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SAS: We were called in and sat down in the head honcho of Polygram’s office – Roger something – He showed us a copy of our contact and lit our cigarettes with a lighter made from a revolver. He introduced us to another guy and we were told he was the boss of our new label – Island records (U2 I thought, not Bob Marley). It was made clear that we were owned, that we were part of the music industry.

Then, that moment, was the first crack in the dream, though we didn’t give it so much importance at the time – We needed to get our album released – but somehow our world was not as coherent as it was a couple of months before. Music and ideas were now our job, a product to be sold and not an escape – It would take us years to reconcile this.
But here we are in our new beautiful suits with a new album full of great songs and concerts with our orchestra around the corner. So many beautiful and powerful moments. Our world was holding together.

Claire Denis walked into our dressing room at the Bataclan in Paris, we agreed to score her latest film ‘Nenette et Boni’.
Touring, writing, living in each others pockets was taking its toll. It was time to move out of our beloved house and go our separate ways. It was sad for me to leave that studio space. It was the end of an era, the start of new one: One of realism and self awareness and one that would very nearly turn into cynicism.
At the end of the year we sat in the office of the head of London Records in New york – our new US label. He was an old school, cigar and braces type. He said –
‘Are you hungry boys, are you hungry?’
‘Peckish’ Neil spoke for us all.

DB: Travelling had become such a big part of our lives. Coming form Nottingham, where a day trip to Skegness was an event. Seeing all these new places was gigantic.

It also becomes so unreal, especially the tour bus – Waking up in a different city every day with no physical or mental effort. Walking into a dressing room full of alcohol and food. We’d scramble out to a bar. Gulping down a drink, moments before the show. Just to break it up. Days off were different. Me and Mark would wander the streets. Collecting trinkets for the mantlepiece back home. Always ending in a bar. Always one more for the road.

There was never a moment to stop – Why would there be? We’d just released our highly anticipated second album. By the summer, we were in South Wales. Recording demos for the next album. We were also packing and moving from the house we shared.

I have very fond memories of the house we shared. It encapsulates that whole five year period from leaving Nottingham to me. From following a dream to realising it. It’s also a comfort zone. The last moment before things started to get tricky.

tindersticks (second)

Released 3rd April 1995

Recorded by Ian Caple at Conny’s studio May 9 – 16, 1994, Abbey Road 2 (strings) July 4, Orinoco, London July 5 -10

Mixed by SAS and Ian Caple in our living room studio July 11 – 17 and Townhouse 3, July 20 – 24

‘Sleepy song’ was recorded live on a Soundfield microphone, direct to 1/2 inch tape in Abbey road 1 on the evening of June 30, 1994.

Recorded entirely on 3M 996 tape at 15 i.p.s.

Mastered by Tim Young at Metropolis


David Boulter – Piano, Hammond organ, vibrophone, Fender rhodes piano, glockenspiel, percussion, voice
Mark Colwill – Burns Bison bass guitar
Neil Fraser – Nylon string acoustic guitar, Fender telecaster

Dickon Hinchliffe – Electric violin, string arrangements, voice Al Macaulay – Drums
Stuart A. Staples – Voice, Guild Starfire 2 electric guitar, piano, dulcimer

Terry Edwards – trumpet and Saxaphone Carla Torgerson – Duet on Travelling light Mike Kearsey – Trombone on My sister Ben Chappell – Cello on My sister

Isobel Monteiro – ‘Whisper’ on My sister
Biff Harrisson – Musical saw on My sister and Vertrauen 3

Violins – Heather Broadbent, Vic Evans, Zillah Hawley, Suzanna Horne, Tanja Housten, Benji Leech, Caroline Luckhurst, Kate Makenzie, Suzannah Marsden,
Jeff Moore, Julie Nicholas, Louise Walkers, Amanda Westgrath and Lucy Wilkins.

Violas – Hannah Biss, Maritza Bullcock, Anne Louise Child, Kate Fraser, Sarnie Pullman

Cellos – Clare Parkholm, Annabele Simmons, Andrew Skrimshire, and Sarah Willson

Sleeve notes:

SAS: Phil’s photos from the suit fitting at Tim’s were very special. It was impossible to resist them as the album cover – Album covers actually – There were 3 limited edition versions – the 6 images rotating positions. Suzanne made the ‘tindersticks’ graphic that we still use today and hand traced every letter of type across the covers.

