MUSIC MATTERS: Music Museum continues lottery-funded Sounding Off series - The Coventry Observer

10th Aug, 2022

MUSIC MATTERS: Music Museum continues lottery-funded Sounding Off series

Music Matters Pete Chambers BEM

Crokodile Tears

On Saturday June 10, The Coventry Music Museum continues its Big Lottery-funded Sounding Off series. Special guest this time is Chris Sidwell, the man responsible for Crokodile Tears.

From 1979, Chris has being putting smiles on faces in Coventry and beyond.

He was originally a member of the super-quirky Brum band Digital Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs’ original brand of heavy rock was beginning to turn heads and the unit would go on to release a 10-track ‘Greatest Hits’ cassette as well as appearing on a multitude of compilation albums. Their finest moment was probably their double EP ‘Angst In Our Pants’.

By 1981, new project Crokodile Tears were in full flow. The album was recorded with Paul Sampson at Cabin Studios, London Road. It came out to many rave reviews including a four-star rating in the now defunct music paper Sounds. Indeed, the album captured the imagination of those who heard it. The Croks split, and Chris stood for election for Screaming Lord Sutch’s Monster Party.

The Croks reformed with Alf Hardy in the 90s, and to this day they still make inspiring and original music, with more than a little comedic subtext. The song ‘Trains’ is a latter-day classic, and we hope to hear how this and many other songs came about on Saturday at midday, when I get to interview Chris, a constant in Cov music.

Barb’d Wire new album

Coventry Ska/reggae band Barb’d Wire have seen some line-up changes over the last few months.

To many bands it would be something of a curse. To BW, it’s just fate’s way of leading them to a sound that is uniquely theirs.

You best believe that the band is more than happy in its skin, all evident on their new album ‘Time Has Come’.

The album opens with ‘Typical Day’, a glorious trumpet-led anthem that sets out the band’s philosophy. Life can suck, we are all the same under our skin, and need to love one another more.

The album is produced by Grammy award-winning producer Roger Lomas, one of the world’s finest ska/reggae producers.

Production is an absolute joy, transparent, creative and dynamic, the Rolo way of course. Listen to ‘Troubled Times’ to hear the master at work.

That’s not taking anything away from this astounding band of course. Take dubfest ‘ET Rockers Up Town’ and ‘Troubled Time. Cherelle Harding’s vocals are as sweet and soulful as they come, while Jon Pudge’s trumpet punctuates the sound perfectly and creates a wave of originality.

Trevor ET Rockers Evans’ drums and Fingers Aitken’s bass are the perfect rhythm section sound, keeping the reggae rhythms perfectly, with guitar ace Ryan Every taking the role of the band’s musical arranger.

If it all sounds a bit cosy that’s because it is, but never in a self indulgent way. This is teamwork, and everyone plays their part (including Mr Lomas of course).

It’s a tight outfit, and a powerful album, with original songs and covers like reggae staple ‘Rock Fort Rock’, and the Brand New Heavies’ ‘People Giving Love’ are all made their own.

Stage favourite ‘How Low Can You Go’ and Timbale-powered ‘ET Rockers Up Town’ are all future Coventry classics.

The album is being launched at Knights at the 2-Tone Village on Saturday June 17, with a Barb’d Wire live performance, plus support. Tickets £3 or £12 to include a CD. Doors open at 5pm.

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