and family. Not appearing on the first of these two albums does not imply any favourites or priority. I could have released a double album, but did not want to rush at the cost of quality. I was really proud of the last album and it had plays across the world on various radio stations, as well as airing on BBC radio CWR & WM. This, my third album, includes a variety of electric and acoustic guitar self-penned instrumentals, plus one song (fear not, I am not singing!). Skidderslectric was entirely electric guitar and Friends & Family acoustic only. So this is my first album featuring both. This has freed me up considerably and removed any limitations I previously imposed on myself.

Poster
  • 1. Aunty Bulgaria
  • 2. Holly Belle
  • 3. I Wonder (feat. Andrew James)
  • 4. Monday Is Calling
  • 5. Achill Island
  • 6. Bobby Dazzler
  • 7. Masala Magic
  • 8. Forever Friends
  • 9. Evenin' All
  • 10. Tom's Bossa
  • 11. The Likely Lads
  • 12. O'Larso (remastered)
  • 13. Ronnie Two Sheds
  • 14. I Wonder - Instrumental (for sync)


The Songs

Track 1- Aunty Bulgaria

Aneta is our lovely friend and 'Fun' is her middle name. As you might guess, she is Bulgarian and works for the NHS as a Paediatric Nurse Consultant. She also has her own practise helping infants with allergies.

Aneta loves the finer things in life - champagne, oysters and the like. We love meeting up with her, as we know we're always going to have a crazy good time. So there's no way I was not going to dedicate a song for her. And knowing she's a bit of a rocker, I thought this song would fit the bill. Like the rest of the NHS, she has our utmost respect and gratitude for the hard work carried out for society.

We were in Cannes, eating oysters when these dancers came along the street and you can see how quickly Aneta got up to join in with them!
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Aneta amongst Cannes dancers






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Holly Belle

Track 2 - Holly Belle

What can I say about our younger daughter Holly. She is absolutely delightful in every way! A Primary School Teacher - I know those school children are very lucky to be in her classes. When young, she used to be very shy and quiet. Somewhere along they way, she took a 180° swing, as she is so much fun to be with.

For some reason my wife calls her Holly Beau but I had to remind her that beau is for men and belle for woman. So I have put the record straight with this song title. Also to match her fun loving outlook on life, I've tried to match her song with a fun loving reggae tune, that I hope both Holly and you will enjoy.





Track 3 - I Wonder

I wrote this song for my wife and it has a definite Country vibe. It is a love song and although I do venture to sing the odd ditty now and then, I never take myself seriously and save my own voice for more frivolous songs.

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With my beautiful Bride, Terryann


I had been collaborating with Andrew James on a few things and asked if he'd mind singing on this track. I was delighted when he said yes and I am sure you will agree he sounds terrific (and I am sure you will agree it was better him singing than me!).

You might be able to tell from the lyrics, the song was written during the COVID lockdown but tells of getting though it and still going strong after more than 40 years of marriage!

You can read more about the song I Wonder here…

Lyrics


Times like these ain’t easy
To be writing love songs
But the truth is really
We don’t have too long to wonder
Was we right or we wrong
But you make it easy
To write you this song

These words that I bring you
I wish I could sing you
You deserve much better
And I mean it but I wonder
If I got it right
But you make it easy
To sing this song tonight

With these days I feel
We’re not doin’ so well
It seems like forever
Since you cast me your spell
And still you do

You’ve been there with me
We’ve been making love songs
And I know you’ll give me
All that is needed to wonder
If we got it right


In these days, I feel
Now we’re doin’ so well
It seems like yesterday
I first cast my spell
And still I do

I wish I could sing you
All the words I bring you
But can’t do it cause
You deserve much more
And I wonder
If I got it right
But you make it easy
When we turn out the light


I wonder, oh I wonder
If we did right

I start to wonder, mmm
If I got it right

It’s no wonder, no wonder
‘Cause we got it right





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Me, David, Margaret & Siân

Track 4 - Monday is Calling

I met David Bristoll working at an Engineering company in Pershore. I quickly found out we had a very similar sense of humour and enjoyed arranging many practical jokes, that normally ended up going well, but sometimes we rode our luck.

David is amazingly practical and has built beach buggies, clocks, banjos (he doesn't play any instruments, but fancied making one) and his latest project is building bottom up, an old Volkswagen Beetle.

David's wife, Siân and her mother, Margaret, are also terrific friends and terrific fun. We've holidayed together and now David does not work Mondays, we look forward to 'Monday' picnics and pub lunch outings as regularly as we can make.

David often enjoyed forays with my late brother in law, Bob (see Bobby Dazzler), particularly when my home brew was on tap.





Track 5 - Achill Island

Our lovely friends, Mary & Ed Kuczynski, Di & Lloyd Cattell and Paul & Stella Hogg made it incredibly hard for us to sell our house in Leamington Spa. We loved our house, but the very best thing about it were these wonderful neighbours.


