A shambling blues-rock trio of notorious obscurity – they split a 12″ EP with The And Band – who shared member Mark Thomas.
The internet articles on The Perfect Strangers/And Band axis tend to suggest that the latter were the more disciplined, but in fact The Perfect Strangers were the tighter band.
Bill’s many songs in their first set included A Haunting Refrain (“The lover did his dreadful deed and vanished out the door”) with its gorgeous riff of descending suspended 4th arpeggios, Life Goes On, with its catchy 2 note chorus and obvious similarities to early Gordons (this was the first song I watched being written), the Peter Gunn twelve bar Man (“You know that God created him, and he’s alright”), which had been written early one morning, inspired by the sight of a long-haired league player jogging past the window on a training run, the faux-disco/punk crossover rave-up Dance You Fuckers Dance, the Lovecraftian Curses, and the intricate The Man Who Knew Too Much. This early set’s piece de resistance was Robbie.
Taking the melody of The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond as its bass line, Robbie (chorus: “Robbie, och aye och!”) was a reggae song hailing the mythical return of the Scottish diaspora “We’ll never have to borrow money again/ when we return to Highland Zion evergreen”, with Robert the Bruce in place of Haile Selassie. Even the musical mechanics of songwriting was something Bill attacked more confidently and knowledgably than I did.George Henderson
They existed for a short time playing underground gigs in Christchurch around 1981. Bill Vosburgh ended up recording a split EP as Junkanoo, before forming The Bill Fosby Assassins (with Duane Zarakov), and later joining the Homebacon gang on Brother Love‘s Rock’N’Roll Criminal.
Mark Thomas passed away in 1996, and Bill Vosburgh in 2019 – the ‘Not to be Taken’ posthumous cassette release is dedicated to his memory.
- Bill Vosburgh (Junkanoo, The Bill Fosby Assassins, The After Dinner Mints, Brother Love and the Homebacon Gang, guitar / vocals)
- Helm Ruifrok (bass)
- Richard Uti (drums)
- Peter Hall-Jones
- Mark Thomas (drums, vocals)
- Duane Zarakov (Say Yes to Apes, Space Dust, King Loser, Axel Grinders, Brother Love, Cease to Exist, The Hi-tone Destroyers, The International Telepaths, Wolfskull, drums)
- Noli Me Tangere 7″ EP (w/ The And Band 1981, Self-Released, PR1041)
- Not to be Taken (2019, Independent Women Records)