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The Ghost

+ {Shirley Kent}

Formed 1969 in Birmingham, this psych/prog-folk outfit were led by former Master Singers and Opposite Look singer Shirley Kent. In 1966, she and the former act released an EP, `The Master Singers And Shirley Kent For Charec 67’ (on Keele University Records 103), a disc that included two of her earliest compositions, `One Day Old’ and `Back’.
Together with former VELVETT FOGG member Paul Eastment (lead guitar), Terry Guy (keyboards), Daniel MacGuire (bass) and Charlie Grima (drums/percussion), the quintet abandoned the name of the Holy Ghost when it came down to the nitty gritty of releasing their debut 45, `When You’re Dead’, a song clearly influenced by the Stateside West Coast sound of JEFFERSON AIRPLANE. The accompanying LP, WHEN YOU’RE DEAD – ONE SECOND (1970) {*6}, was more a heady cocktail of psychedelic-tinted blues and folk, Kent drawing comparisons to SANDY DENNY of the FAIRPORTs (on tracks such as `Time Is My Enemy’ and `Hearts And Flowers’), while the GRACE SLICK-esque cues come via `The Storm’; until its CD release, the vinyl version of the set was worth over £100.
After one more single, The GHOST disappeared; Shirley re-joined the Opposite Look, and they in turn evolved into the short-lived Resurrection (no records have surfaced). In 1975, Shirley Kent (with backers Eastment & Guy in tow), assumed a new folk pseudonym, VIRGINIA TREE, delivering a further rare collectors’ gem, FRESH OUT {*5}; one can also find this as a SHIRLEY KENT solo item, FOREVER A WILLOW (1989), with added tracks. Shirley gave up the ghost – so to speak – in 1977 and went into production work; a solo 45, `My Dad’, was issued in 1980, while one can hear her jazz side through album `Spandangos’ (2005).
© MC Strong 2010/GFD // rev-up MCS Dec2016

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