Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for December, 2008

Albums of the year 2008

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Big Cheese as with every other major UK Rock magazine always ask their writers to name their TOP 10 Albums of the year:

Well dear old Shane Baldwin has picked The Cortinas ‘For Fucks Sake Plymouth’ at number 6 in his top 10 !! Go check it out for real 1977 noise

On another positive note Venue Magazine which will be well known to people living in Bristol always run a Review of the year and Julian Owen ( bless ) comments at the end of the years highlights…

‘ Finally, all hail the launch of Bristol Archive Records, recording the work of yesteryear Bristol big hitters in none more-comprehensive detail.’

Happy Christmas – The Teamx

A New Distributor deal has been agreed for Shellshock

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Following our announcement last week that Pinnacle had gone into receivership we are delighted to announce that Shellshock has found a new home for its many labels including Bristol Archive and Sugar Shack Records.

Below is a statement from Garreth Ryan Head of Shellshock…

 December 15 2008

Shellshock Distribution announces new fulfilment agreement with SRD

Shellshock is happy to announce that it has concluded a new pick & pack deal with SRD.

This new agreement secures an excellent shipping service for our many labels & ensures that Shellshock will continue to provide the best sales & marketing to the leading alternative & cutting edge record labels.

Shellshock & SRD are proudly independent companies.

SRD was established in 1987. Its current best seller is Pendulum’s ‘Hold Your Colour’ album with total UK sales in excess of of 250,000 & it distributes the following labels :
Breakbeat Kaos, Dischord, ATP Recordings, Hospital, Tempa, Ipecac, Roll Deep, Kranky, Leaf, Southern Lord, Tomlab, Spinney , Constellation, Rock Action, Goldtop and many more.

We reached our decision after weighing up several good offers but SRD’s deal offered the best terms, the most appropriate customer base and on a practical note, their close proximity to our own offices which offers us much increased flexibility. Uppermost in our mind was to find a financially sound shipping partner; one who is independent, reliable, and understands our labels’ and our customers’ needs. We are now very pleased to have an excellent & we believe a much improved distribution system in place.

Now back to the busy of rereleasing gems from the Bristol Musical Vaults.

The Stingrays are back in 2009

Thursday, December 11th, 2008
The Stingrays are back in 2009
The first chance to see the Stingrays in 2009 has been confirmed as June 13th at the Thunderbolt in Bristol. This date will coincide with a CD release.

Formed originally in 1977 – the reformed and current line up is:

Russ Mainwaring Guitar – Vocals. Paul Matthews – Bass. Richard H Meredith – Drums.


December updates now published

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

December updates have been added to the site as follows:

Added MP3s x14 to artist pages, links and contact.

Added Andy Allen to ‘PEOPLE’ Pages

Updated Kid Sinister Bio and track list.

ADDED ARC069 Cave Studio 1980 – TVI’s

ADDED ARC070 You & Me / Bus Stop – The Spics
****NO ITUNES LINK available**** – no doubt this will appear very shortly

Enjoy the tunes now available on the site. 


Nice feature on The Cortinas at Vive Le Punk!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

THE CORTINAS were Bristol’s only major first wave punk band, and boy, were we proud of them, even if they did go to that bloody Grammar School. Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Nick Sheppard (lead guitar), Mike Fewings (rhythm guitar), Dexter Dalwood (bass) and Daniel Swann (drums) started their short career in 1975, when their average age was just 15, playing R&B covers. They picked up on the emerging punk scene quicker than most, certainly than most of us Bristol yokels, and simply sped up a lot of what they were already playing, but also added new, more overtly punk songs of their own, though the R&B influence was always present.

Their break came when they supported the Stranglers at the Roxy on 22 January 1977, which came to be after Sheppard had approached Hugh Cornwell when the former Bristol University student was visiting friends in the city. The band then played the club quite regularly, and one result of this was the Cortinas signing to Miles Copeland and Mark Perry’s Step Forward label.

The classic singles ‘Fascist Dictator’ and ‘Defiant Pose’ were the fruit of this union, and the band went on to appear on the front cover of the April/May issue of ‘Sniffin’ Glue’, then in July record a fine John Peel session. Impressive or what?

