Cary L – A brief history
Since picking up an acoustic guitar at the age of 10 and being encouraged to learn by her primary school teacher, Cary knew what she wanted to do. At high school, when the opportunity to play the bass guitar in the school orchestra came up, she grabbed it (literally) and started up a band with drummer Rob Phipps later of The Jamm, and guitarist Gary. Cary fronted her own bands from the age of 13, and often spent her weekend’s playing in hotels, and clubs around the Midlands area including a few gigs with legendary Steve Walwyn (Doctor Feelgood) who was gracious enough to play on a couple of early demos.
Cary’s dad Jon had been writing songs for a few years and often took Cary to Jackson’s recording studio for those sessions so she was comfortable in a recording environment from an early age.
“I remember sitting in the back of a transit going down to London and being really excited about it. When we got there it was a massive room with a drum kit and loads of instruments and it used to fascinate me. I was a very shy kid but I used to chat to Vic Maile about the studio equipment and watch him work the desk” Cary aged 9/10 years old.
L’Homme De Terre and Armalite
One of Cary’s early original bands based in Coventry, were called ‘L’homme De Terre’. This was an exciting time to be on the Coventry music scene and the band recorded a track ‘Get a Grip’ for a local compilation EP (Boys and Girls come out to play) They also get a mention in Coventry guru Pete Chamber’s Godiva rocks.
Picture from Steve Harrison – Ady, Caron, Steve and Pete in what looks like the cafe opposite The General Wolfe where all the bands hung out
Rubbing shoulders with members of the Selector, The Specials and reluctant Sterotypes/King, this was an exciting time. Refusing to bow to the Ska movement that would be massive, and instead opting to play punky pop at a fast pace they were runners up to Channel A (with lead singer Stan Campbell) in a battle of the bands held at the Lanchester University in 1981.
Cary remembers “Just after we did the battle of the bands, we went into Johnny Rivers Woodbine studio in Leamington to record a couple of tracks. Can’t remember what they were but he did play us a new track the specials had just recorded that week. That track was “ghost town” and I loved it, it sounded very different.”
Playing at 100 club in London
The L’hommes decided that additional musicians were needed. Tony White (The Editors) Wild Boy Johnny Thompson, and Toby Lyons (Colourfield) on keyboards all played with them band for a while. Steve Harrison (drummer) unsurprisingly got fed up of the line-up changes and left. Billy Gough (Swinging Cats) came in on drums with his brother Kip on guitar. Pete Jordan from the MP’s joined for a while with his wonderful sax playing adding another level to the music. They rehearsed in a space above the car showroom on the London road, sharing with Team 23, and Hot Snacks. That would become Cabin Studio.
Eventually Armalite came together in 1984. Their unique sound was dominated by the vocals of ex clique singer Caron Joyce and harmonies of Cary.
Living on the edge
Armalite recorded ‘Living On The Edge’ on 8 track analogue tape at Cabin Studio with the lineup of Paul Johnston – drums, Cary Lord – Bass guitar/backing vox, Caron Joyce – Lead Vox, and Adrian Dix on guitar. Produced by Armalite and Paul Sampson, ‘Living on the Edge’ b/w ‘Breakaway‘ was the third release on Sonar records – catalogue number SON 3.
Cary turned professional with Midlands all girl Country and Western group ‘Indigo Lady’ on bass and backing vocals. An up to date passport was a pre-requisite as she immediately found herself at a festival in Holland. The travel bug bit and she started touring around Europe, playing UK and USA military bases here and abroad, hotel residencies in Jersey, Dubai, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, and an intensive but interesting tour of Norway. The band had to prove their chops on the ‘North East’ circuit (until you’ve done a Saturday late night gig, followed by a Sunday lunch gig and a Sunday evening you aren’t a proper band apparently), and generally clocked up the miles driving up and down motorways (the pre-speed camera era if you can remember that). They appeared on UK TV show ‘3,2,1’ which had millions of viewers at the time with George Hamilton IV, and honed their craft on a theatre tour of the UK with Boxcar Willie in 1985.
