Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for September, 2017

Gold – Bristol Rock

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Gold was formed in 1979 in Bristol, England by guitarists Jon Dalton and Pete Willey. The two had previously played before in the rock band Graffiti but this was more of a junior effort that played some school gigs and “prom” events. Gold was the boys’ first serious band. Jon was 17 and Pete was 19 when they formed Gold. The remaining members of Gold “MK 1″ were, bassist, Andy Scott and Drummer Steve Dawson.

Like many of their contemporaries, Gold had grown up listening to first generation rock and metal bands like: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Free and later acts like Thin Lizzie and Queen.

Gold Mk1

The first Gold’s music was a combination of space and glam rock served over heavy metal beats. Their set featured space-opera epics like “Mountain Queen” (remembered as a three part trilogy although only the first “movement” was ever recorded). Mountain Queen referenced concepts of “Wisdom Castles” and “Crystal Isles” rendered with a deeper than usual vocal style and a number of tempo changes that suggested the Canadian rockers “Rush” as well as a spacey guitar playout reminiscent of the hippy/space rock leaders: Gong and Steve Hillage who were immensely influential in the West of England at that time.

The band quickly gained a reputation beyond their years and were asked to play live at the prestigious “Granary” club in Bristol. Word spread quickly and Gold soon began attracting larger and larger crowds. At this point, it’s probably true to say that Willey brought the soulful, rocky elements to the music while Dalton supplied the more cosmic side to the proceedings.

One of Gold MK 1′s biggest crowd pleasers was the Power Ballad: “Is My Love In Vain”. A song of struggle and unrequited love with the obligatory “epic” guitar solo in the middle, IMLIV was picked up by legendary rock DJ: Al Read and broadcast numerous times on BBC Regional Radio; even though he had to do so with a taped version as it never made a vinyl release!. Another notable Gold tune of the time was the hard rocker: “Change For The Better” which featured a slamming Stones-AC/DC type backbeat and laconic vocal harmonies from Willey and Dalton. This was perhaps the first sign of where later Gold music was headed.

After nine months or so, Andy Scott decided he wanted to pursue other music styles and the, much loved, bassist left in an amicable split. His replacement Paul Summerill was the perfect match for the band and began the season of Gold MK 2.

Andy and Pete 1

Paul’s ferocious Rickenbacker sound was a combination of a chiming high end coupled with the characteristic deep, “Ricky” growl particularly when amplified by his massive Electrovoice bass stack.

Gold MK 2 attracted the interest of a local manager who is, sadly, now only remembered as “Jeff”. Jeff really believed in Gold and suggested that the band should build their fan base by not only focusing on their own following but by putting on Heavy Metal extravaganzas with other top local HM bands. The strategy worked and soon all of the bands involved benefited from the cross-pollination of their respective fan bases.

Gold headlined many of these gigs working with acts like Stormtrooper, Jaguar and Cheltenham based, Stealer.

By now Gold were regular features on the local metal scene playing all the famous Bristol rock venues like The Granary, Tiffany’s, The Locarno, The Stonehouse, The Hollybush and many more. This was also about the same time that the stirrings of a new movement the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” was beginning to take hold in concert with support from the popular national weekly paper “Sounds”. Gold saw this as a great potential opportunity but were frustrated by the lack of interest from record companies and the press, despite their strong following and sell-out gigs.

Gold at The Stonehouse 1982

As a result, Gold split for a while in early 1981. Willey and Summerill formed a power trio with ex. “Shiva” drummer, Phil Williams. Meanwhile Dalton took off on a completely different tangent playing with the jazz-funk outfit “Climax” for a while. But the draw of the rock scene and the constant pleading of the fans proved too much and eventually Dalton folded back in with the power trio to form the 3rd and last iteration of Gold.

If Gold MK 1 was the “Space” Gold, Gold MK 3 was definitely the “Rock” Gold. Phil Williams had the drum sound of a great rock “pro”. He had also mastered the lazy Hard-Rock backbeat so reminiscent of bands like Free, Bad Company and, even AC/DC. In terms of sheer tightness and quality, the live Gold 3 were streets ahead of Gold 1. This also introduced the band to a new and almost totally unexpected phenomenon: full dancefloors!

