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THE COLOURFIELD

After the demise of the successful, Fun Boy Three (SEE FUN BOY THREE). Former Specials front man (SEE THE SPECIALS) Terry Hall set about forming yet another trio in the shape of the Colourfield. With Terry on vocals and guitar, Karl Shale (from the bands Solid Action and Aching Tongue) on Bass and Toby Lyons on Guitar/organ formerly of The Swinging Cats (SEE THE SWINGING CATS). The boys were set to go with their first release The Colourfield in the early part of 84, reaching a 43. Terry’s voice was still unmistakable, but there was a whole new maturity to the Colourfields sound. The summer saw their second single released entitled Take with Echo and the Bunnymens Pete De Freitas on drums. A wonderful slice of sarcastic bitterness, something Terry Hall has always been good at. Sadly it floundered at 70 in the charts.

1985 was a better year with the release of Thinking of You this was to be their most successful single clocking in at number 12. A great song with a class video to boot, featuring Katrina Phillips on vocals, it worked at all levels. As did the their first album 'Virgins and Philistines' (12). Some may say it was scrappy and lacked direction, but didn’t the Colourfield always delight into turning that into an asset? They headlined Covaid (SEE FESTIVALS) in October and UK and US tours followed, by 1968 they were to add drummer Gary Dwyer and Lose Karl Shale (Karl was to join Vagabond Joy). Their second album Deception (95) was to be virtually ‘Terry Hall and his backing band Colourfield’. The single Castles in the Air (51) their last ‘hit’ had been lifted from it, February 86 saw them play at Warwick Arts Centre. After their last singles Running Away and She (a cover of a Monkees song) failed to chart, the end was on the cards, and Halls itchy feet was to take him to pastures new (SEE TERRY HALL).

COVENTRY BY NAME

This section looks at songs with a Coventry connection, be it obvious or tenuous. Well as far as obvious goes, The Coventry Carol has to be the team leader. Written in the 15th century, it comes from the play The Pageant of The Shearmen and Tailors as part of the ‘Coventry Cycle’ Mystery Plays (and does the lesser know carol As I Rode This Endless Night-The Coventry Shepherds Carol). Traditionally performed on the Cathedral steps by (Coventry's first) locals musicians known as 'waits' (usually a quartet led by a trumpeter). Covering the Nativity story and the Annunciation to the Massacre of the Innocents. Just in case you can’t place this traditional Christmas Carol here’s the first line: Lullay, Thou little tiny Child, By, by, lully, lullay.Lullay, There is no known record of the songs’ composer but the lyrics are credited to Robert Croo. Although there is evidence that these are a second set of lyrics. Sadly most of the transcripts of the Coventry Cycle Pageant were destroyed and Thomas Sharp in his Disseration on the Pageants at Coventry produced the only surviving record in 1825. It is believed that the plays were performed to Richard III in 1484 and Henry VII in 1584.

The song has been performed by many great and diverse artists over the years including: Joan Baez, Charlie Byrd, Charlotte Church, John Denver, Morgan Fisher (ex Mott The Hoople), Kenny Loggins, Phil Mazanera (ex Roxy Music),Liberace, Loreena McKennitt, Bett Midler, Alison Moyet, Elaine Paige,Sir Harry Secombe, John Taylor (Duran Duran), Kate Winslet a Spanish version entitled Coventry Espangnol by Stover & Wells and our own The St Michael's Singers (SEE COVENTRY CATHEDRAL).

