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Nick Beggs’ Stick Albums: Maverick Helmsman

June 26, 2012

Hopefully, you will have read our recent post on Nick’s debut solo album Stick Insect.  If not, you can catch up HERE.

By 2003, work was underway on Nick’s follow up album entitled The Maverick Helmsman.  A dramatic move away from the heavy sounds to be found on Stick Insect, The Maverick Helmsman is a much more intimate affair, containing ten original stick compositions.  Warm and melodic, its gentle harmonic movements are in stark contrast to the heavier rock sound of its predecessor.  Helmsman is also noteable for its overdubs….or that is to say lack of them!  This is very much a Stick album and contains very little in the way of ‘processing’.

Where did Nick find the inspiration for such a personal work?  Well, to consider that point it is useful to step back to his debut.  Stick Insect was written to accompany the Finland exhibition of Nick’s artwork, and the two mediums were clearly very much intertwined.  Maverick Helmsman however is much more personal, containing songs inspired by life experiences and emotions representative of the time.  The sweet and dreamy Willow was written for Nick’s youngest daughter; When First We Met  inspired by his (then) recent marriage.  Other tracks however have more of a history – Highland Saunter dates back to 1983 and is the oldest track on the album.

One thing is for sure, Nick is a fine exponent of the art of the Stick – one listen to this collection of original and very personal compositions will be enough to convince you that there is nobody better!


It would seem that original press CD copies of this album are no longer available, but Maverick Helmsman can of course be purchased HERE as a digital download or HERE on professionally manufactured CD-R.

If that has sparked some interest within you of all things ‘Stick’ , you may enjoy this footage of Nick on stage in this terrific performance from 2011.

Video footage courtesy of PhilLore89.

As a footnote to today’s feature, it is important to mention the cover art for the album, for which we quote the inner sleeve liner notes of the CD.

“The cover painting came about after I was introduced to Ronnie Wood in ’88.  He expressed an interest in painting all three members of Ellis Beggs & Howard and invited us to open for him and Bo Diddley at the Hammersmith Odeon.  I always felt this painting would make a great LP cover and have waited for the right project to come along.  I hope you enjoy them together…at last.”

Nick Beggs November 2003

KajaFax is soon to feature an article lifted from Guitarist Magazine in which Nick discusses his love affair with the Chapman Stick.  Keep watching!

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