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Bashful Alley -Its About Time lp [silver]


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Silver vinyl with booklet with liner-notes and previously unseen photos. Limited 200 copies

Although having only existed for a relatively short timespan (from 1980 to 1984), the band Bashful Alley has nevertheless made a name for themselves during the turbulent period of the N.W.O.B.H.M. Their one and only single called ‘Running Blind’ (released in 1982) is a masterpiece of the genre. Pretty unusual for a Metal band in the early ’80’s, Bashful Alley was born at university (in Lancaster, North-West England, to be precise). Original guitarist and founder Rob Tidd remembers: ‘We played at the university several times – mainly at the smaller, individual bars, but a couple of times at the ‘Great Hall’. At the time this was a very popular venue on the UK college gig circuit. I saw loads of bands there, including Wishbone Ash, The Scorpions, Judas Priest, Motorhead and many more. So it was quite a blast to play on that stage. One gig was a ‘local talent’ night, and the photo on the cover of the ‘It’s About Time’ CD (which was taken by my brother) came from that gig. The other time we played there was as support to The Sweet – which turned out to be a real disappointment as the audience was tiny!’ As mentioned, Rob was studying at the university of Lancaster at the time, and even got a degree in the end: ‘I ended up with a degree in ‘Marketing’, which was a relatively new thing at the time. So technically I’m ‘Rob Tidd B.Sc.(Hons)’!And no, I never worked in marketing – although the fact that I had a degree did help me get other jobs. But they’ve always been just ‘day jobs’ to me’. Rob started out as the guitarist for Bashful Alley but after a time he also took over vocal duties, which might have given him a hard time, doing two jobs at once: ‘Truff and I were a bit older than Dave and Donkey (our original singer and drummer), so when we graduated they were still at university. The two of us relocated to Lichfield (Staffordshire) and wanted to carry on with the band. We found a drummer (Robin Baxter) easily enough, but finding a singer was more difficult. I basically started doing the vocals at rehearsals and yes, it was tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it we all thought I was doing an OK job so I stuck with it. I was writing the songs anyway, and would have had to teach them to a new singer, so it just seemed easier. Would we have had some real success if we had found a ‘proper’ singer? Probably!’ However, in 1982, Bashfull Alley recorded and released their first and only single ‘Running Blind’ (500 were pressed through Ellie Jay and another 1,000 through Graffiti a couple of months later). ‘Running Blind’ is basically a pop song I wrote for a band I was in before Bashful Alley. (They were called ‘Next’ – don’t bother looking, there’s nothing to find!) I just beefed it up a bit. But I always tried to write good tunes – didn’t always succeed, but at least I tried. I am still waiting for some big band to cover one of my songs and finally make me some money!’ Even after the single had been released in 1982, Bashful Alley was not approached by record companies: ‘No, we never had any interest whatsoever from any record companies, even local Midlands-based labels like Heavy Metal Records. Somewhere – don’t ask me to find them – I have a load of record company rejection letters. It was very frustrating. I knew that our stuff was better than a lot of other bands who were getting signed – and this is why we thought we’d press a 7″ single ourselves. Not many bands were doing that at the time and we thought it might get us some attention (hey – it worked for Def Leppard!). Also, it gave us a product to sell at gigs and through local record shops (remember record shops …?)’. However, the release of the single spurned the busiest time in Bashfully Alley’s career, with them appearing live at London’s famous Marquee club and the more seedy Ruskin Arms pub in London’s East End (home of Iron Maiden and a number of early ’80’s Oi! Bands). Rob thinks back: ‘The Marquee and the Ruskin? We only played one gig at each of them. At the Marquee we were supporting Midlands glam-rockers Wrathchild. They had a cage built around their drum kit which they refused to remove for our support set, so we had a ridiculously small amount of stage left to fit onto! There were not many people in the venue when we took the stage – but we won them over! As for the Ruskin, it wasn’t as rough as you may have heard. Don’t forget, we were used to playing at some seriously dodgy venues around the Midlands … Anyway, we were the only band playing but once again it was sparsely attended and the audience didn’t seem very enthusiastic at first. But – and this is something very annoying that happens to a lot of bands – after we finished (to very little response all night), almost every person there came up and said something like ‘That was great! When’s your record coming out? When are you coming back?’ etc. And as a performer you think: ‘Well, if you liked it so much, ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU APPLAUD OR CHEER!?’ But my main memory of that Ruskin gig is this: we had previously been contacted by a Dutch fan, a girl called Black Rose (probably through the tape trading network!) who was going to be in the UK at the time and wanted to know if we’d be playing anywhere. I told her about the Ruskin gig and she said she’d be there, along with a friend who was travelling with her. And she did indeed show up – ten minutes before we finished! Lovely girl ‘ By 1984, Rob Tidd had been disillusioned with Bashful Alley and moved to the capital: ‘When I moved to London in 1984, that was what ended the band. Looking back, we hadn’t been going very long at all, but I was getting frustrated at our lack of progress and I wanted to give London a try. So I left. I didn’t go to London to get a ‘proper job’. I went with every intention of joining a ‘proper band’. I played in several bands while I was there (again, don’t bother looking …). The closest I got to success was in a band called Dollface in the mid-’90’s. We had a deal with an indie label (Kill City Records. They’re not around any more.), put out three EPs and an album, toured the UK and Europe (including the support slot on Slash’s Snakepit UK tour in ’95) but, once again, couldn’t seem to get to the next level and split up in 1997. It was cool to get to meet Slash and Gilby Clarke, though – even got to meet Paul Rodgers, who turned up at the London gig at The Forum. The Dollface album, ‘Giant’ is obviously long-deleted but doubtless there are copies to be found. It’s a good album but I was never that keen on the overall production. This album features the recording for the debut single together with unreleased demo material recorded between 1980 and 1983.

Track listing:
1. Running Blind-single version 82
2. My, My, My-single version 82
3. She Only Wants Me for My Body-demo 81
4. Rescue Me-demo 82
5. Light it Up-demo 82
6. Why Can’t You See?-demo 83
7. It’s About Time-demo 83
8. Nicotine Kiss-demo 80
9. She Only Wants Me for My Body-demo 80
10. Running Blind-demo 80

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High Roller Records

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