Martin Bramah Releases Solo Album 'The Battle of Twisted Heel'
Martin Bramah is poised to begin a new chapter in the history of the band he founded, Blue Orchids, while also embracing his past. He's releasing a previously unreleased solo album on LP -- The Battle Of Twisted Heel -- a new album from the band, a series of reissues on CD and download June 3 via the Tiny Global Productions imprint and introducing a new live line-up.
Martin's solo album came out of two recording sessions in the north of England. The first of these was Martin with former Fall / Blue Orchids guitarist Rick Goldstraw. This 2005 session produced the last three tracks on the album, "Strangely Lucid," "Green Rocky Road," and "Necessity." That session was recorded by a friend, Steph, at Black Madonna's, a local studio.
The second session (resulting in the album's first eight tracks) was produced by Martin himself, and recorded at Irk Valley Sound. Martin played everything on it (including, under a pseudonym, drums and percussion), except for some flute parts played by Charlotte Bill, another former Fall / Blue Orchids collaborator.
The album was accompanied by solo acoustic live shows supporting John Cooper Clarke, who provided Blue Orchids with their name and had numerous other ties with the band, such as associations with Nico and musical collaborations with Rick Goldstraw.
A chance encounter with Steve and Paul Hanley (long-serving members of the Fall) resulted in a new band who - after some member changes - recorded many of the songs from The Battle Of Twisted Heel over a single, an EP and a full-length album as Factory Star. Following an invitation for Blue Orchids to play the Deehunter-curated All Tomorrow's Party in 2012, Factory Star simply switched names back to Blue Orchids - which they've remained.
Somehow in all this, the original Martin Bramah solo album was lost, despite a few copies being made for friends and some ardent fans. Its release now makes it available now for the first time to the general public.
This release includes a download card with additional mixes, versions and outtakes.
A founding member of The Fall, and its primary songwriter for the early releases, Bramah formed the Blue Orchids with two other disillusioned early Fall members after the release of the Live at the Witch Trials album - with almost instant success. John Peel championed the 7" singles "Work" and "The Flood" and had them record two radio sessions. Soon after, a high-profile tour with Echo & the Bunnymen followed. Their debut album, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) topped the indie charts and delivered five classics still in the set today - "Sun Connection," "Dumb Magician," "A Year With No Head," "Low Profile" and "Bad Education."
Over the years, the personnel of the Blue Orchids came to read like a Who's Who of the independent music scene, including members of James, Dislocation Dance, the Smiths, Primal Scream, Buzzcocks and many more.
Ten years after his departure from The Fall, Bramah rejoined for the band's Extricate album - to date, still the band's biggest-selling album... and then departed again, with Mark E. Smith telling him, "You're just too good for the band!" (likely the only time a musician left the band with actual praise from the irascible Smith!)
As well the new The Once And Future Thing album there'll be several archival releases: an album collecting their non-lp Rough Trade material (and rarities) called Awefull, the first-ever release of Martin Bramah's legendary long-unissued solo album The Battle Of Twisted Heel and a limited edition double CD of live shows from 1981 and 1985. All will come with download cards featuring added material and bonuses.
Having created one of early post-punk's most distinctive sounds with their strung-out keyboards weaving around inventive, discordant guitar patterns -- once described as "Phil Spector meets the Velvet Underground beneath the Blackpool illuminations" - the Blue Orchids now move on, determined to make the world a more colourful place. The Once And Future Thing will confirm Martin Bramah as an artist who has followed his muse and continues to write great and memorable songs.