Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for December, 2010


Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Bristol Roots Reggae band TALISMAN originally formed in 1977/78 will reform with the original line-up to play shows in 2011. Their album ‘Dole Age – The 1981 Reggae Collection’ will be released on Bristol Archive Records at the end of April on cd, download and vinyl.

TALISMAN are at present planning a Bristol Album launch gig/party which will be at either The Fleece or the smaller hall at the Colston Hall.

The Line Up:

Chris Potter – Keyboards

Donald de Cordova – Drums

Leroy Forbes – Lead Guitar, Vocals, Synth

Desmond (Lazarus) Taylor – Rydim, Lead Vocals

Dennison Joseph – Bass, Vocals

Brendan Whitmore– Sax, Harp

More news as soon as we’ve got it   

Brilliant Reggae Review

Monday, December 27th, 2010


 Following on from their superb ‘Bristol: The Punk Explosion’ compilation of earlier in 2010, Bristol Archive Records have produced the equally compelling ‘Reggae Explosion 1978 – 1983’ long player. These fourteen tracks reflect on a time when Jamaican musical influence was more ‘roots’ based – at a time before the more aggressive and explicit derivation of ragga took hold and along with hip-hop and all its sub-genres became the most popular ‘imported’ music to the UK. 

This compilation devotes three tracks to both BLACK ROOTS and TALISMAN, with two to both JOSHUA MOSES and RESTRICTION, with another four local artists contributing one track each. 

BLACK ROOTS are probably the best known of the Bristol reggae bands of that era. They toured the UK extensively throughout the early Eighties and even recorded the signature tune for the BBC TV series ‘The Front Line’ in 1984, which I guess highlighted their popularity and acceptability of the genre at that time. It is their ‘Bristol Rock’ that rather appropriately opens the album. As their name would indicate, their take on reggae music is very ‘roots’ based. It’s smooth and laid-back, with as with all music of this type, is instantly infectious and dance inducing. They also wade in with the 12” mix of ‘Tribal War’ which has a tinge of African beat about it, while their final track, ‘Juvenile Delinquent’ was re-mixed by DJ / producer Jah Woosh and was well received (within the context of the reggae world at least) in the dancehall world of the mid-Eighties. 

The three TALISMAN tracks are the longest on the album. The first of the three is a ‘live’ recording of ‘Run Come Girl,’ and features a sort of wailing, harmonica type sound – similar to that used in later years by Beats International on their ‘Dub Be Good To Me’ hit. ‘Wicked Dem’ is also a ‘live’ recording and the best indicator I can give here is to UB40’s ‘Signing Off’ period, with the sax mixing seamlessly with the backbeat and dub style drum sound. And it is this particular ‘dub’ sound that features so well on the epic, eleven minutes of ‘Dole Age’ (12” mix.) 

JOSHUA MOSES also leans in this direction throughout the latter half on the first of his two contributions, the ultra-rare ‘Africa (Is Our Land)’ whereas his other track ‘Pretty Girl’ illustrates more of a gentle ‘Lovers Rock’ style.

‘Nights Of Passion’ by THE RADICALS would most likely fall within that same category, as would SHARON BENGAMIN who on ‘Mr. Guy,’ exhibits a similar style and mood to that which afforded Janet Kay a mainstream chart hit with ‘Silly Games’ in 1979. Similarly, BUGGS DURRANT and ‘Baby Come Back (Home)’ reminds me of the Barry Biggs hit from a couple of years earlier, ‘Sideshow.’

However, it’s the ‘dub’ style of reggae that always hooked me back in he day – and still does, I have to say. 3D PRODUCTION use this style in part on their ‘Riot’ track. Heavy bass lines are straightened out, with the organ and vocals getting slight reverb tweaks. But it’s the two contributions from RESTRICTION (‘Four Point Plan’ and ‘Restriction’) that have me heading straight up to my loft after I finish writing this piece, and looking out my old vinyl copies of Blackbeard albums!

This is a superb compilation, which although it obviously focuses on the Bristol scene of that time, simply highlights what was going on in the inner cities up and down the length of the UK at the same time as, and ultimately dovetailing with the Punk scene.

Which brings me back nicely to the earlier release on this label which concentrates on that particular counter culture. BOTH these albums from Bristol Archive Recordings are well worth adding to any collection!

Go check ‘em!

