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Rachel’s – Rhine and Courtesan (90s – 77)

July 27, 2013

Learning about music from other people is something I’ve never been good at, but it has happened. I am forever in the debt to the friend who taught me about Jethro Tull and Radiohead; the librarian who put me onto Brian Eno; the friend’s girlfriend who was a huge Jean Michael Jarre fan; the girl I had a crush on who loved Ween and Aphex Twin; the Dave who loved the Clash; the other Dave who loved Pink Floyd. And then there was a girlfriend.

It was a short relationship self-contained within April 2000. This was not enough time to finish her copy of Herodotus – the first Classic I had ever attempted – but long enough to learn a bit about her, a lot about myself and to be introduced to the band Rachel’s. I’d never thought there was such a thing as a chamber group with slight rock leanings creating concept albums without the whole thing being cheesy. Rachel’s were not cheesy. They were expansive, textural and emotive. My then girlfriend’s copy of album The Sea and the Bells was one of her treasured posessions and I felt priveliged to borrow it to play on radio. And then we broke up and she left town soon afterwards.

Later in the year I looked in vain to find the album on Amazon, before finally working out how to buy it on the German Amazon – the only site which stocked it. I waited. And I waited some more. After weeks I wrote to the German Amazon to politely ask about the absence of album. They sent another and then both copies turned up within a week of each other. Graetful for the assistance from the site, I did the right thing with a return to sender on the additional copy, rather than donate it to the radio station or to the town library (where I had some influence). I can only hope it got back to Germany.

Latar I bought more Rachel’s but never anything as good as The Sea and the Bell. Is this because of the quality of the album or the huge fan who put me onto it? But there is something a bit special about being introduced to music rather than stumbling over it or chasing names from liner notes and biographies.

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