Bristol Archive Records Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bristol archive’

The Bristol Roots Explosion

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

To be released in Feb 2016
A new compilation on Vinyl LP and Digital

BRE Packshot ARC2779V Bristol Roots Explosion


Side A
1. Big Roy – “Ethiopia Revelation” (R Bailey 1976)
2. Revelation Rockers – “Culture” (D Taylor 1979)
3. Joshua Moses “Africa (Is Our Land)” (S Bailey / D Bovell 1978)
4. Bunny Marrett – “Times Are Getting Harder” (B Marrett 1980)
5. 3D Productions – “Riot” (J Carley 1980)

Side B
1. Rhythmites – “Nation Integration” (Rhythmites 1989)
2. Restriction – “Calling For Mercy” (Restriction 1983)
3. Zion Band – “Twelve Tribes” (R Duncan 1982)
4. Talisman – “Dole Age” (7″ Mix) (D Joseph / Talisman 1981)


More news very soon

The Untouchables – Gig! – Bristol Boys Make More Noise!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Those under the illusion that BRISTOL BOYS MAKE MORE NOISE Gig#1 The Spics, was a one hit wonder need to get down The SouthBank on Saturday October 3rd for another act from the archive as we move into ‘annual event’ status.

The launch of the book and album BRISTOL BOYS MAKE MORE NOISE which visits the Bristol Music Scene 1974 – 1981 has spawned a desire for repeat of the good times.

Gig#2 THE UNTOUCHABLES are this years offering from promoters Bristol Archive Records and Tangent Books
39 years 11 months before Gig#2 Dr Feelgood played the Colston Hall and two barely teenage boys went to see them and got the blues. Jerry Tremaine and Marc Clements formed THE UNTOUCHABLES an R & B band modeled on The Feelgoods, playing their covers and guided by their 50’s/60’s influences.

BRISTOL BOYS MAKE MORE NOISE the book, contains John Spink’s photos of an early gig at The Bear in Hotwells, Gill Loats in her anecdotal text takes some credit for Tremaine’s talent, due to her irresponsible ‘babysitting’ and the track on the accompanying album Keep on Walking, is the one Wilko Johnson produced.
Another opportunity to buy the book, album and the T Shirt at Gig#2 with DJ LORD DUBS to fill in the in-between bits with ‘music to watch the years go by’ and our headliners THE UNTOUCHABLES authentic rhythm and blues ensuring another great BRISTOL BOYS MAKE MORE NOISE gig.

To get your name on the EARLY BIRD GUEST LIST and pay £5 email:
Tickets £8, go on sale September 3rd from recession 8 Jacobs Wells Road BS8 1EA
Door £10
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The Black Roots Story

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014


Spotlight on Bristol Archive Records

Thursday, December 12th, 2013


There’s nothing better than discovering new music. I thrive off it, it’s why I do what I do. And when I say “new” I don’t necessarily mean the latest, just released, new sound, etc., but rather something I like that I’ve never heard before — that could be early American Roots music or some brand new ground-breaking experimentations. I therefore perhaps spend longer than I should trying to listen to all the music falling under my remit as a client manager here at The Orchard. And something that kept catching my attention were releases on a little known record label dealing in Bristol Post Punk and Reggae called Bristol Archive.

When you think about British musical heritage, most people tend to bang on about London (The Clash, Sex Pistols, yawn) or Manchester (Hacienda, Factory Records, Stone Roses, falling asleep). All true of course, two incredible hubs for some of greatest music the world has ever heard. But when I think about it, Bristol was a massive musical and cultural influence on me growing up — Massive Attack, Tricky, Portishead, Roni Size and Reprazent, and the best Graf scene in the UK. But I don’t really know what came before it. There are always reference points of course and discovering Bristol Archive has begun filling in the gaps. Take the Reggae roots sounds of Black Roots “Bristol Rock“ (1981) and onto to the more Digi-Soul vibes of Smith & Mighty’s version of “Walk On By“ (1985) and you have a clear back drop for Massive Attack. I caught up with label owner Mike Darby to find out more.