(Released through Bristol Archive Recordings – and also on limited edition vinyl pressing – on 21st February 2011)

(10 / 10)

Taken from:

Preorder now from

The Cortinas

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

There is a four page feature on The Cortinas and their relationship with Bristol Archive Records in this months edition of Record Collector – OUT TODAY !!  


Reggae Album Review – another good one

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

  • RELEASED? Preorder now

    Let’s be clear. I am a white male. Yes, I’m Irish, but being included in merry English signage like ‘no dogs, no blacks, no Irish” does not make me Bob Marley. Neither does appearing on this album. So, I can only hack this is as boring n bog standard white reggae lover, which means that anything outside the comfort n cool zone defined by love of Althea & Donna, Desmond Decker, Bob Marley, Dave & Ansell Collins and hatred for UB40 is going to be a white, white knuckle ride. Except that it isn’t. Now, this is probably a temporal rather than racial thing, but every single one of these tracks has been prepared with love, care, pride, sometimes expertise, but always with the right attitude.

    Let’s highlight a couple; Buggs Durrant isn’t a household name, but “Baby Come Back” chips with snare and brass breezes a soulful tale of love lost with soulful and blatantly poppy guile, it’s fucking brilliant, and so is “Africa”, a little something from Joshua Moses that sweetly torch and finger-pops a reggae shuffle ballad that soothes as  it stirs, the cutey girl backing vox honey drip the “don’t let the wicked men fool you” chorus and melts you, just melts you.

  • IS IT ANY GOOD? Yes, yes, yes. This may well be real reggae from people you haven’t heard of, but it’s largely fantastic and reassuringly catchy n commercial.


The Bristol Reggae Explosion

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983
Kingston, Handsworth, Notting Hill…even Coventry. These are names which spring to mind when you think of ska and reggae in the late ’70s and early ’80s. But, as this CD is pure evidence to, Bristol also had a historic and steadfast reggae scene. This album is a powerful introduction to artists over 14 tracks, each with their own unique take on reggae. There’s a real journey on this album, from Buggs Durrant and his sublime pop sound reminiscent of Donna and Althea, to Joshua Moses in his vocal ‘Africa (Is Our Land)’ for Rastafarian politics. Black Root’s ‘Tribal War’ a close to dub music, heavy and gloriously hypnotic. If you want some grim 1980s socially conscious music, check out Black Roots’ ‘Juvenile Delinquent’, a reference to the infinite rude boy tracks of Trojan Records music in the 1960s. There’s even Live number ‘Wicked Dem’ by Talisman, a uplifting political number in which the lead singer declares anti-racism and pro-CND. “We are no capitalists” the song makes quite clear. So there’s music you can dance to, and music you can smoke to, and music you can get fired up to. Political reggae and fun reggae.

The album is well-crafted, plenty of care gone into flagging up years, writers and record labels to give representation and respect to the original writers. Some of the tracks are rarities, remastered from tapes of limited number vinyl, ensuring this is a delight for any hardcore reggae fantastic to own something long since out-of-print. But it still holds the strong reggae charm of being an album you can simply out on in most environments and let it play through, filling any room in feel-good vibes. The album is wonderfully bookmarked, opening with the early Peter Tosh-sounding Black Roots and their anthem ‘Bristol Rock’, the perfect introduction to a Bristol reggae compilation. But it ends on Talisman’s ‘Dole Age’, leaving the album on the historic note that this scene strived and these songs were written under Thatcherite politics with 3 million unemployed. They serve as documentation of the atmosphere and mood at the time, and evidence as to how they fought back and empowered themselves with music. It’s all too easy to make parallels with 2010 and modern reggae/ska/punk bands but certainly I think in the coming months I’ll be listening to 3D’s ‘Riot’ for a lot more reason than simply historical curiosity.

Taken from:

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 )


CHUTES – The Chris Damico Story

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The club opened in July 1976 & closed a few weeks before the Be Stiff Tour gig at the Exhibition Centre on the 6th October 1977.

I have no reference material for 1976 but I’m sure that we opened with such a bang that live music was an afterthought. Once the initial impact had worn off and there was no longer a line out front as a ‘dance’ club, we started booking live music on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays.

Of the bands mentioned in my 1977 calendar shows The Cortinas played (9th March and 19th July), Gen X (27th June), Chelsea (30th July), The Only Ones (8th June and 28th July) and Uncle Po (22nd June). There was also Rat Bites from Hell Reunion (22nd August).

