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A Certain Ratio 40th Anniversary Celebration


SonicPR promotion ...




 "Cult punk funkateers" – UNCUT

 "… mould-breakers" – MOJO

 "… pioneering, criminally overlooked" – ELECTRONIC SOUND

A CERTAIN RATIO – who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year - have shared details of a new box set, ACR:BOX, out on Mute on 3 May 2019 on vinyl, CD and digitally. ACR:BOX launches with a brand new acoustic version of ‘Won't Stop Loving You' (AKA The Big E) here titled ‘W.S.L.U.', a recent collaboration with Parent's Sarah Brandwood-Spencer (string arrangement) and Jason Brown (additional guitars).

Listen to ‘W.S.L.U.' here:

ACR:BOX was remastered by Martin Moscrop at Abbey Road studios. Featuring over 20 unreleased tracks, the box set will be available as a 7 x coloured vinyl set, 4 x CD set and digitally and its release will coincide with a series of dates.

Following on from 2018's compilation, acr:set, the box showcases the diversity of the singles, B-sides and alternative versions of tracks that A Certain Ratio have released, but without repeating tracks recently made available. ACR:BOX collates everything that fans had been missing from the recent reissue campaign, and compliments that with a selection found after a deep delve into the archive to find all the hidden gems that had been talked about over the years, but never heard – even a few releases the band had forgotten about! 

Looking to make the box set as comprehensive as possible, even the original tapes from the session they recorded for a collaboration with Grace Jones were uncovered and reworked. This session includes the cover version of Talking Heads' ‘Houses In Motion', using Jez Kerr's guide vocals (pre to him becoming the band's singer). Grace Jones never completed her vocal take, after attending one of the recording sessions with the band.

The box set, which marks the 40th anniversary of A Certain Ratio's debut release, the Martin Hannett produced ‘All Night Party' (Factory Records' first single release) was described recently by Record Collector as "a statement of future intentions: to set funk off against nervous angst." They went on to be hailed universally as pioneers of what became known as "punk funk" thanks to the success of their second single, ‘Shack Up', represented here via a radio edit from Electronic, featuring Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr. 

The band have announced an extensive UK tour kicking off on 27 April when they'll bring their blistering live performance to Barrow-in-Furness, before a show at London's Islington Assembly Hall on 4 May 2019. The band have also announced a 2-day ACR festival at Yes, in Manchester, on the 24 May (the anniversary of the actual release date of the original ‘All Night Party' 7") and 25 May which will see special guests join ACR for a takeover of all four floors of the venue. Full dates below, with more to be announced.

ACR live is Jez Kerr, Donald Johnson, Martin Moscrop, Denise Johnson, Tony Quigley and recent addition on keyboards, Matt Steele, who has adapted to the ACR groove seamlessly.

A Certain Ratio embraced the ethic and culture of the late seventies post-punk explosion, but sounded like nothing else around them and refused to fit in. Highlighted recently by FACT, who said: "Their dub-infused punk-funk recordings have proved massively influential over the past thirty years, and Andy Weatherall has called them his favourite ever band (a prestigious accolade in our estimation)", the band have influenced generations of musicians - from LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Franz Ferdinand, ESG, Factory Floor and Sink Ya Teeth.

Five albums were released on Factory – The Graveyard and the Ballroom (1979), To Each…(1981), Sextet (1982), I'd Like To See You Again (1982) and Force (1986). Following the release of Force, the band moved to A&M for two releases - Good Together (1989) and acr:mcr (1990) and, after the leaving the major, released Up In Downsville (1992) and Change the Station (1997) on Robs Records, the label set up by New Order's manager and Factory's director, Rob Gretton, an important catalyst in the Manchester scene.

Their sound is not easily pigeon holed and their influence can never be understated. The band introduced the avant-garde elements of funk, jazz, electronics, tape loops and technology to the pop song, wrapping it in a post punk aesthetic, adding great clothes and the coolest haircuts.


