Welcome to my on-line tribute to the London based Chiswick label. Started in 1975 and, under various guises, still going strong to this day, Chiswick put out some of my favorite records ever. Here you'll find an ever growing collection of info, record sleeves, old advertisements and whatever comes to mind. So dig in and enjoy!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

101'ers - Keys To Your Heart

101'ers - Keys To Your Heart/Five Star Rock 'n' Roll Petrol
Catalogue number: Chiswick S 3
Release date: 27 June 1976
Personnel: Joe Strummer: vocals, guitar
Clive Timperley: guitar, vocals
Dan Kelleher: bass, vocals
Richard Dudanski: drums
Produced by Roger Armstrong (A)
Produced by 101'ers and Simon Jeffes (B)
Recorded at Pathway Studios, London (A)
Recorded at Maida Vale Studios, london (B)
Recording date: 4 and 10 March 1976 (A)
Recording date: 28 March 1976 (B)
Mixed at Chalk Farm Studios, London (A)
Mixing date: 24 and 25 March 1976 (A)

(From the liner notes on The Chiswick Story (Chiswick CDWIK2 100-1))

Hot on the heels of the 'almost hit' came the 101'ers debut waxing. 'Keys To Your Heart' and '5 Star Rock'n'Roll Petrol (S 3) were cut in the same Pathway studio cupboard that had spawned the Count Bishops EP. The 101'ers at the time consisted of 'Snakehips' Dudanski on drums (later to make a brief appearance in Public Image Ltd), Clive W M Timperley (who went on to the Passions) on guitar, Dan Kelleher on bass (he cut another single for Chiswick in 1978) and Joe Strummer on guitar and vocals. The band broke up just as the single was released and, as the original biography for the band says, Joe Strummer had by then joined a new band The Heartdrops, who debuted a few weeks later. Fortunatly for them they changed their name to The Clash. They later recorded a cover version of 'Brand New Cadillec'.

(From The Last Gang In Town by Marcus Gray)

A surprise was in store in early March 1976. 'Ted Carroll and Roger Armstrong came up to us after a gig,' Joe (Strummer) told Paolo Hewitt in 1981, 'and said, "Do you want to make a record?" So we said, "Yeah!" A year earlier, he told the same interviewer that he'd been 'flabbergasted' when the offer came. In 1972, Carroll had helped feed the Rock'n'Roll Revival by selling imported rock'n'roll an R&B records from his stal Rock On in a communal retail outlet in Goldborne Road, at the north end of Portobelle Road. Shortly afterwards, he had diversified into Sixties punk and garage music, and in 1974, had opened a second stall at a tomporary market in Soho's Newport Court, managed by his friend Roger Armstrong. Their professional interest in related musical genres made the duo particularly receptive to both the harder-edged pub rock bands and the punk movement: they witnessed the Sex Pistols' fifth gig in December 1975. That same month, Ted and Roger formed an independent label named Chiswick. It's first release was Speedball, an EP by the Count Bishops featuring a version of 'Route 66', which immediately propted the 101ers to drop it from their own set. Since the Bishops were ploughing a not wholly dissimilar musical furrow, Ted and Roger were familiar faces on the scene and Joe a regular customer at the Rock On stalls, it's hard to see why he should have been that flabbergasted when the approach came to make a record.
The 101ers selected three songs which showcased their versatility, 'Sweet Revenge', 'Surf City' and 'Keys To Your Heart', and recorded some rough guide demos in the basement at Orsett Terrace. The recording session proper took place on 4 March 1976, at Pathway studio, 2A Grosvenor Avenue in Canonbury, with Roger Armstrong producing. Two versions of 'Keys To Your Heart' were recorded, and also two of 'Sweet Revenge', the first of which featured Clive on acoustic guitar. A take of '5 Star Rock'n'Roll Petrol' was knocked off for a change of pace. The most problematic of the three serious contenders for the record was 'Surf City'. After an instrumental run-through, a version was attempted with Joe singing, which offers some idea as to why he did not attempt it again: the oft-repeated refrain 'Stuck in Surf City' brought on an unfortunate attack of the Daffy Ducks. After two or three further aborted takes, a version was recorded with a seemingly overawed Dan supplying almost inaudiable lead vocals.
On 10 March, the 101ers returned to Pathway with Roger to re-record 'Surf City' and Keys To Your Heart'', now with a phased effect on the guitar, and make a first attempt at 'Rabies (From The Dogs Of Love)'. Richard deniesthat this second session was organised because the results of the first were considerdd largely unusable. 'I think when you record, you often think, "God, we could do this one better", especially when you're dong it quite quickly. I don't think we thought the first session was below par, but the second was different, the sound.' Roger took the best take of 'Keys To Your Heart' from both the first and second session into Chalk Farm studios at 1A Belmont Street, Camden, and mixed them on 24 and 25 March, respectively.
The fact that no B-side was finished at this time suggests that the second session had also been deemed wanting, particularly as, on 28 March, the 101ers went into the BBC studios in Maida Vale - this time with house producer Simon Jeffs and house engineer Mike Robinson - to record '5 Star Rock'n'Roll Petrol' and yet another version of 'Surf City'. Again, Richard argues with this interpretation of events. "I think we were thinking of an EP, actually. I thinkwe had the idea of bringing something out ourselves, and with the BBC masters, the copyright belonged to us and not to someone else. That was a good enough reason to do it.'
This would make sense had the 101ers restricted themselves to previously unrecorded songs, but they returned to the BBC studios on 10 April to record backing tracks for 'Rabies' and yet another 'Keys To Your Heart', the vocals for which were added on 13 April. Despite Richard's claims, it looks very much as though either Chiswick or the 101ers were unhappy with the bulk of the Pathway material. Alternatively - no contract having yet been signed - the band were not entirely convinced that Chiswick were going to put a record out. Whatever, when the single was finally released, the A-side, 'Keys To Your Heart', was taken from the first Pathway session and the B-side, '5 Star Rock'n'Roll Petrol', from the first BBC session. A convulted history for what was supposed to be a quickly recorded, low-budget, independent-label single.

(From Sniffin' Glue issue #1)

THE 101'ERS-KEYS TO YOUR HEART(Chiswick-single).
This is a realy good song done realy well by a great band.Rock'n'Roll/boogie-woogie at it's sweaty best. They're not a heavy band,so they rely on sharp and crisp playing.The 101'ers are nice and snappy.Side two is another good song-'Five Star Rock'n'Roll Petrol'which boogies just as good as'Keys'.
The Count Bishops also record for this small,but already classic,label and I hope there's a lot more goodies to come from it.

Recommended CD: The 101ers - Elgin Avenue Breakdown Revisited (Astralwerks).


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