Tuesday, May 08, 2007


For Why You Kicka My Donkey

A little trip down memory lane today. I finished my education by a three year stint at Redbridge Technical College, Sociology, Psychology and Communications where I studiously avoided my official studies as I held court in the pup on the other side of the green opposite the said hall of learning. It was here that I met many like minded people, our inebriated conversation would often turn around revolution and how to change and maybe even save the world. This heady subject matter would often be served with a side dish of music, whatever was new in NME or maybe something that had stuck in our head from Peel, or maybe arranging to go to a gig. Strangely enough we did not seem to know many people who actually played in bands, Dean Grant and my self rehearsed together for about three weeks under the tentative name of Mammary And The Glands, a good friend of mine, Tim Scott, a train driver by day, was the bassist with the Alsatians, one of the coolest pop bands to come from Canning Town who released the one single 'Teen Romance', and that was about as close as we got to rock 'n' roll in suburban Essex in the late 70's. Then by good luck I was to meet a shy retiring girl called Sema at college who grabbed my attention, little my little we became friends, she as well was a big fan of music, and she wasted no time in telling me about her older brother Joe who was the guitarist / song writer in a band. The name of the band was the Brakes, not to be confused with the Brighton based band these boys were from the East End of London with a base in Walthamstow. I guess the year was 1977 or maybe 1978, I wasted no time and caught the band live, I think the first time I saw them was at the Red Cow in Hammersmith. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good they were, a classic four piece line up that delivered a powerfull live set of US influenced power pop, with the accent firmly on power though in pop terms their songs did not lack anything excepting the necessary luck to turn them into hits. Over the course of the next 18 months I would try to get along to see them whenever possible, often I would drag some of my friends along with me who tended to agree with me that we were in the presence of a great band.
The Brakes had already been signed by Magnet Records and were preparing to record their first album 'For Why You Kicka My Donkey' that hit the shops in 1979, there were two singles lifted from the album, 'Blame It On The Brakes' and 'The Way I See It', both of which failed to trouble the charts. The general consensus of opinion at the time was that the album failed to live up to the bands live promise lacking the punch of their gigs. I for one was the proud owner of a number of cassettes of their demo recording, which I have long since mislaid, and knew only too well that they they could deliver a much more spunky sound in the studio. The band never got round recording a second album, and I have no idea what became of Keith Wilson - vocals and guitar, Joe Fadil - guitar and vocals, Bob Renny - bass and vocals, John Brown - drums excepting that by the turn of the decade they were no more, there was a rumour that Steve Marriot wanted them as his backing band but nothing ever materialised. A shame really as they had genuine penitential, with their song writing partnership that was more than capable of delivering songs that Tom Petty would be proud of. Still they have left me with great memories and until recently that was all I had as my copy of their long deleted album had been left behind in Italy in the mid eighties and so it was 20 years since I had heard it, though I still knew all the songs by heart. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a German record dealer selling a new factory sealed copy for 10 euros, and so I am now the proud owner once again of 'For Why You kicka My Donkey'. I was more over the moon to say the least to hear these songs again and maybe I'm a little biased but I honestly think the 10 originals and the Bob Dylan cover stand up well today. It is not something I do very often as so much music has been re released in recent years, and yes I do believe in copyright and artists being paid, though I think the chances of this becoming available on CD or even digitally are negligible, so here are the 11 tracks that were 'For Why You Kicka My Donkey'. Enjoy.

Side One
1. 'What Am I Gonna Do?'
2. 'I Don't Know Nothing About Hollywood'
3. 'Doing Life'
4. 'Who's That Man?'
5. 'Like A Rolling Stone'
6. 'Blame It On The Bakes'
Side Two
1. 'The Way I See It'
2. 'Last Man At The Station'
3. 'Strange Man In The City'
4. 'Yesterday's Arrival'
5. 'It's A Shame'


Thank you so much for putting these tracks up online, you have just transported me back to to 1979 and my last year at college.

I had a contact today via Friends Reunited from someone who I knew from Royal Holloway college called Martin Allcock. We were huge fans of the Brakes and he mentioned them in his email. I was bemoaning the fact that I had never been able to get a copy of the tracks and although I still have my original LP it was very worn from repeated playing. I also still have my original Brakes badge, although I no longer wear it. I've Googled for the band in the past but never found anything until now.

The first time I saw them was at The Nashville in Olympia, I also was at the Red Cow and Marquee. They were my favorite band and I spent more time going to see them than doing my college course (Photography at PCL in London).

