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‘Skeletons’ GAV KING

GAV KING Orchard Packshot

Released 29TH March 2024 on Strictly Limited (300 copies only) Black 180gm Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve and Digital Download
The old punk adage was to live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse – and while Gavin King gave the first one his best shot, he got sidetracked and skipped the next step. Now, almost 50 years after burning brightly on Bristol’s burgeoning punk scene of the late seventies, he finds himself having a late surge of creativity.
With Private Dicks, the band that first threw Gavin into the spotlight, having just released a live album, and while he waits for his bandmates to finally finish off what will be the Bristol legends’ second album, he has turned his attention to his first, fully-fledged, solo effort. With help from Dicks’ guitarist and life-long friend Paul Guiver and former Tears For Fears and Robbie Williams sideman Neil Taylor, Skeletons is eight tracks (ten if you get the download) of dark, catchy, post-punk angst, the work of a man who has taken another look at his life and the state of the world and had a few thoughts….
“Obviously everything that’s released now is viewed through the prism of the pandemic,” Gavin reflects from his apartment in Bristol. “And in many ways, this is no different. Like everyone else I have been indoors for ages, but once I completed Netflix and finished arguing with the cat, I began to look at the state of the world today. “And once I started doing that, I stared looking back at my own life. Then before you know it a bunch of songs are sitting on my hard drive….”
Once the songs had started to take shape, Gavin drafted in old friends Guiver and Taylor to add the flourishes and finishing touches, with Taylor taking on production duties. The result is something even the usually self-deprecating King is happy with. “Neil’s production is just superb,” admits Gavin. “He’s added a depth to these songs and taken them in directions I really was not expecting – but it really works. “I’d almost go as far as to say I’m proud of this record.” For a man known for playing down many of his achievements over the years, this is quite the statement. Blending seething vocals with sweeping, majestic arrangements, Skeletons is a dark, mature record littered with the infectious choruses that made Private Dicks the band they were back in the day. It is fair to say making Skeletons was not something Gavin saw himself doing, even a couple of years ago, but life has a funny way of putting you where you’re meant to be.
After stepping back from the music business in the mid-nineties, he crossed paths with a band called River Street. Who happened to be looking for a singer. So once again, Gavin found himself dragged back to the stage. Fast forward a few years, and a few solo dabbling’s never really meant for public display, and we find that Private Dicks are having something of a resurgence – in Japan. Which leads to four old friends meeting up for a drink or two… “Suddenly this analogue punk band is getting a new lease of life in the digital age, and we are playing shows in Berlin, we are getting booked for festivals. We are even working on an arrangement of one of the Skeleton songs, so it will be interesting to see what we do with that.
So, while I was waiting around for the guys to sort their schedules out, instead of just getting annoyed and frustrated – I decided to be productive. And I am really pleased with the results!”

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‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’ – Various Artists

MOD_EXPLOSION_Packshot

Released 22nd March 2024 on Strictly Limited (300 copies only) White Marble Vinyl

Bristol Archive Records have been telling the story of the incredibly diverse Bristol Music scene for many years now. The label has gained considerable success with their previous releases ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion’ series – Volumes one, two and three covering 1978 to the end of the 80’s. We followed the Reggae vibe with another critically acclaimed reggae release ‘The Bristol Roots Explosion’ and in 2023 we turned our attention to punk with ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’. Now we turn our attention to another Subculture – Mods and we bring you ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’
This album covers the period 1979 to 1987 and features 14 tracks.  When punk rock started to fizzle out and Squat Punks started to appear on the streets, many of the UK’s disaffected youths had already moved sideways into Modernism and fell in love with bands like The Jam, Secret Affair, The Purple Hearts, The Lambrettas and The Chords but lets also remember our love for The Beat, Madness and The Specials.
Mod was another gang culture, to some a way of life, to some it became life.  The smart, striking fashion sense, the scooters, the music; (some from the 60’s, soul and Motown), some from the 70’s and 80’s, guitar driven power pop. Wow! Mod was the real deal.
The West Country embraced the scene and produced its own authentic Mod bands like The Reaction, Mayfair and The Newbeats.  Other bands were in on the Mod tag for a period of time but could be more appropriately described as Power Pop / Ska, namely, The Review, The Rimshots and Thin Air.
Success for some was supporting their heroes, a good example being Thin Air (previously called Out of Order) with their 15-year-old guitarist and singer/ songwriter Paul Sandrone, who supported The Jam at The Locarno in 1980 and The Rimshots, who played on the same bills as The Beat and The Bodysnatchers.
This album is a soundtrack to an era, remembering a period in time when Top of The Pops was full of Secret Affair and The Chords together with all the Two-Tone bands.  Thatcherism was killing multi-cultural Britain but to escape, it was ok to write a catchy pop song, it was ok to look smart and it was acceptable to wear a Parka, white socks, Hush Puppies and a mohair suit.
Enjoy the soundtrack to our lives – ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’ is released 22nd March 2024 on White Marble Vinyl.

