The Balham Alligators

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The Balham Alligators
Origin London, England
Genres Cajun
Rock
Blues
Years active 1983 – Present
Labels Proper, Special Delivery
Members Geraint Watkins
Robin McKidd
Paul Riley
Bobby Irwin
Past members Pete Dennis
Kieran O'Connor (d. 1991)
Arthur Kitchener
Ron Kavana
Gary Rickard (d. 2010)

The Balham Alligators were a band from London that mixed rock 'n' roll, cajun, country and R&B. The band centred around singer and instrumentalist Geraint Watkins.

Career[edit]

The band came together by chance at a London pub in 1983. The original line-up consisted of Geraint Watkins, Robin McKidd, Kieran O'Connor, Arthur Kitchener, and Gary Rickard.[1] The Alligators played a hybrid blend of musical styles, including Rock 'n' Roll', Blues, R&B, Celtic Folk, Swamp-Pop, Country, Swing, Cajun & Zydeco.[1][2]

The Balham Alligators performed in venues around Europe. Early albums included The Balham Alligators and Life In A Bus Lane. The pressure of constant touring began to take its toll with the continued ill-health and eventual death of Kieran O'Connor (d. 1991), the departure of Kitchener and Ron Kavana, and despite the recruitment of Pete Dennis to replace Kitchener convinced the remaining members it was time to call it a day.

The following years were spent pursuing individual projects with Watkins and Rickard working with Charlie Hart as, Rickard, Watkins & Hart, with Watkins eventually leading his own outfit, The Wobblers, in 1992. Robin McKidd formed The Companions of The Rosy Hours a western-swing band. Despite the four years since the original band's demise, McKidd was still receiving offers of work for the Alligators, persuading Watkins and Rickard to try out a few gigs with The Wobblers as a backing band, it became apparent that the Alligators were still a viable concern. Bolstered with morale and momentum they recruited session musician, Bobby Irwin on drums and ex-Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers' bass guitarist Paul Riley and by the latter half of 1995 they recorded Gateway To The South (1996) and followed by Cajun Dance Party (1997).[1]

Albums[edit]

Balham Alligators[edit]

Balham Alligators
Studio album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1987
Recorded 1987
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Special Delivery
Producer Ron Kavana

Track Listing

  1. Balham 2 Step
  2. Hey Hey, Ho Ho
  3. Malhereuse
  4. Sugar Bee
  5. Tennessee Blues
  6. Johnny B. Goode
  7. Oh Siobhan
  8. Let's Dance
  9. Louisiana
  10. Scotland / Allons a Lafayette
  11. Tacos
  12. Little Liza Jane
  13. Hobo Blues / Balham 2 Step (reprise)

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (vocals, keyboards, accordion)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle, guitar, vocals)
  • Kieran O'Conner (drums, percussion)
  • Gary Rickard (guitar, vocals)
  • Pete Dennis (bass)

Guest musicians:

  • Ron Kavana (guitar, harmonica, mandolin, percussion)
  • The Panic Brothers (Reg Meuross, Richard Morton – vocals)

Production Credits

  • Produced by Ron Kavana (Audio Verite Production)
  • Mixed by Ron Kavana, Dave Jordan
  • Engineered by David Kenny
  • Recorded at Ideal Sound Recorders

Life In The Bus-Lane[edit]

Life In The Bus-Lane
Studio album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1988
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Special Delivery
Producer The Balham Alligators
David Kenny

Track Listing

  1. Cajun Walk
  2. Swamp
  3. Big Mamou
  4. I Don't Wanna Be In Love
  5. Love Has No Pride
  6. Alligators Grinning
  7. It's My Own Business
  8. Diggy Diggy
  9. What've You Got To Lose?
  10. Fine, Fine, Fine
  11. Feel Like A Fool

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (vocals, keyboards, accordion, cajun accordion, piano, clavinet)
  • Peter Dennis (bass guitar)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle, guitar, vocals)
  • Kieran O'Connor (drums, percussion)
  • Gary Richards (guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals)
  • Jimmy McKidd (backing vocals – Cajun Walk)

Production Credits

  • Produced by The Balham Alligators, David Kenny.
  • Recorded at Ideal Sound
  • Engineer David Kenny
  • Recorded at Pathway Studios
  • Engineer Mike Finesilver

Live Alligators[edit]

Live Alligators
Live album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1990
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Hound Dog

