Painted Lady 1975 ~ Girlschool ~
Deirdre Cartwright, lead guitar; Enid Williams, bass, vocals; Kim McAuliffe, rhythm guitar, vocals; Tina Wolford, drums
‘… rock covers band … After playing the local pub scene with numerous line-up changes (Deirdre Cartright, Kathy Valentine, later of The Go Gos), Kelly Johnson and Denise Dufort came on board and in March 78 they changed their name to Girlschool then hit the road touring venues around France, Ireland and the U.K. …’ Other bands Deirdre subsequently played in included Honey, Suffragette, Beaver, Jam Today, Tour de Force, the Sadista Sisters, Out of the Blue, House of Spirits, Blow the Fuse, the Deirdre Cartwright Band (various incarnations), Ai Canta, the Vortex Foundation Big Band, Picnic and Emily Remembered. With bass player Alison Rayner, Deirdre set up the north London jazz club Blow The Fuse.
Passing Faze early 1980s
Frankie Green, drum; Josie Mitten, keyboard, vocals; Judy Couthino, guitar; Susy Taylor, vocals; ?
Gigs: September in the Pink festival, Heaven nightclub; the Albany, Deptford
Pearl Divers 1984 ~ 1989
Barbara Stretch, vocals; Caroline Gilfillan, keyboards and vocals; Jackie Crew, drums & backing vocals; Ann Day, drums; Lou Hart, keyboards & vocals; Lynne Paskaleff, guitar and bvs; Vick Ryder, bass and vocals
‘Pearl Divers were a duo made up of Vick Ryder (on bass guitar and lead vocals) and Lou Hart (keyboards and lead vocals) which was formed around 1984/85 and existed until about 1989.
Their first performance took place in 1985 at Rackets womens’ bar in Islington. As a duo they performed a number of gigs including many festivals and later on they established a backing band initially consisting of: Lynne Paskaleff on rhythm guitar, Jackie Crew on drums and Caroline Gilfillan on additional keyboards. The band went through many incarnations with Barbara Stretch and Lorraine as backing vocalists and, at various times, Ann Day on drums and very briefly Deirdre Cartwright on lead guitar.
The band were very popular with female audiences and played in different parts of the UK, but especially in London where they played, for example, at the Festival Against Racism in Finsbury Park, on the women’s stage at Pride, at the Albany in Deptford, at the Rocket in Holloway road , at the Sappho Womens’ festival at Venus Rising; at Chats Palace in Hoxton, at the Fridge in Brixton (with a queue that stretched down the street) to name but a few of the venues. They also played at the Women’s Music Festival in Hamburg called ‘Mind the Gap’.
All songs were written by Lou Hart and Vick Ryder and they recorded quite a few to CD (where they also played all instruments and arranged the music.) Songs included: Winter in July; Steering by Starlight; Bowl of Cherries; Flying Home; Pearl Diving; Strange Love; Tonight; Crossing the Border; Rain on the Street and others.
They had favourable reviews in magazines at the time including Time Out. In 1988, they met Lesley Willis who became their manager. Under her direction they were shown interest by A&M and Sony. The band eventually folded in 1989.’ ~ V.R. & L.H.
Folk singer, songmaker, activist and player of guitar, piano, five-string banjo, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer and English concertina
Born in 1935 in New York, Peggy is Pete Seeger’s half-sister and Ruth Crawford Seeger’s daughter. Her first life-partner was the Salford playwright and songwriter Ewan MacColl, who wrote ‘First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ for her and to whom she bore three children. She has nine grandchildren. A multi-instrumentalist, she is known for her excellent renditions of Anglo-American folksongs and for her activist songwriting, especially in the fields of feminism and ecology. Her best-known pieces are ‘Gonna Be an Engineer’ and ‘The Ballad of Springhill’, which latter is rapidly becoming regarded as a traditional song.
After living 35 years in England, she returned to the USA in 1994 and took up residence in Asheville, North Carolina. She moved to Boston (USA) in 2006 to take up a teaching post at Northeastern University. She moved back to England (Oxford) in 2010. She tours extensively in the UK and occasionally in the USA, Canada and Australia as a solo concert artist, singing and giving workshops. She has made 23 solo recordings (a 23rd is in the immediate pipeline) and has participated in more than a hundred recordings with other artists, one of whom is her second life-partner Irene Pyper-Scott. She records mostly for Appleseed Recordings (USA). She has published a songbook with 150 of her 149+ songs (The Peggy Seeger Songbook, Forty Years of Songmaking, Oak Publications, 1998).
