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.
jackinthegreen: Cream without Eric??? Santana without Carlos?? and not even with a stand-in player.....you're easily pleased, I reckon most people would not be happy to say the least...
Apr 30, 2022 23:45:36 GMT
jackinthegreen: If it was Scott that got Covid would they have played the gigs without a drummer?
May 1, 2022 0:01:38 GMT
ash: It's Tull not Cream and my answer stands. Now it there was no flute player...No flute no Tull . I've seen Ian play with just an ipod backing track it was great
May 3, 2022 16:04:21 GMT
jackinthegreen: "No flute, no Tull".......hmmmm tell that to MB when he's doing all the Tull stuff..
May 3, 2022 20:18:27 GMT
jackinthegreen: and I've seen Ian doing his one man thing with just the backing track too, but that's not billed as a Jethro Tull concert.....
May 3, 2022 20:19:44 GMT
jackinthegreen: I do agree he's brilliant at playing to his own backing tracks though
May 3, 2022 20:20:48 GMT
ash: My first answer stands in stone
May 4, 2022 10:00:23 GMT
goodwolfman38: Just around the corner from what i understand will be the 40th anniversary edition of Broadsword & The Beast due in July, as i noticed a few weeks ago with an interview with Ian this one will be large box set, hopefully no delays
May 12, 2022 13:45:20 GMT
rredmond: Well the radio.net plug in at the bottom of the site shocked me a bit!
May 12, 2022 14:39:42 GMT
maddogfagin: Yes it's a great addition to the Forum and I'm hoping radio.net will provide this service for years to come
May 14, 2022 15:58:55 GMT
jackinthegreen: Where is the link to this radio.net.......I don't see it folks
May 15, 2022 1:11:08 GMT
maddogfagin: Immediately below this shout box and above the visitor numbers/flags.
May 15, 2022 8:39:21 GMT
jackinthegreen: Cheers MD, I can only see the link from the "Home" page, but disappears when looking at threads etc, so find if I open it up in a new window it then plays constantly
May 15, 2022 13:29:06 GMT
jackinthegreen: So I have it bookmarked to open at any time....nice in the background if reading on t'internet
May 15, 2022 13:31:36 GMT
jackinthegreen: Did anyone on the forum see Tull at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester in September.....
May 19, 2022 1:10:39 GMT
smint100: Good Lord, why did no one tell me about the radio.net! I've spent a joyful afternoon in the garden watching the strawberries ripen - I mean, editing a book - and listening to unadulterated Tull. Heaven!
May 21, 2022 14:56:50 GMT