Allan Taylor is one of the last of the travelling troubadours who came through the social and artistic revolution of the nineteen sixties and carved out a career as a solo singer-songwriter. Born in Brighton, England in 1945 he experienced the Beatnik times, the Skiffle days, the Mods and Rockers and the early Hippy days, all played out on Brighton Beach. At the age of twenty one he left home and became part of the vibrant folk music of London, playing all of the major folk clubs of the time (for example, the famous Troubadour Club) and then to Greenwich Village, New York, playing legendary clubs such as Gerde’s, The Gaslight, The Bitter End, The Mercer Arts Center. He embraced the issues, images and emotions of his time and used these experiences as the basis of his songs. Signed to the international record company United Artists and recording in London, Nashville and Los Angeles his albums were released world-wide. By the mid-seventies he returned to Europe to live and then started on the second part of his career, having now established his modus operandi – collecting the stories for his songs in the bars and cafes of Europe and throughout the rest of the world.

For more than fifty years Allan Taylor has travelled the world performing at festivals, concert halls and clubs. He is considered to be one of the foremost singer-songwriters and guitarists in his genre, with more than one hundred recorded versions of his songs by Artists in ten different languages. One song in particular, “It’s good to see you” was a hit in many countries, and to date, there are over 100 cover versions of this song. Looking back as well as forward, few people can convey with such eloquence their life experiences. His songs are written from a lifetime of travelling; always the observer passing through, each song is a vignette of life, like a story told over a drink in a bar. He writes his songs in cafes, bars and hotel rooms throughout the world, songs for the lost and lonely, for the unsung heroes of life, for those marginalized by society – they all find a place in his songs. Each song has an integrity that tells you it comes from something real; characters come to life as people you know and places become as familiar as if you had been there.

Allan is considered to be one of the music scene’s great guitarists, creating during his stage performance a distinctive rich and mellow sound, and with a voice that speaks of a life-time of travel he can make each song a vignette of life, like a story told over a drink in a bar. His songs have an integrity that tell you they come from something real, where characters come to life as people you know and places become as familiar as if you had been there. When this happens, you know it’s an Allan Taylor concert.

Allan Taylor is also a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy and Music, having written his thesis for the Queen’s University of Belfast. -

Songs of Life on the Road

Post war Britain in the fifties was grey and dull, especially seen from a council estate in Brighton, but the songs of Woody Guthrie, the guitar playing of Davey Graham and Jack Kerouac’s book “On the Road” fired my imagination and I knew I had to get out on the road and make my own journey. Along the way I found the people and the stories that have stimulated the ideas that become songs, the songs you’ll hear me sing.

From London to New York and across to the West Coast, to the south, to the east and to Washington, the stone-faced Vietnam Veterans standing silently in front of that huge piece of black marble stone; on to the Caribbean, through the south China seas, on to New Zealand and Australia and then back to Europe. Amsterdam, free and marijuana scented; Paris, bourgeois decadence in St. Germain, anarchic revolution at the Beat Hotel; Berlin, divided and scarred; Vienna, an old courtesan hanging on to the last trace of beauty while still with an intangible charm; Copenhagen, blond and blue-eyed easy; Italy, espresso and cigarettes and passion and panache; Slovenia after their war, with all the vitality of a new country celebrating with old wine; Dubrovnik in Croatia, missing the Serbian bombs; Zagreb full of refugees from the country villages, old soldiers in worn uniforms standing in the snow selling matches; Moules in Brussells and red-light bars on the Chaussée d’Alsemberg; The Banjo Man, Derroll Adams in Antwerp; Flanders, miles of white crosses for the millions who died in battle fighting for a few metres of mud; Switzerland and the clean pure air of the mountains. And the softer climes of Bermuda, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and the big, beautiful black women who took me to buy fish from the boats docking at daybreak, Barbados, green coconuts from the farmer’s stall, “cheap, Man, and good for the body, good for everyt’ing”; the Paradise Café in the Wanchai area of old Hong Kong and sitting with Mama San, promising to return next week with more money … the road goes on …

Sit back and enjoy the journey.

The following is a list of some Allan Taylor compositions
covered by other recording artists:
Back Home to You jiva
The Birth of Robin Hood Rick Fielding
"Boy" is a Nation Geraldine MacGowan
Chimes at Midnight Maartin Allcock
Close to the Edge Hank Walters
John Wright
Come Home Safely to Me Erik Grip (Denmark)
Crazy Amsterdam The Fureys
Creole Girl The Fureys
Fiddler John Tom McConville
Stocktons Wing
Firefly Tom McConville
Flower in the Snow Bill Craig (Canada)
Jez Luton
It Will Be Me Nana Mouskouri
French: "Ce sera moi"
German: "Ich denk an dich" (Gold disc)
It's Good to See You Don Williams (USA): Platinum disc
Nana Mouskouri
(German) “Gut wieder hier zu sein”: Worldwide Platinum disc
(French) "Quand on Revient"
Frankie Miller
Alex Campbell
Tony Capstick
The Fureys
Bente Kure & Leif Ernstsen (Denmark)
Anders Mikkelsen (Denmark)
Benny Kusk (Denmark)
Benny Kusk (Denmark)
Hannes Wader (Germany)
Reinhard Mey, Hannes Wader and
Konstantin Wecker (Germany)

