WELCOME TO THE CHILDREN OF THE MIST!

70s Sunshine Pop – Better by

When it came to brightening up the day in the early 1970s, few British pop groups could better Design at letting in a little ‘sunshine’.

Their 50th anniversary is marked this April (2019) with the 20-track nostalgia romp that is ‘Children of The Mist – The Best of Design’ (Market Square; MDMCD206).

Children of the Mist celebrates Design’s finest moments from their first four albums, along with two unreleased tracks featuring Geoff and Gabrielle, ‘Precious and Few’ and ‘For a Friend’, later re-recorded for the fifth album after they had left the group.

Bonus material features three previously unreleased songs: ‘White Bernadette’, from their first-ever recording session in April 1969, and ‘It’s Been a Lot of Fun’ and ‘You’re Not Being Kind to Me’, two Barry Alexander demo recordings from 1974/75.

Available in CD digipack format including a new essay on the band by music writer Kingsley Abbott, illustrated extensively with archive images, and for streaming/download

Track listing:

01 WHEREVER YOU MAY GO
02 COLOURED MILE
03 THE JET SONG
(WHEN THE WEEKEND’S OVER)
04 THE MINSTREL’S THEME
05 PRECIOUS AND FEW
06 I’LL BE BACK AGAIN
07 NATURE’S CHILDREN
08 WILLOW STREAM
09 IF YOU THINK ABOUT ME
10 ONE SUNNY DAY
11 THE TIME HAS COME
12 DAY OF THE FOX
13 CHILDREN OF THE MIST
14 TAKE A BOAT
15 LOVE IS
16 YELLOW BIRD (HAVE YOU NO HOME)
17 FOR A FRIEND

BONUS TRACKS:
18 WHITE BERNADETTE (Previously Unreleased)
19 IT’S BEEN A LOT OF FUN (Demo)
20 YOU’RE NOT BEING KIND TO ME (Demo)

BUY THE BEST OF DESIGN NOW!

DESIGN – THE STORY

Rooted in Southern California in the mid-1960s, ‘sunshine pop’ came to be the term associated with a melange of feel-good easy listening and folk rock, characterised by lush vocals and light arrangements.

The Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas and the 5th Dimension were amongst the key progenitors Stateside, while over the ‘pond’ the mantle fell to a London-based collective of girls and boys, calling themselves Design.

If you were watching TV in the UK in the 1970s, the chances are that you will have seen and heard this memorable vocal harmony group perform, not least as few other acts got called back to appear on mainstream entertainment shows so often.

Design on The Morecambe & Wise Show 1971

In their eight-year lifespan, Design guested on over 50 primetime TV shows, ‘house band’ for legends such as Morecambe & Wise, The Two Ronnies, Val Doonican, Benny Hill, Nana Mouskouri and Tommy Cooper. Millions of viewers watching their heroes watched Design, too.

The six-piece, comprising Barry Alexander, Gabrielle Field, Kathy Manuell, Jeff Matthews, John Mulcahy-Morgan and Geoff Ramseyer, released five albums and thirteen singles between 1969 and 1976, establishing a special niche across Europe for their highly melodic, shimmering and pretty pop songs, winning them widespread regard as ‘Britain’s 5th Dimension’.

Upping the quality stakes were the musicians working on the band’s releases, a roster including the likes of Clem Cattini, Herbie Flowers, Alan Hawkshaw and Chris Spedding.

Arrangements came in from Alan Parker, Syd Dale and Herbie Flowers, while productions duties fell to the talents of Adrian Kerridge and Robert Kirby.

In his notes for this April 2019 50th Anniversary compilation of their work, culled from their albums Design, Tomorrow Is So Far Away, Day of the Fox and In Flight, along with three previously unreleased tracks, Kingsley Abbott writes:

“For most of the sixties, any British groups with an interest in vocal harmonies looked first to what was happening on the American charts.

“As the decade rolled on, British groups were producing music that could stand shoulder to shoulder with their American cousins.

“This collection of Design’s recordings proves exactly how improved they had become. It is evident from their dipping and soaring vocals that Design were at least the Americans’ equals.”

Design, London, 1970

Design, London, 1970

Singer and songwriter Tony Smith formed Design while he was working at the BBC in London in December 1968. The group then signed a recording contract with Adrian Kerridge of Lansdowne Studios and recorded their first album Design during the summer of 1969. This led to a two-album deal with Epic Records in the USA.

In November 1970, shortly before the first album was released, Tony Smith left the group and he was replaced by guitarist Jeff Matthews, who had been with John and Geoff in the group Free Expression.

This was Design’s most successful line-up and after their appearances on The Morecambe and Wise Show in 1971, they became one of the most televised groups in the UK, guesting on dozens of programmes, watched by millions.

They toured with Gilbert O’Sullivan, starred in cabaret and at the London Palladium, and recorded the albums Tomorrow Is So Far Away, Day of the Fox and In Flight before Gabrielle Field and Geoff Ramseyer left the group in October 1974.

