Whitehouse Blue

John Ferguson: guitar, vocals
Pete Smith: bass, vocals
Jeremy Robinson: drums, backing vocals
Tony Styles: lead guitar

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I was interested to read this account of Whitehouse Blue. Before this band 2 of the members were part of Masters of Middle Earth, a band I had briefly been involved with. I include John’s recordings that he sent me for the blog, as well as his commentary of the tracks. Also, included below the recordings is Pete’s view of the recordings and some nice comments about Tony Styles.

John writes, “Jeremy, the drummer didn’t like the name Masters of Middle Earth. I think as we were changing we needed to find a new name. After much discussion, we chose the name of one of Pete/Smiddy’s songs. I didn’t like it much, but the other two did. As it was a democracy I was voted out! I’ll try to sort out a brief biog later”

John Ferguson writes, “Songs 1-4 from 1st demo, summer 1987. Recorded at Omega studio, Naworth Castle by Alex Warnes.

Songs 5-6 from 2nd demo, December 1987. Recorded at Cluny studio, Newcastle by persons unknown.

Song 7 recorded summer 1988 at Cottage Pie studio by Steve Harrison and someone else. “Unreleased”.

Songs 8-11 recorded live with vocal overdubs at Radio Carlisle (as was) for a Paul Armer session.

Recorded by persons unknown.
Songs 12-16 recorded 2008-10 at home by John Ferguson.

Songs 8-11 recorded early 1989!

Songs by: Pete Smith 1,4,6,14,15,16.
John Ferguson 2,3,5,7,8,11,12.
Jeremy Robinson 9.
Pete Smith and John Ferguson 10.
Cover of Tiffany song 13.

I decided to re-record some WB songs “properly” in 2010. “Premonition” was one of Pete’s songs. We used to open with it. I had to use my original guide vocals, hence the addition of “rough” to the title!”

Personnel: John Ferguson: guitar, vocals, all instruments on 12-16;
Pete Smith: bass, vocals;
Jeremy Robinson: drums, backing vocals;
Tony Styles: guitar on 8-11

[Beside this recording Pete sent me a CD of tracks. I will include his text that came with the CD as it gives a different perspective to John’s. The numbers to the tracks relate to the CD track listing and not to the audio above]

Pete Smith writes:
Tracks as follows,
1. Whitehouse Blue. (Smith)
2. One Day Love Affair. (Fergusson)
3. Writhing in the Nettles. (Fergusson) I think this track was previously named “Carlisle” mentioned in the MME section of the blog. You may have played this in the early days?
4. Walk Like Susannah Hoffs. (I think) inspired by the Smithereens “Behind the Wall of Sleep” but sounding nothing like it. Written about the lead singer of The Bangles.

This was our first proper demo recorded at Naworth Castle Brampton, 1985/86. The sound is shitty as the engineer and producer was unable or unwilling to let us crank up the volume to a level that would allow our normal guitar sound.

5. Go Your Own Way. (John)
6. Sex Religion and Money. (Pete)

Tracks 5 and 6 were recorded at Cluny Studios, Newcastle. A full day cost us a mint at the time, but we came away with smiles on our faces as we felt we had nailed a couple of good tracks (the difference is clear when you listen back to them. Even to this day they don’t sound half bad).
The engineer for this session was a Born Again Christian, I believe, God knows what he was thinking recording Sex, Religion & Money.

7. Go Your Own Way. (John) a different version recorded either specifically for a video or maybe a seven-inch single (can’t remember, JF. will put you straight).
Recorded at The Palace, Aglionby Street, Carlisle, and home to members of “Exit 43” Gary Kerr, Terry Kerr, Steven Harrison etc.

8. Losing My Mind. (JF words, PS music) (Fannied about with this for years before it ended up like this)

9. It’s Good to Know. (I think this is the title) JF and Jeremy Robinson
10. 7am. (John)
11. Take It Away (John) i think this is the title?

8,9,10,11, recorded ar Radio Cumbria for a Youth Radio Programme called T.I.U. (Turn It Up).

Tracks 9 and 11 are notable because ‘I think’ Tony Styles played guitar at the Radio Cumbria sessions, that is what my memory is telling me. John I had the clean part and Tony played the distorted part. Tony was definitely in the band by the time we recorded 8,9,10,11
If he did play then it would be not long before his untimely death (talented guitarist and great bloke, I knew him as a friend through ‘Ste’ (Andrew Stephenson), before he played with us. Playing with him as a 4 piece was great. He was the missing piece to our Jigsaw.

Some Photos taken from John Fergusson’s Facebook page…with permission:

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Back stage at Stars and Stripes

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John Fergusson

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Tony Styles, John Fergusson, Jeremy Robinson, Pete Smith

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John Fergusson & Pete Smith

 

john.jpg33The Carlisle Rock Festival 1988 at the Sands Centre! Other bands on that day included: Sid & The Four Corners, Flour, Keltic Storm, The Hill Bandits, The Motorcycle Boy, and Tigertailz. — withJeremy Robinson and Pete Smith.

Facebook comments:
Pete Smith
Can’t recall hearing the recent versions of those old songs. Excellent work JF.

John Ferguson
There were more works in progress but we couldn’t remember the words! I had to tune the guitar down a tone for the Tiffany cover as I couldn’t reach the high notes with it in standard tuning!

Comments:
John Fergussion writes, “Slight error with the photos! The photo of me in front of the Marshall amp is from 2002 when I was in a band called Vostok. It was taken at a biker rally at Mill Hill[removed it John]. Back to Pete’s notes… Tony played on all the Radio Carlisle tracks. I’m not sure what the second version of Going Your Own Way was for. Someone was going to make a video for us, maybe? Whatever, it was exposed as a scam by That’s Life! Most of It’s Good To Know was written by Jeremy, I wrote the guitar solo. Tony and I made it into a Judas Priest-inspired twin lead for the Radio session. We were interviewed live by Paul Armer/Turn It Up. I have never heard the interview, but I understand that we came across as a bunch of prize arses, so it’s probably for the best!

John Ferguson
Thanks go to Kevin Tilbury for adding my old band to his excellent punk bands in Cumbria website. I don’t think we ever considered ourselves to be a punk band, but we would certainly never have existed if it wasn’t for punk.

3 thoughts on “Whitehouse Blue”

  1. Well that’s the first I’ve heard of Sid & Four Corners for 25 years. They were contemporaries of mine at Brampton and must have been active from ’86 to ’90 ish. I had them for my 18th party and of course enjoyed their gigs at Stars & Stripes down Botchergate, maybe the Front Page, various rural pubs and yes I was at Carlisle Rocks 1988. Their keyboardest Alex Warnes was running the studio first Narworth Castle & then Omega Music…must have recorded some of the other bands too… still in Brampton I guess (?); the Hutchinson brothers (guitars & vocals) moved away and sadly Sid passed away, way too young in early 90’s. Great times indeed.

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  2. Such lovely comments. I live with Kev Styles – Tony’s younger brother. It meant the world for him to find this through a tip off tonight. He’s also in a few bands, a really talented musician and we have Tony’s guitar on our wall. His lyrics and music definitely have pink influences.

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    1. Cheers Gemma, many thanks for your words. Give our best to Kev Styles, tell him all the memories and good thoughts about Tony are still with us who knew him. He was a very beautiful person, a very telented musician…great to know his guitar is still around too. Best wishes to both of you.

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