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martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

Ocean Colour Scene

At the time, 1990, things were definitely looking up for the group known as Ocean Colour Scene. They had just signed to an independent label and a discernible buzz about the group was starting up. It was not hard to see why. They had a clutch of good songs, obvious talent as musicians and a vocalist and songwriter who was clearly going places.

Then their label was bought by a major. And then the major put the band in the studio. The producer was Jimmy Miller, whose work with the Rolling Stones the band highly admired. They cut an album. The major said it wasn't good enough. It was but the band didn't have a choice in the matter. They went back to the studio and cut another version with a new producer. Again, the major said, no.

It's at times like these that most groups fold like the proverbial deck of cards. But that's for those bands who were never cut out for it in the first place. Ocean Colour Scene come from different stock.

There are four of them. Simon Fowler, (vocals), Steve Cradock, (guitar), Damon Minchella, (bass), and Oscar Harrison, (drums). They are a group in the true sense of the word. There is nothing more important to them than the group.

During their blue period, when they were peniless, without contract, without allies, it is that spirit which saw them through. They have sat for hours in a cramped van to play gigs hundreds of miles away for a pittance and twenty people. They have seen their name constantly sneered at in public. And yet they have never wavered or weakened. In fact, they have grown stronger. This is because belief and music is in their blood. They know that if you are a small axe you will eventually cut down all obstacles in your way.

Between 1992 and 1995 Ocean Colour Scene played wherever they could. Their enthusiasm for their craft could never be dimished. Steve Cradock then landed a spot as guitarist for Paul Weller, round about the time of "Wildwood", and, symbolic of his and the group's craft and dedication, built up an invaluable and special musical relationship with Weller.

As time passed, their songs came sharply into focus. Notable amongst these compositions were tracks such as, "You've Got It Bad", "One For The Road", "The Riverboat Song", "Lining Your Pockets", "The Circle", and "Policemen & Pirates". With music such as this it was obvious to all concerned that to give up would be an unforgivable crime.

Fortunately those two words, give and up, do not feature in the OCS vocabulary.

Last year, the door they had so patiently been hammering on finally gave way. As they knew it would. Hustling up enough cash, they put together their own studio, Moseley Shoals, and then spent hours writing, creating, rehearsing, playing and decorating their walls with meaningful symbols. They enlisted the top producer Brendan Lynch and his valuable sidekick, engineer Max Hayes, to produce them.

The result was not only that Lynch produced his finest work to date but the tapes were heard by MCA. They had no hesitation. The group were signed, sealed and delivered.

In January, 1996, the band set out on a nationwide tour. A month later, on 5th February, 1996, their debut MCA single, "The Riverboat Song", was released. It crashed into the charts at No.15 and suddenly the band found themselves in a whirlpool of success.

On March 25th their second single, "You've Got It Bad", was released and reached No. 7.

On April 8th, the band's debut MCA album, "Moseley Shoals" was released - a week later it stormed into the charts at No. 2.

Meanwhile, the band kept doing what they do best, playing to audiences and taking their blistering music to even further heights. The tour finally culminated with two concerts at London's Electric Ballroom where Rico, Noel and Liam Gallagher turned up to lend their support. Both nights were huge successes.

The following week, the band's third single, "The Day We Caught The Train", was released on June 3rd, 1996. Whatever lingering negativity they still faced in the press was of no concern to people. The single hit the charts at No. 4, confirming the band's hugely deserved popularity.

One other thing has to be said. In the dark days, when the group could only get arrested by policemen and pirates, record companies would tell them to change their name before they would even consider listening to them. And the group, broke and in debt, faced this temptation with the following word.
Says it all really.

Ocean Colour Scene - The Day We Caught The Train

Ocean Colour Scene - The Riverboat Song

Ocean Colour Scene - Better Day

Ocean Colour Scene - The Circle

Ocean Colour Scene - You've Got It Bad 

Ocean Colour Scene - Painting

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