Carol Grimes (singer/percussionist), Annie Whitehead (trombone), Dorian Ford (piano) Winston Clifford (drums) Neville Malcolm (double bass).

CDAWN was recorded live in London at the Vortex and The 606. Double CD including The Dance, All Blues and Alexandria Dance.

Only available on this site and at live performances.



Ian Shaw on CDAWN

Outside the flabby arena of increasingly disposable pop singing Joni called “junk food for juveniles”, there has always been a welcome, often genre-busting, rich seam of music making. Within this (jazz, folk, blues, soul) seam, the singers can be routed to a certain era of popular song. Pastiche, touristy, sepia, anodyne and familiar.

Not Carol Grimes.

The writer, John Fordham called Carol a “British Jazz Soul legend”. Blimey, she probably winced as she read that. “British”..yep, quirky happenstance has made Grimes a child of the sooty skies, the brown and grey hues, the freezing winters of post-war Britain, where it took a good few rationing years before the wild child, misplaced and misunderstood, heard that ’59 hymn to the all exotic,lushly warm and NON British, Miles’ “All Blues.” No better start to this warts’n all live CD, taken from gigs where, shepherded and buffeted by the warmest mob of brilliant players, “CDAWN”(Carol, Dorian, Annie, Winston, Neville) our wild girl unfolds, through song, her story.

That voice. I first heard it on the crackle and velvet of vinyl. I was a Welsh teen oddity, shaken up by Aretha, Otis, Ella, Frank (she’ll tell you about him here)..but I wanted to see if there was any of this closer to hand. Dad brought “Warm Blood” by Carol Grimes back from Penny Lane Records in Chester. I still thought this girl was a mate of Bonnie Raitt, an ex of Tom Petty, a Laurel Canyon untouchable. Nope. I met Carol in London, just after I graduated. I wanted to sing like her. And..she showed me, and others, that we could.

It’s all here. From the superb, slouchy “Mood Indigo” through the ultimate “outsider” late night laments, Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” and the seminal Sinatra last-chance-saloon, “One For My Baby” (pianist and arranger, Dorian Ford is beautifully minimal, leaving Grimes room to ache and sway) to two of her best co-writes, with Maciek Hrybowicz “The Circus” and a re-worked “Alexandria Dance” (bassist, Neville Malcolm locking tender horns with the UK’s finest drummer, Winston Clifford) Mitchell’s naive but vital “Big Yellow Taxi” is also here, showing Carol’s conviction and crystal clear high pipes and Nick Caves. “Into My Arms” is gospelly.

Old mates are vital to Carol. The superb Annie Whitehead plays on these live takes, punctuating the waltzy “The Dance” Grimes and Ford, like it’s a warm exchange of news. Oscar Brown Jnr.s “A Tree And Me” is delivered with heartbreaking simplicity, contrasted with the almost Etta James-like “Roll Me A Cigarette.” Shaw, Ford, Grimes.

“Jazz Soul Legend??” (I’m gonna get lamped when she reads this) “Jazz” is the sound of surprise, it’s playful and swings. Tick. 

“Soul??” Oh please. My friend Andrew had to excuse himself at the launch of “Mother”, her acclaimed last studio session. ( Produced by myself!)

He couldn’t stop crying, such was the depth of her opening song, the Cave song. He later said..” Where does all that come from?? And why am I so upset!?” TICK.

“Legend??” Well, she’s certainly been around a while.

She’s quite short. She’s a great mum, tells the best stories, does great things with vegetables, introduced me to Brinjal Pickle with cheese, has the best eye for interior design…..Oh, and there’s the book soon.

And Fuck Me, she’s singing better than ever.

Tick. Tock.

Ian Shaw. London 2013.

SOLD OUT – Mike Westbrook Village Band & Carol Grimes

BRIT JAZZ FEST DOUBLE BILL, 11th August 2010 at Ronnie Scott’s

Edward Randell

Carol Grimes used her first appearance at the club since Ronnie Scott’s death to look back over her career, as signposted by her changing London addresses from Bethnal Green to Westbourne Grove. Starting with Who Knows Where The Time Goes?  by former drinking buddy Sandy Denny, her set was a warm and witty personal tour, demonstrating a knack for holding an audience’s attention that was hard-won in her early busking days.

Steps a Bethnal Green song featuring a sensitive piano solo by Dorian Ford, demonstrated Grimes skill as a lyricist. It was a pair of contrasting Oscar Brown Jnr. tunes, though that provided the centrepiece and highlight of the set. But I Was Cool was as fabulously full-throated and profane (bolstered by Annie Whitehead’s trombone) as  A Tree And Me was contemplative. Grimes finished by bringing us up to date with songs from her Deptford a poor woman’s penthouse Chagall-inspired waltz The Dance and The Weatherman, a blues with lyrics by poet John Shaw. Another Shaw (Ian) was among the admirers who dropped in to witness her unvarnished soulfulness.

London Jazz

The “HOUSE FULL” sign outside Ronnie Scott’s is showing distinct signs of wear and tear. The club’s second early August Brit Jazz Festival, like the first, has been a complete sell-out every night. From Managing Director Simon Cooke’s tone of voice, it sounds as if he can’t yet force himself to believe it. The crowd last night for Carol Grimes and Mike Westbrook’s Village Band included some tourists, but both bands also brought out a loyal and supportive following, notably Carol Grimes’ students, choir members and workshoppers.

In Carol Grimes the tourists will have got the authentic sound of London. Grimes deploys a range of accents from cockney sparra (This is a song wo’ I ri’ in in the Iygh’ies, De’ford ‘Igh Stree’) to clearly enunciated BBC RP Alvar Liddell (particularly when repeatedly savouring every consonant and aspirate in the phrase “Annie White-Head”)

She brought a wonderful range of songs, all great material. Highlights were “Steps,” a song about disembodiment, populated by, inter alia, ghosts under beds. Pianist Dorian Ford rocked the delicate harmonies gently back and forth in a piano interlude, and Max De Wardener was decisive and clear on bass. Oscar Brown Jr.’s “But I was Cool” was a theatrical tour de force.   Tree and Me ‘ slipped deliciously in and out of wacky eroticism. Fran Landesman and Simon Wallace’s  ‘Scars’ brought out the Piaf power, which resonated round the club. The Dance had Grimes driving the rhythm with a gesticulating and Ella-style-hip-slapping left hand. Winston Clifford had faultless volume control in every song, and Grimes also complimented him on his gifts as backing singer. His way of finding and matching her phrasing can, she ventured, only be explained by some kind of magic. Annie Whitehead is, as London jazz readers know, perfect.

Carol Grimes (singer/percussionist), Annie Whitehead (trombone), Dorian Ford (piano) Winston Clifford (drums) Neville Malcolm (double bass).

CDAWN was recorded live in London at the Vortex and The 606. Double CD including The Dance, All Blues and Alexandria Dance.

Only available on this site and at live performances.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *