Spirogyra was an English folk-rock band that released the album St. Radigunds on B & C Records in 1971, followed by Old Boot Wine on PEG in 1972. The band’s third and final album of the period, Bells, Boots and Shambles, appeared on Polydor in 1973.
Members: Martin Cockerham (vocals, guitar), Mark Francis (vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano, saxophone, 1967-69, 1972, 2008-present), Barbara Gaskin (vocals, 1969-74), Steve Borrill (bass, 1969-72), Julian Cusack (violin, 1969-72), Jon Gifford (flute, saxophone, 1972-74), Rick Biddulph (guitar, bass, 1972-74)
Spirogyra evolved from a musical partnership between Martin Cockerham and Mark Francis, two singing guitarists from Bolton, Lancashire. They teamed in the summer of 1967 and performed locally until 1969 when Cockerham enrolled at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
In December 1969, Cockerham assembled more than 10 UoK musicians for a series of jam sessions. Eventually, the group pared down to the quartet of Cockerham, bassist Steve Borrill, violinist Julian Cusack, and singer Barbara Gaskin. They named their act after the genus Spirogyra, a free-floating green algae.
Max Hole, the Student Union Entertainment Secretary, took Spirogyra under his managerial wing and booked them at universities nationwide. They cut at least 13 demos at Keynes College between May 1970 and January 1971, including “Mackerels and Fishes,” “Defender of the Faith,” and “Counting the Cars.”
Spirogyra gigged throughout England and the Netherlands and played on bills with Traffic and Patto. Despite Hole’s efforts to secure deals with Apple (domestic) and Polydor (abroad), they signed to B & C, a short-lived underground label with ties to Charisma.
1971: St. Radigunds
The textured cover has a watercolor painting by
Like its predecessor, was produced by Hole and engineered by Black. A leftover from the sessions, “I Hear You’re Going Somewhere (Joe Really),” was issued on a Polydor 7″ (b/w “Old Boot Wine“).
A new lineup comprised of
- St. Radigunds (1971)
- Old Boot Wine (1972)
- Bells, Boots and Shambles (1973)
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