Tune in to the Spinout Show’s Medway Legends Special

Lee and EmmaHi folks. It’s been just over a week since the fun stopped, or at least calmed down a little. In due course I intend to write a little resume of the weekend, and then maybe begin to think about whether we should do it all again next year.

Until then, I must just say a special thanks to all the bands, DJs, Gerald, the folk at Dabadaba and especially everyone who came along to make it a great weekend that will remain a happy memory for a very long time to come.

Now, we’re into post-Medway Legends Weekend territory, with many great snaps and films being shared on social media. Everyone has made some new friends and few who were there will not have escaped the impact made by these two cool cats; Lee and Emma, who drove to San Sebastian from Cornwall in their camper van. They were among the first to arrive and last to leave, dragging themselves away, finally, almost a week after the last record was spun.

The pair run a regular radio show, Spinout, every Wednesday on NCB radio and last week’s edition was a Medway Legends Weekender special. You can hear it right here. Dig!

 

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Door & Stage Times

Masonics Retro Man BlogFriday 3rd June Evening Dabadaba (Doors Open at 7pm)
7.30 – 8.00 Bob Collins
8.00 – 8.35 The Sine Waves
8.45 – 9.30 The Galileo 7
9.45 – 10.45 Lord Rochester
11.00 – 12.30 The Masonics featuring Miss Ludella Black
DJs until 4am

GrahamSaturday 4th June Evening Dabadaba  (Doors Open at 7pm)
7.30 – 8.00 Stuart Turner & Bob Collins
8.00 – 8.35 Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes
8.45 – 9.30 Thee Jezebels
9.45 – 10.45 The Wildebeests
11.00 – 12.30 Graham Day & The Forefathers
DJs until 4am

Photos by kind permission of Retro Man Blog and Peter Fannen (PJFimages)

. Thank you.

The Record Shops of San Sebastian

Yes, the town has three beaches, the world’s finest restaurants and a bustling, vibrant historic old town full of wonderful bars and restaurants, but I’m guessing you’re not going to have much time spare if spending two nights in Dababdaba listening to the bands.

…And what little spare time you’ll have will be spent searching out records, right?

I have prepared a little map to give a rough idea of the town’s vinyl stockists, marked with blue crosses.

REcord shops 1.jpg

Let’s start with the town’s best; Beltza,  on the edge of the old town near the ‘restaurant’ that uses a yellow M as a logo. The shop appears to be a small room with a counter and shopkeeper. However, most of the goodies are ‘in the corridor’ which you will have to request access to. Just say that you know Gerald or are here for the Weekender and he should be amenable. In the side room is a large alphabetically arranged  stash of 60s/70s/80s/90s jazz, pop, rock, Latin, punk and Soundtracks.  Continue reading

El amor de un español por el sonido Medway

RafLa primera vez que escuché a un grupo del Medway fue a través de una cinta que me llegó de Bilbao vía mi querido amigo Alberto “El Beatle”, como afectuosamente se le conoce en nuestra ciudad de origen, Logroño, a finales de los 80. A juzgar por el sonido del artefacto, asumo que esta cinta fue grabada de otras que a su vez circulaban por ahí, posiblemente de su hermano Chano, guitarra de grupos como Bahía de Kotxinos, Los Rotos y Los Muelles. El grupo en cuestión eran The Prisoners y la canción era ‘Hurricane’, y ahí estaba junto con otras joyas del garaje revivalista americano, australiano, sueco y demás. Supongo que a muchos de los que estáis leyendo esto la historia os sonará bastante familiar, ya que por aquella época, a no ser que vivieras en Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao o alguna de estas ciudades donde había tiendas de discos en condiciones, era bastante difícil encontrar discos de sellos como Big Beat, Crypt, Wall City, Upright, Empire, Hangman o similares. Parece mentira, pero no había internet en aquellos días. Y catalogos de discos que distribuyeran estos sellos, hasta donde yo sé, pocos. A mi personalmente no me llegaba ninguno. Y generalmente, cuando me llegaba alguno, no solía tener dinero para comprar discos. IMG_5243 aHe oído también que había un tipo que vendía cintas grabadas de los Milkshakes en El Rastro de Madrid, pero yo nunca llegué a conocerlo en mis escasas visitas a la capital por esos años. Supongo que esto les confería también, al menos a mis ojos, una especie de halo de misterio, ya que aparte de ser practicamente imposible encontrar sus discos en mi pueblo, tampoco recibían mucha cobertura mediática en las revistas musicales de la época (al menos no más lejos del tradicional fanzine fotocopiado).

