Methuselah

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Methuselah was one of a handful of English rock bands signed to Elektra Records in the late '60s, when that New York-based label, flush with cash (courtesy of the Doors and Judy Collins), tried to expand…
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Methuselah was one of a handful of English rock bands signed to Elektra Records in the late '60s, when that New York-based label, flush with cash (courtesy of the Doors and Judy Collins), tried to expand on the rock music and world stages. Their roots lay in a pair of earlier '60s bands, the Dimples and Gospel Garden, formed by John Gladwin and Terry Wincott, two school friends from Scunthorpe. Drummer Mick Bradley (of the Sorrows) and guitarist Les Nicol joined the psychedelic/pop outfit Gospel Garden and the group renamed itself Methuselah. Their influences included folk and gospel music, and the quintet managed to put that all together as a coherent whole in an electric rock context, and got a three-LP contract with Jac Holzman's New York-based Elektra Records. Only one album ever saw the light of day, astonishingly in the U.S. only, mixing folk, gospel, and R&B influences, mostly wrapped up in a hard rock sound. With the group absolutely unknown in America, however, that album went unnoticed and died an instant death. Methuselah turned right around in mid-1969 and cut a second album, which was similarly eclectic.

Perhaps the group could've become another Incredible String Band or Fairport Convention, but for the fact that the second album, entitled Matthew Mark Luke & John, was never released (and, in fact, has disappeared). Additionally, there were stresses within the group, caused by the members' changing musical sensibilities of the members. Acoustic guitarists John Gladwin and Terry Wincott, having tired of their instruments and vocals being buried in the heavy electric sound of the band, decided to go a completely different route, into medieval-based folk music, eventually rechristening themselves the Amazing Blondel and building an audience on the college folk circuit and landing a recording contract with Island Records. Mick Bradley became a member of Steamhammer, while Les Nicol and bassist/singer Craig Austin formed the psychedelic band Distant Jim, and Nicol later played with Pavlov's Dog. Methuselah's one and only surviving album was re-released on CD in the early 21st century, as part of the Collector's Choice reissue program involving much of the late-'60s Elektra rock catalog.