Bristol Boys Make More Noise!

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 22nd March 2024
Cat No.: ARC381V

 

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A Way With Words (1980-1983)- The Rimshots

RIMSHOTS_Standard_Packshot

The Rimshots

Released 3rd May 2024 on Strictly Limited (200 copies only) Black Vinyl and Digital Download
Bristol Archive Records have been telling the story of the incredibly diverse Bristol Music scene for many years now. The label has gained considerable success with their previous releases ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion’ series. In 2023 we turned our attention to punk with ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’ and followed that in March this year with ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’. Now we continue our attention on this Subculture – Mods and we bring you an album by The Rimshots - ‘A Way With Words (1980-1983)’

This features 12 tracks, seven have never been released before on vinyl or CD. Many of the UK’s disaffected youths had already moved sideways into Modernism and fell in love with bands like The Jam, Secret Affair, and The Chords but let’s also remember The Rimshots love for The Beat, UB40 and The Specials.

Mod was another gang culture, to some a way of life, to some it became life and for The Rimshots it was their starting point in the music business with a love of Power Pop, Ska, Reggae, Dub and Dance music. The band consisting of Mike Furzeman (Guitar), Nick Waring (Drums), Simon Heathfield (Bass), Richard Bentley (Keyboards) and Mike Darby (Vocals). Mike now runs Bristol Archive Records, Sugar Shack Records and Reggae Archive Records.

Success for some was supporting their heroes, The Rimshots played on the same bills as The Beat, Hazel O’Connor, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Black Roots, Talisman and The Body Snatchers.

The Rimshots signed a record deal with Shoc Wave Records after only their third gig. Shoc Wave was a Dominican label specialising in Soca and Reggae before moving in later years onto Disco. The band were managed by Gene Walsh who ran the label which led them to The Blues, Reggae bands and a new and exciting culture for five young lads from the leafy suburbs of Bristol.

As the 70’s moved into the early 80’s the band dropped the Mod tag and became more of a Power Pop/Rock outfit, especially after the introduction of additional guitarist Angelo Bruschini. Angello sadly passed away from a rare form of lung cancer on the 23rd October 2023. He went on to play with The Blue Aeroplanes, Stutter and Massive Attack. A true legend of the very diverse Bristol music scene. Blessed love!

Bristol Boys Make More Noise!

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‘Shapes of Things to Come’ – The Reaction

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SHAPES OF THINGS TO COME
by The Reaction
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 on 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.

 

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 26th January 2024
Cat No.: ARC322V

 

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Various Artists – “The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977–1979″

BRISTOL PUNK 77-79

Originally released in May 2010 on CD only and entitled The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1983, Bristol Archive Records have decided to revisit their roots, Bristol Punk, but only focus on the original first generation of bands.

We are delighted to bring you a twelve-track compilation entitled ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’ issued on ’Yellow Trans Fluro Vinyl’ and limited to two hundred copies only.
The sleeve notes are written by Shane Baldwin (Vice Squad drummer) who would have been motivated and influenced to form his own band by watching these Bristol punks across various venues and locations across the city. There are six previously unreleased tracks never before available on vinyl.

The Cortinas were the first. They played the Roxy Club, released two singles on Mark Perry and Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label, graced the front cover of Sniffin’ Glue and recorded a Peel Session. Guitarist Nick Sheppard remembers the night it all slotted into place: “I think a real turning point for us was seeing the Ramones at the Roundhouse on July 4, 1976 – we definitely started to write our own songs after that gig. We had been playing and doing gigs for about a year by then – all covers apart from one song, Tokyo Joe as I remember. After that gig we started writing stuff like ‘Television Families’. We saw people like us in the audience at that gig, and it must have given us confidence.”

Taking their cue, bands like Social Security (the first band on Heartbeat Records), The Pigs (whose ‘Youthanasia’ single was released by Miles Copeland’s New Bristol Records), The Primates, The Media, The Posers, 48 Hours and The Verdict gave Bristol one of the strongest provincial early punk scenes, mainly centred around the Clifton area and Barton Hill Youth Club.

