Goodbye, Brian Godding

Universally praised as a jazz player, Brian Godding, who passed away on November 25th at the age of 78, has always been, in fact, held in high esteem as half of a musical unit that influenced most of the classic rock twin-guitar pairs, a part, together with Jim Cregan, of the legendary BLOSSOM TOES. Their two albums, 1967’s “We Are Ever So Clean” and “If Only For A Moment” from 1969, both overseen by Giorgio Gomelsky, are considered cult treasures now, but Brian felt his horizons were limited by what the band did, and a one-off gig with Julie Driscoll in 1969 presented Godding with a chance to move forward and expand his outlook in more than one way, thus targeting genuine greatness.

That concert changed the axeman’s life, as not only Brian was able to get to know Julie’s sister Angie, his future wife, but also, having performed a few of his own tunes then, impress Driscoll’s future husband, Keith Tippett, and, as a result, joined the pianist’s ensemble CENTIPEDE and, being a single six-stringer in their ranks, leave, alongside other representatives of British jazz-rock elite, an indelible imprint on the collective’s “Septober Energy” in 1971. Some of those luminaries would appear on 1971’s “Workers’ Playtime” – a sole longplayer by B.B. BLUNDER, essentially BLOSSOM TOES minus Godding’s sparring partner – before he enrolled, replacing Chris Spedding, in Mike Westbrook’s SOLID GOLD CADILLAC, taking over Gary Boyle’s duties, to unexpectedly proceed, after two albums, to MAGMA and emborder 1974’s “Köhntarkösz” with quite a few alluring lines.

In the mid-’70s Brian moved between different groups where he helped out various pals until Kevin Coyne invited Godding to go on the road with the former artist’s band in 1980 and follow that trek by recording three interesting LPs – “Bursting Bubbles” and “Sanity Stomp” the very same year, cowriting several tracks, and “Pointing The Finger” in 1981 – until their collaboration fizzled out and the guitarist found himself in the company of old colleague Zoot Money in ERIC BURDON BAND in 1984, all this time working on what ended up as Godding’s own album. Out in 1986, “Slaughter On Shaftesbury Avenue” is an outstanding opus which deserves wider audience, unlike his subsequent releases “Kebab ‘ala’ Twang” and “The Colour Of Sound” whose improvisatory character cried for acquired taste, so, although the veteran slowed down a bit recently, he left a formidable legacy.

Yet, above all, he left a lot of memories and a lot of friends, and he will be missed sorely.

November 27, 2023

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