mercoledì 29 ottobre 2008

Zorkie Twins

Birkenhead based rock-punk act operating out of Buckley/Hawarden and Chester during early 1980s. The Twins were Mike Kendrick (vocals ,guitar) Colin Miller (vocals, guitar), Paul Bedford (bass), John Roberts (drums). The first release dates from 1979 and was a track on the Skeleton Ep compilation Blank Tapes Vol. 1:

- Sooner or Later

In 1980 The band released their first single:

Mr. Simpson (Jan. 1980)
a. Mr. Simpson
b. From Now On

Towards the end of the same year the Zorkie Twins provided another track for another Skeleton Compilation, A Trip to the Dentist:

- Little Arthur

After the split of the band in 1981, all the members except from Kendrick went on to form the Rhythm Squad.


(see also: )

martedì 28 ottobre 2008

Virgin Dance

After the split of Modern Eon, the band’s drummer Cliff Hewitt formed the Virgin Dance, with Edwin Hind (vocals, later Picnic at the Whitehouse), Kenny Duggan (a.k.a. Kenny Dougan, guitar), Dave Knowles (keyboards) and Graham McMaster (bass). This line-up lasted for a few months (1982-83): they released one single (Are You Ready b/w Facts) on Probe, in June 1983, which went straight into the independent chart, and was re-recorded and re-released one month later; they also recorded a Peel session (with Lorraine Gardner replacing Knowles on keyboards). Around this time McMaster and Knowles left (the latter to join Here’s Johnny), and were replaced respectively by Bernie Putt and Dixie. This second line-up, having established their status in the musical world by supporting the Eurythmics on tour, put out two singles (No Disguise b/w Against the Tide, 1983, and Desire b/w Make Love, 1984). In 1984 Putt was substituted by Barry Cowell on bass and Virgin Dance released their fourth original single (The Dream is Over b/w Rainy Days) and a new version of their early single Are You Ready (b/w Night Call).
Eventually, in March 1985 an Lp was released collecting all the band’s singles and b-sides (except for the very first single’s b-side, Facts).

Against the Tide (1985)

A side:
- Are You Ready (For That Feeling)
- Rainy Days
- Make Love
- The Dream Is Over (We Can Make It) (Megamix)
- Against The Tide
B side:
- Desire
- Night Call
- No Disguise
- Farewell Claire
- The Dream Is Over (We Can Make It)

virgin dance

domenica 26 ottobre 2008

The High Five - Peel Sessions (1983-84)

The High Five recorded three session. The first was recorded in the very early days of the band, in June 1982, even before their first privately released demo (August 1982). This session would be later be released as a bonus on a seven track demo tape (April 1983) collecting the two demos previously issued by the band (August 1982, March 1983).
The second session was released in May 1983. The band (with Mark Braben on keyboards) was helped out by Hamish Cameron (Keyboards, Harmonica). The tracklist was as follows:

Peel Session (23/05/1983)
- Cold Steel Gang
- On The Banks
- Hand On My Heart
- Big Village

In March 1984 the High Five (aided by John Hughes on piano on the track Working For The Man Only) recorded their third Peel session performing their forthcoming single and related b-sides.

Peel Session (03/03/1984)
- 100 Tons
- Walk Them Back
- Working For The Man
- Hard Line

high five peel

mercoledì 22 ottobre 2008

The High Five - Singles (1983-84)

At the beginning there was the Crash Course. The band was active only for a short period of time (end 1978 beginning 1979) and was formed by Andy Eastwood (vocals, later Sex Gods, Divine Thunderbolts) and Rob Jones (drums), who were soon joined by Mick Reid (guitar, later Nightmare in wax), Peter Cunningham (bass, later Divine Thunderbolt) and eventually by Pete Wylie (guitar, previously Crucial Three, Mystery Girl, Nova Mob, later Wah!). The band (who shared a flat in Penny Lane) recorded a live Ep which was never recorded, and was the main act at Eric’s the night the Bunnymen played their first gig (on whose request Eastwood provided the three-note part on Farfisa to Monkeys).
In January 1979 the Crash Course was already history and Jones and Wylie started Wah! Heat. Rob Jones remained with the band until 1981, when he formed the High Five with Paul ‘Asa’ Hayes (vocals, guitars), Phil Jonese (bass) and Steve Burns (keyboards), replaced in 1982 by Mark Braben (guitars, keyboards). The band (with Western Promise and the Farm) entered the elite of Liverpool’s ‘political’ bands (NME, 25 May 1985).
High Five released three privately produced demo tapes, almost all of the songs on them to be subsequently released on vinyl.
The first official release dates from October 1983:

Cold Steel Gang (b/w Are You Happy)

In August 1984 the second (and possibly their most acclaimed) single came out:

Working for the Man (b/w Walk Them Back)

In September 1984 one of their song (already featured on the band’s first demo in 1982) appeared on the compilation A Secret Liverpool:

- Turning

The High Five, with an extended five-piece line-up (with Tim O’Shea on guitars, former Send No Flowers) finally released an Lp in 1986 (Down in the No Go).

high five - singles (1983-84)

(see also: )

giovedì 16 ottobre 2008

Sons of Egypt - Some Demos

The path that led Holly Johnson from being a solo artist to leading Frankie Goes to Hollywood has been quite complicated. After the split of the first line-up of FGTH (including Ambrose Reynolds and Steve Lovell) Johnson was quite active and productive in the underground musical scene. Among the relics of the period 1980-1982 are the demos recorded with the Sons of Egypt.
Here are his memories of the time:

‘Steve (Lovel, ndr), Buddy Mate (a boy working in a Virgin Record shop, ndr.) and I started rehearsing in ‘The Ministry’, a well equipped rehearsal room […]. Our band was to be called WIN (World Intelligence Network), a name taken from the puppet series ‘Joe 90’. Eventually however, Steve and I decided that Buddy’s bass playing wasn’t slick enough. Rather guiltily, we sacked him’ (A Bone in My Flute, 139)

‘A few months after we asked him to leave our group, Buddy Mate formed his own band, out of a group of young scally teenagers. His still-at-school girlfriend Julie played keyboards, Brian Nash (Nasher) played guitar, Buddy played bass guitar, Peter Gill (Ped) played drums and Ged O'Tool (Mark's brother) sang. They used to rehearse in The Cells, a disused prison behind the Hollywood Club in Duke Street, ten minutes' walk away from my flat. I used to go down the hill and watch them rehearse and I even named them - The Dancing Girls.

Eventually, at a friend's suggestion, I replaced Ged as the singer. They thought I was hip as I'd had two singles out on the Eric's label and had been in Big In Japan, a group that some of them had seen as kids at Eric's Saturday matinees. Nasher had a job as an apprentice electrician with the council, and Ped, having just been made redundant from Hygena, had used his redundancy money to buy himself a better drum kit. They were all around sixteen or seventeen years old. I was an `old man' of twenty-one or twenty-two.

I tried to rewrite the songs that they had, putting new lyrics to their backing music. We eventually got a spot on a local Granada TV show as `Sons Of Egypt' which became our name for some unknown reason. `Shake, Shake' was one of the songs [Bring on the Violins was the other, ndr]. The performance was quite good, but the songs in general were not.’ (ABIMF, 141)

‘I had realised I needed to get a live band going if I was ever going to attract record company attention. Eventually Ped and I decided to leave Buddy's band and form another with Mark O'Tool as bass player. We felt a bit guilty leaving Buddy in the lurch, but we knew that his bass playing and his attitude were holding things back.

Almost on the first rehearsal we wrote `Love Has Got A Gun`. a song that appeared on the first Frankie Goes To Hollywood album. […] Quite a few songs were bashed out, just like this, by the three of us Sometimes we would drag the equipment out into the sunny yard at the back of the building. Anyone who joined the band late ­would have to accept that we had written most of the songs.