The area of Barton Hill also gave us The X-Certs, who by 1978 could already pull audiences of five hundred into Trinity Hall, without the aid of a safety net or record contract. Though we did not realise it at the time, they effectively bridged the gap between the late 70s Bristol scene and what our American cousins like to term the UK82 bands.

As the years moved forward from 1977 bands from the suburbs of Bristol started to appear on the scene Vitus Dance, The Numbers from Yate and Apartment from Downend, a leafy suburb of North Bristol.

This compilation is designed to give all fans of Punk a snapshot of what Bristol Punk was all about during that period. We celebrate our heroes of the time, let them be remembered for ever!

Bristol Boys Make More Noise!

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 24th November 2023
Cat No.: ARC380V

 

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COOL RUNNINGS

Cool Runnings Front300dpi

The last decade has seen a seismic shift in how people buy and play music, vinyl has returned to being the dominant physical format with CDs consigned to second fiddle. Things were very different back in 2012 when we compiled and released the eponymous “Cool Runnings” on CD only. The vinyl revival is a belated opportunity to give the band their first long playing record to complement that earlier CD release.
Together for a dozen years, Cool Runnings were one of Bristol’s longest lasting bands gigging throughout the 1980s, though their failure to gig beyond the West Country meant they were also one of the City’s best kept musical secrets.
Originally formed in Weston-Super-Mare by Keyboardist Mark Tuck and Guitarist George Condover, they immediately relocated to Bristol and recruited various local musicians including an experienced and talented singer, Winston Minott.
Although “Robin Hoods of The Ghetto” was their solitary release, the band regularly recorded material throughout their career and fortunately thanks to the foresight of George and Mark in holding onto various master tapes, Bristol Archive Records were able to release the band’s self-titled debut album “Cool Runnings” in 2012.
For this vinyl release we’ve selected eight tracks recorded between 1983 and 1985 at various local studios, and a solitary live track to give an idea of why the band were so popular in person. Although their music leans towards the more mellow end of the market, Lovers Rock, music ideally suited to Winston’s soulful voice, the band were more than capable of writing good roots tunes including the excellent “We Must Go Home”, “Children of Zion” and “Robin Hoods of The Ghetto”. Winston Minott had spent many years touring all over Europe with soul band The Invaders and many songs showcase his vocal talent, but a particular highlight has to be “Playhouse” an alternative recording of which can be found on “The Bristol Reggae Explosion Volume 3”.
Perhaps proper management would have seen Cool Runnings achieve the success and wider exposure that their combined talents and unique take on reggae undoubtedly deserved. Now thirty years after the members went their separate ways, Bristol Archive Records are pleased to finally release the vinyl album that if things had worked out differently should have appeared in the 1980s.

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 22nd September 2023
Cat No.: ARC379V

 

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Me – “Crows Nightingales SHOCK (Best of Me 1991-1995)”

ME-Crows-Nightingales-Shock

“Crows Nightingales SHOCK (Best of Me 1991-1995)”
by Me
Released on Limited Edition CD and Digital – 16th July 2021 via Bristol Archive Records

On 16th July 2021 Bristol Archive Records are releasing “Crows Nightingales SHOCK (Best of Me 1991-1995)”. This will be the first UK-released collection drawn from the many records put out in the early ‘90s by Bristol-based Anglo-Irish troubadours Me. With Me cited by NME at the time as “effortlessly the best band in Bristol”, this new selection of the band’s best work showcases the very distinctive sounds of the widely praised but often misunderstood Anglo-Irish pop-visionaries.

With four gifted songwriters onboard, Me’s songs were always bound to be insightful, wilful, hook-laden, bathed in soaring pop-sensibility and propelled upwards by tightly ecstatic vocal harmonies. Championed in their day (1988-1996) by the likes of John Peel, Mark Radcliffe and even Bob Harris, Me toured widely – USA, France, Czechia & UK – while putting out two richly varied double-albums and a handful of diverse and distinctive EP’s.

This new collection invites a new audience to hear the often unpigeonholeable talents of Me, yet also gathers a fair sample of the band’s recorded output for the initiated, who may be wondering where and how to hear Me’s music now. Bristol Archive Records will also be re-releasing Me’s entire back catalogue via all digital platforms.

“Crows Nightingales SHOCK” will present Me’s exceptional poetic-psychedelic vision to a 21st century audience, indeed, new listeners will now be able to hear why Radiohead, during their promotion of ‘Ok Computer’, cited Me as a key creative influence.