The Cortinas were snapped up by CBS, but sadly, at that point, it all went a bit wobbly. The 1978 album ‘True Romances’, and accompanying single ‘Ask Mr Waverly’, both sounded pretty weak, to punk ears at least, as the band returned to their R&B roots, but by its release the band had to all intents and purposes split, only coming back together for two shows to promote it. Then, the Cortinas were gone for ever.

Or were they…?

Well, yes, actually. But now, out of the goodness of their hearts, the Bristol Archive label have unearthed two previously unreleased sets of material from the band – pretty exciting stuff for fans.

The first, ‘For Fuck’s Sake Plymouth’ was recorded in, of course, Plymouth, and captures the band at the peak of their powers in 1977. The sound quality isn’t perfect, but the band belie their tender years to deliver 13 songs as powerful and intense as most of their contemporaries, with Valentine’s hectoring vocals and Swann’s busy drums beating the initially subdued, polite crowd into submission, helped by a super-speedy rendition of ‘Fascist Dictator’. Essential stuff.

The second, ‘Please Don’t Hit Me’, contains the 12 demo tracks that Miles Copeland used to score the band their CBS deal. It would be nice to say that these tracks pulsate with punk rock fury, and it was only the interference of the monster major label that ruined them on the album, but sadly that’s not the case. For the most part they are jaunty but unremarkable R&B songs, and even the more lively punk tracks like ‘Further Education’ and ‘Have It With You’ lack the inspiration of the earlier singles.

Still, with both albums newly remastered and accessible for the first time after gathering dust for 30 years, this is pure punk gold. Unfortunately, they are only available as downloads, though we are assured that if sufficient interest is shown, they may eventually appear on CD.

For now, go to

Where Are They Now?

Nick Sheppard, of course, played guitar with the final line-up of the Clash (see pic below), which is sometimes dismissed as a short-lived footnote in the Clash story, when in fact the post-Mick Jones outfit lasted for about two years and toured all over the world. He formed the excellent band Head, with Gareth Sager, formerly of the Pop Group and Rip, Rig & Panic, but for a long time now has resided in Australia and is still a working muso.

As far as I know, the only other Cortina to have continued working in music is Daniel Swann, who moved to San Fransisco and played with Sneetches before going behind the scenes working with the likes of Green Day, Offspring and Rancid.

Jeremy Valentine is now a sociology lecturer at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. It would be a cheap jibe to mention the Cortinas song ‘Further Education’. Ah well.

Dexter Dalwood studied at St Martins College of Art and the Royal College of Art and is now a renowned painter whose works have been exhibited in New York, London and Liverpool.

Sadly, the trail of Mike Fewings runs out after he played with Essential Bop shortly after the Cortinas’ demise.


Shane Baldwin

Pinnacle Distribution Goes Bust!

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

AIM helps labels caught up in Pinnacle collapse

17:45 | Thursday December 4, 2008

Specialist corporate insolvency lawyer Philip Flower was on hand last night to advise the many labels caught up in the sudden collapse of Pinnacle.

AIM chairman and chief executive Alison Wenham says that at a meeting held in Chiswick, Flower was able to provide many labels with advice on their options with the administrators BDO Stoy Hayward. Also present were representatives from iTunes, MCPS, distributors and Consolidated Independent, who provide digital warehousing for Pinnacle.


The mood of the meeting was sombre – one indie label attendee described it as like “being at a funeral” – but Wenham remains upbeat that if the indie community can rally around it will help to minimise the fallout. She adds, “It is quite clear that this is an extremely serious situation for the labels caught by the sudden collapse of Pinnacle. In the run up to Christmas everyone is acutely aware of the need to move as quickly as possible to resume trading and to restore confidence in the retail market.”

In the meantime she says AIM will continue to advise labels on both an individual and on a collective basis to “ensure that losses are mitigated, and trading can recommence as quickly as possible.”

…..( Shellshock our distributer is a sub distributer of Pinnacle and uses The Pinnacle sales platforms, as yet we do not know how this will affect Bristol Archive Records – more news as soon as possible.)

