Posts Tagged ‘Polydor Records’

May be an image of 4 people and text that says 'INHALER IT WIN'T M ALWAYS BE LIKE THIS LU'

Inhaler’s debut album ‘It Won’t Always Be Like This’ a record that sees Elijah Hewson, Josh Jenkinson, Robert Keating and Ryan McMahon turn their early promise into something special, an album teeming with expansive indie-rock grooves and soaring anthems.

The announcement comes after the band previously shared the video for new single “Cheer Up Baby” the lead track captures the essence of their sound.

“It’s always been a cornerstone song for us and our fans are always talking about it. It’s a love letter to our fans and that’s why we wanted to choose it to open up the album,” frontman Eli Hewson explained. “Lyrically, a lot of young people in these times are dealing with mental health issues and they can get stuck in their own heads. I think that’s what this song is, it’s loosely based on a conversation between two people and a lyric that goes ‘when I think of all the things I didn’t do, I can’t help but blame it on you””

The album includes the single Cheer Up Baby, a swooping, epic singalong alongside newly recorded versions of early fan favourites “My Honest Face” and title track “It Won’t Always Be Like This”, the album is released July 16th 2021.

Cheer Up Baby is out now, and we’re also pleased to announce our debut album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, will be out on 16th July. We’ve poured our heart and soul into this record, pulled songs apart and put them back together again but we couldn’t be prouder with the result and we can’t wait for you to hear it.

Pre-order a copy of the new album from the official store by 5pm on Tuesday 23rd March to qualify for an exclusive ticket pre-sale for the band’s new UK & Ireland tour dates (rearranged + 2 additional Irish shows) which will be announced at 9am on Friday 19th March. 

The Dublin band – who recently announced that their debut album It Won’t Always Be Like This will be out on July 16th via Polydor Records 

May be an image of 4 people and text

On May 14th, Paul Weller releases his 16th solo album since his self-titled debut in 1992, which comes in just under twelve months following June 2020’s magnificent, chart-topping “On Sunset”. It’s not hyperbole to state that this new album, titled Fat Pop (Volume 1), is among his most compelling collections. 
The record comes less than a year after last year’s On Sunset and features the song ‘Cosmic Fringes’ which you can preview below. Paul has already revealed that the Pet Shop Boys have remixed this song for some future release.
During spring last year, after his tour dates were postponed, Paul Weller needed something else to focus on. With many ideas for new songs stored on his phone, Paul started to record them on his own with just vocals, piano and guitar which he’d send to his core band members (drummer Ben Gordelier, Steve Cradock on guitar and bassist Andy Crofts) to add their parts. Despite it being strange not being together, it kept the wheels rolling and sanity prevailing. The band reconvened at Weller’s Black Barn studio in Surrey when restrictions were lifted to finish the work with the shape of the album becoming clear to all.

“Fat Pop (Volume 1)”Paul adding the “Volume 1” to keep options open for a second volume in the future –  is a diverse selection of sounds. No one style dominates. There’s the synth-heavy, future-wave strut of Cosmic Fringes, the stately balladeering of Still Glides The Stream (co-written with Steve Cradock), the chunky percussive groove of Moving Canvas (a tribute to Iggy Pop no less), and the kind of dramatic immediate pop symphonies on Failed, True and Shades of Blue with which Paul Weller has hooked in generation after generation of devotee.
As ever, “Fat Pop”, sees a number of guests contributing including Lia Metcalfe, the young Liverpudlian singer with The Mysterines who combines her tremendous vocal as well as a song writing credit to True. Andy Fairweather Low adds his distinctive vocals to superfly strutting Testify and Paul’s daughter Leah co-wrote and features on the classic 3 minute pop kitchen sink drama Shades Of Blue which will be the first single taken from the album. Hannah Peel is back in the fray adding her classic string scores to Cobweb Connections and Still Glides The Stream. 
The new album from Paul Weller was recorded in Spring 2020 whilst unable to hit the road and tour. Locked-down at Black Barn studios, Paul initially recorded vocals, piano and guitar on his own, before sending to the core band to add their parts remotely. Eventually the full band were able to reconvene as restrictions lifted and finish the record.

Out May 14th & available to pre-order on multiple formats – including deluxe vinyl and deluxe CD, LTD picture disc, merch bundles & more… There is also a limited edition orange vinyl available exclusively from Amazon. First track ‘Cosmic Fringes’ out now. Music video by Paul Weller performing Cosmic Fringes. A Polydor Records recording; © 2021 Solid Bond Productions Ltd., under exclusive licence to Universal Music Operations.

A brand new record from Paul Weller. ‘Fat Pop’ is out 14th May through Polydor Records.

Paul Weller: Fat Pop Deluxe Vinyl Boxset

John Mayall’s The First Generation 1965-1974 is an enormous 35CD box set that documents the early career of ‘The Godfather of British Blues’ with remastered studio albums, unreleased BBC recordings, previously unheard live gigs and more.

Featuring Eric ClaptonPeter GreenMick TaylorHarvey Mandel, Blue Mitchell, Jon Mark and many more outstanding musicians, the 35 discs in this mammoth package include three CD singles and eight previously unreleased discs, alongside newly remastered versions of the original Decca & Polydor albums.

Not for nothing did John Mayall earn the moniker ‘The Godfather of British Blues’. For a short but compelling time in the ‘60s and ‘70s he recognised raw talent when he saw it, he took it in, he nurtured it, and everyone thrived and benefitted as the result. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and all are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights.

For a short but compelling time in the ’60s and ’70s John Mayall recognised raw talent, took it in, nurtured it, and everyone thrived and benefitted as a result. Many of the best musicians of the period passed through the hallowed ranks of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. All are on show here in a stunning set crammed with musical highlights.

