Various – Sent From Coventry LP – Kathedral Records 1980

The Wild Boys – We’re Only Monsters / The Clique – Mothers Never Know / The End – Panic In The Night / The Mix – With You / Machine – Character Change / Urge – Nuclear Terrorist

Protege – Protection / Solid Action – Message From A Loner / The Wild Boys – Lorraine / Squad – Flasher / Homicide – Armageddon / Riot Act – Sirens / V.Babies – Donna Blitzen 

The LP was essentially organized and put together by Martin Bowes, editor of the Alternative Sounds fanzine from Coventry. He managed to get the Cherry Red label interested in it and they helped by giving a manufacturing deal…

Coventry had a very vibrant music scene at the end of the 1970’s, partly a legacy of the tail-end of the 1960’s R&B boom and partly an extension of the 1970’s Punk explosion (The Pistols and Clash played a gig together in Coventry). The music scene was bolstered by a useful mix of large and small venues: large venues (like Coventry Theatre, Tiffany’s nightclub, Lanchester Polytechnic and Warwick University) catered for the big touring bands, while the smaller venues (the Climax, the Heath Hotel, Zodiac, Hope and Anchor, General Wolfe, the Matrix) catered for the local groups. The local independent record shops (including Virgin and Jill Hansen’s) were also useful in spreading the word and giving people a place to meet…

The bands featured on the LP were all popular local bands who played live regularly: as the sleeve notes explain, many of the bands shared members and the whole scene was quite ‘incestuous’ in a way. Musically, there’s an interesting mix of Punk and Pop (particularly with a disco-esque tinge which reflect the era) in tandem with a strong Reggae influence which reflects the multi-cultural aspects of the Coventry music scene in the 1970’s. It’s also quite interesting to note how many of the bands used keyboards and the prevalence of lyrics touching on atomic warfare…

The Urge were one of the most popular local bands, and were hotly tipped for success. They toured nationally with UK Subs and Specials, and released a D.I.Y. single (Revolving Boy) on their own Consumer Disks label before signing to Arista where they recorded demos with Dennis Bovell and released 1 other single (‘Bobby’) before splitting up…

Their singer – Kevin Harrison – had been in Transposed Men (with Brad (Specials) and Noel (Selector)): many of the bands songs went on to form the basis of The Selector set including the original version of ‘On My Radio’. He was good friends with This Heat (one of his live recordings of the group appeared on their first LP), and he also used Uncle Bill’s ‘Cut Up’ technique (extended from the original by Brion Gysin) to write a number of Urge’s lyrics…

Squad were the stars of the local punk scene, having formed in 1977 with Terry Hall (Automatics/Specials) as their early vocalist. They released 2 singles (£8 A Week / Red Alert and Millionaire / Brockhill Boys) and always seemed to play at Coventry Carnival. Their singer at the time of the LP often wore a kilt onstage (ala Adam?)…

The Wild Boys were a very popular local group, initially started by Roddy Radiation (Specials) with a name inspired by Uncle Bill. Their sound has a strong Only Ones influence, as well as some dubious lyrics on ‘Lorraine’…

The Clique songs sounds frighteningly like ‘I Could Be Happy’ by Altered Images: the album was released by Cherry Red, so perhaps someone heard the song…

The original singer of The Clique went on to sing for the Human Cabbages who are now mentioned regularly in the ‘Messthetics’ scene dedicated to obscure D.I.Y. Post Punk recordings from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Then, the Clique’s singer on this LP went on to sing in L’Homme de Terre who had a track on the Coventry compilation EP ‘Boys and Girls Come Out to Play’ which featured The Human Cabbages…

The Human Cabbages drummer went to my school, their guitarist accompanied me to a Crass gig in 1981 with their guitarist, and the drummers sister was the first person to break my heart…

The album was recorded and produced by John Rivers at the famous Woodbine Studios in nearby town Leamington Spa which recorded many great bands (including Swell Maps) and is still going strong today…

The cover features photography by Rob Lapworth (bassist of The Wild Boys) which features images of many of the locations relevant to the local music scene, including The Wedge café which sold anarchist literature and fanzines upstairs…

The album came with a special issue of the popular Coventry fanzine Alternative Sounds which featured a page on each of the bands. The fanzine is available to view here:

http://coventrymusichistory.vox.com/sent-from-cov-alternative-sounds/

The editor of the fanzine – Martin Bowes – went on to form the dark electronic group Attrition.