Can you give me a brief overview of Bristol Archive and how it came to be?
Bristol Archive Records is a record label dealing in Bristol Post Punk and Reggae 1977 onwards. We aim to showcase music from the diverse Bristol Music scene and provide a historical account/document of all things Bristol that should never be forgotten. Many of the artists and releases are rare, unknown or never before released. The material has been lovingly digitally remastered from vinyl, ¼ inch tape, dat or cassette. The original vinyl releases would generally have been limited to runs of 1000 copies or less.

We would like to thank the original label owners and/or the artists for allowing us to share with you their forgotten works and provide a statement of how brilliant bands have always been from the city of Bristol and the surrounding areas. Enjoy and never forget the talented ones from the past, they deserve to be recognised and remembered. We now have two sister labels Reggae Archive and Sugar Shack.

It certainly seems Bristol had a thriving music scene from the mid-70s onwards. Can you tell me a bit more about that and how it went on to influence the next generation of musicians from Bristol?
Bristol is a very nice place to live. The student population is large and always has been which means a large percentage of visitors stay and find work. Throughout the 70s and right up until today it’s been a forgotten back water, a slow independent city (some might say the dope makes its slow, others the bohemian suburbs — Montpelier, St Werburghs, Redland and then of course the historically Jamaican areas St.Pauls and Easton). The bottom line in my humble opinion is that yes, a thriving scene but very fractured, lazy and never one to follow London but almost ‘fuck London.’ Bands have always tended to form, demo and then split up (the classic we-should-have-a-record-deal-no-point-carrying-on-then syndrome). The individuals then immediately pop up again in different line ups, with maybe different styles, lots of people playing in two or three bands (this was certainly the case in the Post Punk years). Bristol bands never toured on the independent scene until Hardcore arrived. Bristol has never had a huge Rock band —Onslaught could well be the biggest.

During Post Punk, lots of the top musicians moved to London to try and make it — most got record deals (which is interesting because they would never have been signed if they had stayed in Bristol). Most of these people have now moved back. Back home to that slow vibe, that Bristol thing, that Bass line, and so Punk moved to Post Punk through Reggae and then Smith & Mighty arrived. Bang! Bass culture, whilst always here, was the underground platform for the next generation — sound systems — warehouse parties — The Blues — The Wild Bunch get signed — LONDON comes to Bristol! Massive Attack evolve through the Wild Bunch. Tricky, Smith & Mighty get signed — but still not following London. London invented the term Trip Hop — bullshit, Bass Culture Bristol Style. Portishead and then Roni Size get signed. The Pop Group are still the kings but they are long gone, all the members joining and leaving other highly influential bands. Hundreds of bands that you haven’t heard of until now as we re-release the hidden gems that got away.

Bristol today is still massively influential on the Dubstep and Grime scene. Bass Culture is still booming via the new breed of Sound System people — Bristol is still the BASS capital of the world. The big Reggae artists Black Roots, Talisman and Jashwha Moses have all reformed and are releasing new music and touring.

What’s the best thing about running a record label?
Finding people with tapes, transferring them lovingly, digitalising them and then remastering. The thrill and excitement of seeing people’s faces when we present them with in some cases masterpieces that have never been heard before. To summarise, the pleasure it brings people.

Where do you see the industry heading?
To me it’s 1977 all over again. There are no labels, there is no money or capital investment. Anyone can do it, anyone can have a label. The only MAJOR difference is that if you want mainstream distribution then that is virtually impossible to get — that’s one of our strengths.

Interesting. I would have thought mainstream distribution is easier for small labels nowadays. Pre-digital, it was difficult for niche music to find shelf space in non-specialist stores (i.e. the majority) and the length of time a release would remain in stock was certainly very limited. In the digital era, any distributed release can be made available on all platforms with no “shelf life” constraints. In this respect, do you think re-releasing niche music is more of a viable prospect than it used to be? 
I am referring to physical product CDs and vinyl, not digital. We are a record label releasing three formats so the digital side, whilst important, is only a small part. It’s virtually impossible to get a distribution and then a P&D deal whereas in the late 70s, distributors would take anything and everyone.

