Gateway To The South

"I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture!" [Otter rallies the troops in Animal House]

A lot of us have hobbies. This is true. However, very few stamp collectors set up on a stage somewhere and hobby away in the hope that punters will turn up and cheer them on. It is with that thought lodged uneasily at the back off my mind that I welcome you to the new Big Ray album. It took a long time to put together, but due to the enthusiasm, talent and generosity of the current incarnation of the Big Ray Collective it would appear that we have finally stumbled across the finish line.

These songs were recorded in various houses, recording studios and rehearsal rooms in London, Brooklyn, the Isle of Wight, Canterbury, Cleveland, Sutton Coldfield, Nottingham & Stockland Green then sent to London to be mixed. Personally, I’d love to have brought everyone together in a room for 2 weeks with a load of vintage mics, outboard gear, the desk used to record {insert title of a classic 70’s rock album here} and an endless supply of 2” tape, but geography and a lack of time and money ruled that out.

There is no way this would have come together without Rich Matthews who landed the unenviable task of bringing order and a sense of uniformity to the songs. I think he's done a pretty amazing job. He took the raw material that had been recorded in different ways by different people in different locations (sometimes in different keys and tempos!) and fashioned it into a remarkably graceful Frankenstein’s monster of an album. Without Rich being so incredibly generous with his time and his facilities we would never have left the starting blocks. Look him up at

A million thanks to everyone who played on the songs; some of them had to buy new kit and become their own recording engineers, some of them had to dust off long-forgotten instruments and remember how to play them, but they all made an inspiring and humbling racket once they got down to it. Special thanks to Marc Maitland for filling the huge, drummer-shaped hole that we found ourselves with and for being so enthusiastic and amazing to work with; to Michael Hampton for grabbing several of the songs by the scruff of the neck and stamping his talent all over them and to our old producer, Rupert Coulson, for jumping on-board near the end with a couple of amazing mixes and some song-saving overdubs. Aston Stephens, from the UKHC institution that is, was a lifesaver in sorting out the digital distribution of the album to all points of the compass and James Muchmore at went above and beyond in the creation of this gorgeous Web site. The album cover photo was taken by Damion Rice. Mastering by Phil Kerby at Production People.

Ed Wenn
London, February 2014


Naked (1991) CD & LP released on City Slang

Free-Range Flesh (1991) 7" singles released on Dirter Promotions

You Get What You Deserve (1994) CD released on Recovery Records

Business Class (1999) CD released on Boss Tuneage