New additon to this post. More the the Reluctant Stereotypes and the Lyrics can be found on Paul King's site - http://www.paulking.nl/reluctant_stereotypes.html
Steve Edgson, who was the distinctive clarinetist and showman of Coventry Ska band - The
Reluctant Stereotypes - passed away on January 8 2008 aged 53. He had been ill for some time with cancer. Steve was a leading light in a number of Coventry bands from Analog, Ens, Reluctant Stereotypes, Pink Umbrellas, The Giraffe's and more recently Two Giraffe's. Steve also played guitar and recorder.
It's relevant we should do a tribute to Steve on the Hobo site because it was at the Hobo Workshop, Holyhead Rd in 1974 that Steve's early jazz-rock band ANALOG had their first gig at our venue where they became quite popular and were photographed playing live by the Coventry Evening Telegraph as can be seen here. Steve's quirky and distinctive clarinet sound gave the band a unique sound that was to inform the sound of the all his later bands.
Analog and the Hobo Workshop
It began with a letter sent to Hobo magazine in 1974, in which Guitarist John Rushton outlined the concept of a band called Analog which led to an ad in the magazine and a series of gigs at the Hobo Workshop -
"Analog - “a new and truly original rock band”. and the line up consisted of Mick Hartley - bass / Steve Edgson - 2nd guitar, clarinet, recorder / Paul 'Babbling' Brook - he plays a double kit + vocals and John Rushton - Multi-track maniac on lead guitar and backing vocals.
They had been rehearsing a concept piece written by Paul Brook for over a year called 'Custer's Last Stand' and were looking for a first gig. John explained -
“We’re working on a 40 minute suite at the moment, as yet untitled, based on an original idea by Paul Brook. This will comprise the first half of the set, along with a super high-energy instrumental entitled ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ – say no more! The suite contains more words than ‘Close to the Edge’ and has seven main parts.”
Although it wasn't clear at the time - the Hobo Workshop 1974 -75 was a seminal moment in Coventry's musical
history and Steve was certainly a vital element in that. Coventry had had a lively music scene in the 60's, often on the edge of a breakthrough and with some notable bands and artists making the big time. The early 70's, with it's emphasis on the 'underground' and presided over by the Broadgate Gnome and The Umbrella and Pete Waterman's Progresive venues, boasted some great bands such as Indian Summer, Wandering John, Whistler, Dando Shaft and Asgard and a wealth of venues. By 1973 - the Gnome had fled to Brighton, the Umbrella club bulldozed for a ring-road, the Plough club and other venues closed and many of Coventry's top bands had split up.
New seeds were sprouting however - we started Hobo Magazine to help revive the music scene and campaign for more venues and support for bands in the city and through an arrangement with Coventry Voluntary Service Council, managed to acquire use of the Holyhead Youth Centre for the Hobo Workshop to provide first time gigs for new bands and artists along with a range of other creative ideas - street-theatre and film for instance.
Steve and his band were part of a new growth of young Coventry musicians that, unbeknown at the time, would flourish over the next 4 or five years and help to put Coventry music on the map. Jazz rock was prominent at the time before punk broke through and Steve, with his clarinet, fell easily into this trend with Analog. Another regular band at the Hobo Workshop that forms a thread in Steve's early history was the jazz rock outfit Trigon. Trigon had formed out the demise of Fission - headed by Johnny Adams (who later played in Squad with Sam McNulty - Steve's later co-partner in Two Giraffe's). Trigon was headed by Paul Samson who became band mates in Ens and the Reluctant Stereotypes. Paul himself would go on to produce the Primitives and many Bhangra tracks.
Among other bands who played the Workshop at the time included Neil O'Connor's Midnight Circus, who later achieved fame and a recording contract as the Flys in the late 70's. Neil's sister Hazel O'Connor followed through in1980 and Neil joined her tour band. The 16 year old Dave Pepper - later of the X Certs did his first gig at the Hobo Workshop too. Downstairs in the Cellar elements of the later Two Tone were brewing - Charley Anderson, then a youth worker with a group of West Indian musicans, were jamming below. I invited them to join in the sessions upstairs in the theatre but they a bit shy at the time. It was Neol Davies, who had come along to help organise a jam session who went down and befriended and jammed with the guys that made a breakthrough that lead to a number of bands being formed over the next few years such as Hard Top 22. Eventually those musicians formed the basis of Selecter and the Specials. Horace Panter also played the Hobo Workshop after its move to the Golden Cross in a Jazz rock outfit in 1975. Neol Davies managed to bring some of the West Indian musicians to the Cross but only Neol ended up playing in the jam session. Steve's own band The Reluctant Stereotypes benefited from the later Two Tone development with the band moving from pure jazz rock to ska with jazz rock overtones and the acquisition of Paul King - later to head his own chart topping band King in the mid 80's.
Unfortunately Steve wasn't to be part of King's success. After the Hobo Workshop period he joined forces with Paul Samson to form the Jazz rock band Ens, later changing the name to the Reluctant Stereotypes. The Stereotypes becaume a highly popular band on on the scene as the musicians grew in experience but the Two Tone development split the band in two. I recall members of the band telling me they were intending to leave because the band was becoming more commercial and trendy. Reluctant Stereotypes mark two took off in the very late 70's and achieved a record contract with WEA, with Steve still on board. Steve's distinctive clarinet was stil an integral part of their sound as can be heard on their album The Label - or on their My Space - Here. They began to gig more widely around the country, touring with the Specials and featured on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Paul King, Colin Heanes and Tony Wall went on to form The Raw Sceens - later called King and Steve and Paul
Samson formed the Pink Umbrellas in 1981, however, Paul and Steve moved on and formed The Pink Umbrellas. The band were a 4 piece from Coventry and consisted Paul Sampson (singer), Steve Edgson (clarinet), Rob Hill (Drums) and a bass player called Barry Jones. They had a great live presence but their single, some thought, did not do them justice.
Indeed Pete Chambers describes the musical relationship between Paul Samson and Steve this way in Godiva Rocks -
"Paul's quirky, clipped vocals grooving alongside Steve's stunning electric clarinet fills, creating some wildly colourful harmonics, indeed there is a clarinet fill on the track Joseph Monk that positively sends shivers down my spine on every hearing Steve is a master of his instrument as Paul is a supurb songwriter"
Paul became more involved with production later on with a range of credits to his list over the years and Stev moved on to the Giraffe's in the 80's with ex Squad member Sam McNulty. As Pete Chambers comments "They
were the bees knees around Coventry at the time". More recently Steve has played again with Steve McNulty in a scaled down version of the band called TWO GIRAFFES consisting of just the two of them, Sam and Steve, with Steve on guitar and clarinet as can be seen in this video.
As can be seen from the above and much more that hasn't been written, Pete Chambers is right when he say -
"Steve was a constant in the world of local music, always there, always inventive, always musically superb."
Steve made a significant contribution to the Coventry music scene over four decades, appearing some of its best bands, always with musical integrity and popularity - and we are lucky to have a range of audio and video footage to document his work.
Trev Teasdel - 2008
More about Analog on Hobo - A to Z of Coventry bands https://sites.google.com/site/bandsfromcoventry/coventry-bands-a-to-z/coventry-bands-a/analog