Wednesday 15 February 2023

Bogshed - Four Twisted Misanthropes


Bio: Bogshed formed in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, England in 1984, initially as The Amazing Roy North Penis Band, and comprised Phil Hartley (vocals), Mike Bryson (bass), Mark McQuaid (guitar) and Tristan King (drums). They released two albums, two EPs and two singles before splitting up in 1987. Bogshed were noted for their caustic lyrics that reflected an "everyday lunacy" and their primitive Captain Beefheart influenced music, described in 2022 as "the musical equivalent of poisoning the water hole".

Not really sounding like anyone before or since, they had much in common with some of the bands on the Ron Johnson label. Bryson explained their approach to songwriting: "We start out being totally out of order and out of key and we turn things like that into a pop song. Most people try to do it the other way round."

Championed by John Peel, they recorded 5 sessions for his radio show between 1985 and 1987, and gained regular airplay. The uncompromising mix of angular guitar-led tunes and Hartley's energetic vocals (his stated aim was to sing like Doris Day!) meant that Peel's listeners either loved Bogshed or found them unpalatable.

Post Bogshed, Phil Hartley recorded a solo Peel Session in 1988. He died on 11 October 2006. Tris King went on to play with Jackdaw With Crowbar and later A Witness. He died of brain cancer on 21 December 2008. Mike Bryson recorded under the name of Forkeyes. A split mini-album 'Vier Mit Vier', with tracks by electronic musician Marcus H (Soiled) and Forkeyes was released in 2012 on Elm Lodge Records. He died in November 2022.

A boxset - Bog-Set - consisting of all their commercially released tracks plus Peel Sessions and various out-takes from Melodic Records was released in December 2022.

Click here for detailed history of the band.

Bogshed, Bog Shed or Bog-Shed? I guess it's all a matter of preference. For this anthology I've gone with Bogshed, feel free to change to whatever you prefer after downloading...
Bogshed were a rather odd band, and to be honest a band that didn't really excite me much the brief period they were in existence. I bought their debut EP "Let Them Eat Bogshed" (released in 1985) and their 2nd and final studio album "Brutal, released in 1987. I quickly forgot about them after embracing all the exciting music coming out on the (to name a few) Amphetamine Reptile, Shimmy Disc and Flying Nun labels. During my big vinyl purge of the early 90s I had no qualms about selling the 2 Bogshed releases I'd bought.

It wasn't until the late 2000's I realised my error about this band. More or less forgotten by me up until then, I came across a vinyl rip of their debut EP and downloaded to give it another listen. Woah! This was bloody awesome! WTF was I thinking getting rid of this EP? After this revelation I spent several years trying to find all their other releases. I did come across a couple of other vinyl rips, of "Brutal" and the Peel Sessions EP "Tried and Tested Public Speaker", unfortunately the vinyl was in poor condition and even worse they'd ripped them in mono! I still listened to them now and again, and despite the poor quality there were so many great songs bursting out at me.

I kept hoping one day that all their releases would be reissued, then read somewhere that Phil Hartley didn't want this to happen. As he'd unfortunately died in 2006 it appeared his wish would be kept and that would be that. You could find the odd bootleg online, or a release of early demos on bandcamp, but that was your lot! It seemed I'd be forever frustrated on ever hearing in decent quality their 2 albums and several EPs/singles...

Then came the news, late 2022, where I read this:
"Manchester based Melodic Records will be releasing in December the entire Bog Shed output. Titled, The Official Bog Set, the collection will include their debut EP, 2 albums, full John Peel Sessions and a live and rarities collection which will only be available with the physical product. The entire set has been audio remastered for the first time, with restored original artwork. The band’s genius wonk songs of angular, groove-filled post punk dusted with energetic and often hilarious lyrics were perfect dislocated pop and their dark humour imagery was like The League of Gentlemen twenty years ahead of its time."
I excitedly searched for where I could buy this box set, and pre-ordered a copy here:

For this anthology I put together a few of my favourite songs from the box set. While the 5th CD in the box set is interesting, I've only taken one track from it, "Runner on a Blunder", which was previously released on a compilation album in 1986. 2 tracks included here aren't on the box set: their version of Benny Hill's "Gather in the Mushrooms" (from one of the Peel sessions) was for some reason omitted, plus the final track "The Amazing Roy North's Penis Band" is from a half-decent quality bootleg recorded live in early 1985.

Enough rambling from me... As usual origin of each track & year of release is tagged in the music files and in the download file. I hope you enjoy, cheers!

  1. Fat Lad Exam Failure (3:07)
  2. Hell Bent on Death (2:53)
  3. I'm the Instrument (4:08)
  4. C'mon Everybody (3:07)
  5. Duck Fight / US Bands / Wally Wallah (5:17)
  6. Summer in My Lunchtime (2:43)
  7. Excellent Girl! (3:19)
  8. Story of Bog-Shed (2:46)
  9. Raise the Girl (4:10)
10. Runner on a Blunder (3:09)
11. Panties Please (3:26)
12. Loaf (2:13)
13. Gather in the Mushrooms (2:26)
14. Morning Sir (2:40)
15. Hand Me Down Father (4:09)
16. Tried and Tested Public Speaker (2:17)
17. Six to One and Likely (3:52)
18. Can't Be Beat (3:11)
19. Uncle Death Grip (3:43)
20. Spencer Travis (1:54)
21. Opportunatist Knocks (2:43)
22. Your Science My Sound (6:00)
23. The Amazing Roy North's Penis Band (live) (4:45)

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