I booked the Cortinas at the request of our very persuasive bar girls. Their rational was that they were so cute and they were getting London gigs, very unusual at the time for a Bristol band. I took a chance despite not having heard any of their or having a reliable reference source.

The drummer, Dan Swan was very young & I insisted his Dad was there to avoid any liquor license hassles that might occur. It was a good idea because on the first night that they played, a very polite Police Inspector was good enough to point out that there was huge Black Mariah parked just around the corner “just in case!”.

Since this was our first venture into the world where mosh & gob were terms of endearment, I thought it prudent to address the exuberants.

I requested that they all take notice that their bevies were served in glasses not plastic cups. (This was a long standing sore point between the club owners and me.) I said at the first sound of breaking glass, I would pull the plug and they’d have to find a new playpen.

I had used the same message with the local Hells Angels Chapter who had managed to get themselves banned from every respectable place within miles. I explained that if one got barred, they were all barred. Once they were on their ‘best behaviour’ they became a solid line of support against any trouble occurring.

But back to The Cortinas…At the sound of “1234” the thrashing started. The Head bouncer, Mr. John Quirk, came to me with a confused look on his face…. ‘If our usual crowd was carrying on like this then I would have waded in within a second??’

After about three tracks I was again summoned to the door to see Inspector Rozzer. He obviously had some confederates amongst the rabble who must have reported a ‘Riot Going On’ inside the building.

I took great pleasure in yelling at this guy (due to the volume, not out of any disrespect, mind you) that everything was well in hand and if he and the posse round the corner would like some tea then I would be able to accommodate them irrespective of the chaos going on behind me.

I would have to say by the look on his face he would have to start attending church more often. He knew his world was obviously coming to an end and it probably forced him to move to Belgium.

When Gen X played Billy Idol was the front man and above the club was a photographer’s studio. We would allow the bands to use this area as a dressing room. It had a large mirror with the lights all around the edge just like in the movies but the problem was the walls were all pure white so when I went up to pay the band I couldn’t help notice the four foot black letters spelling Gen X on the wall.

When I brought this to Mr. Idol’s attention he lamely told me that “the groupies” had done it! I explained that if his dog had taken a shit in the middle of the room, it was HIS dog and he would have to clean it up. I told them they could come back the next day and re-paint the wall or I would deduct the costs from their fee at the end of the night.

I’m glad to say that the incident with Gen X was the only problem I ever had with any of the bands and acts that played at the club.

In mid August 1977 I contacted Stiff Records to try to book Elvis Costello for Chutes. Paul Conroy became my contact and promised me first refusal on the 5 band ‘Be Stiff Tour’. Knowing that the gig would be way too big for the ‘Chutes’ (capacity 150) I approached the Exhibition Centre down on the water front.

Whoever I spoke with, either the owner or manager at the time was very resistant to having live music in the building. It took weeks to convince him that concert goers wouldn’t hurt his lovely building. I think he may have also had reservations because of a glitch with a Stranglers gig where they cancelled at the last minute.

A couple of guys, Pete & Steve (sorry no last names in my notes) were operating under the name SAP or something like that out of Ashley Rd, St Pauls and wanted to promote reggae shows at the Exhibition Centre. Pete, Steve and I knew that the Granary & Colston Hall were punk & reggae shy but there was definitely a market but it would swamp The Dugout or Chutes. The Exhibition Centre would fill the bill nicely.

In the end I was able to convince Mr. Exhibition Centre via Chris, his secretary who was enamoured with my American/New York accent and he helped me conspire to get my foot in the door.

I needed the SAP guys to supply the security and we shared the expense of scaffolding construction and rental for the Be Stiff gig and their reggae show which was promoted very soon afterwards.

There is a back-story here. Chutes was a partnership between a local group of ‘businessmen’ and a dog food and flour conglomerate. The local guys had owned more than one business in Bristol but Chutes was the only one they shared. It had been a full-blown poncey disco prior to promoting rock bands with a huge white grand piano shaped DJ ‘booth’ on the dance floor which we took great pleasure in demolishing on our opening night.

As it happens, the local businessmen were having major repairs done to their other locations, but making the bills out to the Chutes, Park Street address – where of course there was no work was being done. We were therefore a “money pit” on their books, even though there were lines in the street to get in and we were two deep at the bar.

