A Brief History
Once when interviewed on radio, Robert John Godfrey (RJG) was asked as to why he formed The Enid. His answer: "because I was lonely"!
The Enid is one of those eclectic groups that is categorised within the progressive rock genre simply by default. In actual fact apart from the fact that the musical style found within the band is definitely mainly derived from a classical influence, and that the compositions are well beyond the complexity your average rock band could compose, one can safely say that The Enid stand in between the definition for classical and rock music. They are simply too rock to be called classical, yet too classical to be called rock!
Described as the biggest cult band in Europe, banned by Glastonbury, investigated by MI5, dabbed as fascists, leftists and anarchists (all of which within a certain degree of the truth!), such is the mystery that The Enid possesses. The band's history could well be the subject of an unbelievable book as they have faced all the likes of Dickenson problems involving unscrupulous managers, unfortunate timing and record company impropriety. Despite all of this the group have survived to this very day.
Through the years The Enid has undergone several upheavals and been through a variety of reshuffles yet one man has been consistent throughout the entire history, Robert John Godfrey. Born on 30th July 1947, from an early age it was apparent the musical qualities in him were to be developed (At age 15 he had already performed the Brahms concerto). Classical piano was the first musical direction to be pursued, not before he had to pass through a number of public schools amongst which there was Finchden Manor situated on the edge of the Romney marshes in England which he attended in 1959. This school was to play a significant role in the formation of The Enid, much like The Charterhouse would play a role in the formation of Genesis.
The mid-sixties saw Godfrey attending both the Royal College Of Music and the Royal Academy Of Music where he established a close relationship with German composer Hans Werner Henze, Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten whilst studying underneath concert pianist Malcolm Binns. However, the flower power revolution also affected those within the classical field and not long after (1969) RJG dropped out from classical studies and hooked up with Barclay James Harvest after hearing them play at the Roundhouse in London. During that concert they were supporting the band Gun, who would later score a hit with the single Race With The Devil.
By August 1969, RJG was living with Barclay James Harvest at Preston House where he was entrusted with orchestral arrangements for some of the band's music. His title was Resident Musical Director and got together an orchestra titled Barclay James Harvest Orchestra, composed mainly of members of the now defunct New Symphonia. The New Symphonia was an orchestra known for its relation with rock music and was even recorded on an album with Caravan called Caravan And The New Symphonia. Little did RJG know that these years were to create so much hardship as well as heartache in the years to come. During his time with the group, he conducted the orchestra both in the studio and on stage as well as helped write works, such as Dark Now My Sky and Mockingbird, which would appear on the first two albums Barclay James Harvest and Once Again.
Deep down, RJG always hoped to become accepted as a fully fledged member of the band, yet he fell out with band manager John Crowther and by early 1971 he was paid £100,000 and his relationship with the group was terminated. Problems between RJG and the band would surface in later years, all of which is discussed later on (In Part of the Band's history). However, he remained friendly with band members and even went to see them play live as well as thanked Wool Wolstenholme on the liner notes of his debut solo album!
Following his time in Barclay James Harvest, RJG played for a short while with Siddartha, and whilst playing a concert with this group he was spotted by Tony Stratton Smith and signed as a solo artist to the Charisma label. Thus in 1972, Robert John Godfrey together with various other guest musicians started working on his first solo album which was to feature a style similar to what he would perfect with The Enid with lyrics based on poems by Keats. An album which unfortunately is still deleted, The Fall Of Hyperion (Charisma CAS 1084; Value BS35.00) showed the basic musical print that would later be utilised for The Enid. The album was released in 1974 and was dedicated to to George Lyward, the founder of Finchden Manor, who had passed away a year prior.
The passing away of Lyward also spelt the end of The Manor due to lack of funding and RJG learnt of a concert that students present there were putting up as final concert called The Quest For The Holy Grail. Finchden Manor seems to have been quite a hub of musical activity with musicians such as Alexis Korner and Tom Robinson having passed through the ranks. The two students mainly involved in this project were Steve Stewart and Francis Lickerish. RJG got down to helping out these two students to be able to put up the performance, an experience which RJG calls the most important and emotional experience of his life. More importantly it also marked the birth of The Enid, the name of which referred to an in-house joke about Godfrey's fictitious girlfriend. The date was June, 1973.
The group started writing music in earnest and Tony Stratton Smith who already had RJG on his books, tried to sign the band but was unsuccessful mainly due to lack of funds. What is interest is that the original title for The Enid's first album was to be The Voyage Of The Acolyte with a concept based on tarot cards. Thus even though The Enid did not sign to Charisma, the idea seems to have remained at the label as Steve Hackett's album would in turn be based on the same concept, and the title The Voyage Of The Acolyte! To further add to the controversy, the group's initial keyboardist Nick Magnus also worked with Steve Hackett. For a while the group also had a vocalist, Peter Roberts, who committed suicide on New Year's Day 1975 and in RJG's own words "We were instrumental ever after, he was impossible to replace".
