Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Christmas!

Angel voices singing high

Angel voices singing low

Pointing upwards to the sky

Showing us the way to go

Angel voices sing your song

Sing it loud, sing it clear

Telling us it won't be long

'Til the Holy One is here

from Rehearsal for a Reunion

A very happy and joyful Christmas to all and thanks to those who have participated in this site over the year.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The lost third album

Sometime ago we commented on the mystery of the lost album, the existence of which John Pac revealed in the sleeve notes of Simply...Parchment. The album was to have been the third released by the band on Pye.

Today John's been on the site adding a number of interesting comments, including some information about the lost album. He can't remember all the tracks but has recalled several. Here they are:

Chicago North West, originally recorded by Juicy Lucy.
Fast train byJohn Pac ( similar to Getting Out of This Town on Hollywood Sunset, he says; that would make it uptempo and acoustic).
How can a poor man stand such times as this (a Ry Cooder great, sung by Sue McClellan).
Money Honey, which was "a brilliant version of a classic".
Denomination Blues, a Ry Cooder song later recorded by the band on Shamblejam.
People and Places, the band's own song, later recorded on Rehearsal for a Reunion.

He says there were some "great classic tracks" but the album was unfinished. I wonder if the album had a name or artwork.

John adds: "Unfortunately the 2 inch masters were also missing at least those that had
vital tracks on them, and there has been no sight of the rough mixes. Believe me I've
searched everywhere and asked everyone."

Well the songs give a flavour of the band's direction at the time but given the band's ability to make other people's songs entirely their own, only a part flavour. Let's be sure this album's waiting in heaven if it's not going to turn up down here!

John also separately tells the story of the band's dobro. You can find that here.

Finally a message for you, John! Randy, the Liberation Suite drummer, has tried to reply to your email but his reply's been blocked by an anti-spammer. He's on a gmail account.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Interesting blog posting

A folk-oriented blog, Time Has Told Me, has posted the album of Light Up the Fire, for downloading. The posting has generated some interesting comments and recollections, especially one about the band playing at someone's school and the headmaster commenting that their (acoustic) sound was "a little loud".

There's got to be mixed feelings about the album being posted for a free download. Some download blogs aim to select albums that are not available on CD and almost all will remove a posting if approached by copyright holders. A lot of bands are delighted to see their work being circulated to new audiences and, of course, in many cases it is very hard to track down the copyright-holders.

In the case of this album almost all the tracks are available on the Simply...Parchment CD. I picked up a CD version a few years ago but it seems to have been a pirate. I believe there was a CD release in the early 90s and I saw a copy change hands on ebay a few weeks ago for a little over £10, rather more than the original vinyl fetches. There's no reason why the posting would deter people from buying Simply...Parchment as the collection encompasses all four albums and some of the singles too. So the effect may well be the opposite and collectors may rush to discover the rest of the band's music and even the wonderful songs released by Sue McClellan through her more recent band, River.

Fish Co - A Grapevine star

Fish Co. Beneath the Laughter. 1977. Producer John Pac. Grapevine 114.

A few weeks ago I got a listen of Fish Co's first album, which was everything I expected - enjoyable, poppy, easy listening songs performed by a Simon and Garfunkel style duo.

Produced by John Pac, the album, Can't Be Bad, included Sue McClellan and Peter Yates-Round on backing vocals on the track goodnight brothers. The sleeve actually records Sue M as "Sue (Won't you come out of that field and stop writing poetry) McClellan".

Now some samples of their Grapevine-issued second album Beneath the Laughter have become available. According to Ken Scott, the expert on the genre, this album is "altogether much darker" than the first. The duo had transformed into a full scale band

Getting Fish Co was a triumph for Grapevine and a mixed blessing. Grapevine may have been the most progressive Christian label but Fish Co, led by the eccentric and much lamented Steve Fairnie, had its sights on the avant garde.

According to some accounts, the band had transformed itself into a new post-punk electro-band, Writz, even before Beneath the Laughter hit the shops. By the time I saw them perform at Greenbelt 1980 they had changed again into Famous Names.

There's now a website which documents Fairnie's amazing and brave career and also offers the samples I have listened to.

These are a revelation, especially if you are looking for the Parchment legacy. Great songs backed by blues guitar, folkie, harmonising female backing vocals by Bev Sage and Barbie Benson of the kind that Parchment specialised in and amazing fade-outs. The sound is that of Shamblejam.

