Ramases and Sel


Space HymnsGlass Top Coffin

Brian Currin


2004 SPACE HYMNS RE-ISSUE The 2004 Repertoire reissue (REPUK 1030) has four bonus tracks. Balloon (Alternative Mix, 1971 UK Single A side), Muddy Water (1971 UK Single B side), Jesus Come Back (1972 UK Single A side), Hello Mister (1972 UK Single B Side). Original album in stereo, four bonus tracks in mono.

The album is a cardboard gatefold cover with a poster of the original inner cover as a separate fold out.
-- Bobby Truscott, 4th January 2005
ROGER DEAN REMEMBERS RAMASES I think Roger (Dean) and I were travelling to Glastonbury by car in about '98 to see Michael Evis of the Glosto festival. Ramases came up in conversation, Roger was aware I considered 'Space Hymns' an amazing album and he starts relating this story - despite Roger's bent towards the fantasy with his artwork he's a fairly straight forward bloke. He tells me that Ramases accidentally got involved with a couple of well known heavy duty Brothers of the 60s East End Gangland scene who bank rolled him to take over a legit double glazing business in Glasgow. He made a lot of dosh and one day when driving out of Glasgow he had this spiritual revelation that he had to take to the masses and the medium was to be music and it all went from there. 'Space Hymns' does have a sort of evangelistic quality. There's decidedly a spiritual message in there. Thats the story in brief - I'm no typist!!

By the way if you didn't know Joe was his dad and Ramases apparently adored him. Roger reckoned his dad's death had something to do with his suicide.

After I sent the first e-mail I went back to your site and found the piece that sort of verified some of the story. Roger could have said central heating firm not double glazing - sort of the same business! Yes, you can put the detail on the site. It will be interesting to see if anyone else can verify any of the other stuff. I must make it clear this that Roger didn't infer that Ram was involved with organised crime. In fact as I remember it: While protecting a friend in an altercation in a pub or club Ram put one of the heavies up against the wall. This left him in a tricky position as the gangster was well known and needed to save face. Anyway some of Ram's friends intervened and told the gangster that Ram was really a gentle guy but he wasn't a full shilling. ( In the East End in those days there was a sort of respect for slightly crazy folk) so Ram got away and then got the offer to go to Scotland.
-- John Talbot, February 2004
Englands Hidden Reverse: Firstly, what a great site! I first heard Ramases in about 1974/75 when a friend of mine had purchased 'Space Hymns'. My initial reaction was to 'wind up' said friend and say he purchased a load of rubbish! Such is the folly of youthful abandon. Ever since that time, Ramases has always intriqued me and I'm bowled over to see this site, yet sad that such a character is no longer with us.

Secondly, I'm a great fanatic of the music of Nurse With Wound and recently there has been a book published by S.A.F. entitled 'Englands Hidden Reverse' by David Keenan, this being a chronicle of the underground british groups, mainly NWW, Coil and Current 93. The cover of the book which was designed by Nurse With Wound mainman Stephen Stapleton and David Tibet, has many small photos making up the artwork and these photos are of the many artists and luminaries which make up the collective discussed in the book.

In the bottom right hand corner, there is the cover of the Ramases & Selket 45 from 1968 "Crazy One" (Quasar One!). Stapleton was an avid record collector in his youth before he started making music and I think this was a fantastic gesture that he put this on the cover artwork, silently saying what an invisible influence Ramases was to some of today's extraordinary underground musics.
-- Tim Jones, August 2003
Wanted: any Ramases ephemera: posters; picture sleeves; autographed material. Will pay very high prices or exchange. ANYTHING interesting wanted. Please email David Tibet at david@durtro.demon.co.uk
-- David Tibet, March 2003, updated December 2006
Ramases' guitar: I found this website whilst trying to research the history of an acoustic guitar I bought when I was a kid. It was the Summer of 1978, in Ipswich, Suffolk, where I grew up. I was looking for my first guitar. I went into a second-hand instruments shop in Ipswich (Felixstowe Road or Spring Road, I think). The guy offered me a lovely Epiphone acoustic. The body was signed "Ramases" in a ball-point pen and varnished over the top (which I was more than a bit dubious about, so he let me have it a little cheaper than it was marked). He told me that the previous owner had committed suicide and that his wife had sold it to the shop. I tried to scrape off the signature, but bits of it can still be seen.

I'd never heard of Ramases at the time (nor have I heard his music since) but he sounded like an interesting bloke, so I'll seek out one of his re-issued CDs.

Incidentally, I still have the guitar, and to date it's been used on something like 20 different albums.
-- Terry Burrows, 8 January 2003
Local Weirdo: I was Ramases' paper boy when he lived in Westwick Crescent! He was an extraordinary looking person for 1967/8 as he shaved his head, the rest of us were growing as long as we could. He was also the first person I ever saw who had extended the flare on his trousers by letting material into the bottoms (we did some very strange things in those days!). As I said he turned heads wherever he went.

At the time I had no idea he was a musician, I thought he was just some local (rich) wierdo! His house was (if I remember rightly) a very large bungalow set back a long way from the road.

The only other thing I remember about him is that he was supposed to have damaged his house trying to build a swimming pool in the basement!

I saw Ramases on TV in 1968/9. It was a short lived programme presented by the jazz singer& writer George Melly & came from Chiselhurst Caves in Kent (it was set in areal cave!). This was around the time of the 1st Ramases & Selkat single.

