America's prisons are full of sad cases, but it remains to be seen if there is one who is quite so sad and talented in equal measure as Marino de Silva. If you haven't heard the name, that is because Marino - as he was known - never received quite the critical acclaim nor the success he deserved. And deserve both he did, I can vouch for that because I bought his first three albums and
saw him perform live.
That was at the Dominion Theatre in London's Tottenham Court Road way back in 1992 when he was supporting Al Stewart
You can read some background here
to the scam Marino worked on people who trusted him because he was who he was, including at least one (now former) friend. You can also read it all over the Internet, because this sad tale has already eclipsed his fame as a guitarist.
So how good was Marino de Silva, was he really Hull's answer to the legendary Carlos Santana? He was certainly photographed with Santana, and with Muhammad Ali, but judge Marino the guitarist for yourself; this is a track called Borderline
. It may or may not be his best work, but it's certainly the one I've played the most. Could this guy play or could he play? The bigger question is why would a man with such enormous talent, who had received a great deal of genuine critical acclaim, and who was not only capable of but actually making a decent living, why would such a man resort to such ludicrous chicanery?
The same unanswered question could be asked of cycling hero and cheat Lance Armstrong
; politician turned jailbird Chris Huhne
; and most recently Stephen Lee, one of the world's most talented snooker players