Under Canvas Under Wraps was the third single to be released by The Delgados, back in June 1996, on their own Chemikal Underground label. But it was the first to have a promo video made:-

There’s a superb description of the video, courtesy of the band:-

As rare as hen’s teeth, this is the first video The Delgados ever filmed, for the Evening Session favourite “Under Canvas Under Wraps”. Cobbled together with ridiculously little money, the idea was to recreate a Lynchian dystopia and although we tried our best, it came out as us dressing up in a hotel and acting like tits.

Nothing wrong with that though, and trivia fans may want to know that the room Alun and Emma are in was the same room used for the ‘London drug deal’ location in Trainspotting…

I finally got my hands on a second hand copy of the 7″ vinyl and here’s all the tracks for your enjoyment:-

mp3 : The Delgados – Under Canvas Under Wraps
mp3 : The Delgados – Een Telf
mp3 : The Delgados – Bear Cub
mp3 : The Delgados – Strathcona

The last of these is a very short acoustic track, recorded in Alun Woodward‘s living room, and about as lo-fi a song as I’ve ever heard.

Again, I’ll leave it to the band to review the single:-

The first Delgados single to make any kind of impact on national radio, Under Canvas Under Wraps was to become Single Of The Week on Steve Lamacq & Jo Whiley’s Evening Session on Radio 1 which in turn led to the band being offered a high profile support slot with Elastica. The origins of the track are relatively hazy except for the fact that we wanted the song to start at a really breakneck pace and then get progressively faster. Problem was that after we released it as a single, we went into the rehearsal room to practice it and discovered that we were shit at playing it – it survived the early tours (out of necessity) and then got dumped from the sets, never to reappear again until towards the end of our career.

The song was backed by a song called Bearcub, which we felt was a real progression for the band – we were right too as it still stands up now as a really interesting song with what for us then was a rather peculiar arrangement. The other B-Side Een Telf (or Teen Elf if you’re feeling slightly less obtuse) was another shouty number – the type of song we would write and record less and less as the band’s career developed.

Crayon artwork by the talented Mr Woodward…

Pointless piece of trivia: The shouting at the start of the song was recorded by Stewart who basically stood in the middle of the live room and screamed gibberish for 10 seconds. Nothing new there then…..

I do so wish they had reformed at some point…..but they didn’t and they never will.

Pointless piece of trivia: Stewart is now a fully fledged fire fighter, having passed all the tests and qualified some two years ago. I wonder if his colleagues have ever seen the above video?



  1. Part of, but very much distant to the 13th Note (Glassford Street) scene, The Delgados really had that ‘something’. I’m all but sure I was at the 1st ever Glasgow gig. I was definitely at all of the very early gigs. Musicians I knew at the time noted even then that this band were just that little bit different and there were hushed tones at times – honestly. When they set up the record label it really did change that particular scene. Several other labels sprung up and many of their contemporaries released records with Chemikal Underground. It was a very exciting time.

    For me they maintained a level of experimentalism throughout their career. Each LP had something that was just that little bit different to the last.

    Like many Scottish bands I don’t believe they ever achieved the level of success they could have – maybe they never wanted to? A brilliant band chock full of creativity.

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