This new Best of Me collection will highlight the group’s song writing diversity: epic, tender, fevered, ahead-of-its-time, and just plain gloriously odd! Me were a band who were proud to put out all their records on pioneering Bristol indie label PopGod Records. But this new launch is doubly exciting in that it hopes to reach an entirely new audience, particularly with the expertise and experience of Bristol Archive behind it.

Me & Bristol Archive Records are thrilled to announce this new anthology, which in turn will help to reassert, in timely fashion, Me’s justified position as one of the all-time-great Bristol bands.

“Crows Nightingales SHOCK (Best of Me 1991-1995)” is released by Bristol Archive Records on Limited Edition CD on 16th July 2021, distributed by Shellshock and available from good retailers worldwide.

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Release date: 16th July 2021

 

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Darkwave The 80’s (The Dark Side of Bristol) – Various Artists

DARK-WAVE

“Darkwave The 80’s (The Dark Side of Bristol)”
by Various Artists
Released on Limited Edition CD – 25th June 2021 via Bristol Archive Records

Quentin Crisp going clubbing, Friar Tuck locked in a dancer’s cage, an ageing man in yellow speedos on roller skates and a 70-year-old flashing her knickers whilst doing the Can Can on the dance floor! Members of the Cure, Bauhaus and Echo and the Bunnymen passing through and Bristol’s beautifully preened punks waltzing to the Blue Danube by Strauss. All of these events and many more were happening at a club that was legendary and at the centre of a music scene that this compilation album represents.

The Bastille run by David Darling was a meeting point, party scene and the musical glue that tied these bands together. Bands that became internationally known such as Specimen and Claytown Troupe and others that made the Bristol scene an interesting and unique one. This album features Specimen, Claytown Troupe, Fear of Darkness, Necromancy, The Escape, The Royal Assassins, Ananda Maya, Temple, Exit Stance, Our Violet Hour, The Long March, Idiot Sideshow, Unity Station and Valve. It’s an album that represents the darker side of Punk, Post Punk and then the scene that became known as Goth but represents the variety of musical influences and styles that were involved in those scenes.

This never before documented Bristol scene is acknowledged as having been a huge influence on Bristol’s and the nations musical culture. Dedicated to the Bastille and its founder David Darling and with a sagely doff of the cap to music journalist Dave Massey (NME, Sounds) who supported and wrote about this scene in the mainstream and local music press at the time, this compilation presents the first overview of this scene. Another project instigated by Mike Darby and the wonderful Bristol Archive Records.

“Darkwave The 80’s (The Dark Side of Bristol)” is released by Bristol Archive Records on Limited Edition CD on 25th June 2021, distributed by Shellshock and available from good retailers worldwide.

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Release Date: 25th June 2021

 

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Stormtrooper – “Every Now and Then”

STORMTROOPER-iTunes-Packshot-ARC353CD

“Every Now and Then”
by Stormtrooper
Released on CD and Digital Download 26TH February 2021 via Bristol Archive Records

It began with a chance phone call from Mike Darby (Bristol Archive Records) regarding a possible remastering and release of the 1980/81 Stormtrooper (Crescent and S.A.M Studios) demo tapes which ultimately led to in 2016 ‘Pride Before a Fall The 1981 Lost Album’. This motivated Stormtrooper to get together for one last time to rediscover and recreate past works that never made it to the studios the first time around. On the back of ‘wall to wall’ astonishingly good album reviews and several successful promotional gigs, as well as remarkably (after a hiatus of 36 years!) being voted top band at the prestigious 2017 Brofest rock festival, their aim was to dot the I’s and cross the T’s on their ‘previously unrecorded’ back catalogue of songs, to replicate them sonically as close to the original ‘80’s Stormtrooper recordings as they could, in most cases utilising the exact same instruments and effects that were used back in the day! Although two of the seven fell by the wayside, the remaining five songs provide a large chunk of ‘Every Now and Then’.

It is hard to pigeonhole Stormtrooper’s particular brand of rock music. Like many rock bands from the late ‘70’s and early ‘80’s who fell under the banner of ‘The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ a comfortable one cap fits all, Stormtrooper were far from ‘NWOBHM’. Over the six years (1975-1981) that they were together, the dramatic rise from a rather naive tentative Hartcliffe School sixth form band to a confident, highly motivated, and highly drilled, technical rock combo was there for all to see. They could easily hold their own with any of their peers or rivals. This led to in 1980, local Bristol label ‘Heartbeat Records’ signing them up and releasing the double A side single ‘Pride Before a Fall/Still Comin’ Home’. Stormtrooper were at this point being touted as Britain’s answer to Rush, but they always retained their aggressive ‘street wise’ almost punk like attitude which gave Stormtrooper their unique signature sound.

