Graphite was an English rustic-folk band, active between 1970 and 1974. Despite constant gigging, their recorded output was limited to a single apiece on Beacon and EMI. However, they recorded nearly two album’s worth of material that was later released on the CD Chestnut Loke by Audio Archives.

Members: Chris Gore (mellotron, organ, piano), Dave Hook (guitar), Keith Allen (vocals), John Jackman (bass), Peter Dry (drums)

Graphite formed at Reading University in 1969. Their three constant members were keyboardist Chris Gore, guitarist Dave Hook, and singer Keith Allen. Between 1970 and 1972, they played the college and festival circuits and opened for the UK’s leading acts, including Pink Floyd, Mott the Hoople, Roxy Music, and T. Rex. One of Graphite’s earliest studio recordings is a trio rendition of Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine.”

On August 21, 1971, Graphite performed at the Tregye Festival of Contemporary Music in Truro, Cornwall: a 12-hour event headlined by Arthur Brown‘s Kingdom Come. Other bands that played that day include Hawkwind, Tea and Symphony, Indian Summer, and Brewers Droop (featuring a young Mark Knopfler). Just below Graphite on the bill was an unknown new band, Queen.

In 1972, Graphite issued the single “Gimme Your Number” (b/w “Chestnut Loke”) on Beacon Records. Both songs are Allen/Gore/Hook originals. The tranquil “Chestnut Loke,” with its misty Mellotron and glistening Fender Rhodes piano, was the centerpiece of their live set, where they would stretch the song to 10 minutes.

They recorded at the era’s leading studios (Rockfield, Command, CBS, Nova Sound) but only managed one further release, the 1974 EMI single “Come Back” (b/w “Good Time Woman”), released as Sinbad. Graphite disbanded that year with few receipts of their legacy.

In 1996, Graphite’s long-vaulted recordings were unearthed on Chestnut Loke, a 75-minute CD with 16 songs, recorded 1971–74, including “Starflight Over the Skies,” “Don’t You Think It’s Kinda Sad,” “Set It Free,” and the eight-minute “Spring.” The title track is the four-minute 1972 single version.

In 1998, Audio Archives issued Live in Cornwall 1971, containing most of the Tregye show with two bonuses: Graphite’s “Astronomy Domine” and a longer, six-minute studio recording of “Chestnut Loke.”


  • “Gimmie Your Number” / “Chestnut Loke” (1972)
  • “Come Back” / “Good Time Woman” (1974 • Sinbad)
  • Chestnut Loke (1996, recorded 1971–74)
  • Live in Cornwall 1971 (archival, 1998)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *