Lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to get round to things that we’ve put off for years. Hence this website for One for the Wall. Getting this stuff together – audio files, photos and graphics – and reviewing it has been an emotional experience.
Although the band is playing new material, a lot of the songs presented here go back to our early days in the late 70s and early 80s. We were young in those days. Of course we didn’t see ourselves as particularly young: Andrew and Colin were 23 when the band came together. (Now we are 65, and still in decent health.) What comes across is that – despite the lack of money and industry support – we were ambitious, and excited to be recording in a studio up in Banbury Road that Andy and Pete Hancock built themselves from scratch! We were intellectuals and perfectionists (living in Oxford, that was hardly surprising) and not very interested in serving up stuff people already knew. We made it hard for ourselves, because the audience was presented with a repertoire that was, for the most part, completely unfamiliar and, with a few exceptions, not really dance music. We did have our fans, but you could call it a select group.
We might have made it in the business if we had been more dedicated, although that was never going to be easy. Only Andrew had a job (he worked six days a week) and the rest of us needed to get one!
When I listen to the earliest recordings, now digitised from 4-track tape, I can feel the unique, magical atmosphere that Jo Elford’s voice could create; the rest of us were in awe of her talent. I believe it made us try harder and play to the best of our ability. I know that my own playing improved hugely, because Jo told me! When we reached the Final of the Melody Maker Rock/Folk competition we were just starting out. There were only three songs we knew well enough to play in public. By the end of summer ’79, while working and/or studying for degrees, we had enough material for an album.
Then Jo went to London to start a job and got married. It took more than three decades to get her back!