You can listen to Fish Co's first, Myrrh-issued album, Can't Be Bad, here, at the Ancient Star Song Blog.

You can find the Beneath the Laughter samples and the Fairnie story here at This link takes you directly to the story of the album.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Grapevine's last album?

Dave Kelly, whose album Crowning of a Simple Man, was, we believe, released as Grapevine 142, has been in contact.

Dave has generously shared some of his experience of that time, giving a terrific insight into the life of a musician of the period and paying tribute to John Pac's skills. Pac produced a flute and fiddle player from Ireland and a bagpiper for the album. Other backing music came from Dylan's then backing band. Sadly the release of the album was overshadowed by an awful personal tragedy which hit Dave. You can find his account here.

The album was initially released by Pilgrim America and presumably was put on Grapevine for a UK release. So far as we believe it was the last release on the Grapevine label although information about the last round of releases in 1980 has been hard to come by.

Dave has supplied the album's tracklisting:
Side One
1/ King of Love
2/ God Knows Your Heart
3/ Tonight
4/ Supernatural Man
5/ Dead or Alive

Side Two
1/ Turn Your Back
2/ Love Night and Day
3/ Trouble
4/ Sandy
5/ Ballad of J.C.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kevin Gould

Kevin Gould, who was responsible for the marvellous Clear Vision album on Grapevine has been in touch with a number of sites seeking archive material. Kevin's bringing out a new album and it sounds like an interesting project. He plans to link it with a website and is looking for pictures of his early career, which kicked off in 1973. The 1978 Clear Vision album had Parchment providing backing vocals as a band and we wondered if this was the last recording of them performing together as a band.

If you can help, you can find more details at the Ancient Star Song

Pace - The Trial

Pace. The Trial. 1976. Grapevine 104
For their fourth album on the Grapevine label, the team embarked on a musical with a group called Pace. This depicted the trial of Jesus Christ. John Pac joined the performers on mandolin and Pete Yates-Round on the drums. I think I would have enjoyed it in 1976. Now it just seems like a Jesus Christ Superstar imitation, including that annoying way in which rock performers declaimed dialogue during musicals, and doesn't seem to add much to it. It's been posted by the Heavenly Grooves blog. You can download it from there and there's more information also.It would be interesting to know the background - was it written for a touring production?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some Grapevine goodies

Unity. Changes. 1978.
Producer: John Pantry. Grapevine 123.
A terrific Abba style album of mid-70s pop. Side one bops all the way through. Side 2 is slower, mainly devoted to beautifully sung ballads, but its first track Mr Goodlife is a disco classic which sounds as much like the contemporary Scissor Sisters as anyone else.

This band seems to have hailed from Ayr, Scotland, and included somewhere between 16 and 18 members, of whom five sung as soloists. The mainstays were the Goudie brothers and the drummer Ray Goudie has continued to be influential musically, writing the musical Luv Esther.

As for the rest of the band members, this is their group picture from the back of the album. A group of denim-clad mid-70s young people. Are you among them?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Full tracklistings

There are now full tracklistings for the four original Parchment albums posted on the archive site. The listings link back to some of the earlier postings on this site with commentaries on individual albums or songs. The next step, I think, is to post the authorship of each song.

There are also comments posted on several of the Grapevine postings with links to other work by the artists or source material for the albums.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hollywood Sunset

We've spent months working on an article on Hollywood Sunset. It's just been posted but the way the blog system works it's posted when it was first drafted back in March. So follow this link to see it.

Grapevine Discography

There's now a discography of the Grapevine label posted on our archive pages here. There are some gaps so if you can help fill them, please let us know.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dave and Dana's other records

Before recording with Pilgrim/Grapevine Dave and Dana Price recorded one album, which appears to have been self-published: Satisfied in about 1975. This is an album of beautiful simplicity as it consists solely of Dana Lee Price singing and Dave Price playing the guitar with no accompaniment or embellishments. The songs include a couple of Appalachian folk melodies and quite a few covers, especially of songs by Lou Hayles, who was a member of Meet Jesus Music. The only self-penned song is Remain in Me, which also appears on Come on In.