One night someone from the Big Boys main office dropped in for a surprise visit and as we had a strict “no ties” policy (they had to be checked at the coat booth, along with suit jackets, to keep out the travelling businessmen that would troll Park St.), he was barred from entering and Adrian, my co-manager, was summoned to the door.

This guy could not believe his eyes. He was there to discuss the poor financial showing that was being reported back in town but saw that something didn’t jibe. He wanted to shut it down on the spot, but was persuaded to wait to verify that some ‘mistakes’ had been made within the main office figures.

Needless to say they pulled the plug the next day and the local douche bags wanted their money back for the Be Stiff tour deposit, which I had been promoting with the club’s prestige and funding. Since the promotion was well underway, I was able to buy them off and proceeded with the show, but from that day forward Chutes was no more.

I was reminded of this during this research as I came across an edition of the Bristol Evening Post (16th September 1977) where Adrian and I ran a goodbye advert to our patrons.

I am proud of my time at the club and we were getting reviews of bands appearing regularly in the NME and the Melody Maker. I think they had all just signed on West Country reporters.

Towards the end of the clubs run I had been in touch with an extremely paranoid Malcolm McClaren in an effort to promote S.P.O.T. S. or ‘Sex Pistols on Tour Secretly’. They needed to call themselves this after misbehaving around the UK on a grand scale.

He was so freaked out he said he wanted to stop using the phone and communicate BY MAIL! It was all I could do to get him to understand that if he thought his phone was tapped, he sure as shit was going to have his mail read. As you can imagine that gig did not materialize!

At the end of the Be Stiff gig, I was ‘settling up’ with Jake Rivera and Dave Robinson and they gave me the impression that they were very enthusiastic about having “another Roundhouse” in the West Country. Alas that was never to be as I was summarily “invited” to leave the United Kingdom very soon thereafter.

But that’s another story!

 (Chris Damico – December 2010)


Big Pete and The Ratbites From Hell      pic by  John Spink


Reuben Archer – Lautrec

Monday, December 20th, 2010

A brief account of starting a band in the West Country by Reuben Archer.

In the 60s I attended Kingston Art School, and for a few years knocked around Richmond and Kingston with Eric Clapton, Dave Brock and Keith Relf. My father was head of the school and was always against me wanting to start a band. I was there to work, and so it wasn’t until much later in my life that I picked up a guitar and decided whatever the odds, rock and roll was for me.

 In fact when my father and other tutors decided Eric wasn’t ever going to knuckle down and work, he just wanted to play his guitar, they ended up by asking him to leave the school. Keith subsequently went on to form the Yardbirds, and Dave formed Hawkwind, so for me, any temptation to go in that direction was subsequently removed.

In 1973 I moved to Shepton Mallet from London. We bought a De-commissioned Georgian pub in Stony Stratton and commenced turning it into a house. It was whilst living there that I bought two electric guitars, a Gibson SG copy for myself, and a Fender Strat copy for my Stepson  Laurence. I could play a bit and immediately started to teach Laurence my limited repertoire of chords.

Within a couple of weeks Laurence had mastered all that and much more, and within 3 months was playing fluently. We looked around for other local musicians and found a bass player who I can only remember as Gibb, and a young Welsh Drummer whose name also escapes me.We played in a local pub on the Fosseway called the Cross Keys, and it soon became a regular gig of ours. The band was named Shady Business and the landlord was only too pleased to find that whenever we played, the venue was always packed.If Shady Business had any claim to fame, it was probably being asked to play at the Pilton Festival, which was staged on Mike Eavis’s farm. A few years later this little festival turned into one of the biggest events on the music calendar, Glastonberry.

Over the next year the band evolved, and a new drummer joined called Andy Peyton, along with Bassist Simon Ridler, the son of Evercreech’s  Vicar evolved. This line up was renamed Thriller.

Thriller played several Pub venues and others like Street’s Hall and Yeovil’s Johnson Hall. We then hired the Showering, Shepton Mallet Centre to play a live show for the purpose of recording the set with a mobile unit. The show sold out within a week, and four tracks were successfully recorded.A local solicitor who had connections in the music biz attended and as a result signed the band for management, later taking us up to Manchester to Revolution Studios to record. Revolution had connections with the successful Strawberry Studios where Sad Cafe recorded.

The Revolution session turned out well with the most successful tracks  being ‘Midnight At The Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Red Light Ruby’ both written as a concept idea for an album based on Toulouse Lautrec, as we had now decided to re launch the band calling it LAUTREC.

