Friday, 26 Apr 2024 - 07:00 PM

The Korgis

The KorgisApril 26, 2024

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The new year of 2024 also marks the release of brand new material for The Korgis, in the form of a double album released in two parts. The BLUE album is on pre-release from Christmas 2023 and the RED album is scheduled for a June release.

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IN THE BEGINNING…

James Warren and Andy Davis were the principal songwriters in the quintessentially British rock band Stackridge. They developed the band’s quirky, progressive repertoire and Stackridge played the very first Glastonbury Festival as the opening act.

In 1971 the band signed to MCA Records. Three albums followed including their best known work ‘The Man in the Bowler Hat’, recorded with legendary Beatles producer George Martin.

Stackridge gained a huge following from their live shows but were simply too eclectic and progressive for commercial recognition. It wasn’t long before cracks appeared within the now large lineup, with members wanting to follow their own paths. Even though the band had a brush with stardom by performing at Wembley stadium with Elton John and The Eagles in 1974, they failed to tour and two years later disillusionment had set in and Stackridge officially threw in the towel.

KIM BEACON AND THE SERENADERS 1977-1978

Kim Beacon and the Serenaders had a sound and feel not unlike Little Feat. Andy had quickly discovered the advantages of writing with a truly outstanding singer, which Kim undoubtedly was and they wrote several memorable songs together. The band were tipped for great things but somehow never quite fulfilled their promise. The breakthrough should have been when Andy Newmark (Sly and the Family Stone) and Willy Weeks flew over from the States to produce them, but after a few days in the studio it was obvious that things were not going to work out.

Notably a song called ‘If I Had You’ was among the band’s reportoire, but performed in a reggae! style!

Kim went on to record 2 albums for Rialto which included several songs written with Andy. Kim passed away in 2001

THE KORGIS

Then surprisingly in 1978, Warren and Davis entered mainstream music as The Korgis. Their highly melodic tunes, thoughtful lyrics, strong vocal harmonies and uber-catchy hooks eventually resulted in commercial success with the Andy Davis penned ‘If I Had You’ from their debut LP, ‘The Korgis’ in 1979.

Originally The Korgis were to be a 3-piece, and the very first demo was penned by the 3rd member Steve Lindsey. The song was called ‘Lines’ and Steve decided to form his own band The Planets, who had a hit in 1979 with their own version.

FINALLY – THE BIG HIT!

The Dumb Waiters album was a big success largely owing to the runaway hit ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’. The single charted in the UK, the USA, Australia, Spain, and it hit the No 1 spot in France and Belgium.

Dumb Waiters was a masterpiece and totally in sync with the onset of 80’s synth pop.

‘If It’s Alright With You Baby’ was also a chart success with the title track ‘Dumb Waiters’. ‘Young and Russian was also a radio hit.

STICKY GEORGE

Andy departed before the release of ‘Sticky George’ in 1981 although some co-writes were carried forward to the recording.

Around this time, star producer Trevor Horn produced the single ‘Don’t Look Back’. Unfortunately the single failed to chart in Britain but was a huge hit in Brazil. James looking back at the sessions said, ‘We didn’t really hit it off’.

Other singles were ‘All The Love In The World’, and the exquisite ‘That Was my Big Mistake’.

BURNING QUESTIONS

Music had of course radically changed in the ’80s, and James Warren released an uncharacteristically hi-tech album called ‘Burning Questions’

Once again the team were reunited as Andy brought his production knowledge to the recordings. The album boasted some excellent tracks and some influence can be heard from Bath friends Tears For Fears.

The publicity seemed to be interchangeable, some listing singles as The Korgis and some as James Warren.

THIS WORLD’S FOR EVERYONE

With fresh ideas, and a new decade dawning, the Korgis reformed to record the amazing ‘This World’s for Everyone’ album in 1992. Added to the lineup was ace vocalist John Baker. John had previously been in a band called The Graduate with Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith from Tears for Fears. He also had a transatlantic voice – something that suited the style of the big anthem songs.

The compositions were still pure Davis and Warren, and showed that The Korgis sound could adapt, but maintain its integrity.

