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The Reaction ‘Shapes Of Things To Come’

Wednesday, January 17th, 2024

The Reaction
‘Shapes of Things To Come’
Released 26th January 2024 on Strictly Limited 200 copies only Red Marble Vinyl

For the many fans of 1960s music, we are sure this retrospective album by The Reaction will come as something of a surprise. Very rarely do you come across a band that has managed so successfully to recreate the unique electric 12 string sound of the 60s American West Coast. With seven original well crafted, self penned songs, and four cover versions once performed by the likes of The Yardbirds, The Creation, The Beatles and The Byrds, the new album ‘Shapes of Things To Come’ can sit very confidently alongside any other album from that era.

Bristol based The Reaction were formed in the mid 1980s greatly influenced by the music and dress of the 60s, a combination that appealed to many of the Mod Revivalists of the day. With the young Mods enthusiastic support, The Reaction were quickly riding high on a wave of popularity and independent record sales. Everyone that either heard the band or were lucky enough to see their live set, were left with no doubt the band were destined for a brighter future than many of their peers. Even though they managed to gain much coveted Radio 1 airplay from the likes of John Peel and Andy Kershaw, and the backing of the Waterloo Sunset Records, their popularity was never properly harnessed. Within three years they were gone, but not thankfully without leaving behind the tracks that are now available on this album.

The Reaction were of their time, with the potential to have progressed way beyond their revivalist image and following. They were unique in that they did not conform to everyone’s idea of what a revivalist band of the time should be, whilst the likes of The Jam, Secret Affair and the Chords were all trying to push some ‘angry young man’ message, The Reaction were singing of a more idealistic world, a world of Sun, Surf and Sex and damned good at it they were too. If there is such a thing as reading between the musical lines then this is it. Listening to these tracks some 38 years after their inception – we cannot help but think ‘what if’.

This album was originally released as CD only in 2017 and has long since been deleted. We follow this album with another UK Mod release The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1985 early 2024.


Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Chris Bostock, bassist with The JoBoxers, tells The Saint about his very earliest days in music!

What was Chris’s childhood like growing up in Bristol? Why did he turn away from the guitar and towards the bass? What influence did Bristol punk band The Cortinas have on Chris? How did he join The Stingrays? Why did Chris feel sorry for Pete Petrol of Spizz Oil when they played The Locarno? Why did he leave The Stingrays to join The X Certs? What are Chris’s memories of supporting The Clash at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff? How did Chris get pulled away from Bristol to London by Clash manager Bernard Rhodes?

Listen link:

New Licencing Deals for 2022

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Radiation Records based in Italy have licenced four of our releases for re-release via their label in 2022 on Vinyl.>

1. The Cortinas – ‘Defiant Pose’ (Singles and Demos 1977/78)
Bristol punk quintet the Cortinas began as an R&B covers band, but soon sped up their repertoire when punk arrived, making them local pioneers. A slot supporting the Stranglers at the Roxy brought them onto Miles Copeland and Mark Perry’s Step Forward label and they later signed to CBS before imploding, guitarist Nick Sheppard then joining the Clash and drummer Daniel Swann San Francisco’s the Sneeches. This ace compilation gathers the best of their early work, including the immortal debut ‘Fascist Dictator’/‘Defiant Pose,’ as well as ‘TV Personalities,’ both in the studio and live. Another crucial piece of the Bristol puzzle!
Pre-Order link = (Released 11th February 2022)>
The Cortinas band pic

2. The Fans – ‘We Don’t Live Here Any More’ – previously licenced out to the Japanese label 1977
Enigmatic power-pop quartet the Fans formed in l978, spurred into action by the Bristol area’s vibrant new wave scene. Singer / guitarist George Smith previously fronted the Dragons (with future Tom Robinson collaborator Jo Burt) and guitarist Rob Williams was in Uncle Po (with future Dexy’s violinist Helen Bevington); they split after two singles for Fried Egg, but regrouped in 2OlO following a Japanese hit cover of their dejected You Don’t Live Here Anymore. This dynamite collection joins the Fried Egg work with rare demos and live recordings, the definitive picture of one of Avon’s most impressive new wave guitar bands.
Pre-Order link = (Released 4th February 2022)>
fans 4 (2)

