One of the most mysterious albums of the late Sixties, British singer/songwriter Philamore Lincoln's US-only release The North Wind Blew South has attracted plenty of conjecture over the years, much of it concerning the alleged involvement of the Yardbirds.
Philamore Lincoln was born Robert Cromwell Anson on 20th October 1940 in Sherwood, Nottingham. He started playing drums in his mid-teens before joining the RAF, where he played in a band that also featured alto saxophonist Trevor Watts, later of Spontaneous Music Ensemble and Amalgam.
It was at this juncture that Anson began to call himself Phil Kinorra in honour of his three favourite jazz drummers - Phil Seamen,Tony Kinsey and Bobby Orr. After leaving the RAF, Kinorra worked in summer shows and variety acts before coming down to London at the beginning of 1960 as part of an R&B band run by Heather Logan (the sister of jazz singer and actress Annie Ross).
By early 1967, Julien Covey and the Machine had settled down to a line-up of Phil Kinorra on vocals, John Moorshead on guitar, Pete Solley on keyboards, John Holliday on bass and Keith Webb on drums. (NB. It may be that John Holliday was a pseudonym for Johnny Spence, who is known to have been a member of the Machine around this time. Spence had recently quit the Pirates, where he had briefly played alongside Moorshead.) Linking up with Island label producer Jimmy Miller, Covey and the Machine cut a great single, 'A Little Bit Hurt' b/w 'Sweet Bacon'.
Released in May 1967, 'A Little Bit Hurt' attracted a lot of support from the pirate radio stations and was popular in the club discotheques, but didn't quite make the transition to national chart success. Nevertheless, it was an extremely influential record; not only did it become a big favourite on the Northern Soul circuit, leading to Island re-releasing it in 1978, but the A-side was clearly the template for a track on the debut Soft Machine album, 'We Did It Again'.
According to press reports at the time, Julien Covey and the Machine were offered a five-year deal by Island, but the group split in the autumn of 1967, at which juncture John Moorshead joined the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. After a brief reunion with Graham Bond, Anson/Kinorra/Covey then underwent yet another musical metamorphosis and change of name, reinventing himself as Donovan style psychedelic folk troubadour Philamore Lincoln.
Using this name, he released a September 1968 single for the NEMS label, 'Running By The River' b/w 'Rainy Day'. Sadly unavailable for this anthology, 'Running By The River' was a beguiling slice of folkadelia that deserved a better fate than to sink into oblivion. But Lincoln wasn't finished (just as well, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this sleevenote). When NEMS collapsed in 1969, a number of its acts transferred to CBS, who had distributed the label.
The excellent 'Rainy Day' was resurrected from the B-side of 'Running ByThe River', but there were plenty of new songs that attained the same heights. 'You'reThe One' pursued a similar direction but with the added attraction of a fierce lead guitar break from Jimmy Page, while the oddly-structured montage 'Early Sherwood' saw Anson/Kinorra/Covey/Lincoln reminiscing about his Nottingham childhood.
Sadly, though, The North Wind Blew South failed to garner much attention, and Lincoln's next act was to produce the self-titled, May 1971 debut album for the progressive rock band Paladin, who included two of his former Julien Covey and the Machine colleagues, keyboardist Pete Solley and drummer Keith Webb. After that, though, the Philamore Lincoln trail goes cold. Perhaps he adopted yet another alias and became some glam rock or punk superstar. Maybe he threw in the towel and returned to Nottingham to work in a glue factory.
Who can say? Meanwhile, the title track of The North Wind Blew South has attracted a cover version from studio collective Headless Heroes, who recently released it as a single as well as including it on The Silence Of Love, an album of covers that also includes songs originally recorded by the Jesus & Mary Chain and Nick Cave.
Coupled with his inclusion on such collector-type compilation series as Rubble and Fading Yellow, clearly there's more interest in Philamore Lincoln's small but impressive body of work than there was some four decades ago. Hopefully this reissue will add to his re-evaluation.
by David Wells
1. The North Wind Blew South - 3:10
2. You're The One - 3:02
3. Lazy Good For Nothin' - 2:29
4. Early Sherwood - 3:16
5. Rainy Day - 2:27
6. Temma Harbour - 2:59
7. The Plains Of Delight - 3:16
8. The Country Jail Band - 2:36
9. When You Were Looking My Way - 3:15
10.Blew Through - 5:18
Words and Music by Philamore Lincoln
*Philamore Lincoln - Vocals, Flute, Guitars, Strings Arrangement.
*Clem Cattini - Drums
*Les Hurdle - Bass
*Jimmy Page - Guitar on "You're The One"