The story of Dave & Marian (continued)
Paper Flowers, Paper Dreams - Dave's sleevenotes from the Paper Flowers CD
By 1967 I was ready for something else. The Countrymen had folded and I worked and played wherever and whenever I could. University and pub folk clubs were the preferred gigs. The mixture of good people and good music, and a freedom to take a chance on styles or material resulted in my conversion to contemporary, original songs. I was no writer so I had to find the songs and plundered the catalogue of Phil Oakes, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and a whole bunch of other great '60s writers too numerous to mention.
Meeting Marianne in 1967 at The Anglers in Teddington was, for me, just about perfect. I was looking for something, so was she, we wanted to play the same material and best of all, what I saw and heard that night, with her oh-so-English voice counterpoised against a trans-atlantic guitar style, told me she was the other part of what I wanted to be doing - playing guitar for an original talent, and with someone who was capable of 'going places'. We 'mixed' a few gigs, I sat in on hers, she in mine, and we found that we worked together on stage - when there was one - and music aside, were able to engage with the folk club audiences.
Each club was a little different from another, with a few variations in local attitude and a common insistence on singing. We worked with that and had great nights all over the country. Marianne wrote her own songs but we were almost six months into 1968 before she was ready to start featuring them in our club sets. I pushed, but she wouldn't bring them in until she felt they worked against the other 'heavy hitters' we were featuring in our sets. Our audiences however, initiated what became an inevitable move to new and original song material. They loved Marianne's songs, and the places she took them to in just one line. I stood and saw how she made the connection between her and the audience.
In some ways it was a perfect gig, two guitars in the boot of the Triumph and the pleasure (then!) of a relaxing drive, a good welcome and a mob of people out for a good night. Then in 1969, an agent, Sandy Glennon, introduced us to Publisher and Record Producer John Miller and it all got very intense. For me it was déja-vu, meetings and demos and meetings and gigs and meetings. All of the ideas talked about meant that for Marianne, and for me, our focus fuzzed a little. We knew that the duo was about to develop and we weren't sure where it would go. It went, with the addition of Rod Edwards, to Marian Segal's Jade, a trio that added other players when appropriate. Some of the duo demos were done for John Miller and his hand, or maybe, ears are here in the density of the acoustic guitars, a feature which is on every track of the Jade album.
The duo, and the two years we had with it, was the sweetest of times, however the 'groovy' element was, as now, a media myth. If you had cash or a 'thing' then you could 'groove' but for most people life went on as usual in it's post-World War Two shades of concrete grey. Yet, for Marianne and I, the world was wide open and we were able to work in the places we wanted to go, and do exactly what we wanted, when we wanted. Despite the subsequent canonisation of the '60s I suppose we really did have a groovy time and in retrospect what could be better than that?