The Bureau

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This article is about the music group. For the video game, see The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.

The Bureau were a new wave soul group formed in November 1980 in Birmingham, England, when the original lineup of Dexys Midnight Runners split-up. The Bureau retained their Dexys roots and played powerful brass driven sounds. Ex-Dexys members Pete Williams (bass), Geoff Blythe (tenor sax), Steve Spooner (alto sax), Stoker (drums), and Mick Talbot (keyboards) engaged the services of manager Dave Corke, a previous manager of Dexys Midnight Runners, and promoted concerts in Birmingham to raise money to finance the group.[1]

In December 1980 the band were joined by Rob Jones (guitar and trumpet), and Archie Brown (vocals) from a group called The Upset, which had supported Dexys on tour. The Bureau began rehearsals with trombonist, known only as Jake (formerly of the R&B, soul, funk act, Gonzalez) [2] who came and went. In February 1981 The Bureau signed a deal with record label WEA and recorded their debut single "Only For Sheep/The First One" with producer Pete Wingfield at London's Vineyard Studios. A video was recorded for "Only For Sheep" prior to the band leaving the UK for debut tour dates in the Netherlands and Belgium. Permanent Trombone player, Paul Taylor, was recruited at the eleventh hour and joined the group for the dates. The first ever gig in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands was reviewed in UK music paper, NME and the second gig at the Paradiso Club, Amsterdam was recorded for Dutch radio.

"Only For Sheep" was released in March 1981[3] and was a hit in Australia, reaching No. 6,[4] but failed to reach the UK Singles Chart. On 12 March The Bureau played their first British gig, a showcase, at Ronnie Scott's in London.[5] At the end of March 1981 the band rehearsed and recorded new songs for their debut album including the follow-up single "Let Him Have It", inspired by the Derek Bentley / Christopher Craig case. In April 1981 The Bureau made a debut live TV appearance on BBC Midlands show "Look Here" and recorded four more songs for the debut album. They embarked on an extensive UK and Ireland tour beginning at the Forum Ballroom in Kentish Town, London on 16 April and ending at The Lyceum on 17 May.[6] The single "Let Him Have It/The Noose" was released in May 1981 and listed as "Record Of The Week" in UK music paper Record Mirror[7] but failed to chart. In June 1981 The Bureau played a gig supporting Hazel O'Connor and The Specials at Butts Athletic Stadium in Coventry. Their performance was described as "triumphant" by music journalist Simon Tebbutt.[8] They then supported The Pretenders on tours of the UK and America between July and September 1981.[9][10] Some gigs included members of The Bureau appearing with The Pretenders for a cover of Jackie Wilson's "Higher And Higher" a recording of which appears on the CD reissue of The Pretenders album "Pretenders II".

An album was released in 1981, but only in Canada and Australia. The Canadian version of the album (catalogue number - XWEA 58357) was eponymous but in Australia the album was titled "Only For Sheep" (catalogue number - 600104). In Australia the song "Let Him Have It" was retitled "Let Him Have It (Sweet Revenge)".

The Bureau embarked on a second UK tour in November and December 1981 sharing the bill with The Modettes and Roddy Radiation And The Tearjerkers. The tour was dubbed "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Tour" and ended at The Venue, Victoria, London on 23 December 1981.[11]

The band members went their separate ways soon afterwards. The album finally became available in the UK when it received a CD release in 2005. The CD includes extra tracks not available on the original release including an eleven-track concert and the video for "Only For Sheep". The band reunited to play two launch gigs in London and Birmingham in February that year.

Talbot went on to enjoy greater success with Paul Weller in The Style Council, while Brown formed Flag with ex-Secret Affair guitarist Dave Cairns. His current band, Archie Brown and The Young Bucks, is based in Newcastle, with a catalogue of 9 albums and a line-up of Brown (vocals, sax, guitar), Patrick Rafferty (vocals, accordion, guitar, lap steel guitar, keyboards), Ian Thompson (bass), Phil Screaton (lead guitar) and Neil Ramshaw (drums). Blythe teamed up with former colleague Big Jim Paterson in The TKO Horns. Pete Williams went on to form the band These Tender Virtues in the mid 1980s and more recently, Baseheart. The 1981 album was released finally in the UK in 2005 accompanied by a live set, prompting the team to write and rehearse new material. October 2008 saw the new album entitled and another thing..., launched via live gigs in Newcastle, Birmingham and London, and an appearance on Jools Holland's BBC Radio 2 show.

2011 saw the emergence of a new project, GI Blythe, featuring Geoff Blythe (saxophones), Big Jim Paterson (ex-Dexys Midnight Runners, trombone), Archie Brown (vocals), Larry Baeder (guitars), Joe 'Bearclaw' Burcaw (bass), Pete Levin (keyboards) and Crispin Taylor (drums). The band released a debut album entitled "Lost In Space" in January 2012.

Discography[edit]

  • "Only For Sheep" / "The First One" (single) (1981)
  • "Let Him Have It" / "The Noose" (single) (1981)
  • The Bureau (1981)
  • and another thing... (2008)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Bureau Information Tour '81 tour programme
  2. ^ Melody Maker 31 January 1981
  3. ^ Record Mirror 14 March 1981
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970 - 1992, St Ives, N.S.W.
  5. ^ Record Mirror 21 March 1981
  6. ^ Record Mirror 11 April 1981
  7. ^ Record Mirror 23 May 1981
  8. ^ Record Mirror 20 June 1981
  9. ^ Melody Maker 8 August 1981
  10. ^ The Milwaukee Journal 24 August 1981
  11. ^ http://live80.webs.com/thebureau.htm

External links[edit]