Just to let you know, the Balkan Bandits have split up – amicably of course! They weren’t the busiest band on the planet but I very much enjoyed playing with them. For those of you who’ll miss them and those who never saw or heard them, all their recordings (a couple of which I was involved in) are available completely free of charge on Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/thebalkanbandits

Hello! I’ve not been busy of late – just doing the occasional gig with The Balkan Bandits – but wanted to mention some of my favourite gigs of the last few years……………

28/1/17, Mike Compton & Joe Newberry, Heeley Institute, Sheffield
3/9/17, Bill Callahan, End of the Road Festival 
13/1/18, Hot Potato Syncopators, Yellow Arch, Sheffield. 
18/8/19, Eels, Green Man Festival 
9/2/22, Arooj Aftab with Maeve Gilchrist, Gorilla, Manchester 
17/7/22, Mik Artistic’s Ego Trip, Beat-Herder Festival 
24/9/22, Krapwerk, Shakespeares, Sheffield 

Most of us have lost people recently – I’d like to mention some I knew well & some not at all, but all made a contribution……………

Gary Wraith,  2018
Frank White, 2020
Joi Rathbone, 2020
Michael Harding, 2020
Richard H. Kirk, 2021           

Rest In Peace 

Many years ago I did a recording session with Sheffield’s Bert Rogers, the result was a track called ‘Cascades D’Ouzoud’. I’m proud to have been involved – you can listen and buy here.

Hello! I’m still alive, I hope you are too. I’ve just popped in to let you know that this year I’m going to be doing some gigs with The Balkan Bandits. The first one will be at Yellow Arch, Sheffield, on Friday, January 26th supporting The Destroyers. I am confident it will be fun. Nx.

My best of 2015. ………

25/4 The Clear, Shakespeares, Sheff.
30/4 Calexico, Albert Hall, Manchester
9/5 Crazy P, Wardrobe, Leeds
19/7 Crazy P, Beatherder Festival
20/10 Four Tet-DJ Set, Sheffield University
26/11 Picteurs, Washington, Sheff.
4/12 Ane Brun, Gorilla, Manchester

…………..and, very sadly……. Martin Lilleker (1953) RIP

To celebrate our 5th anniversary me and The Wheel, aka House of Charms, have been into a proper recording studio, 2fly, with Sir Alan Smyth at the controls. You can hear the results at Bandcamp.

Me faves of 2014…………..  

10/4 Poke, Red House, Sheff. 
24/4 Micah P Hinson, Brudenell Soc. Club, Leeds 
13/6 Rophonic, Burngreave Cemetery Chapel, Sheff. 
8/8  Daughter, Beacons Festival 
10/8 The Fall, Beacons 
28/8 Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 
6/9  The Listeners, Shakespeares, Sheff. 
9/9  David Thomas Broughton & Juice Vocal Ensemble, Greystones, Sheff. 
12/10 Laura Veirs, Hebden Bridge Trades Club 16/11 Rachel Sermanni, Shakespeares

I’ve just discovered 2 live recordings of classic Chicken Legs Weaver on Youtube. Progress is slow, but detectives are sure that neither gig was at the Casbah! I believe both gigs are from Spring 2001, this one from Sheffield University & this one from Sheffield Hallam’s Nelson Mandela Building…….before it got knocked down! Enjoy!  

2013 – the Best Bits………

17/2  Calexico, Cockpit, Leeds
4/4    BloodSport, Delaney’s, Sheff.
5/4    Rumpus, Bungalow & Bears, Sheff.
13/4  Scaramanga6, Harley, Sheff.
1/5    Savages, Queen’s Social Club, Sheff.
26/6  Good Lovelies, Greystones, Sheff.
26/7  House of Trees, Shakespeares, Sheff.
23/8  Gerry Richardson’s Big Idea, Drystone Stage, Solfest
6/9    Rophonic, Club60, Sheff.
20/9  Johnny Dowd Band, Greystones
31/10 Rod Picott + Wild Ponies, Shakespeares
9/11   Public Service Broadcasting, Leadmill, Sheff.
19/11 Laura Veirs, Rescue Rooms, Nottingham

…………..and the Very Bad Bits

Okie Dulo (1975)
Stuart McGowan (1962)
Andy Weaver (1965)

Rest In Peace

As you may have read elsewhere, my long-time comrade, Andy Weaver, has died.   I first met Andy in the Spring of 1995. He was playing solo, as Chicken Legs Weaver, at the Grapes, Sheffield, and throughout his performance I could hear a Double Bass – my Double Bass!   After the gig, I introduced myself. Over the next 10 years me & Andy shared a lot, not just the ups & downs of a band struggling to make an impression, but also life’s difficulties.

