Bristol Archive Records Blog

Posts Tagged ‘1979’

The X-Certs Album to be released later in 2011

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

The X-Certs   Album    ‘Rated XXX’          ARC138V   (Vinyl Release later this year)




  1. Anthem          (Simon Justice)        Heartbeat Music 1979
  2. Together        (Clive Arnold)            Recreational Music 1979
  3. Blue Movies   (Simon Justice)     Heartbeat Music 1979
  4. People Of Today  (Simon Justice)  Copyright Control 1978
  5. You Have Been Warned   (Taf)    Copyright Control 1978
  6. Spotlight   (Arnold, Justice, Mackie, Taf) Copyright Control 1978
  7. City Claustrophobia   (Clive Arnold)   Copyright Control 1978
  8. Suicide   (Clive Arnold)   Copyright Control 1978
  9. Fight Back   (Simon Justice)  Copyright Control 1978
  10. Gotta Get Away   (Simon Justice)   Copyright Control 1978


Track 1 and 3 Recorded at Crescent Studios, Bath Engineered by David Lord and Glen Tommey. Track 3 Recorded April 8th 1979.


All other tracks either recorded at GBH Studios, Bristol in 1978/79 or Drone Studios in Manchester 1978. The Bristol tracks were engineered and produced by Steve Street.


Here’s a snippet of the text from the sleeve notes. There are fantastic photos included as well.



Neil Mackie – Drums


The X-Certs were one of the true original punk bands of Bristol. Even though they were not among the very first wave of bands to be born of this New Wave movement (like The Cortinas for instance) when punk rock exploded initially, they were one of, if not the first band to come from the areas of the city you wouldn’t want to go to. With cheap Woolworths guitars that sounded just as good as their illustrious peers, a worn out 2nd hand drum kit and broken amplifiers, they made a sound totally different but totally of their time.


Hailing from the housing estates and the working class underbelly of East Bristol with attitude belying their roots and heavily influenced by the sights, sounds and smells of the Black and Asian communities they grew up with, The X-certs quickly became a powerful and influential force on the scene with a huge local following, inspiring countless others like them to pick up their instruments as the weapon of choice and be heard. Before they formed their own band Vice squad were often seen at those incendiary early gigs.


The X-Certs grew out of a politically charged era and atmosphere, under the cloud of power cuts, strikes, riots, dole queues and heavy handed police tactics on anyone that didn’t conform. This included Black, Asian, ‘the looney left’ and anyone who looked different or appeared out of place, so growing up in these areas of the city meant they were constantly being hounded with stop and search tactics. Add this to the fact that these were violent times; they were often the target for NF thugs, football hooligans and biker gangs. It’s no wonder they had plenty to rage about compared with their uptown cousins, taking the option to let the music vent their anger rather than just giving up hope like so many around them. Yes, “A working class hero is something to be” someone once wrote!


The first official X-Certs gig was at the Crown Tavern on Stapleton Road, a grotty, smoky dive frequented by hardcore IRA supporters and anarchist groups. They were the first band to play there ahead of a few New Wave acts who dared to venture into the wrong end of town. Even today the Stapleton Road area of Bristol has a reputation for drug dealers, muggers and prostitutes, some of whom would follow the band at those early gigs. Taff, the bass player with the group, made the first hand-made poster with the legendary words: ‘X-Certs are coming – you have been warned’, to be plastered across the city which was also the title of one of the first songs written by the group. The first gig was full of power, sweat, blood and tears, the packed audience all swept up in the moment. The hand-built, makeshift stage survived and the legend was born.


The X-Certs went on to become hugely popular and the first choice as local support for visiting bands, especially when playing at Trinity Hall, Old Market, close to their fanbase from the estates of Easton and Barton Hill.


They opened for the likes of Misty in Roots, Angelic Upstarts and Pere Ubu as well as playing several headline sell-out shows of their own at Trinity Hall.  The X-Certs played everywhere from city centre established music venues, halls and community centres in the suburbs, political rallies, backs of lorries, to ramshackle fleapits in every corner of the West Country in those early days, often in places where others feared to tread. They had the plug pulled on them or were closed down by the police on several occasions and still they kept coming. As their fanbase grew so did their notoriety and were even banned from several venues. Even this didn’t deter them as The X-Certs were fast becoming the local band of choice for all the disenfranchised outcasts throughout the region and were now getting attention from further afield.


