Tamworth Bands - History 1960-1990



Musical Type/Genre: Pop
Forned: 1986 Split: 1986

Band Members:
Anice Byfield - Vocals
Julian Amos - Guitar
Clarke Stewart - Drums
Neil Jones - Guitar /Vocals

The Cradle
The Celtic Soil Brothers
The Rathole - Opening Night

Catch 22
Tamworth Arts Centre

Tamworth Rock Festival
Burnin’ Sky
Beyond Elysium
Cuddly Spiders
Breaking Point
Dance Stance
Depth Charge
The Royal Family

Tamworth Herald Features:

Tamworth Herald – 04/04/86
Musicbox – Presenting a hole lot of excitement
TAMWORTH’S NEW ROCK club, The Rathole, is set to open for the first time on Sunday with an exciting triple bill. This will feature a trio of varied artists – The Cradle, Orange and the band you are going to love to love, The Celtic Soil Brothers.

In what looks like being a tradition with the new club, the first concert will be a major fund-raising event. The Rathole – and indeed ‘Manhattan’s’ where the club will be based – has pledged to do everything they can to raise money for John Hodgetts, the young Tamworth boy suffering from a rare and as yet incurable disease.

Therefore all proceeds from the opening night show will go to the fund and ‘Rathole’ mastermind Ian Gibbons is confident that local pop fans will not begrudge the £1 entry fee for such an important cause.

For those who didn’t know, ‘The Rathole’ is based upstairs at ‘Manhattan’s’ in Church Street. All the facilities and bar have been provided free of charge by Manhattan’s boss Clive Bartram who has allowed the club to meet every Sunday – if it so wishes. Next week a heavy night is planned , but Ian is hoping that music fans of all ‘persuasions’ will attend the opening evening’s entertainment.

Heading the show will be the much-vaunted Cradle. The band who made a (literally) dazzling impact on the ‘Battle of the Bands’ have touches of Bauhaus, The Cult and in Rikk Quay’s case, insanity.

The play loud, fast alternative sounds and if they don’t suffer the technical problems as they did at the ‘Battle of the Bands’ they could well take the night by storm.


Playing with The Cradle will be two bands as yet unseen by most of the Tamworth public. Orange (or Orange Blossom Special as they were at the ‘Battle of the Bands’) play pop music that easily identifies with the roots of their musical past – Love On Board and Sitting Pretty.

It is whimsical, warm pop music with broad appeal. Orange’s Battle of the Bands heat was also slightly marred by sound troubles and so they are hopeful that a cleaner sound on Sunday will produce a better record of what the band are actually like.

Completing the line-up is a band I am itching to see – The Celtic Soil Brothers. Their one excellent demo convinces me they will be a winner in Tamworth with their lighthearted country ‘bop-bop-she-bop’.

They are great fun and if they are as good live as they are on tape, Tamworth is in for a treat.

So a good concert in prospect but the night obviously means more…and starts at 8pm.

Tamworth Herald – 18/04/86
Musicbox – Let’s have a bit more bite, Orange
IN A SENSE it is not entirely fair to review this as a normal demo because it clearly isn’t. Orange just decided that they needed a concert-winning tape so they took their not inconsiderable army of members into the Expresso Bongo studios and knocked out this ‘live’ demo of two of their better numbers

The first thing you notice about this tape is that the band are still very much searching for their own sound.

It is a lot “lighter” than I expected, verging almost on the mellow and it seems that the more alternative roots of Glen and Neil are not seeping through as much as the more mainstream pop direction of Julian and Anice for example.

But this is no bad things and the general impression from this tape is, if marketed well enough, the group could be open to very wide consumption indeed. First up is “Can’t Tell The Days” which has a nice tune and a bubbly feel.

The vocals are perhaps mixed down a little more than I would prefer but musically it swings along quite purposefully. Sadly, however, it dies a premature death when by all accounts it needs a strong climax.

No such problems, however, with the second number “Precious Blue” – a stronger song all round with an excellent chorus and a delightful guitar break. This is unabashed pop music which is helped rather than hindered by a very cluttered musical backing which sounds like Phil Spector rather than Phil Smith and Paul Speare behind the mixing desk.

But, whether the band like it or not – and I suspect they won’t – one of the things that a lot of people listening to this (and seeing the band in future) will focus on is Anice and her vocals.

Sadly as women singers are about as rare as protestants in the Celtic football team (and good women singers as rare as Arabs in the Israeli football team) Anice will soon become the focus of attention as Orange move into the “big world” so just how good is she?

Well this tape reveals as indeed the live shows do – that Anice does have talent and there is certainly a sensuality and expression within her voice that is quite impressive.

In “Precious Blue” she reminds me of a restrained Debbie Harry, but one thing Anice definitely needs is musical discipline.