Their fourth album Right Track was released by the Canadian label Rivendell in 1980 and distributed in the UK by Myrrh. Dave Price himself produced it. It uses one or two contemporary electronic effects and is a much more electric album than the earlier ones. It has six of the couple's own songs. Both albums are hugely enjoyable in their own right but maybe lack the heights that the Grapevine production teams, of Parchment and John Pantry, achieved with this couple on Come on In and Morning Star.

That's four albums by this talented couple but no news of them beyond 1980.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Three Great Grapevine Albums

Bill Davidson Stars Wars of Darkness and Light. 1978. Producers: Sue McClellan and Pete Yates-Round. Grapevine 119.
Bill Davidson was with the Joy Strings, the legendary Salvation Army pop band of the 60s, and later played with another, rockier Sally Ann band, Good News, which, so far as I know, produced one great album of driving early 70s style rock New Life.
Star Wars was the first of two albums Bill produced with Grapevine. The second was I Belong To You, Grapevine 129. It shows him as an under-recognised singer-songwriter, using some of the new electronic backing that was emerging at the end of the decade. Publisher is MCPS, rather than Parchment Music.
Some great, and often biting, lyrics include the following: If Jesus came today he'd be a folk singer/He'd tell the truth like it has never been told./He couldn't blame the church for growing old/But he'd crucify the church for growing cold.

Or this:
See God's holy ministers playing at careers/Treading on the meek to get influential ears/Christian love gets so selective/that it sometimes disappears.

The cover tries bravely to reflect the ambitious theme but there's no light sabres! Drums by Pete Yates-Round, Bill does the backing vocals himself. You can hear the earlier New Life album here on the Heavenly Grooves blog.

(30/8/07) This album's now been posted for download at the Ancient Star Song blog .

Salt Beyond a Song. 1977. Producer John Pantry. Grapevine 111.
Celtic tinged folk from a Northern Irish band of four guys and two girls. Pete Yates-Round on the drums. Wonderful instrumentation with instruments including the Bhodran, claves, flute, tin whistles, mandolin, harmonica and 12-string guitar. Hovers on the brink of being a folk classic but let down by the limited contribution from the women vocalists. Publisher is Parchment Music.

Andy McCarroll Epitaph for a Rebel 1978. Producer Andy Kidd. Grapevine 116.

Hugely enjoyable soft rock album with a Billy Joel piano-bashing feel. One song Tombstone is a Dylanesque epic. Published by Parchment Music but no other input from the band. Keyboards by Pete Banks, of After the Fire and earlier of Narnia. Shaggy-haired McCarroll went on to form a New Wave band, Moral Support. McCarroll's first album Through Different Eyes Now came out in 1975 and you can hear it here on the Heavenly Grooves blog.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is this the last gig?

Is this the last gig - and maybe even the last song, that last rousing rendition of Light Up the Fire in front of 30,000 people at the Greenbelt Festival in August 1978?
The picture is taken from the Greenbelt 74-83 commemorative album produced by Myrrh records.
Sue McClellan is definitely wearing the same boiler suit as at Kamperland, a few weeks earlier and judging by her attitude may be leading the audience in the final singalong described by band member Pete Yates-Round.
Sadly the album does not contain live recordings. It is a great listen of Greenbelt greatest hits but the Parchment song is Light of the World from the Myrrh-issued Shamblejam three years earlier. Myrrh anthologised this track a number of times. With stunning electronic effects, it is probably the most sophisticated track on the album, if not the most fun.
Does anyone have any better pictures of Greenbelt 1978 - or indeed any Greenbelt appearances?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Parchment's last member

We've been privileged to hear from Pete Yates-Round, the last band member to join Parchment.

Pete has answered a number of questions for us and also given an account of his time with Parchment and how he came to join the band. It's a great story. We'll report on some of his other answers in the future - as they relate to other topics covered on this site.

Pete places the band's last gig, and effective end, at the Greenbelt Festival in summer 1978, when they ended with a rousing performance of Light Up the Fire.

We asked Pete what it was like playing with Parchment.

His reply: "A fantastic experience: It was a great blessing and honour to be involved with such great people as Sue and John. I think it is fair to say we pushed the boundaries of Christian music during our time together. I know I came in at the tail end but my time with the band was the most concentrated and rewarding time. I met and worked with the best and hopefully the albums which I worked on with the others will stand the test of time and be an inspiration to others.

