Vale Richard Lockwood Of Tully
News posted Friday, September 21 2012 at 05:00 PM.
Related: Tully, Richard Lockwood.
Richard Lockwood of Sydney's pioneering 1960s/1970s psych band Tully died this morning, after battling cancer for several years. Aged 68, Lockwood was surrounded by family in his final days, including his four children, his wife Elizabeth and his mother. He was also visited by several of his former bandmates from Tully.
Lockwood was in the process of reissuing Tully's three albums through Chapter Music, as well as a collection of solo recordings spanning 40 years. He played a solo show in Melbourne in 2010, before which he told M+N: "It was extraordinary that we achieved such a meteoric rise, because nobody could dance to the music or anything. Tully was a complete child of the times."
M+N contributor David Nichols interviewed Lockwood earlier this month for a feature that will run soon. Below, Chapter Music's Guy Blackman pays his respects.
Tribute: Guy Blackman (Chapter Music)
I met Richard Lockwood in 2008, after finding his website Little Paper Boats and emailing to enquire about reissuing the three albums by Tully, the band he played saxophone, clarinet, flute and piano in and occasionally sung for. Those three records – Tully (1970), Sea of Joy (1971) and Loving is Hard (1972) – are probably the last great Australian albums from the era not to have been reissued. To my mind they’re actually the best of them all, especially the second and third album, after towering rock band Tully joined forces with folk group Extradition and became something incredibly serene, meditative and magical.
Richard and I met for lunch at Rathdowne Food Store to talk about the idea, and I was immediately struck by his gentleness and warmth. He hugged me at the end of lunch and we were friends from then on. We worked for a long time getting permission from EMI to license the Tully records, eventually signing contracts earlier this year, with a lot of help from FBi Radio announcer Jack Shit (partner to Richard’s daughter Rabia). In the meantime Chapter released Live at Sydney Town Hall 1969-70 in 2010, including Tully’s performance of the Peter Sculthorpe rock opera Love 200 accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I also organised one lone solo show for Richard in 2010 at Gertrude Contemporary. He played acoustic guitar to a small crowd, bringing many of us to tears.
Richard told me in 2009 that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer, but made it seem like something that he would knock on the head with little fuss. He also let me know that he had been recording songs by himself since Tully broke up in 1972, and slowly we began to conceive of a compilation of his solo work that spanned the last 40 years. He was very protective of his songs: proud of them but worried that they weren’t recorded well enough to release, and obsessive over minor details in lyrics or playing that he would like to change. From my point of view, they were some of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard, played immaculately by Richard on every instrument imaginable and sung in his clear, rich, immensely reassuring voice.
As his illness progressed, the idea of reissuing Tully and his solo material became more urgent, and most of his reservations faded away. We began meeting every Wednesday for lunch at his flat in Brunswick to speed the process along, but neither of us had any idea of how quickly the end would come. A month ago Richard told me his doctor had given him another two or three years. Then suddenly he was in hospital with the news that the cancer had spread to his liver, and in a little over two weeks he was gone.
I was very glad to be able to show him finished vinyl and CD copies of the Sea Of Joy reissue, which comes out next month, and to get approval from him on the tracklisting, mastering and design of his 2CD solo retrospective In the Doorway of the Dawn – The Chronicle of a Song, Volumes 1 & 2, 1972-2012, to be released on Chapter Music on Nov. 9. The Tully and Loving is Hard reissues will follow early next year. I was also very glad to meet Ken Firth, Shayna Stewart and Colin Campbell from Tully and Extradition, who gathered around Richard in the last weeks. Most of all, I’m incredibly grateful to his wife Elizabeth for all the kindness, warmth and support she has shown Richard and myself in our work together.
Richard Lockwood is one of the most naturally gifted musicians and songwriters I have ever known. Devoted for more than 40 years to his spiritual guide Meher Baba, he wrote songs that could have been classics. But he was content merely to write them, sing them, sometimes record them, offer them to his Beloved Meher and then put them away in a box of cassettes in his cupboard. Elizabeth and Richard’s youngest daughter Rabia believe Richard’s best songs remain on cassette, un-transferred by Richard and still unheard by me, so there may well be further volumes of In the Doorway Of the Dawn to come.
Hopefully this first compilation will illuminate a few people to the wonder of Richard’s music, and be a fitting tribute to someone who has been so inspiring for me for the last four years of friendship.