Thursday, March 17, 2011

Alan Jenkins and Broken Arrow

Alan Jenkins, from Bridgend, was an early member of the Neil Young Appreciation Society. In 1984 he took over as editor of the society's floundering magazine, Broken Arrow. He would remain at the helm for the next 17 years (Issues 16 - 82), turning it into one of the best music fanzines around, enjoyed by a worldwide readership.

Jenkins became a fan of Neil Young in 1972 after hearing After the Goldrush. He then went out and bought every Neil Young record he could lay his hands on. As well as concert bootlegs, posters, tour t-shirts etc. The modest terraced house he shared with his wife in Bridgend became a shrine to the man. Even his cat, Zuma, was named after an album by guess who?

Not that one copy of a Neil Young disc was ever enough for Alan. "I must have had about 15 copies of Deja Vu," he said, "because the French version came out on a white sleeve, the Israeli one with a single sleeve with a rare photo on the back, and the Czechoslovakian version came in a completely different sleeve again!"

You can understand why Jenkins was soon acknowledged as one of the world's leading authorities on Young. For many magazine editors and radio DJs seeking info on the cult Canadian singer, he was their first port of call. Highlights of his Broken Arrow tenure included an interview with Young himself; and having the NYAS address printed in sleevenotes on his idol's albums Freedom and Arc.

Sadly, in 2001 Jenkins gave up his editorship of Broken Arrow and the whole Neil Young thing as it was all getting a bit much for him. He had been suffering health problems and decided to make a totally clean break. These days he prefers to concentrate on his other great musical love, opera.

*Neil Young and Broken Arrow: On a Journey Through the Past (see pic), is a collection of Broken Arrow articles compiled by Alan Jenkins. The book also includes a discography, set lists, and a list of cover versions. Published in 1994, only 2,000 copies were ever printed and it has now become a much sought after item of Young memorabilia.