This is very much a step back in time for me: I went to school in Coventry and consequently saw most of the bands on the LP play live at one time or another. Aspects like the dress sense of the bands help to give a real sense of time and place…

In 1980, inspired by the literature we were reading at the time (including fanzines like Tales of Dayglow, Vague, Toxic Grafity and Aftermath), Miles (other founder member of Napalm Death) and I started to write our own fanzine. With the naivety and arrogance of youth, we brazenly harassed many of the local bands and fanzine writers who (to their credit) put up with us and humoured our haphazard and shoddy attempts…

Particular thanks to Alan Ryder (Adventures in Reality) and Martin Bowes (Alternative Sounds)…

The editor of Alternative Sounds put us in touch with the bassplayer of the Wild Boys (who was a printer) and he printed some of the first few issues of our fanzine (and the last edition of Miles’ fanzine Twisted Nerve)…

It was at a Siouxsie and the Banshees concert in Coventry in 1981 that the editor of Alternative Sounds introduced me to the editors of Flipside fanzine who gave me a number of back issues of their magazine: the ‘Scene Reports’ from around the globe introduced me to some great American bands (and the delights of records like the Solger – ‘Raping Dead Nuns’ ep) and also to the emerging thrash scene from around the world, particularly Finnish thrash like Kaaos and Rattus…

Nic Bullen

63 comments on “Various – Sent From Coventry LP – Kathedral Records 1980

  1. @Keith Bailey – Shipley has reformed the Swinging Cats and they do very occasional outings here in Coventry. It seems that there is no room for any other local music culture than the museumification of ‘two tone in aspic’.

  2. Keith bailey on said:

    All a bit predictable. A shame when you know about the towns’ musical heritage. There is so much more than 2 tone going back to the 60’s. Check out the Zodiacs etc if you like a bit of garage band.

  3. Colin Wardle on said:

    I was the bass player with the V Babies and wrote most of our material , some of it with Keith when I could get him to write , and also remastered the limited edition CD of which he speaks . I seem to be the only one of the band who’s been constantly musically active since the band broke up . Our original drummer Paul ( the one on Donna Blitzen ) died in South Africa of cancer several years back , Jud moved to Scotland , and Keith is still Keith I believe . Yer memory’s going mate , we did do a few songs at gigs featuring John Shipley , until the time we electrocuted him on stage ( by accident I’m sure ) and he never came back .

    I wrote “Donna Blitzen” when I was 18 , and as I remember we weren’t too happy with the version on this album as we thought the sound was very weak and poppy – we had recorded a much more powerful and raucous version at Pathway Studios in London and would rather have put that out , but were told by the label that we had to use the version produced by Johnny Rivers .

    One thing I’ve always wondered ( not that it matters much at this distance ) – did anybody ever get payed for being on this LP ?!? It’s quite amazing that “Sent From Coventry” is available for download on sites in just about every country in the world . Particularly popular in Canada and Finland you know .

  4. Keith Bailey on said:

    Hello Col..
    FINLAND??????

  5. AL Puppy on said:

    I blame Canada myself.

  6. Pete King on said:

    Colin – re getting paid. I remember getting a cheque for about £15 but I don’t know if this was from the original album sales or radio plays (John Peel of course and amazingly one or two others). But not a penny since, so if anyone is making money from it it’s certainly not me. I never had a copy of the contract we (The Clique) signed but i’m sure we probably signed away all rights to Cherry Red.

    I wish I’d kept the royalty cheque and framed it but I was on the dole at the time so cashed it immediately! Perhaps I naively assumed there would me more to come? Ha ha

    Probably the only person who made money at the time was John Rivers?

  7. Colin Wardle on said:

    Yes you may well be right Pete. I had to pay to download the album from the Cherry Red site a few years back – would be better to have got it for nothing from this site and stick it to the Man! I have been reminded that I did get a composer royalties cheque for £60 (including royalties ” from Finland” it said Keith!) which I used to pay for a PA hire for a gig.

    Actually, ref Johnny Rivers: is there any body else from the bands who thinks the production on Sent From Coventry is a bit, well, wimpy? I listened to it again after finding this site and was as disappointed as I was after recording our track (see above). JR’s production manages to make several of the tracks sound like the same band with different singers , and lacks any real power. We wanted to sound like the Stooges and came out sounding like The Buzzcocks, not a totally bad thing but not exactly what we were after. Same for Squad, The Wild Boys and Riot Act in particular.

