17 October 2011

Reupload - Kes Wyndham - Broken Bicycle


Label: Pye
Year of Release: 1971


"The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles...when a man lets things go so far that he is more than half a bicycle, you will not see him so much because he spends a lot of his time leaning with one elbow on walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones."
Flann O'Brien "The Third Policeman"

I freely admit that I have absolutely no idea whether or not Kes Wyndham's wistful "Broken Bicycle" tune is inspired by Flann O'Brien's bike-obsessed police officers in the "Third Policeman" novel. However, lyrically it certainly seems to have several key pointers - "We were one body of flesh and of steel" he sings mournfully, whisking the listener away into a hellish, surreal world where men may become methods of two wheeled transportation at any time.

It has to be said, "Broken Bicycle" is a rum little piece of work, being a subtly orchestrated ballad about the end of one woman's love affair with her jilted Raleigh. It comes drenched in the slightly twee, pie-eyed melodies of the sixties despite its 1971 release date, and was considered good enough to work its way on to the Ripples series of compilation albums (volume three - "Autumn Almanac"). Sadly, there is no information about who Kes Wyndham was or what else he did in the booklet, which is usually the compiler's polite way of sidestepping the issue that nobody has the slightest clue. I certainly don't either, but if the possibility of some royalties cheques can't smoke Mr Wyndham out of his hole, I sorely doubt I mention on this blog will. Still, Kes - if you happen to chance on this entry, please let us know what else you got up to.

The A-side "Honey Call Me Home" is less pleasing, being a rather middle-of-the-road ballad lacking a sufficient hook. I've included it in the download so people can satisfy their curiosities. I doubt anybody would have had more luck with this single if they'd flipped the sides around, since "Broken Bicycle" is far too subtle to crash the charts, but it might possibly have established Kes Wyndham as an interesting artist to watch.

(This entry originally went live in June 2009. Kes never did get in touch - I can't say I'm particularly surprised.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

its such a solemn music. thanks for the download link. i love it!



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Anonymous said...

How bizarre. I just bumped into Kes Wyndham who now lives in Bournemouth. I am sure that any royalty cheques will be gratefully received by him - if only so he can repair his ancient car (not a bicycle).

23 Daves said...

He lives! He breathes! He clearly left his bicycle out to rust in the rain - the git!

Thanks for the information, Anonymous. This blog has actually had some Google searches from other people trying to ascertain his whereabouts, so I'm sure any extra information would be appreciated, especially if he's still performing.

Anonymous said...

He lives in Bournemouth. Very charming man. Saw him yesterday.

Christabel Gordon said...

Yes Kes Wyndham is the charming man someone else has mentioned. His real name is Tony Fabian and he lives in Bournemouth and I know would love to know that these entries have been written about him.
He still has a wonderful voice and I feel he was definitely one who got away and so deserved to break into the music business. If anyone wants to get in touch with me at info@lavender-room.org I am in touch with him regularly and his two sons in their 30's would also be interested in their Dad's career. I am the eternal optimist and 'It is never too late'

Anonymous said...

Amazing to find out about Kes Wyndham. I used to front a breakfast show on local radio and kept playing One More Mile (And Darlin I'll Be Home). Great song, well sung and a massice mistake for it not to be a hit.

If Mr W reads this. Thank you for such a fab record

Keith

Becky Hunter said...

Hi I'm sat here with Kes as I type!!! What a great man!! Please contact me as he'd love to get in touch with you becky852002@gmail.com

Mary said...

I would love to say hello to Kes. I heard his truck driver song on the radio late one night when I was just 14 and loved it...did not know the artist or even the title and never heard it again.
Over the next 40 years or so I did not forget that song and went on trying to track it down...then one day I googled truck driver songs and someone mentioned Kes. When I clicked on I expected to be disappointed again but there it was...that haunting voice.
Thank you Kes. Mary x

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