Pero esto no es un festival para nostálgicos. Para quien no esté familiarizado con la trayectoria de todos estos grupos, le resultaría fácil caer en el error de pensar que todos estos veteranos del beat del Medway podrían pretender vivir de la reputación y el culto que se crearon en los ochenta y volver más de treinta años después para hacer caja a costa de aquellos extraordinarios discos que grabaron entonces, lo que parece haber sido una tendencia en alza durante los últimos diez años. Lo cierto es que la mayoría de estos mercenarios del beat inglés no han dejado de tocar durante todo este tiempo en multitud de diferentes encarnaciones, todas ellas con menos proyección mediática y comercial que un Cinexin, tanto como aquellas legendarias formaciones iniciales que sirvieron de estrato para todo lo que vino después. Estos caballeros siguen siendo estrictamente fieles a sus principios estéticos y musicales, manteniendose elegantemente al margen de todas esas modas que no han sido mas que flor de un día durante todas estas décadas.

M&PAquí tenemos, por primera vez en España, la oportunidad de ver juntos a muchas de estas leyendas del beat inglés en lo que promete ser más una fiesta de viejos amigos que un festival musical al uso. No hablo solamente de tres de los cuatro Milkshakes originales (Micky Hampshire/Bruce Brand/Russell Wilkins), o dos de los Prisoners (Graham Day /Allan Crockford) con sus diferentes grupos actuales (o no tan actuales, ya que algunos de estos grupos han estado en activo por un periodo de tiempo superior a aquel de los mencionados anteriormente), pero también de grupos que nunca hemos tenido la oportunidad de ver antes y probablemente no tengamos muchas más oportunidades de ver otra vez.

Uno de esos grupos a los que me refiero es ni más ni menos que esa joyita punk llamada Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes, cuyo único single ‘Just the biggest thing’ (Hangman, 1992) producido y editado por Billy Childish, es todo un clásico de aquello que  los Mummies llamaron “Budget rock” para referirse a su propio sonido y que se ha acabado extendiendo como un termino genérico para definir a todos estos grupos que básicamente siguen la filosofía del “háztelo tu mismo” de toda la vida. Un discazo como un piano de cola, y si no me crees vete aquí y lo escuchas:

La otra cara es tan buena como esta, pero en esto si que vas a tener que tomarme la palabra y pillarte este single mientras queden copias si quieres escucharlo (o venirte al festival y escucharlo ahí)

bike2Junto con estos veteranos de la escena garajera inglesa, tendremos también otros grupos nuevos que han sido seleccionados por los organizadores del festival porque de un modo u otro se inscriben dentro de esta tradición del beat/punk del sureste de Inglaterra. Entre ellos destacan sin lugar a dudas Thee Jezebels, trío femenino con una clara influencia del sonido del Medway tanto como del de Canvey Island, y el excelente grupo de surf galáctico, The Sine Waves, con miembros de Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes, Thee Jezebels, The Missing Finks and The Embrooks.

En fin, resumiendo, cosa buena. Avisado estás: esto va a ser una de esas fiestas de las que seguirás hablando en el futuro.

With many thanks to Rafa who will be one of our guest DJs at the Medway Legends Weekender.

The Return of… Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes

180271_499679518402_1593036_nHi folks. We’re now just over a week away and the countdown appears to be accelerating. Saturday night will be trio-tastic with Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes treading the boards for the first time in several years.

The band formed around about 1988 the band reunited Dentist Bob Collins with his former drummer Ian Greensmith (aka Vic Templar) with the intention of playing US 1960s-style garage-psych-punk covers a la Leo & The Prophets, We The People, The Chocolate Watch Band and the Misunderstood. Completing the group were Dominic Lenton and Kevin Younger, from Medway anti-legends The Train Set (a band so brilliantly lo-fi they made The Daggermen sound like Level 42). Dominic soon made way for Mark Aitken to take the 4-string duties.

Bob 1Bob, a guitarist who quickly got noticed by his Medway peers, had long been a prolific songwriter and with not all of his material deemed suitable for the Dentists, the Ascoynes began incorporating some of Bob’s originals. For those of you who have never heard Bob, Ye Ascoynes  or the Dentists, a producer who had worked with many big names rated Bob one of the two best guitarists he’d ever worked with. The other one was Magazine’s John McGeoch.

When Kevin left c.1990 he was considered irreplaceable and the quartet became a trio. Bob’s Dentist commitments meant that they were never more than a part-time band, rarely playing outside of Medway or south-east London. (Kevin later formed the incomparable Planet of the Apes, who morphed into The Speed of Sound. These days he is a long-serving member of Vic Godard’s Subway Sect. Kevin will be at the Weekender and will be available to sign autographs in exchange for refreshments.)

