Spirogyra interview with Martin Cockerham

November 12, 2012

Spirogyra interview with Martin Cockerham

Spirogyra are one of the prime examples of
British psychedelic/acid folk. They released some of the most unique and
amazing albums in the genre and their story is very interesting. What we have
here is an interview I did with the mastermind behind the project, Martin
Cockerham. He shared all the great stories, that happened to the band and he
revealed, that something new is going on. “Lost”1970’s recordings of
the band have been found. Also a new line up and album is coming for 2013. More
in the interview.
Spirogyra was formed as a duo in Bolton, Lancashire in the summer of 1967 by you and Mark Francis. I want to ask  firstly about your childhood and teen years. Where did you grow up and what are some memories and influences from those early years?
I was born on Ilkley Moor ba tat – in the Yorkshire Dales! But I grew up mainly in the New Forest in a village called Nomansland from 4-10 years of age. My first school was the Nomansland village school and after that I went to school at Salisbury cathedral. – Bishops Palace School. My Dad was a great jazz pianist and he had restaurant and hotel in Salisbury town square. Later he opened a cellar jazz club also, but he was too soon for the big club boom that came in the 60’s and he went bust. We moved back to Yorkshire – Saltaire, at the beginning of 60’s and that’s where I was when the Beatles started. Their first single ‘Love Me Do’  just started to be played on Radio Luxemburg almost the same day I started listening to the radio and popular music age about 12 I guess. In fact I liked them before I heard the music when the dj’s were talking about this exciting new band called ‘The Beatles’! However, I soon became more of a Stones fan in the early days until around 1966 when the Beatles surged far ahead in terms of being progressive and psychedelic. The Stones were left behind and I never liked the Stones one iota after Brian Jones died. I went to Salts Grammar school. After that I spent 2 years in South Wales, in Creigiau – a small village near Pentyrch, Glamorgan.I went to Whitchurch Grammar school where I couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying for 2 years!! I don’t know how – but I did manage to get 9 ‘O’ Levels, failing only French. Which goes to show – never try to learn French from the Welsh! 
My family moved to Bolton Lancashire in 1966, when I was age 16 – to the sounds of ‘Revolver’! I formed the Bolton version of Spirogyra with Mark Francis in the summer of 1967. At the end of 68 I took a gap year and hitch hiked around Europe to Israel. I stayed in the caves on Crete and then a kibbutz in Israel and Jerusalem. When I was too broke to get a ticket home I got a job as a terrorist guard in the Sinai desert. I ended up camped between the Isreali and Egyptian army near the Suez canal just when they started another war! I escaped by hitching a ride on the back of a tank heading to the war – then turned right before the canal and finally after a string of adventures too long to recount here, got a  ship back to Marseilles. Then late summer 1969 I went to Kent University in Canterbury. That’s where and when (1969) I formed the classic Canterbury version of Spirogyra.
From where did you and Mark know each other and how did you come to an idea to form a duo?
We were in Bolton school together. A good school for wizards as both Gandalf and I went there amongst others! Of course I was a new boy in the school – but the word got out that I was a drummer. Fellow school boys Mike Stone and Mark Francis were needing a drummer for their ‘Cream’ style blues band and they asked me to join. I named the band ‘William Shakespeare’s Magical Miracle Makers’. During those days the lead guitarist, Mike Stone taught me how to play guitar as I was a huge Dylan fan and I started by learning his songs. Around then I got heavily into ‘The Incredible String Band’  which influenced Mark Francis and I to start Spirogyra as a folk duo in 1967.
What would you say was the scene in your town back then?
Those were cool years everywhere…flower power. We had a good scene in the new Octagon theatre Bolton. They had a Saturday morning ‘Bluesology’ sort of open mike event. Mark and I featured at that a few times 68-69. Later Canterbury Spirogyra played there many times. We also staged a whole Dramatical Musical production there. A week of our own show ‘Home in the World’. Sadly, so far as I know it was neither filmed nor recorded! We had many fans in Bolton, and in Norwich where Julian was from and in Canterbury especially. Also we got major support in Holland mostly due to a man called Frank Van Der Meiden who with Max, our manager, arranged all our many tours there.
You went to the University of Kent at Canterbury and in December 1969 you expanded the band to include fellow students Barbara Gaskin (vocals), Steve Borrill (bass guitar), and Julian Cusack (violin).You were soon spotted by student union entertainments officer Max Hole, who offered to manage you and got you a recording contract with B&C Records. Tell me about those early days of Spirogyra. What do you remember from playing together before releasing an album?
I started the Canterbury Spirogyra with Julian Cusack. We were both students at Kent University in Canterbury in our first year  and we were both in the same college – Keynes College boarding there too during that first year. Julian, who had been classically trained in piano and violin, and I decided to get together 3 songs for the College folk club. It was quite a happening scene the folk club in those days 1969 and the 60’s folk/acoustic music craze was peak booming. Julian and I turned up at the folk club – this is October 1969.