Many highlights included touring Cyprus with singer Julie Felix entertaining the troops, a trip to Nashville in June 1986 to appear at the 15th Country Music Association Awards (CMA – now televised) playing a gig at the infamous ‘Bluebird Cafe’ in Nashville, working with Elvis’s backing singers the legendary ‘Jordanaires’, meeting Crystal Gayle, the Osmonds, Eddie Rabbit, Charley Pride, Dwight Yokham and being shown around Tammy Wynette’s house by her husband George Richey. The Indigo’s also hung out with a few friends in Nashville including ‘Ethel and The Shameless Hussies’ who had recently been signed to a major label.
On The Edge
At this time Cary was starting to write her own brand of female harmony pop songs and the band went into Cabin Studio in Coventry to cut an album called ‘On the edge’ which was a mixture of original material and cover versions released on the cassette only for the Country and Western audiences. The album featured a version of ‘Living on the edge’ recorded by the girls.
She’s The Leader
Still in the glorious eighties, after playing Country and Western Cary decided to form a five piece female rock band ‘She’s The Leader’ with keyboard player Helen Tierney. They were a professional all female rock band playing a combination of covers and original material, and probably had the largest hair do’s ever! Scraping enough money together to buy an old transit van and PA system they got back on the road. The girls rocked around the Middle East playing in pubs, clubs, hotels and US military bases even flying out to the Bahrain Hilton for a new years eve gig. The band supported comedian Billy Connolly in Jersey, played Military bases here and abroad and forged a local following in Birmingham where they were based. Hotel residencies in the Middle East enabled the band to get a tight sound together, and after the wheel sheared off the transit leaving them stranded at a German military base (awkward), they invested in a larger Mercedes Van which would enable them to tour Europe and provide accommodation on the road for the band members. It was the size of a bus and always being backed into walls and bins.
Cary fondly remembers “we only had 3 band members that could drive so we took it in turns. Maz had to drive one night and she was used to an automatic gearbox on her car. The rest of us were trying to sleep in the back to the sound of grinding gears as she tried to coax the van up a mountain. It went on for hours..”
Gigs included the Birmingham Superprix (in between races) in the summer of 1988, and European tours of American Air bases provided an exciting conduit of new music that was popular at that time before it had hit the shops in the UK. ‘Kiss me deadly (Lita Ford) became an audience favourite along with the latest tunes from Vixen, Heart, Rocky Horror Show and anything else the band could get their hands on to learn and play for the troops.
STL appeared on the pilot show of Teletubbie’s. This was originally conceived as a program by children for children. It was centered around Helen’s kids who were interviewed about her job (playing keyboards in STL) and STL appeared at the end playing a song. When it was broadcast on March 31st 1997 it was certainly ‘different’ but it got picked up and turned into the cult show ‘Teletubbie’s’ Eh-Oh
Bed Of Roses
In 1988 the band went into Cabin Studio to record four original tracks ‘Bed of Roses’, ‘Love me like a Lover’, ‘Next to Your Heart’, and ‘Stranger’ to release in cassette format to sell at American bases on a European tour taking place that year. The recording line-up featured Stacy on lead/rhythm guitar, Maz on drums, Cary on bass/backing vocals, Helen on piano/synth/backing vocals and Lisa on lead vocals. Show-casing their musicianship and amazing vocals, these tracks have now all been made available for download on itunes and the track ‘Bed of Roses’ is featured on the ‘Sonar Music – 25th Anniversary’ album.
- Bed of Roses
- Love me like a Lover
- Next to Your Heart
She’s The Leader – Three
Check out She’s The Leader performing the heart classic ‘Alone’ one of three tracks on this digitised release. Entitled ‘Three’ with a sound akin to Vixen, and Heart back in the 80’s STL were touring hard around Europe and the UK with their own brand of female rock. This was an audience favourite and lead vocalist Lisa Dean gives a stunning vocal performance on this release.
- Heaven is a place on Earth
- Don’t Wanna Lose You
All good things come to an end and sadly due to musical differences it all fell apart in the summer of 1989 and She’s the leader split after playing to 4000 American troops on 4th July at NAS Sigonella in Sicily.