Thanks Mike! There are some fantastic releases lined up for 2014 including a re-issue of Andy Fairley’s Fishfood vs. Birth of Sharon and The Best of Heartbeat Records. I strongly recommend you go check them out! In the words of Geoff Barrow “Bristol Archive Records is an amazing dot to dot picture of the city’s musical history, I would recommend it to anyone who has ever been interested in why and how the sound of the city has become what it is today.”

pic of mike darby

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Forget Banksy, Brooksy gets ready to paint Bristol red (and gold, green and black)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Do you know, it’s been a fascinating journey and probably the first time I’ve ever looked at the musical scene from one particular area and watched the styles and type of music change in relation to what’s happening both culturally and socially, from an outsider’s viewpoint so to speak, not being part of it, not being led, but forming my own opinions (granted in retrospective), something all of us at Uber Rock believe in passionately.

The first album of this trio of long-lost releases from Bristol Archive records is ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion 3 – The ’80s Part 2′, like its predecessors, a stunning piece of work for all reggae aficionados, roots reggae at its very best. Some of the bands I’ve reviewed previously – Talisman, Joshua Moses and the Revelation Rockers – all supplying some classic cuts that yet again beg the question, why didn’t they break out further and stand alongside some of the UK more recognisably class acts such as Burning Spear and Aswad, moving out of their community and into the mainstream awareness?

But this LP has also introduced me to others such as Cool Runnings, The Radicals, Vibes, all on a par with anything I have heard previously but, stand out track on this one for me is by a guy called Alfred McIntosh, a stunning dub track called ‘Pain’. I can’t recommend this LP enough for anyone with a passing interest in the genre, or even just an open mind!!!!

Moving on to Joshua Moses – ‘Joshua To Jashwa’ and, being a solo artist, you tend to wonder how they get their ideas across to the band, and what and where is that band formed from: with the culture so vibrant at the time in Bristol finding like-minded musicians to express them must have been a lot easier than it is now, I just wish I’d attended some of the St Pauls Carnivals in the early ’80s!!!!

So, on to the music: as is the want with Bristol Archive Records a mixture of rarities and never before put together and released as one. This LP though has a more dub-centric feel with dub versions of ‘The Suffering’ and ‘Rise Up’ sitting alongside the originals, dub being one of the driving forces for some of the more modern Bristol artists such as Roni Size, Massive Attack and Portishead giving birth to their own genre in turn at a point in the future, Trip Hop. This is a powerful album; it lulls you in then you start listening to the lyrics and realise how shaped the music is by the culture and the society that is shaping it. Standouts for me this time are ‘Distant Guns’, Children of the Light’ and ‘The Suffering’. Again, highly recommended.

Finally on to the last of the three releases here, Smith and Mighty – ‘The Three Stripe Collection 1985-1990′, and you see a distinct change: this isn’t reggae, this is music that has been influenced by the rave generation of the time; you see the music change from the influences of dub, bringing in the American influence of techno, hard house, acid house, music driven by the influence of the club, designed to enhance an altered state of mind through various substances. Music of the moment but, to me, without any longevity, music that fades outside the club environment. This to me is music that has lost a musical soul, it’s not musician-led but programmed, looped and repeated by the new gods of the time (’80s/’90s) producers and DJs!!!

Why is this reviewed here, you might ask yourself? A rhetoric answer would be The Prodigy and Chase and Status first and second on the bill at Download 2012!! Whatever you feel about it, it’s happening. Listening to this you can pick out where the embryonic Prodigy first started to appeal – anyone remember ‘Charly’? But you can also see where Ronnie Size, Gary Clail et al started to mutate their sound from as well as seeing how the music would be transformed by both Massive Attack and Portishead.

As a rock fan I hate the sort of music on this disc, but as a music fan I can only look back and see how many bands it has influenced so some kudos must be given.

Roll on the next Bristol Archive Records release: keep up the good work, what a journey through Bristol’s history.

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