Gold MK 3 did keep some of the “old” space material like section one of the Mountain Queen to please the long-term fans but also introduced a lot more, straight-ahead, hard rockers like the slide guitar driven “Freight Train” and the street-fighting “This Place Never Changes”. By now it was not uncommon for the fans, a diverse mixture of bikers (most of the Gold members were also bikers), hippies and head-bangers to reward the band with so many set encores that pub landlords and concert promoters had to throw the venue lights up to get the fans to finally drink up and go home. Gold were on a roll and convinced that great times lay ahead then, several months later, tragedy struck.

Gold Mk 3

Gold were now touring nationally. They played venues in places like Southend, Norwich, Doncaster and the Midlands and also throughout South Wales where they enjoyed great support. Many of their Bristol fans also got on their bikes and in their cars to see them play around the country. One night after a particularly late travel back from an out of town gig. The band parked their van outside Dalton’s home and, for once, didn’t take the time to unload their equipment. The following morning Dalton awoke to find the van and all of the band’s equipment had been stolen. The only item left was one of Dalton’s guitars which he had taken in to play a little while before finally crashing out.

The band were devastated. They had no insurance and were completely broke. They fought with how or if they could continue. Commercial forces were trying to mold them into a typical NWOBHM band but Gold valued their musical diversity. They also saw the writing on the wall with regard to the up-coming neo-classical metal with its month-long solos and, often, second rate song structures which is something they didn’t want to entertain given that Gold had always been a tune-based band. With that in mind and with a wider sense of change in the air with the continued rise of Punk and New Wave, the band decided to finally call it a day.

Dalton moved to the Midlands for a short-lived stint with Prog-Rockers “Guizer Jarl” but eventfully took up a career as a touring session musician as did drummer Phil Williams. In fact the two did play once more in a hard rock cover band providing entertainment for, predominately, British and American ex-pats in the Middle east, particularly Dubai.

Dalton returned to the UK in the late 1980s and formed his last band with Pete Willey, the Latin-Jazz “Dit Da” which signaled the beginning of his transition from rock to jazz guitar which continued with his move to the US (Dalton is part Native American) in 1999. In 2003 he signed with the California jazz label: Innervision Records whom he has recorded for ever since.

Pete Willey remained in Bristol as a much respected guitar tutor and educator as well as giving frequent live appearances on guitar AND bass. Phil Williams lives in Corfu and runs a pan-European P.A. and sound reinforcement company. Paul Summerill remains true to his roots as a popular rock and blues musician in the West of England. He’s also an avid curator of all things “Gold”.

With the exception of the aforementioned “Muscle Power”, Gold never had any commercial releases but they did visit the studio on several occasions as well as pulling recordings from the mixing desk on many live gigs. They distributed the music in the form of affordable tape cassette releases to their friends and fans.

The various Gold members still get contacted by those fans who remember the band, the music, the bike runs and the parties (Gold threw a lot of parties ;-) ) Many still own those old Gold recordings and still play them to this day.

The 80′s – We loved it!

Friday, September 8th, 2017

“This Is 80’s Pop (Out West)”
Released on CD and Digital Download 6th October 2017


Do you think of the West Country in the 1980’s as a source of plentiful pop acts? Go on, pull the other one! With the music that’s normally associated with Bristol, Bath and places out west, a number of stereotypes come to mind. That can be down to the known success stories or just plain perception.

This is 80's pop cover

There has always been a broad picture of the scope of music that has come out of the west end of the M4 and M5 in general, from the more fundamental areas of rock, indie, reggae, rap, R ‘n B and dance music, through to the more arcane areas of post-punk, jazz, punk-funk, punk jazz, art-rock and even once in a while a moody singer-songwriter.

The boys (and girls) from the region have always made a right old variety of noise! It hasn’t always been accompanied by mainstream acceptance with the resulting sales. That heady creativity included more straight up pop music and the ‘take’ that could be put on it, with the hope that acclaim would follow. Dig a little deeper into the western region’s musical history and they weren’t alone in ploughing a furrow into the field marked ‘80’s Pop’. It was no wonder. The ground in that decade was fertile for sowing the seeds of possible pop perennials.

It maybe didn’t help that down the road in and near Bath, they had plenty of music emigrees who settled there and in the West Country having seen major league national and international success. The likes of Peter Gabriel, Midge Ure and even Stranglers front-man Hugh Cornwall made their homes and mark in the area.

