Some of you may remember Johnny working with actor/singer Anthony Head in 'Joseph' at Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham at Christmas 1978 and 1979! Anthony Head (best known in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nescafe ad for years etc..) wrote and recorded with Johnny's band two songs in 1978 - Children of the Night (Joseph's Song), and Colour Rock- both songs can be heard on Anthony Head's website - www.anthonyhead.org
Anthony also sang and arranged backing vocals on several tracks on Johnny's 'No Going Back' album of 1979 - two of these 'Believe in You' and 'We Shall Not Pass' (composed by Johnny Coppin - PRS/MCPS) are included on the compilation CD 'A Journey' on Red Sky Records RSKCD 116 For more information on Anthony Head - www.anthonyhead.org or email: email@example.com
"The Winding Stair" with Mike Silver
This video was taken during a live gig (2009) at Radio Gelderland in Holland.
(An article wot I wrote for the London Music Advertiser in November 1979:-
'In the recent past few singers have made such an impact on the folk circuit in such a short time as Johnny Coppin, and I'm pleased to report that this 'illustrious' career began in Woodford. I have, as all intrepid reporters would, searched exhaustively for one of those blue plaques, found above doors, saying 'J.Coppin was born 'ere' but I can only presume the council are at fault again.
Johnny was educated locally and formed his first band 'The Shifters' (not a removal firm or a theatrical agency) at Buckhurst Hill County High School. Aged 18 he left school and went to work for the Greater London Council in the planning department from where he entered Gloucester College of Art and Design to do a course in architecture.
During a year off, back in London, he met songwriter Dave Bell and formed a partnership which was to become Decameron. While Johnny was back at college Decameron grew into a four piece acoustic/electric band, and by the time Johnny had graduated, they were well established on the club circuit.
The band made a permanent base in Cheltenham and toured extensively until the release of their first album 'Say Hello To The Band' in 1974. As ever, success brought increased volume and a drummer. Their second album 'Mammoth Special' was easily their best, followed by two more for Transatlantic 'Third Light' and 'Tomorrow's Pantomine' which got progressively mediocre.
Although the band enjoyed full date sheets and a little success with their singles 'Stoats Grope', 'Breakdown Of The Song', and 'Dancing' they split in the summer of 1976. Prior to the split there was a brief burst of recording activity under the wizzo name of the Magnificent Mercury Brothers producing two singles 'New Girl in School' and 'Why Do Fools Fall In Love'.
Anyway, back to the plot. After the split young Coppin returned to the folk circuit as a solo artist. His songwriting developed rapidly, and critical acclaim abounded. His desire to play in a band soon came to the fore again.
He began to make various appearances with other musicians and the nucleus of a new band began to appear. The format was essentially rock orientated but was more suited to much of Johnny's new material, the sound being described by 'many' (well at least one) as 'English West Coast' (sort of North Bude).
Two members of said band already ran an independent record label called Avada and an agency, Steve Hutt Associates, which have been superceded by a new company called Rola Music. Anyway said Avada Records released Johnny's first solo album called 'Roll On Dreamer'.
A single called 'We Shall Not Pass' has just been released on Rola, to be followed almost at once by a new album 'No Going Back'. If the titles are a logical progression listeners could be in all sorts of trouble. However, if the new album receives anything like the acclaim of the first then Mr Coppin is destined for big things in 1980. Local appearances, I believe, stand at a staggering total of nil, but he's certainly a name to be watched by organisers and social secretaries as well as record purchasers.'
And the rest, as they say, is history. Much of Johnny and Decameron's best work,new and old, is now on CD and can be purchased elsewhere on this site.
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