Arguably, no one embodied intrepid spirit of space rock more perfectly than Nik Turner, a vastly underrated British musician who passed away, aged 82, on November 10th. He was the “wind” in HAWKWIND for the course-setting part of their existence – without him even the ensemble’s greatest album "Warrior On The Edge Of Time" would have sounded much less adventurous and had much duller character – but Turner’s often weird reeds colored many more projects such as SPHYNX and INNER CITY UNIT that Nik formed in the late ’70s and early ’80s as well as relatively recent THE TRANCE DIMENSIONALS, plus a myriad of collaborations with friends like Steve Hillage and Arthur Brown – although, undoubtedly, it’s thanks to the fiery licks on the likes of “Silver Machine” which he will remembered for most fondly.
It was in October 1982, when MARILLION’s debut single “Market Square Heroes” saw the light of day, that the whole wide world first heard the voice of Derek Dick, professionally known as Fish. And now, four decades down the line, the much loved Scottish performer brings his long career to a glorious close with what’s supposed to be the singer’s last-ever offering. Titled “Vigil’s End” and available for pre-order on the veteran’s website, it’s a 2CD/Blu-ray set which documents the show Fish played at Leamington Assembly on November 24th, 2021 – his final concert, previously broadcast live and preserved for posterity on this release.
One of the most distinctive rock voices is dissolved in silence for ever: Dan McCafferty, a founding member of NAZARETH and a longtime friend of mine, has passed away on November 8th at the age of 76. He may have left the ensemble and retired almost a decade ago, but it’s with his raspy vocals that the premier Scottish quartet will be associated for years, since it was Dan who in the ’70s and ’80s recorded a string of classic songs, including such originals as “Hair Of The Dog” which GUNS N’ ROSES covered and such covers as “This Flight Tonight” which Joni Mitchell, the rambunctious number’s writer, used to ascribe to the Dunfermline foursome.
They call it “a fusion of friends” and old pals they are indeed, David Carroll who used to roll with SPINNING WHEEL and has called recently on the members of FAIRPORT CONVENTION and GRYPHON – Dave Pegg and Chris Leslie from the former collective plus Dave Oberlé, Graeme Taylor and Brian Gulland from the latter – as well as THE PROFESSIONALS’ Tom Spencer, also known from THE MAN THEY COULDN’T HANG, and Lucy Cooper to assist him in recording a debut solo album. Titled “Bold Reynold” and scheduled for release on January 20th, 2023, it presents a stunning sonic panorama wrapping a nice selection of traditional fare, “The Battle” from THE STRAWBS repertoire and “The Last Leviathan”: the Andy Barnes’ anti-whaling piece which displays the ensemble’s epic leanings.
Unlike many of his peers, Noddy Holder quit the stage while being ahead of the curve and didn’t often entered the recording studio since then; when he did, it was not to sing – and the veteran didn’t really vocalize on November 1st, narrating instead a text – a diary entry by a World War I soldier after the Xmas truce of 1914 – that will latter be wrapped in Brian Eno‘s soundscapes to become a start of a new Christmas song for The Evamore Project which has musicians and actors record unique stories and help spread the word about one of the deadliest diseases.