But the most prominent of the acts to have been born, raised and emerged from the city of Bath itself were Tears for Fears in the 1980’s. It begged the question that if Tears for Fears could ‘make it’ big, did any other pop-orientated acts from the region come through, and if so what happened to them? Were they any good? Did they get any exposure and recognition? If not, why not?

This prompted Bristol Archive records owner, Mike Darby, and the long-time music industry creative and journalist, Dave Massey, to go through their extensive archive of local music and see if there was an album that could be compiled of those acts tracks that could be regarded as ‘lost hits’. Darby had done this with ‘lost gems’ by punk, mod and rock acts from the west and released well researched and beautifully presented compilations. Now it was time for the pop acts.

Dave Massey was right in the thick of it when this music was being made in the 1980’s. He was in the fortunate position of covering the many genres of music in his capacity as the Bristol and West country regional correspondent, and as the decade progressed somewhat uniquely for each of the weekly music papers in turn – firstly the NME, then Sounds, followed by Melody Maker.
These papers all had massive readership and circulations at the time. A Wednesday during the week was always the day to buy which paper was your source to find out what was happening to your favourite acts and music!

Massey also had moved to London in the late 80’s to work as an A&R man for a music publishing company. He trawled the whole country for new talent, but always kept a close eye on developments in his former back-yard. The range of music for him to assess was extensive, but the music industry has always regarded pop as a staple ingredient in its cash flow planning. Like it or not, he had to consider that, but he was always a fan of the genre if it ‘said’ something.
From their trawl Darby and Massey uncovered pop gold, and this wonderful compilation demonstrates that to the full. Many of the acts were seen live, reviewed and interviewed by Massey and other local journalists, featured on local, and in some instances national radio, and some made it on to local and national TV. Utilising the industry contacts he had built up through his writing Dave even ended up managing a couple of them briefly.

There was no lack of talent in these acts, or indeed ambition, and in a stylised era there was a keen appreciation of the right ‘look’ too. All kinds of strategies were used to promote themselves. Tracks were circulated on cassette tapes in order to solicit interest from an industry drowning in pop. Some went further and actually got as far as putting out independent releases. Gigs were done in ‘unusual’ venues. Videos were made in whatever surroundings would work.

These acts have stories of ‘got so close’ and ‘what might have been’. Many of the creators of these great tunes have gone on to success in careers that still involved music, whether as writers, producers or session players, or led to them running their own prosperous businesses, and even down to one of their number chairing and running a local Championship level football club!

But in the end the 20 tracks on the compilation do the ‘talking’. They are worthy contenders to be heard on day-time radio, in a top line club, blasting out of a TV screen or from in a car with the windows wound down on a sunny summer’s day, and just listened to by any pop fan through whatever means they choose to enjoy their music.

It’s a treasure trove of glorious commercial, but savvy and sexy pop music. Get into the groove of this wonderful west of England sonic pleasure feast!

ARTIST: Various Artists
TITLE: “This Is 80’s Pop (Out West)”
RELEASE DATE: 6th October 2017
LABEL: Bristol Archive Records
BARCODE: 5052571072622


1. Hey Belaba ‘Can’t Stop Running’
2. Wadi Vision ‘Forwards Backwards’
3. Vicious Circle ‘Sorry’
4. Bush and Clarke ‘I’m Satisfied’
5. Umo Vogue ‘Who’s Sorry Now’
6. Frame by Frame ‘Kill For Less
7. Great Naked ‘Narrow Bed’
8. Kick City ‘Cover Your Eyes
9. The Works ‘When The Glitter Fades’
10. Paul Sandrone (Pola) ‘I’m Alone’
11. Umo Vogue ’Make It Real’
12. Snapshot Parody ‘Money Makes Money’
13. Vicious Circle ‘Temptation’
14. Great Naked ‘Hanging Around my Door’
15. Wadi Vision ‘This is Ha Ha’
16. The Big Outdoor Type ‘Don’t Be a Stranger’
17. Bush and Clarke ‘Guru Maserati’
18. Hey Belaba ‘Call Of The Wild’
19. Pola ‘Mistakes’
20. Vicious Circle ‘Woman’s World’

The Reaction

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Soon come – we are the Mods!