Nick Garrie

Nick Garrie

Nick Garrie is renowned in psychedelic collectors' circles for his 1970 debut, The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, a Baroque pop masterpiece effectively buried by nonexistent distribution and promotion. Born June 22, 1949, in Yorkshire, England, to a Russian father and Scottish mother, Garrie spent the majority of his adolescence at a French boarding school. He began writing songs while attending Warwick University, but his interests primarily lay in surrealist literature and poetry and he did mount a performing career until 1968, playing bars and restaurants while backpacking through the south of France.

After playing several high-profile Amsterdam gigs, Garrie returned to St. Tropez, where he signed to cut an LP in Brussels. The project remains unreleased, and in late summer of 1969 he finally returned to Warwick to resume his studies. A few months later a friend of his mother arranged for Garrie to meet with the Paris-based label DiscAZ, which extended a contract offer. After recording the never-released single "Queen of Spades" with American-born producer Mickey Baker (of "Love Is Strange" fame), he teamed with producer Eddie Vartan to begin work on The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas. Against Garrie's wishes, Vartan hired a 56-piece symphony for the sessions, and the artist (if not the record's admirers) later bemoaned the detrimental effects of such lush orchestration on his delicate, uncommonly literate songs. Far more damaging, DiscAZ president Lucien Morisse committed suicide within days of releasing The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, guaranteeing the album never even left the starting blocks.

A crestfallen Garrie returned to school, abandoning the music business for several years. Under the alias Nick Hamilton (a nod to his mother's maiden name), he resurfaced in 1976 with "Un Instant de Vie," a collaboration with Francis Lai, but again retired from performing to manage a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. Oblivious to the growing notoriety of The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, he retained the Nick Hamilton name for his 1984 comeback effort, Suitcase Man, recorded with former Cat Stevens sidemen Alun Davies and Gerry Conway. The album topped the Spanish pop charts, and earned its creator an opening slot on Leonard Cohen's Spanish tour later that year.

When the Stanislas track "Wheel of Fortune" appeared on Phil Smee's influential psychedelic pop obscurities compilation Circus Days, the legend of Nick Garrie grew, and with so little concrete information on his career the fanzine 117 published a fabricated biography as a prank. However, the gag was lost on many and the bio was accepted as fact in many quarters, further muddying the waters. While operating a ballooning company, he released a second Nick Hamilton LP, 1994′s The Playing Fields, and in 2002 — after returning to France to teach at a comprehensive school — released Twelve Old Songs. Finally, in late 2005 the British reissue label Rev-Ola released The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas to much critical acclaim, adding the "Queen of Spades" single as well as several unreleased Belgian demos for good measure. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

Don Bikoff

“To hallow is ‘to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to
venerate’. The adjective form hallowed, as used in The Lord’s
Prayer, means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered.”

-Wikipedia

“HALLOWED GROUND”? Now, we’re talking. It can mean only
one thing – We’re blessed to have Don Bikoff back…but the thing is – he never disappeared. When the purple hibiscus wither and the leaves fall off, we all know that next spring those incredible 6 inch blooms will come forth from the good earth. So, after a slight
interlude of 45 years, when Don in 1968 first gave us his enigmatic
and hauntingly beautiful riffs in CELESTIAL EXPLOSION –
composia for 6-string guitar,(just re-released on CD & LP on the
Tompkins Square label), he shines again.

Steeped in a blues/folk music tradition in the late sixties, Don had
first hand access to the great finger pickers of our time – Dave Van
Ronk at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village; Mississippi John Hurt
at the Newport Blues Festival to name a few. Don would take me to the Village Gate where we would cram into a small table right in
front of Van Ronk –it most definitely wasn’t cocaine – but it was
coffee aroma, sweet pastries, stale smoke, and unforgettable lyrics
and guitar work that “ran all ’round the brain”.

A devotee in December, 2012 wrote: “Don is only 65 years old, and he’s still playing strong, so as of this writing, we’re gonna make sure he… gets some recognition for his rightful place as an Obscure Giant on the periphery of American Primitive guitar.”

It should come as no surprise that those nimble fingers that used to glue together model car kits of Chevy Impalas and the like –fingers that could have been those of a gifted surgeon – would work their magic on a musical instrument.

Over a period of 2 weeks in early 2013- many of the cuts on a first take with no editing –a master engineer captured the unadorned beauty of Don in action. Don used his Gibson J-200, National steel, and Taylor 12-string in the recording sessions. You will want to listen the first time – and again and again as all the nuances are revealed.

“ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT –A Return Written in the Stars…A 60’s Guitar Man’s Second Coming” –Wall Street Journal - April 26, 2013

-I’m thinking 45 years is not so long after all –There’s a groundswell building…tread lightly…you’re walking on HALLOWED GROUND!

JR Bohannon

Solo acoustic project of John Bohannon, aka Ancient Ocean.

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