At this time Laurence had enrolled at Yeovil Art School, however after a few months it was plain to see that his heart wasn’t in it,  He just wanted to play guitar, so I found him a job at a music shop in Street. The manager of the store was a consummate Jazz player and during the time Laurence worked there he taught the young guitarist every chord and scale in the book.

When I had made the move from London to The West Country, it had been to take up a new Job, designing and building the new Geology Gallery at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. That was completed in about two and a half years, and with no more exciting projects in the offing, I moved to Westland Helicopters as a graphic designer, as it was nearer to Wincanton where we had subsequently moved. 

It was at this point that Laurence asked me if I thought we could really make it in the music biz’ I told him of course we could. We would play Bristol Granary, Colston Hall, and then Hammersmith Odeon and The Rainbow.  Brave words indeed, but they weren’t in vain because with the exception of the Rainbow, we would go on to play all the other venues and many more both in the UK and abroad.

Lautrec had a new line up featuring Simon Riddler, Laurence and myself and Steve Holbrook on keyboards, and Clive Deamer on drums, both hailing from the Frome area. Clive Deamer went on much later to play for Portishead and also The Robert Plant Band. He is a very busy session drummer and in high demand.

Having already mentioned the Bristol Granary, I would like to add that if it hadn’t been for Les, and I must apologise as I never knew his surname, we probably would never have achieved the profile that we did.

I always thought Les, a middle aged tall man, always dapper in suit and tie, looked a little out of place for a rock club owner, but he ran the Granary in a strict business like fashion, and was always fair.Les gave us many opportunities to play his club, and consequently, we built up a great following.At this point Lautrec was waiting on a decision from Island Records, who were interested in signing the band, and as a result of their interest we embarked on a tour of UK city halls, with Saxon, who were about to break with their first major album.

It was during this tour that Laurence and I realised we needed to alter direction somewhat if we were going to appeal to the Heavy Rock fraternity. Unfortunately for us at this point Island declined to sign the band, as on his return from Jamaica, Chris Blackwell, owner of the label decided to drop the rock bands he already had from his roster, and had no wish to sign another.

At the end of the Saxon tour, Lautrec sought new management, finding John Glover of Fat Cat management and the Street Tunes Label. The band went into Rock City Studios at Shepperton to record two songs, ‘Mean Gasolene’ and ‘Shoot Out The Lights’, which incidentally are now two of the rarest records of the so called NWOBHM period fetching up to £1000 apiece.

At this point Lautrec were offered the support slot for the next Saxon Tour, and on accepting found that for personal reasons Clive Deamer the drummer, could not participate. With one week to go before the first date, and as a result of a tip from Trevor of Otto’s drum store in Hotwells, the band recruited Bristol based drummer Steve Jones as a replacement, and successfully completed the tour.  Saxon hit the charts with Wheels of Steal, taking a break on the tour to record the song for Top Of The Pops.

During this period Lautrec also made a TV appearance on BBC RPM show with a live performance of ‘Midnight At The Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Shoot Out The Lights’. During the recording all the BBC staff were made to wear ear defenders, as up until then, they had never recorded such a loud band.

It was some time after all this that I decided to accept an offer from Saxons management to join a new so called supergroup called Lionheart, formed around the guitarist Dennis Stratton, formerly of Iron Maiden. They wanted a vocalist and songwriter, and they thought I would fit the bill.We toured the UK in our own right, supported Whitesnake on two tours, and recorded demos for EMI. I penned several songs one of which being ‘Dangerous Games’, which was later re-recorded for a Lionheart Album. After around six months I left the band, feeling that Lionheart was not for me.

Shortly after this, I was approached by Jimmy Bain ex Rainbow, and then of Wild Horses. He needed a vocalist to complete the new Wild Horses Line Up. As it turned out, he also needed a drummer and guitarist, as Brian Robertson had left along with drummer Clive Edwards.

Laurence was having little luck with Lautrec at the time and had all but given up on the band. Don’t forget at this point Punk was becoming established, and Heavy Rock was taking a back seat with the emergence of hundreds of New Wave bands. It was becoming really hard work trying to break a Hard Rock Band.I asked him to join Wild Horses along with Lionheart’s ex drummer Frank Noon, and we commenced rehearsing and recording for EMI immediately. After two residencies at London’s Marquee Club, where Phil Lynott would often get up to jam with us, we realised things were going nowhere.

