Jade interview with Marianne Segal

April 9, 2013

Jade interview with Marianne Segal

Jade released only one LP back in the early
70s, which is now considered as one of the pillars of British folk music right up
there with Fairport Convention. Marianne Segal explained the whole story of Jade
and project that she was involved with later in her career.
you for taking your time, Marianne. How did your musical path begin?
Hello, it’s a pleasure to be interviewed
for Psychedelic Baby Magazine.
I was very interested in music from a very
young age and I listened to the songs of the 50s & 60s era and was a
particular fan of the early Rolling Stones. In 1964 when I was around 16 years
old, I saved up for my first guitar and was introduced to the sounds of Bob
Dylan by a fellow guitarist.  On hearing
Dylan’s songs for the first time I was spurred on to learn to play and sing
these songs and this then introduced me to some of the traditional ballads
recorded by Joan Baez and then onto listening to other folk artists.
Around this time some local friends were
forming their first Band and they asked me to be their singer.  It was just a fun situation, but it gave me
the experience of working with a group. Our drummer was Danny Kirwan. Danny
wanted to learn the guitar and so borrowed mine. It was clear that he wanted to
switch from drums to guitar and he was such a natural player.  We all went our separate ways, but an excited
Danny came to see me at The Nags Head folk club in Battersea when Jade was just
starting out in 1970, to tell me he was joining Fleetwood Mac.
went on to form a duo in 1966 with a guitarist, Malcolm Laws and we played in
our first folk club. That night I was signed up for management by the club
organisers, Dave Jones & Colin Deacon and became a regular singer at this
club – ‘The Nags Head’ in Battersea, London, a folk & blues club. I was
fortunate to then meet and hear many fine artists play at this club over the
months, such as Shirley Collins, Gerry Lockran, Dave & Toni Arthur, The
Bracken, Don Shepherd and so many others.
Dave & Colin then urged me to begin
songwriting and this was the push that got me writing in 1967.
After working for a while in The Nags Head
Folk Club as a regular weekly singer and also doing my first concert at
Battersea Town Hall, London, with Alex Campbell and Black Cat Bones, I also
began to get bookings in other folk clubs, spreading my wings a little further
afield and this is how I then came to meet Dave Waite.
Marianne’s first photo shoot ever at
Clapham Junction railway station, London
Where have you and Dave Waite met?
We met at a folk club called ‘The Anglers’
in Teddington in Surrey in 1967. Dave talked to me after my set, expressing an
interest to work as a duo. This idea interested me, having previously worked as
a duo with Malcolm Laws.  So Dave and I
pretty much began rehearsals immediately, sorting out a set of songs. Dave had
made records and had done radio and television, and had had a hit record with a
group called, ‘The Countrymen’, so he had a very professional approach because
of these experiences and he taught me a lot in the early days.
Dave & Marian 1968
So around 1968 you formed a folk duo. What was some of the repertoire and where
and with who did you play?

Our sound was a fusion of English and
American contemporary folk artists. We sang songs by Randy Newman, Bob Dylan, The
Incredible String Band, Jacques Brel, Allan Sherman, Ralph Mc Tell, Phil Ochs,
Tom Paxton, Buffy Sainte Marie, Mimi & Richard Farina.  I then began to include some of my own songs
in our set and from there on, over the months we did mainly original songs with
a few covers. We then went with folk agent, Sandy Glennon who helped us
establish ourselves in the folk clubs all over the country.
Because of Dave’s previous connections from
work with The Countrymen, we did a lot of television and radio spots over a
period of 2 years and worked with people such as, The Settlers, The Strawberry
Hill Boys ( later to become The Strawbs,) The Foggy Duo, Ian Matthew’s Southern
Comfort, Johnny Silvo, Alex Campbell. 
Other artists we worked with were, Ralph Mc Tell, Sandy Denny, Bert
Jansch, Cliff Aungier, Noel Murphy, Derek Brimstone, The Strawbs, Ian Mc Cann,
Jeremy Taylor.  We also did a few spots
for ‘Country meets Folk’ for the BBC Radio.