The band expanded their lineup to that of a quartet and moved into a house to commence writing for their first album. Recordings took place between 1974 and 1975 with the group utilising some of the ideas they had conceived for The Quest For The Holy Grail as well as additional new material. The group signed to BUK Records, a label which was distributed by EMI Records and the album was released, for some reason, a full year after completion in 1976 under the title In The Region Of Summer Stars.
One has to realise that musically, the mid-seventies were the height of the punk revolution and there was total disdain of anything closely related to the progressive rock movement. Basically one could say that in the eye of a neutral, it was suicide to expect that a group which drew heavily on the classical, with long overdrawn musical overtures would be able to succeed. However the group oozed an aura of myth and fantasy which coupled with their powerful live performances won over fans from all walks of life.
The line-up for the album included RJG (keyboards, percussion), Francis Lickerish (guitars), Stephen Stewart (guitars), Glenn Tollet (keyboards, bass, tuba), Dave Storey (percussion) and Neil Kavanagh (bass). By the release of the album both Neil Kavanagh and Dave Storey would have left with only one replacement brought in for Storey, Robbie Dobson who is credited on the album without having played the sessions. Also present for the recordings was Dave Hancock who played trumpet on Judgement and In The Region of Summer Stars. The original concept, which was based on the tarot sequence and the writings of Charles Williams, was also retained.
The album was released in three versions over a 2 year period. 1976 saw the album released distributed by BUK Records (BUK BULP 2014) with a white label and insert clearly stating that it was a first issue. There is no mention of The Enid on the front cover and currently has a value of BS20.00. In 1977 the album was released in two different versions. The second issue (BUK BULP 2014, BS 15.00) had the album with a black label and Enid and CDS added to the front cover. The third issue had a brown label (Honeybee INS 3005; BS 15.00/10.00) with some of the albums carrying a poster, and distribution was through EMI International.
A strange thing associated with this band is the fact that they were obliged to release singles. Here we had a band that was practically instrumental, would dedicate almost a side to one track, yet was obliged to release a single! The result was the release of a number of generally humorous singles some of which even entered the charts! However their first single involved tracks from the album and was The Lovers/In The Region Of Summer Stars (Buk BUK 3002, BS 15.00)
The record was given a large amount of promotion by BUK and the group began to build an impressive underground following which had them selling out the Marquee Club in London as well as appearing at the Reading Festival where they were called back onstage six times! Proof that live, The Enid were indeed up there with the very best. However the problems that would dog the band for practically their entire history started to surface. One of the earliest problems they had to face were managers who tried to seize all their equipment resulting in turbulence and litigation. This destroyed the very foundations on which the group were trying to build their career resulting in a postponement of any further material till 1977.
By the time of the second album the group had undergone a series of reshuffles. Glen Tollet had left (nowadays he works as a dentist in London) and was replaced by Charlie Elston. Elston would not remain too long within the band's fold due to his difficulty in learning the keyboard parts and in turn his position would be taken by Willie Gilmour. Neil Kananagh was also replaced in 1976 with his place taken by Jerry Tranter, later replaced by Terry "Thunderbags" Pack.
Recordings took place between August and September 1977 and the lineup that went in to record the second album was as follows; RJG (keyboards, arrangements), Francis Lickerish (guitars, bass, lute), Stephen Stewart (guitar, percussion), David Storey (drums. Percussion), Charlie Elston (keyboards) and Terry Pack (bass). Production was by Martin Moss and The Enid. The album also includes a footnote that states that Martin Moss had become a fully fledged member of the band at time of printing. The group also had a new manager, Terry King, who managed to re-establish relations with BUK Records thus paving the way for the release of Aerie Faerie Nonsense, considered by many to be the best Enid release. The album was released in 1977 (Honeybee INS 3012, BS 12.00) and once again was a concept album detailing the chronicles of Roland, the young knight as he quests his way around the world. (A cassette version limited to 1000 copies was released as Honeybee TC-INS 3012, BS12.00). Featured on the album is one of the band's epic tracks, Fand based on Bax's symphonic tone-poem The Garden Of Fand (1916).
Such was the hype that The Enid managed to create that they managed to win over fans from all over the musical spectrum including punk music fans! Sounds Readers voted the group as being "The Band Most Likely To Succeed" and in truth it seemed that the group were heading for stardom.
Once again the group were enticed to release singles as a means of promotion and two were released to promote the album Both shared a similar B-side Omega, yet different A-sides. The first to be released was Jubilee/Omega (EMI International INT 534, picture sleeve, BS 5.00) while the second Golden Earring/Omega (EMI International 540, picture sleeve, BS 12.00) saw the group performing a cover version of a popular thirties song and was also the first vocal performance from RJG.
