|Genres||Psychedelic, psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, psychedelic soul, soul, R&B|
|Past members||Steve Corduner
Byzantium were an English psychedelic music band of the 1970s who released three albums and performed one Peel Session. They are perhaps best remembered for their role in the early careers of Shane Fontayne, David Hentschel, Chaz Jankel and Robin Sylvester.
Originally formed in 1970 by Jamie Rubenstein, who had played previously with Nico Ramsden as an acoustic duo, and with Robin Sylvester and Mick Barakan in Ora, who had recorded one album in 1969. Rubenstein formed a band with these former bandmates and others, but the early line ups were fluid and several members joined and left.
In 1971 they recorded Live and Studio with a band line up comprising Jamie Rubenstein on 12 string guitar, guitarist Mick Barakan (later known as Shane Fontayne), bassist Robin Lamble and drummer Steve Corduner; augmented by Chaz Jankel on guitar and piano and by synthesiser players David Hentschel and Robin Sylvester. The album, comprising one side of 5 studio tracks and one of 3 live tracks, predominantly in a psychedelic style, was self produced as a promotion, the back cover stating “Byzantium are seeking a hard working agency, recording company & publishing company”. Only 100 were pressed, making it extremely collectable, and although "fans considered it their best set, ..... few were actually in a position to know".
Byzantium were due to play at the famous Greasy Truckers Party in February 1972, but could not appear due to a power-cut, however, they were signed up by A&M Records. Ramsden rejoined, but Rubenstein and Barakan left, so Jankel became a permanent member. Lamble, Jankel, Ramsden and Corduner recorded Byzantium, engineered by Roy Thomas Baker and produced by Sylvester, on which Rubenstein, Alan Skidmore (sax) and Frank Ricotti (timpani) appeared as a guests. Between the recording and the release of the album, Ramsden left, and Rubenstein and Barakan rejoined. The album showed a shift from their earlier psychedlic style, towards folk-rock, and did not sell particularly well.
The following album Seasons Changing featured Lamble, Jankel, Barakan, Rubenstein and Corduner, augmented by B. J. Cole on pedal steel, Ricotti on Percussion and Hentschel and Sylvester on synthesisers. Jankel’s interest was moving towards soul music, so he left, and shortly after A&M dropped Byzantium. The band pressed another private album, although this was never released, and played their only Peel Session in April 1974, by which time their line up was Rubinstein, Barakan, Lamble and Corduner. Byzantium continued touring until late in 1975 when they played their final concert at The Roundhouse.
The Irish Byzantium
- Steve Corduner - later recorded with Nasty Pop, Twist and Nico.
- Shane Fontayne - later worked with Ian Hunter, Bruce Springsteen, Van Zant, Chris Botti, Joe Cocker and others.
- David Hentschel - worked with artists including Elton John, Van der Graaf Generator, Renaissance and Blood, Sweat & Tears.
- Chaz Jankel became known for his co-writing with Ian Dury, performed with many other artists and had a successful solo career.
- Robin Lamble - had a long career with Al Stewart, but also played with Juice Newton and others.
- Nico Ramsden - played with Mike Oldfield and recorded with Gong, Rick Wakeman, Sad Cafe, The Proclaimers and others.
- Jamie Rubenstein - gave up the music business, and must not be confused with the guitarist of the same name in rap band "Borialis"
- Robin Sylvester - engineered many Rory Gallagher albums, played bass for Christine McVie and others, and still plays in Ratdog.
- "Oh Darling" / "Move with the time" 1971
- "Flashing Silver Hope" 1971
- "Suzie Bumkins Griddled Fiddle" 1972
- "What a Coincidence" / "My Season’s Changing with the Sun" (A&M) 1973
- Live and Studio (Private Pressing) 1971 Re-released on CD (Arkama) 2005, with 4 bonus tracks
- Byzantium (A&M) 1972
- Seasons Changing (A&M) 1973
- Riekels, H.T. "Biography of Byzantium". Prog Archives.
- Joynson, Vernon (2006). The Tapestry of Delights Revisited. Borderline Productions. pp. 136 & 625. ISBN 1-899855-15-7.
- Greene, Jo-Ann. "Review of CD Re-Release of Live and Studio". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Cover photo of Vinyl edition of Live & Studio". 991. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- Sleevenotes to CD re-release of Greasy Truckers Party
- Brewster, Bill. "Interview with Chas Jankel 2002". Originally published in "Faith" Reproduced on DJHistories.com. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- "Peel Session for Byzantium". BBC. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Last FM Entries for "Byzantium"". Last FM. Retrieved 28 July 2010.[dead link]
- "Credits for Steve Corduner". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Credits for Shane Fontayne". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Credits for David Hentschel". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Credits for Chas Jankel". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Credits for Robin Lamble". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Cretits for Nico Ramsen". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- "Credits for Robin Sylvester". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2010.