Bristol Archive Records Blog

New Year Message

New Year Message


As I sit here in my office at home I thought it would be appropriate to draft a round up of 2008 for Bristol Archive Records, thank more than one or two amazing people and set the scene for 2009.


By chance and probably what prompted me was the that I’d just read the New Years Message from Wayne Hussey (One of Bristol’s / Yates favourite and most successful sons) of the Mission fame who is sat at home in Brazil, cold beer, shorts, T Shirt and flip flops – lucky bastard as its freezing in Bristol and I’ve been ill with that Flu thing for 3 weeks now.


I went to the same school as Wayne but have never met him. His family still live in Yate and I played basketball with his cousin Ricky Hussey for years but Wayne left the city for Liverpool, Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls, then Leeds, Sisters of Mercy and then the rest is history – The Mission.

Anyway Bristol Archive Records was officially launched this year 2008 as a vehicle to talk about and remember Bristol’s forgotten stars, those people that should have, could have or probably had no chance of fame and Global domination ( unlike Wayne, Portishead, Massive Attack or Tricky) but had a go, made some great music, went to the gigs, helped make the records, bought the records or just had great fun growing up in this ace city of ours.


So here’s what happened in the last 12 months …..


I’d had the idea of the Archive record label some 6 years ago when I released ‘Western Stars – The bands that built Bristol 1977 – 1981′ permission had been granted to use the recordings by Andy Leighton – Fried Egg Records, Thos Brooman – Wavelength and The Bristol Recorder, Simon Edwards – Heartbeat Records and several of the artists, Jon Jo Key, Talisman, Alan Griffiths, Angelo Bruschini (The best guitarist in the world), Mike Crawford, Steve Bush and Latif Gardez.


I didn’t pursue the project unfortunately, what a tosser, but concentrated on my other label Sugar Shack Records until I had a phone call from Shane Baldwin advising me of the tragic news that Dave Bateman ( Vice Squad ) had passed away in Spain. Dave and Shane had come to my wedding some 25 years ago having just come back from the US on the Chron Gen tour. Vice Squad were a massive band to Bristol, Riot City Records their label, probably the most successful Bristol Independent label, certainly sales wise.


I made a decision at this point to ensure that people like Dave would be remembered in some way or another as key people in the History of the Bristol Music scene.


I needed what I considered to be a Big band to Relaunch, a band with credibility, track record and great pedigree. That band was Talisman to me so I set about fixing up various meetings with Des, Dennison and Brendan in Des’s house in Eastville. We agreed to remaster and re-release in digital format only ARC019. ARC020, ARC021 and ARC022 basically the entire Talisman back catalogue. I can’t thank the guys enough for their support as to me it was breakthrough agreement and the opportunity I needed to kick the label off in 2008.


My space provided me with the vehicle to track down people from the past and this put me in touch with Kevin McFadden, Misdemeanor who now lives in California, USA. Kevin didn’t have any of the old material but was keen to get involved and put me in touch with Gus and Bob Watson from there we obtained enough tracks from cassettes to master an album ‘Radio Radio’ ARC004. Kevin has had a terrible time in 2008; let’s hope 2009 brings happier days Kevin.


Mike Eagle also popped up on My space and that brought releases from Unity Station, The Review and The Driscolls – top bands from the Clevedon area.


Mike Crawford gave us permission for an Apache Dropout live album. Mike had been instrumental in helping me with the Western Stars album and is a constant source of help and inspiration.


John Douglas (Head of Bristol Access To Music) heard about the project and produced an albums worth of material from his first band Kid Sinister. Excellent it is too.


Bristol Archive is also run by my brother in law Steve Street, the legendary Studio Engineer from GBH and SAM Studios. Steve’s love of The Electric Guitars brought us a contact with Richard Hall in New York and from there meetings with Andy Sanders who still lives in Bristol and conversations with Matt in Portugal. We ended up with something like 40 previously unreleased Electric Guitars tracks and from there we compiled the album ‘Jolts’. The opportunity to release this work from one of Bristol‘s very BEST bands is amazing – Thanks guys.


Fingers crossed in 2009 we’ll get to re-release the singles form the Electric Guitars and there’s definitely enough material for another Fab album. Watch this space.


The press release for the ‘Jolts’ album was written by Gill Loats and Gill has continued her relationship with the label in 2008 and no doubt will continue to support us with her sensational memory and written words in 2009 and beyond.


The labels my space presence via was growing all the time throughout the year which led to phone call out of the blue from Phil Ollerenshaw, the one time Thin Air drummer who had been compiling Thin Air material for years and offered us the chance to put together a best of ‘Hunters and Ice maidens’. I’ve since had the pleasure of making contact with the rest of Thin Air, Paul Sandrone, Eddie John, Simon Nicholls and of course the Dynamo Rhythm Ace that is ‘William Waine’- there should be a Long March album available in 2009.