The increase in popularity for the group allowed their manager Terry King to get a major label deal. The group signed with PYE Records and they were the most expensive signing that the label had ever made. The group were even given their own studio in which to record, but trouble was on the horizon. Within weeks of signing the new deal, the executives who were responsible for signing The Enid to PYE left the label. The group were unaware when signing that label boss Lew Grade had lost most of his money of the film Raise The Titanic. The end effect was that the company was left in the hands of incompetent management landing the label in financial difficulties which of course had repercussions on the group. The group was hard pressed to come up with new material (In fact both albums that would be released on PYE were to be very rushed affairs) as well as release a series of singles to try and gain chart success. Eventually the label was to lose interest in the band.
However between December 1978 and January 1979, the band reconvened to their 16 track studio at their home in Hertfordshire to record their third album. This decision would have an overall effect on the sound quality of the album but nevertheless the group managed to record their most ambitious compositions to date with the following line-up; RJG (keyboards), William Gilmour (keyboards), Francis Lickerish (guitars), Stephen Stewart (guitars), David Storey (drums, percussion) and Terry Pack (bass). Guest musicians Tony Freer played oboe and cor anglais, and he managed to integrate well with the group though he only lasted for the album because as RJG stated "Tony Freer only stuck around for one album - that was a shame, but there was a situation with a woman and she decided she wanted to take over everything."
The group's third album was called Touch Me and was released in 1979 (PYE NSPH 18593, including insert, BS 12.00). As remarked, the group were under pressure to deliver and thus were prevented from developing a concept to their album. However, what was lacking in conceptuality was gained in musical direction with the album possessing some of the best material the group had produced. The group still were an immense attraction when playing live and would regularly sell out thousand seater venues including a series of concerts at Hammersmith Odeon recorded by the BBC, and which would alter appear as live albums.
Panic was setting in at PYE Records as they did not know how to deal with their latest and most expensive signing. The company decided to release singles by The Enid in a bid to raise some cash. These included the single Dambusters March - Land Of Hope And Glory/ The Skye Boat Song (PYE 7P 106, picture sleeve, blue vinyl BS 10.00) which was the track that The Enid would always close their shows with.
Release for this single also brought it's own problems as permission had to be sought from Elgar's publishers regarding copyright. However lack of funds also meant that the single was not promoted with the end result being that the single did not even chart. Also released as a single was Fool/Tito(Pye Zp 187) while EMI re-released Golden Earring this time backed by 665 The Great Bean which was a re-working of the track from their debut album The Devil (EMI EMI 5109).
Less than one year after recording Touch Me, the group were already at work on their new album, Six Pieces. Recordings at their studio took place between August and September 1979 with an almost unchanged line-up. In fact missing was Terry Pack, whose place was taken by Martin Russell. Pack would remain close to the group and play with them occasionally as a session/guest musician. Interest from Pye's part vis-à-vis the group was practically non existent and this is clear from even the cover of the album.
Six Pieces was released in 1980 (PYE NH 116, with insert, 2000 only, BS 15.00) with next to no promotion at all. The cover of the album, which up till then was always an elaborate affair, this time round had six portraits of the band members as chess pieces. Possibly the group were just proving the point that in all this politics they were pawns without any say whatsoever in all that was occurring around them and RJG admits that they knew while recording the album that their tenure with the label was over. In fact the group parted company with the label at the end of the year but this tension between band and label also had its negative effect on the group's core trio. (A cassette version of 500 copies of Six Pieces was also released, Pye ZCNH 116, BS 10.00)
At the end of a lengthy tour, Francis Lickerish and Willie Gilmour left the band which had by now had severed
all ties with PYE Records. In an article RJG gives his version of events as to the departure of the two members:
"Francis (Lickerish) by this time was married with a child. His brother moved into the vicinity with his wife and
then decided to conduct an affair with Willie Gilmour's wife. We also had this woman turn up, called Caroline
Ashton, saying she wanted to help the band. She got herself ensconced and caused all sorts of trouble. She made
Francis believe he was a god and could do anything; there was a failed coup against me, but Francis was the one
that ended up being shoehorned out. To keep afloat we had to record completely ridiculous, anonymous singles and
we got asked to play these all the time. It was meant to a subtle two-fingers to the industry but it didn't quite
Thank God we at least went on getting gigs after Punk. We had different music, but we had an attitude also, which was "fuck you", basically, as far as the Establishment was concerned. We had quite a following after Punk. We'd go up to Middlesbrough or wherever, and play Fand. And you'd get these twenty yobbos at the back screaming "Fucking Get Off!" which would turn the other 200-odd people our way because they felt that we were courageous to do something we so believed in"
Admittedly all this seemed to spell the end of The Enid as a recording entity, and few people would have fathomed a possible return of RJG and his musical vehicle. Time however, would prove that The Enid possessed an extremely popular and resilient fan base which would not allow the band to just fade away! However that is another story.
