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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Puzzler - Deaf School

So last time on The Puzzler I questioned you thusly: Suggs from Madness married the lovely Bette Bright. With which band was she the singer?

The answer is Deaf School, a band whose influence is still being felt today. Think I'm kidding? Here's what Paul Du Noyer, founder of Mojo magazine and successful author and journalist, has to say...

 "In the whole history of Liverpool music two bands matter most, one is The Beatles and the other is Deaf School. If that seems like a sweeping statement then consider this: after the pop revolution of the 1960s led by The Beatles and other Merseyside groups, it looked as if the city's music scene had dried up forever. But in 1975 there came a motley band of Liverpool art students called Deaf School".

Their sound was a motley collection of styles - pub rock, punk, glam, art-rock - and their members have since become music industry legends. On guitar was Clive Langer, who has since produced (with producing partner Alan Winstanley), the albums One Step Beyond, Absolutely, 7, The Rise And Fall, Keep Moving, Mad Not Mad, Wonderful and The Liberty Of Norton Folgate by Madness, Kilimanjaro by Teardrop Explodes, Too-Rye-Ay by Dexy's Midnight Runners, Punch The Clock and Goodbye Cruel World by Elvis Costello, Flood and Mink Car by They Might Be Giants, Kill Uncle by Mozzer and the seminal Sixteen Stone by Bush - shall I go on?
Then you had the fabulously named Enrico Cadillac who along with Ian Broudie (he of The Lightning Seeds, Care and Big In Japan) formed The Original Mirrors, another highly influential band. The other members - Max Ripple, Steve 'Average' Lindsey, Ian Ritchie and of course Bette Bright have played together in several reunion concerts, although sadly drummer Tim Whittaker died in 1996 and last year we lost the amazing Eric Shark. So - you say you've never heard of them? Not surprising really. They released three albums between 1976 and 1979 - 2nd Honeymoon, the first, actually had a musical composed around its ten songs and performed in Brighton in 1997. The second LP, Don't Stop The World and the final LP English Boys/Working Girls both failed to make any impact on the charts, but English Boys sure made an impact on me when, as a teenager, I found a copy of it in the reduced rack at Woolies, and having heard the name Deaf School bandied about by music papers such as Melody Maker and NME in reverential tones, took a chance and loved it from the first time I put stylus to vinyl. Investigating the previous albums I was quite surprised to hear the diversity and range of the songs. Their entire recorded output was re-released as a boxed set a few years back, entitled What A Way To End It All.

So - the new question... A few lines previously I mentioned that Ian Broudie had been in the band Big In Japan. They were a cult Liverpool band that performed only three gigs and released only seven songs. Can you name any of the other members of the band?

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