Principal Edwards Magic Theatre
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|Principal Edwards Magic Theatre|
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk|
|Associated acts||Principal Edwards|
|Past members||Les Adey
John McMahon Hill
Michael (Harry) Housman
The collective was originally formed at the University of Exeter in the late 1960s, and then was later based at farmhouse in Kettering, Northamptonshire as a commune after educational studies were causing conflict with their musical activities. The core of the group was Belinda Borquin, David Jones, and Root Cartwright backed by several musicians and dancers.
The group was signed to John Peel's Dandelion Records after he witnessed their first gig, and their single, "The Ballad of a Big Girl Now", was released in 1969. Following the single was the release (under the same label) of two albums - Soundtrack and The Asmoto Running Band - the second of which was produced by Nick Mason of Pink Floyd. During this time, the group opened for several acts including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac.
The sometimes whimsical, sometimes epic (verging on progressive rock) writing style of guitarist Root Cartwright, was paired with the eclectic lyrical contributions of David Jones, Gillian Hadley and Monica Nettles, and was performed by vocalist Vivienne McAuliffe. The violin and recorders of Bindy Bourquin were another key element of the group's trademark sound. Lyn Edwards, originally on bongos, took over on the drumkit.
The group disbanded in December 1971, but a new band with a smaller nucleus (including new bassist Richard Jones from Climax Blues Band) and a name-change to, simply, Principal Edwards, they recorded a few new singles and a third album called Round One for Deram Records. Most of the Deram recordings were also produced by Nick Mason.
Life after Principal Edwards
Since the 1970s, members' fortunes have varied greatly. Singer Martin Stellman directed Denzel Washington in For Queen and Country; David Jones ran a community centre; and Root Cartwright became a gardener and photographic artist. Bindy Bourquin and Richard Jones married and both went into teaching. Jones plays in two bands: The Climax Ceilidh Band and Meridian. Nick Pallet played Twang on Animal Kwackers, a British children's programme similar to The Banana Splits.
Lyn Edwards worked extensively in theatre, as well as children's television (Play School) and BBC radio. He is currently teaching drums in schools and playing in several bands.
Jeremy Ensor toured (as sound engineer/tour manager) with Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, and Greenslade (co-producing two of their LPs) and then worked as an A&R man for CBS and Phonogram Records signing, amongst others, Judas Priest and Graham Bonnett. He currently lives in North London and is an IT consultant.
Chris Runciman is still on the road as a tour manager/production manager, and sound and lights engineer for Jackson Browne, Steve Earle, and James Taylor. He has recently been working as a technical consultant to Sir George Martin on the island of Montserrat.
Les Adey was the lighting technician for Genesis.
Serious illness and breakdowns have befallen some of the other former members, plus dancer John McMahon Hill and Vivienne McAuliffe are both deceased.
As Principal Edwards Magic Theatre
- "Ballad (Of The Big Girl Now And A Mere Boy)" / "Lament For The Earth" (1969) Single, Dandelion Records
- Soundtrack (1969) LP, Dandelion Records
- The Asmoto Running Band (1971) LP, Dandelion Records
- (The track "The Asmoto Running Band" also appeared on an untitled sampler). (1971) EP, Dandelion Records
- (The track "Autumn Lady Dancing Song" from The Asmoto Running Band is omitted from this CD).
- (The "Ballad..." / "Lament for the Earth" single featured as bonus tracks on this CD).
As Principal Edwards
- Round One (1974) LP, Deram
- "Captain Lifeboy" / "Nothing" (1973) single, Deram
- "Weekdaze" / "The Whizzmore Kid" (1973) single, Deram
Other song titles
- "The Kettering Song"
- "Enigmatic Insomniac Machine"
- "The Death of Don Quixote"
- "Weirdsong of Breaking Through at Last"