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Album Songs

01 - An Intro

01 - High Time - Southbound

02 - CIA - KIP

03 - Sung Every Song - Moonlight Drive

04 - Cattle Market Blues - Scratchband

05 - Curley - Sidekick

06 - It's for Me - Michael Ford's Limousine

07 - Pennies - Young Bucks

08 - Kansas City - Hot Snax

09 - Mystery - East Coast

10 - City - Steve Brown Band

11 - Hard Drivin' Man - Junco Partners

11 - The Outro

12 - City (Lights of Love) extended version

The recollections of recording engineer Mickey Sweeney

I was working with Alan Hull and we went to Impulse to record some demos and (studio owner) Dave Wood asked me if I wanted to work for him. I didn’t actually know what it was Dave did! After I arrived there he left it up to me!

I started recording comedy showgroups like the Don Juans. And Bobby Thompson! We made The Little Waster album which involved me following him around for four weeks. Just me, a Revox recorder, a Neumann mike that I hung in the audience and a very expensive Xaudia ribbon mike that I made Dave buy me. There was no splitters and I was in the dressing room with the two mike leads coming though to the Revox. I trailed round Working Men’s Clubs and there was always some problem or other- hums, buzzes or glasses clattering. Then, at Ryhope Poplars Club we got it! Bobby’s complete act, all in one go!  He had this trick where he’d deliver the joke then smack his lips three times before he hit the punch line. That made Bobby a doddle to edit!

For the All Together album I had eleven bands, ten channels, eight tracks and three days to do it in.  When I listen to it back I think; ‘How did I get all that on eight tracks?!’ With the likes of Southbound there was a guide vocal, two guitars, bass and drums. And that was it! Then we’d get rid of the guide vocal and do a proper vocal take with the harmonies and couple of lead guitar licks. That was the eight tracks full!

 Mostly the tracks were as live as possible. It was like a gig, but the musicians were listening to what they were playing through headphones. I had the lead singer in the control room which I think was the first time I’d ever done that! That way he wouldn’t leak into any of the other mikes. There was great musical communication because he could speak to all the guys in the band.

Of the bands that we recorded that ones that stood out for me were; Southbound-High Time was a cracking track-CIA by Kip was a very interesting song-Curley by Sidekick and Hard Drivin’ Man, by the Juncos Partners. I always loved the Juncos!

When I came to remaster the album the first task was to do something about all the crackles and clicks. Fortunately modern tehcinoligy allows for such extraneous sounds to be analysed and removed digitally. Then I added a small amount of reverb, just to glue the whole thing together and compressed and EQ’d each song individually to make sure all the levels were the same.

The original masters of the Bedrock album, of course, are long gone. At Impulse, by the time a band had got to the bottom of the stairs the eight track masters would be wiped and ready for the next band! Eight track tapes were pretty expensive at the time so the tapes we had were constantly being re-used.

Eleven bands, ten channels, eight tracks and three days. All Together!

(Mickey Sweeney was talking to Ian Penman/Ravendale)

Produced by Mick Sweeney and Dick Godfrey and recorded at Impulse Studios, Newcastle England © David Wood Entertainments Ltd, original artwork by Magda of Artworks. Audio transferred from Ian Penman’s pristine LP by Vinyl Guru, and re mastered with love by Mick Sweeney.

All Tog back

Some personal recollections:

Dick Godfrey

All Together was a product of its’ time, reflecting a vibrant Tyneside music scene in which the radio show I produced played a central role. I joined BBC Radio Newcastle and helped to get it on air in January 1971.  I launched Bedrock on the station several years later. The programme set out to play new rock releases, combined with interviews with touring musicians. Before long I became aware of a few local bands which I felt warranted a place on the show. They brought in demo tapes which I played on air. Very soon Bedrock became a focal point for the local music scene. I recruited some fellow enthusiasts to help with the interviewing. Phil Sutcliffe and Ian Penman were notable amongst them. A spin-off from Bedrock was a music co-operative launched by a couple of listeners who began to persuade local publicans to host gigs. The scene expanded as more bands emerged from their garages. 

