The Courtesy Group release their long-awaited second album ‘2nd CITY LIQUOR’ – out 24th August 2018 on MA DOOCEY. Since its acclaimed, and BBC 6-played debut, ‘Tradesman’s Entrance’, TCG’s line-up has changed considerably, with original guitarist and keyboardist Fyfe Dangerfield departing to form GUILLEMOTS in 2005 and DELTA drumbo Bird leaving to play guitar in THE NATURE CENTRE.
After traipsing the length and breadth of the Birmingham & Black Country area for a replacement as gifted as Dangerfield, TCG’s founder and verbalist Al Hutchins and longstanding bass anchor Dave Cochrane (HEAD OF DAVID, GOD, SWEET TOOTH, ICE, JESU and currently TERMINAL CHEESECAKE) finally found the Japanese guitar maestro Hidehiko Nagai living five minutes away from singer Al Hutchins’ Smethwick base, after he had answered an advertisement for a ‘Sound Scientist’ who “wished to emulate no one, but admired the likes of Funkadelic, Can, Spike Milligan and Howlin’ Wolf”.
Originally recruiting the improbably named Leo Crabtree, before losing him to THE PRODIGY, TCG trialled other drummers, before accidentally recruiting the rhythm section of local spazz-meat-rock racketeers MILLS & BOON (Dave Baker & Saul Hillier) in 2006. This created a twin-bass attack, which seemed too dangerous to roam the world at large, so it stayed to bolster an already driving rhythm section.
Far from being the ‘difficult second album’, the songs you now hear on ‘Second City Liquor’ have been truly inhabited; organic, surrealistic, everyday, psycho-geographical slices of lives from a range of different perspectives: from the going-mad dervish of BRICK HOUSE BLUES to the “Kyrie Eleison/I’m on medication!” galley-stomp of IN THE ROCK, ON THE ROCK, through the Afro-flecked calypso of “K.P’s day off/ being worked” in WHEN CLOSED to the bad-hair day/aerodrome extraordinaire that is A HECKORY BASE DAY.
Listen to ‘One Red Stripe Across The Sky’ – BELOW:
“I used to claim that when folk saw us they were witnessing a political rally held by out of work circus clowns, but although there is a travelling-medicine-show madness to what we present live, the songs reflect a range of different perspectives and emotions,” says Hutchins. “I’d say we are more interested in making little movies encompassing landscapes, colours and tales-than all that tedious sing yer friggin’ diary stuff! We have to feel as surprised and excited by the songs we’re crafting (sonically and lyrically) as you will, otherwise why bother?”
Marmite to most musical confectionery, set apart in their own musical galaxy, Birmingham’s own tunemongering grinesters, The Courtesy Group, survive against fashion, mediocrity, systematic dullness and impossible odds: live, they remain a robust antidote to a fully digitalised iTunes world.
The Courtesy Group play live Sat 14 July @ The Fox and Firkin, 316 Lewisham High Street, SE13 6J2, London – onstage 9:00 pm.