Mile After Mile
'Mile After Mile' is a 16-track acoustic solo album of English road songs by Martin Craig, whose 1973 single 'Rockin' at the Ace Café' helped to spark interest in the re-opening of the legendary 50s and 60s British biker haunt in North London. The songs are drawn from his life in Britain; born in Yorkshire and growing up mainly on Tyneside in the North East of England during the post - WWII era. In his early teens he latched onto the Rocker culture of the late fifties/ early sixties, visited the Ace Cafe in 1961 as an awestruck 15 year old and went on to found, record and gig with bands such as the Hot Rod Gang, the Sabre Jets, Diesel & the Firebirds and the Kindness of Strangers, as well as performing solo and in two duos (including MG & Lynnette) live, on CD and on radio. Martin's experiences range from running a 13 year music and songwriting project in a high security prison to leading community development programmes in one of Britain's most troubled areas, working for many years with local people to help their neighbourhood move away from poverty, bad health and high crime. Songs on 'Mile After Mile' that draw on these experiences include 'Contract Killer', where Martin says that '...every verse is an incident seen, a boast overheard or a threat received.' An acoustic version of 'Rockin' at the Ace Café' presents a stripped-down version of his story of two rockers' fight over a teenage runaway that has become the Ace's anthem. Martin describes 'Old V-Twin' as, '...a chase-to-the-Ace story with a catch ending', and 'Grease on my Pillow' as a '...cheated rocker's lament.' British roads themselves feature in 'M62' and 'Living on the A19'... 'Living on the A19', says Martin, 'is for every band who slung their gear in a van six nights a week, drove to another town, dragged their amps up a rusty fire escape in the rain and played rock'n'roll through a smoke haze to a roomful of card playing drunks'. 'Love at the Downbeat' takes listeners on a tour of clubland in pre-Beatles Newcastle, while 'Smokescreens' is about Lindolph de Oliveira, former saxman with the East Side Torpedoes, who died in 1990. Only one song on 'Mile After Mile' is set in the USA. 'Gear Jammin' Boots & a Three Speed Hat' was originally written for Elvis Presley! Martin takes up the story.... 'The tracks on 'Mile After Mile' were written as English road stories, with the exception of 'Gear Jammin' Boots & A Three Speed Hat' which I originally wrote with the plan of sending it to RCA as a demo for Elvis! Trouble was, the demo was recorded in early August 1977....' 'I've read that Bob Dylan was strongly affected by Elvis' death. Me too. The Sabrejets were gigging in Durham the night he died (before news had reached the UK) and I remember swapping in 'Hound Dog' to replace one of my own songs on the set list, for no special reason except that I felt like singing it. The song follows the crew of an 18-wheeler from Watsonville, California through 3,000 miles and 14 states to a loading dock in New York. Apart from time spent on music, family and their four dogs, Lynnette & Martin love to get out and ride the Border country roads of Northumberland.