‘Every week now, a new jazz book arrives on my desk. Biography, autobiography, discography, miscellany, anthology and fiction – they come streaming off the presses… Now, such is the spate of commentary and research, there will soon be nothing left to write about.’
Humphrey Lyttelton, 1960
In 2014 my book Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone Press) was published. The e-book edition contained an extra 100,000 words.
I’ve decided that material needed to exist – revised and expanded – in physical form, however limited in quantity. So, I thought, I’ll self-publish a run of 200 copies…
After a lot of new research, Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959-75 is the result: 160,000 freshly burnished words and masses of new visual content, from unpublished photos to period press ads. Typesetting and design will be by Jawbone’s Tom Seabrook and Mark Case – the dream team. The book is more or less complete, with only the design and typesetting – and a final proofread – to be done.
I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for funds to help with the printing costs, running until August 16. If you want a copy of the book and feel like helping out, here’s the link:
Jawbone supremos Nigel Osborne and Tom Seabrook have very generously given this self-published new book their blessing. Bathed In Lightning remains the story of John McLaughlin up to 1975, and the musical worlds within which he moved, to the best of my ability. However, this additional text allows the reader to go deeper into certain episodes. Indeed, the opportunity to revisit this material has allowed me to go deeper into it, most especially in the chapters on Big Pete Deuchar and the Tony Meehan Combo, which have been subject to extensive new research, additional to what was possible for me to accomplish during the original 2012–13 research period.
In a short introduction to the original standalone e-book of the additional content I described it as not so much a random selection of offcuts and outtakes but, rather, a lovingly polished collection of B-sides and EP tracks – good stuff that just didn’t quite make it to the album. I think that’s still the case, and this hard-copy edition has found a few more gems from the vaults to add.
The original e-book bonus content consisted of the following:
- Three largely standalone chapters or episodes – on Big Pete Deuchar; the Tony Meehan Combo; and British soul, mods and pirate radio – which had been extracted from the partly completed narrative of Bathed In Lightning (and replaced with brief summaries of the episodes in question as necessary) midway through the writing process in order to become ‘bonus chapters’ in the e-book edition. The writing of the book was thenceforward completed with the two editions in mind.
- The recollections of Arjen Gorter, a colleague of John McLaughlin in Time Is Now (1968), which became an e-book chapter by virtue of Arjen’s contribution arriving with me very late in the process, when the text of the print edition had been more or less locked down.
- Four chapters relating to the adventures of the second Mahavishnu Orchestra (1974–75), with a lot of focus on the lesser-known members of that band, which were completed with the e-book in mind.
- Four appendices covering John’s British recording and broadcasting sessions 1963–69; his US recording sessions 1969–75; his known British concert appearances from 1963–68; and the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s concert appearances 1974–75.
- An appendix reproducing in full ‘The Texts Of Festival: Star Truckin’ ‘75’, an NME 23/8/75 report by Charles Shaar Murray.
To that text, Echoes From Then adds the following:
- ‘The World’s First John McLaughlin Interview? The Wandsworth Advertiser, March 22 1963’ – what we can glean from a local newspaper report, with quotes, on a Georgie Fame gig from the very last days of John’s membership of the Blue Flames.
- ‘Graham Bond’s Manifesto’ – a look at the beginnings of the Graham Bond Quartet in 1963 via the reproduction of an interview with Graham from Jazz News & Review.
- ‘The Georgie Fame/John McLaughlin Recordings’ – originally an exclusive website essay looking at the problematic identifying of Georgie Fame recordings involving John McLaughlin, presented here updated with new information.
- ‘Duffy Power Innovations’ – reproductions of three published interviews (from Sounds, NME and Disc & Music Echo) with Duffy from 1971 on the release of his mid 60s recordings with John McLaughlin, plus the album’s original press sheet.
- ‘Gene Perla: Mahavish? No!’ – a new interview with jazz bass legend Gene Perla, shedding light on his little-known role as the ‘Pete Best of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’.
- ‘Richard Williams on John McLaughlin and Lifetime’ – reproductions of five 1970–72 Melody Maker pieces on John McLaughlin and Lifetime by the legendary writer.
- ‘The Non-Average White Band’ – new recollections from Steve Kindler on an abortive Mahavishnu Orchestra photo session.
- ‘New Gleanings from Old Sources’ – a scrapbook of vintage quotes and pieces of information that escaped my attention first time around, plus significant recent quotes by John McLaughlin on the period covered in Bathed In Lightning.
- ‘Addenda & Errata’ – a digest of typographical errors and minor errors of fact in Bathed In Lightning, plus longer discussion on a handful of debateable matters in the original book.
- Numerous period adverts and news items and previously unpublished or rare photographs from Christian Rose, Bill Smith, Jak Kilby, Michael Parrish and others.
Additionally, the following substantial revisions to the original e-book bonus content have taken place:
- Big Pete Deuchar – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in Jazz News, Melody Maker, Manchester Evening News, BBC Written Records Centre, the Raleigh Industries archive in Nottingham and interviews with associates.
- Tony Meehan Combo – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in NME and Record Mirror, with much relevant interview material and information on repertoire and chronology emerging.
- Appendix 1 on John’s 1963–69 British recordings has been enhanced with substantial new information on broadcasts with Graham Bond, Ray Ellington and Georgie Fame.
- Appendix 2 on John’s 1963–68 British concert appearances has had a number of additions/revisions in the Graham Bond, Tony Meehan Combo and Night-Timers sections.
- Appendix 3 on John’s 1969–1975 recordings has been enhanced with new details and several items not in the previous version.
- Appendix 4 on the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1974–75 concert appearances has been substantially enlarged.
Wish me luck…
More on other recent activities soon…