Horses were managed by Morrison O’Donnell, who also managed Thin Lizzy, they should have cracked the situation for the band, but were beginning to have reservations about Jimmy. After several months of nothing happening, Laurence, Frank and myself decided enough was enough and quit to form our own new band.It was at this time that we did an interview for the music journal Sounds and also Kerrang Magazine.

The Journalist asked me what our plans were and I mentioned that we were forming a new band. What’s it called she asked? I was stumped. Thinking fast I thought of Wild Horses, and the fact that we couldn’t get out of that situation fast enough. So, what do wild horses do ?….they Stampede!!And straight away I told her the new band was called STAMPEDE, and that’s how things started for us.Still based in Bristol although spending more and more time in London, trying to find representation, Stampede went into Bristol’s Cave studio to record new material. Personally I loved that little studio and the two guys who ran it. They did everything they could for us, it was like nothing was too much trouble.

Cave was an eight track studio, so you had to be pretty careful about how you went about things. Overdubbing was hard, because of the limited amount of tracks available, and you really had to plan things out before going for takes. At the end of the sessions we had five tracks ‘Missing You’, ‘Days Of Wine And Roses’, ‘Moving On’, ‘Hurricane Town’ and ‘Photographs’. There were others, but these were the tracks that eventually got us signed to Polydor.

During this time we had also been talking to a guy called Roy Ward with a view to him managing us. He looked after Ginger Baker, and we often rehearsed in his studio in Acton, London.Finally I was recommended to Ronnie Fowler, who for years had been right hand man to Don Arden. Don had wound up Jet Records, and Ronnie had decided to go on his own and find a band to manage and promote.

Ronnie secured the deal for Stampede with Polydor Records and the first record we released was a four track EP of the songs recorded at Cave studios. There followed several singles and when Stampede played Reading Rock Festival in 82’ Polydor employed the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to record our live set. They also recorded the Mildenhall Festival performance and released the album as the ‘STAMPEDE, THE LIVE BOOTLEG’. Four months prior to this I was running with Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, when I fell and broke my hip and thigh.

Banged up in hospital I spent the time writing lyrics for the next album, and managed to get out in time for the Reading appearance, which I did using the mic stand in place of my hospital issue crutch.

When we originally formed Stampede, the line up consisted of myself vocals, Laurence on guitar, Frank Noon on drums and Alan Nelson, from Franks old band Wildfire on keyboards. We needed a bass player, and recruited a French guy called Francoise Maureau. Francoise just didn’t gell and the language problem was a nightmare, so we advertised auditions in the national music papers.There followed daily sessions which lasted for several weeks, until we finally narrowed the list down.

One of the listed players called me to find out if the band had made its decision and told us he was playing a gig in his hometown of Bristol that very weekend. The gig turned out to be open air in a street behind Kingsdown Parade in Bristol, where I actually lived at that time.  Laurence and I made the trip back from London to catch Stormtrooper with Colin Boggy Bond on bass.It was plain even then to see that Boggy was heavily influenced by Rush and Geddy Lee, he played a Rickenbacker bass, and Taurus pedals. He not only played great, but looked every bit the part, and a little later on over a few pints of cider, we asked him to join Stampede.

The line up was complete and we immediately began intensive rehearsals at the Ritz rehearsal facility in Putney, London.

This meant that Colin would have to move to London on pretty much a permanent basis and it wasn’t long before we all found ourselves renting apartments in a huge Victorian house rented by Frank Noon in Isleworth Middlesex.

The Grove was a haven for rock musicians and at one time amongst the residents were Rocky Newton, Lionheart and later of the Michael Schenker and Robin McAuley Group. Bernie Torme, Electric Gypsies, John Lockton, Wild Horses, myself, Stampede and Joe Elliott, Def Leppard.

I was already well familiar with Joe and Leppard because Lautrec had supported them at Bristol’s Colston Hall. It was there that Rick, their drummer had found all his bass drum pedal straps frayed. I drove him down to Otto’s to get some new ones. Trevor the owner told him to go next door to the Army surplus store and buy a length of webbing, That way he could just cut off lengths as he went along…much cheaper and stronger.

Over the next couple of years we became good friends with the band, and of course an even stronger connection was that Frank Noon had been their first drummer before they made it big.

It was a similar situation with UFO. I had taken Laurence to Colston Hall to see them when we were first forming Lautrec. I remember thinking that this is the kind of band we should be. Hard melodic rock . I still love that band to this day and they became good friends and of course Laurence went on to do several tours with them and record two albums.

