Fire - 1971
Into the seventies, again with the CBS label and featuring more Haven originals.
Sleeve notes are by Spike Milligan!
1. Charade H. Mancini
2. St. Elmos Fire A. Haven
3. Girl Talk Hefti
4. Soliloquy from Carousel
5. Flying Free A. Haven
1. Air on a G String J. S. Bach
2. Last of the Wild A. Haven
3. Green Iguana A. Haven
4. Say a Little Prayer Bacharach
5. Ace One Johnson A. Haven
|SLEEVE NOTES (by Spike Milligan)|
A rainy evening in London in 1965. I’d just finished a show at the Comedy Theatre, I felt down. I made my way to Ronnie Scott’s Club in Frith Street. It was in between sets. I noticed on the stage an electric organ joined to what looked like an old Victorian Clothes Cupboard. A small rotundish young man with black hair climbed into the driving seat, he was to be accompanied by a drummer I recognised (Tony Crombie) but the organist I didn’t know. Two minutes later I did. He burst into an up tempo 12 Bar Blues that rocked the whole place. I was absolutely floored by the sheer determined energy of the young organist to drive the organ right through you. It was Alan Haven (who since has become a friend), when he played he seemed completely obsessed with the music, it seemed as tho’ he couldn’t get enough of himself through his instrument, in fact, what he couldn’t put through the organ he hived off by weaving back and forward as he played, he even, when playing fast complicated passages, still found energy left over to raise up his elbows in a pumping fashion as though trying to induce them to make a sound as well. He blew my mind that night. After this whirlwind of an opener he showed the other side of the coin. In almost ppp he went into Trust In Me, he played it so quiet that he made the listening audience lower any conversation to a whisper. I never forgot that night. He is really a musician’s musician (old worn out phrase, I know, but true). Apart from his music, his sheer drive and enthusiasm imparts itself to the listener, and I for one never miss him when he’s in town. I know I’m writing this sleeve note before I have even heard this latest record, but then I don’t have to, for me he can’t put a foot wrong, and, if you hear his bass solos on the organ, you’ll know even that to be true. Buy the record man! Do yourself a favour, If you don’t like it, jump off a bridge, or throw yourself under an oncoming organ, preferably Alan’s.
|ALAN'S COMMENTS (2004)|
Spike's sleeve note for the CBS album "St Elmo's Fire" has a story attached to it that, for me anyway, typifies the man and the special regard that I always held him in. It is now no secret, and indeed very much in the public domain, that Spike suffered incredible bouts of severely deep depression. He took the ills of the world upon his own shoulders almost as a personal thing, be it cruelty to animals, human suffering, war or whatever. He felt it, as if it were somehow his fault and our many long ramblings on it only served to make him feel better and me depressed. Someone at CBS records, aware of my friendship with Spike, suggested the idea of my approaching him about writing the sleeve note for my new recently completed album. On calling him, his manager Norma Farnes explained that he was having one of his bad times, had taken to his private room and in no way could disturb him. Not only that, but had no idea how long it would be before he emerged to join the world again. She did however, say that she would leave a note on his typewriter explaining my call. I told her not to bother him and thanked her for her trouble, fully understanding and not expecting to hear anymore. It would be something of an understatement to say that I was surprised on receiving a phone call from her the following morning to learn that Spike must have got up sometime during the night, come down to his office, found her message, and had written the most wonderful sleeve notes which he left on his typewriter for me to collect. That has remained indelibly in my memory ever since. That he did this under such conditions is something I still can't comprehend, but very much appreciate. I would like to think that perhaps my unintended interference distracted him a little bit away from where he was to somewhere he was happier being. I hope so.If Spike was something of a nutcase, then I wish evry single person in the world could be such a nutcase. I know he had his faults but then I don't know anyone who doesn't, including myself. It is a sad fact of life that there will always be people ready to knock somebody, especially when they are no longer with us, and you can't get a much faultier fault than that.For me this incident epitomises Spike Milligan and the kind of person he was. He became a very great fan and an even greater friend, much valued and sorely missed. The sensible ones among you will know what I mean, the others, as Spike would have said, can just sod off, or even throw themselves under an oncoming organ!
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