Bristol Archive Records Blog

The Spics ‘Midnight Girls’ ARC 089 – OUT NOW!

The thing with these back catalogue from Bristol Archive Records is they’re not fabulous recordings, but they are reminiscence aids. For me listening to Midnight Girls, it all fits into place, this is why I like the music I do. I’d suffered the early years of progressive music at the hands of a variety of longhaired Robert Plant look alike yoof and I hadn’t liked it, didn’t get it. I was sneaking up to Tiffany’s on non ‘progressive nights to dance to Motown, and here was a band playing James and Bobby Purify’s I’m Your Puppet and Take Me in Your Arms (and rock me a little while) from the Holland-Dozier-Holland stable. This was music I could watch live and dance at the same time.


Mike Crawford was buying 5p Stax and Atlantic from Disc and Tape and The Spics were applying a little punk ethos. They introduced me to Otis Redding’s Can’t Turn You Loose (slightly speedier than entirely necessary) and gave me Land Of A Thousand Dances which set me up for Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave etc long before the Blues Brothers and a whole decade before the Commitments brought them to the masses.

While everyone else was doing Van Morrison’s G-L-O-R-I-A, The Spics picked Here Comes The Night, although actually Lulu did it first, and The Spics threw in a touch of Dockland Settlement/Dug Out influenced Reggae to make it their own.


The title track Midnight Girls written and first performed by Crawford backed by his brother Latif’s, Gardez Darkx at the Stonehouse was the catalyst which enabled Johnny Britton and Nick Shepherd to ask of Mike, ‘d’ye wanna start a band’ and The Spics evolved.


Bus Stop is also one of Mikes’. John Shennan gave us his You and Me and also Wild Boys  which John sang.


The Spics worked because no one was in charge or doing all the work, it was a joint effort and you can hear that in the music, no solo prima donna moments.

My favourite is Fire, discovered via the Robert Gordon version, not Bruce Springsteen and pre The Pointer Sisters who obviously learnt a thing from The Spicettes!


This compilation is  raw, rough round the edges, but there’s some neat guitar, a mint rhythm section, it still makes me want to be a Spicette and it don’t half take you back.


(Gill Loats 6th April 2009)


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