From The Desk Of Nick Garrie: Andy Ripley

In 1969 Nick Garrie recorded The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanisla, a lush folk/pop album. When collectors discovered it in the ’80s, it began fetching astronomical sums, and it was eventually reissued on CD in 2005. Garrie’s life in obscurity has too many twists to recount, but includes two albums as Nick Hamilton and an opening spot on a Leonard Cohen tour in 1984. The Moon And The Village (Tapete), Garrie’s first release in 23 years, is another subtle charmer. His mellow vocals are supported by arrangements that let his stories glow with a warm inner light. Garrie will be guest editing all week.

Garrie: I first met Andy Ripley (England, Lions and Barbarians rugby player) at the first Heineken 7s Rugby Tournament in Amsterdam. I didn’t have to play against him, thank God. He was a giant, albeit a gentle one, off the field. After a few years, we skied together and became fan friends. I was the fan, although he came to my gigs. He beat cancer once, then it came back remorselessly, and he lost his sight. I would play to him in the afternoons, and he would say, “It works, Nicky.” Then he would remonstrate with me for not having shaved as he kissed me goodbye. (Very unrugby like.)

I was standing in the village church reading the order of service when I saw the last line of the poem. I asked the family, and they didn’t know—someone had just sent it in. Andy was always meeting people and touching their lives. Andy got to hear Leonard Cohen before he died and was bowled over. They were brothers without knowing each other and they “showed us how to wave goodbye.”