Before he taught us that it was cruel to be kind, and even before he first wondered “what’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?,” Nick Lowe was one fourth of the groovy lite psych-pop outfit by the name of Kippington Lodge. The group, however, was short-lived, and morphed into pub-rock pioneers Brinsley Schwarz, folk/country/rockabilly revivalists. Cherry Red’s RPM label is now giving fans the chance to listen to the complete recorded output of Kippington Lodge for a window into “what might have been” for Messrs. Lowe and Schwarz. Shy Boy: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969, due the last week in July, is named for the debut single of Kippington Lodge, and collects all ten single sides plus five bonus tracks: an unissued song, two alternate takes and two BBC performances.
Nick Lowe first met Brinsley Schwarz at the Woodbridge School, where they made music with Barry Landerman and Phil Hall. Lowe assumed bass duties and Schwarz guitar, while Landerman handled keyboards and Hall also guitar. As early as 1964, this group was performing as Sounds 4+1, but Sounds was short-lived, and Schwarz regrouped with Pete Whale (drums) and Dave Cottam (bass) as Three’s a Crowd in 1966. That, too, wasn’t destined to last, although Schwarz’s old friend Landerman joined in 1967 as the band was being renamed Kippington Lodge.
Continue the story of Kippington Lodge after the jump, plus the track listing and discography for RPM’s new release!
Three’s a Crowd/Kippington Lodge attracted enough local buzz to come to the attention of EMI’s Parlophone label and producer Mark Wirtz. The same year of 1967, Wirtz joined EMI as a staff producer where he helmed efforts by Keith West and Tomorrow. He was instrumental in signing The Pink Floyd to EMI, and is best known for 1967’s “Grocer Jack (Excerpt from A Teenage Opera),” a single he arranged, produced and conducted for West. The hit single was just one part of Wirtz’s ambitious pop opera, but it was kept from the top spot on the British chart by Engelbert Humperdinck and “The Last Waltz.” (Engelbert was a force with which to be reckoned. His “Release Me” kept The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” double A-side from No. 1, too!) West and Wirtz followed up “Grocer Jack” with “Sam,” but that Teenage Opera tune stalled, leaving the whole opera’s fate in question. The complete Teenage Opera – shades of SMiLE – didn’t see release until 1996, but another song intended for it, “Shy Boy,” was given by Wirtz to Kippington Lodge for release in October 1967. Wirtz produced the first four sides (two singles) for Kippington Lodge, all in a lush harmony-pop vein.
It was around the same time that Dave Cottam left the band, and Nick Lowe filled the vacancy on bass. Lowe would soon be penning songs for the group, including “I Can See Her Face,” an edgier work than the sides produced by Wirtz. The band’s revolving door was still in full swing, though. Barry Landerman left to join Vanity Fare (“Hitchin’ a Ride”), Bob Andrews joined on keyboards and Pete Whale’s exit paved the way for Billy Rankin to join the band. Kippington Lodge recorded “Tomorrow, Today,” a song by the hitmaking team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, and even attempted a Beatles cover (“In My Life”). None of Kippington Lodge’s singles, all released between 1967 and 1969, ever caught chart fire. The quartet of Lowe, Schwarz, Andrews and Rankin had quietly morphed into Brinsley Schwarz, the band, by 1970, adding Ian Gomm on rhythm guitar. (Following that band’s breakup, Schwarz and Andrews would join Graham Parker and The Rumour.)
Shy Boy: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 compiles all ten Kippington Lodge singles for the first time on CD under the band’s name. (They had somewhat haphazardly been brought together on a Brinsley Schwarz rarities compilation, Hen’s Teeth, in 1998.) RPM has added one unreleased song, “Land of Sea,” and four other alternates and live performances to round out the disc. Shy Boy is in stores on July 26 in the United Kingdom and one week later in the United States.
Kippington Lodge, Shy Boy: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969
[02:38] 01. Kippington Lodge - Shy Boy (Parlophone R5645)
[03:02] 02. Kippington Lodge - Lady On a Bicycle (Parlophone R5645)
[03:13] 03. Kippington Lodge - Land of Sea (Take RM2)
[02:39] 04. Kippington Lodge - And She Cried (Alternate Take RM6)
[02:23] 05. Kippington Lodge - Rumours (Parlophone R5677)
[02:47] 06. Kippington Lodge - And She Cried (Parlophone R5677)
[02:59] 07. Kippington Lodge - Land of Sea (Take RM20)
[02:32] 08. Kippington Lodge - Shy Boy (BBC Radio Session)
[02:09] 09. Kippington Lodge - Younger Girl (BBC Radio Session)
[02:50] 10. Kippington Lodge - Tell Me a Story (Parlophone R5717)
[02:58] 11. Kippington Lodge - Understand a Woman (Parlophone R5717)
[02:39] 12. Kippington Lodge - Tomorrow Today (Parlophone R5750)
[03:04] 13. Kippington Lodge - Turn Out the Light (Parlophone R5750)
[03:21] 14. Kippington Lodge - In My Life (Parlophone R5776)
[02:16] 15. Kippington Lodge - I Can See Her Face (Parlophone R5776)
Kippington Lodge released five excellent singles on Parlophone Records between 1967 and 1969, yet they remain one of the least known English pop groups of the late sixties.This despite boasting a line-up that included Nick Lowe as well as Brinsley Schwarz and Bob Andrews (future members of Graham Parker & The Rumour) who would all find fame and in Lowe s case, fortune for their musical exploits in the decades to follow.Kippington Lodge have been afforded so little recognition that with the exception of having their singles crudely tacked on to a Brinsley Schwarz compilation CD in 1998 their output has never been presented and evaluated in the proper context.The group - whose first two singles were produced by famed EMI producer Mark Wirtz , including their contemporary version of the Keith West penned Shy Boy, today a regular on 60 s radio programmes - was a true creature of the sixties.