ON THE ROAD: Prelude, featuring Brian and Irene Hume, will perform at St Mary’s Church, Cockfield, on Thursday,  May 9
ON THE ROAD: Prelude, featuring Brian and Irene Hume, will perform at St Mary’s Church, Cockfield, on Thursday, May 9

GIGS, says Brian Hume, are a bit like buses – you wait for a while and then they all come along at once.

Brian and his group Prelude are coming to St Mary’s Church, Cockfield, on Thursday, May 9, as part of a busy spring schedule.

The band has just been down to Leeds. Then the day after Cockfield, all being well, it’s across to Hartlepool and then straight up to Powburn, in Northumberland.

“I like playing songs I have written so you can see how the audience reacts,” says Brian.

“It gets in your blood and you can’t shake it off – and I don’t want to shake it off. It’s something I really enjoy.”

If the name Prelude sounds familiar, it’s because the group has enjoyed a long and at times illustrious career spanning five decades.

Prelude formed as a trio featuring Brian, his wife Irene and guitarist Ian Vardy, in the early 1970s.

“We played all the clubs on the folk scene in the North East. It was the only scene available if you had acoustic guitars,” recalls Brian.

The group’s break came in 1973 when they signed a record deal and created their debut album How Long is Forever at Dave Edmunds’ Rockfield Studios, in Monmouthshire, Wales.

Among the tracks on the album was Prelude’s version of the Neil Young song After the Gold Rush, which enjoyed nine weeks in the UK top 50, peaking at 21, and later reaching number 22 in the American Billboard Hot 100.

During the 70s and early 80s, Prelude toured with the likes of Joan Armatrading and Don McLean, earning another chart hit in 1980 with Platinum Blonde – even appearing on Top of the Pops to promote it.

After Ian Vardy left the band in 1985, Brian and Irene continued, initially as a duo. The current line-up includes Keith Tulip on bass and drummer Paul Hooper, a former member of The Fortunes.

After nearly 50 years, Brian still relishes playing a tune.

“I go to the buskers and I just like playing and listening to others’ songs.”

Teesdale is familiar territory for Brian and Irene.

Gateshead natives, they lived in Cotherstone for a while, have played at Copley Village Hall and are regular visitors to Gainford. There will be plenty for the audience to get their teeth into when they play at Cockfield.

“We do one or two old Prelude songs, some from our most recent album plus a lot of covers from the likes of Steve Earl, Gerry Rafferty – we did a gig with him before he was famous; lovely fellow – and Dylan,” says Brian.

Prelude’s visit to St Mary’s has been arranged by members of the church’s entertainments committee, who say the show has a wider appeal than their normal monthly get-togethers.

All money raised from the performance will go to church funds. Admission is £5 on the door, which includes refreshments, and the show starts at 7.30pm.