Various threads bring these different artists and
Matt Vernon and Cleveland Williams organised the
first fundraising recital for the Highveld Diocese AIDS project in 1998
- at a time when Iain was involved in the administration of outward
giving for the parish of Holy Trinity and St Mary's in Guildford where
Matt was curate. Matt sang Iain's setting of Psalm 22 (which is on the
first CD) at the Guildford Diocesan AIDS Day Service in Holy Trinity in
Paul Wheeler, Iain Cameron and Derek Ridgers were
all involved in Stoney Ground at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in
1969 - an idea developed by the saxophonist and ergonomist Steve
Pheasant who died in 1996. Derek and Iain lived in the same street in
West London and were both in the 2nd Heston Scout Group. Steve's
literary executor and obituarist , Peter Buckle, was one of the first
people to buy Serious Music for the Highveld.
Steve, Iain and Paul went on to form the band,
Wild Oats, at Cambridge in the same year that the first Stoney Ground
was put on at Edinburgh. Paul Bell, Cathy Bell's father, played drums in
this band. When Iain resumed songwriting in the mid 1990s Cathy agreed
to try out some of the songs and in return Iain recorded a MIDI sequence
of the string quartet she wrote for her A Level Music exam.
Lawrence Fisher, the bass player in Fellthru, is
the son of Rob and Wendy Fisher who Iain first met when he was playing
in the Steve Pheasant Bebop Quintet at the White Hart in Drury Lane in
In the middle of the 1990s Robin Frederick
discovered that one of her early songs had been incorrectly attributed
to Nick Drake whom she had met at Aix in France in 1967 before coming to
England to stay with John Martyn. John sings Robin's song Sandy
Grey on his first LP, London Conversation.
Paul Wheeler had
introduced Nick Drake to John Martyn at about this time although he did
not meet Robin until she came to the UK to appear at a memorial concert
at the Barbican. Some of the comings and goings at this time are
described in Iain's article Meeting Nick on the Nick Drake Files. Paul
Wheeler appears on John Martyn's sceond LP, The Tumbler, and one of his
poems appears on the sleeve. Paul's song "Give Us A Ring" appears on
John's album "Road to Ruin". Phil Manzanera covered Paul's "Blue Grey
Uniform" on his album "Listen Now". Paul studied poetry with J H Pynne
who also taught Cathy Bell.
Meeting Nick on the Nick Drake files when he was working on his CD
of Nick's compositions and approached Iain to review the completed CD.
How did news of the Highveld Project reach Guildford? The Bishop -
David Beetge - came to visit Guildford in 1998 when he was in the UK for
the Lambeth Palace Conference and his work caught the imagination of a
number of people there.
Iain and Paul Bell
have just made contact with the two other surviving members of Wild Oats
Jon Cole and Richard Jones both of whom are now working with Information
Technology. Jon Cole went on from Wild Oats to lead The Movies and their
story is to be found at
joined Principal Edwards Magic Theatre after leaving university and then
rejoined the band he had been with before he came up to Cambridge Climax
Chicago Blues Band which by this time had achieved international success.
At the time when The Wild Oats members
got together in Cambridge it seemed like we were the first rock-n-roll
generation at the ancient university. That isnt strictly true Dick
Heckstall Smith who played sax in the Graham Bond Organisation studied
agriculture there in the 1950s and in the early 60s it was where Ginger
Baker first played with Jack Bruce.
Someone is trying to compile a comprehensive history of Cambridge Rock and
you can find the chart at
www.geocities.com/happysurfer1. Its quite a task.