A CERTAIN RATIO - ACR:BOX tracklisting 

Singles and B-sides
1 All Night Party
2 The Thin Boys
3 Blown Away
4 Son And Heir
5 Waterline
6 Funaezekea
7 Abracadubra
8 Sommadub
9 Guess Who? (12"
10 Tumba Rumba
11 Knife Slits Water (12" version)
12 Kether Hot Knives (Mix In Special)
13 I Need Someone Tonight
14 Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing
15 Life's a Scream
16 There's Only This
17 Si Fermir O Grido (Touch Cassette Version)
18 Brazilia 6.10
19 Sounds Like Something Dirty
20 The Runner (Greetings Four Version)
21 Inside (Greetings Four Version)
22 Bootsy (Greetings Four Version)
23 Fever 103 (Greetings Four Version)
24 Loosen Up Your Mind
25 The Planet
26 Turn Me on (7″ Edit)
27 27 Forever (Jon Dasilva's Testimonial Mix)
28 Shack up (Electronic Radio Edit)
29 Houses In Motion (Demo Version 1)
30 Houses In Motion (Demo Version 2)
31 And Then Again (Another version)
32 Piu Lento (John Peel Session)
33 Nostromo A Go Go (Demo)
34 Force (Demo)
35 Backs to The Wall (Demo)
36 The Big E (Demo)
37 Every Pleasure (Demo)
38 Rivers Edge (Demo)
39 Stadium (Demo)
40 Thin Grey Line (Demo)
41 Repercussions (African Mix)
42 BTTW 90 (Demo)
43 Spirit Dance (Demo)
44 Bitter Pill (Never Released)
45 It's Trippin When I'm Fine (Previously Unreleased)
46 Mello (JD 800 Perc Mix)
47 Tekno 4 an Answer (120bpm)
48 Samba 123 (Demo)
49 Some Day (ACR rework)
50 Happy Meal (Working Title)
51 Flight Won't Stop (Unfinished Demo)
52 Fruit Song (Unfinished Demo)
53 Say What You Mean (Unfinished Demo)
54 W.S.L.U.

Back sharing a label with Factory label-mates New Order, A Certain Ratio's collaboration with Mute has seen their full studio album catalogue made available again and a new compliation, acr:set, featuring two brand new tracks, 'Dirty Boy' (with vocals from Barry Adamson and Tony Wilson) and ‘Make It Happen'.

The Guardian's Dave Simpson paid tribute to the band, once described as "James Brown on acid" in a recent Cult Heroes piece: "Once you start listening to A Certain Ratio, it's difficult to stop".



A Certain Ratio + Mute = Good Together


Vince Hill's farewell concert in Coventry


With 2019 marking his 85th birthday, singing star Vince Hill will be heading home to Coventry next month to perform a special farewell concert at the Belgrade Theatre, as he prepares to retire from the spotlight after 70 years in showbusiness.


Taking place on Tuesday 4 June, his Midday Variety performance will help to raise much needed funds for the theatre's charitable work, with the "Edelweiss" singer donating his performance fee, as well as £1 from every ticket sold, to support their in the community.

Best known for his hit 1967 recording of The Sound of Music number "Edelweiss", which has gone on to sell a million copies, Vince has recorded over 300 songs over the years, performing at famous venues from the Royal Albert Hall to Sydney Opera House, as well as hosting a number of popular television series during the 70s and 80s, including They Sold A Million and Musical Time Machine for the BBC, and ITV chat show Gas Street.

Forming part of the Belgrade's regular Midday Variety programme, his forthcoming show will see him share stories and songs from throughout his illustrious career, accompanied by the world-class musicians of the Ken McCarthy Trio. Hosted by Mark Andrews, the performance will feature guest appearances from Vince's friends and colleagues including TV comic Duncan Norvelle, musical theatre star Jane Horn and the Coventry Consortium Swing Band.

As Coventry looks forward to an exciting future with its year as City of Culture on the horizon, Vince will also be giving something back to the community, using his celebration concert to raise much-needed funds for the Belgrade Theatre's charitable work. As well as donating his own performance fee, Vince and his team will also donate £1 from every ticket sold back to the Belgrade Theatre Trust.

Vince Hill said:"I am so excited to be performing my last big show at the Belgrade Theatre in my home city of Coventry. I rarely do concerts nowadays but simply couldn't resist the opportunity to do a show that will benefit the wonderful charitable work that the Belgrade Theatre Trust does in the local community.

"Coventry gave me my big break when I started my showbiz career and my hope is the monies raised will help the next generation of local talent get started on their paths to stardom. Might I add I am immensely proud that Coventry is to be the UK City of Culture 2021. I can't wait to get involved with those celebrations…. it's a well deserved win!!"