Occasionally she seems to lose her way with her voice verging on the lazy, and unless someone (and there is no one better than you, Mr. Byfield) can give her the encouragement to keep up the strength in her vocals, the band could miss the impact they deserve to make.

Anyway that’s Anice, but Orange are clearly a lot more that that. They have a lot of assets (Clark Stewart for example is a drummer who perhaps deserves more credit that he has been given in the past) and if they maximise their advantages, find a real niche and put a little more edge to their sound they could be very good indeed.

Orange will be joining Catch 22 for an Arts Centre double-header tonight (Friday).

Tamworth Herald – 02/05/86
EVERY BAND involved in the 1986 Tamworth Festival is urged to attend a full and important meeting at the Tavern, Tamworth on Sunday night. All the bands will be told when and where they will be playing and there will also be a full discussion about costs, times and equipment.

The 18 bands who will be playing on the main tow days are (in no particular order) Wolfsbane, Breaking Point, Dance Stance, The Parade, Candle Dance, Caprice, Soil Brothers, Depth Charge, Burnin’ Sky, Femme Fatale, The Magnets, The Cradle, One On One, Spirit Lake, Kara, Orange, Catch 22 and Beyond Elisium.

In addition, The Green Swings (see you at the Embassy lads!) and Shellshock have been confirmed as among the Arts Centre acts, before the ‘main’ event.

Will all these bands please attend on the night – sending at least one member. Any of the aboce bands who cannot attend should contact Sam Holliday before Sunday night. The meeting is due to start at 8pm.

Any more new acts – especially Roger Moore’s new band – who would like to take part in the Arts Centre stage of the event should also attend.

Tamworth Herald – 23/05/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
ORANGE have announced that their new PA system is now available for public consumption and hire. The Orange team will do any concert in the Tamworth area for a reasonable £35 – excellent value for a 1.5k rig. Ring Den or Anice Byfield.

Tamworth Herald – 06/06/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
Orange are on the look-out for new members including trumpeters and saxophonists. To find out all about it contact Anice or Den.

Tamworth Herald – 20/06/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
A fine festival line-up

THE final line-up for the Tamworth Bank Holiday Rock Festival in the Castle Grounds has now been worked out. After the splits of Femme Fatale, The Parade and Spirit Lake. The Green Swings, Shellshock and the wonderful Royal Family have stepped in to make the final line-up:

Sunday – 12.30, CandleDance; 1.05pm, Green Swings; 1.40pm, Shellshock; 2.15pm, Soil Brothers; 2.50pm, One On One; 3.25, Kara; 4.00pm, XPD; 4.35pm, Catch 22 and headlining at 5.10pm, The Magnets. Then on Monday it’s: 12.30pm, Burnin’ Sky; 1.05pm, Beyond Elysium; 1.40pm, Cuddly Spiders; 2.15pm, Breaking Point; 2.50pm, Wolfsbane; 3.25pm, Dance Stance; 4.00pm, Depth Charge; 4.35pm, Orange and headlining at 5.10pm, The Royal Family. The pre-festival Arts Centre line-ups are still uncertain but Ivory, Side Effect and Cradle are among those who should be involved. Official festival t-shirts (which are likely to cause a fair bit of controversy should be available soon.

Tamworth Herald – 15/08/86
Musicbox – Countdown to a wild weekend
EXCITEMENT for this year’s Tamworth Rock Festival is now reaching fever pitch.

With just one week and all the pre-festival problems cleared up, more than twenty bands are now putting the finishing touches to the sets they will be delivering over the four days of the festival fun.

Once again the festival has been divided into tow distinct halves – inside and outside. The inside will see two nights at the Arts Centre next Friday and Saturday, and then an alternative disco party at the Rathole on Bank Holiday Monday night. And once again the outside section will bring together 18 bands over Sunday and Monday all playing in the Tamworth Castle Grounds for free.

This is basically how the festival will look:

Tamworth Arts Centre will play host to a triple bill of music headlined by metal favourites Wolfsbane. Joining them will be Shellshock and possibly Lichfield group Ivory. The final line-up should be announced next week.

Breaking Point will headline the second festival party night at the Arts Centre with new alternative band Thirteenth Reunion in support. Another group will be added to the line-up this week.

All attention switches to the Castle Grounds where once again the bands will play on front of the main tennis courts area. The festival starts at about 11.445 with a disco and the first band The Pink Tomatoes follow at 12.30. The rest of the line-up (who should follow at 35 minute intervals) is Attica, Shellshock, Soil Brothers, One On One, Kara, XPD, Catch 22 and finally The Magnets. It should all finish between 6.25 and 7pm.