Some promotional dates were scheduled, but Andy felt they were too hastily arranged and cut out. Although the gigs were massively well received they failed to generate interest and once again The Korgis were put on the back burner.

CLEVEDON PIER

Andy Davis’ first solo album was a long time coming, but did not disappoint.

With a timeless eclectic mix of songs, Clevedon Pier drew on the influences of the many world renowned artistes that Andy had worked with, John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Julian Cope, Tears for Fears… but this was his turn to shine.

JIM’S EASY LISTENING ALBUM

In 1995 James made an album for family and friends originally titled ‘Jim’s Christmas Album’. Although it included some classic songs the production was very stripped down as it was never intended for commercial release.

However, due to hunger for anything Korgis related from the fans, the album was released in 2006 as ‘Jim’s Easy Listening Album’. Apart from James’ solo contributions this collection also included some co-writes with long-time friends John Miller, Glenn Tommey and John Baker plus a single Warren-Davis composition ‘Hope In My Heart’.

The Andy Davis Band
In 1994 The Andy Davis Band emerged.

In Andy’s words… ‘I formed a band with a bunch of friends who were also very talented musicians. Our repertoire was based around some new songs I’d written with my pal Gus Ferguson. One afternoon we hired an old chapel in Bristol called the Hope Centre, David Lord brought along some mobile recording gear and we recorded the songs live.

For technical reasons we had to set up the mixing desk outside in the car park – luckily the sun was shining. The 9 songs we recorded that day made up an album imaginatively titled The Andy Davis Band.

That year (1994) HTV were making a series of programmes about Bristol songwriters and I was to be featured in one of them. It made sense to base the programme around the new album and I persuaded HTV to let the band do some extravagant miming in various exotic locations around Bristol’.

Andy has recently repackaged this album with a lovely fold out cardboard sleeve. Contact us for details on how to purchase

BUY HERE – £11

STACKRIDGE – SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND

A revamped version of Stackridge appeared in the late 1990s, with original violinist Mike Evans persuading James and Crun Walter to cut some tracks.

They produced their first new album in 23 years – 1996’s ‘Something For the Weekend’. The usual eclectic Stackridge sound was there, but now with a large helping of psychedelia in the mix! ‘It’s A Fascinating World’ and ‘The Youth of Today’ being prime examples.

The band appeared at the Glastonbury, Cropredy and Trowbridge Festivals, but sadly management problems caused this unit to grind to a halt and once again the Stackridge story went on hold.

STACKRIDGE – LEMON

In 2002, the unthinkable happened, and 4 founder members of Stackridge got together and recorded some new songs. While this was not a fully fledged album, it was a huge boost for fans who had all but given up hope of a return to the original lineup.

‘Lemon’ was an EP so is extremely hard to get a hold of now, and we don’t think anyone who has one is going to part with it!

The tracks however are available on the CD compilation ‘Sex and Flags’. This album has ALL of ‘Lemon’ plus some tracks from ‘Something For the Weekend’.

STACKRIDGE – A VICTORY FOR COMMON SENSE

In 2006 Stackridge reformed again, this time with four of the original lineup Andy Davis, James Warren, Mutter Slater and Crun Walter.

In 2007, they returned to the Glastonbury stage in their original form to rave reviews. They released a new album ‘A Victory For Common Sense’ in 2009, produced by Chris Hughes, who has cast his magic spell over recordings by Robert Plant, Paul McCartney and Tears For Fears. This album is hailed by some Stackridge fans as their greatest ever album. The years of collective experience is very evident on this album.

After over 40 years Stackridge finally decided to call it a day. The final tour between September and December 2015 was a sellout success throughout the UK. Also in Tokyo, Japan for two memorable concerts in October 2015. Much of this tour was filmed, including the entire last ever gig in the home town of Bristol. This was released as Stackridge-The Final Bow.

Something About The Beatles

Around 2009 a new Korgis single appeared featuring James, Andy and John Baker.

‘Something About the Beatles’ was a song from the 1996 Stackridge album, but The Korgis took it to another level. Pure Ringo drums, a blistering guitar solo, and a chorus that Lennon and McCartney would be proud of.

