Heather Sinclair wrote:
1st June 2018.
From Puglia, South Italy.
Hello, it's Heather Sinclair, partner to Richard Sinclair, now for some years…
1990 was a memorable time for us. We had a distinguished visitor to our home in Canterbury: The Silver Fox of Radio, based at Kansas City, Rick Chafen, who has been and continues to support the music that he loves dearly. At that time, Delta Airlines had a great deal for European visitors, the Stand-By Pass, that was inexpensive and valid for one month. This had inspired Rick to activate the most enthusiastic from the fan base of his radio show On Her Majesties Service
(I think it was called), to get involved and arrange a solo concert in their town, promote it and provide the transport and hospitality, which was a wonder to be part of.
Musicians Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth, Kevin Ayers, Tim Blake and others, able to perform solo, were the first to tour U.S.A. in this way, and then the opportunity came up for Richard Sinclair, who had recently begun to play solo, singing with guitar and bass…
We managed to afford my travel expenses as well… on two of four tours, the later ones we had begun collecting our own mailing list of folks … (and we succeeded in making a tour for the Trio of RS Caravan of Dreams, with Rick Biddulph and Andy Ward).
During this time we met Richard Derrick, who was our man in LA… Richard was great fun, met us at the airport, provided a nice club gig and sound system, all we needed, and we were also taken home to meet his family and many of his friends.
The last time we saw Richard was in 2006, with Hatfield and The North performing at Baja Prog. Richard was there with Brad Knox, and drove us back to LA from Mexicali, and with friends of his with a house on the coast, we had a few days to holiday! And also another concert…
So Richard Derrick is a diamond geezer who has remained in touch since those days. I now travel each month, to London to work with my disabled brother and was very happy to try and gather some more signatures for Richard's copy of the Triple Echo
album sleeve… Richard had already sent the cover to Judy Dyble, and so I thought, where to start!
People we are in touch with already…. So e-mailed Dave Stewart, knowing that he was a friend to Mont Campbell and possibly Bill Bruford… I cc'd email to Dave Stewart to RD, who then passed the forwarding address on to Judy… and Dave was happy to sign and got it to Mont Campbell, but could not help with Bill Bruford.
Having just read the latest Robert Wyatt autobiography Different Every Time
(to which RS had been asked to contribute), I knew that Phil Manzanera was important to Robert Wyatt as a friend with a wheelchair-accessible recording studio and sympathetic recording engineer, so finding Phil Manzanera at his studio on the web, I wrote and explained… and asked if he would be happy to forward this on to Robert Wyatt. So Dave Stewart posts on to Phil Manzanera…
At the same time I found Bill Bruford on the web, and he responded. When I explained that the album sleeve was currently with Phil Manzanera, he said, “Oh - well, I actually have a meeting at his place coming up,” and so the album sleeve remained for some time at the studio of Phil Manzanera. I wrote, “Is it possible than you are in touch with Bryan Ferry?” to which he answered that Bryan is a bit elusive these days…
I then telephoned Robert Wyatt, and we had a nice chat: “You never ask a man of my advancing years, 'How are you?' Or you will get a whole story of minor ailments”… and he told me that Phil Manzanera is very busy in the summer months, probably away on tour, no worries, when it arrives, he would sign.
I did a web search for Mike Ratledge and found the record company that had released his latest Solo album, and so I wrote and introduced myself and explained my mission. Nice communication back from the company, he was intrigued by the Family Tree. In fact, I was sent an MP3 file of the album, which we enjoyed… but sorry to report, there was no response from the e-mail that I sent to Mike Ratledge.
I then contacted Carol Grimes via her website, and she told me that she had recently relocated to Folkestone, on the Kent Coast… and sent me her address.
Eventually the album cover arrived with Robert Wyatt, and I could ask him to please forward it on to Carol Grimes - “So I have to pack it up - walk to the Post Office and post it on…." Yes, I know, it is cheeky… but thank you ever so much, this is really appreciated …
I wrote next to Jimmy Hastings, always a pleasant communication (he has played music with Richard's father, Dick Sinclair), and we saw him last in 2010, here with Richard Sinclair's Birthday Band for Fasano Jazz, also with Canterburian Dave Rees-Williams on piano. Jim was happy to sign and would be expecting to receive this by post from Carol Grimes…
Some time passed, and I became concerned about it getting lost…. I had a couple of days off in my working schedule and contacted Pam and Kevin Mudge Wood, musician friends of long standing from Canterbury and Carol Grimes, and arranged to meet up. Looking forward to the sea air, I took the train from London, changing at Canterbury to get to the friends, now living at the village of Shepardswell, situated close to Folkestone. It was lovely to catch up with the friends again and see the familiar countryside. In the morning, Pam drove me to the house of Carol Grimes.
We had a wonderful time, with hospitable and lively Carol in her beautiful sitting room surrounded by her pictures and flowers, and on the subject of working with Delivery she said Steve (Miller) is one soul that she still misses not having around in the world, and I added, "Richard would agree with you."
She knew about Pete Frame's Canterbury Tree on a tour in Japan, when she was shown her name on it. Consequently, she has called her new book The Singer's Tale
(as there is not one in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
). Carol is still singing naturally and performing, has The Wilde Flowers Choir and other choirs up and running, one designed specifically for benefiting some disabilities, notably Parkinson's disease. What a great day and what an inspiration!
Returning to London with the album cover, I posted it to Mike Wedgwood in Denmark, whom Richard Derrick had contacted already, and he was happy to hear from us. He remembered the bass neck that had broken off his instrument, and that Richard [Sinclair] had utilised it, with a new body made by his father, to make the bass he still plays today! The well-traveled album cover then returned to London, from where I posted it to Jimmy Hastings and asked if he would kindly forward it to brother Pye…
…then came Christmas. I was working with my brother, and he bought me The Singer's Tale
by Carol Grimes! That had become available on Amazon, in the UK. Now that is one amazing story of Carol's young life. Somebody should make it a film. Can recommend this as a great read. By a lucky coincidence, John Etheridge was visiting Pye, and he signed it as well!
I had an e-mail address for John Marshall, and that was good to catch up the news, he had been out of action for a while with back problems but is now playing again in Soft Machine with John Etheridge, Theo Travis and Roy Babbington… and so Roy Babbington autographed the sleeve before sending back to me in London.
I have contacted the Pete Frame website to try and buy a full sized copy of The C'bury Tree for Richard Sinclair, as he has a birthday coming up… there are Soft Machine versions available but sadly the Original Artwork of the whole Scene) has been lost. So if anybody out there has one, please contact:
Heather Sinclair <[email protected]
All the Best, HS.