Friday, 8 April 2011

Two from Bethnal

I get a fair few hits on this blog from people searching for Bethnal LPs Dangerous Times and Crash Landing. Google brings them here because I featured their fantastic Don’t Do It single back in 2007. Those LPs are on my shopping list but I still haven’t got them. Until then in a blatant attempt to increase my hit rate and court popularity I’ve decided to re-up that record and Nothing New.

Bethnal had been around since 1972 and by all accounts (e.g. BrotheRay’s) were a formidable and energetic live act. They were signed to Vertigo in the late 70s and promoted as a punk band, which they clearly weren’t. An otherwise excellent article here suggests they were more of a hard rock band who should have been promoted on the back of the NWOBHM scene but I can’t agree with that either. It seems to me they were caught in that nether region between new and old wave. This wasn’t necessarily terminal, Don’t Do It for example is in the same musical sphere as Dr Feelgood or The Pirates and they did alright, but they never found their audience. Nothing New is nowhere near as energetic as Don’t Do It but it does feature the violin playing of singer George Csapo, which separated them from the crowd or perhaps alienated people. I hold the former view, Csapo suspects the latter.

Bethnal - Dont Do It (1978) From Dangerous Times

Bethnal - Nothing New (1978) From Crash Landing

Any lurkers out there who enjoy this post please leave a comment. I love hearing from all the regulars but it would be nice hear some other voices. C’mon, don’t be shy.

30 comments:

davyh said...

Someone was writing to Mojo about this lot, did you see?

The first is very Eddie & The Hotrods for me - again, caught between 'pub' and 'punk' (i.e. other people's labels).

Mick said...

Gave up buying Mojo a few years back. What did they say?

I actually compared Don't Do It to Eddie & The Hotrods in an email to Ray a few weeks ago. Wish I'd remembered that - the comparison works better than The Pirates. I've had a few beers you know.

davyh said...

A reader asked 'Do you know what happened to Bethnal? They rate as my favourite band never to make it big...'

Fred said: 'Bethnal split in 1980, George Csapo (violin, keyboards), Nick Michaels (guitar) and Pete Dowling (drums) moving on to become Robert Clavert's backing band and appearing on Hype - The Sons Of Tom Mahler album, Clavert's 1981 release. After which the trail goes cold. Unless readers have something to add..."

I transcribed that, which was not untaxing, given the wine I've so far consumed.

Mick said...

Yes, it's hard to spell Calvert when you're pissed.

davyh said...

bugger and shite

dickvandyke said...

Fancied a can of draught and a nice read in the shirt off sunshine. Went to damp and dark back of shed for first time this year.
Fuckin squirrels/mice/raccoons/wallabies/ caribou only gorn and ate all my garden chair upholstery. Bits of nutshell, poo, and cushion foam everywhere.
So, am camped out in the dark now with shotgun (Saxondale-style), multi-pack of Jammie Dodgers and tartan flask of Ovaltine. I'll obliterate the toothy feckers by dawn.

Out.

davyh said...

You're lucky you ain't got claverts.

Mick said...

DVD

Good luck gettin' those cwitters

dickvandyke said...

I have Davy. They dangle down dreadfully. I asked my wife to apply witch hazel, but she told me to fuck off.

dickvandyke said...

Mick. I'll get that scwewy wabbit, if it's the wast fing I do!

(Bit chilly out here now under the cover of darkness. Can't see the point of hedgehogs. And owls are scary hooty beggars aren't they?)

roberto said...

Hi guys,the Crash Landing lp is on the Rare mp3 Music Blog,don't know if this is the correct address,cheers

Anonymous said...

I just wanna say, your blog is awesome, your taste is amazingly in tune with mine and thanks so much for introducing such great music to me.

Mick said...

Thanks Roberto, found the link here. Still want the vinyl though ;)

Mick said...

Thank you, Anon.

Nice to have you here!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mick long time err,...lurker.

