Voice Movement Therapy Practitioner Carol Grimes published her memoir “The Singer’s Tale” – Part One in 2017. The book covers her life from birth to her life as a singer, songwriter, and performer both on stage and studio recordings for decades in the UK, Europe and America up until the early 80s where punk vied with reggae for dominance.
Carol was born into post-War England while a rapidly changing society was unfolding. After a fateful step onto a stage at a pub as a young woman, Carol has had a career both solo as well as in bands Babylon, Delivery and Uncle Dog and Shades of Gray. Carol has performed along with Cream, Alexis Korner, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, The Graham Bond Organisation, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and Freddie King. She had a international solo career and became a voice for Rock Against Racism and Rock Against Sexism movements in the UK. Carol is Musical Director for the Sing for Joy Choir of Kentish Town and Holborn and The Wildflowers Choir in Folkestone. Carol wrote and performs a live stage piece by the same name.
The title is a nod to Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” Prologue Line 95: “He coude songes make and wel endite.” A female minstrel’s journey, Carol is on the move constantly, a songbird constantly rebuilding her nest to be near what sustains her. She writes a no-holds-barred account from birth to the rock and roll revolution of the 60s to the early 80s era, a rolling first person narrative that jumps forward and backward in time, combines rawness, vulnerability, and true talent knit together to lead the reader on quite a journey.
An unvarnished look at her generation’s need to break free of the rules and conventions of a society that has strict expectations of women and what constituted music and creative careers. While her parent’s generation were straight jackets to her creative impulses Carol’s personality just won’t knuckle under for long to contain that creative impulse of hers.
Carol has a rough childhood she never sugarcoats, and she perseveres through it all to survive and thrive. Carol then finds herself smack dab in the counter culture era, living in small flats in London rubbing shoulders with Jimmy Hendricks and even The Beatles. She falls in love with a gypsy man and becomes wife and mother and finds a way to juggle her career. Being a single mom to 2 children in a patriarchal music world when the 60s and 70s were opening up opportunities for women unheard of earlier.
Producers and musicians on both sides of the Atlantic like her voice; they really do. They know the raw talent of this woman. Avoiding the pitfalls of that heady time is one of her skills honed well during her childhood. She stays a realist for all her fly-by-the-seat of her pants journeying, she understands the maxim “sing for one’s supper.”
Taking off for America on a promise of performing for a recording
held great promise for her career. Called “the British Janice Joplin” when the producers decide to market her as a commodity she realizes it is time to head back to London to find a new track. She skirts around the heady world of rock royalty, and yet never loses herself in it, and the reader may be left wondering what if… things had been different.
Carol gets up from all her twists and turns life and people can throw at her with an
indomitable spirit to live her life the way she wants to. That is to be applauded. She is a woman who has brought the gift of song and voice and her story to the world in this book.
Her memoir reminded me that as women we persevere, we make do, we take our licks, we fall down and we get back up, we share our good fortunes, we lament the cruelty of the world. As we live we sing our sad and joyful songs, or compose poems, or journal, or put colored paint to white spaces. Our life is richer because of our creative impulses that can transform life’s pain into gold and elevate our love and passions to share with others. Women’s voices during that era are under-respresented in history, so hers comes roaring in to set that record straight.
Available in paperback or e-book at Amazon where it has a 5-star review history. I recommend you get this book and review on Amazon. Carol has a volume 2 coming with the second curtain act of her life put to paper, and I look forward to reading that as well.
Title: The Singer’s Tale
Author: Carol Grimes
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Gottahavebooks; 1st edition (November 30, 2017)
Review by Erika Hahn, M.A., Journalist
Cape Cod, USA
#CarolGrimes #ASingersTale #Gottahavebooks