Celebrating his 70th birthday and his 50th year touring, Scottish singer songwriter Rab Noakes launched his EP, The Treatment Tapes in January 2017.
Early in 2015, Rab Noakes was diagnosed with tonsillar cancer. From March to May that year the treatments took place, thirty early morning radiotherapy sessions and two chemotherapy overnights. It was rigorous and rendered him inactive for a few months.
He wasn’t inactive for any longer than was necessary though and was soon back in action. The treatments’ rigours were alleviated by creating landmarks to reach such as the MU conference in July, followed by Roddy Hart’s Neil Young Tribute concert in September. The release of his I’m walkin’ here album was delayed from May and saw the light of day in October. November 2015 was devoted to touring in support of the release.
The songs on this EP were written during the post-treatment period and were part of that process. They were recorded chronologically so their performances reflect that progress. There was one initial session in December 2015 followed by one in April 2016. There’s no self-pity though, here you’ll find defiance, resilience, love, support and wit.
Rab’s wife, Stephy Pordage, was an integral part of the process at every stage. She was part of the production team with John Cavanagh. Stephy was a key part of the writing process and contributed a significant part of the lyric of the song Mindful. Rab’s included the songs, at least one at a time, in performances since the gigs restarted back in November 2015.
“It sounds a wee bit flippant and it does puncture the tension a bit. Truth is, though, it’s what we do creatively. We utilise experience and observation of, and response to, life’s ingredients, add a helping of imagination and deliver a work”