Interesting that 'Glass Coffin' is hard to find on vinyl. I paid 4 for amint copy at a record fair!
-- Andrew Rodgers, 24 December 2002
Glass Top Coffin: I was the producer of Glass Top Coffin and it was great to see the memories on your site. I'm now running my studios and music co in Dubai.
-- Barry Kirsch, BKP Music, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 25 July 2002
Wizard Of Oz: The main thing that strikes me about the album [Glass Top Coffin] in general is that it seems to be inspired by and to follow the story of The Wizard of Oz (it is possible to allocate all of the songs to the characters and the storyline). Though I am sure that at the end of the day that someone could manage tomake the album say anything they wanted!
-- Tenebris Light, London, 17 June 2002
Glass Top Coffin: In all the reviews of GLASS TOP COFFIN, no-one seems to have mentioned that the title must have come from the story of Snow White who rests in such a coffin awaiting her 'resurrection' - a very clever combination of folk-lore, Christian mythology and Egyptian mythology (also on the Egyptian front, the coffin of Tutankhamun in the Valley of The Kings now rests under a very heavy glass top).

Perhaps this has been noticed and I am repeating someone else's thoughts...
-- Tenebris Light, England, 12 June 2002

Read more info on these thoughts and theories here...

Felixstowe: I met Ramases when my parents tried to buy his house at (8?) Stanley Road Felixstowe. I had a great couple of hours chatting to him whilst he introduced me to Tomita and lots of other interesting sounds. I subsequently bought Space Hymns which I loved. I could never seem to find Glass Top Coffin. Unfortunately sold my copy of Space Hymns (regrets, regrets) but have it on tape.
-- Ernie Howard, 1 April 2002
Articles: Ramases used to live in my parents house in Sheffield, England, before they bought it. I've moved from that house now, but still have some news articles about the house (from 1967), as Ramases also designed the interior. Do you want copies of these articles?

Here are the articles I referred to. These were given to my parents when they bought the house concerned, which was on Westwick Crescent, Beauchief, Sheffield. My parents bought the house from a couple who had in turn bought the house from Ramases. At the time Ramases and his wife were known as Barrington and Dorothy Frost, as the articles show.

My parents had the house from around 1975 and lived there for about 10 years. I lived there from 1975 for about 4 years. You can use these news articles for your site if you wish. I have both of Ramases original albums on vinyl in perfect condition, but didn't realise how much interest there was in him till I saw your site.
-- John Mallender, Sheffield, England, 22 January 2002
Sel Found!

"the sun shines so bright on the day of our returning"

She has the rights to the second album. Tapes are with Phonograph. I willcall them and ask them to release them to her... otherwise I'll sharpen mywood-chipper and steal 'em. Sel is a little reluctant to talk about thepast... who wants to really... but I've showed her your beautiful websiteand she's very moved by all the "followers" around this beautiful planet.

A lot of the lyrics are wrong she says... she's laughing and saying thatmany "changes" are quite beautiful but not really accurate. She has never"returned" to this period before in her life... she blotted it out... nowwith all the beautiful material from people like you she is enlightened andhappy about it.

She has a lot of great stories about 10cc and how they ripped them off regarding 'Neanderthal Man', etc. They created that sound and song... butnever recorded it... Hotlegs or 10cc did while RAMASES and SEL where in theUS to promote the first album.
-- Peter Stormare, Los Angeles, 31 May 2001
Good friends: Ram & Sel were good friends of mine. I knew them from the Felixstowe days. He'd have liked your site.... for sure! He was a lovely man and I will remember him with warmth and affection forever. Read a whole lot more here...
-- Paul Hollyer, September 2000
Searching: I asked you some time ago to give me info regarding the whereabouts of Ramases and Sel and you replied with what little there is actually.

Since then I've put a big ad in the East Anglian Daily Times which covers the area they lived in, Felixstowe. I've gotten five mails so far with no more info than hooking on to your site.

The ad will run next Friday again and maybe I will catch something bigger that time.

I live in L.A. and my aim is to gather material for a future book/ film. Can you please post this cry for more material on your site.
-- Peter Stormare, September 2000
Who's Joe: I always wondered who Joe was and why he was the only one, until I saw a TV re-run of "Midnight Cowboy" featuring John Voight/Dustin Hoffman the other evening. In one of the flashback scenes of Joe (John Voight), his girlfriend just goes on and on and on repeating the phrase "Your'e the only one Joe, the only one". Amazing that some-one can pick that up and write a song using only that line.
-- Dave Malherbe, South Africa, October 1999
Early 70s: I first heard them in those heady days over in England at thetime of the first two Glastonbury festivals (70/71) - although the first one, 'Space Hymns', was quite popular in England and Germany at the time the group was too weird for mass consumption and they also never played live. There is definitely a spiritual connection between Ramases and Quintessence as they were popular to the same audience. It was the time of psychedelia and the emergence of Hawkwind.
-- Ralph Beauvert, Switzerland, September 1999
Michael: The only bit of info I can give you that I haven't seen on your well-researched website, is that his real name was Michael Raphael, born in Sheffield, England. Apart from that, sweet fanny adams. He seemed to slip into obscurity after 'Glass Top Coffin'.
-- Leon Economides, South Africa, June 1999
Suicide: Ramases is thought to be dead by way of suicide. This info I got from Dave Thompsons book: "Better To Burn Out: The Cult Of Death in Rock 'n' Roll", 1999. Not even his best friends were able to keep track of him.
-- Chris, June 1999

See also the Dead Rock Star Club Website.

Felixstowe: Ramases I heard lived in Felixstowe, Suffolk for some time before he commited suicide. Sad loss.
--- Colin Reeder, Suffolk, England, June 1999
Ramases and Sel on Felixstowe beach, 1975 - photo by Pennie Smith - published in NME, 15 March 1975 - photocopy supplied by Felix Reut

Ramases and Sel on Felixstowe beach, 1975
photo by Pennie Smith
published in NME, 15 March 1975
photocopy supplied by Felix Reut, November 1999.