Album ReviewsAlbums reviewed here are:
- Fall Of Hyperion (1974) (Robert John Godfrey)
- In The Region Of The Summer Stars (1976)
- Aerie Fairie Nonsense (1977)
- Touch Me (1978)
- Six Pieces (1979)
Cover and Design by Hipgnosis
Dedicated to the life work and memory of George Aubrey Lyward OBE
Album by RJG and Neil Slaven
Music composed, scored and conducted by RJG
Poetry by Christopher Lewis
Musicians: Robert John Godfrey (keyboards), Christopher Lewis (vocals), Neil Tetlow (bass), Jim Scott (guitars), Tristan Fry & Ronnie McCrea (percussion), Nigel Morton (Hammond organ)
Recorded At Sarm studios in Sep, Oct, Nov 1973 (Sarm at that time was the only 24-track studio in commercial use)
Unfortunately, this album seems to only have been released on vinyl, though I have found some unconfirmed
reports that a CD version was made available in 1990 in Japan only. Should you come across a copy of this album,
be sure to scoop it up as it is fast becoming an in demand and rare collector's item in the progressive rock
Before going into the merits and details of this album one must also make reference to two inscriptions that one
finds on the album that are of great importance to both RJG and The Enid. The first is the inscription
My warmest appreciation goes to Wooly Wostenholme of BJH. He has been my musical confessor and an endless source of inspiration.
This line shows that RJG's departure from Barclay James Harvest was definitely amicable, at least for the time being. The second important line of notice is the dedication of the album, which is to George Aubrey Lyward OBE, the founder of Finchden Manor, the school that RJG used to attend and also the catalyst to the formation of The Enid. Another further point worth noting is the motto We Are All Members, One Of Another, a motto which would go on to be that of the underground following The Enid would have in the eighties, a following which would be of immense help to their future, The Stand.
RJG's first album, though not a musical landmark, shows the musical foundations on which his future music with The Enid would be built on. Curiously though it seems that RJG has been unable to shake off the presence of a band together with a vocalist, as he had been used to having with him in BJH. He thus employed Christopher Lewis to take on that duty as well as write the lyrics to the tracks on the album.
The album opens with The Raven and one of the striking points of this track, and also of the album is the utilisation of percussion courtesy of Tristan Fry (Sky) and Ronnie McCrae and the subsequent absence of a drummer. In actual fact even guitars are used to a minimum. RJG's piano and keyboard playing is great yet his choice of vocalist was not exactly the best you would have expected from such a perfectionist. The track, and the album, has its dramatic points yet rarely reaches any significant high points.
In actual fact the next two tracks on the album, Mountains and Water Song retain a similar style with a piano based melody line with the occasional crescendo coupled with percussive effects together with Lewis' rather drab vocals. Possibly the only element of climax comes to the end of Water Song as the track alternates between strong heavy sections and delicate piano playing. Those fans of progressive rock bands such as Renaissance wold love these particular tracks due to the predominant use of the piano coupled with the very obvious classical influence that percolates throughout all of the album. Further Enid albums would see RJG using a similar style though rather than a continuous use of the piano he would rely further on keyboards and their augmented sound, almost resembling that of an orchestra.
Isault, the opening track to Side 2 of the album, has an almost Albatross (Fleetwood Mac) feel to it, though this is only temporary as it proceeds along much of what we had throughout most of the tracks on the album with percussion and piano occupying most of the musical sphere.
The album comes to a close with the album's epic work, The Daemon Of The World which in itself is sub-divided into six sections. This can be considered to be RJG's first attempt in creating a piece of music along the lines of what he would compose in the future with The Enid. Of these six sections, only two (The Arrival Of The Phoenix and The Demon) involve a vocalist whilst the remaining four are pure instrumentals. Of the two, The Arrival Of The Phoenix is the more bombastic and seemingly more complex with its rapid changes in time signatures and overall structure.
Across The Abyss is a straight forward percussion solo whilst The Wanderer features RJG just playing the piano. IHS is peculiar because it features the organ of the Church of St Gabriel Archangel in Criclewood with Tuba Mirum bringing the album to a close.
Overall this is not an album one would hark about and neither one that I would recommend to most progressive rock fans. It has its interesting points and is of particular interest to fans of The Enid (and they are indeed numerous!) because it is a bridge between the work RJG had previously done with Barclay James Harvest and what he would achieve in the future with The Enid.
Tracklist (Vinyl): The Fool……The Falling Tower (6:16), Death, The Reaper (3:59), The Lovers (5:17),
The Devil (4:14), The Sun (4:39), The Last Judgement (8:12), In The Region Of The Summer Stars (6:19)
Tracklist (Re-Release/CD): Fool, The Tower of Babel, The Reaper, The Loved Ones, The Demon King, Pre-Dawn, Sunrise, The Last Day, The Flood, Under the Summer Stars, Adieu.