At this time Sounds, a pop-music newspaper, printed a farn tree of Liverpool bands in which `Frankie Goes To Hollywood’ somehow appeared. This was the band that had never played ­live, with the line-up of Steve Lovell, Ambrose Reynolds a7, Holly Johnson. We decided to take this name, one I had create for my old band, as the name for the new one.

We tried out a few guitarists from the echelons of Mark’s family. There were two brothers who could both play, Vinny and Ged, the latter becoming the guitarist for the first performance, though neither was a very important part of the sound which was dominated by the rhythm section. Ped and I had tried to get &­ guitarist from The Jazz Babies (a.k.a. The Jass Babies, Rob Boardman) to join, but without success. I played maracas while singing at these early rehearsals to fill out our sparse sound. We eventually also added a girl singer, Sonia M (a.k.a. Sonya Mazonda or Mazunda), to do backing vocals. She also added visual interest. She was a short rotund girl of Eastern extraction who told us she collected semen and urine samples in a clinic in the Liverpool Royal Hospital. She had a red satin dress that she had made herself, with a small padded devil's tail safety-pinned to the hem at the back. She was the kind of girl whose stiletto heels came from wire baskets outside shoe shops. Her voice could be described as overpowering. Her style was rather `Frank 'n' Furter Goes To Kwik Save'. (ABIMF, 142-143)

Songs of Egypt recorded several versions of 'Shake Shake' and a few other songs which would then be part of the early FGTH's repertoire. Here you'll find:

- Shake Shake
- Untitled 1 (Is anybody out there)
- Untitled 2 (Bring on the violins)

sons of egypt

Watch the band’s performance on Granada TV here

Roy White and Steve Torch - Some Recordings (1980-84)

In 1977 Roy White was singing and playing with the Liverpool punk act Berlin, with Johnny ‘Riff’ Reynolds (guitar, later 3D), James Mealy (bass), Gerry Garland (sax, both later Victims of Romance, Bamboo Fringe), and Roy Banks. The band toured quite extensively, and got some positive reviews by Melody Maker and Sounds, and at a certain point was even about to be signed by Decca. When the record company dropped them for Slaughter and the Dogs, Banks left and was replaced by Brian Rawlins (later Liverpool Express, 3D, Keep it Dark) and the band changed the name to Fun. This ‘progressive rockband’ had one track released on the compilation Street to Street Vol. 1 in 1978, which was also their swan-song.
In the meantime, Steve Torch, a former engineer for Open Eye records, was working as a solo artist, and released one single (Live in Fear b/w Smoke Your Own). White and Torch worked together for the first time when Fun became Victims of Romance, and Torch and Hambi (former Tontrix) were added to the line-up. The partnership between the two became more solid when, in the same period, they collaborated with Jayne Casey (former Big in Japan , later Pink Industry) in the Pink Military (White and Torch are among the personnel playing on the Pink Military’s Blood and Lipstick Ep, Sept. 1979).
In 1980 Roy White and Steve Torch released as a duo (plus session musicians) their first single (Who’s Asking You? b/w Stand Alone – the latter in the folder here attached) on Open Eye. The single did not impressed the public and the press, and the duo would probably have disappeared if Chrysalis hadn’t decided to reissue the song with a different production and a different b-side:

Who’s Asking You? (b/w Guess Who, 1980)

In the following years W&T released a series of singles:

Parade (Don’t Sleep with Him) (b/w Man to Man, 1982)

Let’s Forget (b/w No, Not I, 1983)

Miracle (b/w Heartbeat, 1983)


Bury My Heart (b/w Whatever Happens on Sunday, 1984)

In 1984 White and Torch also recorded a Peel Session performing four songs performing their latest single, a couple of b-sides from previous single releases (No, Not I and Heartbeat) and a new song: Don’t Be Shot (the song in the folder is taken from a TV show).
According to the press, the duo managed (or at least tried) to combine the Bacharach and David sense of the melody and the Walkers Brothers’ sensibility for ballads with a Bowie-like voice.
In 1985 the due split and Roy White started working as a solo artist (mainly with the support of the same session musician who had worked with White and Torch, namely Jim Mealy (guitars), David Levy (bass), Charlie Morgan (drums),Jackie Robinson (vocals)).

