Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Maureeny Wishfull - 1965 - The Maureeny Wishfull Album

The Maureeny Wishfull
The Maureeny Wishfull Album

01. Maureeny Wishfull
02. To Something New
03. I Must Fly
04. I Know, You Know Too
05. Another Winter, Another Spring
06. City Blues
07. Gypsy Girl & The Poor Boy
08. Early Bird Of Morning
09. London Town
10. Sally You've Been On The Game Too Long
11. Dream Cloudburst
12. And She Is My True Love
13. Five Verses For My Love
14. C'mon Train

John Williams (guitar, vocals)
Jimmy Page (guitar, sitar)
Big Jim Sullivan (guitar)

Of all of the installments here, this one is by far the most obscure yet. In this posting we are going to explore Jimmy Page's work on a little known record, by a now unknown singer/songwriter; John Williams' "The Maureeny Wishful Album" as well as how Jimmy received his offer to join the Yardbirds.

Released in 1968 with only 300 copies allegedly pressed and sold, this rare LP was the product of a collaboration between Jimmy Page, folkie John Williams, and Big Jim Sullivan. John Williams was an artist in the mold of Donovan a sort of traditional folk artist with a twist. Not much is known about him today. He hailed from Bedford, England, a town about 30 miles north of London, and in 1964 was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in a band with his brother Brian known as The Authentics. Prior to "The Maureeny Wishfull Album" he had recorded a self titled solo debut in addition to a couple of 45" singles.

Jimmy met Williams when Williams was a member of The Authentics. The band was an early 60's British pop outfit who regularly performed gigs at the famed Marquee Club in London. The group had been signed to a record deal by Jimmy's manager Giorgio Gomelsky. Jimmy would go on to sit in with the band on a few recording sessions, even co-authoring one of their songs, a number titled "Without You". Williams and Page soon struck up a friendship that revolved around their mutual love of folk music, and Jimmy would pass around songs written by Williams to groups he worked sessions for, notably "Little Nightingale" performed by The Mindbenders.

After The Authentics disbanded, largely due to John Williams burgeoning interest in folk music, Williams began to write more extensively, ultimately brought in Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan along with other noted session guitarist Vic Flick to work on an album. Williams' brother Brian told the story of what happened once the album was completed:

"My brother had written a lot of songs. Andrew Oldham took us on, and my brother wrote and recorded a double album called ‘The Maureeny Wishfull Album’ for Immediate Records. I did the cover art - but unfortunately. Andrew Oldham disappeared with the master tapes! John eventually got one of the master tapes back and pressed the record himself...It’s now a collectable item, because Jimmy Page plays sitar and Vik Flic, Big Jim Sullivan (who is now Tom Jones’ guitarist) and all the good session artists of the time are on it. The master tape of the other album, which I’m playing on, was unfortunately never recovered."

Jimmy is credited with playing guitar as well as sitar on the album, with John Williams doing the vocal work. There isn't any credited producer, but one can assume that Page had a large amount of input upon how the sound of the album was crafted.

Today the album can be heard around the internet and downloaded from here or there, but good luck finding a physical copy. Oddly enough, a number of songs on the album are published by James Page Publishing, an entity that seems to have existed for only one venture.

Interestingly enough Brian Williams has claimed that it was he who introduced Jimmy to Giorgio Gomelsky and was the go between for the offer Jimmy received to take over lead guitar duties in the Yardbirds after Eric Clapton left,

"It was me that actually introduced Jimmy Page to the Yardbirds. I had known Jimmy since he played with Neil Christian and the Crusaders; I used to take over his guitar and back him while he played harmonica. When he left, I took over as lead guitar, but that was at the same time as the Authentics took off in the West End, so I left after about two weeks.

One Saturday Jimmy and I were wandering round the West End guitar shops - Lew Davis’ and the like. He was at a loose end and we were playing the Crawdaddy, so he came along and played harmonica for us. He was really good - sounded like Sonny Boy Williamson.

That happened a couple of times and Giorgio Gomelsky got to hear about it, so when Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds, he said, “You know Jimmy Page, don’t you? Could you bring him to the Marquee, because we’d like to talk to him?”

So I got hold of Jimmy and we went to the Marquee on a Wednesday afternoon, which I’ll always remember because Howlin’ Wolf was rehearsing there and while Jimmy Page went off with Giorgio to talk about the Yardbirds, Howlin’ Wolf and I demolished a bottle of Scotch!

Eventually, Jimmy turned the Yardbirds down, but he introduced them to Jeff Beck, who was a big mate, and then of course Jeff Beck brought Jimmy Page into the band later, and that was the start of Led Zeppelin."