Her website contains further information, a discography, details about ordering products, an itinerary and interesting insights into her creative life. She is represented in the USA by Josh Dunson (RPMjosh@aol.com) and in the UK by Emerging Music (firstname.lastname@example.org). The listing of the Peggy Seeger & Ewan McColl Archive at Ruskin College, Oxford is at http://www.tedpower.co.uk/ruskinindex.html
‘I believe it’s my job to put into song what many people are feeling these days: that there is a better world up ahead of us there and there’s nothing more worth while doing than to envision it and make it happen. Each in our own way. I have developed a workshop entitled A Feminist View of Anglo-American Traditional Songs. I wax eloquent upon this subject, having for most of my life sung the traditional songs which, for the most part, portray women as property, as unclaimed property, as victims, as powerless, nagging, pathetic … and so on. Of course there are those other, less numerous songs that portray women as individuals of courage, stamina, cunning, tenderness, loyalty and inventiveness. Put together, they make up a complete picture of our submission and resistance to gender oppression. It is important to make people feel good about themselves – this is especially true of women, who meet so many obstacles at so many turning points in life under a patriarchy. In the workshop, we discuss the enormous body of female experience that is not dealt with at all in the folk songs and we examine how modern songwriters are dealing with these omissions …’ ‘… The goal is to understand the role of folk music as a means of conditioning women to accept and pass on the status quo. The roles that women play in our folktales and songs are part of the long story of oppression of women. These roles are expressed both subtly and blatantly and singers often disseminate messages in song that they would not dream of passing on in conversation or prose’ … ‘It is very easy when singing the old songs to become immersed in the past, to become nostalgic and detached. I have been writing songs since 1959. It is a pleasurable duty. Songwriting helps me to live in the present, ‘at the same time as myself’, as Ewan MacColl used to say. It is my way of trying to let tomorrow’s people know part of what it was like to be alive today; my way of trying to change things, attempting to re-interpret old thoughts or introduce new ways of looking at the same old problems, the same old poverty, the same old violence, the same old apathy, destruction, ignorance, discrimination and brutality. It is also a way of holding up a mirror to ourselves in all of our tragic and comic poses. My battlefield is the concert stage, the lecture hall. My job, like so many songwriters, is to place (in a memorable and enticing form) a message that, were it in non-hummable form, might not be so easily remembered. Quite apart from that, it’s enjoyable to write songs. And it’s rewarding to hear other people singing a song you’ve written even though (as has happened a number of times in my life) they attribute it to (a) the “folk” or (b) to another songwriter.’
The recently released full-length album, ‘Folksploitation’, features ‘the unlikely juxtaposition of the vocals of folk icon Peggy Seeger and Broadcaster’s dub, hip hop, funk and techno beats, it turns the highly improbable into the possible, the traditional into the experimental and a conundrum into artistry.’
Watch and listen: http://www.peggyseeger.com/listen-buy/folksploitation
The year 2012 sees Peggy’s last international tours, Australia and the USA. Airline travel and long distances are no longer appealing to her. From now on, all her touring will be in Great Britain, Ireland and a few European countries. Watch the video of the campaign Save the Temple Cowley Pool, featuring words and music by Peggy sung with her fellow Oxford residents http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD6-WQZn0S8&feature=youtu.be
Peggy is also active in the Anti-Capitalist Roadshow – information on http://www.redmagic.co.uk/anticap/index_files/Page565.htm
All information reproduced by kind permission of Peggy Seeger
Ex-Mistake Penny Wood’s solo album, Love Don’t Behave.
Penny Wood – ‘I’m Scared of Jackie’
Penny Wood – ‘When You Go’
‘Failure’ – Penny Wood
‘Amazon’ – Penny Wood
The Petticoats 1979/80
Recorded the single: Normal/I’m Free/Allergy in 1980 at Street Level Studios, London.
One Peel session in 1981 – no recordings available to her knowledge.
Recorded Paranoia, Life-No and Dreams in 1981, released on the ‘Scaling Triangles’ EP. Also with Robert Crash recorded the cover versions: ‘Schöner fremder Mann’ and ‘Darling, let’s have another baby’, single released in Germany on Zick-Zack.
Pinkspots (London, 1979 – ?)
Rix Pyke, Caroline John and Rae Levy
Rae Levy, Caroline John and Rix Pyke (see also Clapperclaw entry) formed The Pinkspots in 1979 in order to play accordian tangos, fiddle tunes, jigs and reels, ‘Dont Get Around Much Anymore’, ‘Whispering Grass’ and ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ and suchlike quirky songs.