Phil’s involvement and his invitation to have a beer at the Tuesday Pop Quiz at the Prom, Gloucester Road meant I bumped into Simon Burroughs which has led to releases from Pola, King Billy, Shrewd, Dancing Teeth and his brothers band Court Martial. Simon has been a massive help in 2008, thanks a million. I also bumped into Steve from the Spasmodics which led me to seeking permission from Phil Andrews at Moles Records International in Bath to re-release The Spasmodics and the forgotten classic Rita Lynch album ‘Call Me Your Girlfriend’ – Rita gave her blessing as well. X


And then came another Biggy – The Cortinas, the legendary 1977 Punk band. People had been trying to re-release or find early Cortinas material for years with no success until Steve Street discovered in his attic a live recording of a gig in Plymouth in 1977 and then his step brother Dexter finds a ¼ inch master of the demos they recorded before being signed to CBS by Miles Copeland their manager at the time. Amazing finds and amazing that the band Nick Sheppard, Jeremy Valentine, Dexter Dalwood and Dan Swann (regrettably no contact was made with Mike Fewins) all agreed to release two albums worth of material through Bristol Archive and tell their story through the website. An offer has just come in from Anagram/ Cherry Red Records for the boys to now release a compilation album on cd of the ‘Best Of’- lets see what happens in 2009. Again brilliant words by Gill Loats.


Suddenly the ball wouldn’t stop rolling and Brendan from Talisman finds two sensational live recordings from the band in 1981 at Glastonbury and Bath Uni – both have been released as ARC032 and ARC033 – They are must purchases.


Steve Bush who had previously agreed to re-release Essential Bop material uncovers an album from the band he put together with Christian from The Various Artists called ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’. The band signed to CBS and the album is made up of the demos recorded prior to this deal.


Half way through the year we decided to re-release the majority of the singles released on Fried Egg, Wavelength and Recreational. I’d like to thank Jon Jo Key, Bill Stair, Amanda Stewart, Rob Marche, Mike Crawford, Latif Gardez, Rob Merrill, Clive Arnold, Steve Bush, Russ Mainwaring, Jerry Tremaine and Rob Williams for their support.


The ongoing contact and support from Jon Jo Key originally led to the re-release of The Various Artists ‘Solo Album’ but will lead to an Either/ Or album in 2009. If we’re luck maybe a Love Train album at some stage as well. Top Man Jon Jo.


Latif has given his blessing to re-releasing the Mystery Slang material ARC061 and ARC018.


The phone calls with Rob Williams from the Fans led to a Fans album that had previously been released in Japan via 1977 Records and his first band Uncle Po with Gavin from the Private Dicks…


Clive Arnold’s support of the X-Certs project has led to further communication with Chris Bostock and Neil Mackie and will deliver a sensational X-Certs album in 2009 called ‘Fussing and Fighting’ – Can’t wait!


Face Book as a communication channel popped up towards the tale end of the year for me and led to contact with Andy Pinner and Nobby Graham, Andy was the singer and principle song writer in Juan Foote and The Losenges and provided us with two releases from these great acts.


Face book also led to contact with Howard Purse and then subsequent face to face meetings where we put together the Andy Fairley album which showcases unbelievable material from Fishfood and Birth of Sharon. Thanks Howard and we await the Animal Magic album for 2009 with anticipation. Classic material!


Some of Bristol‘s amazing musicians have gone on to be incredibly successful and one such person is Neil Taylor. We all know the guitar solo in Tears for Fears ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’. Well Neil now plays with Robbie Williams, live and in the studio. Neil very kindly gave us permission to release an album worth of material from his first band 1978′s Sneak Preview. (Thanks to Simon Edwards Heartbeat Records for permission to use ‘Slugweird’)


The tale end of 2008 produced an unbelievably brilliant collection of songs from The Escape (aka Alan Griffiths) ARC064. Alan’s passion for the archive project is fantastic and will lead to albums in 2009 from his first band Apartment and The White Hotel. Alan also helped put us in touch with TVI’s and Tom Norflox for the Cave Studio demos, this may well lead to early Startled Insects material becoming available at some stage.


Anyway I’ve gone on for long enough now and it only leaves me to look ahead to 2009 with anticipation of many more classic gems from Bristol‘s past to be uncovered and made available via Bristol Archive Records


The Crazy Trains Album thanks to Paul and John

The Spics album thanks to Mike and Nick

Dry mini album thanks to John Emery

Wushcatte and further Kid Sinister material thanks to John Douglas

The Harpoons single thanks to Jon Brokenbrow

Decay Sisters album thanks to Dave Hares

The Royal Assassins albums thanks to Chris Scott and Dave Massey

The Delegates album thanks to Pete Giles

Restriction album thanks to Rob Smith

Head album thanks to Garreth Sager and Nick

Necromancy thanks to Pete Webb

The Shoc Wave Records entire back catalogue thanks to Gene Walsh

Creature Beat album thanks to Nigel Harrison and Matthew James


Special thanks must also go to Steve Street, Gill Loats, Shaun at Optimum Mastering, Rob at Ruby Music, Paul Whitrow, Simon Edwards and Geoff Ellis for all his hard work with the website.


Best wishes for 2009 and no doubt another sensational year for


Mike Darby on behalf of the Team


Nb: If I’ve forgotten anyone I apologise but I have got Flu!


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