And More...

Cyclone Althea's demolition job on the church hall where the Raintree Motel now stands, along with the departure of most of the people who'd frequented the place meant I wasn't hearing much of what the scribes in Melody Maker and NME were raving on about via friends and acquaintances, so it was largely a matter of what I could get hold of myself, but there was still the odd quirky little outfit to connect with.

Two of them, noteworthy in the name department and possessed of musical chops to match were Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, one of the London pub-rock outfits, and Hatfield and the North, a spinoff from the Canterbury scene that had produced Soft Machine and Caravan.

Stylistically, Chilli Willi and the Hatfields were poles apart, one reasonably straight ahead countryish rock with a few other elements thrown into the brew, the other coming straight from prog rock territory with song titles to match. Gigantic Land Crabs in Earth Takeover Bid, for example.

What both bands had in spades was a degree of playfulness which presented a welcome break from the increasingly formulaic offerings that were coming out from the major players on the scene, and I was after more.

Not necessarily more of the same, though. I found myself scouring the album reviews in Melody MakerNME and Rolling Stone in search of something that might pique my interest but the results were almost invariably disappointing. I suspected, after the diversity that had grown up in the late sixties, the record companies had worked out what sells and had re-imposed a commercial orthodoxy on anyone looking to establish a career in the rock music industry. 

Apart from the regular music press there was the odd monthly magazine that provided details of what was happening on the fringes of the mainstream. ZigZag was the best of them, though haphazard distribution of its earliest incarnation meant that I missed those issues, and when it did become available in these parts I seem to recall the newsagency beside the Hugh Street traffic lights in Garbutt as a totally unexpected source for a quality music magazine.


B© Ian Hughes 2012