The Primitives were from Coventry and formed in 1985. They filled the gap post-Smiths and pre-Stone Roses and I bloody loved them. Their first single was ‘Thru The Flowers’ which was released in May of 1986. I’ve got it on super sexy seven inch and I am open to offers. It’s not the same version that appeared on their debut album ‘Lovely’. Initially, they were very primitive and all the songs were noisy and sloppy because that is how they played. The obvious focal point was Tracy Tracy who was cute as cute and looked a bit like Ruth Ellis (the last woman to be hanged in Britain). The others dressed head to toe in black, wore skinny jeans and pointy boots and had Ringo Starr circa 1965 haircuts. Paul the guitarist was clearly in love with Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground and had a great collection of guitars. The band went through more line-up changes than Spinal Tap. The original drummer Pete Tweedie wasn’t very good, so most of their early stuff was actually done with a drum machine (something most people don’t realize) and Pete would play the ride or hi hat. They released six singles with the sixth being a re-recorded version of ‘Thru The Flowers’ before they eventually signed to RCA in 1987.
In 1988 the album ‘Lovely’ was released and it is brilliant. It was a night and day change from their early singles. All of a sudden they knew how to play their instruments. The first change they made was getting rid of Pete the drummer. The other key to their sound was producer Paul Sampson who went back through all their old demos and found ‘Crash’ a song they had scraped. This was their only big hit and became a bit of an albatross for them. You’ve probably heard it. That guy from Busted has got a version out just now. It’s in the new Mr Bean movie. Honestly! Anyway, sales inevitably diminished, and the band continued to release great singles that only myself bought. ‘You Are The Way’ being a fine example. Co-written by Ian Broudie it shoulda been a massive hit. But wasn’t. The hidden jewel in their crown for me though is a track that originally appeared on the b-side of ‘Way Behind Me’ and was re-recorded with the guitarist singing. ‘All The Way Down’ is a brilliant piece of pseudo-Nuggets hammond ‘n’ bongos psychedelia and YOU NEED IT!
Of course, the band eventually petered out. Tracy added her vocals to some generic Ministry Of Sound pish dance track, and Paul is now a graphic designer. Download the 3 tracks above and remember them this way. And get over to Amazon or Play or wherever and pick up their Best Of for about £4.
tracy tracy ruth ellis