The highlight of our friendship & musical relationship has to be our trip to Ithaca, upstate New York in February, 2003 to record with Johnny Dowd.   I left Chicken Legs Weaver at the end of 2004. Me & Andy stayed in touch until early 2008 when he & his wife, Joi, moved to London. I never saw him again.   At some point they moved to Bristol to be closer to Andy’s family but in late 2012 Andy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Treatment went well, Andy feeling strong enough to arrange to play at Sheffield’s Club60. Sadly, on his way to the gig, he became ill and was unable to perform. He was admitted to the Northern General Hospital, Sheffield and died on July 23rd.

Andy was, of course, a great blues musician but I believe his real strength was that he was a team-player, working with the musicians around him to create something new.   Personally, I’ll miss his energy & enthusiasm, his commitment to music and the sound of his voice. But most of all I’ll miss those ‘remember when’ conversations that we’ll never have.   Thank you Andy Weaver, it was a privilege – I’ll never forget. Nx

Don Valley & The Rotherhides will reconvene this Saturday, May 4th, at Plug, Sheffield, for one night only! It will be an International Worker’s Day/Axe The Bedroom Tax Benefit Gig. Rehearsals are going really well (Yes, that’s right, I said Rehearsals!) Also on the bill will be The River Rats, The Hurriers and loads of other stuff. Form Yerselves a Possee!

As always, my favourite gigs of last year…….
12/1  David Thomas Broughton, Brudenell Soc.Club, Leeds
20/1  Loveboat, Harley, Sheff.
7/4    Amanda Shires, Greystones, Sheff.
3/5    Bowerbirds, Brudenell Soc. Club
30/6  Orbital, Beatherder Fest.
9/8    Early Cartographers, Greystones
2/9    Richard Buckner, End of the Road Fest.
26/10 6Needles, Cremorne, Sheff.
30/10 Beach House, Stylus, Leeds Univ.
30/11 Riders, Cremorne
16/12 Slow Club, Queens Soc. Club, Sheff.

2011 was not a great year for me……………..some good gigs though!
28/1  Toads, Cremorne, Sheff
17/2  The Third Half, Washington, Sheff
25/3  Dirty White Cars, Cremorne
5/5    David Thomas Broughton, Memorial Hall, Sheff
26/5  The Magic Lantern, Red House, Sheff
1/6    Meursault, Forum, Sheff
18/6  Monicans, Harley, Sheff
2/7    Leftfield, Beatherder
28/8  Kasai Masai, Shambala
26/10 Glistening Pelt, Forum
18/11 Monarchy, Ku Ku, Camden, London
30/11 Amelia Curran, Greystones, Sheff
As for Dancing……..well……pretty much anything at Dirty Little Secret, but especially Matador for Collect & them Renegade Pixies!

2010 – some of the best bits……..
        15/1 The Listeners, Shakespeare, Sheff.
        26/3 Electric Tape Recorder, Grapes, Sheff.
        26/5 Johnny Dowd, Boardwalk, Sheff.
         4/7 Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, Beatherder Fest.
        24/7 Plush & Plastix, Penelope’s, Sheff.
        13/8 Laura Veirs, Ruby Lounge, Manchester
        11/9 Caribou, End of the Road Fest.
        12/9 Wilco, End of the Road
        26/9 Chatham County Line, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
       19/10 Gurf Morlix, Santiago, Leeds
       27/10 Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, Plug, Sheff.
2010 was not a good year for live music in Sheffield, (Yes, I know Tramlines was great, but for some of us music is for life, not just for one weekend in July!) – We lost the Shakespeare at the beginning of the year & the Grapes at the end. On the positive side, the Harley invested in a stage! and the Queens Social Club started to be used for gigs. I hope they both prosper and cut down on my trips to Leeds & Manchester!      

If you’re a regular visitor, you may have noticed that Baby Long Legs aren’t doin’ much – I think it’s fair to say that we’ve split up! Not because of musical differences, or a major fall-out, it’s just that sometimes life gets in the way. Proper jobs (3), Babies (2) & Mortgages (2) have all colluded to make it virtually impossible for 5 people to get together & make music occasionally. I’ll miss it, it was great fun.    