Bonus track on CD (Mantella version): Reverberations
Bonus track on CD (Inner Sanctum version): Judgement, In The Region Of The Summer Stars
Musicians: Robert John Godfrey: (Keyboards), Stephen Stewart (Guitars, Bass), Francis Lickerish
(Guitars), Glen Tollet (Bass), Dave Storey (Robbie Dobson credited instead) (on original album only) (Drums and
Percussion), Chris North (on re-recorded version only) (Drums and Percussion)
Piano solo on The Lovers by RJG
Dave Hancock: trumpet solo on The Sun and bridge passage between The Judgement and In The Region On re-release; Neil Michell: solo trumpet on Fool, Pre-Dawn and The Flood
All music composed and arranged by members of THE ENID
Recorded at Sarm Studios.
Produced by John Sinclair for Sarm Productions Ltd.
Sleeve design by Dean Pywell. Original concept by Colin Dunbar. Sleev on CD versionis the painting "The Father And The Mother" by William Arkle
The following quotation is taken from the liner notes to the re-release of the album:
We have completely re-recorded side two (after "Pre-Dawn") from scratch. In the ten years since this music was first composed, we have made substantial alternations to the arrangements. The music on side two therefore differs in a number of respects from the original.
The multi-track tapes for the music on side one came into our possession and so we have been able to use most of them. Side one is essentially the same except that Fool has been extended and some completely fresh music has been included. The Loved One is also different. Some of the original synthesizer parts were "naff" and we have therefore re-done them. The actual titles of the pieces have been changed for no other reason than whim.
This new production was re-recorded and re-mixed by Steve Stewart and myself at The Lodge Studio in Clare, Suffolk.
Steve and I would like to thank Chris North for playing the drums on Side Two. We should also like to thank Neil Michell for the solo trumpet on Fool, Pre-Dawn and The Flood.
The Enid's first album was actually released three full years after being recorded ie in 1976. There are a large number of differences between this album and what RJG had tried to achieve on his debut album, and this can mainly be attributed to his fully collaborating with the rest of the band who would add that necessary rock touch to the classical side of RJG's compositions, and thus give the band its unique sound. One of the major failings of the RJG's solo album was the inclusion of vocals, and though in years to come some people would regard this as a major failing of the band, it seems that RJG realised that the paramount thing about The Enid was the music.
Before commenting on this album one has to realise that there exist two distinct versions of the album. The first is what was originally released whilst the second version saw the light of day in 1983 when the band re-recorded/re-released their back catalogue. The liner notes from the re-release shown above, shows what changes were made to the original release the second time round. What the band failed to also mention was that the main reason for re-recording Side 2 of the album was not because of the "naff" nature of the music, but simply because the master tapes were never given to them. Since I only posses the original vinyl edition, I will only give an overview of the content of the original release.
As mentioned in the band history, the band were due to be signed to the Charisma label with their debut title being The Voyage Of The Acolyte. The contract with Charisma never materialised as did their album title which was taken by Steve Hackett, then also at Charisma. However the band still retained the basis of their concept which was to be about the tarot cards and the writings of Charles Williams, with much of the musical ideas originating from the material Stewart, Lickerish and RJG had written together for The Quest Of The Holy Grail. The album starts off with The Fool……The Falling Tower with classical piano starting off the track, yet within a short while it is immediately apparent that musically there is a change for the better. Taking cues from Bartok, guitars intervene bringing with them a middle Eastern melody backed by some great music. There is the occasional break which has piano interludes backed by some great percussive work. However one can hear the shift in musical pattern as the group fuse classical elements with rock elements to stunning effect. This one must add is what makes RJG stand out from his contemporary keyboardists such as Vangelis and Rick Wakeman. Though these also fused classical with rock, RJG rarely goes overboard in bombasticity and the music sounds as fresh today as it did over 25 years ago.
Death, The Reaper, as its name implies brings out a darker side to the music of The Enid. Once again there is a balance between rock and classical but this time the music is harsher and fuller with distortion on part of the guitars and a full blown orchestral sound on part of the RJG and his keyboards. One of the themes present in this track was to be rehashed and expanded on for what is considered the epic Enid track, Fand, on their second album.
The Lovers brings to the fore RJG's piano playing ability and is a clear indication that his initial training was in becoming a concert pianist. Very much in a Rachmaninov style, the music is romantic and melodic, fitting for the title The Lovers. Even the entry of the guitar, heralded by a timpani roll is brief and unobtrusive with the track quickly returning to the piano solo.
The Devil is the closest probably that The Enid would ever come to recording a full blown rock number and quite frankly it is very uncharacteristic of them. This track would be given an even rockier interpretation when re-recorded as 665:The Great Bean. Musically the guitar parts are Frippian like in sound though the track features many peculiarities with strange sounding percussion and sound effects.