The unreleased concerts include Windsor 1967, Gothenburg 1968, Berlin 1969 and San Francisco 1970 and the 28 unreleased BBC tracks feature none other than Eric ClaptonPeter Green and Mick Taylor!

Strictly limited to 5,000 copies worldwide this set comes with a 168-page hardcover book with many rare photos and images of memorabilia and a full gig listing for the era, a fan club book of letters and correspondence, two replica posters (Ten Years Are Gone and 1968 tour poster), a replica press pack for John Mayall Plays John Mayall and a photograph  individually signed by John Mayall himself (who is thankfully still with us at the ripe old age of 86). The First Generation 1965-1974 is available to pre-order only via two retailers in the UK and the SDE shop is one of them.

There are box sets and then there are BOX SETS. John Mayall’s ‘The First Generation 1965-1974 set sits firmly in the latter category, being substantial both in the artefacts contained within and the superb music it encompasses.

It will be released on 29 January 2021 on the Madfish

Image may contain: one or more people, cloud, sky, shoes, outdoor and text

With their debut album a now imminent prospect, we’ve been blasting Sea Girls at every sunny opportunity. In particular, ‘Closer’ is a great track to add to your playlists for a brilliant dose of indie joy. With trilling guitars and an infectious chorus, the tune remains one of their best.

Well here we are! Our debut album ‘Open Up Your Head’ is finally out. We’ve played music together since we first started learning instruments (however badly) in our teens and its so humbling that it’s lead to this. This has been the craziest journey of our lives and whilst it hasn’t always been a smooth ride all of our experiences have led us to this moment and it’s an honour to share this album with you. This band has taken us to so many amazing places and given us the chance to pursue what has felt like a fevered pipe dream at times. Ultimately we’re just four guys who love music and it’s every one of you that makes this band what it is, thank you for being with us every step of the way. We’re privileged to have a community that supports us and each other and the connection we feel with you guys is truly special. So let’s turn the music up fucking loud and enter the Open Up Your Head era together. 

We’re so excited to announce we’re going to be hitting the road again in November for a run of special intimate record store shows! Pre-order ‘Open Up Your Head’ from these independent record stores for tickets. You’ll get an album, you’ll get a ticket and we get to see all your lovely faces again!.  Nottingham, Bristol and Marlborough tickets will be available from tomorrow.

Band Members
Henry Camamile, Rory Young, Andrew Dawson & Oli Khan

‘Open Up Your Head’ The debut album Polydor Records

Image may contain: 13 people

After taking 2019 by the scruff of the neck and making it their own with some great festival appearances, as well as a blistering trajectory in 2020, Sea Girls have come out all guns blazing with their emotionally charged, deeply personal, hook laden debut album “Open Up Your Head” – on Polydor. Featuring fourteen doses of memorable jagged guitar-pop brilliance, the LP was produced by Larry Hibbitt in London. It is no surprise that Sea Girls are confidently clear in who they are. This assertive stance on just what their style is, and what type of songs they are drawn toward bringing to vinyl, resulting in a collection of tracks that can’t help but draw an abundance of refreshed appreciation from fans and critics alike. Each time I’ve seen this band they just bring joy.

‘Transplant’ has been described as “the most Sea Girls song ever”, and it does follow the band’s established hit-song formula. The lyrics are brutal; Henry Camamile sings “your heart changed, mine stayed the same”, and the line can’t help but hit home for numerous fans listening along. The group effortlessly relate to their audience throughout the record, having spent years getting to know them with exciting and vibrant live sets.

We can weave together a rough story line, and there’s a humour in the description of two people being on the phone and unable to really hear each other. However, the comical situation becomes heartbreaking; the song is essentially a goodbye, and an ode to collapsing communications. A euphoric chorus greets us after the fierce build up, with vocals and guitars woven together in a howling few lines that truly do epitomize the band’s thunderous, almost-pop sound.

‘Closer’, ‘Call Me Out’, and ‘Violet’ are some of the pre-existing tracks that have made it on to the album track list, and slot in brilliantly with the new material. ‘Do You Really Know’ is the perfect summer anthem, with a boppy melody underlying slightly darker lyrics.

Though known primarily for indie-pop, ‘Lie To Me’ shows a Sea Girls experimenting slightly with style; it’s almost Western in the vocal style and clapping melodies underpinning them. “I cut my teeth on something that I shouldn’t eat” is one of their best lines yet, and leads in to the candid exclamation, “I’m a baby”. ‘Forever’ soon follows, as the product of year of tweaking and precise labour. Sharp, galvanizing guitars crescendo and beautifully compliment the huge vocal strength. Something about the song is just inextricably mammoth; there’s an immensity to it that many aim for, and not many reach.

Keen to also open up their tracks to gentler tones, the group have penned ‘You Over Anyone’; a ballad telling a universally relatable love story. It doesn’t quite live up to ‘Daisy Daisy’ – a soft track from their 2017 “Call Me Out” EP, but it is hard to imagine that much will.

Sea Girls, released the stunning new animated visual for their latest single, ‘All I Want To Hear You Say’, which is lifted from their forthcoming debut album ‘Open Up Your Head’, out on August 14th.

The animated video, directed by acclaimed Korean-Swedish duo Tjoff Koong Studios (Tezo Kyungdon Lee and Magnus Lenneskog), takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster.

“When I wrote this song I was trying to channel some emotional highs and lows of the likes of Kurt Cobain,” says lead singer Henry Camamile. “Full of visual adrenalin, it builds with rushes of excitement and lack of control. Someone build a rollercoaster through the city and we’ll get on it.”

The animated video, directed by acclaimed Korean-Swedish duo Tjoff Koong Studios (Tezo Kyungdon Lee and Magnus Lenneskog), takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster.

