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Colin Harper (Belfast)

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Infinite Love: Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall 1971
Infinite Love: Live At The Queen Elizabeth Hall 1971

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Nabbed....' but with permission!, 27 Oct 2009
As the Prof has said above, Ralph Beauvert's excellent mooncow website - especially Prof Cornelius' relatively recent interviews with three ex members reflecting on their time in the band - was indeed a major source for the notes. But it was by no means the only one, and (lest anyone think plagiarism was involved!) express permission to use the material was sought and given, by Ralph, before even a word of the 18,000 word notes was committed to type!

Other sources for quotation (all credited) include a substantial amount of the band's 1969-72 UK press coverage from NME, Melody Maker, Sounds, Disc, Zigzag, etc. Some of this material was acquired from press cuttings kept by band member Dave Codling but a lot was bought from rare magazine dealers specifically for the project by me (using a large part of the modest fee for writing said notes!), the writer of the notes and overseer of the mastering and design (36 page full colour booklets, no less). The notes are, without doubt and deliberately so, what historians would term a 'work of synthesis': taking disparate existing materials - primary and secondary sources - and weaving them into an accessible, substantial overview. Band members Phil and Dave are, I'm very happy to say, very pleased with the end result - and both looked over the notes BEFORE the CDs were printed and both also contributed personal anecdotes and extra bits of information - such as Phil's dealings with the Sun Records label and Dave's memories of the St Pancras gig, which can be heard on the 'Cosmic Energy' CD that accompanies this one - that were added in (either in paraphrase or in the form of direct quotation).

Also included in the booklet is a band chronology of gigs, TV, radio and recordings dates which, again, is a work of synthesis, being - as very clearly stated in the text and acknowledgements - sourced in terms of its backbone from the excellent 'Marmalade Skies' website which lists what was happening around the UK during the late 60s/70s month by month. Other sources for the chronology involved this writer scouring through his own collection of vintage music mags for further concert dates alongside Ken Garner's 'In Session Tonight', old concert flyers on the mooncow site and other sources.

The point to all this being that a very considerable amount of work was put into assembling notes, quotes and chronology into a whole that was both readable and accurate. It is, to my knowledge, the first time the Quintessence story (for the 1969-72 tenure of the original band - I don't follow the story beyond that point) has been written in any substantial form. And I'm very pleased to have done so!

Hopefully most Quintessence fans will enjoy the end result!
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2009 10:07 AM GMT

Sky Blues
Sky Blues
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: 13.90

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars rare and mesmerising gems from the vaults!, 29 May 2002
This review is from: Sky Blues (Audio CD)
Although featuring 19 performances recorded for BBC radio sessions between 1968 - 1973 (plus one session, reprising sixties material, for the Paul Jones R2 show in 1994), none of these tracks come direct from the Beeb - who have erased their entire Power sessionography - but from a network of conscientious fans and producers. Luckily, via the internet, the phone book and a bit of serendipity the bulk of Power's work for Radio 1 has been retrieved from oblivion and adds enormously to his reputation as a singer and writer from the British blues era yet pushing always at its boundaries - with folk, pop, jazz and prog-rock just some of the labels one could try to stick on these recordings. Accompaniments range from mentor Alexis Korner (and his band, with Danny Thompson, Terry Cox and others on the amazing '68 Radio 3 take (!) of 'Gin House') to pianist Mike Hall on three cuts, a full scale blistering rock band on the '73 Peel session tracks and legendary sax man Dick Heckstall-Smith on three others. Yet it is probably the handful of Power solo tracks - mostly from a 1970 Mike Raven session, preserved on master tape by its producer - that are the true highlights. As Folk Roots editor Ian Anderson has stated, seeing Power live at Soho clubs in the mid-sixties was the closest British kids could imagine getting to the experience of seeing and hearing the likes of Robert Johnson in the flesh. From blues-wailing monsters to achingly beautiful love songs, the gamut of Power's genius is all here! A God-send release from an artist who recorded much less than he should have in the commercial arena. Take a chance on it!

The Inklings: C.S.Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends
The Inklings: C.S.Lewis, J.R.R.Tolkien, Charles Williams and Their Friends
by Humphrey Carpenter
Edition: Paperback

36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars concise, readable and inspirational to other writers, 21 Jan 2001
Having read this book just prior to working on my own commission - a biography of folk singer Bert Jansch within the context of the British folk and blues scenes of the early 60s (published as 'Dazzling stranger: Bert Jansch and the British folk and blues revival', bloomsbury 2000) - I found it immensely inspirational. The content, of course, had no bearing on my own work but Carpenter's book gave me confidence that complex interweaving of what are effectively multiple biographies within one book and within a single, binding and (most importantly) eminently readable narrative thrust COULD be done. Further, Carpenter's lean and accessible writing style belies the comprehensiveness of his research. True, one can find more detailed biography on Tolkien and Lewis as individuals elsewhere but Carpenter paints a particularly intriguing portrait of the relatively obscure Charles Williams and builds up a compelling portrait of these writers' interactions from minimal documentary sources but filling the gaps of formal knowledge with great insight and convincing conjecture. His recreation in one chapter, for example, of a typical Inklings meeting in Lewis' rooms is brilliantly done through recreating as conversation views known to have been held by all the participants and, as far as possible, by importing actual sentences and arguments from the various letters and writings of each one. This kind of work is rarely successful in my judgement, but Carpenter pulls it off wonderfully. This book is both a good read for those casually interested in the main protagonists, and - in my view - an inspirational work of research and realisation for other biographical writers. Brilliant!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2011 9:32 PM BST

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