Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for October, 2011

The Cortinas Reform for 2012 Tour

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Bristol’s very first punk band, The Cortinas, are to reform in 2012. They will be appearing at the Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, in August, as part of a major UK tour, their first for 34 years -The Defiant Pose Tour 2012’

The Cortinas formed in March 1976 when Jeremy Valentine (vocals), Nick Sheppard (guitar), Mike Fewins (guitar), Dexter Dalwood (bass) and Daniel Swan were still at school.“Jer put the band together, he definitely had a vision of what he wanted; he was very hip – Dexter and Mike went to the same school as him”, remembers Nick. “He found me via Mark Stewart, who I went to school with, and I brought Dan in; we had played in a band together before. We used to practise at the back of Jer’s Dad’s shop”. The Cortinas soon built up a big local following, and a break came when the band supported the Stranglers at the fabled Roxy Club in Covent Garden on 22 January 1977. Nick recalls how it came to be: “Hugh Cornwell was staying at a friend of his’ flat near the university, on holiday, and me and my girlfriend met him in the street. This would have been in the summer of 76. We started talking to him because we recognized him from seeing The Stranglers and hung out for the afternoon. I told him about the band. Later on, in January 77, he sent us a postcard asking us to play at the Roxy, so we rang up and said yes! I remember my mum telling me not to be too disappointed if people didn’t like us…”. Things then moved quickly for the band. Miles Copeland and Mark Perry’s Step Forward label released the classic singles ‘Fascist Dictator’ in June and ‘Defiant Pose’ in December, the band recorded a fine Peel session, and they appeared on the front cover of the April/May issue of Sniffin’ Glue. Heady stuff, but sadly, it was over all too soon. The following year, after a poorly received album, the band were no more, but in 1977 they were unstoppable – simply one of the best first wave punk bands around.

Nick famously joined the last line-up of the Clash, touring the world with them for over two years. He now lives in Australia. Dan moved to San Francisco and played with The Sneetches, then worked with a management company that handled Green Day and he now runs his own music management firm there. Jeremy moved into academia and is now Dr Jeremy Valentine, a senior sociology lecturer at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Mike later played with the likes of Stewart Copeland and Brian James, and is the fourth original member taking part in the tour.

Recent interest in the Cortinas is largely down to the Bristol Archive Records label, who first released two download-only albums, The GBH Demos 1977 and live set Please Don’t Hit Me. Such interest was aroused that the label released the album MK1, which included both of the band’s singles, plus demo tracks, on vinyl. The album has now gone into a second pressing on white vinyl.

Indie giants Cherry Red have also released The Cortinas – Punk Rock Anthology, which brings together the singles, the True Romances album and the Peel session, and to coincide, Record Collector magazine ran a major feature on the band.

Bristol Archive will be releasing a new CD including never seen before pictures of the band to tie-in with the tour. When the reformation was announced Nick said that “We are all still friends and the release of MK1 was an enjoyable experience, so I guess we feel that might continue.” He added: “The Cortinas is where I come from, so I feel like going back for a visit. I love a challenge, and the idea of reforming the Cortinas is extremely challenging, let alone the reality.”

