A Vinyl Experience

Twenty eight years ago I was in a ‘studio’ band uninspiringly called Robertson-Oliff. Unsurprisingly, given the name, we consisted of me as composer, lyricist, drummer, acoustic guitarist and vocalist, along with my working partner Vaughan Roberts as composer, bassist, electric guitarist and keyboard player. We’d recorded an album of songs over a period of several months called ‘Valhalla’, a title taken from the name of one of the songs, which, with the exception of two compositions (we’d needed a saxophonist and another lead guitarist), comprised the two of us multi-tracking all our vocals and instruments in the studio. My cousin Michael who was a successful businessman heard the recordings and decided that he would invest a great deal of time and money into the promotion of our music for which I certainly will be forever grateful. A part of that promotion was to present us as an up-coming local band to BBC Radio Northampton and to our amazement presenter Howard Stableford began playing our music on his show on a regular basis. In the meantime Michael decided that instead of presenting ourselves to the major labels for that all illusive record ‘deal’, we’d plough our own furrow by creating an independent record label specifically designed as the vehicle for the release of our material. One of the songs from the album was called ‘Paragon’ which, if reversed spells Nogarap. This was the inspiration for the newly created record label Noga Records. A release date was decided for two of our songs, Hoo-Ha-Rah and Gigolo, on a white vinyl 7” single.

‘Robertson-Oliff’ – Vaughan Roberts & Richard Oliff

‘Robertson-Oliff’ – Richard Oliff & Vaughan Roberts

For the cover picture we’d reserved the backdrop of Kirby Hall near Corby making full use of its Elizabethan facades and Michael’s new fire-engine red Porsche. We only ever recorded one cover version, a different take on John Lennon’s Hello Little Girl (credited to Lennon & McCartney) for which I still owe McCartney 65p, mistakenly credited to me by the Performing Rights Society. When we played on stage we needed to recreate the sounds that Vaughan and I had produced in the studio, which meant the recruitment of a substantial band which included a full brass section. Stableford’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to invite us into the studio for a live interview. This was to be one of several enjoyable interviews at the BBC which eventually lead to us being invited to their ‘live’ recorded Christmas party, designed as a celebration of local talent that year. It felt most peculiar pretending to be in a festive mood in the middle of November and, even more so, being put on a local talent pedestal along with the likes of Tones on Tail consisting of the recently defunked Bauhaus, generally considered as the first ever gothic rock group. Howard now lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, following his successful television career (Beat the Teacher, Newsround, Tomorrow’s World, BBC Radio 4, the Open University, Granada and NBC). I went on to present a daily show on BBC Radio Northampton. Oh, and if you want to buy the single today it might cost you the best part of £45!rob

VALHALLA album by ROBERTSON-OLIFF
Noga Records Ltd ©1984

Valhalla (Oliff/Roberts)
It’s Only Love (4YO) (Oliff/Roberts)
South China Sea (Oliff/Roberts)
Performer (Oliff/Roberts)
It Feels like Yesterday (Oliff)
Monday Dreamer (Oliff/Roberts)
See Me Please (Oliff/Roberts)
Hello Little Girl (Lennon/McCartney)
Time Out (Oliff/Roberts)
Paragon (Oliff/Roberts)
Gigolo (Tompkins edit) (Oliff/Roberts)
Hoo-Ha-Rah! (Tompkins edit) (Oliff/Roberts)
Give It To Me (You Are The One) (Oliff)
Heaven Or Hell (Oliff)
Gigolo (single edit) (Oliff/Roberts)
It’s Only Love (4YO) (rough cut) (Oliff/Roberts)

Richard Oliff – vocals, drums, percussion, acoustic guitar
Vaughan Roberts – guitars, bass guitar, keyboards

Bob Clarke – saxophone: Gigolo & Paragon
Pete Knight – lead guitar: Paragon
Alison Judith Gardner – spoken words

Produced by Richard Oliff & Vaughan Roberts
Executive Producer – Michael R. Oliff
Engineers – Lester Hunt for AVM & Derek Tompkins for Beck

rob2

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