Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rog and Pip - New 'Heavy' Album

Pete Clemons takes a look at an old but new Roger Lomas album with material recorded with another Ex member of The Sorrows, Pip Whitcher. Rog and Pip's new album on Rise Above Records, run by Lee Dorian is the subject of Pete's latest article for the Coventry Telegraph.

Rog & Pip Rarities Get New Release.

by Pete Clemons

RISE Above Records is a London based independent record label owned by Coventry born Lee Dorrian. Lee, of course, is probably best known for his involvement in bands such as Napalm Death and, in more recent years, Cathedral. The record label itself is named after a Napalm Death song, titled 'Rise Above' which came from their 1988 EP release 'Mentally Murdered'. Lee has been running Rise Above since 1988. The label itself was created, initially, as an outlet in order to sell releases by his band Napalm Death. It was a mail order business which operated out of Hillfield's House. And, for all correspondence, he would use a PO Box number in Bishop Street sorting office.

Over time the label grew and it began to release the music of groups that were similar to that of his own band. And over time Rise Above Records has built up a considerable back catalogue. A few years ago Rise Above expanded by announcing a sub label called Rise Above Relics which would cater for rare and vintage 1960s and 1970s releases. Several albums have so far been released on the 'Relics' label.

Rise Above Relics has, just recently, announced a series of new releases for 2014 and among them is an amazing collection of never before, and rarely heard, material by a Coventry partnership who created music together under the name of Rog and Pip.

For music lovers in Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond Rog and Pip (aka Roger Lomas and Philip 'Pip' Whitcher) should need little or no introduction. Both had been members of legendary 1960s Coventry band The Sorrows and, clearly, the pair was more than just band mates together. They had actually struck up a strong creative relationship during that period when they were together in The Sorrows.

Sometime after returning home, and settling down again, from The Sorrows infamous tours of Italy, during the late 1960s, Rog and Pip realised those dreams and ideas by creating a very productive song writing team. And over the next few years Rog and Pip recorded a treasure trove of songs.

Their partnership lasting well into the 1970s and during that period they apparently recorded a vast amount of material, mainly, at the state of the art AIR studios in London. Fortunately, Roger made sure he kept hold of copies of tapes of everything the pair recorded together. His instincts told him that, should they not be used, the contents of those tapes may well have been lost forever.

Some of the tunes they recorded were formally released but many never saw the day of light. And, now for the first time, this Rise Above Relics release titled 'Our Revolution' pulls together a dozen of those songs of which some are being aired for the very first time.

As the CD title suggests the songs themselves, all involve Roger Lomas and Pip Whitcher and of those which were formally released, had been, under various different group names. So the CD includes releases by Rog & Pip from the early 1970s along with other bands they were both involved with such as Renegade and The Zips.

The band Renegade came about after Roger had spent several months down in London doing session work for Southern Music. He made many contacts while in the capital including the estranged wife of Danny Williams. Her name was Virginia Williams and she recorded and released one of Roger's songs, 'Loving and Forgiving.' .' Rather than the song being released using her own name the single came out under the moniker of Renegade and was issued on the Parlophone label during 1973.

When he returned to Coventry Roger set about the creation of Renegade the band. For this he returned to his partnership with Pip Whitcher. Rog and Pip each played guitar and, together, they added the talents of bass player Mick Eastbury and Roger's brother Nigel Lomas on the drum seat. A second Renegade single 'A Little Rock 'n' Roll' complete with B side 'My Revolution' followed in 1974 and this was released on the Dawn label.

The Zips were a three-piece band who featured Rog and Pip and also ex-Indian Summer drummer Paul Hooper. The Zips were signed to Mickie Most's Rak Record label. For a short while, during studio work only, the band also included bass player Tom Evans from Badfinger. This band existed, approximately, between 1974 and 1976.

The Zips recorded two singles for Rak Records. One was a cover of The Everly Brothers 'Bye Bye Love' and the other covered The Beach Boys 'You're So Good To Me.' .' In both cases Mickie Most was at the helm for production duties. Mickie Most, you may remember, produced a host of bands and artists from the 1960s and 70s and was also on the judging panel for the 'New Faces' talent show.

Although the A sides of those RAK releases are not included on the CD, it is the B sides that do feature on 'Our Revolution'. Despite both singles getting plenty of airplay at the time they failed to dent the charts and so Zips disbanded, which was a shame, as the singles were both really good records.

Listening to the songs today after so many years Roger says 'these tracks were long forgotten about and the fond memories I had of recording the tracks, came flooding back. It was a very nostalgic and enjoyable experience.'.

Pip continues, 'When we first played the tapes again in Roger's house, for me it was quite an emotional experience. I was amazed how good some of the stuff was. Some of the tracks I don't even remember recording but it was wonderful hearing them again. I don't think either Rog or I realised just how good we were.' It is important to note that the sounds you will hear on the CD are not re-recordings. They are the actual songs created at that time maintaining a raw, gritty and slightly edgy tone. This is the genuine article and it is a tremendous slab of history.

Many of the tapes were not in the best of condition as they are over 40 years old. So Roger had to bake the tapes and mastered them himself. 'Some of the tracks turned out better than others, but considering that they are the only copies in existence, we had to accept that,' said Roger.

Roger's response to a question on would he and Pip ever perform or make more music again was 'As much as I would love to be able to turn back the clock I can't see it happening unfortunately. We had a phenomenal energy in our music. Could we achieve that again? Could we take the risk, and maybe fail? Better to let bygones be bygones. However, never say never, as they say.' To the same question Pip says, 'Oh if only. I loved all the stuff I did with Roger as Renegade, Zips and Rog & Pip. Musically, it was the best time in my life but unfortunately the years have moved on and, as Rog says, could we ever have the power and energy that we had then? It is great to listen to it now and wonderful to think that I was part of it. But in saying that I think the chemistry we had between us will always be there and I suppose stranger things have happened.' So the full track listing of 'Our Revolution, as arranged by Lee Dorrian, is as follows: 1. Why Won't You Do What I Want, 2. My Revolution, 3. Rock With Me, 4. Evil Hearted Woman, 5. Gold, 6. Doin Alright Tonight, 7. A Little Rock N Roll, 8. Hot Rodder, 9. Its A Lonely World, 10. Why Do You Treat Me Like That, 11. From a Window, 12. War Lord.

What 'Our Revolution' does is to give you a glimpse into the world of Rog and Pip's activities during the 1970s and, this release will be sure to be of interest to those keen on the Coventry music scene and vintage rock music in general.

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