What would you say influenced you?
feel that all of my contemporaries and influential recording artists of this
era had some influence on me one way or another – all for different reasons. It
could be the cutting edge poetry of Bob Dylan songs, the feel the songs of
Richard & Mimi Farina, the sound of the voice of Buffy Sainte Marie &
her passionate, expressive, story telling songs, the intimacy created by Joni
Mitchell by her words & music, the soaring voices of Joan Baez and Judy
Collins and also the writing of Tim Buckley, Tom Paxton – I feel I somehow took
a little something with me from everything I heard, or any live performances I
There was a whole batch of tapes uncovered that contained recordings by
you two, recorded while you were a duo between early summer 1968 and the
summer of 1970. This came out in 2004 titled ‘Paper Flowers’. Can you tell me,
what’s the story behind these lost recordings?
Yes, some of this material was simply
recorded at home around one microphone onto a tape recorder and other tracks
were recorded in demo studios or master recordings.
Richard Allen who had already contacted me
in 2002 with an interest to re issue the Jade album ‘Fly on Strangewings’, also
expressed an interest to put out the earlier tracks of Dave and myself onto an
album.  So I transferred as many of the
songs as I could from the reel-to-reel tapes onto digital at RMS Studios.
Richard chose the songs and the album was put together and called: ‘Paper
Flowers’. Some of the reels had to be professionally baked before we could run
them, as they were deteriorating.
believe the reincarnation into Jade began in 1970, when you added a session
musician Rod Edwards and started working on your new project called “Fly
on Strangewings”. What’s the story behind it?

Yes, in late 1969, Dave and I were
introduced by our folk agent, Sandy Glennon to Jon Miller. Jon was already
quite established in management, publishing and as a booking agent and was in
partnership with Dick James who had previously signed up the Beatles for
publishing. Their aim was to sign up new British acts and they signed up ‘Elton
John & Bernie Taupin, Phillip Goodhand-Tait, Hookfoot and Edward Woodward.
Jon organized a demo recording session of some of my songs and from there I was
signed to Dick James Music for publishing and recording. The incarnation into a
three-piece called ‘Jade’ was inspired by Jon Miller (who had by now become our
manager.) Jon introduced us to his friend Rod Edwards who played Keyboards and
bass. Rod was part of a duo called ‘Piccadilly Line’. Rod, Dave & I started
rehearsals of the songs that were being considered for the album and we got
ready to go into the studio. The ‘Jade’ album, ‘Fly On Strangewings’ was then
recorded at Trident Studios In London in March of 1970. Things did move forward
pretty quickly at this stage.
Why did you decide to change your name
into Jade and did you have any concept in mind while recording this LP?
Jon Miller came up with the name ‘Jade’ for
the new trio.  Regarding the ‘sound’ for
the album, Jon felt that Dave and I needed a heavier, more rock-based sound,
moving away from the acoustic harmony folk sound that we had.  Using the original demo recordings that Dave
and I had recently made as the starting place to go from, and with the addition
of Rod’s keyboard’s and vocal harmonies things began to shape up into a new
sound for us. Adding the session musicians that Jon had chosen for the
recordings, we began to get the rockier sound that Jon wanted on particular
tracks. The musicians were, Pete Sears (Les Fleurs de Lys, Sam Gopal’s -Dream,
Silver Metre, Jefferson Starship), Michael Rosen (Eclection), Pete York
(Spencer Davis Group, Hardin & York), Clem Cattini (The Tornadoes, The Ivy
League, Rumplestiltskin), Terry Cox (Pentangle), Mick Waller (Steampacket, Rod
Stewart, Silver Metre) and James Litherland (Colosseum, Mogul Thrash). There
was a lot of inspirational playing – affecting and adding to the concept as we
went along.
What are perhaps some of the strongest
memories from producing and recording the LP?
me, I would say the discipline – the early mornings – getting up to travel from
south London to the studio and keeping the concentration and focus to achieve
as much as I possibly could each day.  I
felt that expectations were high, we had a set time booked to record the album
and I wanted to achieve all that we hoped for in that time and come out with a
good result.