Julian and I are due to appear somewhere in the middle of proceedings. Just before us Max Hole plays – He’s the new students’ union social secretary and gives a good turn on the guitar with a couple of ‘Who’ songs. But nobody (including us) is quite ready for the decided bringing down of the house that Julian and I manage to achieve. We receive a standing ovation and encore and plough into what is to become our standard encore song over the next 5 years – a song called ‘The Forest of Dean’ written primarily by myself with a middle 8 melody contributed by Mark Francis. This song has a simple sing-along at the end and we have the words written up on a piece of card with my best friend Paddy, also from Bolton School, engaged to hold it up at the appropriate time. The result is a standing ovation and the complete devastation of all competition at the folk club, which is so total that Max, there and then, resolves to give up folk singing and go instead into management.
Shortly after that Julian and I put on a huge ‘Spirogyra’ event in Keynes College. In the intervening time we’ve been advertising for musicians and practicing with them. So I decide to put on a ‘happening’ and see what comes out of it. The result was a big success and to quote from Rick Biddulph’s article in the University Press describing the event. “It’s a great start to the year and all credit to Martin….”
After the concert Julian and I decide to narrow down the band to the musicians we like best. The other two are Steve Borrill on bass, an older tall and thin student with tremendously long hair and a great musician. The last to join is Barbara Gaskin, a stunningly beautiful and charismatic girl with a beautiful voice. She’s a friend of Steve Hillage, another musician at the University, who also played at the big ‘Spirogyra’ birthing event. He’s already in a London band called ‘The Egg’ and an extremely brilliant and creative guitar player and song writer. It was Steve Hillage who introduced Barbara to me as a potential singer. Barbara is a celestial and beautiful English girl of the sophisticated southern variety (from Hatfield). An English literature undergrad, and the sort of quality person who made England excel throughout time. A beautiful vocalist and person beyond comparison. “Spirogyra’ was blessed indeed to have landed Barb.
At this time in my life, I’m furiously writing songs for the band whilst going through various girlfriends and the associated heartache. It’s a highly creative time in my life and sometimes I write a whole song in a day. Other songs evolve over a period of weeks into long changing epics. These are the days of psychedelic folk and I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of what one can do with a folk song, trying always to go into new and uncharted territories, often using strange open tunings I come across myself. I would advise that you listen to the music along with reading this. The music is the constant background to my life from this point on (actually since 68) and you can glean a lot about the things I was going through by hearing the music and reading the lyrics.
Meanwhile, Steve Borrill, who is an older student in his last year, is already renting a beautiful large ramshackle house down in the centre of the town of Canterbury, just near the cathedral’s back gate -The Bishop’s School gate. A fantastic location, and cheap, with 5 bedrooms. The whole band re-locates to this house at 5 St. Radigund’s St. whilst I find another house a little further down the same street, right next to the river. Barbara, Steve Hillage, Julian Cusack and his girlfriend Sarah and Steve Borrill and his girl friend Helen all live in the house. Then there’s Pete Rhodes, an artist and student at the local Art College and a great friend and philosopher. The house is a fantastic place to be, with all kinds of ‘cool’ young people constantly dropping by, such as the guy who first played Jesus in ‘Hair’, whose name escapes me, and other musicians like Ian Dury who was one of  Pete’s teachers at the art college. Ian hadn’t yet got into being a performer himself and I remember him sitting in the corner listening as we rehearsed. I’ve been told by progressive music experts that actually Spirogyra was maybe the first ‘punk’ band although we never got that category as it was just one of the elements of our sound.
The band rapidly progresses to build up an impressive repertoire of new songs, mostly written by yours truly in my pangs of love of late teens and deep philosophical search for ultimate truth. Before long, in the summer of 1970, I’m given a room in 5 St. Radigunds also, which is actually the nicest room, having a balcony overlooking the grape vine above the courtyard. It is actually the best room in the house, but the snag is that its next to the only bathroom and everyone has to go through my bedroom to get to it. I don’t care because it’s a great fun house to live in with constant visitors and a great location right in the epicenter of town near the Kings School Gate to the Cathedral.
Meanwhile Max Hole has become our manager, and is starting to get us gigs, beginning at the University itself and then increasing to Universities and Colleges around the country. We do a fantastic concert at the Gulbenkian theatre in the University itself. And another at the famous ‘Foundry’ in Canterbury town. Max usually gets us gigs as the ‘Kent University band’ – which helps to get gigs in the beginning at Universities, but later on we get branded as a ‘University band’ which gets us put, at the time, in a narrow category, and probably backfires on our chances of more immediate success. We travel all over the country in Steve’s little green transit van. We’re joined by Pete Bell as our roadie and sound engineer. Steve and Pete make all our PA equipment themselves! Our progress is rapid and we start to play really well as a band with lots of live practice. You’d have to say that Max as our manager is one of the main elements of our success, not just as a booking agent but as a general glue and good times creator for the band.