Mike Darby

Creature Beat

Sunday, December 7th, 2008


Mathew James (guitar)
Simon James (vocals)
Nigel Harrison (bass)

Andrew Andrews (percussion/vibes/marimbas)

Jimmy Winston (drums)

New Wave band who released one single on their own label Puritan Records, titled “Creature Beat b/w She Won’t Dance”, engineered/produced by David Lord at Crescent Studios in Bath.  Band moved to London in 1979 and, whilst returning to Bristol for regular gigs at locations such as the Architects Club off Park Street, were also regulars on the London scene such as The Rock Garden, The Ad Lib Club, and anyplace else that’d have us!   Band went seperate ways circa late 1980s, although they are still in touch.

We hope to finalise an album from the band in the coming months but short term we are rereleasing the single.

The X-Certs album – ‘Fussing and Fighting’

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Growing from the remnants of the 1970’s obligatory “punk” school band, the original line up of The X-Certs emerged as …. 


Neil Mackie – Drums

Simon Justice – Guitar/Vocals

Clive Arnold – Vocals/Guitar

Phil “Taff” Lovering – Bass


With a shared passion for music The X-Certs were inspired by the punk explosion and (in a rather unpunk fashion) spent evenings rehearsing in the crypt of St. Luke’s Church, Barton Hill, putting together a set of original and cover material.  Publicity was free and home made, Lawrence Hill underpass providing one public wall for the spray painted slogan:             


The X-Certs, a new band is coming – you have been warned! 


Thus, with curious interest preceeding them, The X-Certs began gigging in Bristol, in 1978.


From the very beginning the band were politically motivated and early gigs were filled with songs detailing the frustrations of the time and perhaps therefore, attracted what could be perceived as a rougher element to their gigs.  The truth, however, was that the majority of the audience were a friendly bunch and when

The X-Certs encored with “Do You Wanna Dance”, regulars at the gigs knew this was their cue to invade the stage, grab a mic and sing along.  At times, with more people on stage than off it, it must have seemed like a lager fuelled free for all!  It may have been quite intimidating to the innocent bystander but it was always fantastic fun and helped to earn the band a reputation for being a good live act.  Soon, early performances headlining at Trinity Church were easily drawing in 400-500 people; not bad for a local band without a record deal!


The political stance of the songs earned the attentions of The Socialist Workers Party and organisations like Rock Against Racism, who invited the band to play at many functions (usually on the back of a lorry ending in a confrontation with the police).  The association with R.A.R. helped to promote the band and a dedicated following started to form, some of whom would travel with the band to gigs, in the back of a hired Ford Transit van (sitting on a amplifier if they were lucky, being crushed under one if not!)  It was mad, chaotic and full of energetic fun.


The early line up of The X-Certs recorded a number of tracks for Simon Edwards at Heartbeat Records and their first release was “Blue Movies” on the 4 Alternatives EP, shortly followed by “Anthem” on the wonderful Avon Calling compilation album. 


By 1979 The X-Certs had come a long way in a short time, a Manager was on board and the band were beginning to expand and experiment outside of the “punk” musical boundaries (including introducing a Reggae element into their set), but individual passions within the band were pulling in different directions and eventually Chris Bostock replaced Phil on Bass.  With a new member, the band went through a period of intensive rehearsing and gigging, becoming a much tighter unit and with confidence, flexed their musical muscle, found their own sound/direction and started to consolidate their reputation as an important West Country band, especially on the live circuit.


The band became a popular opening act for visiting bands to Bristol and played with The Only Ones, The Angelic Upstarts and Pere Ubu to name a few, but the pinnacle was undoubtedly when they were given the opportunity to open for The Clash during their 16 Tons Tour, at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on 11 February 1980.  The X-Certs arrived in their hired transit for their sound check, only to be told they would need to pay the Lighting Engineer £50.00 if they wanted any lights.  A quick emptying of pockets and the money was scraped together, they took up their positions and the stage was illuminated with light.  “You need to pay the Sound Engineer £50.00 too” came the sucker punch.  Penniless and unable to pay, the biggest gig of their career so far was turning into a disaster an hour before the doors opened.


Nicky “Topper” Headon (The Clash’s drummer) appeared to ask what was going on and when told, in true punk camaraderie, he muttered “Fuck that, I’ll mix you meself!”  So, with Topper’s assistance, an hour later The X-Certs opened the gig; with The Clash watching the performance from the wings and 4500 in the audience dancing up and down, could it get any better?