Track listing:

1. El diablo en el ojo, A night in, My sister

2. Tiny tears, Snowy in F# minor, Seaweed, Vertrauen 2

3. Talk to me, No more affairs, Singing, Travelling light

4. Cherry blossoms, She’s gone, Mistakes, Vertrauen 3, Sleepy song

Released on as a standard double album – 526 303-1
CD – 526 303-2 and Cassette – 526 303-**

There were 3 limited edition versions of the LP – 526 303-1x, y, & z

There was also a European CD version with ‘The Bloomsbury theatre’ included – 525 831-2

Recording notes:

SAS: We had learned so much from making our debut album, but there was an overriding sense that we had made the album exactly how we wanted it, so why not do that again? We had no concept of the outside world of an audience, record companies, etc.

There was a rush of song writing for me and lots of travelling time that allowed it to flow:

Mistakes, A night in, Talk to me, Travelling light, it seemed there was a song a day for a while. The new studio in our new house, there was always something cooking. David left a piece of writing lying around after a trip to the launderette. I read it and said to him – You should do something with this – It was My sister and a little while later he had sketched out this musical setting for it. The last song I wrote before leaving for Conny’s was She’s gone.

I remember playing it to Neil and asking – Can you play this on acoustic guitar , but double speed? – This moment was to haunt him for the next 25 years. The song became a live favourite and to play that song gently at that speed night after night is tough, he has suffered! I wrote and recorded the piano for Cherry Blossoms in that house, my first fumbling attempt, I have only revisited the piano to write a few times since and I still own that old piano.

We went to Conny’s with what felt like a bunch of ideas to demo / explore, we came back with what felt like a bag full of diamonds, just a week later. Now we needed the strings (a dream), the brass, voices, all the other colours. I had spent so much time listening to Morricone’s ‘ Once upon a time in the West’ one of the first thing on my mind was to find the sound of the Dulcimer on Vertrauen 2, everything was cranked to the hilt, feeding back, the living room windows shaking.

My love of Tim Hardin shines through on this album and not just in the song writing (No more affairs, She’s gone..). The extreme panning of the mixing is also testament to Tim Hardin 1 and 2. In fact the live recorded Tim Hardin 3 still provides a template for us as a live band to this day.

Also a great influence at this time was The Cowboy Junkies’ ‘Whites off earth now’ – I was a little obsessed by these 1 microphone band recordings. We made a plan to record ‘Sleepy song’ in this way but it needed a big space. We had a memorable night in Abbey Road 1 making this recording – Playing the song, into the control room to listen , moving people, amplifiers around, trying again. Gradually we reached take 22 and we had it, beautiful and finished completely in a moment. The organ is so special in this recording. With incremental moves it ended up some 25 metres away from the band at full volume.

The first album was written over many years and those 21 songs only left 1 song – A country ballad, Tiny tears, that was written years before. I didn’t like it or think much about it. David always had a feeling for it and one day said – We should try it again, but slower in 6/8 – I wasn’t so excited and I never loved the version on this album. But the rerecorded version we made for the Nenette et Boni film score a year later was something special.

The Bloomsbury Theatre 12.3.95

Released 23rd October 1995

Recorded by the Manor mobile

Mixed by SAS and Ian Caple at the Greenhouse, London on 15th and 16th March 1995

Sleeve notes:

Illustrations and hand drawn type by Suzanne Osborne
Layout by SAS and Ian Youngs.

Mastered by Tim Young at Metropolis, London.

Track listing:

1. El diablo en el ojo, A night in, Talk to me, She’s gone

2. My sister, No more affairs, City sickness, Vertrauen 2

3. Sleepy song, Jism, Drunk tank, Mistakes

4. Tiny tears, Raindrops, For those…

Released on This Way Up as a 10″ double LP – 528 597-1
and CD – 528 597-2

My Sister is exclusive to the 10″ double LP


Performed by tindersticks with –

Terry Edwards – Trumpet and baritone saxophone
Mike Kearsey – Trombone, trumpet and french horn
Tris Williams – Percussion

Violins – Lucy Wilkins, Calina de la mare, Charles Nancarrow, Simon Bags,
Craig Stratton, Natalia Bonner, Caroline Luckhurst, Christina Taylor,
Susannah Marsden, Nia Bevan, Vic Evans, Dimitri van Zwanenberg, Beccy Doe and Sian McInally

Violas – Ann Child, Tim Siddal, Fiona Griffiths, Emily Frith, Rob Spriggs
and Mike Briggs

Cellos – Sarah Willson, Helen Thomas, Will Burrows and Ben Chappell

Conducted by Rosie Lindsell

Bloomsbury cat prints by Suzanne Osborne

No more affairs

Released 13 March 1995

Track listing:

