This bit of music sounds as if the makers should come from deep in the heart of Texas, but in fact The Rockingbirds were a London-based outfit formed in 1990.

mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Gradually Learning

They were first signed to Heavenly Records but no mainstream success came from any of their four singles/EPs or their 1992 self-titled debut LP. Some of the band left after this initial burst of activity, but a new line-up inked a deal with Cooking Vinyl and an LP was recorded with Edwyn Collins at the producers desk. But still The Rockingbirds remained too square-dance to be hip and by 1995, they called it a day.

However, there was a very brief reformation in 2008 to play a show celebrating the 18th birthday of their first label and then some more gigs in 2009 to support the re-release of a remastered and extended version of the debut LP.

One of the band members was Andy Hackett who has long been a sidekick of the afore-mentioned Edwyn playing on his records and being part of the various tour bands.

Here’s the other tracks on the CD single:-

mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Where I Belong
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Love Has Gone And Made A Mess Of Me
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Gradually Learning (full version)

While here’s another of those early singles on Heavenly – a tribute to a very talented singer-songwriter from Boston who featured just yesterday on T(n)VV:-

mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Jonathan Jonathan
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Time Drives The Truck
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Older Guys

The last of these tracks is a cover version of a song by The Flying Burrito Brothers and was co-written by Gram Parsons.  It was also covered, in 1993, by Teenage Fanclub and featured as one of the b-sides to Norman 3:-

mp3 : Teenage Fanclub – Older Guys



Here’s an update on The Rockingbirds as provided by the man who is sitting on the horse on the sleeve of Gradually Learning:-

“Hi, Andy from The Rockingbirds here, just to add we’re still going strong and are currently finishing our 4th album provisionally titled ‘More Rockingbirds’ as we speak. We also released an album called ‘The Return of the Rockingbirds’ a couple of years ago, which like all of our albums is still available.”

I’m off to track down a copy….and hopefully the band will take to the road later on in the year to promote the upcoming 4th album.


From Saturday 24 September 2011


Now I never thought I’d feature anything by Right Said Fred on TVV. But there was a charidee EP released back in 1992 which might be of some interest:-

mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Deeply Dippy
mp3 : Flowered Up – Don’t Talk Just Kiss (edit)
mp3 : St Etienne – I’m Too Sexy (edit)

For those who perhaps don’t know, Right Said Fred were absolutely massive in the UK in 1991 and 92. Their first three singles, all of which are covered on this EP, went Top 3. Since then, they have continued to record and tour without achieving much in the way of chart success….but they have an incredibly loyal fan base which ensures their gigs tend to sell out.

The EP features three of the best-known artistes on Heavenly Records and all profits from the release went to supporting the AIDS charity, The Terence Higgins Trust. As with most charity records, the cause is better than the music…..none of the three songs featured do all that much for me I’m afraid to say.

But feel free to disagree.


blogphotos 001

STEP BACK IN TIME  (First posted in April 2007)

From L-R : Andy Rourke, Morrissey, JC and Johnny Marr.

If only………..

It’s actually the cover of a quite brilliant birthday present given to me back in 1993 by Jacques the Kipper.

At the time in our lives, we were in the habit of exchanging C90s around every two months, made up of stuff that we thought the other would like, or old things that we were listening to again after a period of time.

Mostly, it would involve handing over a tape with nothing written on it, and an A4 sheet of paper that contained cryptic clues (e.g. – Vodka was the single word for Smells Like Teen Spirit which JtK shoved on a tape a good two months before it went massive).

But for the momentous occasion of my 30th birthday, and to mark the day when I felt I was officially old, my mucker got me honorary membership of my favourite band and typed out the full track listing without testing my knowledge:-

Reggae Kray Do You Know My Name side

1. Candy Everybody Wants – 10,000 Maniacs
2. Godstar – Psychic TV
3. Pleasantly Surprised – The Soup Dragons
4. Half Of Everything – Lloyd Cole
5. Dollar Bill – Screaming Trees
6. Wish You Were Here – Darlingheart
7. Message In The Box – World Party
8. Jonathan, Jonathan – The Rockingbirds
9. Fire Away – James
10. Doomed – Julian Cope
11. Summer Fun In A Beat-Up Datsun – Cornershop
12. Grey Cortina – Tom Robinson Band

That Toke Isn’t Funny Anymore side

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues – Little Big Band
2. The Mating Game – The Monochrome Set
3. Southern Mark Smith – The Jazz Butcher
4. Circle Line – Rodney Allen
5. You’ve Got Me Thinking – The Beloved
6. For What It’s Worth – Oui 3
7. People Everyday – Arrested Development
8. Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) – Digible Planets
9. Call It What You Want – Credit To The Nation
10. Who Do You Think You Are? – Saint Etienne
11. Birthday (Tommy D mix) – Sugarcubes

The thing that I’ve just realised is that at the time, I was making a serious attempt to pass my driving test (unsuccessfully), and JtK has thrown in a couple of motor-related bits of fun at the end of the first side.

I probably listened to this tape right through on a daily basis for the best part of a month – it was in the days when I was commuting daily from Glasgow to Edinburgh with only a Sony Walkman to keep my sanity, and there were only so many tapes you could keep in your suit pockets.

As with the mp3s that I download nowadays, I took the view that if I really liked a song on a JtK tape, then I’d go out and buy it, and I reckon I’ve probably got 14 out of these 23 tracks on CD or vinyl. But of the 5,000 or so songs that I’ve now got on the i-pod, I reckon there’s only three of these, and none of them are on any favourite especially made playlists.

I suppose the point I’m trying to clumsily make is that back in 1993, I listened to these songs a helluva lot, but nowadays they hardly feature – although I still like just about everything on the tape. As such, I’m equally certain that much of the new stuff I’ve been buying in recent weeks will hardly be listened to in 2020 (assuming I last that long).

But I do hope that somehow, by the time I’m approaching my 60th birthday in 2023, I’ll still be a regular in music stores such as Avalanche and Fopp, buying what’s fresh, lively and new, having heard it first on whatever it is that has replaced music blogs…..

And now, for your amusement, here’s some of the stuff I was listening to in June 1993:-

mp3 : Psychic TV – Godstar
mp3 : The Rockingbirds – Jonathan, Jonathan
mp3 : The Jazz Butcher – Southern Mark Smith
mp3 : Arrested Development – People Everyday

It hasn’t always been jingly-jangly pop my whole life you know……(but then I sort of gave that away with yesterday’s blast from the past)