Anyway, me & The Wheel have continued to rehearse as an acoustic duo and now have a collection of songs to perform as ‘House of Charms’. Our first gig will be at The Cremorne, London Rd., Sheffield, supporting Bertie
Lee’s Blues Busters, on Thursday, December 23rd – please come early!    In the meantime you can hear some very basic demos at www.myspace.com/houseofcharms  

My good friend, Thorpe Hesley, has been very busy recently. He’s created a web-site dedicated to the memory of Don Valley & The Rotherhides (1986-1992). www.donvalleyandtherotherhides.com is very much an on-line archive of all things Rotherhides, featuring bucket loads of photos, flyers, press cuttings and rejections! There’s also more music than you can shake a stick at, and the opportunity for you to add to the collection. Enjoy, I did!

2009, some of the Best Bits………
The Listeners, The Grapes, Sheff. 11/4
Misty’s Big Adventure, The Boardwalk, Sheff. 13/5
The Whip, Beat-Herder Festival, 4/7
Banco De Gaia, Beat-Herder, 5/7
Electric Tape Recorder, Grapes, 17/7
Munch Munch, The Harley, Sheff. 24/7
Calexico, Big Chill Festival, 7/8
David Byrne, Big Chill, 9/8
David Thomas Broughton, End of the Road Festival, 11/9
Fleet Foxes, End of the Road, 12/9
Steve Earle, End of the Road, 13/9
David Thomas Broughton, The Faversham, Leeds, 21/9
Simian Mobile Disco, Plug, Sheff. 25/9
Tenebrous Liar, The Shakespeare, Sheff. 26/9
Amelia Curran & Andrew Dale, Grapes, 20/10
Bowerbirds, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 28/10
Little Johnny Cash, Shakespeare, 10/12
And them DJs…..
Kitty, Kabal @ The Earl, Sheff. 28/2
Dan J, Diasha @ Penelope’s, Sheff. 12/4
Jon Carter, The Rizla Arena, Big Chill, 7/8
James Zabiela, Shuffle @ Plug, 3/10

Long, long ago, before electricity had reached South Yorkshire, Don Valley & The Rotherhides decided to make a video for the track ‘Dreaming of the Day that Margaret Thatcher’s Dead’. They roped in local film-maker Steve Jinks, who managed to get hold of one of them Steam-Powered Video Cameras. And now, 23 years later, the result can be seen on YouTube. One or two people in it look vaguely familiar, if you can tell me who they are, please get in touch – it’s been a while!

Neil McSweeney has a new album out and I’m on it! It’s called ‘Shoreline’ and I play  some minimal Double Bass on 3 or 4 tracks. For more information please go to www.neilmcsweeney.com

Baby Long Legs have 2 tracks included on the new Sheffield compilation CD ‘Everyday Music for the Average Person’. ‘Hard Boiled Egg’ & ‘Eventually’ were recorded with Alan Smyth at 2Fly Studios some time ago! The CD also includes tracks from Balor Knights, Benjamin & the Goliaths, Matt Black, La Folie, The Letter & YoYo Static with artwork by Jon Birdseed. The CD will be a launched at the Grapes on Friday, September 4th and will also be available from Record Collector, Broomhill.

Here’s the usual…….2008.

The Listeners, Grapes, Sheff. 19/3
Bon Iver, Leadmill, Sheff. 14/5
Smokers Die Younger, Shakespeare, Sheff. 4/7
The Listeners, Grapes, 30/7
Hiem, Music In The Sun, Sheff. 2/8
Nesta Project, Music In The Sun, 3/8
Misty’s Big Adventure, Shambala Festival, 22/8
Lund, Shambala, 24/8
Southern Tenant Folk Union, Grapes, 7/9
Bon Iver, End Of The Road Festival, 13/9
Billy Childish, End Of The Road, 14/9
Calexico, End Of The Road, 14/9
Smoke Fairies, Grapes, 4/12

And them DJs………

Karma All Stars, Airy Fairy, Sheff. 4/10
Simian Mobile Disco, Plug, Sheff. 22/11

Baby Long Legs have released an album! ‘The Grey Doesn’t Matter’ is a collection of tracks from 2 recording sessions – 1 with Alan Smyth, the other with Simon Banks. At the moment it’s only available at gigs. Some tracks can be heard at myspace.com/bllband, if you’d like a copy but can’t get to a gig then please leave a message there.

