The Bluetones

by Rebjukebox

Well it's that time of the month again, and i've not even started on this [July's mono], in fact we are halfway into July and the UK and the rest of Europe is in full festival swing. So what with watching the world cup, and having to put up with the usual dismal display by England! But congratulations  to Spain on winning the World Cup [i am sure that this made Mar very happy]. Loads of new music to catch up with as usual and a trip to the south to visit family. So i am well and truely behind! So down to work, HiFi on, BBC 6music blasting out of the speakers as i write, this month's band is The Bluetones.


Slight Return

"Where did you go

when things went wrong for you,

when the knives came out for you?

Where did you go?

All you needed was a friend.

You just have to ask and then.......


you don't have to have the solution,

you've got to understand the problem,

and don't go hoping for a miracle.

All this will fade away

so i'm coming home.

What did you learn,

locked away all on your own,

chance and your head all blown

What did you learn,

It was unfortunate,

you missed you chance to find out that"

The Bluetones [originally named The Bottlegarden] formed in Hounslow, West London in 1993, drawn together by a mutual appreciation of late night television and lie-ins [this sounds good to me].


Featuring Adam Devlin on guitar, Eds Chesters [the man who has both plural forename and surname!] on drums, Scott Morriss on bass and Mark Morriss on vocals, they set out to conquer the world writing songs in an improvised studio fashioned from a damp and leaky garage in the garden of a house they all shared at the time. Just like The Monkees!! [haha]. A fifth member, Richard Payne, came on board between 1998 and 2002.


It was in 1994 that the band first started to generate interest outside of their circle of friends, thanks in no small part to Legendary Radio 1 DJ John Peel picking up on a limited edition blue-vinyl pressing of a song called 'Slight Return' that the band were selling at their gigs.


The band went on to record 2 studio sessions and 3 live sessions for John Peel's Show. I have listed these sessions in order with date when session was recorded, date when first broadcast, Producer, Engineer, Studio, Tracklist and Band line up on my blog on the John Peel Page Section.


Two songs also making it into the world famous Festive Fifty chart of 1995, 'Bluetonic' [Number 15], and 'Slight Return' [Number 21].

In 1995 they released their first two proper singles on their own Superior Quality Recordings label, 'Are You Blue Or Are You Blind?' and 'Bluetonic'. Both singles broke into the UK Top 40, but it was the [re]release of 'Slight Return' in January 1996 that really catapulted the group into the public eye, [sounds painful, huh?] climbing to a giddy number 2 in the UK singles chart.

The debut album 'Expecting To Fly' followed shortly afterwards and debuted at Number 1 in the UK Album Chart List. Blimey a Nunber 2 single followed by a Number 1 album!! [what superstars!!]


Another single was released from 'Expecting To Fly' in the summer of 1996, before the band decided to put something ‘brand new’ out into the musical fermament, and upon the release of the non-album single 'Marblehead Johnson', began work on their second album.

And so it was, that in the Spring of 1998 'Return To The Last Chance Saloon' was released, preceded by another Top 10 single 'Solomon Bites The Worm'. Three more singles followed, 'If...', 'Sleazy Bed Track' and 'Four Day Weekend' [accompanied by a Manga animated promo video, eat that 'Gorillaz', The Bluetones did it first!] as well as copious amounts of touring.


In the summer of 1999 the group headed down to the famous Sawmills Studio in Cornwall to record album number three, 'Science and Nature'. This featured the singles 'Keep The Home Fires Burning', 'Autophilia' and 'Mudslide'. The tracks numbers 4 'Mudslide' and 6 'Blood Bubble' appear in episodes of the second series of the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced.

It was at this point that the band’s record label decided the time was right to properly exploit their fanbase and released a singles compilation, quite correctly titled 'The Singles'.


The Bluetones, being great champions of giving their audience [bless 'em] value for money, included four new songs on this release. [four! count 'em!!].'Serenity Now' was issued through the Superior Quality Recordings label.

The next release came in 2003 in the form of 'Luxembourg', a collection of songs in which The Bluetones adopted a more stripped down approach to their sound, branishing acoustic instruments for the studio and recording the whole thing in double-quick time. Well, quick for them anyway! 'I Love The City' was released as a download only single before the release of the album. This album yielded two more, proper singles, both being Top 40 Chartbusters, the double a-side 'Fast Boy / Liquid Lips' and a song that has proven to be one of the most popular during live shows, 'Never Goin’ Nowhere'.


A mammoth 50 date UK tour followed during which the band experimented with facial topiary and leather-based fashions, before a well earnt break was taken. This hiatus lasted until autumn 2005 whereupon the EP

In 2006, having signed to the independent label Cooking Vinyl, The Bluetones issued their fifth album, entitled simply [and rather unimaginatively] 'The Bluetones'.


