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1972

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CONCERTS & EVENTS

February The Huggetts make demo record at Tooting Studios in London 

April/May First draft of Folksong record with George Martin, London

August One-week run, 5 concerts NAC Studio Ottawa, Canada

August Concert, Carleton University, Ottawa

August Concert, Charlottetown Summer Festival P.E.I.

September Deep River, two concerts (2nd by public demand)

October C.B.C. TV Broadcast from Ottawa

November Freighter to Europe. Rent house in Studland, Dorset, for the winter.

Parliament Hill Ottawa  The Andrew Huggett Family

The Huggetts promote their National Arts Centre run, busking outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.

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Narcissus

LISTEN WHILE YOU BROWSE

This song is an excellent example of the Huggett Family's unique sound, blending renaissance and folk influences. This song, Narcissus, superimposes Spagnoletta, a flirtatious 16th-century dance tune played here on viols and recorders, over modern guitar and cello in its instrumental sections. Recorded by George Martin but never released.

Words and recorder, Leslie; Vocals and guitar, Margaret; Music, arrangement and guitar, Andrew; Cello, Jennifer; Treble viol, Ian; Tenor viol, Fiona.

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Andrew Huggett with George Martin at Air Studios, London, England.

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Jennifer Huggett

RECORDING WITH SIR GEORGE MARTIN

Like all success stories, the Huggett Family's involved a certain amount of good luck. This was the case with how they came to work with George Martin. In 1970, four top hit record producers, George Martin (The Beatles), John Burgess (Adam Faith, Manfred Mann), Ron Richards (The Hollies), and Peter Sullivan (Tom JonesEngelbert Humperdinck), established Associated Independent Recordings and opened AIR Studios in central London. It was considered the most up-to-date recording facility in Europe. During the 70s, Air Studios hosted an impressive number of top-ten artists, including Elton John, Cheap Trick, Pink Floyd, Queen, Roxy Music, Paul McCartney, The Sex Pistols, Kate Bush, The Pretenders, T Rex, Genesis, and Supertramp. Electic Light Orchestra, Jeff Beck and John Williams were making albums there at the same time as the Huggetts. 

 

Twenty-five years before AIR's opening, Leslie Huggett had served his compulsory service with Ron Richards in the RAF band. In the fall of 1971, Leslie contacted Ron Richards, who expressed an interest in knowing more about the family group. The Huggetts rented 4 hours at a small recording studio in Tooting, London, and made a "direct to disc" recording. This entailed playing non-stop, 15 minutes a side, of original songs, which were cut "live" into an acetate disc. Ron Richards liked what he heard and booked the family into AIR Studios for the following spring. Unfortunately, when the recording date drew near, Leslie received a call from Ron. The latter, apologizing profusely, said he was taking time off for health reasons and would Leslie "very much mind" if he passed the project over to George Martin.

 

George Martin is known for his success as a producer for the Beatles, but his musical interests were far more ranging. He was a classically trained pianist and oboe player and had worked for EMI for ten years producing everything from comedy to crooners. He had a genuine interest in the eclectic, and he and the Huggetts hit it off right from the start.

 

The production of the Huggett's first album took place over the course of two five-day bookings, which because of both parties' busy schedules, were spaced almost a year apart.

 

During the first recording sessions, The Huggett Family laid down the basic tracks and vocals for many original songs that would appear on the final album. They also recorded a number of their favorite baroque and renaissance pieces. Because of Geoge Martin's busy schedule, he didn't mix this first draft until August, at which time he sent a copy of the tape to Leslie Huggett in Canada. A discussion ensued in which it was decided they would take a more commercial approach to the project. Upon George Martin's suggestion, a 13-piece string section was booked for the subsequent sessions to make the Huggett's "sound" more commercial.

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George Martin, Ian Huggett, Engineer Jack Clegg, and Fiona Huggett. George Martin was usually always direct and very easy to get on with. Ian and Fiona wait for their turn behind the microphone.

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Although "punching in," the process of re-recording over small sections of an unacceptable original take, was possible, almost all the tracks on the Huggett's first album were performed live in one take. Nonetheless, there was still plenty of hanging around time as mics were placed and levels sought. George seems unperturbed by Fiona's tea precariously balanced on the faders of his new million-dollar Neve console.

Ron Richards and  The Andrew Huggett Family
George Martin  and The Andrew Huggett Family

Hollies producer and Leslie Huggett's friend from his British Air Force days, Ron Richards (left), introduced the family to George Martin (right). 

UNRELEASED TRACKS FROM THE FIRST RECORDING SESSIONS

00:00 / 01:46

"False Hearted Lover" - Leslie words; Andrew music, arrangement, and viola; Margaret vocals and piano; Fiona violin; Ian violin; Jennifer cello.