“When I wrote this song I was trying to channel some emotional highs and lows of the likes of Kurt Cobain,” says lead singer Henry Camamile. “Full of visual adrenalin, it builds with rushes of excitement and lack of control. Someone build a rollercoaster through the city and we’ll get on it.”

With tracks such as this, you forget that the core concept to the album is a traumatic head injury. The effervescent tunes catch in your own head, and skillfully glaze over the darkness that grounds much of the lyrical content. You dance along, joining in with the rose-coloured illusion of the songs themselves.

‘Shake’ and ‘Moving On’ also revert back to Sea Girls’ raucous roots, with the expected blazing chorus’ near enough begging you to see them live and sing along. The latter track in particular ends the album on a triumphant note; the message of acceptance and optimism towards a projected progress is glaringly forefront. Henry’s vocals flare and spark with an immersive buoyancy: the entire track is lifted through melody and tone. We see a lighter, unburdened band close the collection.

Band Members:
Henry Camamile, Rory Young, Andrew Dawson & Oli Khan

The band have also announced a run of intimate in-store shows for November

‘Open Up Your Head’ The debut album


Fresh off the back of their Under Exit Lights EP, Sea Girls are treating us with even more new music, starting with new single Do You Really Wanna Know? The new single arrives alongside the announcement of the band’s debut album, Open Up Your Head, out August 14th via Polydor Records.

With bragging rights as the next generation of British sing-along maestros, Sea Girls seem under no pressure to release another anthemic tune to their repertoire. Do You Really Wanna Know? is a 3 minute bop about spoiling precious moments with questions.

One of their more upbeat tunes, it’s chorus has a firm boyband feel and a rhythm reminiscent of an obscure 90’s TV show credits which I can’t quite place. It doesn’t feel like the instant classic some of their older songs have upon release, yet Caville’s vocals carry enough power that you can already hear this being sung back to them during one of their raucous live shows.

One thing is certain, Sea Girls have found the magic potion for writing feel-good indie pop with incessantly catchy choruses and don’t intend stopping any time soon. For this reason, we’re psyched for the release of their long-awaited debut album Open Up Your Head in August.

Band Members:
Henry Camamile, Rory Young, Andrew Dawson & Oli Khan

sea girls ready for more

Lincolnshire indie rockers have been impressing listeners with the strength of the singles which are loaded with hook and are just so damn addictive. The fresh faced fourpiece can often be heard on BBC Radio 1 and they have now just dropped their ‘Under Exit Lights’ EP that reveals a band eager to thrill the new generation across six tracks highly polished to pop precision.

“We’ve worked so hard to get here. We’re so clear-headed about where we want to go, where we want to be and what we want to say. I don’t want to let anything knock us off track. 2020 is going to be massive for us. Bring it on.”

Sea Girls have a sound that is unforgettable and upbeat. They have already built a massive worldwide following and are nearing 800,000 monthly Spotify listeners. Their debut album is coming this summer and they are already the staple on several official Spotify playlists. Sea Girls have just released an EP called “Under Exit Lights” which contains 6 tracks, some full band and some acoustic, which shows a different side of the band. The EP starts off with their last released banger-of-a-single “Ready for More“, which is still stuck in our heads from the first time we heard it. Another great track on this EP to zone in on is called “Why Won’t You Admit.” Another synth-heavy pop-rock smash, Sea Girls are really showing that they know how to pen catchy hooks and feel-good jams.

Sea Girls are: Henry Camamile (vocals/guitar), Rory Young (guitar),
Andrew Dawson (bass) and Oli Khan (drums)

As you wait for their debut LP, dive into this 20-minute collection of music: ‘Under Exit Lights’ is out on Polydor Records


Fresh from their first ever European tour, Sea Girls have just unveiled the video for their most recent single “Ready For More”. The track itself is taken from the band’s forthcoming new EP “Under Exit Lights”, out on March 6th via Polydor Records. The new video was directed by Sophia & Robert (Odelay Films), who have previously worked with the likes of Pale Waves, The Kooks, David Guetta.

Singer Henry comments on the video:

The video for ‘Ready For More’ is one part Alice, one part Harley, and I think a lot of me. At the time of writing it I was so unsure of who I was, what I was doing or if I could trust myself. I was my own worst enemy… [It] is a thinly veiled dark message in vibrant frenzied and down the rabbit hole way.

On the rest of the EP, which includes 3 unreleased songs as well as recent bangers Violet, and Closer, Henry says:

The lyrics for these songs draw their soul from my life of late nights and the mornings after – about being young and going out a lot. It involves dark thoughts, anxiety, but ends in hope, positivity and optimism.

Ready For More has already become a live favourite during their recent European tour. If you want to see the band live better be quick and get the remaining tickets for their Birmingham & London UK tour dates this April.

Their debut album is coming this summer and they are already the staple on several official Spotify playlists.

Image may contain: 3 people

July, 1967, and Taste are settling into their residency at Belfast’s Club Rado in The Maritime Hotel. Already the Cork trio have picked up a loyal local following, and the ballroom is packed with students, sailors, working girls, local bands and music fans from across Northern Ireland. Some are merely curious, wanting to check the hot new ‘southern’ guitar-slinger in town; other are already converts and spreading the gospel that proclaims: “Taste are the best Irish band since Them!” The Rado’s atmosphere is thick with cigarette smoke and excitement as youths pack themselves against the stage, spilling beer as they cheer on the band.

The three teenagers who make up Taste are enjoying themselves immensely. They play a dynamic mixture of blues covers and original songs, sounding raw and dynamic. Their 19-year-old guitarist and vocalist Rory Gallagher blazes up front, his T-shirt soaked in sweat while he caresses great rips of sound from his beloved Fender Stratocaster. Taste slow things for Catfish. Youths punch the air as Gallagher channels feedback into his solo, while sailors whoop with joy and hug the ladies they call “shore relief”.