At first with Stampede, I became a little miffed at the similarities drawn by rock journalists of Phil Mogg and myself. The fact was at that time, on stage we did look quite similar, and sang in the same kind of vocal range.  Plus Stampede songs were melodic and although not by design did fall into the UFO category.

However as far as I was concerned UFO had been on the road since the late 60s and despite lineup changes had survived, making great music. If we were likened to them in any way so what? I personally took it as a compliment. Of course the other comparison came from Laurence’s guitar work. He always had been a Schenker fan.

It wasn’t surprising then that years later he would gig and record with UFO.

Shortly before Stampede’s Reading appearance there were two drastic changes to the line up. Drummer Frank Noon left to join up with Bernie Torme and the decision was made to dispense with the keyboards. Colin Bond introduced a young guy from Bristol called Eddie Parsons who turned out to be exactly the power house drummer the band needed.

As a four piece Stampede functioned far better as a unit and after two weeks of intensive rehearsals the Reading appearance went off without a hitch, earning the band some really great press reports, as well as achieving a good live recording in the can for a later release.

What we didn’t know at the time was that Polydor would put this recording out as the band’s first album. Consequently when we did get to record a full studio album we found it impossible to recreate that wonderful live feel and in comparison we always felt that the following studio album lacked urgency and energy.

Stampede followed all this up with a couple of tours with Gary Moore, played some gigs on the continent and commenced writing a new album. During the following months it became clear that Polydor was not really a label geared for handling a rock band, they wanted singles and more singles, and couldn’t understand why a band like us needed support for touring. Most of their energy went into other acts on their roster like Bryan Ferry.

With changes going on in Polydor’s A&R department along with all the internal politics, Stampede became disillusioned with the contract. I decided to call the whole thing a day and anyway was due to go back into hospital to have the metal pins removed from my hip and thigh.

During my operation I contracted an infection and on coming out became really ill. In fact if I hadn’t received immediate medical attention I would have actually died. At times like this one’s confidence can be reduced to an all time low, and as a result I decided to finish with the music biz’ completely.For the next eighteen years I built up my design business and in 2000 was talked into starting a local band called The Boogeymen. This ran for five years during which we recorded two albums. In 2004 my wife and I both being into the blues formed our own band the Archer Marriott band, playing gigs throughout the Midlands and North of England.

In 2008 Rock Candy Records re-released our last Polydor album Hurricane Town. Following this pretty much all our back catalogue was re-released in the UK, Europe, Japan and the USA.

As a result of this I called up Laurence and Colin and we staged a reunion gig at London’s Embassy Club. The gig was well received by the press and public, so we decided to keep things going and record a brand new album. The new record is called ‘’A Sudden Impulse’’ and comes out in April 2011, on The Rock Candy Label, with two single releases prior to that on the Internet.

We will be touring to promote the album and one of those dates will be a Bristol venue.

During the summer of 2010, Stampede played the Back Bar in Weston Super Mare. The gig was packed and amongst the audience were the original members of Lautrec. We had a great night and will be back there in April 2011.

In retrospect I couldn’t conclude this potted band history without saying that Laurence and I owe a lot to the West Country and especially Bristol. We started our musical journey there and made many great friends in the process. I lived in the town itself for five years, and still love going back there.

Stampede info can be found on myspace:  stampedeofficial. Facebook stampederock and Reuben Archer. A new site will be up and running in January 2011.

 (Reuben Archer Dec 2010)


