GRAHAM BONNET – No Bad Habits

Unforeseen sales in Australia for his 1977 LP (helped no end by a number one single) proved enough for the independent Ring-O Records to keep vocalist Graham Bonnet on their books. Eager to capitalise on this success, a follow up was recorded and released relatively quickly. Although ‘Graham Bonnet’ had been a largely patchy affair, compared to 1978’s ‘No Bad Habits’, it was a potential masterpiece.

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LISSIE – Thank You To The Flowers EP

Lissie’s full length debut, 2010’s ‘Catching A Tiger’, gained the American singer-songwriter well deserved worldwide acclaim. With its mix of adult pop, a few country tinges and an obvious Stevie Nicks influence, she captured the imaginations of the adult rock-pop audience with some timeless sounding tunes. Although her 2013 follow up ‘Back To Forever’ scored another UK top twenty chart placing, it wasn’t enough for Columbia Records who subsequently dropped Lissie from their roster following its release. Finding a new home with Cooking Vinyl (the ever reliable home for artists who’d previously ended high profile contracts), she released a further two albums in 2016 and 2018. Even though these discs (‘My Wild West’ and ‘Castles’) did not appear to gain as much press attention, they were equally successful – and especially so in the UK, where ‘Castles’ earnt Lissie her first top ten placing.

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DAYDREAM RUNAWAYS – Dreamlands EP

Back in 2019, Daydream Runaways released a brilliant indie pop single called ‘Closing The Line’. The track set them up as a very accessible band; their music showed parallels with a lot of radio-friendly fare like The Killers and the vastly overlooked Ghosts, but the song also showed a more mature and thoughtful side by featuring a lyric that lamented the closure of the Honda factory in Swindon. The music wasn’t strikingly original – very little is, or even needs to be – but their performance demonstrated a genuine knack for slick rock-pop.

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GRAHAM BONNET – Back Row In The Stalls

For most people, Graham Bonnet will be best known for his brief stint as Rainbow vocalist between 1979 and 1980. Although he didn’t get to spend long as Ritchie Blackmore’s singer of choice, his talents drove two of the band’s biggest singles – ‘All Night Long’ (a UK #5 hit) and the brilliant radio staple ‘Since You Been Gone’ (UK #6) – and he also performed with Rainbow when they headlined the first Monsters of Rock Festival in August 1980. You could definitely make a case for him being the band’s best-known voice.

Bonnet’s career as a professional singer started over a decade earlier and he achieved a brief spell of fame as one half of pop duo The Marbles, whose ‘Only One Woman’ (an oft-overlooked UK top 5 hit from 1968) showcased a voice that would later become an instantly recognisable talent. Following The Marbles’ early demise, Graham embarked on a solo career, but as careers go, it was rather slow to get off the ground. In 1974, he recorded material for what was to be his first solo album, but the recordings were shelved at the last moment. These were subsequently believed lost until they turned up on a cassette four decades later. Most of these songs were issued digitally as ‘Private-i (The Archives, Vol. 1)’ in 2015, but given the age of the average Bonnet buff, a bunch of digital files would never suffice. Thankfully, the bulk of the material – plus bonus tracks – appeared on CD the following year. With its original title reinstated, Graham’s debut LP finally became a reality.

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BEST BOYS ELECTRIC – Ten Years Of Brett Pop Affairs

Best Boys Electric’s 2016 EP ‘Brett Pop Affairs’ flaunted the band’s love of 70s power pop, glam and 90s indie to create a four tracker that was maybe a little ramshackle, but enjoyable. What the tunes occasionally lacked in finesse, they made up for with a truckload of enthusiasm. Regardless of what you thought of the end result, you couldn’t say it wasn’t made with love.

A similar approach is applied to their 2019 vinyl long-player, ‘Ten Years of Brett Pop Affairs’, a sixteen track romp through the band’s love of all things retro. The four EP tracks are reprised here – and as part of a broader musical landscape, they sound a little better – but for those already familiar with the band, naturally, it’ll be the newer tracks providing the biggest draw.

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