Duo’s archive tape re­vived

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - In Conversation - The Archive Tapes by Clive Palmer and Bob Dev­ereux is avail­able on Martin Val Baker’s Rainy­day Records, priced £11 (in­clud­ing p&p), from Rainy­day Records, 22a Quay Street, Pen­zance, Corn­wall TR18 4BD or by email­ing [email protected]­day­gallery.co.uk or call­ing 01

Co­me­dian and ac­tor Billy Con­nolly tells the story of walk­ing into a Glas­gow bar, dur­ing his days as a folk mu­si­cian, and see­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary man play­ing a banjo “like an an­gel”.

“He played so bril­liantly that I didn’t tell him I played banjo,” said the Big Yin. “I just sat next to him with my mouth agape. I had never heard banjo played so well in my life. I have of­ten sat in glo­ri­ous won­der, lis­ten­ing to the mag­i­cal way his pure voice matched the tone of his var­i­ous ban­jos to a tee.”

The mu­si­cian Con­nolly was re­fer­ring to was Clive Palmer, who lived in Corn­wall for many years un­til his death in 2014 and was a big name na­tion­ally as well as on the Cor­nish folk scene.

Clive was best known for his work as a mem­ber of The In­cred­i­ble String Band in the 1960s. He moved to Corn­wall in 1968 and fre­quented the leg­endary Folk Cot­tage at Mitchell, as well as other venues, and was a mem­ber of the highly re­garded Fa­mous Jug Band be­fore go­ing on to work with other groups in­volv­ing Cor­nish mu­si­cians.

This week sees the re-re­lease (and its first time on CD) of a col­lab­o­ra­tion Clive made with St Ives-based poet, Bob Dev­ereux.

The record­ing has been un­earthed by well-known West Corn­wall mu­sic pro­moter, printer and gallery owner, Martin Val Baker. The 14-track col­lec­tion was first re­leased as a cas­sette in 1978 on Martin’s Rainy­day Records la­bel. Martin, who at the time acted as a roadie-man­ager for the duo, ex­plained his rea­son for re­viv­ing the al­bum 40 years on.

“Ear­lier this year I spot­ted a copy of the cas­sette reach­ing a spec­tac­u­lar price on­line as a ‘rare item’,” he said. “So I thought it might be worth putting it out again, in CD for­mat. In the late 1970s I was a roadie-man­ager for Bob and Clive and we would travel around the West­coun­try do­ing gigs for £15 here, £20 there, and also mak­ing the oc­ca­sional fes­ti­val ap­pear­ance. Once we got as far as Bris­tol, and there was one per­for­mance in Lon­don.

These record­ings were made as demo tapes in 1977 and 1978, with three tracks be­ing re­leased on the Rainy­day cas­sette, Suns and Moons, which was later put out as a CD by Robin Williamson’s Pigs Whisker la­bel in 1999.”

A founder mem­ber of The In­cred­i­ble String Band and Fa­mous Jug Band, Clive Palmer played along­side such lu­mi­nar­ies as Robin Williamson and Mike Heron. The In­cred­i­ble String

Band was formed in Scot­land in 1965 and the trio’s epony­mously-ti­tled first al­bum was hailed on its re­lease in 1966 as a beacon of pro­gres­sive folk. Its se­quel, The Hang­man’s Beau­ti­ful Daugh­ter, two years later, was cited by the mem­bers of Led Zep­pelin as be­ing a ma­jor in­flu­ence. Leg­endary gui­tarist Wizz Jones de­scribed Clive – who was also a wood­work teacher and trades union­ist – as “one of the

finest mu­si­cians I have ever known, he was an in­spi­ra­tion and a well-loved friend”.

Martin added: “Clive and Bob had each worked with pretty stim­u­lat­ing com­pany be­fore and since. How­ever, I do think it is as this duo and as the later quar­tet Rhom­bus (fea­tur­ing Tim Wel­lard

and Dick Reynolds) that they pro­duced some of their most in­ter­est­ing work.”

Clive Palmer (left) and Bob Dev­ereux in the 1970s and (left) the newly re-re­leased al­bum of their work

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