The second side of the album is without any doubt the better of the 2 sides. The Sun opens with a trumpet solo by Dave Hancock that heralds the dawn of a new day or as titled in the re-recorded version, Pre-Dawn.
The Last Judgment, based on the Dies Irae, has a percussive build up somewhat like Ravel would have loved to be involved in.The instruments combine with each other to perfection creating a crescendo which then breaks out into a plateau of musical expression as keyboards and guitars slow down the tempo giving that full sound which reaches a climax with the chant of Dies Irae.Following this musical climax, we reach the bridge section that leads into In The Region Of Summer Stars.
Mahler and his Resurrection Symphony No2 also plays an important role on this album as the lone trumpet heralds In The Region Of The Summer Stars. The importance of Mahler figures strongly in RJG's life especially with his fascination with Carl Jung and his fascination with archetypes. A twin guitar section picks up the main theme which is shifted around through various instruments such as flutes creating a sense of happiness and joy. The middle section of the theme has a power chord introductory section as the guitars pick up the main theme with the momentum of the music seemingly shifted from one of orchestration to that of a rock band. The bass, guitars and drum seem to take over, and once again it is the sound of twin guitars to carry the musical theme. The track concludes with the entry of RJG's piano playing accompanied by a swan-like guitar sound and fades out with RJG's piano playing in true Mahlerian fashion!
Though many people consider the classical masterpiece of The Enid to be their following album, In The Region Of The Summer Stars is one of those epic symphonic progressive rock albums from the seventies that are a must for every serious collector of progressive rock.
Tracklist: Original Vinyl Release: Prelude, Mayday Galliard, Ondine, Childe Roland, Fand 1st
Movement, 2nd movement
Remastered Edition: Heroe's Life "Childe Roland to the dark tower came", Ondine "Dear sweet thing of wonderful beauty; Roland's childe", Interlude, Bridal Dance "Mayday Galliard", Song Of Fand 1st Movement Part 1: Isle of Brooding Solitude Part 2: The Silver Ship - Landfall Part 3: The Grand Loving 2nd Movement Love/Death...the Immolation of Fand
Vinyl tracks on re-released version as on original release but remixed
CD and cassette tracks on re-released version are all new recordings except for Ondine
Musicians: Robert John Godfrey (Keyboards), Stephen Stewart (Guitars and Bass), Francis Lickerish (Guitars), Glen Tollet (Bass (only on re-recorded version)), Chris North (Drums and Percussion (only on re-recorded version)), Dave Storey (Drums and Percussion), Charlie Elston (keyboards (on original release only)), Terry Thunderbags Pack (bass on original release)
All tracks composed by Robert Godfrey except for Ondine, Childe Roland and Fand (1st movement) by Robert Godfrey/Francis Lickerish
Produced by THE ENID and Martin Moss (Martin Moss is now a member of THE ENID)
New version produced by Stephen Stewart and Robert John Godfrey.
Recorded at: Morgan Studios between August and September 1977
Remixed and re-recorded at Spaceward Studios Cambridge, August 1983
Art Direction: Peter Shepherd; Photography: Peter Lavery; Hair by: Vicky at Ellis Helen
Once again, this particular Enid album can be found in two distinctive versions as the band opted to re-record the album when they came to re-releasing their back catalogue. Furthermore the track listing was changed around, thus giving the musical sequence and story on the new version a totally new slant.
Aerie Faerie Nonsense is considered by many critics and fans alike to be the group's epic recording mainly because of the presence of the epic track Fand which occupies all of side 2 of the album. Recorded in August and September of 1977, this album once again portrayed RJG's love of combining the style of various classical composer's, most notably on this album Wagner and Rachmaninov, and giving them a rockier edge with the inclusion of more "traditional" rock instruments.
The album in itself is a concept album based on the the quests of the young knight Roland and opens with Prelude. A fanfare heralds the commencement of the album as the whole "orchestra" joins in. This merges into Mayday Galliard, also known as the Bridal Dance. Uplifting and joyful, the track features a fluttering of instruments as the touch is light and playful with the theme played throughout in a variety of fashions almost as if taken from a soundtrack. However, each instrument never overstays its presence allowing the track to flow by in a pleasant fashion.
Ondine (Dear sweet Thing Of wonderful Beauty, Roland's childe) has a baroque feel to it with an acoustic touch. Gone are the brass arrangements as well as the strong percussive crashes and in come the soft strings led by the mournful cellos with a touch of wood sections and light guitaring. The guitar playing is almost all with utilisation of harmonics as the track assumes a mediaeval air as well as an almost fairy tale touch to it.