00:00 / 04:19

"White Flower Girl" - Leslie words and recorder; Andrew music, arrangement, guitar, and viola; Margaret vocals and guitar; Fiona violin and recorder; Ian violin and recorder; Jennifer cello.

 The Andrew Huggett Family George Martin letter
00:00 / 02:28

"Desert Dust" - Leslie words, vocals, rauschpfeife; Andrew music, arrangement, guitar, vocals; Margaret vocals and recorder; Fiona vocals and recorder; Ian vocals and recorder; Jennifer vocals and cello. 

00:00 / 01:37

Trio Sonata by "Jean Baptiste Loeillet."  Jennifer, alto recorder; Andrew, baroque oboe, Margaret, Harpsichord. Recorded by George Martin but never released.

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Correspondence between Leslie Huggett and George Martin on taking things in a more commercial direction.

AYLMER QUEBEC

Throughout their career, The Huggett Family was supported by relatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Margaret's family, who lived in England, and Leslie's brother's family in Ottawa were always ready to pitch in, and for this, the family will always be grateful. When the family returned to Canada in May 1972, Aunt Connie had found them lodgings in a large 1920s cottage on the Ottawa River in Aylmer, Quebec, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Ottawa. The all-wood, uninsulated building, a throwback to when Aylmer was the weekend holiday destination for Ottawa's elite,  had electricity and an oil space heater for cooler fall nights. It was built with a few other buildings on Blueberry Point amidst a magnificent stand of 200-year-old white pine. It featured a large central great room surrounded by smaller bedrooms and was perfect for group and individual rehearsal.

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CONCERTS

In July, the Huggetts played the Charlottetown Festival, home of Anne of Green Gables, as part of the summer festival's music program. August again found the Huggett Family performing in the Studio Theatre of the NAC in Ottawa. In many ways, this was probably one of the best opportunities to have caught one of their performances. The Studio was an intimate space of only 350 seats with excellent acoustics and a modern sound system run by the deft hand of Studio Chief Claude DeDesvoyault. The show was, as always, fresh and varied, and while still children, the younger Huggetts had reached a level of musical maturity well beyond their years. In September, the Huggetts performed a live-to-tape CBC broadcast from the Alumni Theatre of Carleton University's Southam Hall (now the Kailash Mital Theatre) and they also visited Deep River, where they had to add a second concert due to popular demand.

 the Huggetts played the Charlottetown Festival, home of Anne of Green Gables

Leslie Huggett tells a story. He was an excellent raconteur with a fine sense of comedic timing.
 

 the Huggetts played the Charlottetown Festival, home of Anne of Green Gables
 the Huggetts played the Charlottetown Festival, home of Anne of Green Gables


The show's first half was early music and was presented in costume. At intermission, the Huggetts changed into contemporary attire to perform the folk songs that made up the second half.

Ottawa NAC Theatre 1972 the Huggetts played the Charlottetown Festival, home of Anne of Green Gables


The Huggett Huggett Family on stage in the Studio of the National Arts Centre, an intimate venue and an ideal setting for the show.

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Fiona Huggett leads the family in a renaissance song.

See more 1972 programs here.
 

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Huggett Family's new image proves engrossing

By Loretta Thistle
 
They're two years older. They've all been studying, and most of them have been creating, and they have a whole new repertory. If you think the Huggett Family is an old story, you will have a surprise evening when you catch their show at the Studio of theNational Arts Centre this week. 

This family of parents and four children, who began their career in Ottawa and now travel rather widely, still plays a wide range of medieval and baroque instruments, as well as modern guitars. 
They switch unconcernedly from krumhorns, ranketts, and recorders to viols, lute, and even a harmonica. Elder son Andrew has become a proficient player on the lute and plays John Dowland compositions with springy rhythm and nice differentiation of styles. They perform pleasant arrangements, all homemade, 15th-century French songs, mostly homophonic, and then sang multiple parts of a seventeenth-century madrigal.

More folk songs


Lately, they have studied some of the local dances of

early days, and though social dances generally makeuninteresting theatre, they add a new dimension to the Huggett's performance.

But the biggest change in the repertory is the new emphasis on folk songs, traditional and composed. Much more than half the program is now given to this department, and the variety is engrossing. In songs such as Scarborough Fair and the Trees, the listener's interest is likely to be divided between passive enjoyment and active appreciation of the arrangements, which were mostly by Andrew. Other teenagers compose for their electric guitars, electric harpsichords, and amplified percussion. Andrew makes beguiling arrangements for guitars, recorders, rankett, viols, and simple tambourine or drum. He arranges with discretion and ingenuity, and he  entrances the ear. 


But the repertory includes many original songs by father Leslie and son Andrew. They touch many if not all popular basis, from pollution to the generation gap and the plastic joys of Miami Beach. Many different styles, from simple narrative to hints of the Blues, are evoked. 