Their manager as shown on the flier of the
gig was Max Hole. He is now rated by Billboard as the most powerful music biz
executive in the world outside America. He’s currently Chief Operating Officer
of Universal Records International. He was also the producer for the band.

Around this time, we do two-demo recordings
at the music room in Keynes College engineered by Pete Ball. These recordings
are used by Max to seek out a recording contract for the band, which he
succeeds in doing with Sandy Robertson and ‘September Productions’. These early
recordings are subsequently to be stored in the attic of Pete’s friend and to
spend 30 years unheard until they resurface and are issued as the ‘Spirogyra’
4th album ‘Burn the Bridges’ and largely with thanks to the work of Barbara
Gaskin in making it happen. All the recordings are done live without the
benefit of multi tracking. It’s essentially the band playing in a room and the
sound being mixed live into stereo onto a Revox 2 track tape recorder. None of
the vocals are done later as overdubs. As a result the recordings tend to be
much more vibrant and alive than the modern approach used these days which is
often to do everything to a click track layer by layer. Our early recordings,
including the first 3 studio albums, were never done with mechanical time or
click tracks. We speed up or slow down as the feeling grabs us and the result
is apparent, and full of passionate intensity.
Of special note is the fact that some of
these early recordings were as yet unreleased – but may be coming soon on a new
Spirogyra album featuring unreleased songs and recordings from 69-74. The album
includes some of my earliest songs. There’s also another album, hopefully to be
completed – of songs that would have made up the next album after ‘Bell Boots
& Shamble’ if we had still had a recording contract. But we didn’t and the
times they were a changing! That is an album all recorded live at the peak of
the acid folk era 1973!
Our touring extends all over the country so
this prompts us to request a Sabbatical leave of absence of one year from
University to see where the music career takes us. We begin to tour Holland,
Denmark, France and Germany also. I’m actually ready to drop out altogether
from University, and in fact soon do so along with Max, but in order to keep
Julian and Barbara who do not want to dropout altogether, we instead take a
sabbatical years leave from College. Looking back on it we were so unbelievably
lucky and blessed then that all our college was paid for by the state as well
as living expenses. In those days everything was so cheap and it’s long before
today’s horrendous things like VAT and council tax and busy body government and
cameras everywhere! Our student days were nothing but bliss practically,
although one did have to do a modicum of study, it rapidly paled into
insignificance compared to the huge cultural circus going on all around. Even
we could see, with rising unemployment and the like, that students were coming
out of University fully qualified, but no jobs to be had. We rather fancied
jobs like the Beatles thanks very much!!!
Whose idea was it to name the band
“Spirogyra” and what’s the background of the word?
It was my idea. First I thought of ‘Amoeba’
as a primordial elemental living organism! Then I thought since ‘Spirogyra’ is
that too – plus multi celled, and a band, that it was more appropriate.
So, in 1971 your debut, titled St.
Radigunds was released. What are some of the strongest memories from producing
and recording this LP? The title of the LP was named after the street that your
student house was located, right?
Martin Cockerham, Barbara Gaskin with Steve
Borrill and Julian Cusack
St. Radigund’s was produced by Robert
Kirby, who also produced Nick Drake. It was recorded in Sound Techniques Studio
London where Nick Drake and the Incredible String Band recorded with the same
engineer – Jerry Boys. As to the name of the album – we all ended up living at
5 St. Radigund’s street in Canterbury so we named the album after the street.
Memories of recording it are mixed. It was very exciting being our first
experience in a real recording studio. On later albums I tended to try to tone
down my pushy vocals and have more of Barbara – but there are many Spirogyra
fans who like St Radigund’s the best for this very reason! Its rated very high
by critics on the charts of acid folk albums of all time. In the top 5.