Jade recording the album at Trident 1970
Trident Studios had a great atmosphere, I
enjoyed working there. It was all new ground to me. I had only worked in small
demo studios before – so I was a bit in awe of my situation at first.
Meeting and working with such great
musicians on the sessions. Other people dropped by the studio to see us – I
remember John Martin and Doris Henderson.
We would appreciate if you could comment
each song from the LP a bit.
Amongst Anemones    
This song reflects my love of the sea and
my love of nature which has always been strong in my life.
A song about a relationship that could not
be – sung from both of the would-be lover’s perspectives; so as if a two-way
Fly on Strangewings  
Living and learning about life without the
person you would wish to be with – unable to share  experiences together.
mayfly only lives for only 24 hours after leaving the water in its previous
lava state. I felt I should write a song about it.
Alan’s Song      
A song about a dear friend who was killed
on his motorbike – we grew up together.   
Bad Magic        
I cannot
say for sure how or why I wrote this song. I have always been interested in
mystery and magic. This song was just ‘a happening’ at the time.
Sitting on the tube traveling on my way to
one of the Jade recording sessions, I saw a painting of a Clipper Ship on the
tube adverts. I wrote the song in my head on the way to the studio and later
asked Jon Miller and Rod and Dave if we might include it on the album. We did
need an extra up-tempo track and so it was agreed.
      Five of Us         
Five of us stayed at a cottage in Norfolk
in the UK. We were all around 16 years old. It turned out to be an exciting
time, a lot of freedom, fresh air and fun away from the city streets of London
and it also included a little spooky happening which did seriously did fill us
full of fear.              
Reflections on a Harbour Wall  
I wrote this song whilst visiting Hastings
in Sussex UK. I sat against a wall looking overlooking the beach with my pencil
and paper – Again, my love of the sea. I often think about the words to this
song now, as I walk the beach were I presently live.
Mrs. Adams            
This is a story about an elderly friend
& neighbour who had passed away. I was young and it was a significant time
for me.   
Fly Me to the North  
wrote ‘Fly Me to The North’ in the living room of my family home, one quiet
Sunday. It’s a personal letter, about wanting to escape. It was written at an
early point in my career. The song has since been covered by other recording
artists including Rod McKuen, John and Mary from 10,000 Maniacs and the Back
Alley Choir. Rod Mc Kuen acknowledged this song at The Royal Albert Hall during
his concert there. This was a very special moment in time for me.
Away from the Family
is a song about the fire of youth and wanting to get out into the world to
explore it.
Later you were joined by John Wetton
and went on a tour…
John Wetton came out to L.A. to join us for our booking at ‘The Troubadour’ in
L.A. It was a spur of the moment decision instigated by Jon & John Wetton.
The set went well. Afterwards, Brian Wilson came back stage to see us and
later, Joni Mitchell and her manager came over to say hello.
Marianne in New York 1971 playing with Jade
at The Bitter End Club
What’s the story about The Marianne Segal
Band? You were active until 1975 and were quite unique with playing complete
sets of contemporary songs and using electric instruments within the old-school
traditional folk club environment.
I believe we were initially somewhat unique playing in the folk clubs with
electric instruments in the early 1970s. 
At first some of our audiences seemed shocked that we were bringing in
amps and drums, but we did always win them over with our music and were re
booked. We adjusted the sound level of our music to suit each small room, so it
wasn’t too loud. I think that we were one of the first folk Bands to go
electric in these smaller folk clubs. I instigated this because I wanted the
folk-rock feel.
Dave Waite and I formed ‘The Marianne Segal
Band’ very quickly after Jade broke up. We decided to carry on where we left
off with Jade and advertised for a bass player and found Lee Oliphant from
Canada. Colin Edmonds joined us for a while, playing percussion, then Dave
Morris joined us on drums and as you say, we were active until around 1975.
This Band got on very well together, we were very close.