When “Catfish” finishes, Gallagher announces, “This one’s a new one I just wrote called “Blister On The Moon.” He then plays a stinging riff and sings, ‘Everybody is saying what to do and what to think/and when to ask permission when you feel you want to blink.’ Right now, after years spent in showbands, being told what to play and how to behave, Gallagher is revelling in the freedom of making his music, his way. And Belfast loves him for his freedom and defiance.

Admittedly, not all of Belfast does. Later that evening, after Taste finish their first set, Gallagher steps outside the Rado, wanting some fresh air and quiet. Suddenly, a group of youths surround him, and they aren’t ones he recognises from the venue. “Got a cigarette?” one asks. “Sorry, I don’t smoke,” replies Gallagher. Suddenly he’s set upon. Not for his lack of tobacco, but because his accent gives him away: he’s from the south and on the wrong side of town. Gallagher stumbles, almost falls, but manages to regain his balance as fists and feet rain upon him. He runs for his life and within minutes is inside Club Rado. Everyone notices Gallagher’s terrified expression and battered features. They don’t have to ask what happened. Instead, the Rado faithful empty onto the street, and suddenly the gloating gang are fleeing as music lovers teach the bigots a lesson. An unspoken rule at the Rado involves leaving religion, politics, whatever else, outside. Here Belfast gathers to celebrate the gospel of great blues and jazz and rock’n’roll. And throughout his life, Rory Gallagher always embodied such unity.

If Taste took beautiful shape in Belfast across the summer of 1967 – a summer, locals noted, not marked by love – they would cease to exist in this same city some three and a half years later in the depths of winter. Taste’s final performance took place at Queen’s University, Belfast, on New Year’s Eve, 1970. As the band waited to go on stage for a final time, car bombs exploded across the city. On a wet, windswept, bomb-scarred Belfast night, Taste ended in an atmosphere as bitter as the city’s climate.

Taste’s brief timeline runs like this: formed in Cork in late 1966, they quickly established themselves in Belfast in 1967, then began to win wider recognition with their regular forays at London’s Marquee. As their UK status rose, manager Eddie Kennedy insisted on changing the band’s rhythm section before they released their eponymous debut album in April 1969. This album achieved immediate continental success.

The band were championed by fellow musicians – the likes of John Lennon and Eric Clapton publicly praised Taste before they even had a record deal – and they played support at Cream’s Royal Albert Hall farewell concerts, as well as touring the US opening for Blind Faith. Their On The Boards album (released January 1st, 1970) won wide critical acclaim and chart success. Taste provided a standout performance at 1970’s Isle Of Wight Festival yet split acrimoniously at the end of that year. Rory Gallagher immediately set off on his solo career while the rhythm section formed Stud, a band as forgettable as their name is vulgar. A flurry of Taste live albums and a collection of 1967 Belfast demos were released across the 1970s, none with Gallagher’s permission or approval.

Those who love Taste’s music must wonder why this band, who shone so brightly and so briefly, appear to have been banished. Gallagher refused to include Taste material in his live sets for the rest of his life: that he felt such enmity towards what he experienced in the band that took him from the showband circuit to international stardom suggests severe trauma. Yet the music contained on Taste’s two studio albums is superb: their eponymous debut is dynamic late-1960s blues rock, while On The Boards is a striking blend of blues, jazz, rock and pastoral psychedelia. Taste were both critically acclaimed and commercially successful, yet in the decades since they split up, their legacy has been marginalised.

This is finally about to change. A Taste box set, I’ll Remember, is being released alongside a DVD containing the band’s Isle Of Wight performance. These releases are due to the diligence and care of the Gallagher estate, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that Rory’s legacy is properly handled. “For me, Taste has always been a passion,” says Donal Gallagher, Rory’s only sibling, “but this has been a walk through a nettle field.”

on paper, Taste epitomised the Aquarian ideals of the British counterculture. Combining youth and talent, a willingness to experiment and improvise, a dedication to playing for the people and an ability to bring Northern and southern Irish music fans together, Taste embodied the best principles of that era. And Rory Gallagher, in his humility and honest passion, stood for all that’s good in rock’n’roll. But a duplicitous manager would ensure that Taste emerged from the 1960s as burnt and bitter as The Beatles. Perhaps even more so, because few tales of industry machinations are quite as sour as that of Taste.
Rory was proud of the two albums Taste made,” explains Donal, “but we were never even told by Polydor that they were going to release live Taste albums. And the Belfast demos were never supposed to be issued. The whole situation was a mess and Rory just preferred to avoid dealing with it. We have wanted to see Taste’s recordings handled properly for a long time but my feeling, initially, was that anything to do with Taste becomes a nightmare.”

Donal pauses then adds, “Due to various legalities and personalities involved.”

Nightmare number one was Taste’s manager, the late Eddie Kennedy. Kennedy, a Northern Irish music promoter, caught Taste’s first Belfast performance at Sammy Houston’s Jazz Club. Sensing talent and scenting money, Kennedy signed Taste to both a residency at the Maritime Hotel and a management deal. Seventeen-year-old William Rory Gallagher had gained a musical education way beyond his years in, firstly, The Fontana Showband and then The Impact Showband as they toured Ireland, the UK, Spain and Germany, playing pubs, dance halls and US military bases. Time in London playing the city’s Irish ballrooms had allowed Gallagher to check out that city’s many gifted musicians. He saw Davey Graham in folk clubs and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Peter Green) in pubs, and it made him determined to lead a stripped-down R&B band. His last showband engagement, at Hamburg’s Big Apple club, found him leading The Impact Showband as a trio. When the Big Apple club’s manager asked where the missing showband members were, Gallagher swore they were all stuck in London with food poisoning. After a week, the manager surmised that he’d been told a fib but Gallagher played with such passion and skill, he let the 16-year-old continue his residency.