Favourite gigs of 2007

Scaramanga Six, Grapes, Sheff. 17/2
David Ward Maclean, G2 Studios, Sheff. 14/4
Young Knives, Plug Live, Sheff. 12/5
Simian Mobile Disco, Plug Live, 9/6
Mimas, West Street Live, Sheff. 13/6
I Am Kloot, Woodward Stage, Wickerman Fest. 20/7
Rezillos, Scooter Tent, Wickerman Fest. 21/7
LCD Soundsystem, NME/Radio 1 Stage, Leeds Fest. 24/8
Hopper Ward, Grapes, 13/9
The Clientele, King Tut’s, Glasgow, 20/10
Cherry Ghost, Leadmill, Sheff. 15/11
CSS, Leadmill, 19/12

Baby Long Legs are going to be playing Live on the Radio soon! No, not that radio, BBC Radio Humberside. We’ll be on ‘Raw Talent’ on the evening of Sunday, August 5th. The session will be syndicated to other BBC Radio North stations and is available on-line here.

OK! I surrender, I submit, I give in, I now have a Myspace site. www.myspace.com/nortonlees It has a selection of live photos from my undistinguished career and at some point it will have an alternative ‘History’. One day, if I pull my finger out, it might even contain some of my own music!

Right, 2006, some of the best bits………..

The Carol-Anne Showband, Earl, Sheff. 21/1
Corleone, Grapes, Sheff. 11/2
The Yell, Harley, Sheff. 27/3
Clayhill, New Roscoe, Leeds, 17/5
David Thomas Broughton, Grapes, 21/7
The Condor Moment, Grapes, 2/9
Terry Hall (DJ set), Plug, Sheff. 2/9
Hot Chip, Leadmill, Sheff. 21/10
Zero7, Plug, 25/10
Calexico, Sheff Univ. 4/11
David Thomas Broughton, Grapes, 1/12

Credit where Credit’s Due……….

Brian & Ash for the small & perfectly formed Grapes
Mark & Jan for Sandman Magazine
Adele & Scott for Plug Live
Mark & the Birkendale Crew for ‘support’
Advanced Communcation Solutions for the Earplugs
and last, but certainly not least……
Kebabish for the consistently good Kebabs (It’s those fresh Naans)

Baby Long Legs recently had a video made as part of a music video competition, ‘2 Weeks 2 Make It’. It was made by Sally Eldin-Dalziel & ‘Little Heroes’, a team from Sheffield Hallam University, using the track ‘A Nice Idea’. As the competition title suggests, it was quite a rushed job! Is it any good? you tell me, you can watch it at YouTube.

Baby Long Legs have released a 3 track CD. The ‘Beards at Dawn’ EP features live favourites, ‘A Nice Idea’, ‘It’s Not Funny’ & ‘Floor Turtle’. All tracks wre recorded at G2 Studios, Sheffield, earlier this year. It’s available at gigs and on-line at The Laundrette.

The Chicken Legs Weaver album, ‘Nowhere’, produced by Johnny Dowd &
Justin Asher in 2003, is now available on Riverside Records. Tracks may also be downloaded from iTunes.

Don Valley & The Rotherhides will be reforming to take part in a celebration of the life of Linda Smith, who died in February. Linda was based in Sheffield for many years and shared the bill with The Rotherhides on several occasions. There will also be appearances from Betty Spital, The Chuffinelles, Jeremy Hardy, John Hegley & many others. The event will take place at the Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield on Sunday
May 14th at 7.30pm. Proceeds to Linda’s favourite charities- Macmillan Cancer Relief, Marie Curie Cancer Care and the British Humanist Association.

I seemed to spend more time in clubs last year, but still saw some great gigs – these were the best;

Benjamin Wetherill, Grapes, Sheff. 8/1
Richard H. Kirk, Corporation, Sheff. 20/2
Clayhill, Boardwalk, Sheff. 21/2
The Magic Numbers, Truck Festival 24/7
Viarosa, Grapes, Sheff. 28/7
Bison, Shefstock, 31/7
The Bees, Shambala, 14/8
Infusion, .Zero, Sheff. 9/9

Other highlights;

Shefstock, 30 & 31/7 (My, how you’ve grown!)
Trailer Park Tent, Truck Fest. 23 & 24/7
Kerri Chandler, Plug, Sheff. 5/11
This Way Up, Everyone Centre, Sheff. 26/11

