Search This Blog

Thursday, 24 January 2019

From The Vaults

Two songs by two bands who I've never owned anything by but have always had a bit of a soft spot for. In both cases I'm featuring pretty much the only "hit" they ever had , and I use hit in the loosest term of the word.

The Kursaal Flyers were a band from Southend-on - Sea and were contemporaries of the likes of Dr Feelgood and Eddie and the Hot Rods. Their drummer Will Burch  who later joined the Feelgoods wrote the excellent book No Sleep Til Canvey Island about the Essex scene which you should track down and read. Sadly I lent my copy to someone and never got it back.
Their hit was Little Does She Know from 1976 which was in the charts for 10 weeks peaking at number 14.

The Leyton Buzzards were even less successful. From Leyton in East London they were active between 1976  and 1980 and their  big single was Saturday Night (Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees) which spent 5 weeks in the charts peaking at 53  in 1979 earning them an appearance on Top of the Pops.
Two of their members  went on to feature with Modern Romance but the less said about them the better.

Kursaal Flyers - Little Does She Know

Leyton Buzzards - Saturday Night (Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees)


  1. 'Saturday Night (Beneath the Plastic Palm Trees)' was at least partially written about the legendary Rainbow Theatre ('...I discovered heaven in the Seven Sisters Road...') and I actually saw the band perform the song in that very establishment in 1979.
    Until today I was blissfully unaware of the Modern Romance connection.

  2. I always loved the Buzzards track, a great record! As for The Kursaal Flyers, I strongly recommend to give their 'Television Generation' a listen: a much underrated song in fact!

  3. Wrote about the Canvey Island scene last year and had another listen to the Kursaal Flyers. Remember watching them on TOTP - takes a bit of working out that first line!

  4. I thoroughly recommend a documentary called 'Southend Rock' which I heard about a few years ago thanks to a friend sadly no longer with us (who appears in it briefly!) As far as I know the film never made it to TV, but can be found on youtube:

  5. I've a memory of hearing the great Alexis Korner, shortly before he died, playing a song of theirs (Kursaal Flyers that is) on his early '80s Sunday evening Radio 1 programme (for nerds it preceded Annie Nightingale's show). Track was called When A Former Tour De Force Is Forced To Tour - very poignant and all that but just discovered the quote comes from British actor Donald Wolfit who used it to describe himself when, ageing, his work dried up. Lovely song.

  6. Well blow me down. Just discovered that the Kursaal Flyers track I mentioned was recorded in 1988, a good 4 years after Alexis Korner had died! It must have been on Andy Kershaw's programme I heard it then. I'm giving up on this reminiscing lark.