In the wake of his magisterial triptych of early 1970s avant-folk-rock records—Trout Steel (1970), Places I Know (1971), and The Machine Gun Co. (1972) (all previously reissued by Paradise of Bachelors)—the British songwriter, guitarist, and fledgling improviser Mike Cooper retreated to the Costa Tropical of Granada, Spain. With no prospects for touring or recording again, his fiery band the Machine Gun Co. had disintegrated. Cooper sets the scene in his liner notes of the first-ever reissue of his unjustly forgotten next album Life and Death in Paradise (1974):
No one came running with offers of fame and riches, and we fell apart, and I left the country and headed for the beach, disillusioned and a bit disorientated musically. I went to Almuñécar in Andalusia, a place I had been going since 1969, because a painter friend from Reading, Rowland Fade—who made the collage in the gatefold of my earlier album Trout Steel—had moved there in 1968.
It was not exactly a paradise. Palm trees were not native there, so they had been imported by the mayor, purchased from his brother who, legend has it, sourced them from Cuba.
It was in this synthetic coastal “paradise,” unmoored and adrift, considering retiring from music altogether, that he began tentatively writing new songs.