1992-1994

By 1992, The Morrigan had become a highly accomplished outfit with a solid following, built up from hundreds of gigs, throughout the south of England. Although largely ignored by the fashionable music press, ( this was after all just after the end of the eighties), they could nevertheless fill many a local venue almost by word of mouth. One  landlord was heard to exclaim that on the night they played, he had broken all records on his bar takings. The strain however was beginning to take its toll, three of the band had day jobs, and tensions were rising over the risks of going full time in what was ( and has remained) a very unfavourable climate for good live music. Something had to happen soon, thankfully it did! 
The Morrigan were booked to play on the Avalon field at the Glastonbury festival. This was heaven! Glastonbury had by that time become the premiere music festival in the country, if not the world. Going to Glastonbury was like going on a really outrageous holiday, playing your favourite music to a huge crowd and then being paid for the privilege. This was 1992, the weather was glorious, and though the Avalon stage was smaller than the Pyramid, or the NME stages, it was still larger than anything the band had ever played before, and what a  sea of faces! It could have been a terrifying experience, but no, the band rose to the occasion, and played as if they were on fire, the crowd went wild. It was a once in a lifetime experience on a day when nothing could go wrong. As a final finishing touch, next morning whilst drinking their coffee and cream outside the Wise Crone cafe, the band heard the festival radio play "Fingal's Cave," which had been recorded from the desk at the gig the evening before. By the time the bags were packed, they already knew that they had been booked for the following year. 
As is often the case, Glastonbury led to a number of other things, several  festivals, notably in Midsomer Norton, and also at Bower Ashton, as well as the usual run of what was now mostly pubs rather than folk clubs (the band had become somewhat too raucous for a large element of the Arran jumper brigade).
On the home front, things became rather chaotic, Jon Hayward needed somewhere to live (his parents were going through a messy divorce at the time), and he asked if he could lodge at Greenacres Farm where Colin and Cathy lived. They were a little bit concerned because the house was small, and they were unsure how their new landlady Elaine Hardy would react. In the event they need not have worried (much!) when Jon moved in, so did the 2" tape machine, and a half a ton of seventies vintage 30 channel Amek mixing desk. The only way to get it into a very small bedroom was in pieces, but even then the chassis was so big that the entire window, frame and all, had to be removed. In the event Elaine proved extraordinarily accommodating, she sent her 14 year old son Luke around to help, and to make sure that the frame went back properly (which it did). The end result was a bedroom so full of studio that Jon had to sleep in a corner in a sleeping bag, as there was no room left for a bed. This he proceeded to do for about a year.

War in Paradise
What happens if you leave a studio in a house full of musicians? You can guess the answer. Plans were soon underway for the next recording project, problems however ensued from the outset. The tensions apparent before the festival began to resurface. Could the band go full time? If so should it be more modern in an attempt to actually generate some income? would going down the road of becoming an indie\roots\dance band actually end up throwing the baby out with the bath water? These were serious questions and tempers often became frayed. In additiondespite heroic efforts to keep it going on no budget at all, Jon's gear was packing up all the time. It seemed impossible to finish anything. There was a project to record a live album in Elaine's barn to an audience of neighbours and friends, the multicore was passed through the building next door, arrangements were made, and a wonderful party was had by all. Next day on listening to the playback, it became apparent that after the first track, something had packed up, and most of the drums had not been recorded for the rest of the session. eventually, this 1 number (Fingal's Cave\Spirit of the Soup) and three studio tracks made it on to a CD EP, the aptly named War in Paradise, (not for sale at this time, although if enough people showed an interest, it might well be resurrected.)  The contrary forces pulling at band members can clearly be heard. In the end it got too much for Jon, who left  at about this time, though he continued to live at Greenacres for a while longer and contributed to some further recordings. 
So the time had come round for Glastonbury again, kit was stowed in the Sherpa, holiday arrangements made, and off they duly went.
This time the stage was slightly bigger than the year before, and so was the crowd. The band played another storming set and life was wonderful once more. After that there was one more recording session, ( At which was recorded the sublime "Well Below the Valley," which appears on the CD version of The Morrigan rides Out), And then Cliff announced that he had accepted an offer to join PressGang who urgently needed a bass player for their forthcoming European tour. His decision was understandable, more than anything he wanted to be a gigging musician and it was very apparent that the Morrigan was never going to afford to mount something so extravagant as a european tour. Nevertheless after almost ten years, it was definitely the end of an era.
 

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