  8. re: John Rivers – I don’t think anything John Rivers has ever done can be classed as ‘heavy’/’wild’ – back in the 80’s he was trying to build a pop production rep. In the sessions I did at WSRS he seemed overly concerned with getting the sounds ‘well recorded’. I still think he has a good set of ears, just didn’t cope with mess very well.

  9. Paul James on said:

    Colin, Surprise, surprise, I did’nt get to South Africa, I was going with Freddy(my roadie) but he did’nt go either so am alive and well in cov still smoking.
    Ref John Rivers, It could have been worst ie Pete Waterman.

  10. Colin Wardle on said:

    Hey Paul , really glad to find out that you’re not dead! I could swear that it was Freddy that told me of your demise several years back when I bumped into him in town. Maybe it was his idea of a jest, he always was a bit weird .

    Keith wants to know if you’re up for a reunion, to cash in on our popularity in Finland and Canada. The Shrivel Yer Nuts tour, just imagine the posters .

  11. Tony Lynch on said:

    I was playing drums in the wild boys around this time, Never saw any money from gigs or vinyl……………but that was not the reason we did it. My father, an ex 50s drummer never understood why I never made money from the band…………It was a love affair for me, and we all lived off our UB40s

  12. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Hey Tony (if you are still monitoring this)

    The Wild Boys were probably my favourite band out of all those around at the time, but there were so many great bands it was a close call (particularly against Gods Toys and the Urge). I think I saw pretty much every band listed in all of the posts above, but then I was writing about them all for Adventures in Reality so I really made the effort. I went to at least 3 gigs a week then, often 5 (getting in free helped a lot!). I counted 17 (I think) fanzines operating in Coventry, Nuneation, Meriden, Leamington Spa and Bedworth. There was a healthy interchange with the Northampton, Leicester and Birmingham (Dangerous Girls played a lot in Coventry) scene at the time too – does anyone recall Glass records?

    I could go on and on (but won’t).

    Good to know that it all still matters, if only to those there at the time. Still, this posting got the most hits of all on the KYPP site, so that must mean something!

  13. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Forgot to say I lost my copy of the Risky City cassette – does anyone have a copy they could download?

  14. Hi Alan, how on earth did you know how many hits this download has or had? Great educated guess or inside knowledge because, yes…
    This here post has had 1310 Downloads.
    To put the amount in context the second highest is ATV / Here And Now with 975 downloads followed by Antz at Electric Ballroom New Years Eve 1979 with 815 downloads…
    Heres to Coventry…sleeping giant.

  15. Think you’re the inside source, Pengy! Were you on a different sauce last night or have you forgotten making your previous post on 21/05/09?

  16. Strangely enough Mick I had forgotten about a comment I made one and a half years ago! I must have had other things on during that time!
    😉

  17. It would take a very early Penguin to catch the Lugworm…

  18. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Naturally I expect Pengiun to have perfect recall! You seem to remember just about everything that went on in those days, whereas my memory is often hazy at best, which may have meant I was busy having a really good time, or (more likely) that I just have a crap memory!

    Interesting that this LP has sparked so much interest though. Time for a reissue? (though as you can download it easily anyway, theres probably not a lot of point!)

    On a different note, has anyone looked at the ZineWiki site. Its missing a lot of what we regard as iconic fanzines, but interesting nonetheless. And you can add your own entries to update it, no pompous Wikipedia notices telling you you are not important enough to include. Also worth a look is Teal Triggs coffee table book”Fanzines” just published. A few familiar names appear in there (Chainsaw, Pananche and, ahem, Adventures in Reality). A very interesting read.

  19. I’m searching for “Risky City” & “Death of Eddy” by Wild Boys, too.

    I’ve been in Coventry in 1981, when I was a teenager and bought the cassette, but meanwhile it became unplayable… 🙁

    Any Idea where to download?

    Cheers from Germany
    Sven

  20. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    I’m putting together a book on Coventry Fanzines and the scene at the time and I’m keen for anyone who was around either in bands, editing a zine, or were just there at the time all to get in touch. I really want you all to be a part of this! E-mail me at alanrider1@aol.com heading your e-mail Coventry Fanzines so my Spam Filter doesn’t block it!

