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Sheppey and Sittingbourne band The Charms re-release The Red Sessions from 1993 on vinyl

What do you do if you were in a semi-successful pop band in the 1990s tipped for the top and want to have another crack at the charts?

If you were in Sittingbourne and Sheppey group The Charms, forged from the remains of Newsflash and Three O’Clock, you root through your old demo tapes and re-release them along with a new video.

VIDEO: The Charms - Hello My Friend (filmed on the Isle of Sheppey)

The band's legendary 'red sessions' recorded at Medway's former Red Studios back in the day and released on cassette tape are now available on a limited edition of 250 red retro vinyl LPs.

The music still features the distinctive twangy guitar of Teynham's Dave Crunden and the haunting vocals of former newspaper scribe-turned PR Andy Gray from Sheppey.

His dulcet tones can still be heard barking out live commentaries at Sheppey United football matches. He went on to front Jel which emerged from The Charms and won over many new fans.

The Charms, now all in their 50s, also featured bass-playing builder Jon Gower and forensic scientist Neville Broad on drums. Both are from Sittingbourne. Matt Brewer who provided the throbbing Hammond organ, comes from Rochester.

The eight-track demo tape garnered favour with talent scouts from East West and Sony Records who turned up on one memorable Thursday night in April 1993 at north London's rock venue The PowerHaus to hear the band. The place was heaving with two coachloads of over-excited fans who had trekked up the M2.

Early 90s Swale band have re-released their 1993 demo tape on vinyl
Early 90s Swale band have re-released their 1993 demo tape on vinyl

Inthe audience was drummer Neville Broad's brother-in-law Roger Kasper, a former News of the World reporter, who took it upon himself to review the lads. He awarded them five stars and wrote: "They unleash their power pop-rock set to the adoring masses from Medway and sweaty Swale faithful."

He went on: "With jangly guitar, swirling keyboards, urgent bass, snare-driven drums, searing voice and lyrics, The Charms lived the early 90s dream and gave their audience a vivid picture of how pop should have been in 1993. They charmed me!"

All we need now is a reunion.

Guitarist Dave, who is something in electronics, teased: "We want to promote the LP, plus it will be great to play again, especially some of these early Charms songs. We are a bit like The Eagles - we never split, we just took a long break. Saying that, we have always managed to do the odd few gigs every year. Who knows, maybe there could even be a tour in 2022?"

The lads have already made a promotional video for Hello My Friend shot on Sheppey with archive footage including former Islander Michael Crawford driving a car off Sheerness jetty for his TV show Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.

Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em filming at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey for a Christmas special. Picture: Barry Hollis
Michael Crawford as Frank Spencer in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em filming at Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey for a Christmas special. Picture: Barry Hollis

Nev said: "The video is focussed around where we grew up and practised our craft. The early 90s were a great time to live on Sheppey, as were the 70s when it had a funfair vibe. Happier times."

He added: "Although I live in Sittingbourne my heart is still in Minster-On-Sea. We practised on the Island twice a week in my parents’ garage in Scarborough Drive - one of the key venues in the video."

The original demo tape was produced by Graham Semark of Cyclone Productions and The Charms.

The LP called The Red Sessions (1992-1993) took a day to remaster and is available on Kanteen Records for £25 (£10 download) with a cover and sleeve designed by Martin Eaves of Artwork & Design.

Tracks are America; Dear Popstar; Sad; Hello My Friend; My Weekend; Julia; She Don’t Tell Lies; I Think You Ought To Know and Easy Now.

Producer Graham Semark with The Red Sessions the new LP from Sittingbourne and Sheppey 90s band The Charms
Producer Graham Semark with The Red Sessions the new LP from Sittingbourne and Sheppey 90s band The Charms

For details email thecharms@btinternet.com or visit The Charms Facebook page.

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