What can you say about the concept behind
the album and what can you tell me about your songwriting, by that I mean what
are some inspiration themes, that influenced you to write?
The songwriting was constantly
evolving…mostly love and spiritual esoteric themes about mystical visions of
the future and the search for the purpose of life as well as world revolution.
A tortured Dostoyevski type genius I was called…I was very mentally tortured
for a while by having taken enough mescaline to douse 10,000 horses all in one
go in Isreal. I went to heaven and I went to hell then I remained suspended
between..eventually I decided it had to be heaven – so off I went. I left all
my family and dearest friends behind and how and why I’m still not sure.
“Old Boot Wine” followed and your
sound changed a lot. What can you tell me about it?
It was adding Mark Francis and having less
Julian Hence less violin. On Old Boot Wine we changed to Max as producer. We
liked Max as producer. He created a good vibe in the studio. I guess I tried to
tone down my aggressive vocals a lot on ‘Old Boot Wine’ and have more of
Barbara. We probably felt it might be more popular! But these days I meet many
people who liked that early intensity in Spirogyra.
Your last album from that period was
back in a vein of the first one, but this time only as duo between you and

Barbara and I were gigging as a duo at that
time…the others only joined us for recording. I wrote all the songs for
‘Bells Boots & Shambles’ staying in the basement cellar flat of Austin John
Marshall on Battersea Bridge Road, London. The recording itself was done in
Morgan Studios which was about the best studio in London at the time. The whole
experience of recording that album was fantastic and it could make an article
in itself.
How about some concerts? You were very
well known and had some kind of underground following if I may say so. Please
tell me with who all did you play and what are some favourite memories?