In summer 1978 they were asked to perform at the now legendary Rock Against Racism carnival in East London. There they performed on the back of a truck with The Ruts who were a like-minded group, politically charged and from a similar background. The two bands took it in turns to play several sets each between the marching and the banner waving.


The X-Certs went on to record twice for Heartbeat Records in those early days: Blue Movies on the Avon Calling compilation album and Anthem on the 4 Alternatives EP, both full of intensity and that trademark X-Certs sound which had power, melody, angst and great tunes, often being compared with the early incarnation of Adam and the Ants or a band that was just coming out of Northern Ireland at the time, Stiff little Fingers.


But to really capture the feel and awesome power of this influential group and to really get a grip on what it all meant, you just had to be there, in the no-job no-money no-future, times of the 70s…..enjoy!


Mayfair 1979 to 1983

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Formed as a garage band in the summer of 79 in the wake of the Who’s movie Quadraphenia and the Mod revival.

Started playing gigs in and around Bristol the Christmas of 79, and played regularly at the old Bunch of Grapes that went on to be the Stonehouse, and later the Electric Stonehouse, were also regular performers at  Trinity Hall, Hope Chapel, and the Green Rooms.

The early 80’s music set from Mayfair, was a collection of songs written by the band and covers from the Kink’s, Beatles and various Motown and Northern soul artists.

In 1980 Mayfair were a 5 piece band, Johnny Locomotion/Vocals,  Rob Colledge/ Bass,  Mark Placito/Lead Guitar, Dave Hale/Rhythm guitar & Tony Pierce/Drums.

During 1980 the band gained strong local popularity and were regulars on the Bristol circuit.

At the end of 1980 several musicians left the band, and the band reformed as a 3 piece with Johnny Locomotion on Bass/Vocals, Rob Colledge on Guitar/Vocals and Conway Wynne Jones/Drums, a new music set was put together and the band started to gig again at the start of 81. The new music set  comprised of songs written by Johnny  L /Colledge with only a small amount of covers, the band continued to play the local circuit, and were now regularly playing to audiences in Birmingham, Worcester, Swindon, Gloucester & Cheltenham. Mid 1981 Mayfair also added Jon B on Saxophone which added a new dimension to the band and gave the music a more soulful feel. 

During this period, Mayfair played some memorable gig’s in Bristol as support acts to the Alarm and Amen Corner, at the Bierkellar. They produced several demo tapes with the bands own songs which included Traffic, The Legend and Strange little World. During 1981 Mayfair were interviewed live on BBC radio who also played the bands track ‘’Traffic’’. 

Mayfair also played the ‘’Battle of the Bands’’ at Trinity Hall, and have several tracks on the re-released  ‘’Bristol Beat’’ the Stonehouse tapes.  At the ‘’Battle of the Bands’’ , Mayfair were spotted by a panel judge from the rock band ‘’Status Quo’’ and were invited to London.The band turned  down the opportunity citing ‘’musical differences’,  had they gone, how this might have changed the future for Mayfair is anybody’s guess.

In 1982 Mayfair were again playing locally and further afield, and played several gig’s with the London band ‘’Small World’’ the song writing duo of  Locomotion/Colledge both heavily influenced by R&B from the 1960’s continued to write strong material for the band and were on the verge of bigger things when the toll of combining music with family and work commitments finally took their toll and Mayfair disbanded in early 83.

Commenting at the end of the bands reign, Locomotion stated, we have no regrets, we stayed true to our roots and beliefs, we’ve all had a fantastic few years, it was hard work, worth it, but I don’t want to do it again!.

In thanking their fans at a farewell gig in Bristol, at the end of the show Mayfair invited the remaining audience to follow to a large Italian local restaurant where they footed the bill for Pizza and beers for all, well over 100 people were in attendance and the band paid out over 800.00 pounds, a lot of money back then.The band knew many of the fans had travelled far and wide to support  the act during those years, coaches with fans from the Bristol Area, Gloucester  & Weston Super Mare were regular to support Mayfair, and it was a final ‘’thank you’’.      