  21. Nice one Alan: sounds very interesting. I’ll be in touch soon…

  22. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Hi Nic

    yes, get in touch. I’m meeting up with Steve Teers next week. It’ll be wierd after all these years! I went along to a play about 1979 in Coventry at the Belgrade at the weekend. Its called Too Much Pressure and had Alternative Sounds and Sent from Coventry all over the programme. Check out the Zine Weekly blog too http://zineweekly.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2012-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=4 for an article on Adventures in Reality. Can anyone else who was on the scene at the time get in touch too?

  23. Mick .C on said:

    lordy lordy the memories come flooding back, what electricly charged days,
    anyone know what happened to Ricky Bristow ? thanks for the thread… R.I.P
    Mr Gus Chambers .

  24. hi everybody thought i would mention that i am bev from homicide was big time into punk first saw pistols down lanch in cov then at mr georges and huddersfield on xmas day. knew gus really well and lots of others as i travelled a lot to see all the groups they were a big part of my life and i wouldnt change it for a thing. some of you might remember my brother al jones happy days if anybody has got any photos as i have lost all mine or anybody wants to contact me 07516813676 thanks

  25. So many familiar names and common shared memories..a really interesting thread and KYPP is killer as always..

    I lived in Finham and Radford but went to Finham Park 77-82′ , and used to contribute to Rough Justice fanzine in 80/81′, and go to the Belgrade Venue,Swanswell, Hope, Queen Inn, Lanch..and of course the Wedge for the great zines/books upstairs..

    If Pete Sampson reads this could you please ask your brother Steve to drop me a line (or Chris Boyd/Alan Hill (of the infamous Hill clan)/Ian Lawless – the other Delayed Reaction members. (there was the first vocalist ‘Dave’ from Baginton Road ,but ive forgotten his full name)

    Steve Sampson moved from Beechwood Ave, Earlsdon in mid-81 as his dad(a vicar i recall) was posted out of the city and i lost contact .

    It was always great fun going to watch Delayed Reaction rehearse in Ians garden shed opposite Finham library !..and their gigs at Belgrade and the Queens in Hillfields were killer..

    Similarly, if anyone knows the whereabouts of Dave or Johnny Goldring (from Finham’s legendary Monarchy) please ask them to contact me as i would be very interested in releasing live tapes/demos by both bands.

    My email is : julesml.geo@yahoo.com

    thanks…
    Jules

  26. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    After radio silence for the past year it’s good to see this string has sprung back into life again. Bev, it’s great to hear from you. And yes, how can I forget your brother Al’s Radiation punk disco. Can you get in touch please direct alanrider1@aol.com as I’m still compiling my book on Coventry fanzines (see above) and would love to include a quote or two from you in the section on the Cov scene in the front of the book. Who know? I may be able to help with a few reviews/pix from Cov fanzines from the time too.

    And Nic, if you are reading this, get in touch won’t you!

    Jules, wasn’t the bands name spelt “Monachy”??

    Finally, if anyone’s interested I have posted a live Wild Boys track on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmGIUjHFI4Y. Its really good so check it out.

    Alan

  27. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Bev

    Have you seen Mark Osbourne’s website thisisthen.co.uk? There are some photos of Homicide from 1979 at the Matrix Hall supporting The End on there.

    http://thisthen.co.uk/bands/homicide/

    Alan

  28. Alan Rider (Adventures in Reality) on said:

    Sven

    If you are still looking for the two Wild Boys tracks off the Risky City cassette I’ve just posted them on Youtube (with permission from the Wild Boys too so no copyright breach – a first for Youtube?)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMSddv13KYg

  29. daveharris on said:

    glad i found this site very intresting indeed i run a label data records and it was us that put the repressing out of sent from coventry lp cherry red were paid so it was a legit repressing not a bootleg i still have copies left if anyone wants to buy one i am in radford so you can pick it up if you want the cost is £5 you can contact us on 02476 601678 or you can email us at rebelliontickets@btinternet.com
    cheers
    dave

  30. Charlie on said:

    Would you believe that this album is now available for download on iTunes and Amazon ? And that according to their latest figures the V.Babies track has had more downloads than the rest of the tracks have put together . I never thought that people had that much taste !

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