|The First Recordings|
|The Break with the Industry|
THE BREAK WITH THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Six Pieces marks the end of what Robert John Godfrey has called "the first phase in the life of The Enid". It almost marked the end of The Enid. Francis Lickerish and keyboard player Willie Gilmour left the band. Drummer Chris North and bassist Martin Russell followed some time afterwards. Godfrey and Stewart settled down in a Suffolk farmhouse to become proprietors of The Lodge recording studio, working largely in the pop field. They recorded such acts as Mari Wilson and Propaganda, and both recorded and performed as the (uncredited) backing band on Kim Wilde's first album.
But The Enid proved to have a life of its own. Back in 1979 Pye had recorded The Enid playing live at the Hammersmith Odeon, intending to release the recording, along with a compilation of tracks from previous albums, as "Rhapsody in Rock". It was never released, but Tommy Vance had acquired the live material and in 1982 he played Fand, a twenty-minute piece originally recorded on Aerie Faerie Nonsense, on Radio One's Friday Rock Show. Vance was a fan. He said, on air, "Robert John Godfrey is to my mind one of the greatest composers this country has ever had..."
A NEW CHAPTER
Suddenly Godfrey and Stewart were inundated with requests for more. The following was still out there, and growing. Godfrey and Stewart closed their studio and recorded what was to be their most successful album to date, Something Wicked This Way Comes. A 156-date British tour in 1983 confirmed it - The Enid, now essentially a duo, were back.
Something Wicked This Way Comes was a radical departure from previous Enid albums. For the first time it featured vocals. It took as its theme the prospect of nuclear war - The Enid's first foray into contemporary politics. But so typical of Godfrey's approach, he avoided contributing to the arguments of justification and instead asked his audience the allegorical question: "If the holocaust comes will it be the burning fires of Hell here to punish us all for our wickedness or will be a the purifying fire of the last judgement sweeping everything clean and anew?" It was also the first time The Enid had operated without the backing of a record label. The album came out on their own "Enid" label. A band which had, on the face of it, seemed the very antithesis of punk had now established its radical credentials indelibly. The most "indie" of the "indie bands", The Enid took direct control of all aspects of their career, from recording to mastering, artwork to distribution.
There was still a "long road back" for The Enid. Much of 1983 was spent fighting to re-acquire the rights to their deleted back catalogue. They released the 1979 live recordings as the two-volume "Live at Hammersmith" set, no less potent for being four years overdue, and re-released the two Pye albums on the Enid label. EMI, who owned BUK, proved more difficult.
Godfrey, never a man to let a small thing like EMI Records stand in his way, applied the Gordian Knot principle - "I went ahead and did it anyway." Aerie Faerie Nonsense was re-mixed and issued independently at the end of 1983 (behind the thin camouflage of changing the titles of the pieces), and In the Region of the Summer Stars, much of it re-recorded and again with titles changed, followed in 1984.