This series of blogs has been hard to start, but now I have started I now have a pattern that will carry me through. If you don't like these, skip them please - normal service will be resumed. I am doing them for my kids, who may one day be interested in who I was.
My Jazz experience was one of osmosis. I was barely aware of it at a conscious level. I did it like people watch TV or play football or sit in a chair.
I have to now jump to the Autumn of 1969. So much had changed. 1969 was for me a crucial year. I was fifteen years old, but a lot older in some ways. All my friends of that time were older than me and my musical tastes had matured somewhat. I had an affected way of dressing that made me look effeminate. I was at a terrible, free school, having been parachuted in from a prep school, after my dad had cleared off and left us with no house and no money. It was vile. I was beaten up badly for being posh and gay (I am neither, by the way) and left that year. When I wasn't being beaten up or victimised by the teachers, another boy brought an album into the class room and we listened to it, one Friday afternoon, on the school record player. That album was Stand Up, by Jethro Tull. It is fair to say that, between "All in the Game" by Cliff, and "Witches Promise" by Jethro Tull, I did little more than buy Beatles records which, though ok, did not do that much for me. Tull were different. Jethro Tull looked like Tatterdemalions. Anderson looked crazy. They all looked crazy. Even today I could believe that Clive Bunker was the model for Muppet Drummer, Animal. Martin Barre was the quiet one. Glenn Cornick looked cool and wore clothes that I just had to have and played a mischievous, melodic bass that for me defined the sound. I wanted to be Jethro Tull.
This is not so surprising, for Tull came out of a jazz/blues background that morphed into their own unique style. Stand Up is on the cusp of that. They evinced a strange new idea that they had somehow emerged from under some rotting leaves in the depths of a wood, it seemed to me, as if discovered by a Jack in the Green.
In my first choice, the Cliff and the Shadows record, I eventually got to meet my heroes. Well, amazingly, I did it again! I met Clive Bunker and Glenn, who is now my friend and has visited with his family twice, and stayed with us. I don't spend a lot of time talking Tull with him, but the stories do come out. One strange one (not a Tull story, strictly speaking) concerns his first wife Judy, who was sharing a taxi one night on the way home from a club - the Speakeasy, I think, with Jimi Hendrix. The next morning, Jimi Hendrix was found dead. She was probably the last person to see him alive. Judy Wong died not so long ago but is immortalised in a Fleetwood Mac track, "Jewel-eyed Judy".
And so that brings me to record number three. I cannot pick out a favourite Tull song. It is like choosing your favourite child.
It is "We used to know", and a while back, I did a photo montage to go with it. Some of the pics are personal, some of them stock, but it kind of captures the spirit of the time.