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Left to right: Ed, Di, Mary, Terryann, Lloyd, me.

The track is called Achill Island, because Mary came from this beautiful island on the west side of Southern Ireland. We've been on holiday there with these lovely people and Achill Island will always have a special place in our hearts.


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Achill Island's very own Mary née Duane with our Ed.

Of course, ex-neighbour Paul is the main man when it comes to mixing and mastering my music. And you should try and listen to some of his work under his own name or under 'The Ox' where he writes and records chilled electronica music.


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Paul & Stella

Unfortunately, we cannot take them all with us to our new house, but if our new neighbours are half as nice, we will be truly blessed.





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Bob and my sister, Annette

Track 6 - Bobby Dazzler

Robert Babington was my brother in law, but I always thought of him as more like a brother. Although 10 years my senior, we still shared holidays and the odd drinking session together. He loved his cars and drove an MGB when he met my sister. Not too long after they started 'courting', he swapped it for a mini pickup truck. The MGB had done it's job!

We also had a mutual hobby in fishing and spent some pleasant times on the river banks drowning maggots. Poor Bob, I always seemed to beat him though. We used to live near Worcester, which is where my sister lives now. I used to enjoy making home brew beer from basic ingredients. If I say so myself, it used to be rather good. One time, Bob and David (see 'Monday is Calling' above), decided they liked it too and proceeded to polish off the 5 gallon beer-sphere. Needless to say, they were very merry until the next morning.

Losing Bob was very sad and he is still remembered often with great affection.





Track 7 - Masala Magic

Amit and Ketki are a lovely genuine couple from Leicester and Leeds respectively. I met Amit at Jaguar & Land Rover when I was a Project Manager and Amit an up and coming Business Analyst. He was always keen to please and when we went out for a 'departmental curry', I talked him into having a phal (usually the hottest curry 'Indian' restaurants make), telling him that all new starters had to have one. Bravely, he ploughed through his fiery dish full of chillies but the next day at work, was not seen for most of the morning.

Amit moved from JLR but returned some years later, better and brighter than ever! His experience he had gained whilst away at other companies (as a Contractor) had made him a top class Business Analyst.

During my time knowing him, we did discuss his love life on several occasions (myself as coach). So I was very pleased when arranging a meal with him, he asked if he could bring his fiancée along. Needless to say, when I met Ketki, I was extremely happy for them both. They were obviously a perfect match.

My wife and I were honoured to be invited to their wedding which involved several rounds of rituals and celebrations over more than a week. Now they have a beautiful daughter, Khyana and better parents Khyana could not wish for.
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Ketki & Amit






Track 8 - Friends Forever

We met Steve & Anne whilst on holiday in St Lucia in 2000 and we've been friends ever since and always will be. They are devoted Spurs fans and we have enjoyed several games at both the Hawthorns and White Hart Lane (we haven't been to Spurs' new stadium yet).

Steve is a Photographer and Chauffeur and drives some amazing limousines. Anne works for a Solicitors firm and also has her own wedding card business. She has supplied some famous footballers cards for their weddings - very impressive!

When we met in St Lucia, Steve being experienced in water sports, was kind enough to take our girls water jet skiing and also led us scuba diving. Thankfully his experience came forth and guided us away from a dangerous current, leading us to safety!
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Steve, Terryann & Anne






Track 9 - Evenin' All

To cut a long story short, my wife met Louise whilst looking after her son as a Nursery Nurse. We soon became friends with both Louise and her husband Nigel. Their friends, Ian 'Fergie' Ferguson and his wife, Vicky, soon became our friends too.

Louise is a Policewoman, Nigel and Fergie are ex-policemen and Vicky worked as a Civilian for the Police. Are you starting to see where the track's title came from?
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Nigel & Louise

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Vicky & Fergie

They are both lovely couples and we have all invested in Fergie's favourite tipple - whisky. If we don't become rich, we will still definitely be happy from the spoils. Whisky tasting has been a hobby we've practiced and I can say from first hand experience, my liver will not be able to partake in any more of the likes we experienced in Bakewell a few years back. It's a long story, but there were many different whiskies to sample and I certainly had 99 too many.





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Dad, second from left

Track 10 - Tom's Bossa

My dad was in the RAF during WWII. He can be seen here, second from left. I have no idea who the other soldiers are, but it's a great photo.

Thomas Skidmore was born 10th July 1919 in Smethwick, then Staffordshire (now Sandwell, West Midlands) and joined the RAF towards the beginning of the war. He was in transport and went to Burma via India. I'm not sure where he was exactly in Burma, but I know it was no picnic there.

