Saturday, March 17, 2012
SATURDAY'S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 23)
It was meant to be The Bluebells this week. But when I went to the cupboard, I found it was bare. I was sure I had at least one bit of Bluebells vinyl that was a single. Instead, all I could find was a 5-track mini-LP. And that doesn't count. Next up is a band with 5 singles/EPs in the collection.
BMX Bandits are a Scottish 1960s-influenced guitar pop band who have been making music from 1986 to the present day. They have shared members with other Bellshill bands Teenage Fanclub and The Soup Dragons.
BMX Bandits were formed by songwriter and lead vocalist Duglas T. Stewart out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a group that featured Stewart alongside Frances McKee (later of The Vaselines), Sean Dickson and Norman Blake. The group have had many line up changes throughout the years.
Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group's works solo including "Your Class", "The Sailor's Song" and "Doorways" but also has collaborated with many of the other members. Stewart's most regular songwriting partners have been Francis MacDonald, Norman Blake and, more recently, David Scott.
The group's most celebrated song is the autobiographical "Serious Drugs" recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993. The song featured in the movie This Year's Love and was covered by American stadium power pop group Gigolo Aunts. Oasis did their first UK tour dates supporting the Bandits as a favour from Stewart to Creation label boss Alan McGee. BMX Bandits admirers included Kurt Cobain, who was photographed wearing a BMX Bandits T shirt. Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any band it would be BMX Bandits.
Stewart split with long term musical partner Francis MacDonald in 2005 but 2006 saw a new wave of live concert activity and the release of My Chain. Stewart's writing on the album was compared to Brian Wilson, Michel Legrand, Ennio Morricone and even Alan Bennett. The line up was expanded by the arrival of Stewart's friend David Scott and new female vocalist Rachel Mackenzie (now Rachel Allison).
The follow-up, 2007's Bee Stings, was influenced by classic girl group pop plus the mellow A & M sound of the late 1960s and early 70s. Bee Stings features Allison singing lead on half the tracks including "Our Secret Life" co-written by Allison and former band member Norman Blake.
Discogs lists 17 singles/EPs by BMX Bandits, going back to 1986 right through to 2009, released on nine different labels. It was eeny-meeny-miny-mo for which one was selected today. In the end, it was the one which once inspired Jacques the Kipper to gift me a one-off t-shirt which commemorated my infatuation with the Aussie minx:-
mp3 : BMX Bandits - Kylie's Got A Crush On Us
mp3 : BMX Bandits - Thinkin' 'Bout You Baby
mp3 : BMX Bandits - Hole In My Heart (demo)
mp3 : BMX Bandits - My Generation
Released in July 1993 on Creation Records, it didn't trouble the charts. It also contains, in My Generation, what I think is the most atypical BMX Bandit record ever....
Oh and Teenage Fanclub did a fantastic cover version that was released one a cassette given away free with a UK music magazine back in the early 90s. I've a copy of that tape in a box somewhere. But in the meantime....have a listen via this:-
Next up in this series.....Botany 5