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Paco de Lucia.
(I wish I knew to whom credit for this photo should go. I found it on the internet.)
Those late night sessions in London were unforgettable. The rumour had run among the cognoscenti that one of your brothers, or a close relative owned a restaurant on the Fulham Road called the Costa del Sol, and this was strategically situated right next to the famous London Guitar Studio.
Those in the know said that if you booked a table at the restaurant on a concert night, the whole Paco de Lucía entourage would arrive at the restaurant after the show and move to a basement room in the restaurant where they would eat, drink, play music, sing and be merry all night long.
So, after a knock-out concert at the Royal Albert Hall, featuring a very young Paco alongside a steady Larry Coryell and an utterly frenetic John McLaughlin, in which the unquestioned talent of Paco shone, we scrambled to the Costa del Sol for dinner.
True enough, after about half an hour Paco de Lucía arrived with three or four other dark-haired men, all carrying guitar cases. They all went downstairs. We strung out our meal as much as possible and eventually, as the rest of the diners left, we got our chance and asked if we could go downstairs to congratulate the great man. We were told we could. This led to the first of three great evenings at that famous restaurant.
Paco de Lucía was more than a virtuoso guitarist and exploratory composer, he was in my opinion the finest producer that flamenco music ever had.
Paco, I always thought you were the genius behind Camarón. It was your tact and dexterity in the recording studio that drew out that tormented singer's best moments.
And the concerts with Larry and John: a revelation. You'll be missed." - - From my friend Harold Heckle, Associated Press, Madrid.
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About Gerry Dawes
"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter.
"Chiarello embarked on a crash course by traveling to Spain for 10 days in 2011 with Food Arts
"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections
In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés.
". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009.
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