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Bands: The Durham Ox Singers

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The DO's (as we, at least, called them) formed when I needed some backing singers for my song The Fair Play Trophy (again) on Coupe De Monde. I'd recorded it in my attic, as usual, but needed to get a pub singalong on the backing vocals - where better to do this, I thought, than a pub? I told everyone I knew that we'd be meeting in The Durham Ox (home of Sorted Records) in the afternoon, and arrived expecting loads of people to turn up but, of course, this being The Leicester Music Scene of the time nobody could be bothered. This happened all the time, by the way, it's amazing that it took me so long to realise that I'd be better off heading out on my own!

The only people who did come were my friend Mileage, formerly of The Masters Of Nothing, who was down for the weekend, and of course my long-term musical PAL Neil. Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey was there, and we roped in Gary, who worked behind the bar, to join in too. It sounded pretty good, and when I made the sleeve I decided to christen the vocal ensemble The Durham Ox Singers.

A few months later Dave and I were planning to start up a regular gig/club evening. We were trying to work out a way to make it a bit different from normal gigs, and with my experience years before with The Casbah I realised that an easy way to do it would be to have a regular act, something nice and easy that could happen every time in a similar way and make it a regular event. The idea to get The Durham Ox Singers involved was a good one, however I then went on to suggest we do Hits Of The Avant Garde, and so lumbered myself with the job of working out how to do "Revolution #9" acapella...

A few weeks of brain destroying difficult later I'd got it sorted out, and the same line-up met once again in the pub, with Anne, another pub regular who'd heard about it and wanted in, joining us. Amazingly it sounded FANTASTIC, we all got very VERY excited, and performed it at LollopaLeicester (as the club was eventually called) to gob-smacked amazement. We went on to play at every one of these nights, each time with a new song, with the highlight being when we supported ATV and did their song "The Radio Story". They were utterly stunned. The other highlight was when we played at the Off The Tracks Festival, a folk festival of the very very old school, where we got chucked off stage before our final song and had to go and sing it in the courtyard instead.

We recorded the single in Memphis Studio with Kev, who took it all in his stride as usual. I think The DO's had already been in with him by that point, as they also recorded backing vocals on about half the tracks we recording during the Say It With Words sessions, so they appear on quite a lot of our earlier stuff. We also recorded an album, which was never really released, in the same building, down the corridor in Alan Jenkin's studio. The best bit, for me, was when we did John Cage's 4'33", which I'd researched thoroughly and arranged accordingly.

The whole experience of the DO's was IMMENSELY good fun, and is probably the most Proper ART thing I've been involved with. One day that album'll be released and the world will see it as a masterpiece of the Avant Garde/Pub Talk FUSION!

Revolution #9
Hey Hey 16K
Payday Is The Best Day/Mex
Say It With Words
Milk and Baubles EP
Warriors Of Nanpantan

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