(Johnny Locomotion Dec 2010 )


Avon Calling 2 – Album Review

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010



-  Genre: ‘Punk/New Wave’ –  Release Date: ’23rd August 2010′-  Catalogue No: ‘ARC160′

-       Release date moved back to September 14th 2010

Our Rating:


We could argue the toss all day about what Punk did or didn’t bequeath us, but we can surely agree that the period 1976 to 1981 threw up some blinding label compilations. This financially-beleaguered young music fan can attest to this personally, having spent many a happy hour absorbing any number of them, from Stiff’s ‘If It Ain’t Stiff, It Ain’t Worth a Fuck’ to Virgin’s ‘Cash Cows’ or Polydor’s ‘Twenty of the Best’.

West of the M32, Bristol’s music scene was going supernova from 1977 to 1980. The city’s first independent label Heartbeat Records had been formed early on by Simon Edwards and a combination of his enthusiasm and the sheer diversity of talent at his disposal resulted in a series of influential 7” singles, followed by a compilation LP featuring 15 local Bristol bands. That resulting album, ‘Avon Calling’ would soon be hailed by no less than the great John Peel as “truly superb, the compilation that all others should be judged by.” High praise indeed, but entirely justified.

The downside of this accolade was that Simon Edwards was inundated by demos from a load more great local hopefuls, though he hadn’t a hope of keeping pace with them all. As a result, he could do little but shelve many of them, hoping one day to finally get around to a sequel. Three decades on, enter Mike Darby’s magnificent Bristol Archive label and at long last we have ‘Avon Calling 2′, the sequel that almost never was.

The great news is that Simon Edwards was, of course, right all along. Virtually all the 20 tracks here (pretty much entirely culled from 1979/1980) are more than worthy of their belated places in the sun. Some of the bands (Social Security, Private Dicks, the X-Certs) have already scuffed their shoes on Rock’s footnotes with tracks on BA’S previous ‘Bristol: The Punk Explosion’ compilation, but all the tracks submitted for inclusion here are of the ‘previously unreleased’ variety.

The album is subtitled ‘forgotten gems and unknown curios’, though to these ears the emphasis is firmly on the former. Things get off to a rip-roaring start with SOCIAL SECURITY’S hedonistic classic ‘Self-Confession’, full of itchy chords and weedy Buzzcocks-y guitars, before PRIVATE DICKS weigh in with the unassailable Power Pop energy of ‘You Got It’ and X-CERTS’ ‘People of Today’ makes like boredom and alienation are actually a whole lot of fun.

As it turns out, these bands are only the tip of a very substantial creative iceberg. Several outfits also offer variations on ye olde wholesome Power Pop, though always with individual twists such as the proto-Morrissey vocal mannerisms of THE EUROPEANS’ ‘The Only One’ or the well-crafted intelligence of JOE PUBLIC’S ‘Letters In My Desk’ ( a harder edged Any Trouble, anyone?). 48 HOURS, meanwhile, could have nicked their moniker from The Clash’s song of the same name, but the nagging cool of their ‘Train To Brighton’ is a lot closer to Penetration or Subway Sect.

This being Bristol, the spirit of sonic exploration is as strong as ever. SNEAK PREVIEW’S brilliant, organ-laced ‘Mr. Magoo’ could almost be the product of a less pissed-off Attractions, while their second tune ‘I Can’t Get Out’ is a dub-tinged cross-dressing scenario. APARTMENT dole out lashings of Magazine-style intensity on their epic ‘Broken Glass’ and the quirky, yet spot-on DIRECTORS could easily have given XTC a run for their money. Hell, even the disposable ‘forgoten curios’ – like SEAN RYAN’S cork-popping classic ‘Suicide Man’ – are worth their weight in gold.

It’s been thirty years in the making, but now ‘Avon Calling 2′ is finally in our midst it really should be cherished. The only sadness comes with the realisation that Peely won’t be able to lend an approving ear this time round.


Bristol Archive Records online :




author: Tim Peacock