Back in Cork, Gallagher retired The Impact Showband and set about forming his ideal band, poaching Norman Damery and Eric Kitteringham from The Axills (Cork’s “answer to The Beatles” at the time). With Dublin being a soul music town, Taste found Belfast more responsive to their blues-drenched sound, and with Eddie Kennedy making promises, the trio settled there in 1967, initially living in the Maritime’s tiny, cell-like rooms (it was built as a residence for sailors between ships).

Van Morrison’s Them had made their name playing at the Maritime Hotel and were now internationally famous, and Kennedy saw in Taste a band who could follow in Them’s footsteps. As Kennedy regularly booked English bands to come and play at the Maritime, Taste mastered their craft opening for the likes of Cream, Fleetwood Mac and Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds.

“Those bands would come out to play four or five nights,” says Donal, “and so Taste really got to know them and Rory got to play with a lot of great musicians. The Belfast Taste/Fleetwood Mac gigs were amazing. There was a real purity to both bands and how they played blues. Chris Farlowe had Albert Lee on guitar – he was a brilliant picker right back then! And when Cream came over, Eric [Clapton] was so impressed by Rory that he offered him his Marshall stack to play through. Rory tried it but couldn’t get the sound he wanted so reverted to playing through his Vox amp.”Kennedy’s connections with Robert Stigwood (manager of Cream and the Bee Gees) meant he could get Taste – or The Taste as he initially insisted they were billed – gigs at London’s celebrated Marquee Club. In late 1967, Taste visited London, living out of their van and opening for anyone and everyone. Word spread about the beautifully raw Belfast band and when they returned to settle in London in early 1968, they were soon headlining nights at The Marquee.

“The Marquee was huge back then,” recalls Donal. “This was before they put a bar in so you could pack about 1,500 people in. There was no such thing as health and safety and as it wasn’t licensed, no one ever checked on it. The Marquee was also a place where promoters from across Europe would come to check the new talent.

“After one of Taste’s first London gigs in 1967, this guy from Nottingham, who booked The Boat House, offered us a fiver to come up and support Captain Beefheart. We leapt at it. The fiver probably covered the petrol! I remember we stayed at the worst dosshouse in Nottingham, along with about 30 lorry drivers! But the gig was great and Rory was very impressed by Captain Beefheart and his band as they had strong blues and jazz influences.

“After the show was over, Rory was chatting with Beefheart, and Beefheart said, ‘I hit all the bum notes I can.’ That was new to Rory. He had come up in the showbands where every note had to be perfect. So playing with different bands got Rory thinking about music in different ways.”
Taste then got booked to play at the Woburn Abbey Festival on July 7th, 1968. Woburn Abbey was one of the first British rock festivals and the bill featured the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Donovan. Taste were still unsigned at the time but they produced such a dynamic performance that John Peel, the former pirate radio DJ whose Perfumed Garden show on Radio 1 featured rising stars of the rock underground, told Gallagher that he would make sure Taste got a BBC session. Peel had already begun playing Taste’s debut 45 “Blister On The Moon”. This had been released on Belfast label Major Minor without the band’s consent. The two songs were taken from a demo and it’s likely Eddie Kennedy allowed the single to come out to generate major label interest.

Taste were now rising stars of the British rock scene – John Lennon had attended a Marquee performance and subsequently told a New Musical Express writer: “I heard Taste for the first time the other day and that bloke is going places” – and Polydor expressed interest in signing the band. Kennedy then insisted that the rhythm section be sacked. He told Gallagher that this was at Polydor’s insistence, the label deeming the rhythm section not good enough (listening to the Woburn Abbey concert proves the lie in this). Gallagher said he was having none of this and they would have to find another label. But – and Donal is unsure why – he then backed down, and Damery and Kitteringham were sent back to Cork while Ulster musicians John Wilson and Richard McCracken were drafted in on drums and bass. Wilson-McCracken had recently played in Cheese, a Belfast band Kennedy had managed. The new duo were both gifted, experienced musicians – Wilson had been a member of Them and played on their second album, “Them Again” – and they quickly clicked with Gallagher.

No photo description available.

Taste’s new line-up signed with Polydor, with Kennedy promising the band that the label would allow them the kind of independence The Who and Cream were then enjoying. What he didn’t tell them was that as they were minors – the legal age for contracts back then was 21 – it was Kennedy who was signed to Polydor, while the members of Taste were individually under contract to him as employees. Not that the band paid any attention to the intricacies of contracts, preferring to concentrate on taking their music to the people.

Taste played every gig they could get, every place, building a following,” says Donal who, having started as his brother’s roadie, was now the tour manager. “The crowd would be packed up against the stage and cheering the band on. This was the fuel Rory worked on – Taste would combust on stage, just catch fire with the excitement of the audience and take the music places they didn’t know it could go. I’ve found pictures of them on stage on a winter’s night and they are boiling!”.

Taste settled into two Earls Court bedsits with Rory and Donal sharing one – “two singles beds, a closet, a cooker, a washbasin” – and Wilson and McCracken in the other. The band toured in an old Ford Transit van, playing wherever they were booked.
“Our diary was always quite full because we didn’t mind going up to Inverness one night and Plymouth the next, both for low money,” Gallagher told ZigZag magazine when asked about his early days with Taste. “It was the only way to establish ourselves as far as we were concerned, because people soon forget what they read in a paper but they rarely forget a gig… so we just gradually worked our way up.”

