Fiona Alderman: A Tribute to George Lyle
Love and Music A tribute to George Lyle
My heart is heavy in writing this, as I have just lost a good friend of nearly 30 years, in George Lyle. An amazing double bassist, and certainly well renowned in Scotland, he also played with some of the finest musicians in the country and further afield. A long elegant figure, often to be seen in Great Western Road and Byres Road, where we first met, just chatting about music. His knowledge was fantastic and I learnt from him about various artists like Brad Mehldau, Bobo Stenson, Keith Jarrett and other pianists that he thought I would like. I often went along to Brel’s in Ashton Lane on a Saturday afternoon to listen to him and his other musician friends like the drummer Nick Weston whom he had known since the 60’s. Everyone enjoying a great gig, the buzz and creating a lively atmosphere.
He worked latterly with the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra , and notably with George Burt and Raymond Macdonald becoming a keystone to their groundbreaking work. Even with rave reviews, George dismissed them all, a modest and gentle man, he lived and breathed music, shunning the limelight and preferring to retreat to his flat in Belmont Street and jam with his pals!
He came out to see us here in France one year and was happily going to bring his racing bicycle to map out some “Tour de France “ routes as he was an avid fan of the race. However, the bicycle never arrived and was lost somewhere in transit. Disappointed , he spent most of the week trying to trace it , but to no avail. We felt so sorry for him, but it didn’t daunt him and we managed to have a good time anyway. ! He sent me CD’s of music for nearly 16 years always with a lovely card and ending with “love and music “ George. He will be greatly missed by everyone but I imagine he is having a great old time up there playing with all the jazz greats!
The Other George
Strangely enough I was going to do a tribute to another jazz musician, which links to George, as there are some similarities between the two – notably their humour. Georges Brassens the French guitarist and singer, who is considered to be one of France’s most accomplished poets. He, too loved music more than anything else, and although, he never learned to read music, he became adept on complicated rhythms and complex word patterns. Singing with a wry expression on his face that seemed to suggest a mockery of anything too serious, amongst the too rich, the religious or the law. As a youngster he was wild, stealing from friends and even family, and seemed to defy authority which never left him.
His quirky use of language often with a humorous touch in his songs such as “Copains d’abord” and “ Les amoureux des bancs publics” which was about young people openly kissing in public and which shocks self righteous people. “Le Gorille” which was a song about a gorilla with a very large penis and was admired for this by the ladies. The gorilla escapes from his cage and mistaking a robed judge for a woman sodomizes him ! Of course the song was banned.
He died of cancer at only 60 leaving behind a wealth of songs and unpublished poems and a new generation of Brassens fans. He has a museum dedicated to him in Sête, a fishing port where he himself had a little boat, near Montpellier where he was born and lived for much of his life.
Goodnight from Salignac
I close this month’s diary on a lighter note with some humorous expressions.
The French don’t make a big deal of something, they make a whole cheese out of it “faire tout un fromage”
The French won’t tell you to mind your own business but will tell you to watch over your onions ‘ occupe toi de tes oignons “
They also won’t tell you to get lost , but go and cook yourself an egg “Va te faire cuire un oeuf “
Shall think of some more for next month!
Fifi’s story from rural France ; April 2016.
Dance and film courses in the Dordogne .
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