Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

The Mohawk (Frazier & Essra) Connection

April 8, 2010

Well, that is really what you call synchronicity… I was just in the groove of putting up some of my music-related articles, yesterday’s being about Jac Holzman, the founder of Elektra Records, when I find a bit of related news from Essra Mohawk on Facebook. Essra reports that she has a half-page review in the latest edition, the May edition, of Mojo about her first three albums, with Mojo calling her album “Primordial Lovers,” “a rich, confident collection of soul and gospel-infused songs, extraordianary in 1970, with complex harmonies, dark chords, some clamorous playing and unusual use of vibes, oboe and a brass section…”

Because I had put up the Holzman story, I had decided that I ought to put up my “companion” piece about Frazier Mohawk, the guy who produced his wife Essra’s great record mentioned above. And then Essra comes in with that news from Mojo. (The last edition of which – with Peter Gabriel on the cover – I bought in the airport in Melbourne.) Frazier, as you can see by my article about him from many years ago, is an interesting person from the 1960s and early 70s music scene. In addition to Essra, he produced albums by Nico – The Marble Index -, the Holy Modal Rounders, and he put together the Buffalo Springfield. It’s all in the article.

I wrote the article for the careers column of the International Herald Tribune, of all places, and thus its career related themes. But I know Frazier personally, as he hired me to work for his circus when I was a teenage unicyclist, juggler and ventriloquist with big ambitions to become the next W.C. Fields. (Those ambitions may yet succeed, as I resemble the man more today than I ever did….) Frazier had quit the music business and moved to Canada to start first a company called Puck’s Rent-a-Fool, which I worked for on a few occasions, and then his circus, Puck’s Canadian Travelling Circus, which later became a petting farm and then a recording studio. But I’m leaping too far ahead of my own IHT story about Frazier Mohawk, and you’ll see the Holzman connection….

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