March 3, 2024

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Brian Godding passed away at the age of 78, he left a formidable legacy: Video, Photos

Universally praised as a jazz player, Brian Godding, who passed away at the age of 78, has always been, in fact, held in high esteem as half of a musical unit that influenced most of the classic rock twin-guitar pairs, a part, together with Jim Cregan, of the legendary BLOSSOM TOES.

Their two albums, 1967’s “We Are Ever So Clean” and “If Only For A Moment” from 1969, both overseen by Giorgio Gomelsky, are considered cult treasures now, but Brian felt his horizons were limited by what the band did, and a one-off gig with Julie Driscoll in 1969 presented Godding with a chance to move forward and expand his outlook in more than one way, thus targeting genuine greatness.

That concert changed the axeman’s life, as not only Brian was able to get to know Julie’s sister Angie, his future wife, but also, having performed a few of his own tunes then, impress Driscoll’s future husband, Keith Tippett, and, as a result, joined the pianist’s ensemble CENTIPEDE and, being a single six-stringer in their ranks, leave, alongside other representatives of British jazz-rock elite, an indelible imprint on the collective’s “Septober Energy” in 1971. Some of those luminaries would appear on 1971’s “Workers’ Playtime” – a sole longplayer by B.B. BLUNDER, essentially BLOSSOM TOES minus Godding’s sparring partner – before he enrolled, replacing Chris Spedding, in Mike Westbrook’s SOLID GOLD CADILLAC, taking over Gary Boyle’s duties, to unexpectedly proceed, after two albums, to MAGMA and emborder 1974’s “Köhntarkösz” with quite a few alluring lines.

Mike Westbrook Band (2012) 10 - Brian Godding | 5th August 2… | Flickr

In the mid-’70s Brian moved between different groups where he helped out various pals until Kevin Coyne invited Godding to go on the road with the former artist’s band in 1980 and follow that trek by recording three interesting LPs – “Bursting Bubbles” and “Sanity Stomp” the very same year, cowriting several tracks, and “Pointing The Finger” in 1981 – until their collaboration fizzled out and the guitarist found himself in the company of old colleague Zoot Money in ERIC BURDON BAND in 1984, all this time working on what ended up as Godding’s own album. Out in 1986, “Slaughter On Shaftesbury Avenue” is an outstanding opus which deserves wider audience, unlike his subsequent releases “Kebab ‘ala’ Twang” and “The Colour Of Sound” whose improvisatory character cried for acquired taste, so, although the veteran slowed down a bit recently, he left a formidable legacy.

The varied career path of guitarist Brian Godding, who has died aged 78, took in various genres along the way including blues, rock, jazz and avant improvisation.

Starting in earnest with the psych-pop band Blossom Toes, his star was in the ascendency. Although this band never reached the highest echelons of fame, it did gain a fair amount of popularity with albums such as We Are Ever So Clean (Marmalade, 1967), If Only For A Moment (Marmalade, 1969) and later under the rebranded Blossom Toes offshoot BB Blunder, the rather heavier Workers’ Playtime (United Artists, 1971).

Godding first came to the attention of the jazz fraternity through his contribution to his sister-in-law Julie Driscoll’s album 1969 (Polydor, 1971) where he played alongside her future husband Keith Tippett. This led to Godding being recruited by Tippett for his mammoth big band Centipede where he played a pivotal role on the resulting album Septober Energy (RCA Neon, 1971).

Now regarded as a “jazz-friendly” guitarist he was employed by Mike Westbrook for his jazz-rock experiment Solid Gold Cadillac and appeared on the album Brain Damage (RCA, 1973). His subsequent long association with Westbrook led to contributions on several Westbrook albums. The opening to Citadel/Room 315 (RCA, 1975) was memorably introduced by Godding’s muscular guitar and his coruscating work on Westbrook’s masterpiece The Cortège (Original Records, 1982) was essential. He was also heard on other Westbrook recordings such as Love/Dream And Variations (Transatlantic, 1976); On Duke’s Birthday (Hat ART, 1985); Pierides (Jazzprint, 1986) and London Bridge Is Broken Down (Virgin Venture, 1988).

Whilst Godding was best known in the jazz world for his work with Westbrook’s various ensembles, he also played and recorded with other notable musicians including Kevin Coyne, Eric Burdon, Zoot Money and on the French band Magma’s fifth studio album Köhntarkösz (Vertigo, 1974). He also recorded two albums with Westbrook alumni; the jazz-rock outfit Mirage and their sole oeuvre Now You See It (Compendium, 1977) and the improv quartet Full Monte and Spark In The Dark (Slam, 2013) recorded in 1990 and 1994.

Blossom Toes | Interview | Brian Godding - It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine

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