Monday, April 20, 2009

Spirogyra, Bells, Boots and Shambles, 1973

Easily confused with the American smooth jazz nightmare by the same name (or almost: Spyro Gyra), Spirogyra were everything that their popular 1970’s alter egos were not: long-haired, musically conscientious, fiercely independent, and politically engaged. Perhaps musical celebrity is more than just a competition between analogous Google search terms, but information about the Canterbury acid folk outfit — like physical copies of their records, reissued or otherwise — is notoriously hard to track down. What we do know about the group is limited to a few vital stats: founded by singer and guitarist Martin Cockerham at the University of Kent in Southeast England and featuring a revolving cast of like-minded earthmuffins (vocalist Barbara Gaskin, bassist Steve Borrill, violinist Julian Cusack, and future Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks), Spirogyra produced three stunning records between 1971 and 1973, then vanished off the face of this space-time continuum.

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Words: Emilie Friedlander, Spring 2009

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