Who Is The Best-Selling Country Music Artist Of All Time Beauty And The Blues – Two Of The Best From Nottingham

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Beauty And The Blues – Two Of The Best From Nottingham

25 years ago, a darker side of music was born. Straight from the loins of fast and furious punk, came the grim approach to life and death in Goth form. First it was suburban north London delights like Camden Town that first accused him. Conservative bony fingers were pointed at them for introducing such macabre ways of thinking, in fact Nottingham and its surrounding areas, it was said, first took the giant steps into a brave new witch-like world. Although Nottingham didn’t achieve great goth status in the eyes of the rest of the English speaking world, (no claim on Joy Division, I’m afraid) they managed to get their money’s worth as far as other music was concerned. go….

So, we know that any city can have a stab at claiming fame on the ‘genre-producing’ list. It is not difficult for a Liverpudlian to shout Cilla Black or Gerry and the Pacers at a passing tourist. They don’t even have to mention the B word too much these days. Even Leeds can boast the more recent Sisters Of Mercy; Probably one of the most innovative bands from the goth movement, but hang in there, there are more obscure places to go and find the birth of big names. What about Cobham in Surrey who gave us Peter Gabriel and who can forget Stanmore in Middlesex who gave us Billy Idol? So who have we been able to identify as more than just a speck in the British music industry from this historic city?

Well, from the deepest recesses of the back of my mind, I came upon two bands that tormented us with their enigmatic presence. The first of these bands are almost certainly going to be figures of the sixties generation. Back in the midst of the psychedelic decade, long-haired, introverted students were engaged in works on the uncanny disposition of already safe music subjects. Not only the Beatles are beyond our imagination. Today’s youth have gone into the pattern of creating their own music angles that their parents were raised on. The British blues scene reached its peak around the late sixties with the likes of John Mayall, Eric Clapton and Peter Green. A certain band, born out of the inspiration of the ever-changing social acceptance of ‘freethinking’, threw themselves at the general public from Nottingham and ended up calling themselves, ten years later. It seems like they all failed the ‘Easy Rider’ audition, and with Leo Lyons, their bass guitarist who looks more like Frank Zappa, these three men came together to create some of the greatest British-born blues around.

While they might not light any seasonal crackling in your head, they will make their presence felt throughout the revolutionary British blues scene. Forging true Southern blues with a predominantly white guitar feel, they embarked on a storied career that never really ended. Although British blues artists have been holed up in the privacy of their bedrooms since the late 1950s, it was, oddly enough, literally ten years after the sound This one of the artists, considered heaven, of that time, really came to the forefront. It was great musicians like Alvin Lee, from ten years later, who gave us the backbone of much of the rock music we listen to today.

Fortunately, they are still going strong and sound just as exciting and revolutionary as they did forty years earlier, they just look like our ancestors now; Bearded, friendly and confident as Spinal Tap is well behaved, they can certainly still rock. For future performances and to get in touch, visit http://www.ten-years-after.com.

The next influential band to come out of Robin Hood City was a band that needs no formal introduction. Tindersticks dove head first into our ears initially as the strangely titled, Asphalt films. Where this name came from, I do not know, and yet, it was not under this name that they found great success. However, it was the three musicians and three others who gave us the name that remains fast. Although they never seem to have gained any real critical acclaim, they did have a fairly memorable album, ‘The Second Tindersticks Album’, which reached number 13 in April 1995. To describe them to a complete stranger is a rather difficult task. As they seem to create their own genre. Not really fitting into a known category, apart from ‘chamber pop’, they may have casually passed off with the title Goth Gods, although it would have been better to feel it at the extreme end of the scale where Goth might have met Medina on a unique and completely coincidental night…

One thing was for sure, they somehow found the same frequency as some other dark-spirited romantics watching at the time. When the colorful craze of the Eighties came to an abrupt halt and the more monochrome monochrome of the Nineties began, Tindersticks found themselves an audience that was surprisingly and completely at their mercy. Their precise and depressing lyrics and heart-wrenching melodic music were the tonic for the faint of heart. Although they were at their core a band that produced meaningful prose and contrapuntal string arrangements, they were not unlike the brooding side of Lou Reed’s Velvet Underground. Stuart Staples’ rapid singing on Tindersticks was enough to melt the coldest of souls. His lyrics change the emotions darkly and receptively through the painful melodies and mournful chords, the listener felt rather dragged into his world of doom and gloom. Maybe turn what we knew as mainstream gothic into something more along the lines of Stoke, Aitken and Waterman..

Despite their bleak outlook, their beauty comes from the traditionally perfect arrangements. Their music, while loopy, detailed a theme that probably applies to all of us at some point in our lives. What Tindersticks gave us was an alley; Destitute and dead as it were, but a way in which, in such urgent moments, we can find a guiding light. The glamourously corrupted themes dripping with personal failure are beautifully crafted with such musical skill that the songs seem almost timeless. It can certainly be argued that there has never been, and never will be, a band with such a gentle and inoffensive sound as Tindersticks. Find out more about this uniquely accomplished band at http://www.tindersticks.co.uk.

As both the aforementioned bands go into our mind’s file cabinet of ‘bands from Nottingham’, they couldn’t really be further apart in a genre sense. And yet it is important to mention them like any other name and more famous than anywhere else. Both are as inspiring to up-and-coming bands now as others have been in recent decades. With that in mind, and with these two professional and magical groups, maybe it’s about time we got another band or artist from this city…

© Michelle Hatcher 2006

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