So rooted in playing a highly personal form of blues rock were Taste that Eric Clapton, frustrated by Cream’s inter-member acrimony, insisted they play at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Cream’s farewell concerts. Taste, still without an album out, were thus anointed as Cream’s heirs.

Cream performed two shows in one evening at the Royal Albert Hall,” recalls Donal, “and that was a pity as it meant everything was rushed. Apparently it was because they could only book the Royal Albert Hall for one night and so they squeezed the two shows in. Also, Tony Palmer was filming the shows and I think he liked the idea of shooting both of them on one day. Yes were also on the bill so for the first show Taste opened, and then for the second show Yes opened.

“To my mind, Taste sounded better on the second show and Rory’s guitar sounded great – he was still playing through his Vox amp. He didn’t use any effects pedals beyond a treble booster to get greater sustain. There were lots of well-known musicians backstage – David Crosby and some of the Bee Gees, among others.”

While the Royal Albert Hall concerts turned the spotlight on Taste, it also brought about a degree of derision: as Cream and Jimi Hendrix had pioneered the power trio format, Taste were dismissed by certain London scenesters as mere Irish copycats.

Rory had formed Taste in 1966 with no intention of copying anyone,” says Donal. “He was friendly with Jack Bruce, having met him in his Hamburg days, and loved the early Yardbirds – their raw, raunchy blues – but he never aimed for Taste to be like Cream. Obviously Cream had been trailblazers in America so they paved the way for Taste. But if you listen to the Taste albums, they sound nothing like Cream.

“When Cream finally split [following their 1969 US farewell tour], Rory was approached by Eddie Kennedy with the suggestion he join Jack and Ginger [Baker] in a new version of Cream. Eddie was working closely with Robert Stigwood’s agency and it must have been mooted that a version of Cream could continue with Rory in Eric’s place. Rory wouldn’t have a bar of it.”

Image result for taste rory gallagher images

As Taste’s live reputation continued to grow, Polydor determined to get them into the studio and hired Tony Colton, a highly-touted British singer-songwriter who was, at that time, fronting Heads Hands & Feet as producer. Taste’s self-titled debut album was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, a facility in the centre of Soho, in one day. The next day was devoted to mixing the album.

Released in April 1969, Taste’s debut album is, essentially, their live show. It opens with Gallagher’s anthem “Blister On The Moon”, He bemoans life spent up and down Britain’s then-primitive motorway network with Dual Carriageway Pain, which is followed by a handful of unremarkable Gallagher originals, “I’m Movin’ On”. This gets played in a remarkably straightforward manner, harking back to Gallagher’s 1950s childhood in Ballyshannon where he was taught the song by his Uncle Jimmy, who returned to Northern Ireland after having worked in Detroit’s car plants.

Image result for taste rory gallagher images

Taste’s self-titled debut provided a broader showcase for Rory Gallagher, though the guitarist was already well on his way to becoming a national folk hero among his fellow Irishmen. Taste, which arrived on arrived on April 1st, 1969, succeeded on its own terms thanks to stunning heavy rockers like “Blister on the Moon,” “Same Old Story,” and the timeless “Born on the Wrong Side of Time,” as well as a wealth of accomplished blues numbers, both covered (Huddie Ledbetter’s “Leavin’ Blues” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Sugar Mama”) and original (“Hail,” which particularly highlights Gallagher’s talents; and “Catfish,” where he “out-Gods” Eric Clapton). Before they were done, Taste even found time to visit ‘50s rock via “Dual Carriageway Pain”; and American country music, with an acoustic and slide guitar-infused rendition of Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On.”

Still, his first sighting alongside the other men in Taste cannot be overlooked, since it stands as Gallagher’s first major step toward immortality as perhaps the ultimate working-class guitar hero.

Taste received largely positive reviews – Gallagher noted that it was “raw and honest” – and sold strongly in northern Europe. The band stayed on the road and went on to break The Marquee’s attendance record (previously held by Jimi Hendrix), but they remained on the same tiny salary Eddie Kennedy paid them. They may have now been internationally celebrated recording artists but they continued to live in grimy Earls Court bedsits.

“Earls Court was dubbed ‘Kangaroo Valley’ back then due to the huge number of Aussies living there,” says Donal. “The bedsit was very cramped and you had to feed the gas meter with an endless supply of coins to be able to cook or get heat. I would always be going off to the local laundry to do the band’s washing – Rory would just sweat through everything on stage – and the lady who owned the bedsit saw me doing this and installed coin-operated washing machines in the basement of our building. In winter, the laundry basement was the warmest room in the building so we would huddle down there, and Rory found it was a place where he could practice guitar and saxophone without annoying the other people living in the building.

“We lived in a crescent and met many other bands living there, including Brian May’s Smile. Brian would come and see Taste all the time. He would hang around after the gig finished to talk guitar with Rory, and Rory would explain to him how he got certain sounds.”

Eric Clapton’s enthusiasm for Taste remained strong and saw that the band were invited to support Blind Faith on their US tour across July and August 1969. While Taste played well, Blind Faith were imploding and, Donal recalls, the tour was poorly organised.

“It had always been a dream of Rory’s to play music in America. But once we got to America, the Blind Faith tour was a shambles. It was very badly managed, chaotic. They didn’t have enough material ready so Eric and Ginger ended up having to do Cream numbers – which is what the audience wanted, but not what Eric and Stevie [Winwood] had formed Blind Faith to do. Everything about that tour was a mess – it really felt cobbled-together – and due to Blind Faith’s controversial album cover [featuring a young topless girl], their record release had been delayed so the audiences weren’t familiar with the new songs. Rory was unhappy with Eddie and disliked playing stadiums, preferring clubs, and animosity was building in the band. Eric worked out something was wrong with Taste and asked me one time: ‘What’s wrong with the guys?’ He could feel the vibes. Rory took on an air of depression on that tour. ”

Taste were well received by US audiences and their debut album on Atco (Atlantic) entered the Billboard and Cashbox charts, but Eddie Kennedy had done little for the band there and, at the tour’s end, they found no further US dates booked. Back in London, Polydor requested that Taste re-enter the studio with Tony Colton to record album number two. This time they were given almost a week to get things done. And Gallagher, emboldened by success and determined to pursue his musical vision, stretched out on what would become known as “On The Boards”.

