The Record



Cruel River

Steve Knightley

Hands On Music HMCD26 2007

Recorded by Mark Tucker at the Green Room, Devonshire
February 2007
Mastered by Matthew Denny at Masterblaster
Steve plays instruments by David Oddy
Mark would like to thank TL Audio, Malcolm Toft and Studio Projects
Produced by Steve Knightley and Mark Tucker
all songs written by Steve Knightley except where noted
Photography by Alistair Bruce
Design and additional photography by Brad Waters

Cruel River, price £13, is currently available at gigs and mail order via and will be officially launched in July with distribution by Proper

liner notes

I moved to deepest Dorset in 1986 and the full implications of living eight hundred feet up the side of a north facing hill, soon became apparent!  I also never encountered a 'them and us' attitude amongst the locals - there were just those who connected and got involved and those who didn't.
Such a bitter irony that the flower that brings such comfort and relief is also the source of so much misery
Still attempting (without success) to play a bit like Nic Jones, I came up with this little guitar passage on my newly (David Oddy) restored, vintage Harmony Sovereign. The lyrics have travelled through a dozen other chord sequences before finding a home here - no doubt the road will change it all around again.
A maritime version of an urban myth, that a bitter old man determines to make true for at least one young sailor.  I've yet to remember the title of the film that sparked this idea, or its outcome - anyone help?
Matt Clifford seems to have an endless supply of these lyrical piano pieces.  They always come structured
as complete songs and all I have to do is lock a melody and suitable lyrics onto them.  The piano seems to bring out the romantic in me and I'm pleased to be able to add this to our joint collection.  Thanks to Dave Wood for adding his unique touch on slide guitar.
When I was a boy living in the middle of Exeter, our local bobby, Geoff Barnsey, became a close friend of the family.  His mother ran the village Post Office in Poundsgate, on Dartmoor and we spent many a hot summer's afternoon swimming in the icy waters of the Dart.  Geoff's mum was the first to tell me of the local saying "River Dart, river of Dart, every year you claim a heart" - a saying that even today still contains a tragic grain of truth.
I had to check with my learned pal, Simon Emmerson, whether this actually constituted an 'existential' love song or not. It would seem that the moment life-changing advice is offered to another person, it isn't.  David, a long time SOH supporter, confirmed this fact after a show up north. History I can do, philosophy I struggle with.
Look, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Take a SOH standard, record it in waltz time and sing it in French!  If this turns out to be the song that buys the yacht, then the ironies of the music business will finally defeat me. Thanks to Mr. Clifford for the translation and vocal coaching and apologies to any French listeners for the inevitable errors.
Another tale of West Country rural villainy. I'm indebted to the late Father William Coe for providing me with the factual background for this sheep rustling song and to his wife Sheila for her continuing support for all my musical adventures.
Gary Fjellgaard, the writer of this song, is an esteemed veteran of the Canadian Folk and Country scene. We met during a workshop at the Canmore Festival in the shadow of The Rockies in the summer of 2006.  Gary played this song and I was immediately taken by its parallels to 'Country Life' - a touch more nostalgic perhaps,  but like the man himself, it has a big, true heart.
Originally written in 2004, I felt that my original version lacked focus and didn't really express my rage at the deceit that led us into the tragedy of this seemingly never-ending foreign campaign.
Steve Knightley 2007

Cruel River

The Estuary

The Tour

The Record


1. Raining Again

2. Poppy Day

3. All Quiet On The Western Front

4. Tall Ship Story

5. Shes Gone

6. Cruel River

7. The Rocks

8. Tout Va Bien

9. Transported

10. Caragana Wind

11. Crooked Man 07

bonus track.

Romeo and Juliet (live)


related internet links

Steve Knightley At Myspace