Childe Roland (To the Dark Tower Came) is the most energetic piece of the first side and the music could well fit in to the prelude of a battle. Reminding me at times of Disney's adaptation of Paul Dukas' music for The Sorcerers's Apprentice, the music features a continuous climax and combination of both guitars and strings with the percussion accentuating those areas when both sets of instruments join together under a unified theme. Without any shadow of doubt, this track is the highlight of the first side of the album and one of the finest and most upbeat tracks the band ever produced.
Side 2 is totally occupied by the epic Fand, a track based on the Bax's, symphonic tome-poem The Garden of Fand (1916). The track in itself is divided into two movements with the first further subdivided into three parts, The Isle Of Brooding Solitude, The Silver Ship-landfall and The Grand Loving. Accompanying these pieces and included on the album is also a piece of poetry title Fand written by Francis Lickerish which recounts the story of Fand, though unlike on RJG's solo album, the text is not put to the music and is just left on the album to allow the listener to follow the music whilst reading the poem.
The overall mood leaves the listener with a very dark and dramatic feeling. What is definite is that this is one of the Enid's crowning achievements and is probably the standard by which all of their music is measured. Apart from the various themes and majestic music, one cannot but note the ability RJG has in creating such pompous symphonic rock without actually involving an orchestra. One further note is that it is incredible how such a person as RJG has gone unnoticed by the world of cinema and has not involved him as a soundtrack composer. The themes he composes and the way these are expressed throughout various pieces of music put various other composers to shame.
Fans of the "heavier" or jazzier side of progressive rock might find this album somewhat too classical. However for all those who love to hear majestic music with broad classical overtones, this album is a must.
Bonus Track on Cd version:: Joined by the Heart Part 2
Musicians: Robert John Godfrey (Keyboards), William Gilmour (Keyboards), Francis Lickerish (Guitars),
Stephen Stewart (Guitars, Percussion), David Storey (Drums, Percussion), Terry Pack (Bass Guitar)
Guest musician: Tony Freer (Cor Anglais, Oboe)
Produced by THE ENID
Recorded in THE ENID's 16 track studio at their home during November and December 1978 and January 1979
Information regarding re-recording of album: This recording has been enhanced by the addition of the Lexicon 224 Digital Reverberator and is therefore different from the original recording released on Pye Records. This effect has been to add a special dimension to the original sound.
Humouresque and Gallavant composed by Robert J. Godfrey/William Gilmour/Francis Lickerish; Cortege by Robert J. Godfrey/Stephen Stewart/Francis Lickerish, Elegy (Touch Me) by Robert J. Godfrey/Francis Lickerish; Albion Fair Part One by Robert J. Godfrey, Part Two by Robert J. Godfrey/William Gilmour)
Touch Me was the first record the band would produce for PYE Records, though the band were under immense pressure to ensure the time constraints were kept. Recordings took place at the band's own studio, a move which might have aided the band in their creative process, yet definitely affected the overall sound quality of the album. Furthermore the band were also under an amount of pressure to come up with an album of the same quality as its predecessor, Aerie Fairie Nonsense.
The quality of the compositions presented may well be considered to be amongst the most complex the band had ever undertaken with the album actually consisting of two lengthy tracks. From the opener Humouresque, one immediately notices the new dimension Tony Freer added to the band's sound as well as influence. In fact there is a certain higher degree of medieval conviction about the sound and admittedly his presence would have helped greatly on previous tracks such as those on the Aerie Fairie Nonsense album whose connotations were so obviously medieval. Furthermore the addition of an extra keyboardist in William Gilmour also helped to create a deeper and more authentic orchestral sound. The rock sound is still present though as drums and guitars blend in ever so smoothly with the lush orchestration.
The fact that all the tracks on the first side are all labelled under Charades, also means that they are linked by the same theme. Thus Cortege picks up the oboe melody that was hinted at in the opening Humoresque together with typical Renaissance drumming. Though featuring some of the more accessible music on the album it is also the one that has the least amount of "rock" intrusion except for the occasional hint of a guitar lick. Elegy (Touch Me), on the other hand, features a more laid back and mellow approach with the main source of music coming from RJG's piano playing rather than the lush complex keyboard-conjured orchestrations that prevail on most of The Enid's music. Gallavant, as its name implies has a decisive upbeat feel to it with the occasional dramatic touch added via the keyboards, which for the first time on an Enid track sound just like keboards! The theme seems to be taken from Bruckner, though the arrangements are as lush one can imagine an Enid arrangement could be. Once again there is the return of an amount of response between various rock and classical modalities, though the classical features are much more prominent.