Black Roots – London Show

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Black Roots plus Fowokan featuring Jimmy Lindsay
It’s set to be a truly great night of British reggae on Friday 18th November with this fantastic double header featuring Black Roots and Fowokan at Under the Bridge, Chelsea.
Following their appearance at Alexander Palace (All Tomorrows Parties, curated by Portishead) in July 2011, newly reformed Black Roots have just seen the launch of their new “best of” CD (“The Reggae Singles Anthology”, Bristol Archive)and live DVD ahead of their return to the studio in early 2012. Catch this rare opportunity to see them live.
Black Roots
Black Roots were a powerful and potent force in the British reggae music scene throughout the 80’s and left a legacy of no less than ten albums and more than eight singles before bowing out of the public eye in the mid-90’s. Hailing from the St Paul’s area of Bristol, the original eight-member band was formed in 1979 and quickly gained a large following by touring almost non-stop around the country, playing their brand of ‘militant pacifism’ roots.
Their album “Black Roots” released in 1983 was a highly acclaimed debut for the band and saw them make their mark immediately on the national music scene. The band continued to attract attention and praise with their next two albums and their fourth, “All Day All Night” was produced by Mad Professor. In response to public demand for a live album Black Roots released “Live Power” in 1988 capturing the power and strength of the band’s tight, vibrant and entertaining stage performance.
In 1991 Black Roots and Neil Fraser released “Dub Factor: The Mad Professor Mixes” along with Black Steel and the horn section from the All Day All Night album. The tenth and final album “Dub Factor 3: Dub Judah & Mad Professor Mixes” released in 1995 finally brought the curtain down on Bristol’s finest exponents of reggae and without doubt, one of Britain’s best loved performing bands of the genre.
“If anyone tells you that there is no such thing as good British reggae, first tell them that they are a herbert and then listen to Black Roots.” John Peel
Melding soulful roots reggae with hard hitting funky vibes Fowokan features some of the best UK musical talent of the genres. Forged from their time together in the legendary British funk band Cymande, Fowokan re-unites founding member Sam Kelly (drums / backing vocals) with Jimmy Lindsay (vocals).
Jimmy’s song writing delves deep into the roots of reggae and communicates a powerful message through his Jamaican heritage. The strength of Jimmy’s writing is captured on his three solo albums (including “Children of Rastafri“ ). His chart success includes the 1977 British Reggae Award winning single, a re-working of the Commodores “Easy“.
Playing as a formidable six piece unit, this is funky roots reggae at its best.
Under The Bridge
Under The Bridge is the new music venue in West London based beneath the terraces of the Stamford Bridge football ground. With a capacity of 600 and state of the art lighting and sound, UTB is a great gig space which delivers on both atmosphere and intimacy.
The UTB team are committed to delivering music events of a high standard across many genres, staging performances by major artists as well as showcasing some of the best emerging talent around.
Tickets and more information available from
Press Contacts
Graeme Miall, Promoter, One Tree Limited , Telephone : 07816 845 883
This event is a co-promotion bought to you by Under The Bridge Limited and One Tree Limited.

The Cortinas

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

The Cortinas are to reform and tour the UK in 2012

‘The Defiant Poase Tour 2012′


More news on dates later

Reggae Explosion 2 The 80′s Album Review

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Album Reviews- The Bristol Reggae Explosion


Various Artists -’The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983′ (Bristol Archive Records)


Various Artists -’The Bristol Reggae Explosion 2 ‘The 80’s’ ‘ (Bristol Archive Records)

Even before you listen to a note from this excellent pair of a compilations, they throw up some interesting points. Firstly, just how London-centric the UK music industry remains and has been for decades. This has meant that with the radio, TV and most national print media being based there, it has been necessary to break London to make a National Impact and to give the impression of having ‘made it.’

Also that British Reggae has siffered from being viewed as not quite as good as that which originated from Jamaica, in as much as (Pre-Grime) UK Hip-Hop was seen as beinginferior to the US Variety. But just as names from the late 80s such as Derek B, The Wee Papa Girl Rappers made an imopact but have still to truly get their historical due, so British Reggae has also suffered. Leaving UB40 out of it, the late 70s saw the likes of Aswad, Janet Kay, Linton Kwesi Johnson and Steel Pulse, to name but four. The two-tone movement in Coventry of the era may also be seen to have been a first or secondary cousin. And as well as all this, there was the Bristol Scene.

In purely simplistic terms, it could be said that these compilations do what is said on the tin. But that would be to underplay just how much wonderful music is on these two albums. Reggae , like pretty much every other genre, has its’ own sub-genres, and much of what is on offer here is Roots or Dub. But you will also find the gorgeous lovers rock of Sharon Bengamin’s ‘Mr. Guy’ and Volume 2 closes with Ran Ratchet and Teknika’s ‘Ragamuffin Girl’ which has more of a dancehall vibe, sounding lighter and far removed from the Roots on offer.

It may be that many of the names on here are unknown to many (this writer included). The reason for this is not just the inclusion of some previously unreleased tracks but the scareceness of some of the tracks in the first place. As the press release explains, most of these records were pressed in very small quantities and sold directly to fans at gigs. These two compilations are therefore very much a labour of love for the appropriately titled Bristol Archive Records who have licensed and gathered together these tracks.

