Anyone who’s ever witnessed Carol Grimes in concert will testify to the fact she possesses a raw emotional power, tempered with the shading of experience and the passing of time. Those lucky enough to have heard her simple yet devastating renditions of Fran Landesman’s “Scars”, or Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” resonating in packed rooms, or jazz stages, will want to read her back story, to find out more.
And now, not before time, Grimes has finally produced her autobiography. Titled “The Singer’s Tale” (after Chaucer) it is a wild, candid, sometimes unsparing journey. At times wise-after-the-event and other times laugh-out-loud funny (the Kafkaesque trials of reclaiming a pension once you’ve had several surnames) ~ Carol Grimes is a vivid character one instinctively warms to in the intimacy of these pages. A childhood adrift amongst ration books and bomb-damaged London ~ a quest for identity when significant family members are but faint sketches, old sepia photographs ~ eventually finding her voice and her way.
The early albums, musical travels to Memphis and Nashville ~ the firm belief that singing for her supper was the only way forward ~ even with its accompanying pitfalls, safety nets and occasional tragedies. The competing voices in her head, all given free rein here ~ constructing a complex persona ~ sometimes vulnerable, sometimes wayward; always human. I warmly recommend “The Singer’s Tale” if you want to eavesdrop on the REAL story of women making music in the sixties and seventies ~ the deals, the dodgy managers (“We can market you as a British Janis Joplin…”) ~ the highs, the lows, the hangers-on, the true friends ~ above all the music, the vital spark of humanity. Buy this book.