They also sang the Davy Crockett Theme tune and made terrible jokes about why he had three ears : the right ear, the left ear and the wild frontier. There were gigs in more mainstream venues such as senior residential/day care, hospitals and anywhere else where the audience couldn’t leave. – Rix Pyke, 2012
PMT early 1980s
Cecilia Healey, keyboards; Gill Moon, drums; Jane Skeates, vocals; Lynne Paskaleff, guitar; Rachel ? sax; ? keyboards; Vick Ryder, bass
Gigs included the Pilton, Glastonbury, women’s music festival & summer camp in 1982
The Pre-Madonnas (formerly The Feminist Choir) 1981 ~ 1997
Angie Low, Carol Farrow, Caroline Sharp, Clare Tarplee, Fiona Adamson, Frances George, Gail Chester, Gwyneth Hughes, Hilary Plews, Kater Sloss, Lynda Jessop, Marion Fitzpatrick, Naomi Goldman, Pam van Meers, Pat Hulin, Pippa Crane, Rosie MacCormack, Ruth Harris, Sheila Burke, Susan Goodwin, Sue Togood, Val Dunn, Wendy Smith (list as of ‘94) Also known to have been members: Sue Taylor, Kirsten Hearn, Vijayatara/Sharon Smith
The London-based choir sang of contemporary feminist political issues, celebrating lesbian pride and protesting, e.g., the right-wing Thatcher government’s Clause 28 and destruction of the GLC and the consequent loss of funding to women’s centres and projects. They wrote some of their own lyrics or set them to known tunes, as in the case of the words of ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do': ‘Don’t take your grant away from me, don’t you leave my group in misery, if you go them I’ll be blue, cos breaking up is hard to do … remember when the GLC paid for all our facilities, think of all these things brand new, ‘cos breaking up is hard to do.’
The Pre-Madonnas performing three songs – ‘March of the Women (Ethel Smyth)/Nana Was a Suffragette’, ‘Hay Una Mujer Desaparecida’ and ‘I Feel Like Going On’ – at the memorial event for the socialist and feminist Labour M.P. Jo Richardson (1923 – 1994) held on April 27th, 1994, at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.
Proper Little Madams 1980 ~
Cathy Evans; Kim Pickett; Sue Smythe
Recorded an album on Starward Records in 1982
For a series of features by Cazz Blase writing women back into the history of British punk, first published on The F-Word website, please see
‘Back in August 2009, following the publication of Zoe Street Howe’s ‘Typical Girls? The Story Of The Slits’, and with knowledge of Helen Reddington’s 2007 book ‘The Lost Women of Rock Music: Female Musicians of the Punk Era’, I had the innocent idea of pitching and penning a piece for The Guardian’s Women Section which would use the Slits book as a starting point to discuss the extent that women from the seventies U.K punk scene, as well as younger women, were writing women back into historical and musical accounts of the seventies U.K punk scene. I wanted to focus on the women who were doing this – by writing essays, books, directing films – rather than on those being documented (although often there was a certain amount of overlap here) because I’d noticed media discussions of the Reddington book focused on the punk women discussed rather more than on the author and her motivations for writing the book. Whilst I could understand that approach, I was personally interested in why Reddington, and other women, were writing essays and books or making films now. Those I interviewed were Caroline Coon, Gina Birch, Helen McCookerybook (neé Reddington), Lucy O’Brien, and Zoe Street Howe. I also discussed the work of fanzine writer/journalist Lucy Toothpaste (neé Whitman), publications such as Spare Rib and Shocking Pink, and Zillah Minx’s 2007 film ‘She’s A Punk Rocker U.K’.
The Guardian weren’t interested as the Slits book had been out for two months by then and was seen as old news, so I made a similar pitch to The F-Word website (www.thefword.org.uk) and was accepted. In hindesight, this was definitely the better result. What followed was four months of research and interviews, including a very hectic week in London and two hilarious days voxpopping in Manchester, a month and a half of writing, typing and editing, then submission. The first full draft was 43,000 words, and it was decided – unsurprisingly – that it would have to be edited and serialised. There then followed a years worth of collaborative editing on the part of myself and Jess McCabe, The F-Word’s editor, during the course of which we developed a multimedia approach, incorporating Youtube clips, Spotify playlists, and innumerable links. We were both rather relieved when part 6 went up online in January 2011, not to mention rather exhausted. The series has been well received, generating more feedback than anything else I have ever written. A number of women I had been unable to interview, or was unaware of, have since got in touch, and these two things have encouraged me to develop the series into a book.’ ~ Cazz Blase, January 2011
Cazz’s F-Word interview with Lucy Toothpaste/Whitman is in the Rock Against Sexism entry