A remarkable book - excellent and compulsive read - with the odds heavily stacked against her, Carol’s determination to make it as a singer would make a great film if it could capture the underlying theme of changing times from an era that was almost recognisable as Victorian to the transformation that was rock’n’roll driven by the post-war generation and rise of multicultural Britain. Carol is a brilliant singer and having enjoyed her singing back in the early 70s with Uncle Dog, I would never have imagined the back story of her life at time when her performances oozed such confidence and she was rightly referred to as England’s Janice Joplin. When she sings the blues with such feeling it is because her life sprang from personal hardship, rejection and a gritty determination to overcome, which the blues and The Singer’s Tale richly evoke. Here’s hoping that Carol can share with us the rest of her story from the ‘80s to now.
A wonderful read, written with vivid detail, straight from the heart. She has had an extraordinary life being born in London at the end of the 2nd. World War and going on, despite all the odds stacked against her, to become a professional singer working across the globe. Her writing engrosses you and is enlightening about the struggles of a girl growing up in post war Britain going on to become a renowned singer and, just as importantly for her, a mother. You feel almost a part of her personal struggles and joys - the different voices showing her insight, tenacity and humanity. She weaves a wonderful tale, and the book shows her talent as both a writer as well as a singer. An amazing journey!
Anyone who’s ever witnessed Carol Grimes in concert will testify to the fact she possesses a raw emotional power, tempered with the shading of experience and the passing of time. Those lucky enough to have heard her simple yet devastating renditions of Fran Landesman’s “Scars”, or Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” resonating in packed rooms, or jazz stages, will want to read her back story, to find out more.
And now, not before time, Grimes has finally produced her autobiography. Titled “The Singer’s Tale” (after Chaucer) it is a wild, candid, sometimes unsparing journey. At times wise-after-the-event and other times laugh-out-loud funny (the Kafkaesque trials of reclaiming a pension once you’ve had several surnames) ~ Carol Grimes is a vivid character one instinctively warms to in the intimacy of these pages. A childhood adrift amongst ration books and bomb-damaged London ~ a quest for identity when significant family members are but faint sketches, old sepia photographs ~ eventually finding her voice and her way.
The early albums, musical travels to Memphis and Nashville ~ the firm belief that singing for her supper was the only way forward ~ even with its accompanying pitfalls, safety nets and occasional tragedies. The competing voices in her head, all given free rein here ~ constructing a complex persona ~ sometimes vulnerable, sometimes wayward; always human. I warmly recommend “The Singer’s Tale” if you want to eavesdrop on the REAL story of women making music in the sixties and seventies ~ the deals, the dodgy managers (“We can market you as a British Janis Joplin…”) ~ the highs, the lows, the hangers-on, the true friends ~ above all the music, the vital spark of humanity. Buy this book.
This is a fabulous book. I bought it as I love Carol's singing,but you don't need to know her music to appreciate this book. This is so much more than your average music biog. It paints a vivid tale of growing up in post-World War Two Britain, then moves through an extraordinary life to becoming the acclaimed singer that she is.
Carol has written a marvelous book, incomparable to any other musician's biography, both in style and content. It's a great piece of commentary in which we will all recognise lots because life is very much a shared experience, but none of us will have experienced it in the unique way in which she has. It's a hugely enjoyable book which I feel grateful to have read.
This is a terrific book. The style is poetic and the phrasing sustained like a singer's breath. I was completely drawn in and unable to put it down! Carol Grimes has had an extraordinary life and has an amazing tale to tell. I thoroughly recommend it.
What an incredible book! So cleverly and vividly written, not only about Carol Grimes’ life & career, but also the story of London from the war years in the 40’s through to the hippy & punk years to the 80’s. Could not put this book down. Absolutely fascinating.
I love this book. So vivid - she brings everything to life so well. Also so exciting- is she going to make it as a singer or has she missed the boat? Thank goodness, she did make it and she is wonderful.