Shortly after supporting The Clash, Simon was replaced by Kevin Mills on guitar and the band looked to forge ahead.  It was 1980 and the new line up began to hone their musical sound and direction even further, introducing more reggae influenced tracks and becoming the tightest version of The X-Certs so far.  The band continued to gig extensively, but this year also saw the them spending more time in the studio, perfecting recording skills (with the guidance of Steve Street) and preparing to take themselves onto a more mature musical level; the fun and spontaneity from the live sets wasn’t lost though, and always ready to try something new for a different sound, the band experimented by recording the backing vocals for “Stop The Fussing And Fighting” in the Studio toilets!  Early October saw the band in GBH Studios laying down a pre-recording demo, mid October they were in Crescent Studios, Bath, recording “Queen & Country” and “Visions Of Fate” for the Bristol Recorder 2 album and a few weeks later they were back at Crescent Studios recording their first single for Recreational Records, a self penned reggae number, “Together”.  The tracks recorded in that period demonstrated they were now as comfortable in the studio as they were playing live and the even though there had been some changes along the way, the politically motivated passion and rawness was still there, bursting through.  A headlining gig at Tiffany’s, Clifton in November, the planned release of the single in January 1981 and it looked as if the doors to dreams were beginning to open, but by Christmas it was as good as over.


Bernie Rhodes had tempted some of the best musicians in Bristol away to professional contracts as Subway Sect and then later JoBoxers, this left The X-Certs without Chris on Bass.  “Together” the single was released in January and received nightly airplay from John Peel, A-Side and B-Side Dub version. Kid Jensen gave it coverage on his Radio 1 tea time show too, but the band had hit a brick wall. Despite an extensive search for a replacement Bass player and a London gig promoting the single (with a stand in Bassist), the musical chemistry had been lost and the journey that started with such excitement in 1978, fizzled out in early 1981.        


It was three years of wonderful adventures, a freight train that ran wild, free and had no idea when it was going to hit the buffers.  Full of energy, passion, blows and lifelong friendships, the experience touched many young lives in a positive way and the whole thing was bloody brilliant!


All the tracks featured on the Bristol Archive Records album “Fussing & Fighting”, are played by the final line-up of The X-Certs:


Clive Arnold           Vocal/Guitar

Neil Mackie           Drums

Chris Bostock         Bass/Vocal

Kevin Mills             Guitar


The recordings are from 1980 and come from the Crescent Studio sessions (for vinyl release), the GBH Studio pre-recording demo session and the Tiffany’s, Clifton gig at the end of the year.


Track listing:


Together                                   (Recreational Records Single)

Queen And Country                   (Bristol Recorder 2 Album)

Visions Of Fate                         (Bristol Recorder2 Album)

Secrets                                     (GBH Studio Demo Session)

Stop The Fussing And Fighting   (GBH Studio Demo Session)

Slow Down – Live                       (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

No One Gives – Live                   (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

Youth Is Calling – Live               (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

Frustration – Live                      (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

Together – Live                         (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

Visions Of Fate – Live                (Tiffany’s, Clifton, Bristol)

Untogether                                (B-Side, Recreational Records Single)


Audio Restoration and Mastering by Mike Coe.


Studio sessions Produced by Steve Street.



All songs by C. Arnold except:

Secrets by S Justice

Stop The Fussing And Fighting by Culture

Slow Down by L. Williams

Earlier recordings by The X-Certs (the first line up) can be found on Heartbeat Records re-released Avon Calling album, including Blue Movies, Anthem and You Have been Warned. 


This was a fantastic time to be involved in the Bristol music scene and hopefully this project will bring back happy memories for a lot of people. 


Roots, Punk and Reggae, it’s all the same,

We’re fighting for the same cause

With just another name

One day, somewhere, a man will realise,

To fight is not the answer………………………


Head and The X-Certs

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

The finished album has been mastered for Head and is with Gareth Sager awaiting approval and confirmation of the track listing.

The X-Certs album is finished and should be with us any day to schedule for release.

Further news…..

We are mastering The Royal Assassins album and Dave Massey is compiling a live Royal Assassins album from a show at The Thelka.

The Decay Sisters have come on board and recordings from these guys will be made available soon.

More news soon.