Before The Harveys there was Harvey’s Rabbit.
Formed in Manchester in the early 1990’s with the line up of Tim Lyons – vocals, Dave Thom – guitar and keyboards, Mick Pullan – guitar, David Chorlton – bass, and Andy Bell – drums, the band (like many others) set about rehearsing at Redhouse; playing gigs at the likes of The Cypress, The Castle, The Roadhouse, and the Band On The Wall; and making demos which (apart from an occasional review in the likes of City Life and The Bury Times) were widely ignored.
With no prospect of the likes of EMI, CBS, or Polydor queueing up to sign the band, they headed for the hills of Whitworth to the small but nicely proportioned Studio Studio to record an album’s worth of songs. Time was short due to the band having to use their own funds and initiative, both of which were limited, but the album was created as was The Rain Soaked Label, and “A Place For Beginners” was released on cassette only in 1994. 11 original songs were sent out to the world to compete and do battle with the new faces of “Britpop”. Cassettes were sold at gigs and in Piccadilly Records; as well as being sent to numerous journalists and record companies.
In truth the album probably didn’t get heard by too many people, but they had produced something they were proud of, and it helped set the course for the next 5 (mostly good) years for Harvey’s Rabbit. Gigs with The Fall followed; then a Peel session; and a deal with new indie label Rotator; some attention with the release of the band’s version of Robert Forster’s “Is This What You Call Change? (which made it to number 42 in John Peel’s festive 50); further singles, gigs and radio sessions, line up changes (Pez from the New FADs and Andy Gott joined on drums and bass) and finally a “proper” album “The New Spiritual Vacuum”.
And that was it for Harvey’s Rabbit.
In recent years the band regrouped to play the occasional gig before recognising there was still some unfinished business – and so The Harveys were born (now with Damien Lyons on guitar). 2 singles by The Harveys have now been released on German Shepherd, with promises of more to follow.
The 2 songs released today, Blue Cat Café and Fear Of Flying are from the original “A Place For Beginners” recordings and were live favourites at the time. Blue Cat Café tells the story of an isolated soul cut adrift in a world he doesn’t understand. Live versions of this song could last for ridiculously long periods of time and although it was later rerecorded for The New Spiritual Vacuum album, this original version captures the spirit of the song very well. Fear Of Flying meanwhile, besides being much shorter also contrasts with Blue Cat Café in feel while delivering a similar message of fight. This song has recently found it’s way back into the live set of The Harveys.
Recorded almost 30 years ago these 2 songs now finally see the light of day in a format other than cassette!
Thanks to Paul Forshaw for creating a brand new video to support the release.