Argonauts

“I think the ‘Argonaut’ period started properly the day Willy Scullion, from the Ampex Corporation, agreed to give me an MM 1100, 16 track tape recorder ‘on tick’.  Suddenly the converted barge on Grand Union Canal, at Little Venice (two boats away from Richard Branson’s) became a real recording studio, as good as the Manor I had just left.  Suddenly all the problems became projects, and a rosy glow settled around the future.  Frank Rodgers from Decca had just commissioned “The Faerie Symphony”.  Charlie Gillett had introduced me to Pete Gibson and The Celebrated Artists Band, so I could offer artists like Joe O’Donnell and Rory Gallagher somewhere to record, Jon Field and Tony Duhig could finish their “Jade Warrior” album for Chris Blackwell’s Island Records and Paul Kennerley and I could finish his demos for the “White Mansions” album that he would eventually finish in Nashville with Emmylou Harris and Levon Helm et al.

Manor pals Dave Hughes and Phil Beque had started the Rebis Audio Company up in Brum, and they bravely and beautifully agreed to build me a custom designed mixing console (again on ‘tick’), home built speakers and a few second hand Neumann U47’s and I was up and running!  (U47’s at £50 each, those were the days!)

The greatest joy was that the first project was the speculative but immensely rewarding Celebrated Artists Band album.  I developed several life-long friendships during this time, but the most significant was undoubtedly with Pete ‘Gibgob’ Gibson, the Pied Piper of this motley crew.  Pete’s insane need for humour, overt hedonism and anarchy in roughly equal parts, began early in our now well cemented friendship, with “The Toothpaste Incident”.  I shall at some point elucidate, but not now.  Suffice to say he will never live this down.”

Tom Newman (source: sleevenotes from the album  ‘Join Together’)