A. No more affairs
B. No more affairs (instrumental) Guest trumpet – Terry Edwards
C. Fruitless (CD only)

Released by This Way Up on  7” single (WAY 3811) and CD single (WAY 3833)

No More Affairs by Phil Nicholls

Rivoli Ballroom, London by Steve Gullick

Travelling light

Released 7 August 1995

Track listing:

A. Travelling light
B1. Waiting ‘round you
B2. I’ve been loving you too long

Released by This Way Up on 7” single (WAY 4511) & CD single (WAY 4533)

Travelling light by Martin Wallace

SAS: After making the film with Jarvis and Martin for City Sickness it was natural continuation of the conversation to work again with Martin, we had had such a good time and now Jarvis was obviously pretty busy.
Matt worked with us on the road and Ilona was a friend and regular at the Rough Trade Shop where I worked. I thought they would make a great version of the couple in the song, both so striking and strangely believable. Maybe after so many years in my youth of being chased and beaten up by skinheads in Nottingham there was something exciting about the skinhead culture that Matt was a part of in the 1990’s – progressive, multiracial – It was real fun playing with that, especially the club scene:
Big Ray with his dreads playing the records, the band put together – Terry, my oldest friend Wolfgang Buttress on the drums, Dickon’s brother Adam on bass – dressing everyone up.
Martin did such a great job running with this idea and creating this film with his Super 8 camera. So much fun. We even made a VHS single of it, we were so delighted.

Matt & Ilona by Phil Nicholls

The smooth sounds of Tindersticks

Released 7 August 1995

Track listing:

A. Here
B. Harry’s dilemma

Released by Sub Pop on 7” single (SP297)

Phil Nicholls studio

Live concerts and sessions

Nancy Spains
Cork, Ireland

Music Centre
Dublin, Ireland

BBC Studios
London, United Kingdom
Radio 1 Evening Session

Russel Club
London, United Kingdom
2nd Mark & Lard (Mark Radcliffe) Session. Performed with a full orchestra

BBC Studios
Manchester, United Kingdom
Radio 1 session with Mark Radcliffe (with orchestra)

Old Athenaeum
Glasgow, United Kingdom
With orchestra

Bloomsbury Theatre
London, United Kingdom
Show recorded and released as the ‘Bloomsbury Theatre 12.3.95’ album. Played with a full orchestra

London, United Kingdom
Xfm Session

Studio 105
Paris, France
2nd Black session

The Leadmill
Sheffield, United Kingdom

The Garage
Glasow, United Kingdom

Newcastle, United Kingdom

Irish Centre
Leeds, United Kingdom

Irish Centre
Birmingham, United Kingdom

Manchester University
Manchester, United Kingdom

Bristol University
Bristol, United Kingdom

Pavilion Theatre
Brighton, United Kingdom

The Forum
London, United Kingdom
BBC In Concert

BBC TV Studios
London, United Kingdom
Later with Jools Holland. Performed with an orchestra (Aired 20/05/1995)

Dijon, France

Salle Victoire
Montpellier, France

Fribourg, Switzerland

KRO Studio 4
Hilversum, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gent, Belgium

FNAC Auditorium
Paris, France

Le Bataclan
Paris, France

Le Satori
Rennes, France

Salle F. Pellicer
Orleans, France

Alter Wartesaal
Köln, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

Berlin, Germany

Ballroom, Praha Castle
Prague, Czechia

Frankfurt, Germany

Munich, Germany

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Segnali di Fumo
Milan, Italy
Italian TV show

Rainbow Club
Milan, Italy

Les Sequentielles Studios
Lyon, France
French TV show (date not 100% certain)

Le Bataclan
Paris, France
Les InRocks party – invite only show with orchestra

City Varieties
Leeds, United Kingdom

Her Majesty’s Theatre
London, UK
Orchestra show

City Philharmonic Hall
Prague, Czechia

Hamburg, Germany
Orchestra show

Sint-Marteens Kathedral
Ieper, Belgium
Orchestra show

Casino de Paris
Paris, France
Orchestra show

La Plaza del Rei
Barcelona, Spain

Sala Revolver
Madrid, Spain
Performed in a small club – 100 capacity

Universidade de Lisboa
Lisbon, Portugal
Aula Magna

Dublin, Ireland

Galway, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

BBC Studios
Manchester, UK
3rd Mark & Lard Session

9:30 Club
Washington DC, USA

New York, NY, USA

Lee’s Palace
Toronto, Canada

Double Door
Chicago, IL, USA

San Francisco, CA, USA

Los Angeles, CA, USA

KCRW Studios
Santa Monica, CA, USA
KCRW session

Thessaloniki, Greece

Seattle, WA, USA

Athens, Greece