Arnhem, Holland March 16, 1974
Martin Cockerham: Acoustic Guitar, Vocals,
Barbara Gaskin: Vocals, Electric Piano,
Rick Biddulph: Electric & Acoustic
Guitars, Bass
Jon Gifford: Sax, Clarinet, Flute,
We got lots of good gigs in colleges and
universities all over Britain and also in Germany and Holland and Denmark and
France. All of this was due to our manager Max who moved up to London and
joined Geoff Jukes in an agency managing Camel and Spirogyra amongst other
bands. Max was a major part of the band. A dynamic guy with a great sense of
humour and always fun to be around. He kept us all together as long as
possible. But Julian was determined to go back to university, probably because
his father would have killed him had he not! So he left the band. After that I
added Mark Francis back into the band for a short time…but he also was not free
to stay as he was still in Bolton. Steve soon became restless, so it ended up
being just me and Barbara touring around England doing gigs. The others still
joined us for recording. Then I added Rick Biddulph and Jon Gifford to the
band. In my own opinion that was the best band….that last foursome of the
classical period. You have to listen to the 
Spirogyra album if I manage to get it out which features that band from
1973-1974 to realise how good this band was. The main strengths were that Barb
took to electric piano and she was getting good. Jon Gifford was brilliant on
sax, flute, clarinet and harmonica and so was Rick Biddulph on various guitars
and bass! Rick later played with Richard Sinclair of Caravan and so did Steve
Borrill and Barbara – in Hatfield and the North.
Then for some reason even I don’t know..but
mainly because I was somewhat mentally searching from taking psychedelic drugs (only
once I should add – in Israel in 1968) so that I just had to search out the
meaning and purpose to life. So I went off to Ireland and travelled by horse
and cart alone and I ended up going to India for 3 years staying at holy places
there and becoming a strict monk with no drugs, no sex and no rock and roll! I
became such a devout monk that I pretty much cut off all my family and friends
links back in England. Even when a few times someone wanted to visit me in
India I was no longer free to make my own decisions being a monk in a monastery
and had to ask permission for them to stay and it was always denied if they
were female!
When I came back in 1978-79 I quickly
contacted Barbara who came back from India too. We started working on a new
album ‘Seer’s Songs’ in 1979. But before we had it finished she got invited to
sing with Dave Stewart on the song ‘Its My Party’ – it went to number 1 for 17
weeks (longest number one in British history). After that she was rushed into a
totally different reality and the result was that we never got to complete the
new Spirogyra album we had been working on. After that time froze over and
I escaped to the island of Bali where I stayed 4 years –  then to California and Hawaii. Long story!
Best memories – oh that’s a difficult one.
It was all good memories. Actually the best memory of all was recording ‘Bells
Boots and Shambles’ with Max and Barbara and gigging with Barbara, Rick and Jon
since we got on a lot better than the original. There was some tension of egos
in the original, but with Rick and Jon and Barb it was all bliss. It seems
tragic that such bliss should be so short lived. But the times and destiny did
not sustain us. We were destitute with no more recording contract and no money
to pay the huge London rent. Every month we were on a cliff hanger about where
the money would come from. The times moved on and we were washed down by the
tide. Luckily we still have some recordings from then that survived by a
miracle. I think the next album to ‘Bells Boots And Shambles’ would have been
the best, had we had a record contract to do it professionally. Anyway.. It
exists only by high magic. (Vintage bootleg wine – special reserve).
Were you connected with members of
Comus, since musically you are very close in my opinion?

No – not at all, although some of the other
band members may have known them. But I didn’t even hear of them until they
resurfaced many years later!
Our best other musician mates were Dr.
Strangely Strange and later with Richard Sinclair of Caravan. Also we were
mates with Ian Dury and Steve Harley and Steve Ashley of Albion Country Band.
I met Marc Bolan and Cat Stevens as my flatmate in London knew them well -John
Marshall. He got me a job making the first music video for Black Sabbath and
Ozzie. He made the first Jimi Hendrix film also. I also was very lucky to
become quite good friends with Paul and Linda McCartney  In fact Paul was quoted in the London evening
standard as saying that I inspired the writing of one of his songs – ‘One of
these Days’ on the day we first met on a summer’s evening in rural Sussex. Paul
once gave me alone a private concert in George Martin’s studio in London. He
played me ‘Blackbird’ ‘Yesterday’ and then he played me the first song he ever
wrote on his actual first ever guitar – which he had in a special small room in
the studio. It was classic. George Martin was a bit pissed off waiting for Paul
to record his new Pipes of Peace album at the time!
On that other question – Spirogyra did gigs
with some great bands and I can’t remember all of them by any means. The ones
that stick in my memory are: The Who – a massive gig with just Spirogyra and
The Who in Canterbury. Rod Stewart and the Faces. Traffic with Stevie Winwood a
huge gig at Leeds University, Quintessance, ummm “he blew his mind out in
a car ma”. And lots of other hard gigging folkies of the time like Mike
Chapman, John Martin, Magna Carta, Arthur Brown etc.
Around 1973 you started to experiment,
but that was not released on an album, but these days you have issued privately
new editions of old Spirogyra material and some previously unreleased work. What
can you tell me about this and how many material is still unreleased?