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Much of the singing is entrusted to mother Margaret, who has blossomed as a folk singer and can give an extraordinary sympathetic performance of a Judy Collins song like my father. Jennifer, Ian, and Fiona confine their singing mostly to part work or wordless a compliment, but they are kept busy with instrumental work. Period costumes are worn for the period music and assorted modern costumes for the folk song section. Microphones are used for folk songs, but the level of sound is always well within the comfort range. This is Young August month at the National Arts Centre, and the Huggett Family program, with its combination of the old and new, fits in well. The first-night audience was about equally composed of young and middle-aged people. My guess is that young Ottawa will "dig" the Huggetts and predominate in the audience before the end of the week.

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More 1972 reviews and press here:

MUSIC TO SEE - CBC TV

Over the years, Canadian broadcasters were very supportive of The Huggett Family, for which the Huggetts are most grateful. "Music To See" was recorded in October 1972 by CBC Ottawa in their Lanark Studio using 2" black and white video technology. The video machine was so big that it and its operator were housed in a central room 2 floors up in the  CBC building. Unfortunately, this black and white technology doesn't do justice to the beautifully painted set specially created for the taping by Rudy Cooper. The 1/2 hour show is an excellent example of the diverse nature of a Huggett Family performance, incorporating both modern and ancient songs and some period dancing. 

Music To See

Music To See

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Music To See, a good example of the Huggett's musical diversity.

The taping went well into the evening and was the family's last gig of the season, after which they flew to New York and, for a second time, boarded the Yugoslav, Tuhobic, and sailed back to Europe.

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OTTAWA - NEW YORK - RIJEKA LONDON

 the Huggetts sailed to Europe by freighter
 the Huggetts sailed to Europe by freighter
 the Huggetts sailed to Europe by freighter

This was the second and last time the Huggetts sailed to Europe by freighter. In future years their schedule became tighter and they could no longer afford the time required for the 45-day trip.

The good ship Tuhobic, calling at Philadelphia, Norfolk, Savannah, Lisbon, Tangier, Gibraltar, Malaga, Barcelona, Valencia, Cagliari, Naples, Messina, Venice, and Rijeka, took 45 days to reach its final destination.

The end of 1972 was the beginning of the OAPEC oil embargo. Traveling with so many pieces of baggage, half of which were fragile musical instruments, had not previously been a problem. Still, with the cost of aviation fuel rising fast, the airlines had started to limit excess baggage. Considerable haggling ensued. Eventually, the Huggetts were allowd to bring everything with them.

MISCILLANEOUS MOMENTS FROM 1972

 the Huggetts sailed to Europe by freighter

With Music To See "in the can," Jennifer and Fiona wait to board the plane to New York and from there, back to Europe once again by freighter.

Andrew Huggett with the baroque oboe, both physically demanding on lips and lungs.

Andrew with the baroque oboe, both physically demanding on lips and lungs.

Margaret Huggett and Fiona. The Dorset Downs are still chilly in February.

Margaret and Fiona. The Dorset Downs are still chilly in February.

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Margaret, Leslie, and Jennifer practice "Ballo del Fiore," an Italian dance in which a man, faced with choosing between two women, picks the younger one who then rejects him.

Fiona Huggett and the color-coordinating pet guinea pig visit her grandparents in London.

Fiona and the color-coordinating pet guinea pig visit her grandparents in London.

Ian Huggett and the same guinea pig, still color coordinating.

Ian and the same guinea pig, still color coordinating.

 Huggett Hyde Park London Jennifer, Ian, Margaret, Andrew, Fiona, and Leslie. A publicity shot taken by Margaret's brother Bill in Hyde Park, London.

Jennifer, Ian, Margaret, Andrew, Fiona, and Leslie. A publicity shot taken by Margaret's brother Bill in Hyde Park, London.

Fiona and Ian practice scales in unison. Huggett
Fiona, Andrew Huggett, Margaret, Jennifer, Leslie, and Ian. More outdoor practice, weather permitting. The wind, if too strong, would interfere with the sound-making edge of the recorder's labium rendering the instrument silent.

Fiona and Ian practice scales in unison.

Fiona. A contemplative moment gazing out over the English Channel.

Fiona. A contemplative moment gazing out over the English Channel.

Fiona, Andrew, Margaret, Jennifer, Leslie, and Ian. More outdoor practice, weather permitting. The wind, if too strong, would interfere with the sound-making edge of the recorder's labium rendering the instrument silent.

Ian at the "sea-side," best visited with a coat or sweater regardless of the season. Cold North Sea currents collide with those of the warmer Atlantic, resulting in strong currents and frigid waters favoured only by the hardy.

Ian at the "sea-side," best visited with a coat or sweater regardless of the season. Cold North Sea currents collide with those of the warmer Atlantic, resulting in strong currents and frigid waters favoured only by the hardy.