Just as Dave and I, and then Jade, had
built up large audience followings, so did The Marianne Segal Band. We were
always working in the folk clubs and Universities and we also did a six week
television series with Sidney Carter. When Capitol Radio started out, we were
booked quite often for the all night live show with Robbie Barrish and Sarah
Ward. We did a small tour of clubs in Europe and also toured with Labbi Siffre
& Peter Sarstedt in the UK.
1975, some of the previous folk venues were closing down due to overall
audiences not attending so much. There was a recession around this time and
power cuts. Some clubs then began to run monthly instead of weekly and this
meant that fewer artists were booked at clubs, creating less opportunity for
gigs overall.  The work just wasn’t there
as before and it was difficult for us to carry on financially without taking
other work. We did take a residency at a pub in Battersea called the Swan, to
help matters, but shortly after this we amicably said our goodbyes.
What happened after that and what
currently occupies your life?
era from 1975 onwards was changeable, fragmented. It was never to be quite the
same as it had been before with Dave Waite and with Jade, or with the M.S.
Band. I felt I was now ‘out on a limb’. 
I had no plans, no management and no Band, and initially I felt
vulnerable and unprotected. Punk music was beginning to filter into mainstream
and folk music was slipping under the radar.
In late 1975 I began to record demos with
Julian Mendelsohn in a small studio in Fulham called Milner Sound. Julian
was/is such a talented engineer and producer who went on later to work with
Kate Bush & The Pet Shop Boys, Level 42 and many others. Julian helped me
form a new Band which we rehearsed at this studio. It was difficult to get to
grips with this Band idea simply because we had such great musicians in it and
they all had to go off and tour or record with other main stream artists. So it
never settled into something tangible – but it was exciting. Some of the
musicians that were with us for a while were, Root Cartwright, Pete York, Andy
Summers, Joe Gillingham, Eddie Hardin and Paul Karus, Simon Nicol, Eric
Dillon.  We also recorded 3 rock tracks
with James Litherland, Billy Smith and John Dentith. They were very happy
times. At a later stage after concentrating on recording new songs for a while,
we finally did form a Band of musicians who were very dedicated to staying
together and rehearsing. These musicians were: Root Cartwright (Principle
Edwards Magic Theatre), Dennis O’ Brien (keyboards), Simon Byrne (drums), Ian
Fordham (bass) and Dave Waite (guitar). We couldn’t get management to help us
and I feel that I lost heart then and so just concentrated on writing and
recording. I also wrote specifically for other singers for a while – being
asked to submit songs for Suzie Quatro and also songs for Kiki Dee. I did
backing vocals for other writers.
During 1976 I signed to Jeff Wayne (War of
the Worlds, David Essex) for publishing and we did 3 recordings produced by
Jeff. Jeff wanted to get ‘The Four Tops’ for backing vocals on one of my
tracks. He was then told about a group who were gigging in the north of England
called, ‘The Real Thing’. They were not very well known at this time. He got
them down to record with us and from there Jeff worked further with them –
later of course they had hit records.
1976/77 I did vocals on quite a few television and radio jingles and I also did
a voice over on a T.V. film with David Essex.
My daughter was born in 1978 and I got a
residency in a local wine bar singing, enabling me to keep live work going
whilst having a young baby.  In 1979
Jonathan Rowlands (publisher, record producer and manager) arranged some master
recordings at Sarm studios to record three songs of mine that he particularly
liked. It was a great session with Dave Mattocks on drums, Julian Mendelsohn
engineering and Neil Harrison Producing the tracks.
Jonathan Rowlands also introduced me to
Eugene Moule, a song writer and producer. Eugene
and I then I did a quite a lot of recording
together and some songwriting.  I sang
vocals for his songs and in turn he produced some recordings of my songs. It
was a keyboards – based sound as this was the early 1980’s. I was fortunate to
record in Abbey Round studios with Eugene and Jonathan. In 1980 I had a single
deal with ‘Dave Dee Records’ (Dave of, Dave, Dozy, Mick and Titch.) I recorded
2 tracks with Eugene Moule for this deal. 
I recorded these under the name of ‘Marianne Chase’. Zabadak Magazine
(Ron Cooper) has a great history of Dave Dee’s productions.