‘At Home’, 1972

‘At Home’, 1972

Barry, John, Kathy and Jeff carried on as a four-piece group and recorded one more album By Design before finally splitting up in October 1976.

Since then, Design’s albums have become much sought after by record collectors and they have been highly praised by music critics in magazines and books such as Shindig! and Galactic Ramble.

More Design History here

DESIGN ONLINE! Visit the official Design web site: www.designvocalgroup.com

DESIGN ON FILM!

DESIGN TV APPEARANCES!

Episode dated 9 August 1970
Episode dated 16 January 1972
Episode dated 8 September 1974
Episode dated 6 September 1970
Episode dated 12 September 1970
Episode #5.7 1971
Episode #6.2 1971
Episode #6.6 1971
Episode #7.5 1973
Episode #1.1 1971
Episode #1.2 1971
Episode #1.3 1971
Episode #1.4 1971
Episode #1.5 1971
Episode #1.6 1971
Episode dated 22 November 1971
Episode dated 6 February 1972
Episode dated 15 April 1972
Episode dated 13 May 1972
Episode dated 29 April 1972
Episode dated 9 August 1972
Episode dated 21 April 1973
Episode dated 24 June 1972
Episode dated 19 August 1972
Episode dated 29 August 1972
Episode #5.7 1972
Episode dated 21 November 1972
Episode #1.3 1972
Episode #1.1 1973
Episode #1.2 1973
Episode #1.3 1973
Episode #1.4 1973
Episode #1.5 1973
Episode #1.6 1973
Episode #1.7 1973
Episode dated 3 February 1973
Episode dated 5 March 1973
Episode dated 13 May 1973
Episode #3.2 1973
Episode dated 16 November 1973
Episode dated 27 November 1973 (Portuguese TV)
Episode dated 2 January 1974
Episode dated 24 April 1974
Episode dated 26 January 1974
Episode #5.3 1974
Episode dated 18 February 1974
Episode dated 7 June 1974 (Yugoslavian TV)
Episode dated 2 October 1974 (Dutch TV)
Episode dated 28 October 1974
Episode dated 31 December 1974

DESIGN IN THE NEWS!

Record Mirror

“With backing musicians who read like a who’s who of top session men, the voices blend with an intuitive musicianship that really scores. They are wistful, then joyous … switching moods with positive ease … this one stands out. Way out.”

New Musical Express

“It’s difficult to categorise this group – there are so many different influences, yet the approach is essentially individualistic … for the more discriminating fan to savour.”

BBC Radio 1 (Noel Edmonds)

“One of the best vocal groups in the world … and British to boot!”

Galactic Ramble

 “… virtually defines the word “whimsical”, offering gentle, melodic folk-pop with lush harmony vocals … while the best cuts manage a shimmering, almost psychedelic, West Coast feel. Overall, the perfect musical accompaniment to a garden in the blazing sunshine.”

DustyGrooveAmerica.com

 “… a UK combo whose boy/girl vocal harmonies and super sunny sound carried on the tradition of some of our favorite Californian groups of the late 60s – and they’re so good at hitting that vibe, it’s hard to believe they don’t hail from the West Coast!”

Hi-Fi World

“… a group who espoused the flower power vibe in a very approachable fashion. Many readers will be familiar with them but might not realise it. If you spent your childhood watching Morecambe & Wise, Tommy Cooper and Val Doonican on TV then Design would regularly be seen singing their happy little hearts out. They released thirteen singles and five albums before the group’s demise in 1976. I expected kitsch but found quality.”

Shindig!

“… a top live draw that enjoyed countless outings on The Morecambe and Wise Show and its ilk during the first half of the ’70s but never achieved success as recording artists. 1970’s self-titled debut oozes butterscotch goodness, its flawless massed vocal harmonies adorning folk-pop gems like ‘The Minstrel’s Theme’. By the time of 73’s Day of the Fox, more disparate influences are at play – witness the folky title track and the Curved Air/Hammer Horror overtones of ‘Pisces Hymn’. On In Flight there’s little dip in the standard of the music. ‘A Famous Myth’ (recorded for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack by US soft-pop gods The Groop, whose ‘Jet Song’ is also covered here) threatens to blow the original out of the water – seriously!”

Record Collector

“Superlative shimmery sunshine pop. Sometimes likened in the UK to acts such as The New Seekers, Design were in fact so much more, staying very much on pop’s adventurous side. Among the self-penned songs they included a smattering of covers, including two from obscure US sunshine act The Groop, Carole King’s ‘I Feel The Earth Move’ and a radical re-working of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. It is, however, the richness of their original material – with dipping and soaring vocal lines – that really sticks. You’d be mad to miss out on this second chance to hear the grand Design.”

BUY THE BEST OF DESIGN NOW!

CHILDREN OF THE MIST – THE BEST OF DESIGN

(MDMCD206)

Marketed and distributed by Market Square Music Ltd through Proper Music Distribution

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Contact Peter Muir via this form – tel: 00 44 (0)1280 308010