Methuselah

Methuselah was a psychedelic English folk-rock band responsible for the 1969 Elektra album Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They featured guitarist–singer Terry Wincott and guitarist–percussionist John Gladwin, bandmates in assorted beat groups (The Dimples, Gospel Garden) and subsequent partners in Amazing Blondel.

Members: John Gladwin (guitar, vibraphone), Terry Wincott (guitar, vocals), Les Nicol (guitar, vocals), Mick Bradley (drums), Craig Austin (bass, vocals)


The Dimples

Methuselah had its roots in The Dimples, a Scunthorpe beat group quintet that featured guitarist John Gladwin, guitarist–singer Terry Wincott, and bassist–singer Craig Austin. Under brief contract with erratic Small Faces manager Don Arden, The Dimples cut the 1966 Decca single “The Love of a Lifetime” backed with the Gladwin original “My Heart Is Tied To You.”

A. “The Love of a Lifetime” (2:51) is a co-written song by American writers Stanley J. Gelber (ex-Beachcombers) and Neil Levenson (writer of “Denise,” a 1963 Billboard No. 1 for Randy & The Rainbows, later covered by Blondie). The Dimples perform “The Love of a Lifetime” as an uptempo harmonized Mersey-style number in the ’64 Beatles vein.
B. “My Heart Is Tied To You” (2:07) is a mid-tempo soul-rocker (in B) with harmonized vocables and a picked, staccato guitar figure.

Decca staffer Tony Clarke produced The Dimples’ single amid 1966 singles by The Bats, The Cryan Three, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours, The Pussyfoot, The Gamblers, St. Louis Union, The Caesars, and The Rothchilds.


Gospel Garden

In late 1966, The Dimples became Gospel Garden under the guidance of King Mojo Club owner Peter Stringfellow. The new iteration featured Austin, Gladwin, Wincott, and two new arrivals: guitarist Geoff Tindall, and drummer Steve Cox. Tindall had prior stints in The Primitives and The Savages, the backing band of Screaming Lord Sutch, a regular act at Stringfellow’s earlier Sheffield venue the Black Cat Club.

Gospel Garden cut a five-song demo at Radio Craft studios, a Huddersfield facility run by German engineer Mat Mathias, who created the Matamp and Orange amplifiers. They shopped their demo in London, where they found management with Dave Dee and a deal with the Polydor subsidiary Camp Records, which released their May 1968 single “Finders Keepers” backed with “Just a Tear,” both Gladwin originals.

A. “Finders Keepers” (2:36) is a uptempo Motown pastiche with a clapped beat and vocals by Gladwin, who sings both sides in a high-pitched falsetto reminiscent of American R&B countertenors (Eddie Holman, Russell Thompkins Jr).
B. “Just a Tear” (3:36) is a lounge-pop soul ballad with soft vibraphone, clipped guitar (faint), and vocals by Gladwin.

Gospel Garden recorded both sides with London-based American media personality Steve Rowland, a columnist and actor (The Rifleman, Bonanza, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) who produced the single amid 1968 sides by Amory Kane, The Herd, Paul & Barry Ryan, PJ Proby, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich, and his own group Family Dogg.

Upon Gospel Garden’s subsequent breakup, Austin, Gladwin, and Wincott teamed with (ex-Sorrows) drummer Mick Bradley and lead guitarist Les Nicol, recently of the unsigned freakbeat combo ABC.> The new five-piece named itself after the biblical patriarch Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah who lived to age 969. Rowland secured them a three-album deal with Elektra.


Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Methuselah released their singular album, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in 1969 on Elektra.

Titled after the Four Evangelists in the New Testament, Side A devotes songs to each name and wraps with “High In the Tower of Coombe,” a feature of psychedelic compilations. Side B contains the band’s theme song.

John Gladwin wrote everything apart from the group-credited “My Poor Mary” and the closing track, a six-minute adaptation of the French children’s song “Frere Jacques.”

Gladwin plays vibraphone, glockenspiel, and harmonium on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, plus 12-string guitar on “Luke” and “Methuselah.” Terry Wincott plays rhythm guitar and bongos, plus 12-string on “Matthew” and “Fairy Tale” and tubular bells on “Frere Jacques.” 

A1. “Matthew” (4:40)
A2. “Mark” (3:03)
A3. “Luke” (3:00)
A4. “John” (4:15)
A5. “High In the Tower of Coombe” (3:15)
B1. “Methuselah” (4:26)
B2. “My Poor Mary” (3:17)
B3. “Fireball Woman” (3:38)
B4. “Fairy Tale” (3:01)
B5. “Frere Jacques” (6:08)

Methuselah recorded the album with veteran American industry figure Kenny Young, who wrote the 1964 Drifters hit “Under the Boardwalk.” He produced Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (amid 1969 titles by The Searchers and Clodagh Rodgers) and wrote the album’s liner notes, which attribute the members with zodiac signs: Arian (Austin, Bradley, Gladwin), Gemini (Wincott), and Aquarian (Nicol). Young describes Gladwin as a “composer and worrier” and characterizes Austin as “all hair and leather jacket.”

Photographer Dick Imrie pictured the group in a cluster image similar to his photo on the concurrent Harvest release Wasa Wasa by the Edgar Broughton Band. Elektra art director Robert L. Heimall designed the Matthew, Mark visuals in sequence with 1969 covers for Earth Opera, MC5, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Renaissance, and The Stooges.

Elektra limited Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to the North American market. The album remained unreleased in Europe until its 2002 CD reissue by German archivists Lizard Records. “High In the Tower of Coombe” appeared beforehand on Rubble, Vol. 8 – All the Colours of Darkness.


Post-Methuselah

Methuselah recorded a proposed double-album that wound up vaulted once the members parted over musical differences.

Mick Bradley joined Steamhammer in time for their 1969–70 albums Mk II and Mountains.

Craig Austin and Les Nicol teamed with (ex-Junior’s Eyes) drummer Steve Chapman in Distant Jim, which cut the 1971 Dutch Negram single “Just a Little Bit” (b/w “Cosmarama”). They morphed into Coast Road Drive (without Austin) for the 1974 Deram release Delicious and Refreshing. Nicol also played on 1971–73 albums by Ray Owen’s Moon and the Quintessence spinoff Kala. In 1976, he guested on the CBS release At the Sound of the Bell, the second album by Pavlov’s Dog.

John Gladwin and Terry Wincott formed Amazing Blondel, an acoustic folk band with Elizabethan classical touches. They released eight albums between 1970 and 1976 on Bell, Island, and DJM.

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John producer Kenny Young cut two solo albums on Warner Bros. (1971–73) and formed the art-pop bands Fox and Yellow Dog.


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