Hoehner (Germany)
Happy Traum
An Rinn
Anne Pack
Ringo (France): "C’est Bon de
te Voir")
Max Boyce
The Clydesiders
Sean Wilson
Laway (Plattdeutsch): "Wat moi is't weer bu jo"
Steam Jenny
Jimmy's Song Anders Mikkelsen
Lady of Pleasure Fairport Convention
Lady Take Your Time Johnny Silvo
Bobby Eaglesham/Chuck Fleming
Ben Sands
Gary and Vera Aspey
Land of the North Wind Dick Gaughan
Tich Frier
Libertas Ragusa The McCalmans
Like I Used to Do Peter Lovsin (Slovenia)
Losers Can Be Winners Stuart Reed
Lullaby in G Sibylle Mild
Ulli Boegershausen
The Madman  Al O’Donnel
Maybe Another Day Nana Mouskouri (German):
"Vielleicht im naechsten Jahr"
(French): "Il Etait Different"
Middle Time The John Wright Band
Anne Pack
Misty on the Water Paula and Stuart Tindall
The Vagabones (Norway)
The Morning Lies Heavy The Fureys
Barbara Dickson
Now You Know The Fureys
("I Don't Bring You Flowers")
Old Joe The Fureys
Alex Campbell
Ranald Smith & Iain MacGillivray
Brenda Wootton
Dave Plane
Pearls and Wine Flossie Malavialle
Provence Denis Billau
Roll On the Day The Clancy Brothers
Rosemary Woods
The Bards
Rosa’s Daughters
Hannes Wader (Germany)
Graham Cooper
Tom McConville
The Rose and the Briar De Dannan
The Poozies
ie Little
Michelle Holden
The Scarlet and the Grey Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary)
Simple Song Bobby Eaglesham
So Long Peter Lovsin (Slovenia)
Some Dreams John Wright
Sometimes Francoise Hardy (France)
The Kingdom Folk Band
Songdance Luckybags
John Wright
Standing at the Door John Wright
Clonmel (Germany)
Still He Sings The Fureys
Robin and Barry Dransfield
There Was a Time Helmut Debus

Song writing Master-class/seminar/workshop

Allan Taylor is often called upon to give lectures or talks about song writing, especially at festivals and Arts/Cultural Centres. Not only is it a chance for members of the audience to get to know what is involved in song writing but it is also a chance for enthusiasts to ask questions about how certain songs of his were written. Combined with anecdotes about life “on the road” and stories behind the songs, the sessions illuminate a side of performing and song writing that few people have knowledge of.

Because of his unique experience, both as a practicing song writer with more than one hundred cover versions of his songs and as an academic the lectures/talks can be either in the form of a casual conversation between friends and enthusiasts or as a formal lecture illustrating the philosophy of artistic creativity as applied in song.

Academic qualifications

1980-83: Leeds University - degree; Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

1984-85: Lancaster University - degree; Master of Arts (M.A.)

1986-93: Queen's University, Belfast - degree; Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Allan continued to work as a musician whilst taking the various degrees - the theses for the M.A. and the Ph.D. were partly written in hotel rooms throughout the world (mostly Germany, Italy, Denmark and New Zealand) and finished during a long period of seclusion in Yorkshire. Supervising professors were:

  • for the M.A. - Professor (Dr.) David Craig, writer, poet and rock climber
  • for the Ph.D. - Professor John Blacking, renowned Social Anthropologist, Musicologist and Ethnomusicologist
    and Dr. Margaret Bennett (School of Scottish Studies, Edinburgh).

It is a unique work in that it is the first time that a full-time professional musician/songwriter has done such a study, using empirical knowledge as a basis for an academic thesis. The three foci of the thesis are:

  • the creative process
  • the power of song
  • the aesthetics of song.

The Ph.D. is called “Song, Song writing and the Songwriter” and is available on library loan from The Queen’s University of Belfast.

For three years Allan lectured (part time) at Leeds University on subjects that fall broadly under the heading of Philosophy of the Arts.

Allan has presented workshops and lectures at the Edinburgh Book Fair, the Chester festival, the Darlington festival, the Glasgow Celtic Connections festival, the Saltburn festival and Auckland (New Zealand) folk festival. In Feb./Mar. of 2002 he worked on a song writing project with the Arts department of Kent County Council, which comprised four workshops, a competition for the best song and a concert for the eight finalists.