Ascoynes 2However, they were not without connected friends and Billy Childish, perhaps realising that the band needed archiving despite its inherent laziness, took them in to Red Studio (The Headcoats’ base of choice at the time) in May 1992 to record 4 tracks for a single. The Billy-produced session was a great success with the A-side being Just the Biggest Thing (later covered by Armitage Shanks, again with Ian/Vic at the sticks) and two blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Buzzcockian b-sides; Heaven Knows and Time Goes. The fourth cut, Favourite Stuff, Billy and Ian later considered the best of a great batch but it remains unreleased, although it will be in the set in San Sebastian.

Billy was very keen to get straight back to the studio to oversee an album, and although the band had plenty of material it never happened.

Ascoynes 3The band also developed a penchant for covering songs that you would never imagine a power-pop trio to tackle; Mr Blue Sky, Get Down, Psychedelic Shack & Where Are you Baby? spring to mind.

Ye Ascoyne d’Ascoynes have never broken up, just fizzled down to doing one gig every eight years or so, so we are extremely delighted and lucky to have them appearing at the Medway Legends Weekender for their first ever gig outside of the UK.

Band Photos by Terry Lane. Colour photo unknown. Sleeve by Vic Templar.

Talkin’ ’bout Thee Jezebels

bike2Formed from the ashes of the Neasden Bees, Laura, Letty & Lois have been tearing it up for just over a year, playing high-octane, fuzzed­up, raucous, pub­rock ‘n’ roll like a pub punch-up between Suzi Quatro, Dr Feelgood, The Stranglers, and The Who with Suzi knocking them all out.

The only band on the bill without a direct link to Medway Thee Jezebels are here because we love them and they are going to be kicking your asses on Saturday night!

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Miss Ludella Black

Miss LBWe are delighted to confirm that Damaged Goods recording artiste  Miss Ludella Black will be making her customary appearance with the Masonics at Dabadaba on Friday night, 3rd June.

Like her namesake Cilla, Ludella made the smooth transformation from hat & coat attendant to glamorous showbizz superstar with ease. Once the gopher and merch lady at the MIC Club for those four layabouts The Milkshakes,  she was plucked from obscurity to tread the boards alongside Billy, Russ, Louise & Hilary in the Delmonas, before eventually hitting the big time with the Headcoatees. 

TheeHeadcoatees-WEBSITE-HEADER-2013After six albums and tours of Europe, Japan and America the Headcoatees eventualy imploded like Tottenham Hotspurs’ season and she returned to the quiet life in Chatham, living on her boat on the River Medway that has been her home since 1982, and pursued a successful career as a very talented potter.

IMG_2575However, the showbizz gods move in mysterious ways, and when Mick Hampshire came out of retirement and began recording and gigging again, it wasn’t long before he drafted the vocal talents of Miss Black back into the spotlight.

LudellaSince then she has recorded three albums with Mickey (and the Masonics); Bedlam a Go-Go (1995), She’s Out There (2000), & From This Witness Stand (2008) though has yet to make her debut as a Saturday night TV host.

Tickets still available…

Here’s her great version of the  Downliners Sect’s classic:

And here is Ludella taking the lead on this great Headcoatee punker from 1994’s The Ballad of the Insolent Pup. Headcoatee fans will be excited to learn that Ludella will be cheered on in San Sebastian by her dear pal and sister Headcoatee Bongo Debbie Green.

Russ Wilkins, Lord Rochester & Sir Wildebeest

IMG_4261aWhen Gerald Diffey first came up with the idea of inviting his old friends from his home town of Medway to his new home in San Sebastian the headliners of The Masonics and The Forefathers were the obvious choices. But he and I were both adamant that there was one other person that we had to have on board to truly make this a celebration of the Medway Sound; none other than that former Pop Rivet and Milkshake himself – yes, the venerable Russ WilkinsContinue reading

Bo, Chuck, Ray & Dave, & The Beatles!

Hi folks, it’s Friday. That means it’s the Weekend. It’s also only 3 weeks until the Medway Legends Weekender gets under way.

How about some youtubes of certain people without whom there would be no Milkshakes, Prisoners, Mighty Caesars, Headcoats, Gruffmen, and thus no Masonics, Forefathers, or Wildebeests. These acts truly are the patron saints of the Medway sound.

See you in 21 very short days. Tickets still available…

  Continue reading