England

England was an English rock trio that released a self-titled album in 1976 on the UK custom-press Deroy.

Members: Olly Alcock (guitar, lead vocals), Mike Kidson, John Waite, Ben Eggleston (bass, vocals), John Clark, Paul Rossiter (saxophone), Kenny Hopper (drums), Dave Ross (flute, saxophone), Phil Cook (drums)

For the band that released the 1977 album ‘Garden Shed’, click here.


Inception

England coalesced in 1971–72 around singer–guitarist Olly Alcock, a Cumbria native who played in the school band Burgandy Blues and co-founded The Weight, a precursor to Welsh post-psychsters Universe. Alcock assembled the first England lineup with (later Muffin Men) saxophonist Mike Kidson and (later Babys) singer John Waite.

On August 26, 1973, England played the Kendal Pop Festival, a Sunday event headlined by the Groundhogs, Greenslade, (Steamhammer spinoff) Axis, and (Dire Straits precursor) Brewers Droop. They toured the Northern university circuit and performed multiple open-air events, including the Carlisle Great Fair week. Billed as The Original England Rock Band, they gained national exposure on BBC Radio One’s Friday Rock Show.

By 1975, Alcock reconstituted England with bassist–singer Ben Eggleston and drummer Phil Cook. They cut an album on Deroy, a Lancashire small-press that issued multiple post-psych one-offs (Complex, Motiffe, Candida Pax) and the first two albums by Chelmsford folkster Mick Stevens.


The Album

England released their self-titled album in 1976 on Deroy. It features nine Alcock originals, which encompass rough hard-rock (“The Osprey”), flowing harmonized numbers (“Out of Town”), lead-laden jams (“Keswick Line”), and fluid jazz-rockers (“Beauty & the Beast”).

England‘s musical hallmarks include gruff vocals, jagged guitar riffs, and roaming bass lines. Guest saxophonist Paul Rossiter plays on “Beauty,” “Nature Ruled,” and “How Does It Feel?”

1. “The Osprey” (4:04)
2. “Keswick Line” (5:14)
3. “Out of Town” (4:06)
4. “Beauty & the Beast” (6:34)

5. “Paradise Lost” (4:41)
6. “How Does It Feel?” (3:52)
7. “Nature Ruled” (4:41)
8. “The Fleece” (3:38)
9. “Life and Soul” (3:08)

Sessions took place at Marshall Sound Recordings, where England self-produced the album with engineer Neil Marshall.

Typographer David Laidler designed the cover to England, which sports an ink-pen illustration by Alcock. It depicts a scoutsman with full hands (flowing mug) and pockets (dripping bottle); flanked by a bulldog and a docile lion. He stands before a target tree that hides a spying cop. Across the street sits a two-story house, plagued by a rain cloud with a flying saucer overhead. The back cover features monochrome live pics of the three members by photographer Mal Kendall.

Deroy pressed 500 copies of England, which later gained three-figure collector’s status. Audio Archives thrice reissued the album; twice on CD (1995, 2012) and once on vinyl (2016). The 2010s reissues sport a yellow nameplate.


Discography:

  • England (1976)

Sources:

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