Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't Pick a Flower

Don't Pick a Flower was a curiously named folk duo was based at the Coventry Arts Umbrella club c 1971 led by poet and songwriter John Leopold who led many of the folk and poetry sessions at the Umbrella around that time.

Although I saw them at the Umbrella, I can't remember all the details. They played at the Umbrella Club on " May 11th 1971 Don't Pick a Flower - John Leopold's folk duo. Poetry and Folk session. Contemporary and own songs."

I have a note in my 1971 diary for Sunday14th February at the Plough Club on the London Road. A gig and disco run by Silk Disco. Dando Shaft were playing along with Music Box (Colin and Rob Armstrong). The entry says I got the addresses of Music Box and Don't Pick a Flower at that gig with a view to them playing at the Umbrella Friday night band nights I was organising at the time. I'm not sure that I put either outfit on at the Umbrella in the end for whatever forgotten reason but collecting contact address was part of the process.

Don't Pick a Flower were a gentle harmony folk duo with interesting lyrics as far as I can recall. They seemed to be around the Umbrella a lot at that time, weekends, sitting in the coffee bar, playing guitar and chatting.

I can't be sure but the full name may have been Don't Pick a Flower Unless You're Sure - although i may be confusing that with a quote i heard somewhere.

John Leopold had been involved with various poetry and folk events at the Coventry Arts Umbrella in the very early 70's and although John often played in the Umbrella coffee bar as conversation raged on every subject - often to the wee hours. 

John Leopold had performed with the Umbrella Poets in the 1970 presentation of Geoff Pegg's Knotted Sheets (launch of his poetry chapbook for Outposts) at the Belgrade Theatre. He performed one of his songs called Dinosaurs Lament. I seem to think John play at other venues with the Umbrella poets during this period as well as folk clubs.

A short bio of John Leopold exists in the Knotted Sheets programme that reads -

John Leopold
The writer of the other song, Dinosaurs Lament. A talented songwriter and guitarist who takes personal preference to the 12-string variety. His songs are apart from anything produced by other writers and they use some excellent chord sequences..

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