Some loverly reviews, I thank you ‘coz I need all the help I can get… CG xx
“……you write incredibly well ~ most descriptive and a sense of soot and Old London. The last book I read before yours was “The Black Book” (which is set in South London, for the most part) by Lawrence Durrell~ and you work easily stands with his…”
..”reading your wonderful book on yet another night…more tonight”
“From depots all over the city came battalions of red buses, trolleys and trams, swaying and clanking, moving like crimson blood through the veins of London. Transporting the workers to banks, brothels, breweries, bathhouses, shops, offices, churches, cinemas and synagogues. And to theatres, fire stations, schools and concert halls. Up to the cemeteries and hospitals, law courts, police stations, prisons and the Houses of Parliament”
Michael & Sooty xx
24 January 2018
Anyone who’s ever witnessed Carol Grimes in concert will testify to the fact she possesses a raw emotional power, tempered with the shading of experience and the passing of time. Those lucky enough to have heard her simple yet devastating renditions of Fran Landesman’s “Scars”, or Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” resonating in packed rooms, or jazz stages, will want to read her back story, to find out more.
And now, not before time, Grimes has finally produced her autobiography. Titled “The Singer’s Tale” (after Chaucer) it is a wild, candid, sometimes unsparing journey. At times wise-after-the-event and other times laugh-out-loud funny (the Kafkaesque trials of reclaiming a pension once you’ve had several surnames) ~ Carol Grimes is a vivid character one instinctively warms to in the intimacy of these pages.
A childhood adrift amongst ration books and bomb-damaged London ~ a quest for identity when significant family members are but faint sketches, old sepia photographs ~ eventually finding her voice and her way.
The early albums, musical travels to Memphis and Nashville ~ the firm belief that singing for her supper was the only way forward ~ even with its accompanying pitfalls, safety nets and occasional tragedies. The competing voices in her head, all given free rein here ~ constructing a complex persona ~ sometimes vulnerable, sometimes wayward; always human. I warmly recommend “The Singer’s Tale” if you want to eavesdrop on the REAL story of women making music in the sixties and seventies ~ the deals, the dodgy managers (“We can market you as a British Janis Joplin…”) ~ the highs, the lows, the hangers-on, the true friends ~ above all the music, the vital spark of humanity. Buy this book.
Described as a `high-spirited veteran’ by the Evening Standard, Carol joined her first groups, Shades of Grey and The Race, from the mid ’60s, and went on to sing with the bands Babylon, Delivery and Uncle Dog before releasing her solo albums. Carol also performed alongside Cream, Alexis Korner, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, The Graham Bond Organisation, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. Carol lived in London amongst a `rag popsicle bag of people’ during the counter culture years. A so-called community of freaks, immigrants, photographers, artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, drug dealers, models, fashionistas, groupies and hangers-on. Described by the press as fuelled by LSD, hashish, grass and sex, it was a time of change.
Not for women though, and Carol witnessed appalling male behaviour in the music business. She became politicised and in 1976, performed at the first Rock Against Racism gig and went on to support Rock Against Sexism. Carol is still performing and is the Musical Director for the Bloomsbury Sing for Joy Choir and The Wildflowers Choir in Folkestone. ‘This is a musical, political and social history spanning the 1940s and the war-torn London of Carol’s birth, through schools, foster homes, teenage sex, cigarettes and listening to music on the jukebox in ’50s seaside Britain. Sleazy studios and nefarious Nashville goings-on in recording studios in the ’60s, from Nashville to Notting Hill, where roots reggae and reefers had become de rigueur against the backdrop of the rising punk era of the ’70s. And all the while we occupy a ringside seat in our singer’s imagined, and real, theatrical circus. It’s a wild and unforgettable show. The Singer’s Tale is a confessional, an irreverent romp, bawdy and boisterous. It is a work of psychological astuteness offering an unflinching look at the terrible hurt, pain and sadness that we, as human beings, are capable of inflicting upon one another, and how we can learn from that. It is a celebration of life. Expect darkness and light, ugliness and beauty, comedy and tragedy’ Cheryl Moskowitz