Transport Minister Norman Baker launches Reform Club’s album in Lewes

Norman Baker launches album - The Reform Club
Norman Baker launches album - The Reform Club

Lewes MP Norman Baker is not seeking mega-pop status with the release of his debut album. But he certainly got the star treatment on Monday (April 25).

The media was out in force as Always Tomorrow hit the streets, achieving prime time space on both the BBC and ITV television networks.

Those that gathered for the launch at the Octave music store in Lewes High Street – and some slightly bemused passers-by – were treated to a rendition of the single release from the album, Piccadilly Circus.

And there’s no doubt it’s a serious toe-tapper about the London landmark and the circus of humanity that gathers under the statue of Eros.

Mr Baker, at the age of 55, is the lead singer and principal lyricist with The Reform Club and, for someone who elsewhere this week was described as “looking like a country solicitor”, he certainly plays the part.

A crimson jacket, a black felt hat and a distinctive voice ... Piccadilly Circus was performed with aplomb alongside fellow band members Mike Phipps, Dave Twaits and Chris Dartnell.

The Reform Club don’t take themselves too seriously, describing themselves on their website as “a bunch of gnarly old blokes who, at their age, should probably be tending an allotment or calling the bingo numbers.

“They are, of course, inelegantly wasted, dedicated avoiders of fashion and not one of them could ever dream of being like David Watts.”

The Lib Dem MP revealed that he had thought about recording an album for 30 years but finally got round to it after writing a list of things he wanted to achieve before he dies.

“I’ve done it now because I thought I should get round to it before I’m too clapped out,” he said. “That’ll be about 10 years hence.”

Mr Baker said: “It’s been great fun making the album and being able to work with some great musicians.

“Music is very important to me and a big part of my life when I switch off from the day job. I hope people enjoy what we’ve put together.”

Other guest contributors to Always Tomorrow were Duncan Campbell (guitar), Alice Sleeper-Atkins (violin and vocals), Paul Guiver (mandolin and backing vocals), Peter Curtis (backing vocals), Sue Richardson (jazz trumpet), Neal Richardson (piano), Charlotte Baker (ukulele and vocals) and Nick Awde (mellotron).

The 14-track album was recorded in August last year. It was engineered, mixed and mastered by Simon Scardanelli at Dr Scardo’s in Brighton.

The video featuring Piccadilly Circus can be viewed on YouTube and on Wednesday exceeded 10,000 hits in the space of six days.