Lockdown has given us the opportunity to get round to things that we’ve put off for years. Hence this website for One for the Wall.
Although we are now playing brand-new material, many of the songs we present 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 (me) were 23 when the band came together. Now they (we) are 65.
Despite a lack of money and industry support we were ambitious, and excited to be recording in a studio in Banbury Road that Andy and our housemate Peter “Three degrees” Hancock built from scratch! We were intellectuals and perfectionists (in Oxford, 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, unfamiliar and, with a few exceptions, not music to dance to. 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 it was never going to be easy. Only Andy had a job (six days a week) – fortunately in a shop up Cowley Road that hired out guitar amps and PAs!
When I listen to the earliest recordings, now digitised from 4-track tape and with all their faults, I still sense the unique atmosphere that Jo Elford’s voice could create; the rest of us were in awe. I believe it made us try harder. I know that my own playing improved hugely, because she 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 or studying for degrees, we had enough material for an album.
Then Jo went to London to start a job, then got married. It took more than three decades to get her back!