Around 1986 I met Graeme Taylor (Albion
Band, The Home Service). We initially worked in a local Band together and later
began recording together. This has continued on to date – work seems to bring
us together every so often. We did some folk festivals and also worked with
‘The Strawbs’. We got together with Laurie Harper from Pywackett and started
some rehearsals with a view to doing some gigs. I did a one-off gig with The
Home Service at The Half Moon in Putney in 1994.
Marianne, Graeme Taylor, Laurie Harper
Around 1987 I did a one-off wine bar gig
with Root Cartwright (lead guitar) and Josh Kirby (bass) – I played piano and
we did rock numbers. Root and Josh enjoyed the gig and they suggested that we
formed a Band. We had various drummers over the year we rehearsed, including
Robbie France. It was a very, very exciting Band, but we couldn’t get
management and all of our equipment was stolen from the van. I think we just
gave up. We lost the momentum. It happens!
In 1989 I was also introduced by Graeme
Taylor to an English folk dance Band (The Aldbrickham Band, based in Reading I
the UK.) I did lead vocals for them for a musical which was based on the life
of Vincent Van Gogh and to follow they then asked me to join them as their
rhythm guitarist and singer at some of their bigger gigs. Twenty years later, I
still play a few gigs each year with them – we are all a close bunch really.
In 2003, I approached Richard Allen to help
me get some bookings. The Aldbrickham Band was prepared to do live work with me
on a new project which would be the Jade material. 
Marianne with The Aldbrickham Band circa
Richard felt that Jade
should reform! With the help of Richard Allen and Jon Miller, there was a Jade
reunion in 2004 of the original Jade line-up and we did a one-off gig in
London. James Litherland (who had played on the original Jade album) joined us,
with Mick Paul on bass, Michael Sanderson (Aldbrickham Band) on violin &
vocals and Dave Morgan on drums.  We had
many, new young fans in the audience who knew the songs on the album, which
really surprised me, as well as some of our older fans. In the audience was
Derek Love, the very person who had introduced me to Bob Dylan recordings in
Also at this time, 2004, Richard Allen had
introduced me to Michael Tyack from the Band, ‘Circulus’. Michael had been
inspired by some of the songs on the Jade album and he asked me to do a track
with them on their new album, ‘The Lick on the Tip of an Envelope yet to be
Sent’ and chose one of my songs called, ‘Swallow’.
Jade reunion 2004
2006 Michael Tyack and I began looking at some of my material in preparation
for a new solo album that I felt I wanted to make. So in 2007 we went ahead and
recorded it. The album featured Circulus and some other great musicians
including Root Cartwright, Bill Steer, Amy May, Lo Polidoro & Mike Porter.
I called the album, ‘The Gathering’ we recorded at RMS Studios in Norwood with
Andy Le Vien and at Catt Studio in Surrey with Ian Catt. (Studios I’ve worked
in over the last 20 years). We ran some instruments through valve amps to get
the 70s sound. This album was critically acclaimed by ‘Mojo magazine’.
There was some live work with Graeme Taylor
in 2006 and also some recordings together.
In 2010 I put out an album of archive
tracks called, ‘Gypsy Girl’.
In 2011, I was contacted by Judy Dyble
(early Fairport) to let me know that she was putting one of my songs on her new
album. It had been recorded in the 70s. It was a great surprise and a nice
Currently, I continue to write and am in
touch with various musician friends.
Any future plans?
Yes, I’ll be meeting with Graeme Taylor
with a view to putting out an album of tracks we recorded over the years
together. We may well do a couple of new recordings for this album.
I will also be recording a track on The
Aldbrickham Band’s new album – a version of the traditional song, ‘The Water is
I believe that there will be a re issue of
the Jade album this year and I plan to look into the archives tapes to find a
bonus track for this.
Thanks again for taking your time.
Would you like to send a message to our readers?
Yes, thank you for reading this article.
Writing it gave me the opportunity to look back again in detail and I’ve
enjoyed the journey – thank you.
Best wishes, Marianne Segal
Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2013
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