3. The Numbers – ‘Alternative Suicide’ – previously a digital only release
Bristol new wave quartet the Numbers formed in 1977 with vocalist / rhythm guitarist Nick McAuley, bassist Wayne Kingston, drummer Lee Gardener and future Massive Attack guitarist Angelo Bruschini. Heavily influenced by Bowie’s Berlin trilogy, early recordings surfaced on compilations issued by the local Heartbeat label in 1979, namely the power- punk-pop ‘Alternative Suicide’ on 4 Alternatives and the funked-up ‘Cross Slide’ on Avon Calling. This excellent compilation pairs those songs with unreleased demos, giving us the complete picture of a band far ahead of their time, with Bruschini already on dazzling form.
Pre-Order link = (Released Jan 28th)>
The Numbers

If you want coloured vinyl then visit Radiation Records web site =>

The Rhythmites album ‘Integration’ will follow in the spring – release date to be set>

Cherry Red Records

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Bristol Archive Records have ventured into a ‘Non Exclusive’ partnership deal with the London based indie Cherry Red Records.>

Cherry Red specialise in Box Set compilations and our catalogue is ideal for them to find and licence rare, ofton undiscovered gems from the punk and post punk era in particular.>

Here’s what Cherry Red’s head of catalogue said about us………>

Bristol Boys Make More Noise
We now represent the Bristol Archive catalogue, which contains around 5,000 tracks in total.

This collection is based on recordings from the Bristol area (mostly from the late 70s onwards) with the aim of showcasing music from the diverse local scenes and providing the historical context of all things Bristol that should never be forgotten.

The artists include The Cortinas, Talisman, Me and many (many!) more.>

John McLean RIP

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

This week we lost Big John Mclean, he suffered a heart attack at 58 years old – regretably he didn’t make it through.
John was the front man, singer of The Crazy Trains, The Bones, The Bad Losers.>

John was a fantastic graphic designer; Bristol Archive Records used his skills on one of our first releases by Apache Dropout.

John was cool as fuck – RIP Big Man.>

Bunny Marrett – RIP

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Last week we lost Orville Marrett aka Bunny Redz Marrett to cancer.
Bunny was a product of the Bamboo Club having arrived in Bristol via Wolverhampton, London and then back to Wolverhampton for a short while.>

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica he travelled to England to be with his parents in 1958.
Whilst in Bristol he became recognised as an actor, poet, musician and songwriter – character around St.Pauls.
Bunny recording one 12″ single for Shoc Wave Records in the late 70′s ‘Times are Getting Harder’>

His finest work was recorded in 1983 with The Startled Insects, Bristol Archive Records released the material on LP and CD in 2012 – a fantastic piece of work, a fusion of roots reggae and jazz.
Bunny wrote the legendary Bristol anthem ‘Bristol Rock’ recorded and released originally by Black Roots in the late 70′s along with another of his songs ‘The System’.
Bunny will be missed by everyone that knew him…………’Cheers Me Old Fruit’
Here’s a link to an interview we did with Bunny –>
Photo credit = Alex Cater


Friday, April 2nd, 2021

Remember ME – 1991 Bristol band?


We are delighted to confirm that they have joined the Archive. More news very soon but here’s an extract from some sleeve notes……….. Me’s proper work really starts with their meeting the mighty Seán Ó’Neill, founder of Bristol indie label PopGod, and front person of the legendary Moonflowers. PopGod’s P&D deal with Revolver and PIAS, not to mention the Moonflowers nous for selling a good few thousand records, financed the release of several critically-praised records by Me. Starting with ‘Wake Up e.p’. in 1991, Me proceeded to put out two albums (both quasi-or-actual double Lp-length) and a series of distinctive and highly differing Ep’s.

Tammy Payne

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

Tam guitar

Of the four self- penned albums Tammy has released, only one of them is under her name.

Whilst this is perhaps not the best strategy for building a music career, it does explain her preference to experiment.