Gallagher composed all 10 tunes and demonstrated a versatility few could have imagined. Alongside driving blues rockers were acoustic ballads and experimental jazz-blues fusions, with Gallagher playing alto saxophone. No one else in contemporary rock music was creating anything comparable and when “On The Boards” was issued on January 1st, 1970, it entered the charts across Europe and attracted hugely complimentary reviews. Yet when Polydor issued opening track What’s Going On as a single in Germany – it was a Top 5 hit there – Gallagher was furious. Just like Led Zeppelin, he refused to allow singles to be issued from albums.

“I’m not sure where that came from,” says Donal, “as we grew up loving listening to 45s by The Everly Brothers and Chuck Berry. I think Rory saw his albums as akin to what jazz musicians were doing, so didn’t want them chopped up. At that time he had jammed with Larry Coryell and was in awe of Ornette Coleman, so the idea of being a pop star just did not appeal.”

As for Gallagher’s skill on the alto saxophone, which would never feature prominently on his albums again, Donal recalls his brother teaching himself in their bedsit.

Rory taught himself to play alto sax in one week. He did it in our bedsit in Earls Court. It was a frigging nightmare! He ended up playing into our closet, using it as a sound booth. It got so many complaints from other residents in the building!”

Taste were in the charts and on the road, playing to ever larger audiences, yet remained on the same poverty wages that Kennedy had begun paying them in 1967. “Eddie kept Taste on a meagre weekly salary,” notes Donal. “Rory got an extra fiver a week as he had to buy so many guitar strings. But the band were still playing through the meagre PA Rory had inherited from his showband days and travelling in a very basic Ford Transit with no proper heating. Here Taste were headlining festivals, setting attendance records at The Marquee and topping the charts across Europe, and they were just as poor as when they were an unknown band. It simply wasn’t good enough.”

By the time Taste came to play the Isle Of Wight Festival on August 28th, 1970, the band were on the verge of splitting. Rory and Donal both knew that Kennedy was looting Taste, yet Wilson and McCracken sided with their manager. Just as Noel Redding had resented the attention Jimi Hendrix received, Taste’s rhythm section spoke bitterly of how the focus on the band appeared to be all “Rory, Rory, Rory”.

Image result for taste rory gallagher images

“Things weren’t looking great for Isle Of Wight,” recalls Donal. “The van was broken into the night before and some of the drum pedals were stolen. This just added to the tension as Rory had been on to Eddie about getting a better van. At the Isle Of Wight, you had a band imploding on itself – Rory was very upset that John and Richard had decided to take the manager’s side. John believed all the promises that Eddie made – how he was going to make them all millionaires and pay a mortgage on John’s house – while Rory felt that Eddie had done what was necessary: he had got them from Belfast to London and had now run his course. And Eddie held on to all the money Taste generated. Also, there was the issue of jealousy: John and Richard resented Rory getting all the limelight but he was the bandleader, the guitarist, the singer, the songwriter.”

Donal sighs wearily as he recalls this difficult time. Taste were a band at the top of their game, widely loved and achieving great things, but they were poor and miserable. “We didn’t even have enough wages to eat properly. It turned out that John and Richard had signed separate contracts with Eddie and that Taste were not signed to Polydor so much as Eddie Kennedy was. All this came to a head two days before the Isle Of Wight. By the time they played the festival, Rory and I knew that Taste were over, that he was going to break up the band and go solo.”

Yet the Isle Of Wight ignited around Taste. Murray Lerner, who was shooting a film of the festival, had planned on only shooting one or two songs of Taste’s set, but they were so exciting and the audience response so strong that he kept the cameras rolling for much of the band’s performance. It’s this footage that features on the Taste Live At The Isle Of Wight DVD.

Gallagher wanted to end Taste after the festival but found out that Polydor had booked a major European tour for the band. Gallagher agreed to do it but insisted that he got paid directly by Polydor. Kennedy continued to treat the band poorly and during this tour, a backstage visitor asked Donal, ‘Where’s the beers? Where’s the food?’ I said, ‘This band don’t get any. What’s it to you?’ He replied, ‘I’m Peter Grant and I manage bands and Taste should be treated better than this.’ We got to talking and Peter would help us get out of Polydor’s clutches – they wanted to hold on to Rory as a solo artist.”

Once the European tour was over, Gallagher made it clear that Taste also were. Gentle as he may have been, he knew he had been robbed by Kennedy and was furious at his bandmates’ disloyalty. He agreed only that the band should play a farewell concert in the city that launched them: Belfast. Finishing on New Year’s Eve appeared suitably symbolic.

“The band performed two shows on the same day,” says Donal. “I guess it was because everyone was trying to earn their last crust. I recall their performance had an eerie feeling to it as they were playing beautifully, playing great music, but very soon it was to be no more. The second concert was at Queen’s University and as it came up to midnight, 11 car bombs had gone off across Belfast. And everyone was saying that the 12th car bomb would go off as it hit midnight. So we were all waiting for this ominous moment.

“In London people were counting down the seconds until Big Ben chimed midnight and in Belfast we were counting them down until the 12th car bomb went off. And you know what? It never exploded. I don’t know if this was due to a fault in the bomb or what, but that is my abiding memory of Taste’s final concert – the band breaking up and Belfast being torn apart by car bombs.”

