Now the end is here, and so we face the final curtain…And this time it looks like not just farewell, but really goodbye from Medway’s folk heroes The Singing Loins. If folk is a genre built around telling it like it is, where it is, then few bands could match the Loins for truly reaching not just the heart, but also the blood and the guts, of their stomping ground. From ‘Angel of the Medway’ to ‘Psycho Hippy’, few other bands have captured the beauty and squalor, the romance, violence and absurdity of the Medway Towns like the Loins have.
In a Shakespearian sense, the Singing Loins have always been a band that have played to the crowd, with rousing singalongs and nudge-nudge wink-wink end of pier innuendos for the cheap seats, and delicately woven minor key tragedies for the folks up in the gods. All human life is here; and it’s the Loins everyman tendencies, worn bleeding heart on sleeve for all to see, that will be most missed. They’ve been a band of the people, for the people, so it makes sense to let the people, the Singing Loin’s fans old and new, to have the final word as the band bows out gracefully, and finally, this coming weekend.
Farewell to the Singing Loins, by the fans
‘Too many memories to list, I will have to find a new favorite band….One line or a few in particular always stand out for me and remind me of their tender and often poignant nature and why I love them so. As follows:…..”The Topless twins of All-Hallows on sea – Why don’t you ever look directly at me? – ‘Though you are prob’ly 18 and I am just a kid – I’m gonna be a pop star, you’ll wish you fuckin did!”…Gawd bless the Ghost of old Rose,The whores of Rochester and the Singing Loins.’
‘I think that one of my many favourite memories of the Loins is a great photo taken by Steve Gliddon down Strood Riverside, showing their cheeky funside – I give you Charlies Angels a la Loins!’
(C) Mel Herron
‘I was in college when I heard ‘Valerie’. It remains quite simply one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Poets and musicians, bawdy and sentimental, the Singing Loins were a band that mattered.’
Erik Carl Son
‘So long my Old China…listening the first time… in the garden …warm sunny day ……my dad still alive…but old and ill….the tears just came …couldn’t stop them.My dad has gone now, and that song still breaks my heart.
Yet still the gigs, the close sweaty crowded gigs, filled with humping bumping beer-swilling raucous bonhomie, and laughs. To make you laugh and break your heart within the breadth of a couple of songs …that is , and always will be special, and I will treasure having The Singing Loins in My life.
Thank you lads’
‘My favourite memory (one of many) of The Loins is getting to share a stage with them at the 100 Club. What can be better than bashing drums along to an amazing band at a fabulous and famous venue.’
‘A certain lass who shall remain nameless leaping on stage at The Barge for Chatham Girls and Brod’s face during the course of her stage invasion, getting to be the Christmas fairy one year chucking sequins about the place also at the Barge and at any gig singing along at the top of your voice feeling like you belonged to one big family. And don’t get me started on the lyrics, or we will be here for some time…’
‘Memories, too many to recall, fave gigs? a rather life altering one where I met a certain ‘Arf’ at The Roseneath August 2006 (thanks for the intro Belinda Ben Barnes) giving way to a rather special wedding performance August 2007 . The Barge Christmas gig was always magical If you liked it raucous n raw The Gordon Beer Tent at The annual Rochester Sweeps Festival would take a lot of beating. For ‘amazing’ you couldn’t beat the Legendary 100 Club 2012. Andy & Vicky’s Garden Party was special a few years back. Our jolly jaunts to Dunkirk and France with our french friends Sur Les Docks were great fun. And that’s just off the top of my head. As for my fave songs ‘Hauling in the Slack’, ‘Poteen’, ‘House in the Woods’,
Pamela Jane Allen
‘So far, my best memory is when I discovered the band… that was just 4 days ago! too bad that you’re putting an end to it. I’m already learning a few songs and planning to come to Sweep, from Paris…’
‘Brilliant band, very supportive of the Medway Love Music Hate Racism festival having played several times. Very poignant when one of our great friends and festival team Bobby Wade died and had Davey Hobo-Jones Malone at his funeral singing “ain’t the world a lovely place”. The Medway music scene will certainly be missing something in less than two weeks time.’
‘”Angel Of the Medway”, Xmas at the Billabong – top stuff and my first Loins experience!’
‘I’m in the US, and haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting the UK. But after finding the Loins (courtesy of Pandora radio, by way of Len Price 3 and Billy Childish), I was hooked.
Through their music, I feel I’ve gotten a window into a very real part of England most of us ‘murricans never see. Unvarnished, unsentimental, but loving all the same.
Thanks, guys, for offering your music up to the world.’
‘Arfur battling through the ‘laryngitis years’ but still doing his best with backing squeaks etc and ‘Poteen’ and ‘Homeward Bound’ cracked me up (there are recordings!!!!). But there are far too many moments to recall.’
‘Sorry to say I only found out about these guys about three years ago. The first CD I got.. Songs to Hear Before You Die. The song ‘So Long my Old China’ moved me so much it inspired me to write my first song about my Dad titled ‘Tonbridge Boy (1928-1993)’.Pleased to say that we were at the launch party of their last album at the 100 Club.’
‘There are not enough words to encompass all the memories…’
‘The moment at The Boogaloo Bar in North London that I opened the envelope that Brod handed me with the artwork for the proposed House in The Woods vinyl release… am not sure at the time I could hide my under-whelment… another disembodied brown envelope inside with a black and white picture cut out and stuck on the front with sellotape…soon made beautiful raggedy sense… The Singing Loins show the beauty in life, via the medium of a grubby lens.’
‘Crybaby Special supported the Loins at 2011’s Medway Eyes’ ME3 album gig at The Nag’s Head. I think it was our fifth gig and we were extremely new to it all. Me and Jason were just performing as a two piece at the time, and we both worked together doing cleaning (glamorous) we finished at 8pm and drove straight to the gig…and I’ll hold my hands up and admit I didn’t know who the Loins were at the time and thought it would be just another gig. Oh how wrong I was. I saw a huge crowd outside the pub and couldn’t believe it…and inside was just rammed. The gig was great, one of my favourites to this day, and have been a big Singing Loins fan ever since. Shame they are splitting, but I’m glad I was introduced to them before it was too late and I feel privileged that we got to share a bill with them.’
‘I used to live in Medway, left in 2005 and now live in Shetland but keep in touch with what is going on down there. My good friend Bobby Wade (sadly now deceased) took me to a gig at The Man of Kent saying “You will like this band Matt”!.. And I did! Great songs, beautifully sung and I thoroughly enjoyed that evening. Hobo Jones played at Bob’s funeral as well which was rather poignant.
A great folk band is how I would term them but they also had songs with some hard-hitting lyrics. It is sad to hear that they are breaking up but they want to go on and do other things in life and who can blame them? Hopefully they will all carry on as musicians in their individual ways and I wish them all the best in their future careers. A part of Medway that will always remain in my memories…’
‘When the tide goes out / Their songs remain’
Words: Andrew Day / The Fans
Pictures: (c) Phil Dillon unless otherwise stated