As a singer, writer and drummer she has covered jazz, dance, Latin, alt-folk and rock.

At 19, she gave a demo to local DJ Tristan B. He passed it on to a plugger at Warner Bros and soon Tammy had an interview with Warners. Despite liking her own compositions, they felt it was safer for Tammy to launch her career with a cover.  She recorded a version of Denice Williams’ ‘Free’. Warners were pleased with the attention this got and gave the go ahead for Tammy to record a single of her own tune, ‘Take Me Now’. They put it round the clubs as a white label and due to the positive feedback Tammy earned herself a meeting with the ‘man who signed Madonna.’  She was told by the plugger to wear a nice little dress. She turned up in a baggy t-shirt and jeans feeling very nervous! The man who signed Madonna dropped Tammy from Warners but there was no cause for alarm. Her white label was still out there and reached the ears of Gilles Peterson.

Tammy released two singles of big chorus dance / soul tunes on Gilles – Talkin Loud label.

Then her love for Brazilian music took her to Brazil and across the USA to get percussion lessons.

Back in Bristol she did a lot of jazz gigs either on drums or as a singer covering bossa nova classics as well as standard jazz repertoire. Many of these gigs were with fellow jazz enthusiasts Adrian Utley of Portishead and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp.

Soon Tammy started writing her own material again and so began her solo output with Cup of Tea Records, then Sissi, Boca 45 and Smith and Mighty collaborations. She features on five tracks on Smith & Mighty’s album Big World Small World.

She toured Europe and USA as the drummer for John Parish (long-time producer of PJ Harvey) with a band that included Adrian Utley and Jim Barr.

Sometime into the 2000’s Tammy learned to strum acoustic guitar and experimented with a different voice, more fragile, more story-telling – an alter ego even – who appears as the artist / band Jukes on the album ‘A Thousand Dreamers’, released on Badly Drawn Boy’s and Andy Votel’s Manchester label, Twisted Nerve.

Here, she is dreamy and whimsical on her foray into the Bleeker Street of her imaginings, spurred on by listening to folk music and Dylan, Cohen and other 60’s and 70’s writers.

It is on her second album as Jukes; ‘We Might Disappear’, that her alter ego sounds most convincing, covering such topics as her relationship to fate and time, ego, identity and the search for connection to others.

After taking time out to be a mum, Tammy decided to make the jazz standards album she always wanted to make. What came out of this was anything but standard. She formed a band with Dylan Howe on drums, Dan Moore on organ, Neil Smith on guitar and Jim Barr on bass, called it Tamco and deconstructed the songs of Dolly Parton, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello to the effect of The Doors meets Julie Driscoll. It was released on Edition Records in 2010.

Tammy kept the line-up, with the addition of another drummer from Bristol, Matthew Jones, to record the only album under her own name, this album, ‘Viva Outsider’, brings together jazz, blues and pop of eras from the 50’s onwards.

There was no particular reason why Tammy finally used her full name for this. When asked, “It just felt like time” she said.



Sissi ft: Tammy Payne

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021



1998 Voice of The Ocean. Cup of Tea Records.

1999 Come Down. Write A List. Angels Egg Records.

2002 Boy like ep. Angels Egg

2006 The Voice of the Ocean. Album. Angels Egg

Jim Barr and Tammy Payne (then partners in life as well as music) worked on the music of Sissi. together in Jim’s basement studio in Easton in Bristol from the mid to late 90’s.

During this time, they collaborated with Patrick Duff, The Invisible Pair of Hands, Marc Gauvin and John Parish.

Having spent two years playing bedroom drums along to The Low-End Theory album by Tribe Called Quest, Tammy started sampling her own beats to add to her songs. This led to her becoming a co-producer with Jim.

Many musicians who came through the doors to record their own music would end up contributing to the making of the one and only Sissi album. These i included Ian Matthews, who went on to drum with Kasabian, Dan Brown producer of Ilya, John Baggott (Robert Plant, Massive, Portishead) and Pete Judge of (Get the Blessing).

