Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959–75


A companion volume to Bathed in Lightning, published October 2017

In 2014 my book Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the 60s and the Emerald Beyond (Jawbone Press) was published. The e-book edition contained an extra 100,000 words. In 2017 I decided that material needed to exist – revised and expanded – in physical form, however limited in quantity. So, I thought, I’ll self-publish a run of 200 copies… 

After a lot of new research, Echoes From Then: Glimpses of John McLaughlin 1959-75 is the result: 178,000 freshly burnished words and masses of new visual content, from unpublished photos to period press ads. Typesetting and design are courtesy of Jawbone’s Tom Seabrook and Mark Case – the dream team.

The new book is available almost exclusively (for £15 plus P&P anywhere in the world) via Market Square Music.

The first three print reviews of the new book have all been terrific:

‘Though intended as a companion volume to Bathed In Lightning… it’s also packed with new material and hitherto unpublished interviews – and the way it’s structured means that it has its own narrative and can be treated as an independent entity. … Overall, it’s a deeply illuminating book – not only apropos McLaughlin but also regarding Britain’s 60s music scene, which it describes so vividly.’
Charles Waring, * * * * Record Collector

‘John McLaughlin fans familiar with Harper’s original study – 2014’s Bathed In Lightning – will be all too aware of his talents as an archivist, researcher and as a music historian… At over 400 pages, Echoes From Then is, like the book that spawned it, an impressively dimensioned and intensely detailed labour of love which thanks to the quality and range of its contents is thoroughly deserving of its place alongside its parent volume on the bookshelf of all switched on McLaughlin/Mahavishnu devotees.’
Grahame Bent, * * * * Shindig!

‘The first thing that strikes you about Echoes From Then is its extensive iconography of previously unpublished photos and reproductions of the mainstream and music press that creates the context for the book’s wealth of research documenting John McLaughlin’s emergence as a major instrumentalist… Echoes From Then comprises largely material that would mostly be superfluous in any normal length biography, but for students of this period of jazz it stands in its own right as a valuable resource.’
Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise

Contents of Echoes From Then:


The original e-book bonus content to Bathed In Lightning consisted of the following:

• Three largely standalone chapters or episodes – on Big Pete Deuchar; the Tony Meehan Combo; and British soul, mods and pirate radio – which had been extracted from the partly completed narrative of Bathed In Lightning (and replaced with brief summaries of the episodes in question as necessary) midway through the writing process in order to become ‘bonus chapters’ in the e-book edition. The writing of the book was thenceforward completed with the two editions in mind.

• The recollections of Arjen Gorter, a colleague of John McLaughlin in Time Is Now (1968), which became an e-book chapter by virtue of Arjen’s contribution arriving with me very late in the process, when the text of the print edition had been more or less locked down.

• Four chapters relating to the adventures of the second Mahavishnu Orchestra (1974–75), with a lot of focus on the lesser-known members of that band, which were completed with the e-book in mind.

• Four appendices covering John’s British recording and broadcasting sessions 1963–69; his US recording sessions 1969–75; his known British concert appearances from 1963–68; and the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s concert appearances 1974–75.

• An appendix reproducing in full ‘The Texts Of Festival: Star Truckin’ ‘75’, an NME 23/8/75 report by Charles Shaar Murray.

To that text, Echoes From Then adds the following:

• ‘The World’s First John McLaughlin Interview? The Wandsworth Advertiser, March 22 1963’ – what we can glean from a local newspaper report, with quotes, on a Georgie Fame gig from the very last days of John’s membership of the Blue Flames.

• ‘Graham Bond’s Manifesto’ – a look at the beginnings of the Graham Bond Quartet in 1963 via the reproduction of an interview with Graham from Jazz News & Review.

• ‘The Georgie Fame/John McLaughlin Recordings’ – originally an exclusive website essay looking at the problematic identifying of Georgie Fame recordings involving John McLaughlin, presented here updated with new information.

• ‘Duffy Power Innovations – reproductions of three published interviews (from Sounds, NME and Disc & Music Echo) with Duffy from 1971 on the release of his mid-60s recordings with John McLaughlin, plus the album’s original press sheet.

• ‘Gene Perla: Mahavish? No!’ – a new interview with jazz bass legend Gene Perla, shedding light on his little-known role as the ‘Pete Best of the Mahavishnu Orchestra’.

• ‘Richard Williams on John McLaughlin and Lifetime’ – reproductions of five 1970–72 Melody Maker pieces on John McLaughlin and Lifetime by the legendary writer.

• ‘The Un-Average White Band’ – new recollections from Steve Kindler on an abortive Mahavishnu Orchestra photo session.

• ‘Dreams Second Hand: Edgar Mills and the Way of the Pilgrim’ – a fan’s-eye view of the John McLaughlin/Sri Chinmoy experience with added adventures in second-hand goods

• ‘New Gleanings from Old Sources’ – a scrapbook of vintage quotes and pieces of information that escaped my attention first time around, plus significant recent quotes by John McLaughlin on the period covered in Bathed In Lightning.

• ‘Addenda & Errata’ – a digest of typographical errors and minor errors of fact in Bathed In Lightning, plus longer discussion on a handful of debateable matters in the original book.

• Numerous period adverts and news items and previously unpublished photographs.

Additionally, the following substantial revisions to the original e-book bonus content have taken place:

Big Pete Deuchar – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in Jazz News, Melody Maker, Manchester Evening News, BBC Written Records Centre, the Raleigh Industries archive in Nottingham and interviews with associates.

Tony Meehan Combo – this chapter has been extensively revised through new research in NME and Record Mirror, with much relevant interview material and information on repertoire and chronology emerging.

• Appendix 1 on John’s 1963–69 British recordings has been enhanced with substantial new information on broadcasts with Graham Bond, Ray Ellington and Georgie Fame.

• Appendix 2 on John’s 1963–68 British concert appearances has had a number of additions/revisions in the Graham Bond, Tony Meehan Combo and Night-Timers sections, plus dates and recollections of the Mike Scott Quintet

• Appendix 3 on John’s 1969–1975 recordings has been enhanced with new details and several items not in the previous version.

• Appendix 4 on the second Mahavishnu Orchestra’s 1974–75 concert appearances has been substantially enlarged.

The entire text has been proofread anew and updated here and there where necessary. Although it is assumed that most of the readers of Echoes From Then will have read Bathed In Lightning, I have done my best, as far as possible, to make the content herein readable without prior knowledge. The chapters and interludes have been arranged more or less chronologically, although a through narrative is of course impossible given the anthology/compendium nature of the book.

Finally… the second printing of Echoes From Then in January 2018 will include a few pages of new information on John’s involvement with the Gordon Beck Quartet (1968). These extra pages will be made available to previous purchasers as a PDF file here and at Colin’s own website colin-harper.com