Fulmar Carlos Stellar electric guitar and vocals Alexander Darling keyboards Produced by Alexander Darling in cooperation with Bjam Records, Inc. Musical arrangement of 32:20 by Carlos Stellar and Alexander Darling Recorded the summer of 2002 at Level Three Mania Inspired by Robert Johnson's 32:20 Blues and John Hammond's 32.20 lyrics. Background voices, drumming & chanting: Demonstrators and police clashing at the October, 2002 anti-war protests in Washington, D.C. 'His eye is on the sparrow.' The Song Johnson's song, 32.20, recorded in the late 1920s was about shooting his woman. About the only thing that survived lyrically in John Hammond's 1960s rendition was the name of the gun, the murder theme and the name of the song. Hammond turned the tragic blues ballad into an anti-war statement. So the song is inspired by these two influences. The composition, arrangement and production is credited to the band Fulmar. An enigmatic duo, Alexander Darling and Carlos Stellar. Presumably with ties to the United Kingdom. Little is known about this pair of eccentric artists. They appear to have materialized out of nowhere. They have refused to be interviewed by the press and maintain a high degree of anonymity. Allen Burns writes... I met Stellar and Darling during a visit to St. Louis first in 1998 and, again, briefly in 2001. I vaguely recollect arguing with them in a drunken stupor about 'chiggers,' an insect endemic to the Ozark Mountains region south of the city. The chance encounter took place in the concrete confines of a South St. Louis 'beer garden.' Stellar and Darling, both had assumed a new identity in America, glommed onto it's traditional roots music in a zealous, fanatical manner; hitchhiking, riding the rails, taking Greyhound buses from St. Louis to Memphis and points south into the Mississippi Delta region of Northern Mississippi. Along the way, they camped under highway viaducts and in junkyards next to railroad tracks (known in American hobo parlance as (jungle camps). By the time, I met them, they had already lost their British accents and they seemed to be incurable expatriates of the UK, alienated from Britain; men without a home. I must say they seemed to rather relish this situation. Then out of nowhere, I received a promotional copy of a single produced at Level Three Mania Studios in St. Louis, Missouri by an obscure record label, Bjam Records. Stellar had teamed up with Darling to produce a chilling, haunting, sorrowful anti-war song, 32.20. Much of the buzz surrounding this pair of unlikely co-conspirators in music is speculation. To that extent, this much has been deduced. Alexander Darling Darling is the son of a Welsh coal miner. He left home at an early age, traveling the world as a merchant marine. Learning to play the keyboards on an old German accordion, a family heirloom, which he toted around with him across the globe. He ended up being stuck in the port of New Orleans, La. near the mouth of Mississippi in the spring and summer of 2001 because of a downturn in the shipping industry. First he soaked up Bourbon Street and the French Quarter (literally) and then he began searching out more of the local, indigenous music scene, stumbling upon Tipitina's nightclub, where he became a nightly fixture. Within months, he had enrolled in night classes at Tulane University. He excelled in learning the techniques of computer-digitized recording and polished his rudimentary skills on the keyboard, combining the two, all the while being influenced by the diversity of the New Orleans jazz-blues scene. While in St. Louis, Darling attended an audiovisual art exhibit based on the jazz compositions of the late Miles Davis of East St. Louis, Illinois Darling, became particularly absorbed in Davis' hand in creating the 'cool' jazz school in the early 1950s. He purchased a CD recording of Davis' acclaimed 1957 release Kind of Blue and began listening to it day and night. He would go to sleep at night with earphones on and the stereo set to repeat. Through this means, he absorbed Kind of Blue in both a waking and dreaming state, conscious and unconscious. What learned from this weird obsessive compulsion was that the notes that were left out of any composition were as important or more important than those that were in the composition. They shaped the subtle, nuances of the music in ways that are hard to put in words. Suffice it to say he believes less is better. Nobody knows when or if he has returned to the UK. Carlos Stellar Stellar comes from the polar opposite side of the English class system; a scion of the English gentry-merchant class He became disillusioned with society in general in the mid-to-late 90s and, much to his parents distress, dropped out of the London School of Economics to pursue a 'career' as a street musician in London. He purchased his 1967 Harmony Rocket guitar for 50 pounds at a flea market or a secondhand story or a pawn shop in Soho. His family hadn't forsaken him, totally. So this allowed him live this Bohemian lifestyle, but the monthly stipend that he received was, nonetheless, paltry, for a young man of his social status. He blew most of the money on hashish or Portuguese wine, which he favored (more on the Portuguese connection later). He began rummaging through records stores in London, where he concentrated on finding the obscure American blues recording. This lead him way beyond the more knarly names in the American musical genre prominent in England such as Champion Jack Dupree, Roosevelt Skyes, Furry Lewis, Lightning Hopkins and Big Bill Broonzey. Instead, he focused on the playing of a wide range of esoteric styles as represented in the playing of the late Guitar Slim and Sam McGee (a white guitarist, from the Grand Old Opry in Nashville). But his epiphany came after meeting Darling, who had brought back a bootleg, live recording, on a cassette tape, of Buster Morrison, playing at the Moss Rose Cafe in Paducah, Kentucky. (Paducah is on the Ohio River not far from it's confluence with the Mississippi). Morrison grew up in Corinth, Mississippi and was a contemporary of B.B. King, but he never gained any critical acclaim as a blues guitarist. Instead, he drove a fork truck in Paducah, Kentucky until recently retiring. Stellar was inspired by the raw, use of the pentatonic scale, similar to B.B. King's style, but less refined. His licks were more muddied like the Mississippi River. The result is 32.20, the only known recording by this unlikely pair to date. The recording combines an electronic-keyboard 'wall of sound' of Darling's, which has been digitally enhanced by several generations using computer technology not available to Phil Spector's productions, combined with more traditional electric blues playing, recorded analogue on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, using a wah-wah peddle that gives Stellar's playing a Hendrix-like psychedelic feeling. More songs are promised and with that hope I carry on. Cheers, Allen Burns Needham, UK 12 December 2002.