‘Masque reissue’ newsletter December 2011
Welcome back my friends,
It has been a long time since my last missive and for that I can only apologise and offer the excuse that I was unavoidably detained by Death himself. Yes, the old devil and I had a tussle for possession of my soul earlier this year but I trounced him good and proper and he slunk away empty handed. I am still mystified as to how I contracted black snake swamp fever in dear old blighty (or was it an over indulgence in absinthe?), but something of that ilk laid me low for most of the summer and as my loved ones knelt at my bedside or sacrificed innocent animals on the altar at Roland Towers the family physician, Dr Hemlock, bled me with his greedy leeches and Granny Roland brewed her own potions of frogs livers and cat urine. One if not all of these approaches evidently proved successful and I am now back in the land of the living and already engrossed in a new musical creation for unveiling in the Spring. So thank you to all of you who wrote wishing me well.
I must confess I have missed our communications of late, but my diabolical familiars have been hard at work keeping the Facebook page up to date with tidbits of news so please make them feel wanted by contributing your views and questions etc to http://www.facebook.com/RealPaulRoland
And now more good news. After much delay the ‘Masque’ re-issue is finally here!
And it’s a significant improvement to the original release in every way with many subtle additions, a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks and a tastefully designed 12 page booklet with all the lyrics and explanatory notes from yours truly describing all the retouches that I made to 11 of the 14 tracks. I had always thought the New Rose booklet to have been scrappy and am pleased that I can now present the album with a decent booklet the way it should have been first time around.
The running order has also been changed to include ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ and ‘The Sea Captain’ (two of the stronger songs which I overlooked first time around relegating them to a bonus EP). These have now replaced ‘Matty Groves’ and ‘Grantchester Fields’ which are to be found among the bonus tracks. These include radio session versions of ‘Alice’s House’ and ‘Solitude’ (yes, the Black Sabbath song!) recorded with flutist Valerie Franco with whom I was touring around this time (1990). I have loved Sabbath since a mere youth, treasuring the fact that I met Ozzy face to face after a Wembley Arena show in ‘82 and that I interviewed Tony Iommi the following year and found him to be an extremely amenable fellow. I had toyed with the idea of recording a baroque version of ‘Paranoid’ for the ‘Strychnine’ project, but that might have been too similar to ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ so I recorded the cover of ‘Solitude’ instead with Valerie who added a haunting flute and wordless vocal. And though unpolished, methinks it fits well as a bonus track on ‘Masque’.
Those of you who owned the original French release on New Rose and the Greek LP will also be pleased to hear that the glitches which once blighted ‘I Dreamt I Stood Upon The Scaffold’ and ‘The Sporting Life’ have been digitally exorcised, so consign your old copy to the family crypt and treat yourself (and maybe a friend or two) to a shiny new copy!
For those of you who are already overflowing with festive spirit the PRAS are making a pre-Xmas offer of extra copies at half price so if you want to introduce a friend(s) to my music (and what a nice idea that is at this time of the year) the first copy will be 10 GBP (12 euros) but each additional copy will be just 5GBP (6 euros) Postage, as always, is FREE.
Payments to be made via paypal to Rolandtowers@yahoo.co.uk
A spooky coincidence if ever there was one was the request I received recently from American writer Lia Habel for permission to quote some lines from ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ in her forthcoming Steampunk novel.
(Her first novel can be found here together with links to other like-minded authors http://www.amazon.com/Dearly-Departed-Lia-Habel/dp/0345523318/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323269525&sr=1-1) Well worth checking out.
Now Steampunk is not something I had cultivated an interest in as a genre because I had always inhabited that world of my own volition and never imagined that it would evolve into a movement. But now that it has and is introducing a generation to the marvels of H.G.Wells and other Victorian masters of Science Fiction, I would like to think that some newcomers may be tempted to check out ‘Wyndham Hill’ and ‘The Great Edwardian Air-Raid’. But it also aroused my interest to the point where I am now thinking of writing a companion piece to ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.
Some interviewers have asked me if I am disappointed that I didn’t achieve more commercial mainstream success, but if I had then I wouldn’t be able to indulge my rather idiosyncratic obsessions, would I. And that is what keeps me all fired up. So now I’m off to put a new wax cylinder in the old phonograph and wind up the automatons.
Until next time, enjoy the seasonal festivities,
PS: For those who have asked for more information on my forthcoming Marc Bolan biography here is a useful link http://www.marcbolanmusic.com/Paul-Roland.aspx