Once again the disco starts the day off and leads into the first band Burnin’ Sky who will be on stage at 12.30. They will then be followed by Beyond Elysium, Cuddly Spiders, Breaking Point, Dance Stance, Wolfsbane, Depth Charge, Orange and finally The Royal Family.

Then at about 8.30pm on Monday all attention switched to the Rathole for s special alternative disco party night with Paul Clements. The disco is designed as a post festival party for all the musicians to enjoy, but will be open to everyone to make for a late-night treat.

All in all it makes for the best festival line-up yet – and certainly the most varied. Metal, alternative, skiffle, pop, r ‘n’ b and many more styles are covered, so there really is something fro everyone. So forget what you may have heard elsewhere the festival is on and the spirit among the town’s musicians is as good as ever. Cancel all your plans and get ready for four days of fun!

PS if anyone knows a cure for rain please give me a ring!


Tamworth Herald – 15/08/86
Musicbox – SNIPS
Orange have parted with lead singer Anice Byfield. The band played their first show without Anice last Friday, with Julian Amos and Neil Jones sharing the vocals. Anice is apparently keen to work with a new band in the future although it is not certain what her next move will be.

Tamworth Herald – 22/08/86
Musicbox – Here’s the fabulous festival line-up
TAMWORTH’S fourth annual Bank holiday rock festival blazes into action this weekend and promises to be the biggest and best the Town has ever seen.

Eighteen bands will take to the Castle Grounds stage on Sunday and Monday offering a varied and exciting package of local talent.

And, to give the festival the best possible start, Tamworth Arts Centre will tonight (Friday) and tomorrow stage two festival party nights featuring among others Wolfsbane, Breaking Point and a one-off show from Love On Board.

All in all it looks like being a festival to remember and here in full details is what is happening where and when.


The festival starts with an Arts Centre triple bill featuring three bands from the heavier side of life. New boys Shellshock will join up with not-so-new boys Kara and positively-old boys Wolfsbane for a sparkling three band show. As with last years, the Arts Centre pre-festival nights are designed to be party-style events and everyone petting into the spirit (and spirits) of the weekend. It starts at 8pm costs 50p and should be excellent.


ANOTHER enticing triple bill will especially interest people of an alternative (sic) persuasion. Breaking Point, who hope to have their debut single out this week, will headline the show and in support will be two unusual acts. First is 13th Reunion featuring the immortal Gerald on bass and second is Love On Board making a special one-off comeback gig to join in the party atmosphere. It adds up to a superb bill which marks the debut show for 13th Reunion, and once again is a meagre – nay, measly! – 50p


AND SO to the main event. Two days of exciting, varied rock music in the Castle Grounds. Once again the stage will be set up in front of the tennis courts at the far end of the Castle Grounds, and as with the past couple of years, it will cost you nothing to watch. Here is a quick one-line description of all the bands on show and their (approximate) appearance times…


Freefall (12.20) A Coventry heavy band (that’s all I know!)

Attica (1.05) Powerful bass-driven combo who crimp their hair and slice their guitars.

Shellshock (1.40) Young lusty metal sound, who smile a lot.

Soil Brothers (2.15) Skiffle-style pop played with coconuts, cardboard and oodles of enthusiasm.

One On One (2.50) Nose-perfect rock music played by soon-to-be superstars.


Kara (3.25) loud Americanised noises played by local Anglicised noise-makers.

XPD (4.00) Stylish alternative pop music, which cab be summed up as ‘ego-shock’ rock.

Catch 23 (4.35) Pure-punk-period pop music with panache, power and passion.

The Magnets (5.10) Modern synthesised pop music played by modern synthesised pop people.


ONCE MORE the Castle Grounds plays host to nine more varied outfits who line up like this.

Burnin’ Sky (12.30) Coleshill-based r ‘n’ b band who revel in the smoky, sleazy way of life.

Beyond Elysium (1.05) Dark sombre sounds with a modern appeal and feel.


Cuddly Spiders (1.40) Laid-back harmless flares rock.

Breaking Point (2.15) Passion-packed soaring, roaring rock music.

Dance Stance (2.50) Tight, funky nouveau-pop with a burning soul.

Wolfsbane (3.25) Gentle, middle of the road folk band made up of four charmingly polite young boys. A mud afternoon break from all this rock nonsense.

Depth Charge (4.00) Cuddly rock and roll pirates bursting with good times.

Orange (4.35) Deceptively light pop music with a telling edge. Bright, breezy, orangey.

The Royal Family (5.10) regal r ‘n’ b with guaranteed dance-ability and toe-tapping tendencies.

Tamworth Herald – 03/10/86
Musicbox - SNIPS
Orange have changed their name to The Franklin.

Tamworth Herald – 05/12/86
Musicbox – Gossip
BELATED birthday greetings to former Orange singer Anice Byfield who held a terrific party last weekend full of local popstars.

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