These were an early project collaboration with Coventry band Reluctant Stereotypes / Pink Umbrellas Paul Sampson, and Crokodile Tears, and the original track ‘Don’t be Scared’ appeared on several compilation albums released Worldwide.
Roy Wood Big Band
It was during this time that Cary was still regularly playing bass guitar with several Midlands based bands including ‘The Word Girl’ and ‘Angel Street’ who between them played classic covers, soul, motown, and chart material. She was asked by Roy Wood to join the ‘Roy Wood Big Band’ in 1995. After going into the studio with Roy and re-recording ‘live’ versions of all of his hits for a forthcoming album, Cary played bass with Roy’s band on several gigs around the UK between 1995 – 2000 as well as appearing on Jim Davidson’s The Generation Game, The Big Breakfast, and Richard and Judy promoting Roy’s new version of the wizard hit ‘I wish it could be Christmas every day’. Every year since, Roy has popped up on TV usually during December, singing to this backing track.
Recording under the name of ‘Blush’ enabled Cary to keep a fluid band line up and change musicians as needed. The ‘Independence Day’, album was released in 2006. This was the first album of totally original material featuring 14 songs written by J Lord, C Lord, G Wale with the exception of ‘Loving you baby’ written with Phil Brown of local reggae band ‘City Dread’. All sung and played in a poppy style by Cary with help from Alf Hardy who was the engineer at Cabin Studio in Coventry at the time. The album came together over a couple of years. One track ‘Obsessed With You’ appeared on several compilation albums and Cary travelled to Berlin in 2004 with Barry Tomes Gotham Records label to promote an album release.
The follow up album ‘More Blush’ was written and produced over four years to the Blush standard with lush harmonies and catchy melodies with collaborations from local musicians Crokodile Tears. Two songs ‘Strong’ and ‘Runaway’ feature Crokodile Tears vocalist Amy Myers (Billie ‘Kiss the Rain’ Myers sister). The track ‘Seven Years’ received airplay on the BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Saturday night show ‘Introducing’ and several tracks are on the playlist of ‘Girls rock radio’ in the USA. Cary plays bass guitar and guitars throughout the album singing vocals and backing harmonies.
2013 saw the completion of ‘Wildest Dreams’. This was a self recorded/self produced album of 10 original tracks. The album has already had excellent reviews from the music press in Clown magazine and Music Maker magazine.
Cary L – Back to the beginning
2015 saw Cary a bit fed up and disenchanted with music. She had a new song and some time on her hands and looked around at local studio’s and found Big Sky Studio in Barnsley. The guys there had been over to America to record an album themselves picking up some neat production techniques, and ‘In Your Way’ was swiftly recorded with a fabulous drummer in Jacob Ingemells. A new album was recorded over the following 18 months with Jacob playing drums on each track and Cary playing bass, rhythm, lead vocals and harmonies as usual.
That album became ‘Looking Back Looking On’ and reflects Cary’s early roots of country/rock and pop. It features 12 tracks of acoustic country/pop with plenty of harmonies in the mix released under her own name as a new start. The Ingermells brother produced a video for the lead track called ‘In Your Way (Big Sky Mix).
Looking Back Looking On
“Cary L, who previously recorded under the name Blush, has released the album of her career with Looking Back/Looking On, issued on the independent Sonar Records in Coventry, England (best known as the hometown of the Primitives and the Specials). The album’s excellent songwriting is complemented by consistently effective use of harmony and deft production. ” YINPOP .COM Jan 2016
“Cary Lord has a history of producing some great albums and with the release of her latest CD “Looking Back Looking On”, she has without doubt reached her Sgt Pepper’s moment. No of course it’s nothing like that famous Beatles album but his album sees all the elements gel precisely at the same time producing her finest work to date. These are the songs that will define this superb musician from now on. Even more impressive is that Cary plays everything on this album excluding the drums and some slide guitar (provide by Jacob Ingermells.) Reallyworth checking out.” Pete Chambers Back beat Coventry Evening Telegraph 18/05/16
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