Track Listing

  1. What We've Got To Lose
  2. Six Days On The Road
  3. Lawdy Miss Clawdy
  4. Caldonia
  5. Sacre Bleu (testament de la Jean Jacques)
  6. White Lightening
  7. Diggy Diggy
  8. At The Hop
  9. Hobo Blues
  10. Balham Two Step
  11. Oh Marie

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (vocals, keyboards, accordion)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle, guitar, vocals)
  • Kieran O'Conner (drums, percussion)
  • Gary Rickard (guitar, vocals )
  • Ron Kavana (harmonica, mandolin, percussion)
  • Arthur Kitchener (bass, vocals)

Recorded live at the Half Moon, Putney, London.


Gateway to the South[edit]

Gateway to the South
Studio album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1996
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Proper Records
Producer Paul Riley

Track Listing

  1. Allons Rock 'n' Roll
  2. Bayou Teche
  3. Gotta Have Money
  4. Malhereuse
  5. Big Bad Dog
  6. Secret Love
  7. Cash On The Barrel-head
  8. Too Much
  9. The Last Waltz
  10. Hot Rod
  11. Honky Tonk
  12. Johnny B Goode

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (accordion, piano, vocals)
  • Gary Rickard (guitar, vocals)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle, vocals)
  • Bobby Irwin (drums)
  • Paul Riley (bass guitar)

Gator Aid:

  • Bill Kirchen (guitar, trombone – track 12)
  • Steve Donnely (guitar – tracks 10, 12)
  • Pete Thomas (drums – track 12)
  • Nick Pentelow (baritone sax, clarinet – track 12)
  • Martin Belmont (acoustic guitar – track 9)

Production Credits

  • Produced and recorded by Paul Riley
  • Additional mixing by Neil Brockbank
  • Location recording at The Weavers Arms by Neil Brockbank
  • Recorded at The Bonaparte Rooms – Twickenham, The House In The Woods – Bletchingley, The Weavers Arms – Stoke Newington

Cajun Dance Party[edit]

Cajun Dance Party
Studio album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1997
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Emporio
Producer Paul Riley

Track Listing

  1. Cuvee Cajun
  2. Bayou Pom-Pom
  3. Guerre Civille
  4. Grand Texas
  5. Wet And Swampy
  6. Rosie Cheeks
  7. Cher Mama
  8. Colinda
  9. Jole Blon
  10. Lacassine
  11. Diggy Liggy Lo
  12. Last Waltz
  13. Balham Two Step
  14. Lache Pas Mes Patas
  15. Big Mamou
  16. Hobo Blues
  17. Goodnight Irene

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (accordion, vocals, piano)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle)
  • Gary Rickard (guitar)
  • Paul Riley (bass guitar, double-bass)
  • Bobby Irwin (drums)
  • Martin Belmont (acoustic guitar)

Production Credits

  • Produced by Paul Riley
  • Recorded at House in the Woods; Bletchingley, Surrey

A Po'boy 'n' Make It Snappy[edit]

A Po'-Boy 'n' Make It Snappy
Studio album by The Balham Alligators
Released 1999
Genre Cajun
Blues
Rock
Label Proper Records
Producer Paul Riley

Track Listing

  1. Cuvee Cajun
  2. Bayou Pom-Pom
  3. Guerre Civille
  4. Grand Texas
  5. Wet And Swampy
  6. Rosie Cheeks
  7. Cher Mama
  8. Colinda
  9. Jole Blon
  10. Lacassine
  11. Diggy Liggy Lo
  12. Last Waltz
  13. Balham Two Step
  14. Lache Pas Mes Patas
  15. Big Mamou
  16. Hobo Blues
  17. Goodnight Irene

Personnel

  • Geraint Watkins (accordion, vocals, piano)
  • Robin McKidd (fiddle)
  • Gary Rickard (guitar)
  • Paul Riley (bass guitar, double-bass)
  • Bobby Irwin (drums)
  • Martin Belmont (acoustic guitar)

Production Credits

  • Produced by Paul Riley
  • Recorded at House in the Woods; Bletchingley, Surrey

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Larkin, Colin (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Country Music, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0236-4, p. 26
  2. ^ Lawrence, Pete & Howard, Vicki (2004) Crossfade: a Big Chill Anthology, Serpent's Tail, ISBN 978-1-85242-875-4, p. 52
  • Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People – Page 136, Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2003, ISBN 1-57806-523-2