Trackback Thursday: Midlander (There Can Only Be One…) by Bentley Rhythm Ace

Although I don’t consider myself as being a particularly serious person, I think that it’s fair to say that I’m pretty earnest when it comes to music. Listening to music makes me very happy, but finding the right tune at the right time is something I put a lot of emotional effort into doing… and, unless I’m feeling particularly melancholy, sitting without music is something that I find to be a complete waste of time.

I really like music that is uplifting… but I think that it is fair to say that I’m not really into fun tunes. One absolute nailed on exception to this is the first Bentley Rhythm Ace (BRA) album, which was probably my most played record in 1997.

There are a number of reasons for this. I lived near Stourbridge in the West Midlands around the time when, for a short period, it seemed to be centre of the Indie music universe; hatching such luminaries as The Wonder Stuff, Ned Atomic Dustbin and Pop Will Eat Itself (PWEI).

This ‘Grebo’ explosion burned shortly, but brightly… but also left a lasting impression on people of a certain age. I moved away from Stourbridge shortly after this cultural flare had launched itself on an unsuspecting world… only returning to live in Birmingham nine years later.

I have to admit that, at the time, my circumstances were somewhat reduced. Nevertheless I was pleased to be back in the West Midlands… to a culture where moaning is taken almost to the level of an Olympic sport… although often misunderstood to the outsider I think.

There really is nowhere like it that I know… people in the other areas of Britain where I have lived like to have a bit of a grumble… but they are mere amateurs when it comes to Midlanders… and it is this song that always reminds me of that, coming out just as I moved back to the land of the happy grouch.

The connection doesn’t end there, because PWEI’s Richard March formed one half of BRA bringing with him that particular sense of whimsy that fused marvellously with the contemporary Acid culture of the time.

This song… this album… is so bonkers that for me it provided the perfect fillip for bedsit life back in brilliant bellyaching Birmingham… and the title is just perfect for those who get life in the Midlands which, for me, is perfectly summed up by the roller coaster of a ride that ‘Midlander (There Can Only Be One) suggests to me.

The deal was then sealed seeing them live in the old Methodist Central Hall in Birmingham which was somehow the perfect venue a beautiful blissed-up, bass-filled brilliance.




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1 Comment

  1. Yes it was a fun time to be a Brummie. All bands playing with and supporting each other and the venues getting bigger with each passing tour and totp appearance. A sea of bouncing Neds, PWEI Pepsi and Circle Square tee’s at every gig. Bescot Stadium gigs and Caught In My Shadow video shoot was the pinnacle I feel.
    My wife was a huge Stuffies fan from down south and during this era it was moderately popular she says but not like it was in the Midlands.


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