Dolly Mixture (band)

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Dolly Mixture
Origin Cambridge, England
Genres Alternative rock, post-punk, new wave, indie pop
Years active 1978–1984; 2013
Labels Chrysalis, Respond,
Dead Good Dollys Platters, Cordelia, Royal Mint
Associated acts Captain Sensible
Coming Up Roses
Saint Etienne
Birdie
Fruit Machine
Website http://www.dollymixture.net
Past members Rachel Bor
Hester Smith
Debsey Wykes

Dolly Mixture were a British post-punk/new wave band formed in 1978 by bassist and vocalist Debsey Wykes (b. 21 December 1960, Hammersmith, London, England), guitarist and vocalist Rachel Bor (b. 16 May 1963, Wales), and drummer Hester Smith (b. 28 October 1960, West Africa). They had a taste of Top 40 success performing backing vocals for the Captain Sensible's hit "Wot" and a UK No. 1 hit backing Sensible on his 1982 cover of "Happy Talk". Rachel Bor also featured on the Animus/Loose Records single "Wot NO Meat? also by Captain Sensible in 1985. Rachel and Debsey performed together on 24 April 2013 at the Islington Assembly Hall in London.

A group with the same name had made a 7" record in 1970 (Columbia DB 8691) at A.I.R. Studios in London, UK, titled 'Timothy'. This song had been a hit in South Africa in 1967 for: Four Jacks and a Jill.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

The group was formed in Cambridge by Bor, Smith, and Wykes, three school friends who shared a fondness for The Shangri-Las and The Undertones. Dolly Mixture supported The Undertones on one of their first UK tours. The band also played venues with The Fall and The Transmitters in 1979.[1] They were once supported by U2. In Autumn 1981, they toured as the featured support band for Bad Manners on their Gosh It's tour and were very well received by the second wave mod/ska audience that filled various theatres and venues up and down the land.

Relocating to London to gig extensively, national BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel gave them exposure on his radio show and in his weekly column in the UK pop paper, Sounds. Signed to Chrysalis Records, the group released a cover of the Shirelles hit, "Baby It's You" (1980), produced by Eric Faulkner of the Bay City Rollers. However, the cover version was disowned by the group, which protested the label's attempt to sell them as a teen girl group.[citation needed] Their next single, "Been Teen" (1981), was the first single released on Paul Weller's Respond label. It was followed by "Everything And More" (1982), also released on Respond. Both singles were produced by Captain Sensible and Paul Gray of The Damned. They became friends with Sensible and recorded backing vocals on his singles and albums. After Sensible had a hit with "Happy Talk" in 1982 (featuring Dolly Mixture, credited as "Dolly Mixtures" on the single,[2] and also in the song's video) and following various appearances on the television show Top of the Pops, Dolly Mixture – as a separate entity from Captain Sensible – performed extensively.

Dolly's "White Album"[edit]

In 1983, the band released a double album called the "Demonstration Tapes" on their own Dead Good Dolly Platters label. The album sported a plain white cover and each copy was numbered and authentically autographed by the group members. Only one thousand copies were pressed. The album featured 27 demo tracks which covered a large part of the band's repertoire.

The same year saw a release of the "Remember This" single, again on Dead Good Dolly Platters label. The B-side was a piece entitled "Listening Pleasure/Borinda's Lament", which included dialogue (à la Home Service British Force's Radio DJ), a half-finished song and an instrumental chamber piece with Wykes on piano and Bor on cello.

Fireside EP and the end of Dolly Mixture[edit]

The 12-inch vinyl Fireside EP was released in 1984 on Cordelia Records, owned by Alan Jenkins, a member of The Deep Freeze Mice. The six-track EP represented the band's new artistic direction[citation needed] and contained mostly instrumental pieces, abandoning the guitar/bass/drum format. The most recognisable track was "Dolly Medley", containing highlights of the Dolly's repertoire, including the previously unreleased "Dead Rainbow", all done in a chamber music style. It was produced by Dolly Mixture and Andrew Fryer.

The trio dissolved as a working band in 1984.

Reunions[edit]

Rachel and Debsey performed together on 24 April 2013 at the Islington Assembly Hall in London.

Re-issues[edit]

In 1995, Saint Etienne member Bob Stanley re-released the Demonstration Tapes album on his short-lived Royal Mint label.

In 1998, Japanese Musician Cornelius released the "Dreamism!" single in Japan on his Trattoria label. The single collected one previously unreleased song ("My Rainbow Valley") plus three alternate versions of previously released songs.

In July 2010 Dolly Mixture release a three CD box set including the Demonstration Tapes album, all of the band's singles plus a complete disc of additional demos and live recordings, many of which are available for the first time. The box set will be limited edition only and features 56 re-mastered recordings and a 32-page booklet.

A vinyl double-LP was reissued by London based label Germs of Youth to coincide with the box set. It is an exact copy of the 1984 release (limited to 300 copies), hand stamped with the original stamp and signed/numbered by the band.

Other projects[edit]

In 1986, Wykes and Smith resurfaced with the group Coming Up Roses, which featured more melodic dance-pop. With Wykes and Smith, the early line-up comprised ex-Shillelagh Sisters member Patricia O'Flynn (saxophone), Leigh Luscious (guitar), and ex-Amazulu member Claire Kenny (bass). The latter three members were replaced by Jane Keay, Tony Watts, and Midus respectively. In 1989, Coming Up Roses released a 6-track mini-album, I Said Ballroom, on Utility Records. All songs were written by Wykes and Smith. The first Coming Up Roses gig was at The White Swan in Brixton on 29 November 1986 (as part of the Send a Volunteer to Nicaragua benefit), and the last performance was at Up the Creek in Deptford on 22 March 1991.

Meanwhile, Wykes started collaborating with Saint Etienne as one of the band's regular backing singers. Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley became the new Dolly Mixture champion, re-releasing their untitled 1983 double album (this time titled Demonstration Tapes) as a single CD on the Royal Mint label in 1995. Together with Saint Etienne's Paul Kelly, Wykes went on to form indie-chamber-pop band Birdie, which released the albums Some Dusty (1999), Triple Echo (2001) and Reverb Deluxe (2003).

Rachel Bor played in a band called Fruit Machine until 1999.

Discography[edit]

Albums
Title Release date Label Catalog No.
Demonstration Tapes 1983 Dead Good Dolly Platters
Reissued in 1995 on Royal Mint Records
DMLP 1
RM 01 CD
EPs
Title Release date Label Catalog No.
Fireside 1984 Cordelia Records ERICAT 017
Singles
Title Release date Label Catalog No.
"Baby It's You" 1980 Chrysalis CHS 2459
"Been Teen" 1981 Respond RESP 1
"Everything And More" 1982 Respond RESP 4
"Remember This" 1983 Dead Good Dolly Platters DMS 1
Other releases
Title Release date Label Catalog No.
"Dreamism!" 1998 Trattoria MENU 156

References[edit]

  1. ^ "gigography 1979". The Fall online. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Happy Talk 45 RPM single, B/W It/I Can't Stand It. A&M CAP1, 1982

External links[edit]