P

*

Painted Lady 1975 ~ Girlschool ~

South London

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.

A colour pic from a pub gig by Painted Lady shows Deirdre Cartwright playing an electric guitar and smiling.

Deirdre, Painted Lady 1976

*

Passing Faze  early 1980s

Frankie Green, drum; Josie Mitten, keyboard, vocals; Judy Couthino, guitar; Susy Taylor, vocals; ?

London

Gigs: September in the Pink festival, Heaven nightclub; the Albany, Deptford

Black and white poster for the lesbian and gay arts festival event at Heaven nightclub reads ' A benefit for September in the Pink. Come early! Sixteen bands, 8 DJs, video, fashion, art. Women only bar. An extravaganza at Heaven compered by the Empress of Hackney. Sept 12, 9pm to 3am. Listen to Abandon Your Tutu, Bronsky Beat, Hi Jinx, Ova, Passing Faze. CLC funded.' A black triangle design, with text written around it, and abstract dancing figures and women's and men's symbols.

Headlined 'Opening night in Heaven, Charing Cross, London,' the review by 'Immense Agony', describes the women's event as well organised non-stop live entertainment but makes negative comment. 'Where is the humour, spontaneity, anger?' The groups are not 'exploratory, though Hi Jinx are an exception, 'sizzling.' A photo of Hi Jinx 'singing their hearts out' illustrates the review.

Spare Rib 136, 1983


*

Pearl Divers 1984 ~ 1989 

A posed publicity shot of the two Pearl Divers wearing dark sunglasses, black suits and solemn expressions, gazing into the distance. Lou seated, Vick with a hand on her shoulder.

The original Pearl Divers duo: Vick Ryder and Lou Hart, photo (c) Jean Fraser

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.

Purple flyer with bright yellow and blue lettering, illustrated with drawings of planets and stars. 'Beam Me Up Sappho! June 21st at The Fridge, Brixton. Non-stop women's entertainment event. Abacush, Sax Machine, Cookie Crew, Jan Allain, Parker and Klein, The Guest Stars, Carol Grimes and friends, Pearl Divers.'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’.

The black and white cover has a publicity photo of Pearl Divers in dark glasses and suits. 'Recorded by Sound Partners 1988.'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.

Hand made flyer for 'The battle of the bands pop quiz,' at the Duke of Wellington, Dalston, London N1. Featuring 'Sensible Footwear versus The Caroline Gilfillan Band, Pearl Divers versus The Guest Stars, Mouth Almighty versus Wealth (Lucy Ray's new band.) Free admission, women only.' Cut and paste style, using pictures of women from magazines, and a drawing of the Duke himself, picture of Buddy Holly 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore.'

*

Peggy Seeger 

Peggy in recording studio, singing into a microphone, earphones on head, guitar case in background and music sheet on her knee.

Peggy Seeger 1984 photo copyright Jim Maginn

 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.

A 1971 publicity shot of Peggy seated, smiling and holding acoustic guitar.

Peggy Seeger 1971 photograph copyright David Gahr

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).

Cover of 1980 album shows a closeup of Peggy singing.

Cover of 1980 album Different Therefore Equal: contemporary women’s songs sung by Peggy and a women’s chorus

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 (sue.bradburn@btinternet.com). The listing of the Peggy Seeger & Ewan McColl Archive at Ruskin College, Oxford is at  http://www.tedpower.co.uk/ruskinindex.html

Peggy on the plinth in Trafalgar Square in 1960, playing the guitar next to Paul Robeson who is singing, one hand over his ear. Crowds and placards in background, but protest unknown.

Peggy singing in Trafalgar Square with Paul Robeson, 1960

‘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

Peggy in concert, singing and playing dulcimer.

Peggy Seeger 2011 photograph copyright Rick Walton

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

Bright Picture of Peggy skydiving, arms spread against the sky, smiling and floating.

Peggy skydiving 2009

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

*

Penny Wood

Penny Wood

Ex-Mistake Penny Wood’s solo album, Love Don’t Behave.

Black and white photo of Penny Wood, track listing of the songs that are included in this entry

Tape album cover for Penny Wood’s Love Don’t Behave

Black and white photo of Penny Wood, wearing checked shirt and braces, looking at the floor.

Penny Wood outside the Drill Hall

Penny Wood – ‘I’m Scared of Jackie’

Penny Wood – ‘When You Go’

‘Failure’ – Penny Wood

‘Amazon’ – Penny Wood

*

The Petticoats 1979/80

A pink badge with 'Petticoats' written in white letters, over a drawing of the outline of a flared petticoat.Stef Petticoat, vocals, guitar, bass, drums

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.

Sepis style photo of Pinkspots. The band are dressed in retro clothes, adorned with their instruments: accordian, banjo, guitar and clarinet. The text says 'Palm Court Trio Extraordinaire. Delightful, dulcet tones, variegated and tuneful.'

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

London

Gigs included the Pilton, Glastonbury, women’s music festival & summer camp in 1982

PMT in performance, saxophonist, singer holding microphone and looking at the drummer at back of stage, bass guitarist smiling, guitarist looking seriously at her guitar. All have microphones and there are a lot of amplifiers on stage.

photo (c) Val Wilmer

PMT in performance. Keyboardist, saxophonist, singer and drummer. Many microphones and amplifiers, and a woman audience member dancing in front of the stage.

photo (c) Val Wilmer

*

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.

The songsheet contains lyrics to the tunes of 'Consider Yourself', 'Freight Train' ('Civil rights are going so fast'), 'Step by Step' ('Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won.' Words by Sweet Honey in the Rock, tune by the USA's Union of Mineworkers, and 'We Shall Not Give Up the Fight.'

'Every Dyke (Dib Dib)' - 'There's just one thing in this modern day, every dyke needs to come out and say, I am here, I'm here to stay. Every dyke needs to have some real good friends.' 'Abseiling Along' - 'There at the Lords, dykes descending in hordes.'

Music and lyrics to Neil Sedaka's 'Breaking Up is Hard to Do', protesting the break up of the GLC by Thatcher.

*

Pro-Motion

From the Spare Rib column headed 'Music', an item by Lucy O'Brien about new 'all woman company, Pro-motion,' sited above the Rough Trade office in London N.1, 'recently formed to publicise indie releases and small bands. Among their clients are Toxic Shock, Poison Girls and Onyeka.' Writer Lucy discusses a problem she finds regarding criticising womne's music. How to be critical, when positivity 'may mean accepting what is sometimes (let's face it) second rate.'?

Spare Rib 153, 1985

*

Proper Little Madams 1980 ~

Cathy Evans; Kim Pickett; Sue Smythe

Derby

Recorded an album on Starward Records in 1982

'Proper Little MAdams' album coer features a black and white picture of the three women's faces, looking whimsical, on a white and green background

In the music review section of Spare Rib, Lucy Whitman opines that the trio 'are very talented singers' but 'it would be good if they became as stroppy as their name suggests.'

Spare Rib 117, 1982

*

Punk

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

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2010/02/women_in_punk_t (Part 1)

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2010/03/women_in_punk_w (Part 2)

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2010/04/women_of_the_pu (Part 3)

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2010/07/women_in_punk_t_1 (Part 4)

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2010/10/women_in_punk_t_2 (Part 5)

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2011/01/punk_women_writ (Part 6)

‘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

*

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s