Band page created in 2010.
Brendan Croker is described as a sympathetic, maybe rough, pubrocker with big ears, one of the most pleasant musicians to come out of England (as described by a German folk magazine). He came to professional music rather late in the mid 80s, most prominently known for his work with Dire Straits offshot Notting Hillbillies.
Brendan Croker was born in 1953 in Bradford (near Leeds), where the Mekons met and were found. His love was with with country blues and folksongs: like music by Sleepy John Estes, Jesse Fuller and Blind Willie McTell. He started out in the British pub-rock-scene, never really interested in rock career thinking.
In 1976 Brendan and Steve Phillips were upstairs neighbours. On a day Brendan came to Steve with a broken guitar "like a banana". After that Steve said: 'I never got loose from him' Round '85 he gathered some musicians around him and founded the 5 O'Clock Shadows with Mark 'Mr.' Creswell: guitar, vocals Nigel Brooke: bass, vocals and Graeme 'TRaffic' Pollard: drums, percussie.
Croker didn't want top play the authentic blues or country stuff, he was always thinking of a varied mixture of related styles (Blues, Rockabilly, American Folksongs) , which should be combined in an original way. How he set his ideas into work has been compared to Ry Cooder, his rather smoky voice, his brittle guitar playing. But that never said anything against his originality.
In the early eighties Brendan played in the Hold 'Em Boys band. In 1986 he released his debut album 'A Close Shave' on the Indie label 'Unamerican Acrivities', which was only known in smaller parts of the universe. This followed several months later by his second attempt 'Boat Trips In The Bay' (originally to be released by Rhino); this time he had two new members in the 5 O'Clock Shadows: David Cury: drums and Marcus Cliffe: bass (he produced the album too).
Both records brought mainly covers of quite unknown blues- or folk songs, sometimes you hear a reggae or a south-american jive or other 'exotic' styles. In the meantime Croker along to the Shadows had another project running with an old pal: Steve Philiips, who didn't only play the guitars built built them too. This was the basis for the later Notting Hillbillies.
Through Philips, who had been friends with Mark Knopfler for some years, he got in contact with Knopfler, with whom he had already jammed around Leeds before. Mark Knopfler got interested in Brendan Croker's music and wanted to assist the duo. To the sessions he brought along Guy Fletcher, who played keyboard and guitar with Dire Straits.
Through Knopfler, Croker got contact with London musicians as well. He had been playing with the Mekons before as well as on Tanita Tikaram's debut LP, where he sang on 'He likes the sun'. For the British TV-series 'On The Big Hill' (about the climbing of Mount Everest) he wrote the soundtrack - with Guy Fletcher.
His third album 'Brendan Croker and the 5 O'Clock Shadows' was produced by John Porter. Croker was the first artist to be signed by Silvertone, Andrew Lauder's label. On this album Croker is joined by Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher from Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Tanita Tikaram and others. There were 2 Shadows left: Mark Creswell and Marcus Cliffe. (Both were jazz musicians, who had studied at the Leeds College of Music.) Now the music is much more polished, the edges are gone.
Until now Brendan Croker was relatively unknown. This changed when in 1990 the first Notting Hillbillies album was published: 'Missing ... Presumed Having A Good Time'. This was a Croker album too, some songs were sung by him, but he plays on all of them. The album sold quite well and was followed by a 6 weeks tour through the UK.
After a short intermission the 4th Shadows album was released: 'The Great Indoors'.
Brendan Croker has played 16 gigs in Leeds • Add a gig
- 2012-11-30 @ New Headingley Club
- 2012-10-06 @ Korks (Otley)
- 2011-10-09 @ Milo
- 2011-06-15 @ Headingley Stadium
- 2011-04-15 @ Korks (Otley)
- 2010-12-17 @ New Headingley Club
- 2010-10-30 @ Grove Inn
- 2009-12-04 @ Korks (Otley)
- 2009-05-29 @ Korks (Otley)
- 2008-05-28 @ Sandinista!
- 2008-02-03 @ Sandinista!
- 2007-09-02 @ Sandinista!
- 2007-04-15 @ Sandinista!
- 2006-10-30 @ Sandinista!
- 2005-04-03 @ Mixing Tin
- 2004-05-05 @ Primrose