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of John McLaughlin 1959-75 is the result: 160,000 freshly burnished words and masses of new visual content, from unpublished photos to period press ads.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.
So what am I doing on Kickstarter? Well, I need a little help towards the printing costs. I guess I’m effectively hoping to pre-sell copies. It won’t happen otherwise. I’ll sign every copy pledged for and I’ll absorb part of the postage costs. I can also offer a package including my own limited edition instrumental albums Sunset Cavaliers (2016) and Titanium Flag (2017), the former featuring former Mahavishnu Orchestra members Steve Kindler and Premik Tubbs and the latter Premik Tubbs (along with many other great players.
This book printing will be 200 copies only. IF it looks like there's genuine demand beyond that I may get another 100 copies printed, but it may well be that will be only 200 in the world. It's a question more of preserving the information than selling lots of copies - but that said, it's a fun read!
So, what's in the new book, then? Well, read on…
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 cut 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 original 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, with photos.
• ‘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’ – licensed 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’ – licensed reproductions of five 1970–72 Melody Maker pieces on John McLaughlin and Lifetime by the legendary writer.
• ‘The Un-Average White Band’ – new recollections from Steve Kindler on an abortive Mahavishnu Orchestra photo session, salvaged photo included.
• ‘New Gleanings from Old Sources’ – a scrapbook of vintage quotes and pieces of information from 60s/70s print sources 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 three glossy photo sections with previously unpublished photographs including items newly licensed from Christian Rose (France), Bill Smith (Canada), Jak Kilby (UK) and Michael Parrish (USA) and impossibly rare publicity shots of John with Herbie Goins and with Big Pete Deuchar, along with some photos repeated in larger scale or in colour from Bathed In Lightning.
Additionally, the following substantial revisions to the original e-book bonus content have taken place:
• Big Pete Deuchar & the Professors of Ragtime – this chapter on John McLaughlin's first pro band (1959-60) has been extensively revised and expanded 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.
If all that sounds like something you'd like to have on your shelf, do please pledge something - and do please spread the world because, seemingly alone in the world, I have no social media presence...
Risks and challenges
Hopefully my credentials as a writer will be a guarantee of quality in this book. These credentials include:
* 25 years of experience in national (UK and Ireland) magazine and newspaper writing
* similar long experience in supervising or annotating archive CD projects for many labels (Hux, Ace, RPM, Sanctuary, Cherry Red, etc.)
* again, similar long experince in overseeing several CD projects of my own (taking care of all the processes - content creation, design, manufacture, distribution, publicity - shared with a self-published book project)
* five published non-fiction books, from 'Dazzling Stranger: Bert Jansch and the British folk and blues revival' (Bloomsbury, 2000; revised 2006 and 2011) to 'The Wheels of the World: 300 Years of Irish Uilleann Pipers (Jawbone Press, 2015).
Customer reviews of my books can easily be found online.
The text of the proposed book 'Echoes From Then' is about 97% complete as of the start of this Kickstarter campaign, with licenses already paid for all the outside photo and textual content referred to in the project description.
Typesetting and design are pencilled in for late July. I have already covered all the research costs and licensing costs myself, and I will cover the typesetting/design costs myself - both tasks being undertaken by professionals of impeccable credentials in their fields. The printing estimate - from a firm of sound reputation that specialises in short-run books - is in the region of £1200, and it is the majority of this with which I could use some help.
I foresee no risks whatsoever. I have held fire on this campaign until the work is virtually done and all the ducks are in a row.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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