In 1990 Brian Smedley brought his politically satirical music into a common project alongside some other Bridgwater songwriters and ‘clang!’ we had the SPANNERS.

   Smedley (guitar/accordion/vocals) also wrote folk satire with vocalist/harmonica player Mac McCausland-collaborations such as ‘I like a Glass of Beer Now and Then’ and ‘New Age Boogie Man’

(‘I used to drive a chevrolet and a long white cadillac, but now I’ve a citreon 2CV with stickers on the back’) and girl next door pop whimsy with singer Alexia Vernon ‘When Teddy’s Gone’,’Emilio Estevez (,I think you’re really nice)’ and ‘I’m in Love (but you’re in Dagenham Essex)’ whilst bass player Matt Bartlett introduced a new style of folk/ska/pop to the band with his own compositions ‘’Never Can See The Light’ and ‘My Girl From France’.

   Some of the early musical highlights included ‘Flags With the Middles Ripped Out’-written at the time of the Collapse of the Berlin Wall (‘the Red stars gone from Budapest, Ceacescus got 3 holes in his vest’) and ‘Stalin Was a Really Nice Bloke’ (He could have done things better-like not killed so many people…’)

   The name The Spanners came from the groups working class heroes the Spinners who, similarly, wore chunky sweaters and came from Liverpool unlike the Spanners-but would almost definitely have appreciated the ear-fingered singing style of Mac McCausland.. And his beard.

   The band recorded a cassette album in Spring 1990 ‘I like a Glass of Beer Now and Then’ (live at the Arts Centre) on the Sheep Worrying label (the cover featured Karl Marx in a chunky sweater) and gigged extensively through the early 90’s with  Kevin Freeman on drums but by the mid 90’s had fractured into different projects after Vernon left the band to go to University.  The most successful offshoot,THE VISITORS , featured the now blossoming talent of Bartlett as singer frontman and included Smedley on 6 string bass, Freeman on drums and later Vernon back  in on backing vocals.

   One of the last songs written by the band was ‘Don’t be so Bloody Miserable’ (‘John Lennon could be writing songs today, if he hadn’t had half his body blown away..Mull of Kintyre, Mary had a little lamb, did you ever think mark Chapman might have shot the wrong man’)

   Smedley,Bartlett and McCausland got together in 1998 with Gary’ Pub Prat of the Year’ Di Campo on bongoes, to tour the Czech Republic and played the Paul Robeson 100th Anniversary festival at the Pyramid Theatre Prague.


Sedgemoor Contemporary Music Group, Sheep Worrying,
The Dangerous Brothers
, Club Whoopee, The Sedgemorons,
Red Smed and the Hot Trot Smash the System Boogie Band
, The Spanners, The Visitors, The Funbunnies, Thermo Lovelies, Dexter Brinks, Bikeshed, Copyright Rita,
Bridgwater - Czech / Slovak Friendship Society, Back to the Bridgwater page

Milos Salus 1999