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Wes Finch supported by Stylusboy


Another  emotionally rewarding night at the Magic Lantern, savouring two of the finest & most individual of the many great local performers & writers: Wes Finch & Stylusboy. You'd recognise both their songs & their playing of them easily since both are so well crafted yet personal in nature & tone. It was also an evening for enjoying more visual delights: Stylusboy's merchandise suitcase alone was worth the ticket price & the array of instruments on display could be described as "guitar porn"

I hadn't seen Stylusboy play for quite some time so it was a great pleasure to catch him again, especially at such close quarters & with the bonus of hearing his new material (check out the "Hot Music Live" review of "Out Upon the Ocean"). The title track of his latest EP is a real favourite of mine at the moment: my only regret being was that I took its compelling lyrical imagery as being wholly metaphoric: his introduction however made it clear that it actually really is the story of a lighthouse keeper & his love... Never mind: the best songs are those which give the listener the space to interpret them as they wish & as they feel they apply to them. In fact space is a major element in Stylusboy's music: the same I'd say applies to Wes. Both obviously work very craftily on the words & want you both to hear them & take their meaning in as you listen, so that they have genuine emotional clout.

Talking of which, I was greatly pleased that he played a song that is for many of his fans his finest. I'm not sure if I can think of any other song which deals with the Coventry Blitz as movingly and convincingly as "For the Souls of My Brothers". If you haven't heard it yet..... They ought to play it on a loop at the Herbert.

You can catch up with all things Stylusboy at either of these two sites:

Wes (aided by long term collaborator Jools Street on violin for much of his set), roamed at will throughout his canon of work, solo & as part of various bands. We had two Silver Wye numbers, including set opener "Pick Me Up", several Mechanicals Band ones including their setting of WB Yeats from the new EP , ‘Miscellany #1'  namely "Meditation of An Old Fisherman"  and the setting of Phillip Larkin which is already a firm fan favourite, "Long Lion Days". From his solo album of 2015, ‘Awena' came the song Wes kindly let "Hot Music Live Presents" use  "Jackie's Stone" and you can hear & watch their performance here:

If I had to pick out a couple of particular highlights other than the ones above, I might firstly cite the fact that Wes and Jools delighted the audience with  two of their Tile Hill Billy bluegrass tunes: two of their newest in fact, "Dill Pickle Rag" (a favourite of mine) and "East Texas Waltz"

I'd also like to mention Wes' performance of the highly personal"Got Your Back" which I thought he played with particular intensity and which moved me considerably. Another one I commend to you.

Stylusboy will be back at the Magic Lantern on July 19th supporting Irene Rae & then headlining a gig there on November 30th.

Tile Hill Billy have a showcase gig on May 23rd at Stratford Playhouse with "Hot Music Live Presents" star Shanade

Wes & Jools will be back at the Magic Lantern on August 11th with Katrin, Ben & John as the Mechanicals Band (supported by Ellie Gowers) & Wes has another solo gig there on November 29th

You can also check out some of Wes' many projects at pages such as these:

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Jake Rizzo supported by Henery


Another wonderful night of song writing craft & passionate performances at the Magic Lantern last evening & two more great local musicians who clearly enjoyed themselves as much as the packed & rapt audience clearly did.

Support act Henery was reviewed by me only a few weeks ago at his superb gig at the same venue with Ellie Gowers: always a real problem, or a potential one for a reviewer. However it turned out fine as not only did Henery unleash songs he had not played on the previous occasion (including new ones & ones he has never hitherto performed live) but I noted that the experience of playing solo gigs (as a member of the Ellipsis he of course is extremely experienced at group live work) has impacted on his confidence: he really let his magnificent voice loose this time in a way he hadn't quite before: and it is certainly not a voice to be missed. What is also very evident is how damn good he is as a songwriter: every one of his pieces last night could grace the album he is looking forward to recording: they vary very much in style, tempo & playing technique & each one is instantly memorable. Check Henery out at his page at

Jake Rizzo (who has performed very many times in our area as Jake Melles in the past) is now based in Guildford so it was great to welcome such a popular member of the scene back for his first concert of original material in Leamington for two years. Switching between a Telecaster & his acoustic, Jake also moved between old favourites and brand new ones (he revealed that he has been recording with Matthew Cotterill: who was another member of last night's audience) plus one interesting cover (the only one of the night: the venue really is seen by artists as one where their originals get the attention they deserve). Like Kristy Gallacher playing a Steely Dan song recently, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is far from the first song which comes to mind in terms of ones to play solo on an acoustic.... Jake has come up from the local open mic scene where I first saw him in his teens & it is wonderful to see what an accomplished, confident & engaging performer he has developed into. And popular too.

Those present loved the evening's entertainment: as with so many of my recent reviews, I find myself coming back to the same points about aspects of our local scene: the abundance of individual styles in performing & writing, with unique voices having the confidence to stick to their own identity, yet with so many of them offering unconditional support to each other & obviously enjoying their friends' talents & success. And no, the evidence doesn't suggest that this happens everywhere unfortunately. Long may it & the artistry of people like Henery & Jake thrive.

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