"As for our public and fans? Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant! The lasting memory of Parchment will always be the final Greenbelt gig when we sang as final farewell 'Light up The Fire' and 30,000 people sang the entire song back to us!"

Pete told us how he came to join the band. Here's his story:
"I think that it is safe to say that Parchment helped change the way that Christian music was accepted by an older Christian generation that was struggling to understand the then modern music culture.

"I remember seeing Parchment from afar at the Festival of Light concert in Hyde Park when they were appearing with Gordon Giltrap and others. I really felt inspired to go back to my church youth group and start writing and singing songs of a more contemporary nature. The Christian music revolution had begun; we suddenly had a bridge that connected our secular tastes with our worship music. We were able to express our beliefs and feelings with our own musical styles. Suddenly we had Christian 'pop stars' and although there was suspicion from some of the older Christian folk that this would lead us all away from the light, others were delighted that suddenly more young people were joining congregations across the country.

"Apart from my local performances in my home town Tonbridge, my Christian musical career really leapt forward when I was asked to join the Christian band Narnia, fronted by the couple Pauline and Jack Filby. We all lived at Cliff Richards house in Little Dunmow, Essex which he donated as a Christian Arts Centre and which was run by Jack and Pauline.

"These were great days as I was able to write and play with great musicians as John Russell (Starship,ATF) Tim Hatwell and of course the hugely talented Pete Banks (After the Fire). We rubbed shoulders with Cliff and guests which included, Mick Abrahams (Blodwyn Pig) Tony Rivers (Strawbs) and even Eric Clapton.

"It was whilst working with Narnia I was first exposed to TV, Radio and appearances at such venues as Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's, The Marquee club and the famous Concerts in St Pauls Cathedral.

"I then had the opportunity of joining an international rock youth group named Credo, (this is where I met and worked with Jan van Srallen, lead guitarist with Whitsuntide Easter, we became firm friends, and it was my influence to include them and new band Voiz onto the Grapevine label) which was based in Holland but then toured Europe and the USA. At 17 (1973) this was a real adventure for me, so I joined and so began my love of being on the road, I lived out of a suitcase for the next eight years.

"After my tour with Credo, I returned to Holland and started to work on the Youth for Christ coffee bar circuit. The Dutch loved the English Christian musicians, and I toured with some great acts, such as Fish Co, Nutshell and of course Parchment.

"I worked for two weeks in Steenwijk with Sue, John, Nick, and Brian as their support and naturally we all got to know each other extremely well. We would jam together and I was overawed that these guys really appreciated my music.

"To complicate matters I was talent spotted by the then CBS label one night and put under contract. The terms insisted that I stay in Holland and wait for my turn to be groomed. I had no real desire to stay and wanted to get back to England and re-establish contact with Sue and John. I did a bunk, and met up with the band in Covent Garden, Brian had decided to leave and they needed a third person for the Chepstow gig. I naturally obliged, and that was the start of the new era."

He added: "You will notice that during those early years a lot of the most gifted and musically influential young Christians' emerged. Paul Field, Steve Rowles, Steve Fairney, Mo Macaferty, Mal Grolsh and many others helped influence and inspire a whole succession of generations to give Christ inspired music the recognition and acceptance that it needed to prove an effective witness."

Pete still lives in Bristol where the band was based in its final years.

He told us: "I stayed in Bristol met my wife and have two grown up girls. I have had a succesfull time in the motorcar business and now work as a consultant to several Prestige manufacturers. I also have a magazine which is just coming up to its first anniversary. I am still involved with the local village Church and community. I keep in regular contact with my great mate Nick Ryan (Bass player writer and producer) and spend quite a lot of time at his mountain home and studio in Kerry South West Ireland writing and recording."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hollywood Sunset

Hollywood Sunset was released in late 1973 by Pye with publicity in the national music press. In December 1973 BUZZ magazine promised a review of the album and an interview with the band in the next issue.

The interview appeared but not the review. And, remarkably, throughout the interview the new album was never referred to by name but only as "the new album".

Why could this have been? Hollywood Sunset was one of two albums to break the mould of the Jesus music scene at this time. The other was Larry Norman's So Long Ago the Garden. The magazine was similarly dismissive of Norman's controversial album, which, in its various pressings, contained little "evangelistic" material and a great deal of sharp comment and introspection.