There’s hardely a duff track on here, though if I had to single out some tracks that have really stood out for me, they would include Zapp Stereo’s ‘Way OUt West’ the appropriately named ‘Bristol Rock’ by Black Roots and the scarce as anything ‘Robin Hoods Of The Ghetto’ by Cool Runnings.

Reggae would continue to make its presence felt furing the nineties in two forms that owed a debt to the sounds on here. First of all, when hardcore dance hit 168 bpm it was twice the speed of the 84bpm reggae records which played off each other (or indeed together) lead to the style that became known as Drum’n’bass. And in Bristol, The Trip Hopmobement clearly had their roots in the reggae scene as much as rave culture, if not more so. Some of the most improtant records of the nineties in any genre from the likes of Tricky (Maxinquaye), Portishead (Dummy, Portishead), Massive Attack (Blue Lines, Protection)
and Ronnie Size and Reprazent (Newforms) came not only out of the region but a mere degree or two removed from these records.

These compilations are more than just historically interesting; they help provide the DNA of much of the best British music of the last twenty years and shed light on an unfairly overlooked scene.


The Bristol Reggae Explosion 1978-1983 and The Bristol Reggae Explosion 2 ‘The 80’s’ are out now on Bristol Archive Records

Taken from:

Revelation Rockers – New Album

Monday, October 3rd, 2011


Released 5th March 2012 as Vinyl LP and Digital Download

1979 was a good year for reggae and British reggae in particular. Lover’s rock went mainstream with Janet Kay on Top Of the Pops and Aswad, Steel Pulse and Linton Kwesi Johnson all building on their debuts with strong second albums. Meanwhile the healthy live circuit gave bands an opportunity to make a living from music. One of those bands was Bristol’s Revelation Rockers who although founded in 1976, would not find real success until slight line-up changes and a change of name to Talisman which would see them become established as one of the UK’s finest live acts.

Until recently Bristol Archive Records had believed that no recordings of Revelation Rockers existed, so when we were handed a master tape we couldn’t wait to get it transferred and as the first people to listen to these tracks in nearly a third of a century we knew we’d discovered something rather special. The five songs on this album aren’t some rough demo tracks best forgotten, but a fully realised UK roots album worthy of standing alongside anything released at the time.

The reason why these tracks weren’t released in ’79 is long forgotten – perhaps it was the change of name or personnel, possibly the lack of funds or interest from record labels or maybe it was just that the music and Talisman took a slightly different direction. Whatever the reason, Bristol Archive Records is belatedly putting things right with the 5th March 2012 release of “Jah Praises” Revelation Rockers entire recorded legacy as a vinyl only LP, just as it would have been in ’79.

This record is a time capsule, dealing with the reality of life in late seventies Britain, racism, mass unemployment, industrial unrest and poverty. The title track is a song of praise to Jah driven by a relentless bass line backed up by horns, the sort of song that was almost compulsory for any seventies roots album. From praising Jah, the music tackles the loss of cultural identity caused by the legacy of slavery, “Give me back my culture, give me back my roots”, the track “Culture” makes its message clear. Perhaps borrowing a lyrical idea from the Wailers “Who Feels It Knows It” makes it clear you can’t truly relate to how others live their lives until you’ve actually experienced a similar situation yourself, a lesson still very much relevant today. “Wicked Dem” is a song that would go on to become one of the signature tunes of Talisman. Here we have its earliest recorded incarnation, very different from the version we all know, rawer, sparser, slower and heavier, but just as hard hitting and able to hold its own with the later Talisman cuts. The album ends with a change of mood, a love song, yet there’s nothing soft about “When You’re Away” as it’s driven along by a heavy contemporary backing with the added benefit of horns.

It’s a rare event to have the opportunity to hear an entire “lost” reggae album, even rarer when the music is this good. This record is essential for all fans of UK roots reggae and beyond, rewriting the story of what was happening on the Bristol and UK reggae scenes in 1979. Long overdue it may be, but Revelation Rockers finally get to secure their place in the music’s history.

ARTIST: Revelation Rockers

TITLE: Jah Praises

FORMAT: Format: Vinyl LP and Digital Download

LABEL: Bristol Archive Records



RELEASE DATE: 5th March 2012


CONTACT: Mike Darby, E: T: 07885 498 402