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The Road From Townhead Mill [Vinyl]
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A glorious 40th anniversary double gatefold LP on 180 gram red vinyl unearths a mixture of past classics from Tractor s career and previously unreleased recordings. 40 years ago John Peel confirmed his undying love for all things Rochdale by releasing an album and buying recording equipment for Rochdale band Tractor. Their important lineage in music history that can be traced through to Joy Division, New Order and The Happy Mondays via the recording studios and festivals they kickstarted are explored on the inside of the gatefold. John Peel s wife Sheila provides detailed comments for the back of the LP sleeve, John had worked at Townhead Mill in Rochdale in 1959 whilst future office sharer at the BBC young Andy Kershaw was attending a nursery school near to the mill at the time. Andy Kershaw states I would say Rochdale finally emerged from the second world war some time around 1972 . In 1972 the year the first Tractor recordings came out on LP via John Peel . Rochdale was a hotbed of counter culture activity and that continued right through until the early nineties- In 1972 it had its own alternative newspaper and a group of sculptors including the country s first graffiti artist Walter Kershaw. A 1972 open air festival in the town hosted Adrian Henri, Roger McGough and Linda Lewis with indoor gigs from Tractor, Bridget St John, Hunter Muskett the Strawbs and Brinsley Schwartz. The success of the 1972 Tractor recordings has continued to hold the band in high esteem for forty years. // Time Out in the 1970s Tractor - Urgent lyrical, of stagggering depth, range and eclecticism // Classic Rock 2005 Tractor- fire , precision and vision ... an underground benchmark // Julian Cope Tractor -certainly the sound of a soul approaching the canopy of heaven // Sheila Ravenscroft John chose to back Tractor and help them financially and it s strange really because as a result of that indirectly Cargo Studios, The Deeply Vale Festival PA system and Suite Sixteen Studios happened and lot of amazing bands went to Rochdale to record and were grateful for that break. When you think about it a lot of Northern Music wouldn t have happened without John s original decision to back Tractor in the way he did. In 2009 two blue music plaques were unveiled on premises Tractor used to occupy linking them to John Peel and Joy Division.
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10 October 2012
The 16 tracks contained on the 2 LPs of this set have been carefully selected by Tractor's manager Chris Hewitt and include notes by John Peel's widow. There are no filler tracks here, but there are some previously unreleased items. Highlights of the set include the timeless "No More Rock and Roll" and "Little Girl In Yellow." The set is on 180 gram vinyl and includes a CD containing the entire 73 minutes and 30 seconds of music found on the LP. Just to set the record straight, Tractor is very much alive and well in 2012, with guitar virtuoso Jim Milne and percussion genius Steve Clayton sounding as sharp as they did more than 40 years ago when they released their first LP "A Candle For Judith" (who would become Steve's bride) under their original moniker The Way We Live. BBC icon John Peel heard the band and became their benefactor, buying them studio gear and a P.A. system and sending them back into the studio to record for his Dandelion label. At Peel's insistence the band changed their name from The Way We Live to Tractor and as such have been recording and performing for 40 years. This set celebrates the 40th anniversary of the band's existence. The sound is quality is wonderful. I just received my copy today and it lived up to my high expectations. My suggestion, order your copy now if you haven't already. All fans of the psychedelic genre will want to add this set to their collection.
29 March 2013
I approached buying this album with trepidation as one reviewer here mentiond lots of radio tracks and was quite negative, in fact there is one rare radio track here, but I had also read at least twenty good reviews in magazines and on websites for this album set and in particular Julian Cope gave it a stunning review, so I bought it and I was not at all disappointed , in fact thwe whole album is excellent. Lets hope there is more unreleased material to come from Tractor. Every track on The Road from Townhead Mill is excellent and I agree with Kevin Rathert who reviews it on Amazon- a five star buy
22 December 2012
Have been a tractor fan since the first album back in the early seventies and on and off followed their career since then. I was looking for great things from this album set. What a disappointment. Most of the album consists of already released material nothing new except it's on red vinyl. Very poor sound quality throughout the album, the originals back in the seventies sounding so much better. Also some very poor quality recordings offered from some radio shows. Overall a huge disappointment and despite the red vinyl this will end in the bin, a huge waste of money. Avoid.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
Kevin D. Rathert
Rock and roll's dynamic duo, a 40 year overview
17 November 2012 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
It simply doesn't seem possible that it has been 40 years since guitarist/vocalist Jim Milne and percussionist Steve Clayton began recording, their first album titled "A Candle For Judith" released under the band's original moniker, The Way We Live. Catching the ear of DJ John Peel, the band was given musical gear and a P.A. system and rechristened Tractor, quickly releasing an eponymous album. "The Road From Townhead Mill, Rochdale" documents 40 years of recordings by the best British two piece band ever. This set, two 180 gram colored vinyl LPs and a CD containing all the material, with comments from Peel's widow is simply amazing. Many people are under the misconception that Tractor broke up following their self-titled 1972 album. Nothing could be further from the truth. At last count I believe my collection has a total of 9 cds recorded by Milne and Clayton occasionally with the help of a bassist or keyboard player, but always featuring Milne's incredible guitar work and Clayton's impressive percussion performances. This latest release covers the entire gamut of the rock genre, from heavy psychedelic rock featuring Milne on electric guitar, to mellower pieces with Milne playing acoustic. This retrospective documents the incredible songwriting abilities of Milne and Clayton and treats the listener to Milne's gorgeous voice. Thanks to Tractor's manager and Ozit/Morpheus Records exec, Chris Hewitt, the vaults have been opened and unreleased songs blend seamlessly with familiar tunes from past albums. Among the highlights of this set is a remixed version of the classic "No More Rock and Roll." The song selection found here is a very good representation of Tractor's recorded legacy and a wonderful introduction to those not already familiar with the band, while containing enough previously unreleased material to please those of us who have been fans from the beginning. This is most definitely 5 star material. Tractor's musical versatility is on display here and never fails to impress. My recommendation to the uninitiated is to grab this double album as an introduction to the Tractor catalog and then seek out the band's previous releases which are unfortunately sometimes difficult to track down. But the quest is well worth it and will quickly become a labor of love, and will reveal the love contained in the band's recordings. So, my recommendation is to snag a copy of "The Road From Townhead Mill, Rochdale" as soon as possible, give it a thorough listen, and enter the world of Tractor, arguably the world's best two piece band, who are credited as a major influence of none other than Mr. Jack White, former member of another well known two piece band, The White Stripes. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a more impressive endorsement than that of Jack White. Buy this album. Enough said.