Monday 26 August 2013

(The original) Third Spain 1980/81

Most people with an interest in the north Wales music scene will be aware of the mid-80s group Third Spain who released an LP on the Central Slate label in 1985. Not everyone will be aware however of a completely different but identically named group who existed five years previously.

'An Invitation to Dance' programme.

The original, and in many ways superior group was a trio of Alan Wilkinson on drums and vocals, John Cratchley on bass and vocals and Scott Saunders on guitar and vocals. This group was a decidedly more 'arty' group than the later, more rock-orientated combo, with live performances all given individual names and showcasing material specially written for the event. Programmes were given out at the performances and it is these programmes that help us piece together the history of the group, as only a few of the performances were ever recorded. We have managed to locate recordings of 'An Implicit Threat' from Plas Coch on 23rd September 1980 and 'The Death of a Myth' from the same venue on the 2nd December 1980, the latter being billed as the group's 'final performance' and unusually, comprising a 'greatest hits' set of material that had been previously performed at other shows. However we have also unearthed a 'reunion' event from 22nd September 1981, where the group got back together to support the Miaow Beasts at Plas Coch.
"Another Spiffing Wheeze' programme.

'An Implicit Threat' programme.

"The Death of a Myth' programme.

Further programmes found in our archive reveal events titled 'Welcome to September', 'Another Spiffing Wheeze' and 'An Invitation to Dance', none of which appear to have been recorded. We have however found an undated short three song set by the group that appeared to be part of a multi-band show at Plas Coch which also featured Distant Cousins, Fay Ray, The Verbs and .

'Welcome to September' programme (front)

'Welcome to September' programme (back)

As far as we can tell, it seems that the original Third Spain played live on eight occasions:
2nd September 1980
23rd September 1980
14th October 1980
28th October 1980
6th November 1980
22nd November 1980
2nd December 1980
22nd September 1981
although sadly less than half of these events appear to have been recorded - a particular shame as the group had a tendancy to not repeat songs, leaving much of the repertoire lost in the mists of time.

It appears from the programmes, that in addition to the core trio, Third Spain were on occasion augmented by guests that included Mark Thomas, Alan Holmes and Martin Wilson. Alan (Holmes) and Scott were of course to be reunited in the later Third Spain, who even covered the original group's 'In the Twilight' for their 1985 LP. When the compilation cassette 'Dark Steps/Waiting for Light' was released, members of Third Spain and A Silly Tree combined forces to perform their contributions live at the launch party on 31st March 1981. This 'supergroup' was referred to on various promo materials as Third Tree, Silly Spain and Hispanic Arboreals.
Poster for 6th November 1980

Poster (with last minute bill change) for 2nd December 1980

Poster for 28th October 1980

An Implicit Threat: Plas Coch 23rd September 1980

1  The Timeless Trail
2  The World: A Brief Guide
3  interval
4  Lesson One
5  The Incident

The Death of a Myth: Plas Coch 2nd December 1980

Dreamtime 1:
1  Autumn Spirit
2  Two Shadows
3  Waiting for Light
4  Eskimo Love Song
Dreamtime 2:
5  Map
6  Insect Time
7  Hanging Tree
The Break:
8  The Call
9  Business as Usual
10  In the Twilight

Plas Coch 22nd September 1981

1  Business as Usual
2  In the Twilight
3  Fire's Gone Out
4  The Call
5  Hanging Tree

G.U.M. benefit night Plas Coch

1 Hanging Tree
2  The Call
3  In the Twilight

get it here

1 comment:

  1. Blimey! I remember Third Spain. With Fay Ray at Plas Coch? Thanks for the memory jolt!