white and torch (1980-84)

mercoledì 8 ottobre 2008

This Island Earth - Some Recordings (1984-85)

In 1978 John ‘Strange’ Hawkins played bass and provided vocals in the reggae-punk act Activity Minimal, with Tim Level (guitar, later Dead or Alive) and Joey McKechnie (drums, former Luglo Slugs, later in Manchester based Passage, then in Benny Profane). In 1980 – after McKechnie, first, and Lever, then, quit to join Modern Ean (with former Luglo Slugs members Alix Plain and Danny Hampson) – Hawkins was among the founding members of the Systems (see post below), whose first line-up included Tony Elson (drums, later Visual Aids, Precautions, Island of Dance), Mike Read (keyboards), Kevin Chapman (guitar, vocals), then substituted by Andy Warren (then I-Lands). After one single and the demise of Warren, Jem Kelly (former Psychamesh, later Wild Swans, Lotus Eaters), Kevin Brown and Mike Nelson (ex Neutral Cover-Ups) joined the act and released a second single before the band definitively split in 1981.
Hawkins and keyboard player Kevin Brown continued to write songs together and in early 1983 decided to include in the line-up Mark Griffith (guitars), Rachel Furniss (vocals), and steve Brown (drums, former Jass Babies, later Afraid of Mice and Here’s Johnny), under the name of This Island Earth.
This Island Earth released their first single in October 1984:

See That Glow (1984)
a. See That Glow
b. Fireflowers

In 1985 a second (and final original) single followed, Take Me to the Fire (b/w Pearl of Love). From 1987 to 1989 several re-issues of the two singles were released. Even though This Island Earth seemed to have enough material (sources mention the existence of a variety of demos recorded before 1985, i.e. Heaven, Different Places, Drive, Walk On Light, Calling You, This Situation, and maybe others like Your Blue Eyes, As Big As All Outdoors, Feelings Go On Forever, This Island Earth, Man Who Could Work Miracles, To Get To You, What Is It That Tells My Heart) the band never got to release an Lp.

this island earth

martedì 7 ottobre 2008

I-Lands - Recordings (1984-85)

Andy Warren started his career in music with Change of Image at the end of the 70s. In 1981, still a teenager, he shortly joined the Systems first line-up (John Hawkins – later This Island Earth – Tony Elson, and Mike Reed), replacing Kevin Chapman on guitar and vocals, before Jeremy Kelly (former Psychamesh, later Wild Swans, Lotus Eaters) and Kevin Brown (later This Island Earth) joined.
Before the end of the year, Warren left the Systems and went back to his mates in Change of Image with the intention of turning the band “from neo-punk to near Systems”. The new musical direction also required a new name. From now on it was to be Island of Dance. The line-up included Stuart McBain (a.k.a Stuart Bain, bass), Howard Lacey (drums), Mike Saunders (guitars) and Ruth Evison (keyboards). Although no trace is left of their recording, according to the music press their sound was influenced by Joy Division, at least as far as music texture, featured by a solid rhythmic section, driving basslines, funk guitars and decorating keyboards, on top of which Warren would place his light and breezy melodies, producing a striking contrast which was to be the band’s trademark. The band gigged regularly, often using the equipment of the Kinetics or other benevolent bands.
A major change in the band’s history occurred in 1983, when Lacey, Saunders and Evison dropped out, leaving Warren and McBain to recruit new members: Joanne Griffith (vocals), Darren Bell (guitars), Bernie Mulcahey (keyboards), and Warren’s old band-mate in the Systems Tony Elson (drums), then playing with the Precaution. By May 1984 Elson had joined the Young Lions and his place was taken up by Mark Coleridge (former Ex Post Facto). At this point Islands of Dance became I-Lands.
This line-up recorded their first and only single in October 1984:

In the Rain (1984)
a. In the Rain
b. Velvet Glove

In January 1985 I-Lands contributed the song Back Before the Pain to the Liverpool compilation Jobs for the Boys (1985). In the same Coleridge left for Afraid of Mice.