Looking back through the programme for the 1992 UK Convention, I realised that it has been remiss of me not to post anything up to now about Rose Among Thorns featuring Elaine Morgan. They were recommended to us by Ian Burgess, who used to publish the Fairport fanzine “The Ledge”, and he sent me a 1988 cassette of Masquerade which was their name before Rose Among Thorns. Subsequently I went to see them perform at The Half Moon in Putney and was convinced that they would make a good support band for the early evening slot on the bill. I got to meet Elaine before the show and interviewed her for a radio programme I was involved with at the time and, as things turned out, found that she and the band were more than happy to play at the Convention as they were Tull fans and, more importantly, were a very good celtic influenced band and a good contrast to the Summer Band who were playing in the evening.
Following on from my piece about Elaine Morgan and Rose Among Thorns, I contacted Chris Groom last night with some questions about his involvement with her and also with Fairport Convention. This is his reply to my questions:
MD: You've done some artwork for Fairport Convention - how did that come about ?
Chris Groom: The Fairport work came as a direct result of my friendship with Pete Fyfe. I’d known Pete for a while and followed the progress of his band Eavesdropper at the Cartoon. Pete, of course, knows just about everyone in the folk world and had started to work as right hand man to Johnny Jones when Jonah set up a booking agency called Stage 1 in the offices above Wimbledon Theatre. Pete knew I was a Fairport fan and had done a bit of sleeve design and artwork for Joe Stead’s Greenwich Village record label, so he set up a meeting at Wimbledon. Jonah said OK, show me some designs for a tour programme cover – this was November 1987 and was for the ‘In Real Time’ tour. I took over a few layouts and one caught his eye and that was it, I was in.
These were pre-Apple Mac days, so I was pasting up artwork on a drawing board, no computer wizardry or photoshop to smooth out the wrinkles! I often wish I had got the call a few years later and I might have become more of a permanent fixture. My two programme covers aren’t the best work I’ve ever done – I’m not keen on the ‘Red & Gold’ illustration at all now – but I quite like the cartoon on the back of the Real Time programme.
MD: How did you get the commission to produce the Rose Among Thorns album artwork?
CG: The Rose Among Thorns job also came through Jonah, so I imagine she had signed up to Stage 1. As I remember, I was asked to come up with a logo for a new band, with Elaine as the lead singer. I sent over a couple of layouts and Jonah asked me to work one up to a slightly better standard for his meeting with Elaine. After that I didn’t hear anything more, until I saw an adapted version of my logo on, I think, a cassette sleeve. With a credit, but I certainly don’t remember artworking the whole sleeve. I think it has subsequently appeared on CD, adapted yet again! With the Jonah connection, it was no coincidence that a couple of years later, I saw Elaine supporting Ralph McTell.
MD: Time to plug your book, Rock in and Around Croydon. This reads as a labour of love and you dug out some fascinating facts about many artists and groups who played in Croydon over the years including many things about the Star Club in Croydon and the artist who played there along with facts about many other worthy venues in the town. Are there things that you were unable to find details of and have subsequently unearthed or have these items disappeared into the vacuum of space!
CG: Since the book came out, many people have contacted me with extra information and occasionally I come across local stories that I would have included had I known – I found a piece only recently about the John Cale ‘chicken’ incident at the Greyhound. All my research for the book was done pre-internet, at least I wasn’t online at the time and it certainly wasn’t the vast archive that it is now. I would have liked a couple more interviews – Kirsty MacColl was on my list, but sadly that can’t happen now. I’ve since spoken to Bill Wyman and Andy Bown for the local paper and they would both have been included had I managed to track them down earlier.
My thanks to Chris for these answers. Seems we have a mutual friend in Pete Fyfe.
One word of warning - Chris used some of the content of my scrapbooks for source material for his book and he used, amongst other things, a rare Beatle’s flyer from the Fairfield Halls in Croydon from 1963 that I had kept safely hidden away and also an article on The Croydon Folk Club which I was involved with at the time.
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention” ― Kahlil Gibran
ash: Merry Christmas. Hey Santa pass me that bottle
Dec 24, 2019 18:02:32 GMT
steelmonkey: Merry Christmas to one and all and a very Tull filled new year.
Dec 25, 2019 2:50:35 GMT
joemer: In Heaven dere aint no beer dats why we drink it here !!!!!! theme song of the Philly pa. new years day Mummers parade !!!! Another round of Hats off & Kudos to ian & the boys xmas church concerts Bruce should do that over here !!!!!.....
Dec 25, 2019 19:11:59 GMT
joemer: next Tull album cover one foot firmly planted in CONUS other foot across the ocean in D-Land and his "package" hovering over Blighty !!!!lol hahahah
Dec 25, 2019 19:14:01 GMT
crosseyedmary75: Once in Royal David's City Stood a lowly cattle shed Where a mother laid her baby You'd do well to remember the things He later said. Could have held Him in one hand. The things He would later say became the backbone of Western Civilization.
Dec 28, 2019 3:45:41 GMT
crosseyedmary75: 2,000 years later, we have His words. We know what He said. Ian sang, And the all-time winner Has got him by the balls He picks up Gideons Bible Open at page one, I thank God he stole the handle and the train it won't stop going Headlong to his death. Why?
Dec 28, 2019 4:01:18 GMT
crosseyedmary75: Thanks for the welcome. Thanks to Martin and to each well-wisher for the season and the new year. How cool is it to share our appreciation for the greatest band of all time! TULL fans must also be unique. We know this group of men is a most special gift
Dec 28, 2019 20:23:46 GMT
rredmond: Welcome crosseyedmary75!! And joemer, big ups to Philly from South Jersey! And when we're no longer here, our friends will be drinking all the beer!
Dec 31, 2019 13:23:40 GMT
snaffler: Its a few years since ive been on this forum, but i'd like to belatedly wish a Happy New Year to all members. I haven't listened to Jethro Tull for a long time. I needed a break.
Jan 3, 2020 21:14:14 GMT
steelmonkey: Estimated time when I will get tired of 'A Change of Horses': NEVER
Jan 11, 2020 23:44:39 GMT
maddogfagin: Feel the same way about "Budapest" - who else but IA could have composed that song.
Jan 12, 2020 14:50:11 GMT
steelmonkey: I love Budapest,too...but to answer your question, Knopfler came damn close with 'Private Investigations' !
Jan 14, 2020 2:22:41 GMT
nonrabbit: I've written a thesis on your very thoughts Chairman Steel
Jan 15, 2020 11:07:39 GMT
steelmonkey: Please forwad results of your research to the central commitee for review.
Jan 16, 2020 20:15:29 GMT