The entire second side of the album is taken up by Albion Fair, which in itself is subdivided into two parts. The first part of Albion Fair shows a very different angle to the musical nature of RJG. Instead of the usual lush orchestration we get a series of soudnscapes and layered sound effects which give the music a very psychedelic touch. For the first time comparisons can be made to rather more contemporary rock musicians like Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel rather than classical composers. The layered effects then merge into the more traditionally Enid styled Part 2. The second part is by far the most complex of the musical arrangements that one finds on the album, if not throughout the band's history. Once again we get the polyphonic classical structures as rock band and classical orchestra clash together, at times bonded by the same theme. However one of the main features of this track is the variety of moods that it is able to convey. At times one feels that there seems to be a heartfelt plea being played out, only to have that completely dashed out by a sudden congregation of instruments and percussion. One of the most difficult things one can undertake is to be able to describe in words what the music of The Enid is all about. It is very easy to mention various moods and various instruments, however it is equally impossible to convey what one feels when hearing the marvellous music this band could produce.
Tracklist: Side 1:The Punch and Judy Man, Once She Was, The Ringmaster Side 2:Sanctus, The
Hall of Mirrors, The Dreamer
Bonus Track on CD version: Joined by the Heart Part 1
Punch And Judy Man composed by William Gilmour/Robert Godfrey, Once She Was by Martin Russell/Robert Godfrey/Trad., The Ring Master by Martin Russell/Robert Godfrey/William Gilmour/Robbie Dobson, Sanctus by Robert Godfrey/Martin Russell/William Gilmour, Hall Of Mirrors by Robert Godfrey/William Gilmour/Stephen Stewart, The Dreamer by Francis Lickerish/Robert Godfrey/Robbie Dobson
Musicians: Robert John Godfrey (Keyboards), Stephen Stewart (Guitars and Bass), Francis Lickerish (Guitars), Martin Russell (Keyboards and Bass), William Gilmour (Keyboards), Robbie Dobson (Drums and Percussion)
Produced by Stephen Stewart and Robert John Godfrey
Recorded in The Enid's 16 track studio during August and September 1979
The last album in the first part of The Enid's history was also the last album they would record for PYE Records. In fact recordings took place with the band knowing that they would not have any financial backing from the label to promote the album. Furthermore the album also witnesses a departure from the musical point of view of the band in producing a number, of lengthy pieces. Instead the album poses as series of relatively short works each of which is completely independent of the other.
The album opens with Punch And Judy Man, which as can be aptly deciphered from the title is a schizoid piece of music. It features the band at possibly their rockiest, with various sections devoid of the lush orchestration. In fact the initial section of this particular track is the closest the band come to actually playing progressive rock as most people know it, though this is then contrasted by the melodic orchestration replete with woodwind to finally conclude with the characteristic merging of both classical and rock genres. Another striking feature is the unusual prominence given to the drums on this track, courtesy of Robbie Dobson.
Once She Was is almost entirely dominated by the band's interpretation of the traditional Scarborough Fayre. Most of the piece is relatively bland as it sounds more like a synthesized version of the traditional tune, though at times the whole "orchestra" does get involved and the work picks up pace in a most interesting fashion. The Ring Master, on the other sees a return to the schizoid fashion in playing out things as happened on Punch And Judy Man, though one can identify himself much more easily with the music on this track. The playful nature of the melody allows one to visualize the circus and the various antics that go on in the ring, as each instrument plays out various circus themes.
The second side kicks off with the religiously influenced Sanctus, which seems to just involve RJG and his keyboards with the music sounding ever so much more like artists like Vangelis rather than the style one would expect on an Enid album. Possibly the track's saving grace is the rich guitar work by Francis Lickerish accompanied by the lush organ sound towards the end of the tracks. Hall Of Mirrors, once again lacks that bombastic classical touch. There is the occasional hint of strings, though the dominant force is once again Francis Lickerish's guitar work coupled with some strong yet strangely spacey keyboard work.
The album comes to a close with The Dreamer, which on the album is accompanied by a quotation from Keats, "Turn the Key deftly in the oiled wards And seal the hushed casket of my soul." Keats has always seemed to have been a favourite of RJG, having influenced him greatly on his solo album The Fall Of Hyperion. The opening section utilises the layered effects that we first heard in Albion Fair Part 2 from the Touch Me album. When the music does creep in, it moves along the lines that the title implies. Everything happens at a languid and mellow pace without the slightest hint of heavy percussion or clashes of various instruments. Without a shadow of doubt, this piece is one of the few highlights of this album.
Admittedly the climate in which the album was cut was not ideal for the band to come up with any form of masterpiece and at times i feel that the tracks were just put together to get the album over and done with. There is too much missing from the traditional Enid sound that was so endearing on previous albums to actually think hat this was all that the band was capable of doing. Though it does have its moments, this is definitely not the album with which to start off listening to The Enid.
There does exist an official website belonging to The Enid. Late in 2003, Robert John Godfrey contacted DPRP letting us know that the band were "alive and well" and that the website had been updated.
Should you have any further information regarding The Enid that could be added to the site, do not hesitate to contact me.
Also read the follow-up article in this same DPRP section, The Enid: 1980 - 2000!