Monday, April 8, 2013

Sunshine Music Agency 1974

Sunshine Music Agency  (SAM) - 1974


A Coventry Music Agency and Record Production team.

Sunshine came close to putting Coventry music in the charts some 4 years before Two Tone. Set up initially to promote 'A Band Called George's' single NCB Man on the Bell Label, the agency planned its own Coventry record label and much more..

The Sunshine Agency  Management (SAM) opened its office at 132, Gulson Rd. Coventry early in 1974.

Sunshine was initially formed by DJ's Craig Ward and Graham Wood as an agency to handle the affairs of  A Band Called George whose single for the Bell Label looked set to rock the charts in 1974. However the agency grew to cover a wider remit offering management, agency, publicity, promotions, discos, road crews, entertainment consultants, disco hire and equipment, recording .

Soon Craig and Graham formed a production team to record the songs of  Bob Young (of a Band Called
Sunshine HQ 132 Gulson Rd Coventry (Green spot)
George) and advertised in the local press for bands and artists to record Bob's songs).

Sunshine teamed up with Monty Bird of  Bird Sound Recording studio at Snitterfield, near Stratford,  in which they had a half-share) which meant that bands under their management had free and unlimited recording time there to make demos.

Pug Ma Ho (later called Smack) recorded Bob's Misunderstood and the Earthquakes (later known as Mad Cat Molly) recorded Dancing to the Music.

The Coventry Evening telegraph wrote " So SAM looks good news for local groups who feel they are good enough to get themselves represented on disc. And it could develop into a major record producing concern based in Coventry"

This was some 4 years before Two Tone burst on the scene in 1979.

During the early part of 74,  I (Trev Teasdel) typed up Hobo No3 in the Sunshine Office, thanks to Craig Ward. It was a good place to be based at that time, being fairly central and having the support of Craig Ward who managed Sunshine. Lots of local musicians came through it's doors so it was a useful place to find out what the bands were up to musically and get wind of developments on the music scene. Although hobo was typed up at Sunshine, the magazine was independent of Sunshine and so was free to report on other agencies and bands not managed by them.

A Band Called George
Among the musicians that came through the doors was Bob Jackson (formerly of Indian Summer). Bob
was playing with Pete Brown at the time who had written those classic lyrics for Cream such as White Room and Sunshine of your Love. Bob was even going to show some of my poems published in Hobo to Pete at one stage. I don't know if he did but nothing transpired from it. I was an admirer of Pete's work with Cream and Jack Bruce so that was a nice thought. Craig Ward did some record reviews for Hobo.


Sunshine ran a number of discos including Becketts in Nuneaton and even a folk night at the Pilot in Radford with regulars Bob Young and singer songwriter Gill Darbey . They also promoted Mr Badgers in Atherston at the New Swan.

Sunshine managed Pug-ma-ho who changed their name to Smack! and A Band Called George who
recorded a single NCB Man released on the Bell label. The single didn't make it as the miners strike escalated and the timing was wrong. You can hear NCB Man on the band's My Space (click here A Band Called George My Space - ). Margo of Smack! went on to record with Mud as a backing singer. Smack records a single too - Miss Understood - written by Bob Young for Bell Label. Mad Cat Molly was another Coventry band who recorded a single for the Bell Label with a Bob Young composition - Dancing to the Music.There will be more about the bands in the forthcoming band directories. Other bands they managed included Mad Cat Molly, Gill Darbey - singer songwriter - Walrus Gumboot - Monster Magnet - Earthquakes. They also offered to book any band in the country loads cheaper than anywhere else.

Sunshine ceased to be sometime in 1975 but it was an exciting period in Coventry's musical history. The loss of air play for NCB Man was a major blow to the plans of Sunshine but had it been the major hit they and the record company thought it would be - who knows how that would have affected the status of Coventry area music on the national and international stage, some years before Two Tone! Sunshine certainly had the energy, songs and ideas to follow through.

Bird Studios Ad in Hobo Magazine Summer 1974

Here are the entries in various issues of HOBO -

Sunbird - Hatching (From Issue No 3 Feburary 1974)
"Bird recording studios at Snitterfield, not far from the land of Shakespeare, has been converted into an 8 track stereo unit and will re-open at the beginning of February. The rates of recording there will remain the same as they were for the previous 4 track - for the first six weeks of opening. The rates at the moment are £4 an hour inclusive of editing. Copy tapes 50p, sur-charge of £1 for use of the master tape. For discs (albums) 6 cost around £9 and a 1000 cost 75p each. This is a 24 hour service. Session musicians can be supplied on request with of course additional charges.

Plans for the future are quite ambitious and include producing their own group equipment at cheap prices and their own record label, in conjunction with Sunshine. The label will occur if they can overcome the problem of distribution."

from Hobo Issue 4

"The Sunshine Music agency was formed about 3 months ago by Craig Ward, Bob Young and Graham Ward (of SILK fame) and are always on the look out for groups and artists that are available for work here and abroad. They also have a musicians register for musicians looking for bands and vice versa. They also have half -shares in the Bird Studios in Snitterfield. If you wish to know more about it then you are welcome to pop in for a chat and a coffee. Address in the Classified ads."