Whilst BUZZ's parent organisation, Musical Gospel Outreach had pioneered the use of contemporary music styles, it's name indicates the belief that the music was largely there to support evangelisation.

Hollywood Sunset never once mentioned the name of Jesus or God. Just two songs had an explicit Christian message, Gift and Death in Jerusalem. You are my morning was a worship song with ambiguous lyrics. There was road music, urban angst, mysticism and some mild eroticism.

It was intended to break Parchment out of the Christian ghetto and establish them as serious recording artists. It was a professionally produced, early 70s pop album - but was probably about 12 months too late in terms of the rapidly-shifting 1970s pop tastes. It remains a great album and like all four Parchment albums is best listened to as a whole.

Although its pop-style makes it in some ways more dated than the other three albums, it's also probably the strongest lyrically. Songs like You are my morning, Gift and Getting out of this town are beautifully crafted whilst Dobbie's Song and I'm a Man expressed a thoughtful mysticism. The title track, written a couple of years before Star Wars transformed Hollywood's fortunes, seems quite meaningless now but has a classic Parchment sound whilst Death in Jerusalem's freaky electronic effects make it a psych folk classic.

John Pac told Buzz interviewer Danny Smith: "I think it's wrong to trick people into the concert and then to bang the gospel at them. If the music is related to their lives, they're prepared to listen."

Danny Smith wrote: "Parchment's struggle to retain their artistic integrity has caused concern - even doubts and rumours about their Christian commitment."

Pac responded: "People might feel we've compromised but that's not so..."

Curiously the water-coloured sunset cover was echoed by Sue Mack's band River on their second album Rise Like the Sun.

Here's the review that Buzz could have written: "A mould-breaking second album from our greatest band. You don't think it's a Christian album? Check out the ballad Gift and the barnstorming Death in Jerusalem. The album shows the band at their song-writing best with profound and poetic lyrics in songs such as You are My Morning and sing-a-long melodies on songs like Butterfly. Are Parchment still a folk band? This is as much pop as folk but there are still the distinctive harmonies, the mandolin, the dobro and the furiously played acoustic guitars.This is very much a road album, a bunch of musicians leaving their native Liverpool to see the wider world. But will it break the band out of the Christian ghetto? We fear not but hope they won't give up and will continue to write and record innovative and cutting edge music."

Here is that BUZZ interview in full from January 1974.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Live in 73!

Thanks to Roel Velema for these pictures of Parchment performing live in the Netherlands in the summer of 1973. The pictures show John Pac, Sue McClellan and a third member, who must be Jeff Crow. Crow joined them in 1973 but never appeared on a published album with the band although he may have performed on the third lost album that was never released by Pye.

Here is Roel's account:
"Friesland, Summer 1973. Together with two friends, we sailed the lakes of Friesland (the northwestern province of The Netherlands). One afternoon we tied up the boat in Sneek, a town in Friesland. Soon we discovered that Youth for Christ had tent meetings there. We - convinced and dedicated Christians - decided to visit those meetings.

To our surprise we were treated that evening to a concert of extraordinary quality by a British group I never forgot: Parchment.

Promptly that evening I bought their two records: Light up the Fire and Hollywood Sunset. The group personally signed the latter album and I treasured both albums ever since.

Later Parchment also performed a few songs on Dutch television.

So enjoy the three pictures I took that evening in Sneek."

Note: We're planning a feature on the Hollywood Sunset era in the near future. The album was officially released in late 1973.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More albums

Dave and Dana Come on In 1976/1977. Producer John Pantry. Pilgrim Records?
I've managed to obtain a US version of this lost treasure, distributed by Sound III in Kansas, possibly this duo's first album. It's more patchy in quality than Grapevine's Morning Star, relying heavily on songs written by contemporary gospel stars. However Dana Lee Price's voice and Dave Price's guitar work continue to charm and John Pantry's production skills create some neat effects. Pantry produced all four Parchment albums. Parchment's Pete Yates-Round was on the drums. Best tracks and those most likely to appeal to readers of this blog are the self-penned tracks, Come on In and Remain in Me, the sitar-based Melchisedek, a version of the Meet Jesus Music song, and Troublesome Waters, a US country gospel song turned to acid folk.

Dave Price was a Londoner whilst his wife was from Maryland, USA, but gains the title of honorary Brit for her vocal qualities.