The Coventry Carol is of course a song about well; killing babies basically, and I’m afraid Coventry profile don’t get any better. Take the song Coventry from the ‘Oi’ band The Business. Based on events that occurred when the band was stopped by the police on Walsgrave Road on their way to a gig at The Lanch (SEE VENUES). It begins, “A switch blade flashes on a Coventry night, a kids lying there, he didn’t want to fight. He said I didn’t do it and threw up his hand, everyone knows where the blame it should land. Always on the outside of whatever side there was, The lights go down in Coventry, the lights go down in Coventry”. A good song no doubt (with loads of lyrics borrowed from Bob Dylan’s Desire album), shame it portrays the city in such a negative light (Headcase and The Hybrid Kids also covered it). Our shoddy reputation continues thanks to Munich art band Chicks on Speed. They too have a song called Coventry, and it goes, “Russell Lives in Cov that’s a really brutal place, It’s in the middle of England, right into your face”! Well thanks for that, I’m sure that the Coventry tourist Office will be in touch.

Never mind Ah, it gets better The Men They Couldn’t Hang were Going Back to Coventry, so it can’t be all-bad. Then we are reminded of The Specials darker moments in the likes of Concrete Jungle and Ghost Town, bleak to say the least. Well at least Former Van der Graaf Generator front man Peter Hammill’s Planet Coventry was a metaphorical place inhabited by those who have suffered the fate of being ‘sent to Coventry’. Greg Davis was ‘sent to Coventry’ as a child hence his avant garde electro offering also called Coventry. Then there’s the Dixieland tune Coventry Rag. Midlands trad’ folkies The Boatmen recorded the track Coventry Lass. Charlie Harper of the UK Subs mentions Cov in his solo single Barmy London Army. A blatant 2 Tone bandwagon jumper (SEE 2 TONE) has to be Send Me to Coventry, by The Mob there were 9 of them, including Rob Jackson (SEE ROB JACKSON). It’s a song that really has no right to be so catchy. With lyrics such as, “I can see no naked lady, riding on her horse now”, and, ”C-O-V-E-N try our new horizon”, a blatant plug for Horizon studios (SEE STUDIOS) probably not it was recorded at Woodbine Studios! The Mob was the brainchild of Arun Bhandari. Who not long before the Two Tone explosion was fronting a rock band called Stiletto doing a blooming good Phil Lynott impersonation at the Dog and Trumpet (SEE VENUES). This is certainly my favourite Coventry song of the time, a kitsch classic. Another catchy little cash-in (although I doubt that literally) was Sent to Coventry by the Clean Looking Boys, I have the single, but can’t remember anything else about the band. Drums and Bass dance act Tango have also recorded a track entitled Sent To Coventry. In 1980 Cherry Red released the Compilation LP Sent From Coventry, showcasing local talent from the city, including The End, The Mix, Machine, Protégé and The Clique. Archie Leyton Is probably responsible for writing the more songs about Cov than anyone else. They include I Was Born In Coventry, In The Heart of Dear Old England and a Gang Show favourite Come to Coventry. He has also written The Brandon Bees Song and a Sky Blue Song. Colin Armstrong who was a member of folk band Music Box (SEE ROB ARMSTRONG), recorded a CD about the rebirth of Coventry in New City Songs.

GODIVA ROCKS SOUND BYTE FROM- Clive Scott (Jigsaw) At the beginning, when we were a six piece with Tony Britnell on sax, every Gig was an adventure, as he was so unpredictable. I remember one venue, I think in the Birmingham area, which had a very low stage ceiling. While throwing his sax in the air Tony (accidentally initially) managed to break one of the fancy glass lights above the stage. When this got a great response from the crowd, Tone proceeded to systematically work his way across from left to right, until the stage was awash with smashed light fittings. On our next return to the venue, now fitted with new replacement lights, he 'accidentally' did the same again. On our next few visits the management were prepared and removed all breakable lights before our arrival: Until Jigsaw got the job of being the unnamed backing band for Arthur (Sweet Soul Music) Connelly. As the band took the stage and started the sort of Blues Brothers style intro music for the entrance of the big star, the look of horror could be seen on the Manager's face, as he recognised the demented sax player preparing to toss his lethal saxophone into the air. I also remember the bewildered look on Arthur's face as he crunched onto the stage through the carpet of broken glass.