Sunday, August 31, 2008
First Martin Hannett production? Belt & Braces Roadshow Band - Self-Titled LP ('74-'75ish)
Belt & Braces Roadshow LP, 1974-5
Were it not for a recent tip from a friend of mine from the UK, I would not have known this record existed. It's not listed on the Martin Hannett website, nor is it listed in his entry in Wikipedia. It's quite possible this really is THE very first record Martin Hannett ever produced, and it's not an easy one to find. No record label is listed anywhere on the sleeve or inner label, so one would assume the band put it out themselves. From looking at the sleeve, I was rather wary of the contents, but it's actually a very cool English folk-rock record that isn't afraid to sink its teeth into things here and there and "rock-out". The lady keyboardist, Jeni Barnett, has a spectacular voice and the variety is nice because she sings on some of the songs and the bassist Paul Kessel sings on others. As a rough guide, I'd say those who appreciate early-mid 70's Fleetwood Mac (pre-Nicks/Buckingham, that is) should appreciate this. I want to compare it to Fairport Convention but it's really more raw than that.
Hannett had obviously not come into his own as a producer yet, but I was struck by the atmosphere of the keyboard sound on "Derry" and I think he did a fine job on this whole record.
"Joe Smith" is particularly charming - and they jazzed it up a bit for that one. Talk about quality British music!! I love it. I'm posting this one by itself for anyone who might want just a small sample of what this LP has to offer.
In a weird way, I can almost feel punk on the horizon sometimes in places on this record. But I think calling it "pub rock" is way out of line, and would somehow be an insult to it, really. Or am I wrong? Someone please say so if you disagree. Thanks. :)