At this time Newcastle also boasted an annual Arts Festival and I decided it should include a Bedrock festival to showcase the bands featured on the radio show. We found suitable venues and ready audiences. Doing an album was the next logical step. I had a good relationship with Dave Wood of Impulse Studios in Wallsend and he agreed to provide his recording facilities and arrange production of the album.  We selected the bands we wished to feature and they were given a limited time to record a track. Over two hectic weekends the job was done. It captured a not-to-be-forgotten musical summer. I named the album what it was. All Together.

Bedrock77 poster

Phil Sutcliffe

It was the best of times, um, it was the best of times. Well, you can see why Dickens didn’t quite use that sentence to open A Tale Of Two Cities. But then Bedrock had a singular tale to tell, just the one city, a music city, it was Newcastle in the mid-1970s and the joint was jumping.

Why? Because we all piled in, did what we could, no distinctions, everyone welcome to make the scene – that’s “make” in the practical sense, doing, not the hip sense, posing about… ergo we had loads of bands, the heroes of course, the sine qua non, the people who put the raison into everybody’s être.

But then too the random collection of people who had vans, who could make and print a poster, go flyposting with a bucket of paste and a brush, organise lights and sound, buy tickets – maybe ten, maybe 50 of them a night and I do mean the fans – and, finally I suspect, clinging to the rear of the cultural dustcart yet playing their part in disposal of the useless and recycling of the worthwhile (“in their opinion”, for sure) the writers and broadcasters, amateur and pro or a bit of each, who spread the word where word of mouth ran out of puff – I mean Out Now fanzine (founders and editors Hugh Jones and Tom Noble) and that no-limits fanzine of the air, BBC Radio Newcastle’s Bedrock (founded, named and DJed by Dick Godfrey, a serious staff news and features man and semi-secret rocker with an instinct for making things happen).

Bedrock would play tapes from (almost) any local band, and get them in for a live interview if they were game to face the fierce interviewing techniques of Dick and a bunch of pals who’d never done radio before including Ian Penman (not the NME one, so ‘Ian Ravendale’ when he became a pro writer), Arthur Hills and me (just gone freelance after an apprenticeship on the Evening Chronicle and getting a platform-soled foot in the door as inkie weekly Sounds’ man in the northeast). I remember our initial questions could always be boiled down to “So, who are you then?” because the listeners needed to know and so did we before we could move on to more profound stuff.

No, I tell a lie. Subsequent experience as a freelance music writer for 40 years taught me that a whole interview with any musician, including stars of no matter what magnitude and loquacity – and I speak as a journo who once did four hours with Noel Gallagher, and three with Liam come to that – could always be boiled down to “So, who are you then?”, readily fleshed out by the occasional “Really? What happened next?”

But maybe I digress. I’m not sure. Nor was Bedrock, hence the  (originally) enormously long programmes of any length between 10pm  and stopping time, which wasn’t listed in the Chron or anywhere else because it occurred at such time as we ran out of stuff. There you are, even Radio Newcastle deserves a credit for just leaving Dick with the keys and saying: “lock up when you’re done, would you?” Ah, the four-hour live special with Jade Warrior – of whom you may freely ask “Who?” without danger of ostracism by your social grouping. They weren’t local, but still, they were geniuses…

What else? We never knew nor were pressed to care about whether we actually did have any listeners, so the above claims that Bedrock took local music to people who hadn’t yet gone to the gigs could be an utter delusion of micro-grandeur. But we enjoyed it. Such egocentricity, eh? Still, never did nobody no ‘arm.

And then there was the Bedrock Collective, nothing much to do with the programme, but another bunch of people thinking it an apt name for an organising and campaigning group of musos trying to “keep music live” in Newcastle when landlords or licensing authorities decided it was all rather rough and unnecessary. Hilton Valentine, an actual Animal, the original guitarist, took part in that I remember. Imagine!

