Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Robert Fripp on Colin Blunstone
(...and Paul Buckmaster?)
Monday 25th. January, 1999

Hooray! At long last Colin Bluntstone(sic)! His recent CBS compilation Some Years (from Colin's three solo albums) has seven tracks from One Year (1971). He is probably best known as the singer with The Zombies. I have been waiting to hear again 'Say You Don't Mind' for years (Paul Buckmaster the arranger?). And 'Misty Roses'!

Sometimes pop speaks to the place where we are all the same person; where a simplicity of form allows only sufficient time to say what has to be said, and say it directly. There is no room to miss the point, or lose focus. 'Say You Don't Mind' has now played repeatedly, and quite changed my state.

I bought this compilation last year, and have a similar fondness for it.

But All Music Guide says Chris Gunning is responsible for the string arrangements on the first LP. Tony Visconti is listed as an arranger, too. Hmm. Going back to the original sleeve seems called for. Buckmaster's impressive (if easily mistaken for "overblown" by those disinclined to soak them in) string arrangements did have a large part in making Elton John's eponymous breakthrough LP the unique classic that it remains.

Blunstone's first LP is acknowledged as the best of the three, but some fine tunes grace Ennismore and Journey as well. I'll admit to having an immediate negative reaction to the King's Singers backing vocals on the latter, but somehow, it really works on "Beginning"/"Keep The Curtains Closed Today". The madrigal-ish vocals wrap impressionistically around Blunstone's ethereal voice and a lone nylon string guitar, making a beautiful, wistful, romantic whole. For me, a major Guilty Pleasure on a par with the Moody Blues' Most Overblown Cosmic Romanticisms.

Anyway, continuing to cut 'n paste just cuz it's there:
John Payne of L.A. Weekly came to interview me at 14.00. He began by apologising for the description of Crimson as 'prog rock pond-scum set to bum you out' (announcing our three nights at the Beverly Wilshire in 1995). But how could anyone be offended by such a dopey moniker? We adopted it as our own, and raised it on flags. John is concerned with the current state of the mainstream record industry. This is a debate worth having in the media, but inevitably the interlocking nature of business in the US will provide its own problems when the debate becomes public. Like, mainstream companies don't tend to advertise in papers which criticise their fundamentally exploitive nature.

And exciting news from Crafty Patrick Shuleit, who works for Washburn guitars. He has persuaded a firm to manufacture the design of picks we use in Guitar Craft. Perhaps tomorrow afternoon I'll get to fondle the test batch, in the privacy of my hotel room.

I believe this quest for the Perfect Pick never did come out entirely satisfactorily. A unique shape, feel and variable flexibility is required, and, apparently, difficult to reproduce. For myself, I've been using the lighter gauges of Dunlop's nylon picks lately, switching to heavier gauges when cranking up the distortion. But, I mostly have need of cleaner tones these days, albeit disguised with chorus, flanger or phaser effects (70's Telecaster Custom through a Roland Cube 30)...

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