The Count Bishops

The Story - Part 2

The "SPEEDBALL E.P." session

On August 28th 1975, Roger ARMSTRONG brought the five COUNT BISHOPS in PATHWAY Studio, in North London. The studio was built by Mike FINESILVER with his royalties from Arthur Brown's "Fire" which he wrote.

As described by Roger in the liner notes of the "Speedball Plus Eleven" CD, released in 1995, the session was " hot, cool, and ... prolific". Roger remembers that they recorded 12 tracks in no less than 6 hours. 

At about 11 that night, Ted CARROLL arrived with some alcohol and assistance. They played the tape for him and "generated such enthusiasm that he felt asleep" remembers Roger. The band cut another 3 tracks. The session run through into the early hours of the morning.

Barry FARMER was the engineer. The session was co-produced by The COUNT BISHOPS and Roger ARMSTRONG.

As it was so difficult to make a choice, 5 tracks were remixed in September 1975, again at PATHWAY Studio, and again with Barry FARMER as engineer. From these 5 tracks, Ted CARROLL and Roger ARMSTRONG decided to exclude one song ("Cry To Me"). 

They launch their newly formed CHISWICK label with those 4 remaining tracks issued as an E.P. (an Extended Play is generally a 4 tracks single). This E.P. is better known as the "Speedball" E.P.

These 4 tracks are "Route 66", "Ain't Got You", "Beautiful Delilah" and "Teenage Letter". The sound is raw and rough, the music rocks, and the feeling is similar to the early ROLLING STONES albums. As Jim GREEN wrote in the Trouser Press, (November 1978): 

"The "Speedball" E.P. sounded like early STONES records. If the STONES hadn't done all of those songs, it sounded as though they could have - and since them didn't - The COUNT BISHOPS did". But Johnny GUITAR admits that this STONES influence "led to a sort of typecasting; we learned really fast that we had to get our own sound together".

This debut CHISWICK release came out in November 1975, being sold by Ted CARROLL at the back of his Peugeot car and by Larry DEBAY who was the band manager. The first pressing (1 000 copies) was issued with a glossy sleeve and had sold out by the start of 1976.

This EP was the starting point of a new era for independant record labels in Great Britain.

If you are lucky, you'll can find copies with the opening side on the top of the sleeve, and others with the opening side on the right.
There's also a French pressing issued by BARCLAY in 1977 (BARCLAY 740 002).

The remaining 5th remixed track ("Cry To Me") stayed for years on the CHISWICK/ACE shelves until the release of the "Speedball Plus Eleven" CD, in 1995.

Early 1976, things went wrong: Mike SPENSER had not the same views as the others about the way The COUNT BISHOPS should sound. He was into anarchy and chaos and his behavior fitted well with punk. The other guys in the band just wanted to play their guitar and make music. They didn't want to create a revolution. 

They parted company and Mike went on to form Mike SPENSER and the CANNIBALS and a few years later, not surprisingly, was considered as the "grandfather of TRASH". He has released many great trash records.



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Last up-date

April 30, 2005



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Herve Colombet, 2003 - 2005