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Larry Love, then… one half of O’CONNELL & LOVE. Born Robert Spragg, son of a Welsh Mormon preacher, with fire and brimstone eternally in his soul. Having studied law, Larry left for London at 21, with a pocket full of Woodie Guthrie lyrics.
He met Jake Black (Rev D.Wayne Love) and formed Alabama 3 in 1992, a musical “car crash” which merged Country Western songs with the burgeoning Acid House movement.
By 1997 at the height of Brit Pop, they had effectively scuppered their chances of being accepted by the established British music industry, but were picked up by Geffen Records who initially recognised that what might look like a twisted interface on paper was an effective blueprint to consolidate a long-term career in the industry.
From The Sopranos to The Simpsons, and a wide variety of projects including winning a Welsh BAFTA for the soundtrack to Welsh television series Y Pris, Larry Love has followed the adage of Bob Dylan ‘to live outside the law you must be honest’.
Brendan O’Connell met Larry in the 90s not long before the Alabama 3 signed their first deal and Brendan was in a band called Past Caring (dark Latin-y/ Irish/ Chanson indie and appearing on“The Old Purple Tin” on Alabama 3’s first album Exile on Coldharbour Lane). But in the 90s acoustic guitars and violins didn’t fit with the dance music scene. Record companies said they loved the music but couldn’t see how they could sell it.
So Brendan got his musical kicks playing banjo and mandolin in Irish trad sessions, living in Barcelona for a year, hooking up with some local Flamenco players, and picked up what he could. From there to Caracas, Venezuela, where he became great friends with Joropo musicians and against a background of attempted coups, murder and social chaos they performed in a band, Los Calabozenos. Those diverse influences still surface in all Brendan’s music.
After returning to London, he wrote for Brixton-based urban country band “The Messengers of God” when Larry approached him to co-write much of his first solo album Ghost Flight in 2006.
Brendan is always writing songs and playing music so when he and Larry decided to write a follow up album to Ghost Flight, they had over 30 songs to choose from – but for many reasons it took 7 years to finish the album. Life just gets in the way!
So, Larry and Brendan had written the songs for their new album. Now they needed to find a band.
Along came Doc Williams on bass, Owen If, another Brixton resident, the drummer for The Stereo MCs and also a great swing/ rock n roll drummer, brought his unique style to the band.
He also brought one of the best jobbing guitarists from that circuit Jeff Mead, with an array of fantastically shaped and coloured guitars and virtuoso lap steel playing that formed the perfect team.
Ladies and gentleman of the congregation – and all those in between, welcome to O’CONNELL & LOVE!