This pic is 1972-74 Spirogyra:  Martin, Barb, Rick and Jon. I am trying to
release at some point an album of that Spirogyra line up live recorded in 73-74
doing the songs that I wrote as a follow up to the ‘Bells Boots & Shambles’
album. Unfortunately we no longer had a record contract at the time. But in my
opinion it would have been, or will be, our best album! Barb and I started an
album in 79’ but never finished it on account of her hit record and my constant
travelling. But the last thing she ever said to me in person was “Martin
keep writing” – So I followed her advice. I kept writing a new album of
songs every 2-3 years. Even when I injured my wrist in America and could not
play guitar for 10 years I continued writing songs on keyboards…but I never
had money to record any of them properly. I was always living down and out. For
almost 2 years I lived in a remote semi jungle in Hawaii just on wild food with
not a penny. Those were my Tarzan years! After 15 years in Hawaii I got tired
of hearing Bob Marley and realized that the only way I could realize my music
dreams was to return to Europe. So I left ‘paradise’ and returned to hell –
London!! Things did not go well for a long time, although Mark Francis and I
started writing songs together again. Apart from that there was little help
coming and I fell sick with asbestos (silicone) in
Hackney, London. I was in hospital for months on deaths door. After that my
lungs were scarred with fibrosis and since then I was always exhausted and out
of breath. It didn’t stop me singing or writing songs though!
You reunited with Mark Francis using your
original Spirogyra name, and from 2004 to 2006 you recorded a new album which
was released in 2009, entitled Children’s Earth. At the same time another new
album called Rainbow Empire, while officially your solo release, featured the
same collaborations. Would you like to say a few words about it?
I did them both on a shoe string budget.
There’s only a few copies left of these and a vinyl album we did called –
Spirogyra 5. Pending a future re-recording, re-mixing or mastering to get them
up to a higher standard when there is money to do it on a top level.  But of those efforts I am very happy with the
‘Rainbow Empire’ album. It has good song writing collaborations with Mark and
Robin Runciman and lots of great musicians on it including Mark Francis – and
best of all it is recorded live old style.
Another project you have is
“Iskcon” and “Krishna Colours”. Would you like to share a
few words also about this?
I joined Iskcon in Vrindavan, India in
1975. I was initiated in Vrindavan by the Hare Krishna founder guru: His Divine
Grace AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I was his driver in India for a while
and had much chance to be in his company – about 108 times in all. He taught me
so many things.  I travelled all over
India extensively opening up Hare Krishna in its rejuvenated form. Subsequently
I opened the first Hare Krishna temple in Bali and other ones in Hawaii,
Ireland etc. Sometimes I did that, but other times  I went into country retreat for inspiration
to write songs. After Prabhupada’s departure in 1977 the Hare Krishna movement
gradually changed from the raggle taggle gypsy version I joined in the
beginning, and became much more orthodox and institutional. Meanwhile, I myself
returned to my natural liberal, laissez faire state about spirituality. I’m not
a one to idealize a world with only one faith, nor a garden with only one
variety of flower! I have a huge variety of friends with many different views
on life. I take people on a one by one basis. I believe in the basics like
re-incarnation, karma, the gods, vegetarianism, yoga, mantra etc. These are all
major tenets of my life. But I’m a very free spirited person and not much into
rules and regulations. I like kings and queens who can unite people, and make
decisions immediately, much better than endless laws, politicians and gurus who
separate everyone! 