Two eps’ later (Look At Me on Cup Of Tea Records in 1998 and Come Down via Write A List in 1999) they had enough material for an album. They played a couple of gigs and they faded swiftly out of sight.

Maybe the major label hype around the gigs and the subsequent silence from said labels might have thrown Jim and Tammy somewhat. Maybe the idea to search for an independent label who would not be concerned about pigeonholes simply did not occur to Jim and Tammy. Or maybe other adventures came calling, involving for Tammy, playing percussion on the London salsa circuit and collaborating with Smith and Mighty back in Bristol for Jim – an upcoming world tour with Portishead came calling.

We only know that sometime later (2006) the album came out in Japan only on Angels Egg.

Vitus Dance – Jump on board (1979)

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

1. Down at The Park

2. Inter City Living

3. Problem Parade

4. I’m In Control

Founder member and guitarist Mark Byrne shares his memories.

Vitus Dance 1

We formed in February 1979. I had returned to Bristol after a short spell living in London, trying to join or start up a new wave band. I got back in touch with drummer Kearin Wright and guitarist Kevin McFadden as the three of us had played in bands together on and off since school days. Bass player Malcolm Young had posted an advert in the NME looking for a band to join, so we asked him to audition and on hearing him play, knew that the foursome was complete.

After a few months spent song writing and rehearsing we felt tight as a band and ready to rock. A weekly residency was blagged at local hotspot The Crown Cellar Bar which we were soon packing out.

Meanwhile I’d grabbed the attention of Swindon band XTC’s management team, which led to them taking us on and getting us gigs at the Bristol Locarno concert venue as second on the bill to LA punk stars The Dickies and soon after, UK power pop band The Records.

Studio time was booked at Sound Conception in Bristol with more local gigs played, including the well renowned Granary Club. DJ John Peel got to know about us and after hearing our studio demos, a recording session was booked for September 25th at BBC’s Maida Vale complex, which was broadcast nine days later.

Tour dates soon followed:


October 9th Reading Target Club

11th Weston Super Mare Sloopy’s Club

18th Weston Super Mare Sloopy’s Club

21st London Marquee Club (support act to Toyah Wilcox)

23rd London Nashville (support act to Classix Nouveau)

24th London Music Machine (support act to Sore Throat)

27th Bristol Crown Cellar Bar

November 1st London Fulham Greyhound

3rd Birmingham Underworld (support act to UB40)

6th London Hope and Anchor

13th Bristol Stonehouse

15th London Nashville (support act to The Screams)

21st Bristol Granary Club (support act to Generation X)

28th Twickenham West London College (support act to The Members)


January   11th Exmouth Pavilion

After the tour, we decided to take some time out to write more songs. 1979 had been a great year and we felt that we’d achieved a lot in a short period of time. The gigs had been so full of energy and excitement. Generation X were awesome to watch and hang out with. The UB40 gig was promoted as a Punky Reggae Party and it truly was. The John Peel session was ace! All the recordings were done in one or two takes. We were booked in for a whole day at Maida Vale but were finished in a few hours and left the Sound Engineer to it. The band Madness, who like us were just starting out, happened to be in the next studio along the corridor and we enjoyed chatting together over cups of tea in the canteen.

As a bunch of guys, with our crew, we clowned around a lot and had wild times and fun. As far as I know there are only three surviving photographs of the band and they’re here in this archive. We travelled to Birmingham to do the shoot and after getting bored with the ‘all stand in a line’ format, started to mess around as usual, which then led to the chaotic photo being taken that typified us. Standing left to right in the more standard photograph is Kevin, Mark, Kearin and Malcolm.

It turned out that Vitus Dance never did get back together after our break. Kevin and I had both shared the lead vocal roles yet there was a vibe emerging that a single frontman would better suit the line-up. Also, I was of the opinion that we were too late on the scene. Chrysalis, Virgin, CBS and Island records had passed on us and the Synth Pop bands as well as the New Romantics were just about to take off big time. As I write this, I’m thinking back to a time forty years ago and to be honest I can’t really remember why? We were young and moved on without too much deep thought.

Kevin and Kearin formed Misdemeanour and later on Malcolm and I became Voice of Nature.