Rufaro Rufaro. 1977. Producer John Pac. Pilgrim 432.
This trio, two guys and a girl, seem to have come from South Africa. Despite the blood-drenched album sleeve, they are not heavy metal, as I previously guessed, but a folk trio in the 60s Peter, Paul and Mary style. Best track is the African song Rufaro. Otherwise mostly rather bland with quite a lot of piano. They issued two other albums with Pilgrim so must have had a decent following. These were Person to Person Pilgrim 450 and Take Away the Stone Pilgrim 480

Three pilgrims

Here's a page from a four page pull out in BUZZ magazine, October 1977, marking the band taking over production at Pilgrim Records and the release of their last album Rehearsal for a Reunion. Oddly the piece did not mention the launch of the Grapevine Label.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Grapevine Records

Here are some samples of lost treasures:
Dave and Dana Morning Star. 1978. Producer Sue McClellan. Grapevine 124.
Terrific breathy vocals from Dana Lee Price, who also demonstrates a great rock and roll voice.
Starts with a funky late 70s style number and then ranges through self-penned songs and standards by well-known song-writers of the period. He's not a rumor is their own rock'n'roller. Enjoyed it enormously. Cannot find any trace of any other work by this couple. A shame.

Kevin Gould Clear Vision. 1978. Producer John Pac. Grapevine 122.
A surprisingly strong offering from this Welsh crooner. Gould had a brief moment of fame on the gospel scene but was not regarded as a top league musician. This album is lyrically strong with decent melodies and strong production. He later became a pastor in Alaska, USA, and continues to produce the occasional album.
Backing vocals are attributed to 'Parchment' and song rights are also attributed to "Parchment Ltd". Wonder what happened to Parchment Ltd. And does this mean this is the last album on which they appear as a band?

Malcolm Wild Broken Chains. 1979. Producer John Pac. Grapevine 131
Despite early promise from the opening track, Love is you, a disappointing solo album by one half of the highly rated Malcolm and Alwyn. The combined talents of three great British gospel combos of the 70s, Malcolm and Alwyn, the Alwyn Wall Band and Parchment, together with numerous other musicians, failed to rescue a production relying too heavily on string arrangements. A classic case of the parts of a great song-writing team not being as good as the whole. Enjoyable enough for hardcore Malcolm and Alwyn fans.

Koinonia Gentle as Morning. 1977. Producer Sue McClellan Pilgrim 427
Perhaps where Sue Mack learnt the choral management skills she later applied with such good effect to her own band River. This was an Irish choir, decked in the long pinafore dresses that were fashionable about five years earlier. An enjoyable gallop through some lesser known worship songs of the period. I cannot find any indication they wrote any of their own material.

Pilgrim Records and the Grapevine Label was owned by the Christian publisher Marshall, Morgan and Scott which in turn was owned by the Pentos Group. I believe Pentos went into liquidation in the mid-90s, so who owns the rights of these labels is an intriguing question.

Do you own a Grapevine Record that's not been reported on this site? Could you submit a short review in the above style? Post it here.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Whitsuntide Easter and Grapevine

This is Whitsuntide Easter performing in their home country of Holland. Although they were advertised as performing at the Kamperland Festival in 1978 they did not attend.

The Heavenly Grooves blog now has Grapevine's Whitsuntide Easter Next Time You Play a Wrong Note...make it a short one album to download.
So we can stop saving our pennies for this rarity of rarities. Production was by John Pac and Pete Yates-Round. The sound? very much progressive rock in the Dutch tradition with long instrumental introductions and the merest smidgeon of folk influence.

I'll be reviewing a range of the less valuable Grapevine albums in the near future. What's becoming clear is how the team from Parchment truly put their stamp on this label, leading to consistently interesting production work over a series of several hundred, very diverse albums.

This was our posting sometime ago with a picture of Parchment playing at the 1978 Kamperland Festival, which was in Holland.

(Download policy: we'll post links to downloads for albums that are not available in CD form or readily on the second hand market. If you're a copyright holder and have objections, please let us know)
(Posting up-dated Jan 2008 to make clear venue was not Kamperland Festival. There's also a discussion on this on the next post)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Voiz and Pete Yates-Round

Thanks to the new Heavenly Grooves blog I've been able to listen to one of the Grapevine albums, Boanerges by the Dutch rock band Voiz.