Characterised by a warmer and more mellower sound the album was well received by critics [what the hell do they know?] and was home to 3 more singles: 'Surrendered', 'My Neighbour’s House' and 'Head On A Spike'. Track number 8 on the album 'Fade In/Fade Out' was written in honour of British comedian [and star of Little Britain] David Walliams, a personal friend of Mark Morriss.


Again, the band toured throughout the UK, Europe and Japan before taking another little rest from each other.

And going away to make some babies.


Oh, and vocalist Mark Morriss [the ego-maniac that he is] released a solo EP under the alias Fi-Lo Beddow in 2006, which eventually bloomed into a full solo record under his real name 'Mark Morriss'. Titled 'Memory Muscle' it was released in June 2008, and received a surprising amount of critical acclaim, given the music press’ frosty attitude to Bluetones material. It included new versions of the songs which made up the Fi-Lo Beddow EP, and featured strings arrnaged by film score composer David Arnold.


Which kind of brings us up to date really, and this new collection of songs… 'A New Athens'. Recorded during the winter of 2009/10 with Gordon Mills, 'A New Athens' is the band’s first major label release in almost a decade. Featuring 11 [well 12 if you count the hidden track] new tracks and finding our heroes once more in top form. What am I talking about? When have they ever let you down?


The album was released on May 31st 2010, with 'Carry Me Home' being released as the first single.


I included the track 'Golden Soul' on this sites June playlist.

No splitting up and reforming [like so many other bands] for these guys. You gotta love The Bluetones!! such an honest and down to earth band.


A great starting point for anybody, new to the band would be the triple CD [this was a limited editon only] or double CD compilation 'A Rough Outline: The Singles & B-Sides 95 - 03' [it's a greatest hits and b-sides compilation]. But i would recommend that you also check out all their studio albums.


Along with the 'BBC Radio Sessions' cd which has some of the bands sessions tracks recorded for the John Peel shows and other BBC Radio 1 sessions for the Evening Session. 

Studio albums:

  • A New Athens - 31 May 2010
  • The Bluetones - 9 October 2006
  • Luxembourg - 12 May 2003
  • Science & Nature - 12 April 2000
  • Return to the Last Chance Saloon - 9 March 1998
  • Expecting to Fly - 12 February 1996


  • Serenity Now - 14 November 2005 [mail-order-only release]
  • Mudslide - 30 October 2000
  • A Bluetones Companion - 25 September 1995 [Japan only]


  • The Bluetones Collection - 21 April 2008
  • The Early Garage Years - 30 July 2007
  • A Rough Outline: The Singles & B-Sides 95 - 03 - 7 March 2006
  • The Singles - 8 April 2002
  • Are You Blind?  - May 2000 (limited edition promotional CD)


  • Once Upon a Time in West Twelve - 25 June 2007
  • BBC Radio Sessions - 26 February 2007


  • 2010 - "Carry Me Home"
  • 2010 - "Golden Soul"
  • 2007 - "Surrendered"
  • 2006 - "Head on a Spike"
  • 2006 - "My Neighbour's House"
  • 2003 - "Never Going Nowhere"
  • 2003 - "Fast Boy / Liquid Lips"
  • 2002 - "After Hours"
  • 2000 - "Autophilia (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Car)"
  • 2000 - "Keep the Home Fires Burning"
  • 1998 - "4-Day Weekend"
  • 1998 - "Sleazy Bed Track"
  • 1998 - "If..."
  • 1998 - "Solomon Bites the Worm"
  • 1996 - "Marblehead Johnson"
  • 1996 - "Cut Some Rug / Castle Rock"
  • 1996 - "Slight Return" [re-issue]
  • 1995 - "Bluetonic"
  • 1995 - "Are You Blue or Are You Blind?"
  • 1995 - "Slight Return / The Fountainhead" - limited edition 7"





"when i am sad and weary

when all my hope is gone

and i can't put my finger on the time things first went wrong

i have a little secret i like to tell myself

and until now i haven't told anybody else

you may not see things my way

like my method or my reasons

but you can't tell me that i'm wrong

there's no heart you can't melt

with a certain little smile

and no challenge should be faced

without a little charm and a lot of style

so don't put your faith in time - she heals but doesn't change

and only a fool won't take the chance to stay the same

when i am sad and weary

when all my hope is gone

i walk around my house and think of you with nothing on

i have a list of things i go over in my mind

when i can just sit right back and watch the world unwind

you may not see things my way

i don't care 'cause i'm not asking

but you can't tell me that i'm wrong

there's no heart you can't melt

with a certain little smile

and no challenge should be faced

without a little charm and a lot of style

so don't put your faith in time - she heals but doesn't change

and only a fool won't take the chance to stay the same

yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!"