And finally, strange to recall, this pure energy let rip before punk reached Tyneside – its diversity around a theme of solid rock’n’rolling unashamedly pub rock, not a snarl or a bondage trouser in sight. Yet my gut feeling from interviewing most of the more fashionably punky outfits who followed – Penetration, Angelic Upstarts, Punishment Of Luxury – and who got the major record deals their earthy predecessors never could was that the Bedrock crowd did blaze a trail for the notion that music from a northern city could go it alone, don’t-back-down loud and rowdy. Is this album called All Together? QED. Fond fraternals to all.

Phil Sutcliffe review of Penetration

ALLTog Review

Ian Penman

As part of BBC Radio Newcastle’s  Bedrock team I was given a copy of the All Together album when it came out in summer 1977. I played it a few times (with CIA by Kip getting the most coco) and then filed it away in my album collection.

When the idea for putting the album on the VainGloriousUk site was first discussed, with original engineer Mickey Sweeney kindly agreeing to do a scale and polish, it’s my copy that he turned to. Impulse Studios didn’t keep any of their 1970’s masters as eight track tape was an expensive item back then. Consequently the copy on the site is taken from my vinyl album as niftily tweaked by Mickey.

I was the first listener to join the Bedrock team. Original producer and programme creator Dick Godfrey and main early interviewer Phil Sutcliffe had both worked for the Newcastle Chronicle and were trained and experienced journalists. I was neither. My background was in publishing and writing for comic fanzines and I also had an encyclopaedic knowledge of pop and rock music, having read music papers since I was 13. I was interested in broadcasting and interviewing and listened avidly to Radio 1 magazine programmes like Scene And Heard.

My input into the 1977 All Together recordings was minimal. I think I attended one of the afternoon’s sessions which were being expertly guided by resident Impulse engineer Mickey with Dick as kindly headmaster. By the time of All Together I was very familiar with BBC Radio Newcastle’s rather sterile, organised broadcast studios but had never been in an eight track studio, which Impulse was. Housed above a bingo hall in Wallsend to say that the studio wasn’t quite Abbey Road would be an understatement. It was small, dark, claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Having a dozen or so musicians waiting their turn to record, cluttering up the control room, passage and stairs didn’t help.

My main contribution to All Together and the 1977 Bedrock Festival was producing the eight page programme booklet that was sold (for 10p!) at the University Theatre’s gigs and also included as part of number 5 of Out Now, Tom Noble and Hugh Jones’s music fanzine.  My comic fanzine publishing had made me au fait with copy editing and design and I spent three or four nights at the Tyneside Free Press, editing, cutting and pasting the copy.  Literally, as this was pre-computers.  Being the booklet’s editor I could give myself whatever credit I wanted; ‘Laid out (and he is after all the running around like a loony he’s had to do) and edited by Ian Penman’ seemed about right.

The booklet comprised profiles of the 16 bands playing the Bedrock Festival’s lunchtime and evening sessions 1-3 July 1977 in the University Theatre’s foyer. Following an introduction by Angus Byrne of Scratchband, Tyneside’s premier pub band of the time, the profiles were written by me, Phil, Dick, Tom, Steve Mordey, Arthur Hills and Norman Baker plus Radio Newcastle’s Brian Holland. The Festival’s line-up of bands was somewhat different to All Together’s as some of the bands who’d played on the album weren’t available over that weekend.

The gigs went great, A &R men came up from London and the general consensus was the event was a major success. We did two more Bedrock Festivals at Newcastle’s Guildhall in 1978 and 1979. All Together, though, was the only album, with just one pressing. It’s been unavailable for many years. Until now. So, sit back, give it a listen and enjoy this snapshot of 1977’s Tyne and Wear music scene. When we were All Together.

Below is an ‘organisers’ copy of a Bedrock Festival booklet, complete with handwritten payments made to the bands

 Bedrock Brochure

 

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