Certainly one of their finest recordings.

Andy Cresswell Davis and DLM

Running alongside the final years of Stackridge, Andy teamed up with Clare Lindley and Brian Mullan to form Davis Lindley Mullan aka DLM, an acoustic trio.

This led to the release in 2015 of 2 CDs: ‘Desire Lines’, co-produced by long time collaborator Pete Brandt and also ‘Emergency Love’.

After Stackridge’s ‘Final Bow’, DLM became Andy’s focus and the trio began to gig in earnest.

The first album simply entitled DLM was released in 2016.

The band mixed up classic Andy Davis songs, both old and new, as well as some choice covers – even a complete re-working of Pink Floyd’s ‘Brain Damage’!

A second album called ‘Night Fishing’ followed in 2019. This includes a gorgeous re-working of the 1979 Korgis hit ‘If I Had You’.

JAMES WARREN – INNOCENT BYSTANDER

James released an album of brand-new material entitled ‘Innocent Bystander’ in October 2017.

By this time James was convinced his touring days were over, after Stackridge hung up their hats for good. He decided to write an album of material perhaps other people could cover. The album contained a mix of pop/soul, and even a Boy Band song! However there was no getting away from the roots of his writing, and songs like ‘Have You Seen the Colours’ and ‘The First Time’, would have sat quite happily on a Korgis album. There was also the classic nod to The Fab Four in ‘High Time’.

The album also featured some expanded orchestration, and having just been doing some co-writes with old 90’s Korgis mate Al Steele, James decided to utilise Al’s arranging ability and his access to some top orchestral players.

Initially to be promoted with a few modest gigs, Al suggested putting a more sizeable unit together. Included were James, John Baker, Glenn Tommey, Al Steele and they were augmented by the Backing Vocal group Born To Win. The final piece of the puzzle was ace session drummer Paul Smith. This fantastic 8-piece lineup toured as James Warren and Friends throughout 2017 and 2018, performing choice cuts from Stackridge, The Korgis and James’ solo albums.

The Korgis – Kartoon World

In April 2020 The Korgis didn’t just decide to write their first album in 30 years – they knew they had to!

It’s a concept album man!
The whole work runs seamlessly – or sometimes crashes violently – from one track into the next… much as time itself lurches us from euphoric highs, to new lows.

The new album by The Korgis is an epic body of music seamlessly spanning a 50 year period. It begins in 1980 and ends in 2030 with a blinding realisation. The world is headed for a colossal fall, and the power of Love – not technology – would be the one undisputable answer!

Journey with us, from the past to the future, and see how we narrowly escape the demise of the human race – or certainly the human race as we know it!

With the release of Kartoon World comes a pledge. That pledge begins and ends with Love.

It is what the world needs Now!

Kool Hits, Kuriosities & Kollaborations
Kool Hits, Kuriosities & Kollaborations may not be easy to say – but it IS easy to play!

We wanted to record some of our classic songs but to update them with real strings and sometimes with a new twist.

We had also built up a few songs that didn’t seem to belong to Kartoon World and really needed a home. Take the single ‘Always a Sunny Day’ featuring Joe Matera. It would be criminal for this to just exist in the digital domain.

As the cover suggests Kool Hits is like a companion to Kartoon World that fills in some of the missing gaps, or perhaps clear the decks before we embarked on the next BIG THING!

The Korgis were at their core, a studio only outfit, but In the middle of 2018 the pressure to tour finally gave way to the band rehearsing up a live set. The first gig was at The Sunshine Festival in August 2018. Although the name was misleading as it was one of the wettest gigs ever(!), the audience reaction was overwhelming, and The Korgis as a touring band had finally arrived.

Of course, the band draw from the collective history of Stackridge, The Korgis and James’ solo albums. With ‘Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime’ seeming even more relevant today than in the ’80’s, it is gratifying to see a new audience joining with the stalwarts.

The Korgis music has been described as ‘timeless’, and perhaps that’s what makes it seem just as fresh today, as when they first hit the charts in 1979, with ‘If I Had You’.

Here’s to the next 40 years!

Time

April 26, 2024 7:00pm(GMT+01:00)

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