The latest in my occasional series ‘Wasn’t that best left forgotten’.
A shining example of cross border co-operation this Crawley-Horsham combo had Ian Potter as second vocalist, Mulley on bass, later jazzer Dave Ohm on drums and Alan Stubbs on keyboards, who became increasingly Bitter.
The second of the songs presented here, Magic Between Your Thighs, was written in upwards of half and hour by me, Chris Crosby (Open Gear Lawnmower) and Malcolm whose lyrics were a near verbatim transcription of a contemporary television advert, but I’m buggered if I can remember what it was for.
The lead track was famously played on a Sunday afternoon ITV talent show to a panel including classical guitarist John Williams but his verdict on the performance is lost in the mists of time. That was of course a different line-up which featured on keyboards Piers Hernu who would later be largely responsible for the decline of western civilization.
Significantly four of those playing on these recordings were members of Businessmen On Bicycles.
More of the Marvellous Adventures Of Malcolm here.
1985 To 1986
Optimistically described as ‘a cross between Bauhaus & Joy Division’. At least until I joined at which point ‘with Eric Clapton on guitar’ was added to the description.
Potentially some potential I thought but when the buggers made it clear they were pissing off to University I packed it in. They may have careers and money now but I still have my principals!
Here are a few examples of their ouvre which all go on a bit long except Sister Ray which is about twenty minutes too short.
Murder My Emotion 1986
From the Perfect Union Cassette
From the Perfect Union Cassette
That bass line has a certain familiarity.
Sister Ray 1986
Live At Collyer’s College ‘Orsham
Cracked Black 1986
From Fred & Friends
This was after I left but as they’d had some problems recording and as the machine they’d borrowed had to be back the next day I played on it to get it done. This is of the few tracks I was involved in writing. You can hear my pure pop sensibility coming through.
Me & t’bass player were Voice Of The Rain alsowise.
Businessmen On Bicycles
1986 To 1987
Little is known about the popular music group Businessmen on Bicycles whose existence is shrouded in uncertainty layered upon supposition and garnished with a light coating of conjecture.
BOB, as they are known to aficionados, are thought to have operated in the South Of England during the early to mid 1980s with several witnesses claiming to have seen them performing live around ‘Orsham in Sussex.
An excerpt from a Mark I rehearsal
The picture that emerges from theses recollections is one of chaotic happenings led by a six piece group of musicians freely interchanging instruments and non-playing band members engaging audience-centred improvisation, whether the audience wanted it or not.
A dancing Arab is reported in a number of accounts and one deponent mentions a performance of Astonishing Shrubbery during a disastrous concert at Worthing Art College. But as with much else about the band these stories must be treated with appropriate caution.
The photographs included here are said to be of an early incarnation of the ensemble though doubt has been cast on their veracity by a self-proclaimed BOB sketpic who alleges they are in fact of a group of sixth form students partaking in a jolly jape.
More certain is their recorded output, two long playing albums entitled ‘Enjoy Christmas With Businessmen on Bicycles’ and ‘Groid LVIIII (A State of Mind)’. These reveal a band that employed a layered, eclectic sound embracing any and every style that fitted their prevailing mood. Some editions credit a three-piece lineup including The Schenzy Reaper and Bertie Bingo, however nobody has been able to confirm the accuracy of this information.
So who were these people, demi-gods if you will, and what is their relevance to The Sessionaires? There is a similarity in their creative approach but less subjectively one cash-in reissue of Groid LVIIII (Your Place Or Mine) is credited as ‘Jon E Parker Presents A Businessmen on Bicycles All Night Sing-A-Long Summer Go-Go Party’.
But Jon E. Parker himself has refused to make any comment on the subject since 1989 in what has been interpreted as either an obsessive desire to protect his artists or a complete lack of interest.
Rumours abound though and one such is that The Schenzy Reaper disappeared around 1987 or 1988 and that this occasioned the break-up of the band (and according to speculation the transition of elements of the existing membership into The Sessionaires).
Certainly 1986’s Groid LVIIII (A Waste Of Time) was their last official release, although later recordings are thought to be in the hands of collectors. This then is the looking glass world of Businessmen on Bicycles.
Excerpts from Groid LVIIII (A Modern Spacious Design) recorded by the Mark II trio including, Brass Band On A Bandstand, Barbecue Blues, Bit O’ Room, Lonely Crocodile, Hat On The Rails, Pete & Ben, Horrible Spoon, Chip On The Floor, Boogie Woogie Mushroom Man, Aniseed Kisses, Christmas Song, Fans Go Wild, It Smells Like A Pub Downstairs, Lank In A Bank, Hand On My Knee, Astonishing Shrubbery, Groid LVXIIII and very few others.
The Mark I Line Up In Happier Times
A band I left because I thought the songs were mostly crap.
A band from 1987 for which I wrote most of the songs.
I quite like this one though, ‘Weed’, which was later resurrected for the third Voice Of The Rain Cassette.
They did indeed improve when I left.
Vocals & Drums – Jim Calderwood (Gits UK)
Keyboards – Paul Finch (Christine)
Bass – Martin King (Businessmen On Bicycles)
Peter Nagel – Lead Guitar (Who popped up on various Voice Of The Rain recordings)
Stair Party lead guitarist Peter Nagel (right) with MKII drummer Mark Craine (left) partaking of afternoon tea.
Photograph stolen from the web.
2006 To 2007
A short lived band who came together to play the Horsham Battle O’Bands Covers Competition in 2006 with the bright idea of doing tracks by ex-Yardbirds guitarists with keyboards as the main instrument.
Should you raise the energy to watch the video it’s worth keeping an eye on the the drummer as he does a sterling job playing one handed having fractured his left prehensile multi-fingered extremity a week before.
We sadly came second at the final and lost our beer money after being marked down for too much originality.
Unfortunately the guitar being far quieter on stage and consequently louder through the PA system means the keyboards are rather swamped in the mix for the video which was largely taken from the sound desk.
After a summer 2007 support slot to Blood Red Shoes in Horsham Park was rained off we packed it in as we didn’t want our superior versions to show up the temporarily reformed Led Zeppelin.