Love the blog but can't believe there is so much synthy post punk I missed.

Still a Friday disco workout would also have been welcome.

Cheers, Paul

Rob said...

Never heard of these guys. The first sounded Cheap Trick/Crack The Sky-esque to me, and I loved the violin on the second one. Thanks for the cool tunes.

Mick said...

Paul and Rob,

Thanks for the comments. I'll try to keep the good tunes coming, including the odd disco classic.

BrotheRay said...

My memory of that gig in a very small pub dance hall in deepest Dorset was of band that had a very heavy sound for the time...the violin gave them an almost Prog (gulp!) sound.
It was during that very hot summer of 1976 so much liquid refreshment was required..and being a pub,well you know the rest..just a dim memory.
Have to say though that anything I have heard on record subsequently by no means matches the energy of them live.

Mick said...

Yes, George Csapo says in the Classic Rock interview that they never got their live sound on record (a common complaint) and he was influenced by East of Eden.

dickvandyke said...

Nineteen comments, Michael!
Is that some kind of PB or Commonwealth record?

I trapped a beast last night. Heard stirrings from my porch observation point. In the waxing moonlight, I could just make him out. He was a huge, majestic example from the Talpidae family. Proud, robust and strong. A perfect specimen. Shovelled the fecker I did - right on the back of the heed. 'Shoulda gorn to Specsavers' I declared.

That MOLE won't be bothering the soggy wood of my shed floor again. Earthworms rejoice.

Mick said...

Good on yer! Give 'em a taste of the old Spear & Jackson No 9.
That's 21 comments now - some of them even about the records!

BrotheRay said...

Well,I was going to mention East of Eden,their influence was notable,thought they wouldn't mean much the 'young feller me lads' that inhabit this blogishere outpost.
Must say I am a little disturbed by this wanton destruction of our beautiful wildlife.

Mick said...

All the varmints have to do is stay away from Dick's beer shed and they can co-exist in harmony (probably).

BrotheRay said...

Dick needs to live in harmony with nature...and I might add,an inebriated middle aged (who else would have a beer shed)drunkard in charge of a loaded spade is truly frightening.
And let's not even get into the speech impediment thing!

adee adee adee..that's all folks!!!

Helpless Dancer said...

Their first album included a cover of a Who song Baba O'Riley it would be great if you could post that one!

Mick said...

Unfortunately I only have these two singles but that may change. 'Don't Do It' was ripped from the 12" single which has excerpts from three songs on the b-side including Baba O'Riley.

Vinylization said...

Hi Mick
Nice post about Bethnal.
Hard to find anything about them these days.
You'll commonly see them termed as a punk band which I don't see at all.
I've ended up defining them as Classic Rock, a complete cop out I know.
Keep up the good work
:)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mick, thanks for this. I bought "Dangerous Times" a looooong time ago, where I still lived in Portugal. I didn't know the band and I bought it mainly because the Portuguese version had a red round label on the cover stating "Punk Rock". Of course, when I first listened to it, I was a little disappointed, as it was far from what I was expecting from a supposed punk band from the "first wave" (and only wave, probably...). I found that some of the songs were ok, and the violin surprising, but it didn't spin too often in my record player. I didn't know much about the band until today. Good to know all this!

Splash154 said...

Prior to the release of "Nothing New" I knew "nothing" (haha) about the band until I saw this in the 30p bargain bin at my local record store in Gillingham, Kent. I have the single on blue vinyl but doubt it is worth much but it was worth the gamble. However, this was a cracking record and the comments here about 1) not really being new wave/punk and 2) very Eddie & The Hot Rods 3) you have a great blog with great musical taste are all true! BUT 4) this is not prog rock! Great tune!!! Did you ever pick up on The Invaders on Jimmy Pursey's label from 1979 - very similar sound.

Anonymous said...

Everton Williams (the bass player)went on to join Bernie Tormes Electric Gypsies. Saw the first gig just after Bernie left Gillan.
Excellent