KEVIN DIXON: The Cravats in Toytown
"I hate Toyah records and they all go whizzing into the charts, and I love The Cravats and play all their records and nobody buys them. Whenever I start to feel important I think, 'Well, I never did much for The Cravats and I didn't stop Toyah'..." John Peel: Smash Hits, 1982
The Cravats are a punk band originally from Redditch, founded in 1977 by Robin Dallaway (vocals, guitar) and The Shend (bass, vocals), writes local historian Kevin Dixon
Other members were Svor Naan (real name Richard London) (saxophone) and Dave Bennett (drums).
The Cravats formed after a Stranglers show in Birmingham in 1977 and self-released their debut 7” ‘Gordon’ in July 1978.
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Small Wonder Records “liked the single so much that they picked up 500 copies and booked the band into the studio with producer Bob Sargeant; the result was the Burning Bridges single, soon followed by Precinct.”
On 31 July 1979 they recorded their first session for the John Peel Show on Radio 1. Three further Peel Sessions followed between 1980 and 1982.
The local link comes in 1980 when the band relocated to Torquay. To record their first album on an 8-track in a hotel basement took a whole week.
This was ‘The Cravats in Toytown’ which made it into the Top 20 in the independent charts. Two more Small Wonder 45s followed, ‘You’re Driving Me’ and ‘Off The Beach’.
The Cravats original members The Shend and Svor Naan put together a 'live ensemble' for the Rebellion Punk Festival in August 2009/2010, and have continued to play live with gigs in Dublin and London.
Here’s 'All Around The Corner' from ‘The Cravats in Toytown’, recorded in that Torquay hotel basement in 1980.