Readers shared their experiences organizing coach trips to visit forgotten musicians in their hometowns.

Out Da Ville, Nottingham

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the UK hip-hop scene primarily focused on major cities like London, Manchester, and Birmingham. However, there was a flourishing scene in my local area that never received the recognition it deserved. At the forefront of Nottingham’s hip-hop scene was Out Da Ville, with roots dating back to 1993. Their album Notts Property, released during this time, remains a vivid memory for me. I even used my earnings from my paper route to purchase the vinyl from Funky Monkey records in Nottingham, and played it daily for months.

I was inspired to create and learn about music technology when I heard my accent combined with gritty boom-bap production. Some of the group members have gone on to pursue music careers, with Scor-zay-zee being recognized as one of the pioneers of UK hip-hop. However, the group Out Da Ville has not received the same level of recognition. Daniel Poole, 36, from Nottingham.

Kingston upon Thames Cardiacs

In 1977, the band Cardiacs was established. They performed in the Kingston and Surbiton areas, and I attended several of their shows throughout the 1980s. Tragically, lead singer Tim Smith passed away in 2020. Their unique and unconventional style greatly influenced many bands, and they have a devoted following known as “Pondies.” The Kingston museum’s Bowie exhibition featured Cardiacs as it honored local musicians. Kingston has always been a diverse and lively hub for music. Donna Frankcom, age 56, from Worcester Park, London.

The Makers, Reading

The Makers, a guitar band from Reading, gained notoriety in the late 1990s with their uncompromising and mysterious style. They made a significant impact on the music industry with two demo sets before disappearing suddenly. Their live performances were either exceptional or chaotic, drawing the attention of A&R representatives from major labels. These reps would travel to the band’s rehearsal studio in a nearby village, but the band ultimately turned down multiple recording and publishing offers. With unique vocals that ranged from soulful to fierce, beautiful harmonies, and mind-bending guitar work, The Makers had the potential to release at least one influential album. Their absence is a disappointment to fans of modern music. -Kirk, London

The band known as Puss Puss from South Wales.

The group known as The Puss Puss Band originated in South Wales, specifically the Merthyr/Heads of the Valleys region. They produced two albums that blended jazz and folk pop influences. While their lyrics often explored dark and nihilistic themes, the music itself was beautifully melodic, inspired by artists such as Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach. Together, it creates a feeling reminiscent of a former lover whispering in your ear. I first discovered their music during a difficult time in a long and unhappy relationship. It kept me company while I worked late into the night on tedious spreadsheets and mundane tasks at my low-level administrative job. I believe more people should have the opportunity to hear their music, especially those who have experienced the ups and downs of love or have lived in a small town and longed for something more. Keri, 43, from Wales.

Misdemeanor, Bristol

Misdemeanor, a band from Bristol, was highly regarded as the best in the city. Their performances took place during the early 1980s, including a memorable show at the now-defunct Bristol Bridge Inn in 1982. The band, led by the talented Kevin McFadden, had a devoted fan base and played mostly original music, with occasional covers of songs by U2, Springsteen, and Star Jets (War Stories). Tragically, McFadden passed away a few years ago. Despite their local success, Misdemeanor never achieved mainstream fame. However, their songs can now be found on iTunes and are definitely worth purchasing. These are the recollections of Rick Johansen from Bristol.

Urban Swallow, Bognor Regis

They were called Urban Swallow and hailed from Bognor Regis. They had a huge local following. Some likened them to Coldplay, but they were better than that. I used to organise coach trips to see them in all the usual London venues from the Bognor pub that I ran in those days (the early 2000s). I am still in contact with a couple of the band members, who tell me that they will soon re-form for gigs and new material. Very exciting. Paul Ayling, Barnham, West Sussex

Aberfeldy, Edinburgh

Aberfeldy released three outstanding albums between 2004 and 2010. Lead vocalist Riley Briggs was highly skilled as a songwriter. Despite receiving a 9 out of 10 rating from NME for their debut album and having their single “Heliopolis By Night” named single of the week, they never achieved a higher ranking than No. 60 on the singles chart. Their initial record label, Rough Trade, was too focused on promoting the Libertines. I had the opportunity to see them perform approximately 10 times in Edinburgh and Glasgow, including a memorable New Year’s Eve show in 2004 where they opened for Blondie and Scissor Sisters in Princes Street Gardens at the annual Hogmanay celebration. -Ed, Edinburgh


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