He married Mary Annie Whitehouse (see Mary Annie's Song in the first Friends & Family) and better parents I could not have possibly wished for. I always looked up to my dad and he got absolutely right, the balance between encouragement and letting me do my own thing. I dedicated my BA Degree to him when I completed it, as I was so grateful for his perfect coaching.

Unfortunately, an aneurysm and MRSA took him away from us in 2005.





Track 11 - The Likely Lads

I've cheated a bit here. I was up to 13 tracks and wanted to dedicate songs to all "the lads". However, you have to stop somewhere, so this song The Likely Lads is dedicated to several pairs of very good friends and family members.

First, to Lawrence and Luke who are our daughter's partners. They are more like 'mates' than son-in-laws and we have some great outings to football matches and general shenanigans, together with more 'likely lads' and usually it involves a glass or two of beer. We all support different football teams, but are respectful and sympathetic towards each others success or failure.

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Lawrence & Luke

Lawrence (or 'LozzO') comes from Leamington Spa and supports Coventry City. Luke (LukeO) is from Sunderland and supports the Mackems. Of course, coming from Smethwick, my team is West Bromwich Albion. We have had some nice trips to all three grounds including the odd 'posh' visit with guest footballer speakers and 3-course lunches. But the grass roots terrace is where we like best.



Next, meet nephews James and Edward - my sister's 'likely lads'. They both hold doctorates in their respective scientific fields, and in the photo they're in James' wedding attire when he married in Italy. It was a grand occasion and the wedding breakfast comprised about 15 courses!
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James & Edward

Their grandfather (my father - see "Tom's Bossa") was to them, as he was to myself, a great hero. Their grandad was never too tired to play with them. Such was James' hero worship for my dad, that once when playing cricket, poor Dad received a bowled cricket ball where it hurt most. He swore under his breath and James ran off upset. He couldn't believe his hero had sworn and whilst James had all the sympathy, poor dad was in rather a lot of pain receiving none!



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Martyn & Pete

Finally, I cannot not mention two other great lads - Martyn and Pete. Whereas I've know Martyn more recently from work and as a fellow Baggies supporter, Pete I have know since I started work all those years ago (Pete is also a Baggies supporter). Two great gents that certainly belong on this auspicious list!





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Nik & Sammi

Track 12 - O'Larso (remastered)

Nik is a lovely boy! He is my Bukechi partner's husband and I was honoured to be his joint Best Man (he can't make his mind up easily). If you're not sure what Bukechi is or who my Bukechi partner is, see Sammi's Song from the first Friends & Family album.

Nik is a bit of a comedian and once held a meeting at JLR, where some new starters joined in. They were not sure what to expect when Nik took on the persona of Ricky Gervais' David Brent from The Office. The rest of the participants were in on it and they must have bust a gut to not burst out laughing.

Like LozzO, Nik is a Coventry City supporter, although he supported Liverpool as a lad. He reckons he changed his allegiance when studying for a degree at Coventry University. As I mentioned at the beginning, he can't make his mind up easily, but he's a lovely lad!





Track 13 - Ronnie Two Sheds

I met Ron Ashby when we did an Apprenticeship together at W&T Avery Ltd in Smethwick, town of my birth. Ron is a black belt 2nd dan karate kid, ridiculously brilliant Electrical Engineer and inventor, but more importantly, a ridiculously brilliant friend.
Before COVID struck, we'd often meeting in Brum (Birmingham), getting off our respective trains to hit the town - beer tasting, curry tasting etc. Although COVID put pay to that (temporarily I might add), luckily FaceTime allowed us to raise a glass to each other.

So where did this "2 sheds" come from? Well, as I mentioned, Ron is an brilliant inventor, which of course means experiments are often needed. Whilst making ozone (I haven't a clue why he was making it), his shed blew up. It was not a small explosion either and the mishap made him quite famous in local papers. After having bought another shed, he was quite rightly christened Ronnie Two Sheds.
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Me & Ronnie Two Sheds






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Terryann - 42 years on…

Track 14 - I Wonder (karaoke version)

The final track is a non-vocals version of I Wonder. It can be for karaoke or together with the original track for 'sync' use (film TV tracks etc).





Finally

As per 'volume 1', all songs were written, performed and recorded by Skidders using Apple's Logic Pro. I Wonder, also released as a single on 23rd August 2021, includes the fantastic vocals, keys and drums of Andrew James, with bass guitar perfection by Paul Hogg. Paul also did yet another amazing job of the album’s mixing and mastering. Also, I must give a shout out to that lovely man and amazing drummer, John Chivers for his excellence in English language and correcting my incredibly poor spelling and grammar. I thank Andrew, Paul and John from the bottom of my heart.

I really hope you like Friends & Family Vol. 2. Please let me know what you think on social media or via my website's Contact page. So until next time, take care and be safe!

Skidders aka Steve Skidmore, 4th May 2022

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