The Cortinas -Punk Rock Anthology

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

The Cortinas

The word went out a couple of weeks ago. There was to be, for the first time ever, a compact disc of The Cortinas singles, album and Peel Session release. Hard to believe that no-one had thought to put all the recordings on to one CD before, but there y’go. Excitement reigned…well me and Steve Underwood were happy. And the 29th of November saw the official release. I found a copy on the internet for £4.50.
As a youth I loved The Cortinas. Never saw them live, never had the first LP but the first two singles are classics. They are here on the CD, tracks 1-4. Classics. My favourite being “Defiant Pose”. Teenage anthem for 1978. I remember buying it on 12″ format from a great record shop in St. Austell in 1978 whilst holidaying in Cornwall. I’ve always remembered where and when I bought the classics.
As a youth I “suppose” I liked “punk rock”, although I was never a fan of the “biggies” like Sex Pistols or The Clash or Buzzcocks. I liked The Damned for a couple of LP’s and The Jam had a few good hard chord songs, above all I liked The Stranglers up until and including their “Black And White” LP. I went more for the independent single, the stuff John Peel was playing the most and was 10p cheaper in the singles bin on Sanctuary Records (Lincoln) counter. Stuff like The Cortinas, Eater, Cyanide, The DP’s, Menace, Outsiders etc along with steadfast labels like Rough Trade and Factory and Fast Product – that was my stuff.
After the single tracks comes the Peel Session. Quite weak apart from the two tracks that were the single “A” sides. The album follows. I hadn’t heard the LP since 1980. I never owned a copy. A friend (Mark Collins) bought it and on first listen we declared it crap! Listening to it now 30 years later (and thirty years older) it still sounds pretty crap. Very weak and the songs have not stood the test of time. Unlike, say, The DP’s “If You Know What I Mean” LP or Eater “The Album”. I think the problem with The Cortinas is that they only had 5 and a half good songs and an album that only featured one and a half of them.
The booklet notes are a good read and really it is about time some person took it upon themsleves to write a book about the Bristol Music Scene in the late 1970′s, early 1980′s akin to the Sheffield tome “Beats Working For A Living”, there were some great innovative groups / labels around then. (It has a “Where Are They Now” section (which I love) and Nick Sheppard is a DJ in Perth, Australia. Tim..hunt the man down)!! The booklet kind of alludes to the band running out of steam when they signed to CBS, but the songs on the LP are really bad. What it reminds me of is……there must have been an interim when The Leyton Buzzards became Modern Romance. They must have had some tracks/songs and thought…these don’t really work as high energy punk tunes, why don’t we try and add a salsa or rhumba beat and lighten the guitars, and then thought sod it – let’s change our name and go all out pop. Well, The Cortinas LP is like The Leyton Buzzards in their interim period!

I was in Toulouse in 2006 where I found a lovely little second hand vinyl shop, and I found (for 10 Euro) a copy of the “Heartache” 7″. I had to buy it. B Side is their classic “Ask Mr Waverly”. And if you are wondering, the half decent track is “Radio Rape” (which could have been a DP’s song if you ask me).
The CD is a good document of a band with five and half decent songs who after one LP had the decency to call it a day…how many albums did The “bloody” Clash make? (whatever the number it was, it was that number too many). If seen for a fiver and you know of The Cortinas I say “buy it”.

1: CD Sleeve.
2: The Cortinas Live in Bristol.
3: “Heartache” Sleeve. (10 Euro)!

Taken from:


Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Sugar Shack Records Ltd

Firstly can I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

You will no doubt be fully aware of the economic position we currently find ourselves in the UK.

The music industry is in a complete mess with physical product sales decreasing month on month and download sales increasing very slightly but not at a rate which will save the industry or the companies who trade within it.

I had to make a difficult decision in 2010 to cease trading as Sugar Shack Records Ltd on the advice of my Accountants MWM.

Where are we now?

As you should be aware Bristol Archive Records is a subsidiary label of Sugar Shack and with effect from the 1st October 2010 we continue business as usual with the new name Sugar Shack Records. The Archive label is by far the bigger party now with an average of six digital releases per month.

In 2010 The Archive has released three compilation CDs and two Vinyl albums however across the board sales including digital, have been bitterly disappointing.

The Future?

My commitment to Bristol music remains as strong as ever and my passion to ensure that artists from the past should be remembered and not forgotten is as important today as it was on the launch of . Sugar Shack however will not release many new records in 2011.

I’m excited about The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 on CD and Vinyl to be released in Feb 2011 and we follow this with a Talisman album in April. Pre sales look more positive and the initial press looks like we should get good reviews.

One of the major positives is the amount of traffic the website obtains and this is reflected in the search engine positions when tracking Bristol Archive Records – clearly people are interested.

I could not run the label without the support of the small team that works with me to provide the mastering, artwork, design, websites and sourcing of material. Thanks a million to all the team and thank you to you the artist for allowing your material to be made available through the Archive and Sugar Shack.

I wish I could report a healthier picture and I wish we were selling more music.

Please contact me directly if you wish to receive an accurate of account of your individual sales.

 In time as the Archive gets bigger I believe things will improve but for now let’s drink a toast to the New Year 2011.

Yours sincerely


On behalf of the team   /