Krishna Colours is a band I have with an
Indian musician named Amit Swami. Its mostly bhajan and kirtan, but with very
original melodic music. We will be recording our second album this winter 2013.
What are you currently up to and what are
perhaps some future plans?
I’m working on plans for 3 new Spirogyra
albums in 2013/14 – one with a new Spirogyra and also releases of old material.
My other project now is a major motion
picture movie. It is a 3 part trilogy like star wars or Lord of the Rings or
Mahabharata. It’s an epic fantasy movie, with music and comedy. Just working on
writing the script at this stage. Also trying to set up eco-villages – organic
artist/yoga/old style farmer communities. Its a typical magic martin cocktail!
Thanks a lot for taking your time! Would
you like to share anything else? A message to It’s Psychedelic Baby readers?
See you on the psychedelic, light side of
the moon, my friends!
Spirogyra web site:
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2012
© Copyright
  1. Ivan Peter Pawle

    Great Stuff, Martin ! You can't keep a good man down Just keep on keeping on in your rich and inimitable vein xx Ivan

  2. John Cutts

    Spirogyra - one of the best live acts I ever saw at college in the 70's. My musician friends and myself learned Duke of Beaufort by heart -you should have heard the two girls singing their hearts out. More music please Martin - been a while. Best wishes John Cutts

  3. Jonathan Gifford

    Just stumbled on this. Please give my love to Martin! He's right: playing with Martin, Barabara and Rick was all bliss. Great music; good times; not much food! Jon Gifford

  4. Anonymous

    I love the music of Spirogyra. I want to buy the lastest two albums but the website www.rainbowempire.com
    is not online.

    Please can you help me ?

    Manjer Heibel (Holland)

  5. trevor ivey

    .spyrogyra 1970's max hole

    I booked Spyrogyra to play at the then Bolton Institute of Technology (now University) on 28th Nov 1970 for £50 (I have original contract and ticket). I was overwhelmed at the support for the band and always remember the night! Good luck with your renaissance.

  6. Anonymous

    I didnt find SPIROGYRA until about 1990, when a friend played me some of his acid folk records-He gave me a (polydor) BB&S and (cbs) TREES-On The Shore LPs to take home. There were not even bootlegs of these out then, let alone CDs-they were so obscure and un- 'with-it' musically.
    l in love.
    I played it on tape almost all the way back up and down the coast (101) from Seattle to San Francisco, non stop. I then found St Radians, and fell even deeper in love-the music reawakened a part of reality that i thought had drifted away from me-due to the mean and materialistic time of the 1990s.
    (for some strange reason, i simply cannot listen to OLD BOOT WINE-it doesn't have any magic to me-I can't explain-the other 2 albums flowed into me with no resistance. OBW just....sat in my collection unplayed-after just SAMPLING each track once.)

    The profound and knowing lyrics and the lovely music eventually had me putting select songs up on YouTube-some of the first;

    I have to ask this about lovely Barbara-with such a gifted lovely voice, why she would use it to sing ditties from the 1950s-and other-non progressive/commercial music-i just cannot fathom...peace and health to all never the less-i would love to hear the album that should have come after BB&S....

  7. Sad to say our dear Martin cockerham Mahaksa Spirogyra left his body a few days ago in thailand . his frail lungs packed in finally . He was such a great colourful soul, visionary, song writer, straight from the heart , love child, radical free thinking gentleman and true spirtually aare being . He will be greatly missed on many levels . RIP. Love you one in a trillion . xxx

  8. Sad to say our dear Martin cockerham Mahaksa Spirogyra left his body a few days ago in thailand . his frail lungs packed in finally . He was such a great colourful soul, visionary, song writer, straight from the heart , love child, radical free thinking gentleman and true spirtually aare being . He will be greatly missed on many levels . RIP. Love you one in a trillion . xxx

  9. Robin Runciman

    Devastating losing Martin - the end of an era for me - we were born in the same year in 1950 and very much shared the same views on music and the world - he was my major inspiration and he stayed with me for 18 months when I was living in Abbey Road. He took some of my poems and put them into his songs - he always encouraged me - as I write this his loss fills my eyes with tears - I feel I lost my real soul mate - will love him forever - am listening to his wonderful album " Seers Songs ". The last years of Martin's life were very hard for him and very hard to observe - he soldiered on with his mission right to the end. His life and his spirit fills me with such deep emotions of grief - yet I know he has gone somewhere really special - the unemployed emperor as he once described himself is surely back in The Rainbow Empire where he belongs xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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