The five ‘oldies’ on the album reflect Stormtrooper’s evolution over that six-year period. From the funk rock fusion of ‘Boggs Song’ to the sword and sorcery of ‘Flight of Fantasy’. There is the classic crowd pleaser ‘Mississippi Boogie’ which does what it says on the tin! ‘Joker or The Fool’ is a song which probably reflects more closely aspects of the NWOBHM era, lyrics and vocal melody provided and sung originally by Paul Merrell who went on to join and record with NWOBHM giants Jaguar. Last but not least ‘Staff of Life’ of which a live recording of the song was discovered after many months of searching, and what a classic song it turned out to be, encompassing everything Stormtrooper was about in less than five minutes in one song!

If that was the ‘Then’ of ‘Every Now and Then’, the ‘Now’ reflects where Stormtrooper (as individuals and collectively) are musically today. However, much they have drifted apart, after 36 years they can still amazingly create that unique signature Stormtrooper sound!

With original vocalist Nigel Lloyd having hung up his Stormtrooper hat after the conclusion of the ‘Then’, the ‘Now’ vocal duties were undertaken by founder member Bass, Moog Taurus and keyboard player Colin ‘Boggy’ Bond (formally with Meatloaf, Stampede and The Bernie Torme Band) and guest vocalist Andy Milsom (lead singer previously with Bristol band’s Hunted and Ragged Union). The line-up is completed by founder member Bob Starling as always on guitars and Nick Hancox on drums.

With individual music tastes changing radically over the years, this collection of new songs reflects that. With the addition of big backing vocals, 60’s aggressive Pop, Melodic Rock with a bit of Classic and Prog Rock thrown in the mix for good measure! But as always framed with Stormtrooper’s aggressive Punk Rock attitude to the fore.

If the Pop Rock song ‘ETA’ is not a hit single I do not know what is!!! The two Melodic Rock songs written by Bob Starling ‘As It all Disappears’ and ‘Hand Grenade’ feature the talents of Andy Milsom with his specific brand of catchy lyrics, vocal melody, style, and delivery. ‘The Birds’ lyrically closely follows the Hitchcock movie of the same name, I’d call it ‘60’s Pop with attitude! ‘Silverman’, more of a traditional rock song, has the Deep Purple ‘Burn’ added attraction of duel lead vocals. ‘Melodica’ is a ripper of a tune that powers on from beginning to end and packs a hell of a punch! The aptly named ‘In the End’ as it is the last track on the album is a musical tour de force, with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. It would not sound out of place in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production! The blazing guitar solo provided by Bob Starling at his best, rounds this fantastic collection off nicely.

The original Stormtrooper may have played their last gig in 2017 and written their last song in 1981, but today’s Stormtrooper in whatever guise it takes, with the two founder members at the helm, are more than capable of producing great music in true Stormtrooper fashion!

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Release Date: 26th February 2021

 

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Cass Carnaby – “Learn to Love It!”

Cass-Carnaby-'Learn-To-Love-It'-packshot

“Learn to Love It!”
by Cass Carnaby
Released on Special ‘Limited edition (flip back sleeve) vinyl replica CD’ (300 copies only) and Digital Download 9th October 2020 via Bristol Archive Records

Formed out of the ashes of Bristol band Blue Riverside, members Sean Parry, Neil Garland and Pat Evans recruited Phil Elvins and Andy Baker in July 1986 to form The Cass Carnaby Five, a name taken from a puppet band on an episode of Thunderbirds.

They soon set about writing a set of original songs about sex, love, drinking, 60’s TV superheroes and what was going on in their lives, rapidly picking up a large loyal fan base that followed them everywhere over the next three years.

The band underwent various member changes during that time and a streamlining of their name, but the music remained the same. Loud, in your face Punk R&B, with always outrageous front man Neil Garland a cross between Steve Marriott and Johnny Rotten. They appealed to Scooter Boys, Mods and Garage Rock fans.

Over the time they were together Cass Carnaby gigged heavily all over the UK, recorded 28 studio tracks but only released one well-received 45 single, ‘Captain Scarlet’.

Here on this (Special Limited Edition) CD album is a selection of those wonderful and never heard before tracks. Whenever the band wrote songs or had to make decisions they weren’t sure about, drummer Pat Evans would simply shout – ‘Learn to Love It!’ and so you have it!

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Release Date: 9th October 2020

 

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