"I only wish to state emphatically that I never had dreams - childhood or otherwise - of being a cowboy."
Henry Marsh, Oxford graduate, peer's son, old school tie bearer, chess master and dynamite guitarist, is undoubtedly the most extrovert of the Sailor musicians. "Comes from being a schoolmaster. Screaming over nasty boys tends to strengthen one's confidence."
Marsh, a direct descendent of Lord Stainsley-Marsh of Hays, was educated at Langley College, Dorset, and New College, Oxford. "I can read, write my own name and tie my own shoes. That's not bad, is it?"
But long green lawns, formal gardens and academic tranquility have not always been Marsh's world. After completing his studies at Oxford, Marsh joined a group ("Gringo") then touring Denmark and Holland. The group met with limited success in Europe but failed miserably in England. "Just as well," adds Marsh. "The family were not pleased. They disdain decibels, poor creatures."
Gringo broke up in Amsterdam. "We all came back to the hotel after a gig. I began packing... so did everyone else. That was it."
Marsh travelled south to Paris. "I'd fancied myself a blossoming Oscar Wilde and thought I'd drop by Paris to die a little, you see."
Instead, he took a job as bookseller at Shakespeare & Company, Paris's famous English language bookshop. He fell in quickly with the community of American expatriate writers, and found that he possessed no small talent as a poet and writer of short fiction. A small booklet was published in Paris in 1976 containing several contributions by Marsh. Soon his work was appearing regularly in literary magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. "I may be the very Samson of the sonnet world."
Long a regular patron of the 'Matelot', Marsh joined Sailor in the winter of 1968 and played with the group until 1970. When Sailor disbanded, Marsh returned to Langley College with a nearly complete collection of old Sailor tapes, disks and cylindricals. "A marvellously huge collection," he adds, "and worth nearly five bob." He has interrupted his teaching for Sailor's last reunion.
(C)1974 Epic Records, Ltd./Sony Music UK. Reprinted without permission.
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