‘Rusty River’ is not just a new collection of songs in the conventional sense, as much as a by-product of an earlier grander scheme.

In the same way that Neil Young’s ‘After The Gold Rush’ (the soundtrack to a film that was never made) and The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’ (the soundtrack to a mixed media extravaganza that floundered), the material contained in ‘Rusty River’ was composed for a musical play based on the life and music of Lindisfarne’s enfant-terriblĂ©, the late great Alan Hull, that was to be entitled ‘Away With The Fairies’.

It focused particularly on his time spent as a psychiatric nurse prior to the band’s formation. But whilst the finishing touches to the play’s script were in progress, Lindisfarne themselves announced the launch of their own stage production also based on Hull’s ‘moonlighting’ years at the St Nicholas mental home in Newcastle.

Even though ‘Fairies’ could have legitimately come to fruition and reached the stage (Alan Hull is overdue a revival, and how many plays exist based on John Lennon?), the production has been shelved, and for the moment the songs intended for it must tell their side of the story.

The original thread of the storyline can still be traced through the songs, and perhaps they are better served by our own imagination than real live actors and props.

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