This was produced in 1978 by Pete Yates-Round the "last" member of Parchment. It's a great album in the classic 70s rock mode - but it also contains traces of the lightness of feel and experimentation that you'd expect from Parchment. The standard review, copied on Heavenly Grooves, praises the flute playing but there's also an astonishing use of a ukelele, mandolin-style.

Pete Yates-Round was discovered by the band playing solo in Holland and it seems that Grapevine maintained strong links in both Holland and Northern Ireland. When Brian Smith left after Shamblejam, the band played as a two piece for a while until they came to Chepstow, when, apparently, the organiser demanded a three-piece. Yates-Round was drafted in and John Pac, quoted in Buzz, recalled: "The guy said it was the best he had ever heard us."

A quick Google search suggests Yates-Round has had a subsequent career either as a publisher or a solo musician - or possibly both.

Voiz seemed to have produced a second album Disaster Electronics, the following year. There is no sign of it on the second hand market but Boanerges is selling for about 200 dollars. Meanwhile that elusive Whitsuntide Easter album goes for about 400 dollars and Reynard's first album is up to $155. Also no sign of Rufaro, which we think is another Grapevine rock album, so expect a scramble when that appears.

We have a number of Grapevine albums on order but are reluctant to say more for fear of prices continuing to rise. We should stress that this site is not in the game of bidding or trading high prices for these albums. Wonder who has the masters and the rights to the catalogue.

Roundabout launch

Phil Janvier is a former member of Roundabout, the Liverpool based arts movement associated with Parchment.

His blog now contains some details of an event on January 30th when plans for the Roundabout 08 event will be shared. There are also some recollections of his time working with the band.

"Come ride upon my roundabout
Come swing upon my swing
Come walk upon the water
Play your part in anything"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


After the release of Shamblejam in 1975 the band were at a low ebb, struggling to stay in business.

Although the album was their first to be released in the USA and is one of the great prog folk albums of the 70s, their US-based label Myrrh do not appear to have granted them a US tour. This was not to take place until November 1977.

Sometime in 1976 the British label Pilgrim came to the rescue. Brian Smith had left and John Pac and Sue McClellan took on Pete Yates-Round after meeting him in Holland.

Pilgrim hired the three musicians as a production team with John Pac as head of production. There is some confusion as to what point the Grapevine label was launched as many of the releases seem to have been under the Pilgrim label.

By the time of the release of Rehearsal for a Reunion on Grapevine in late 1977 the trio had been involved in the production of some 40 albums. The three provided guitar, mandolin, drums and backing vocals on many of the records - Pac was the mandolin player and Yates-Round the drummer. The range of output is said to have included choral and classical work.

Examples of the work included: Stewart and Kyle Yours Ever, producer Pac; Koinonia Gentle as Morning, producer McClellan; Ben Forde The Supreme Sacrifice, producer Yates-Round; Rufaro Rufaro, producer Pac.

Stewart and Kyle were quite well known, Koinonia was an Irish choir whilst, judging by their album cover, Rufaro may have been a heavy metal band.

Source: Pilgrim Advertising Feature, Buzz Magazine October 1977


Well we now know one or two people are reading this blog so here's a list of tasks for the coming year

I'm going to get answers to some of my questions and also to some of yours, if you let this site know what they are.

First of all I have an invitation to put some questions to the great John Pac. I'll be in touch with John in due course but probably after some more research.

I've uncovered a stack of old Buzz magazines. This was the British gospel rock magazine and over the years its articles and interviews chronicle the rise and fall of a truly great band. I'll be posting some of those in the near future.

I also want to find out about the environment the band operated in and what their legacy is. In particular I want to find out more about the Grapevine label which emerged from a relatively stodgy British gospel publisher, Pilgrim, and seems to have been given its head to record music from a large number of innovative and not particularly mainstream musicians, such as Reynard.

Ultimately it released Parchment's last album Rehearsal for a Reunion but before that it was using band members in its production studios and seems to have given John Pac his entry into the music publishing business.

Much of this music is now causing excitement and involves bands few people knew about at the time. They cannot be found in the pages of Buzz, for instance. I'm looking forward to hearing samples of the music of the Dutch band Whitsuntide Easter for instance but, regrettably, it is unlikely to be through buying copies of their album which retails for several hundred pounds.

For 2007, both questions and answers are welcome!