A talented, versatile and prolific musician, Alan Hull rose to prominence with Tyneside folk rockers Lindisfarne, and in 1973 released a Top 30 solo album, Pipedream. Released two years later, the follow-up Squire was written as the soundtrack to the TV play by Tyneside playwright Tom Pickard, broadcast in 1974 with Hull playing the lead role on screen. His character, Alfy, is an unemployed Newcastle boy who has Walter Mitty-like fantasies about being wealthy (and how wonderful is the cover portraying that?).
There are clips of the play on YouTube, and you can see how Hull was inspired to come up with this extraordinary set of songs.
Produced by Hull at Morgan Studios, the album still sounds exquisite and crystal clear. Shades of The Kinks, solo Lennon and early ELO imbue the mid-tempo title track, rock’n’roller Nuthin’ Shakin’ and heartbreaking One More Bottle Of Wine.
While it’s not a prog album per se, the Mellotron on instrumental I’m Sorry Squire pins it to its mid 70s period and, themed around Pickard’s play, it might even qualify as a concept album of sorts. Regardless, Hull (who died 20 years later, aged just 50) was firing on all cylinders here.