Thursday, February 18, 2010

FFB: No Sleep Till Canvey Island.

FFB: No Sleep Till Canvey Island by Will Birch

In the USA following the Garage Rock era, it was the 70s Westren Swing Revival and the Outlaw Country movement that were the forerunners to Punk Rock, in the UK it was Glam and Pub rock that really set the stage for the Sex Pistols, The Damned and the Clash. In This book Will Birch traces the history of the scene as it bashed it's way from the little clubs around London to the world stage. Artists like Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and Ian Dury would emerge from the scene to stand in the spotlight, meanwhile dozens of others played away and became cult bands, and many would go on to be part of that first wave of British Punk Rock at the end of the 70s. Birch was one of those, as the drummer in the form The Kursaal Flyers was involved on the ground and in the trenches.

For those who have never heard of Pub rock, (from Wiki)
Pub rock was a mid- to late-1970s musical movement, largely centred around North London and South East Essex, particularly Canvey Island and Southend on Sea. Pub rock was largely a reaction to much of the popular music of the era, which tended to be dominated by progressive rock and highly polished, supposedly over-produced American West Coast 'AOR' sounds. Many viewed such music as inaccessible and 'out of touch', while pub rock was very much about getting 'back to basics', tending to be based around live performances in small pubs and clubs, playing unpretentious music, from country rock to rhythm and blues-influenced hard rock.
I read the book a back in July of 2003, I recall because it was what I was reading when I visited Japan. It is filled with the information and the details, but a little low on narative drive, and one of my firends in Sweden who is a fan of the music went so far as to call it boring. I don't know about that, but if you are all interested in the time, the place, and the music it is worth checking out.
I was inspired to write about this book due to the imminate release of two films that deal with Pub Rock, Sex & Drugs & Rock'n'Roll a biopic about the late Ian Durry and Julien Temple's latest rock documentary about the Group Dr. Feelgood, Oil City Confidential. I am looking forward to seeing both films.
Anyone interested in the music, there area a couple of solid Pub Rock collections out there: Pub Rock: Paving the Way for Punk and Goodbye Nashville, Hello Camden Town: A Pub Rock Anthology.
Will Birch has a Website HERE & He has a Blog for his new book on Ian Dury (which I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of) HERE.

thoughts, comments, fave raves from the Pub scene?


pattinase (abbott) said...

Love the term Pub Rock. Pubs are distinctive enough to merit their own sound.

Evan Lewis said...

Sounds like a cool book. I was one of the garage rockers (though we practiced in a basement instead). Most of our gigs were at schools, because we were too young to play in bars.

Will Birch said...

Boring?! Sorry to keep you up mate. Sweden was it?

Iren said...

Mr. Birch, thanks for the comment. I enjoyed the book and have planned to reread it for a while. As for my friend in Sweden, I ended up arguing with her about it before getting her going on Ian Dury and the Blockheads. At any rate I am looking forward to your new book.