Friday, 28 January 2011

Britain is a country which says "Goodbye" to an old keybpoard player from Barclay James Harvest called Woolly Wolstenholme

Woolly Wolstenholme keyboard player for symphonic rock band 'Barclay James Harvest' has died at the age of 63.

Things you probably didn't know about Woolly, that he :

* was in the 1970s, part of 'Barclay James Harvest', whose symphonic rock music was often recorded and performed with a 60-piece orchestra.

* produced the 'mellotron' playing which was integral to the band's sound.

* was inspired as much by Mahler as McCartney and committed to combining classical and rock music and once described his work as an 'attempt to bridge the gap between Radios 1 and 3'.

* at secondary school, mastered the tenor banjo at 11 and as a teenager, played tenor horn in the 'Delph Brass Band'.

* in 1964, at Oldham School of Art, joined a rock band called 'The Sorcerers', playing tambourine and singing alongside the self-taught guitarist John Lees.

* formed an R&B group called 'The Blues Keepers', with Lees and became a multi-instrumentalist, adding harmonica and 12-string guitar to the group's sound.

* became part of the quartet, 'Barclay James Harvest' in 1967.

* was installed with the band in an old farmhouse by a businessman and influenced by John Lennon, Simon and Garfunkel, 'Vanilla Fudge' and 'Love', wrote and rehearsed the songs that would eventually appear on the band's first album.

* taught himself to play the Mellotron,the new keyboard synthesiser which which had been popularised by 'The Beatles' and 'The Moody Blues'.

* issued a single with the group called 'Early Morning' in 1968 which led to concerts at universities and colleges.

* was signed, with the band, by the German-owned Polydor label and with 'Barclay James Harvest Live' had a minor hit in 1974, while 'Octoberon' 1976 reached the top 20 in 1976.

* decided to leave the group in 1976, dissatisfied with their move away from the rock-classical fusions at which he excelled.

* recorded a solo album, 'Maestoso', but became disillusioned with the music business and in the 1980s, took up organic farming.

* returned to the music business in 1998 after meeting John Lees again and performed in Europe and England.

Here he is in Barclay James Harvest on the keyboard in 'Rock n Roll Star' :

P.S. Sadly, in recent years Woolly suffered from bouts of severe depression, one of which prevented him from touring with Lees last year and may explain why he took his own life on December 13th.

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