Gallagher quickly moved on, establishing himself as a hugely successful solo artist. Peter Grant saw off Eddie Kennedy – who initially claimed to “own” the frontman – but Gallagher never saw any of the funds Taste had earned across their four-year existence. As Donal got more involved in managing Rory, he determined to resolve the Taste conundrum.

“I got more and more angry at how he was being ripped off over the Taste material and Eddie was still holding on to some of Rory’s publishing. Then, in the mid-1970s, we had just signed a new contract with Chrysalis and suddenly this album of the Taste Belfast demos came out in the US under Rory’s name and with a photo of him on the cover, as if it was a new album by Rory! I hired lawyers and went after the label and they declared bankruptcy rather than pay up. It cost us a fortune! I then took Eddie Kennedy to court and Rory was very nervous about it. He told me that he doubted he could get in the witness box and testify against Eddie, but Eddie capitulated before it reached court. He then signed over the Taste royalties, although he claimed to have no money so Rory never saw any of the money generated from Taste’s album sales up until then.”

Image result for taste rory gallagher images


In the early 1990s, the most unlikely of events almost happened: a Taste reunion. “Rory and John Wilson got friendly again after John turned up for a few of Rory’s Belfast concerts. We were considering a Taste reunion being held in Belfast’s Titanic dry dock as part of the Northern Ireland peace process, but then Rory got sick. Anyway, by now we were all talking again and I explained to John and Richard that we had gone after Eddie for the Taste royalties. At around the same time, Polydor announced it was reissuing the Taste albums on CD and I pointed out to them that they did not own the digital rights. We sorted this out and an agreement regarding Taste was finally signed by all parties in 1999. Better late than never.”

Then, in 2000, Wilson and McCracken revived the Taste name (with Sam Davidson doing Gallagher’s guitar and vocals) and went out on the road. If the Gallaghers and the rhythm section had put their differences behind them in the 1990s, this ‘reunion’ again proved divisive.

“It upset me that Richard and John went out on the road again as Taste,” says Donal. “That was an abysmal decision and not in the spirit of the agreement. When I heard about it, I said to them, ‘Why don’t you go out as Stud?’” Donal shakes his head in quiet disbelief, then says, “The synergy of Taste was great. Rory loved playing with the band, the way Richard understood jazz really worked for him. But Taste without Rory… it’s not right.”

What Donal has done is get Taste right. The “I’ll Remember” box set and Live At The Isle Of Wight DVD (“I contacted director Murray Lerner and said, ‘I don’t want my descendants talking to your descendants so let’s get this done’”) capture one of the most remarkable bands of their era. They only existed for a few brief years but the music they created then touched many. And now, treated with the respect Taste deserve, it will continue to do so.

_“I’ll Remember” is out on August 28 via Universal. See for more information.

Image result for taste rory gallagher images

LESTER BANGS ON TASTE…world’s most famous rock hack was a huge Rory fan

Lester Bangs (1948-1982) was the greatest American rock critic ever to pick up a pen and the only one to be immortalised in a Hollywood film (by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Almost Famous). He was starting out as a freelance writer for Rolling Stone in 1970 when the magazine asked him to review On The Boards. The 21-year-old Bangs gave the album one of his most fulsome reviews ever, noting: “Taste is from the new wave of British blues bands, breaking through the slavish rote of their predecessors into a new form that can only be called progressive blues. In other words, they use black American music as the starting point from which to forge their own songforms and embark on subtle improvisational forays.

“From the first notes of What’s Going On, the tightness and precision of this band’s instrumentalists is evident – the bass always complements the lead perfectly, never resorting to Jack Bruce fidgetings. And the crackling power of the guitar solo is made doubly heady by Rory Gallagher’s unerring sense of restraint… But Taste is evolving into much more than just another heavy voltmeter trio, as It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again makes clear. After two angular, uptempo vocal choruses – like scat singing with words added – Gallagher takes off on a long whirlwind of a solo flight, first on guitar and then alto sax, that is jazz and rock and neither precisely.

“You can hear distant echoes in his guitar solo of Gábor Szabó, Wes Montgomery and probably The Tony Williams Lifetime’s John McLaughlin, but Gallagher has digested his mentors, be they blues bards, jazzmen or The Rolling Stones. He is his own man all the way, even on sax, where his statements are doubly refreshing by their piercing clear tone and the coherence of the ideas – we have needed a rock saxist with the inspiration and facility to blow something besides garbled ‘free’ shit.

“It may seem unfair to concentrate almost exclusively on Gallagher, but the group is really his own vehicle in every way – besides playing lead guitar and sax and harmonica, he also sings lead and wrote all the songs. His voice is crisp and personal and blessedly free of strained mannerisms. Gallagher is no shouter when he doesn’t need to be – he treats his voice just like his other instruments, with an artist’s sense of ease and care for their delicacy…

“It seems a shame to even suggest that Taste be classed in any way with that great puddle of British blues bands. Everybody else is just woodshedding – Taste have arrived.”

Thousands upon thousands of fans gathered in one space with hands aloft, screaming along to every word and their body shaking with adrenaline as track after track hits them like a tidal wave. That feeling, of being wrapped up in a band who seize the euphoric and turn it into something vital and real in front of your eyes, that feeling is what makes a band special. Emblazoned front and centre, it’s what Sea Girls burst and pulse with – a band aiming first and foremost at being the torch-bearing sing-a-long for a whole new generation and a band trading, at its core, in what may seem the simplest of sciences. Turn everything up a notch, write anthems to throw yourselves into and be that soundtrack for the best nights of people’s lives.”

Band Members:
Henry Camamile, Rory Young, Andrew Dawson & Oli Khan

‘Under Exit Lights’ EP