Pete Farrow: Who Said there's no Beach in Stockport? CD album review by Alec Martin in

ALTHOUGH he doesn't know it, Pete Farrow had a big influence on my life. I could have been a brain surgeon, airline pilot . . . even editor of this newspaper. 'What happened?' I hear you ask. 

Well in those wacky days of the mid-seventies I was rambling round Salford when I staggered into a pub called the Black Lion. In the upstairs room they had a music night, jam packed with buskers, drunks, tv presenters (Anna Ford, Trevor Hyatt and Anthony Wilson being the most distinguished), poets (John Cooper-Clarke) and a whole cross section of musicians of various styles and notoriety. 

The big guy in charge had a huge drum draped with a Union Jack, a plastic parrot adorning the hi-hat and he played a brilliant cross section of country blues and original material. His name was Pete Farrow, and I thought 'this is the life for me, Alec!' 

Almost 30 years on (don't time fly when you're having fun?) and this album comes through my letterbox. Talk about memories! There's a big acoustic revival going on now, but Pete's Black Lion sessions were among the first to take acoustic music away from being the sole preserve of the 'folkies' (closely followed by my Cloggies nights in Bolton, I hasten to add!). 

Yes, it is a time capsule with tracks covering Pete's musical career from early 1970 through to 1993, but its certainly not just an exercise in nostalgia. There's a lot of interesting stuff here, including tracks produced by the late Martin Hannet who worked with Joy Division. I'd forgotten how good a guitarist Pete was and what a wide variety of style he used. Some of it sounds a little dated (I'm not sure that early synth on 'Na Na Na Song' sounds quite as revolutionary as it once did) and some of the recordings vary in quality, but what the hell...this is a great collection of music from the career of one of the north west's real musical personalities. 23 tracks of musical and social history, and worth buying for the cover alone, which includes a whole host of glowing tributes. 

Nice one Pete . . .and to paraphrase one of your lines 'Never change . . . never change!'