Advert from the April 1974 issue of Hobo that never came out owing to us rejecting the printing quality -

Sunshine
Management : Walrus Gumboot; SMACK; A Band Called George.
Promotions : Mr Badgers - New Swan, Atherstone & Mr Badgers in Bournmouth. Becketts - Nuneaton - Thurs, fri, sat, Sun, Mon.
Manufacturers : Group and PA equipment / Disco equipment. Cheapest prices imaginable!

Ring Craig Ward on 23020 / 23644 daytime. Also sole booking agent B.S.S.

Hobo (Coventry music and Arts Magazine) also reported on A Band Called George, Madcat Molly / Earthquakes and Pug ma Ho / Smack and other acts promoted by Sunshine.

From Hobo No 3 February 1974 - Small ad
"Sunshine Agency - 1st floor 132, Gulson Road Coventry 23020 / 23644. Agency for Smack, A Band Called George, Gill Darbey, Earthquakes, Pug Ma Ho,Monster Magnet, Walrus Gumboot and any band in the country, loads cheaper than elsewhere!"

Comments from the Original post on Vox / Typepad

Thanks for the memories! (By Craig Ward)

"Not sure who wrote this but they remember more than I do! We were young, well-intentioned and full of
Craig Ward as he is today
ideas and dreams. We thought we were on the verge of something really big when we signed A Band Called George to Bell Records who were without doubt the biggest singles label at that time. The deal was for 3 singles with an option on an album if any of the singles was successful.

We were SO confident NCB Man would be HUGE. Everyone who heard it thought so. We could have signed with any label. EMI and Rocket both made firm offers, and RAK were about to confirm an offer when we signed to Bell.

The idea was to plough back any of the profits from the single back into establishing our own label which would have been solely for Coventry and Warwickshire acts.


Graham Wood
About a week after the NCB Man single was released, I remember getting a phone call from Dick Leahy, MD of Bell Records saying "we've got a hit on our hands". This was based on overwhelming feedback from the disco and club dj's who'd been sent demo copies.

Shortly afterwards, though, the Markham Colliery disaster occurred when a lift broke and the safety devices failed to work, killing 18 miners. It also killed any chance we had of getting the all-important airplay.

The single was re-released a few months later, but the momentum was lost and it disappeared without trace. By this time the band had dissolved and alas, the last two contracted singles were never recorded.

Thanks for all your efforts on this page, I don't know how long its been here, but I've only just found it!

Kind regards and keep up the great work!"
Craig Ward

Craig Ward did some reviews for Hobo magazine, while i was based there - original manuscripts submitted for the magazine..


Craig Ward also produced some 'Sunshine Bullsheets' for bands they promoted like SMACK and Walrus Gumboot.




Mad Cat Molly (The Earthquakes) did a version of Bob Young's Dancing to the Music. They were also associated Q Artistes.


A Band Called George

From the original layout for the Bird recording studio, produced by Craig Ward


Beckett's Disco Nuneaton - Promoted by Sunshine and Dream Disco and lighting.


Sunshine also ran Folk n Things at the Pilot, Burnaby Road.


Comments from Hobo Vox blog




Where are you Graham Wood - I want to say hello and catch up on the last 40 years!

Posted by: Sue Long | 02/18/2012 at 06:16 PM



Thanks for the memories!

Not sure who wrote this but they remember more than I do! We were young, well-intentioned and full of ideas and dreams. We thought we were on the verge of something really big when we signed A Band Called George to Bell Records who were without doubt the biggest singles label at that time. The deal was for 3 singles with an option on an album if any of the singles was successful.

We were SO confident NCB Man would be HUGE. Everyone who heard it thought so. We could have signed with any label. EMI and Rocket both made firm offers, and RAK were about to confirm an offer when we signed to Bell.

The idea was to plough back any of the profits from the single back into establishing our own label which would have been solely for Coventry and Warwickshire acts.

About a week after the NCB Man single was released, I remember getting a phone call from Dick Leahy, MD of Bell Records saying "we've got a hit on our hands". This was based on overwhelming feedback from the disco and club dj's who'd been sent demo copies.

Shortly afterwards, though, the Markham Colliery disaster occurred when a lift broke and the safety devices failed to work, killing 18 miners. It also killed any chance we had of getting the all-important airplay.

The single was re-released a few months later, but the momentum was lost and it disappeared without trace. By this time the band had dissolved and alas, the last two contracted singles were never recorded.

Thanks for all your efforts on this page, I don't know how long its been here, but I've only just found it!

Kind regards and keep up the great work!
Craig Ward

Posted by: Craig Ward | 04/06/2012 at 07:03 PM

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