Ian Hutchinson (Rumpus) has put a band together recently to perform material he’s written over the last couple of years. ‘Baby Long Legs’ is; Ian – acoustic guitar & vocals, Dave (Rumpus) – drums, Me – that bass thing wot I do, and the duelling guitars of Hannah (ex Yamaguchi) & Dan (Supersonic Winds of Neptune). It’s great fun but may be a short term project, so see it soon or miss it! 1st gig at the Boardwalk, Sheff. supporting Aziz, Thurs. Oct 20th

Chicken Legs Weaver have a track on the recently released ‘This Is Punk Rock Blues Vol I’ compilation album. The track is ‘Street Cleaner’ which was recorded by Lyndon Hobson at Axis Studios, Sheffield in February 2004. This turned out to be my last recording session with Chicken Legs, the aim being to record demos – presumably, Punk Rock Blues Records were impressed! For more details, go to their website. (www.punkrockblues.co.uk)

As you may have noticed, I’ve not been gigging with the lovely Hazel Leigh of late, due to her other commitments. However, we have managed to finish a mini-album! It was recorded & produced by Justin Morey, and we’re both really pleased with it. There won’t be an official release until we start working together again. If you can’t wait that long, (and it could be a long time), then get in touch to obtain a very special copy. Enjoy the summer – I will, Norton.

There’s a ‘new’ Chicken Legs Weaver album out! It’s called ‘Wishbone Hands’ and is a limited edition, vinyl release on the Ecstatic Yod & Shagrat labels. It’s a collection of live recordings from 2001/02, with the wonderful E.J.Tankersby on drums. I haven’t heard it yet, ‘cos I ain’t got a turntable, but I’m told it sounds really good. In Sheffield, you can get it from Jacks Records. On-line you can get it direct from the Ecstatic Yod Store and various other distributors.

Nobody has ever asked me for my ‘Best of 2004’, or any other year, and I doubt if they ever will. Now I’ve got my own site I’m going to do it anyway. I saw some excellent gigs last year, mostly by unsigned bands. These were my favourites:

Damien Rice, Octagon, Sheff. Univ. 19/2
Richard Masters, Green Room, Sheff. 3/3
Kings Have Long Arms, Club.Zero, Sheff. 6/3
Fonda 500, Grapes, Sheff. 3/4
Hiem, Fez Club, Sheff. 14/4
Johnny Dowd, Musician, Leicester 16/4
Tony Joe White, Cognac Blues Passions, France 23/7
Washington Rays, Spitz, London 2/8
All Live Dynamics, Shambala Festival 14/8
Twelve Stone Toddler, Vale Earth Festival, Guernsey 29/8
P.J.Harvey, Refectory, Leeds Univ. 7/9
The Rebel, Spitz, London 10/10
David Thomas Broughton, Lantern Theatre, Sheff. 24/10
Corleone, Grapes, Sheff. 30/10

Other ‘Events’:
Shefstock, Edale 31/7 & 1/8 (big thanks to all involved)
Headcharge Party, Clay Wheels Lane, Sheff. 28/8 (same again to the whole crew)
Iration Steppas, Everyone Centre, Sheff. 5/11

Special Awards:
The Frank Spencer ‘Falling Into/Over Drum Kit’ Award goes to……….Andy Weaver, Borderline, London 16/2 ( 3rd year in a row – Nice one Andy )
The Norton Lees ‘Sandwich of the Year’ Award goes to……….Hazel Leigh, Spitz, London 10/4 ( Cheese salad in a Cheesey Baguette, with extra Cheese! – Cheers H )

After a lot of soul-searching, I’ve decided to leave Chicken Legs Weaver – musically, it’s the hardest decision I’ve ever made – but I feel it’s the right one, and time to move on. I told Andy, Mik & Martin in September that I’d be leaving at the end
of the year. As things stand, my last gig with them will be at the Boardwalk, Sheffield on Sunday December 12th.

I’d like to wish Chicken Legs good-luck and all the best for the future. Thanks to Martin Bedford for all the time & effort he’s put in, to Mik Glaisher for his energy & commitment to the cause. And finally, a massive thanks to Andy Weaver, we’ve been making music for almost 10 years, and been through a lot together. Andy, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.



I’ve finally done it – got my very own web-site together. Of course I didn’t do it on my own – Big thanks to:

Nick Robinson for his expertise & patience, Trish for all her help, support & creative input, Olive Grove, not only for being there, but also for remembering some of it.

All those who have contributed photographs.

And finally, a huge thank you to all those who I’ve shared music with through the years – it’s been a privilege.

Please check back soon for some proper news!

Best Wishes,

Norton Lees