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The Bickershaw Programme:

Brinsley Schwarz.

 
 By Ian Hoare. 
Brinsley Schwarz came out of Kippington Lodge , that well known hotbed of funk Tunbridge Wells , where Brinsley himself , who plays lead, went to school with Nick Lowe, who writes most of the numbers as well as playing bass and various guitars. Along with American drummer Bill Rankin and ex PP Arnold organist Bob Andrews , they were the centre piece of the infamous 1970 promotional extravaganza made possible by Famepushers LTD , involving the flying out of a sizeable herd of journalists for the big gig at the Fillmore.  Things went catastrophically and the bands first album was duly  shat upon from a great height by reviewers everywhere.
  They were nowhere and they were broke. So they took off two months and altered their sound  drastically, trading in their 100 watt marshall  stacks for little Fender amps which they left at a low volume and miked through a sophisticated PA system , thereby achieving far greater clarity and definition on-stage . Their second album, Despite it All was made at about this time . It had a a much cleaner sound and was generally more direct and real , with less superfluous heavy flash than the debut set. They began to win friends again. 
   By this time they were regarding themselves as primarily a live group and were dissatisfied with the gap between what they could do in the studio, using overdubs and the like and the options open to them on stage. They set about the problem by advertising for a second guitarist. . After seeing about fifty budding Alvins they settled for Ian Gomm , who , at 24 , is a couple of years older than the others and has been accompanying his auto -changer since he was about eleven , absorbing influences going back to Buddy Holly and the Ventures. His precise, understated style contributed to the tightening up of the band evident in their latest album,. Silver Pistol
  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • Brotherhood of Breath
  • Captain Beefheart
  • Captain Beyond
  • Cheech and Chong
  • Country Joe.
  • Donovan
  • Dr John 
  • Family
  • Flaming Groovies
  • Grateful Dead.
  • Hawkwind
  • Jonathon Kelly
  • Linda Lewis.
  • Incredible String Band
  • Neophonic Orchestra
  • New Riders.
  • Pacific Gas and Electric 
  • Sam Apple Pie
  • Stackridge
  • Al Stewart
  • The Kinks.
  • Joes Lights 
  • Mike Westbrook

  •       They're now paying much closer attention to the basic structure of the songs and building the arrangements with an eye for underling the mood. To my ears its the most convincing country rock sound yet made by an English band .   Its natural , relaxed character had a lot to do with its being recorded on an eight track machine at home . In spite of the fact that they're pretty close friends. the group have found ti easier - and above all , cheaper- to live together in a a large suburban house in ana obscure part of Middlesex known as Northwood: and you can hear their dog barking all through Egypt , which was made in the garden.
         Their most pressing problem at present is that the lease expires in two months time . The band themselves feel that Silver Pistol   was very down and therefor short on raunch and they're currently aiming to put a lot more of that particular commodity into their next LP , which they've been cutting at Rockfield studios in Wales, ( at the lunatic rate of eight tracks in 15 hours) . They also intend to improve on the technical quality of the last set , which they reckon  had the disadvantages of a rough , live, sound without the excitement that's created by a rough , live, audience. Some people are never satisfied, I'm glad to say.

     

    The Bickershaw Menu

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    Other Bickershaw links.
     
    • The Bickershaw diaries-

      Mike Plumbleys saga at Bickershaw, with more photos and extensive first hand observations of his time at the festival. 

    • Repfoto- massive collection of commercially available photos of Bickershaw for sale and view
    • Mothergrumble Magazine-article on Bickershaw and Lincoln 72

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