In 1970, Gay and Terry Woods quit Steeleye Span after disagreements amongst the band members. They did so with no real idea of what would come next. Gay takes up the story, beginning with the demise of the first Steeleye line-up.
The Woods Band LP as it first appeared in 1971
with its distinctive 'collar' designed by Gay's brother Austin
The Woods Band LP re-released in the 1970's had a different cover. This design also cropped up on the bootleg CD version around 2000.
picture courtesy R.Zierke
The band, in theory, broke up. It reformed a week later. We were just wanting to leave it behind. We came back to Ireland, I got my old job back as a typist. Then we must have ended up back in London, later that year (1970) and met Ian McDonald from King Crimson and we were recording stuff with him. It was fun, it was a great experience. He was a very interesting man. We did the Strangely Strange thing - the tour and the Woods Band came out of that We were young and really wanting to play again and me and Terry  had some musicians we  wanted to involve. We got a place in the country - in Wiltshire, to live in and it was just so together.
Julia, the manageress (of The Woods Band) got us a (record) deal and a place to rent and then there was myself, Terry, Ed Deane on guitar,Paddy Nash on drums and my brother Austin on various other instruments and that was the band that rehersed and the one that recorded with a few guest people.We went up to London to record it. There was nothing happening in Ireland - you couldn't even get a gig.. What was going on was just show bands going around dressed up in crazy uniforms playing all 50's music. There was no sort of sub-culture. Van Morrison was doing the best he could in the North but nothing for young people.
The album got quite a good response - even in Ireland. We just started to play in Holland a lot because that was such a great place to go with an Irish identity, playing rock music. I don't know how that happened and then we went up to Scandanavia. They were all youth clubs where they drank beer, that's all, there were no spirits, and listened to music. It was just a great rebirth for us at the time. We played a few times in England but England wasn't up for that kind of electric folk. We were just very lucky we got so many other gigs.We had to make a bit of money in Holland just to keep the thing going. I don't think we got a contract to do another album. At the end of that I moved back into my mothers house in Dublin and that was when I started to write songs like there was no tomorrow.
Looking back - I love that track 'Dreams', - the instrumentation on it. Ed Deane is just such a brilliant musician. It was just so way out and I loved it. I suppose I like 'January Snows' also. I'd like to try that again. The Woods Band was male-orientated at that stage. I was just tagging along, not really functioning. I remember I danced at a  big  gig in Holland, Irish dancing,just off the cuff. I'd maybe had a few beers too many and that went down well.
'The Woods Band 'is of its time and its  good - it's still standing up, it's not lame and it's just there in it's rawness. There's no stylised dressing, the platform boots and all that. It's just young people doing new things...a bit like the first Steeleye..
The Woods Band in 1971
picture courtesy of Martin Stassen

If you want to read the original unedited version of the sleeve notes for the 2001 CD version of the Woods Band album, they are exclusively on this site........

If you want to buy the new version of the Woods Band album on CD you can do so online from one of the countries leading folk music stockists.

The first ever official version of The Woods Band made its appearence in March 2001 - thirty years after it was first released. It was relaunched by the label Edsel Recordings - part of Demon. Music Group. The catalogue number is EDCD687.
All in all it's a very welcome re-release and a lot of time and effort has been put in to the product to make it worthwhile. The sleeve is the original Austin Corcoran crescent design on the front and back. There's original photographs courtesy of Terry Woods and some excellent sleeve notes by journalist Colin Harper, summarising the careers of the two leading players. The CD itself looks nice and very much in-keeping and a good touch is the front of the 1977 reissue reproduced on the reverse of the back cover.
Gay has said she is "delighted it's come out to put everything in context" although she wishes she could do it all again, not just for the enthusiasm of it but so she could change all the bits she doesn't like ! As the first record of its type she says the band didn't have anything at the time to measure it by. Above all though, she said, "It brings back memories"
I'm sure Gay would be more than happy to sign your copy of the new CD. If you want to send your cover to me (not the CD or case) email the site and I'll let you know how we can arrange it. It will only cost you the postage each way.
look at the other stages of Gay's musical career