In my loft I have a whole load of Photos of the band, if you would like some copies (scans) then please let me know. Thanks so much I just remembered what it was like to be 21 again!
Hi Chris
My ex-husband was manager of The Brakes (formerly Bremmer & Kane - try googling that).
He just died and I'm trying to collect stuff for his 17 year old son. Any pictures you have would be v. much appreciated.
Hello...I know the brakes well..Joe is in cyprus at the moment..Bob Renny (of sam apple pie fame as well) still plays with John (josh) Brown..He was also the drummer on the Birdie sing..They offered him royalties or a set session payment, He thought what a crap record, that wont sell and took the session payment..oop's..
I've been trying to get hold of this...could you please repost those links :)
Great album, I had it, played it to death, lost it and now I want it again. Adictive real sounds raw lyrics that work they dont make em like that any more. It gave me a boost finding this website thanks and lets get back to the 80's. Good times. :-) Julian.
Wow, what a blast from the past! I loved Bremmer and Kane. Went out with Joe for a year circa 74/75 and had a great time going to gigs etc. They were an amazing band live. Shame they didn't do better. I hope they're well and happy!
Bob Rennie was an old school pal of mine back in the early sixties. I last had a pint with him at a pub in Stoke Newington in 76 and haven't seen him since. Does anyone know where I can catch up with him?

Allan Mac
Yes, please please repost those links - I can't play my old Brakes vinyl anymore ...
Oh yeah, please. I love the album, still got it on vinyl, but it's not listenable anymore ...
Hi all, this was a great read, my dad is John Brown the drummer of The Brakes. I loved reading this and to know that their music was enjoyed by others is fantastic. It's my dad's 60th birthday on the 1st of august and I want to make a collage of his life, if anyone has any pictures or anything of the brakes please send them to mitchell-brown@live.co.uk .

I'll be adding this web-page to the collage my dad will love to see this!
Mike was a great mate of mine, we were at redbridge tech, boy did we see some memorable gigs.I remember Sema, was a good friend and yes she told me of her brother being in The Brakes,never did get round to getting the lp but have only just acquired a greek copy which is on its way as i write this.If anyone knows of Abramson's whereabouts or how to contact him pls get in touch : khal1977@msn.com
the links to the tracks don't seem to be working :(

please could you re upload?

been wanting to hear this album for years.
I just had a nice chat with Jo the guitarist who tracked me down from this link. I'm going to sort out some of the photos and I'll put them up on a web page.

It was lovely to talk to him and I'm amazed that he still has one of the photos I took of him on his wall.
I am still in touch with both Joe and Keith from the Brakes. I last saw Bob about 10 years ago, I think he lives in Suffolk these days. Josh I last saw maybe 5 years ago.
Keith has written some brilliant songs since the Brakes; I think he has a YouTube channel with them but I don't have the link to hand. I'll post it later when I find it.
I caught up with Sam Sampson of Sam Apple Pie fame and he had Bob Renney's mobile number - we are now back in touch.
Thanks. Mac
This site is rubbish. One of my top-ten albums and no matter how I try I can't register (I'm an IT pro). Anybody know where I can download or buy this album (LP was stolen and E-Mule download was trashed by my darling daughter.

Blame it on the Brakes!..tony
E-mail tony.arnold@itu.int
yea me and Joe still see each other We've been talking about doing some gigs but can we play instruments whilst holding on to zimmer frames? Ha ha!!!!!!
Bob the bass
So good to know we're remembered with such affection.

I have mp3s of the album and can be reached at keith.wilson650@ntlworld.com

There's talk of a reunion.... stay tuned and watch this space.
well well, i was in my 1st year of senior school, my bro used to come and collect me in "The Stranglers" rangerover with a load of cronies getting me "hi" as a kite on route to the marquee or alike, to go and watch them, great buzz 12 years old and crashing out of school to go to gigs in london...
they were not bad musicians and the songs were not bad either as we were all very close i used to go to keiths in stanley rd woodford and listen to the demos then keiths wife jan used to do a tape for my mum and then they used to get the vote from her "No1" fan!!
and i used to tell josh next day as we rattled down shernall street walthamstow, in our trusty unigate milkfloat....when i was a lad!!
well i was shocked so many people remember them its really cool i thought i was the only one!!!
I used to go to school with Joe
Hi all my dad was good friends with bob renny in the 60s and would really like to contact him can anyone please help? Steve@Stevereynolds.Co.UK
Josh was an old friend and I would love to know that how's he doing these days. Frank
I used to go to school with Keith - Brook secondary loughton
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