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 magnetmagazine.com all week.
Garrie: I had never been in a recording studio before, so I splashed out on a striped Biba jacket assorted with cricket whites and black patent mocassins. I looked ridiculous, and when I walked into the studio to find an orchestra of grumpy old men in cardigans, the scene was set.
We started with “Stanislas,” which I couldn’t recognize, and then Vartan (producer) got me under control. When we got to “Little Bird,” which I had written as a gentle strum, I was convinced the orchestra were racing through it to catch the last metro home. Vartan and I had words. By the last song, “Evening,” he was exhausted and said, “You do it how you want and take the instruments you need.” I sent them all home except a young, longhaired American trumpet player, and we sat on the floor and played it together joined at the hip.
I went for a pee, and one of the guitarists was there.
“Did you write this shit?”
I nodded glumly.
Stanislas was released some 40 years later, and even then I still didn’t get any royalties. So when some well-meaning journalist calls me a cult hero, I say, “My arse.”