I think the average music listener would say “pub rock? What’s that?” Even avid rock collectors have no clue. Similar to the roots rock movement in the USA from the late ’80’s into the 1990’s, pub rock was a subgenre that came about in London in the early 1970’s. Not really a style, it’s named after the venue most of the music was played. It’s a direct response to the production gloss of the Beatles, the debaucherous pomp of the Rolling Stones, the power of the Who, and the bombast popular in the early ’70’s in England – namely Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd et al.
In one word, the best way to describe pub rock is “EASY”. It’s rock mixed with country mixed with blues with a touch of jazz = good timin’ music tailor made to listen while you blow the froth off of a couple. Simple, straightforward, and back-to-basics– Here’s a great example of pub rock at its best http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLBZlpe2m8k
Spearheaded by the American group Eggs Over Easywhen they began playing Monday Nights at the Tally Ho pub in London, a fad was created, and bands followed what is known as the “pub circuit”. Brinsley Schwarz is the best known pub rock group (primarily because their frontman, Nick Lowe, is a star in England). Rockpile (featuring Lowe and Dave Edmunds) has their origins on the pub circuit. Other bands, like Dr. Feelgood, Ducks Deluxe (the first pub group I ever heard), Ernie Graham,Kursaal Flyers, Bees Make Honey, Kilburn and the High Roads, Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers, Help Yourself, Man and Frankie Millerplayed a major part in the development of pub rock (among others, even Elvis Costello can trace his roots to pub rock).
I have to thank Matt Sams for piquing my interest in this type of music. I already owned two Ducks Deluxe records when he introduced me to Eggs Over Easy–without that, it’s doubtful I’d ever develop an interest. Their only record is fabulous, and they are one of the best one-off groups I’ve ever heard. Check ’em out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jK8FUmP57x0
To me, pub rock is fun, lively, and EASY. I’ve been listening to Brinsley Schwarz and Frankie Miller for many years now, Kilburn and the High Roads and Man for a while, and I just started into Help Yourself and Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers.
Superb listening, and a hell of a good time.