Clive Palmer (13 May 1943 – 23 November 2014)
Clive Palmer (13 May 1943 – 23 November 2014) was a British folk musician and banjoist, best known as a founding member of the Incredible String Band.
Born in Edmonton, North London, he first went on stage at the age of 8, and took banjo lessons from the age of 10. Around 1957 he began playing with jazz bands in Soho. He began busking with Wizz Jones in Paris in 1959-60, before moving to Edinburgh in late 1962. By now a virtuoso banjo player, he teamed up as a duo with singer and guitarist Robin Williamson in 1963, playing traditional and bluegrass songs. They became the Incredible String Band in 1965 when they decided to develop their sound and their own writing talents, and added a third member, Mike Heron. Early in 1966, he also ran “Clive’s Incredible Folk Club” in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow.
After recording the first ISB album, The Incredible String Band with Williamson, Heron and producer Joe Boyd, Palmer traveled to India, where he played on national television, and Afghanistan. On his return, he decided not to rejoin the increasingly successful duo. Instead, he recorded an album of banjo music, Banjoland, which remained unreleased until 2005. He moved to Cornwall in 1968, where he worked as a woodwork teacher and became involved in trade union activities. He also formed the Famous Jug Band who released the album Sunshine Possibilities in 1969 and Chameleon in 1970, after which he left, later forming The Stockroom Five and The Temple Creatures (1970), neither of whom officially recorded. He then formed another band, C.O.B. (Clive’s Original Band), who released two albums, Spirit of Love (1971) and Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart (1972). A solo album called Just Me followed on the German label Autogram in 1978.
He later moved to live in Brittany. He returned to recording music in the early 1990s, reuniting with Williamson, and then touring with Heron and (initially) Williamson in the reformed ISB towards the end of the decade. He issued a new album, All Roads Lead To Land in 2004, and toured as a duo with Lawson Dando in 2007.
In 2007, he moved back to Cornwall, teaming up with former “Stockroom 5″ and “Temple Creatures” member Tim Wellard to produce a new album, The Land of No Return, released on the Spanish label, Quadrant Records in 2008. This album led to the formation of The Clive Palmer Band, who toured between 2008 and 2011 and produced another two albums, Along The Enchanted Way and Live at the Acorn in 2011.
Clive Palmer’s death on November 23, 2014 in Penzance, after a long illness, was announced by fellow folk musician, Wizz Jones, who referred to him as “one of the finest musicians I have ever known… an inspiration and a well loved friend.”