1985-87

The Morrigan finally got its name at a band meeting held at  the Swan Inn in Sherborne St John early in 1985. Colin suggested that as the last band he had been in had been named after an Alan Garner novel (Elidor), then perhaps the tradition could be continued. The Morrigan was the rather scary villainess in Garner's first two books, as well as being the most singular of Celtic deities (The goddess of death, destruction, war, pestilence, who manifests herself as the Maiden, the Woman, and the Hag!). It seemed to be a fitting evocation of the band's rather unusual attitude towards folk music.

Recording of what was to become the first album, Spirit of the Soup, began in the Spring of 1985.  The band had discovered the amazing new 4 track portastudio.  Recording on a shoe string!  A machine was begged, stolen or borrowed from a friend (nobody can remember which) and the whole album was recorded in a fortnight in Cathy's living room at Old Basing.  The album was "released" as a cassette to be sold at gigs and copies were recorded piecemeal on whoever's cassette machine happened to be handy!  Understandably, a distinct sound of frying eggs could be heard, and they did not sell in large numbers!

By now, the band was starting to gig regularly, mostly in pubs and folk clubs, but the aim was already to try and get into some bona fide folk festivals, (actually, any festival would do!)  Demo tapes were sent out right left and centre, a publicity leaflet was cut and pasted (by hand), and moreover it was decided that it would raise the band's profile if a video was produced.     Of course, the problem was that nobody had any money.  The solution.......let's make a video out of slides!   Luckily help was to hand with this project in the form of Gram Martin, a friend of Cliff's from Basingstoke who had already won an award for his audio visual work.   One of Cathy's songs from Spirit of the Soup, Silent Seasons, was chosen as the most adaptable to this kind of treatment, a story board was designed, and a cast of twenty or so hapless friends were persuaded that it would be loads of fun to walk fully clothed into the Solent on a chilly October morning.  Work proceeded and a home video of the whole day was shot by a friend who used his brand new Sony broadcast quality video camera for the purpose!  (This   might sound a little arse about face, but actually there wasn't any way of synching the pre-recorded sound to the moving video).
A combination of altered personal cicumstances found Colin Cathy and Cliff moving from Basingstoke to the Salisbury area late in 1985, and though the line-up has changed a few times in the intervening years, the band has been based there ever since. 

The Morrigan played its first folk festival (Sidmouth) in August 1986.  Aspirations of stardom were somewhat punctured by being asked to provide PA for the whole evening (the house PA had packed up) then assigned the "tombstone slot" at past midnight, when any self respecting punter had either drunk themselves into floor-hugging oblivion or gone to bed.  This, all for the princely sum of twenty five pounds.  Ah, those were the days....  Other festival bookings followed, including headlining at the new Stanford in the Vale event later the same year. 

The Morrigan began to get a reputation for having a very unusual mix of folk and rock which didn't quite fit into any of the existing pigeon holes.  The playing was tight, and Cliff was gaining a real reputation as a theatrical front man, often reciting poetry as part of the set.  The dilemma was that the band was considered too rocky for the average folk club and too folky for the average "let's get 'em up and dancing" rock venue.  It was time to face the awful truth ......drummer needed.
 
 

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