Year of Release: 1978
Wigan's Rainbow Cottage were a rum bunch of coves - an band consisting entirely of left-handed members to begin with, they were a club act who toured the UK relentlessly and made most of their money as a covers band. However, they did occasionally pop into recording studios to put out original material. Their most successful effort, "Seagull", reached number 33 in 1976, and was penned by Brian Gibbs of popsike wonders The Answers.
It's possibly due to Gibbs' involvement that "Seagull" sounds uncannily like a late sixties group ballad which has somehow found itself in the charts in 1976. It's whimsical, gentle, contemplative and actually quite sweet, and wouldn't have been completely out of place on a "Circus Days" compilation LP.
The group tried to build on the track's unlikely but modest success and failed, and continued to make most of their money from the live circuit. However, another opportunity for fame and fortune arose in 1978, namely the chance to record the theme tune for the stop motion animated children's series "Cloppa Castle", based on warring tribes in some peculiar fictional alternate reality battling over the rights to oil.
The theme tune is a busy but datedly analogue synth driven beast, beginning with psychedelic phasing and steadily building into something both strident and ridiculous. "Everyday at three o'clock/ they all sit down for tea!" we are informed forcefully, as the group summarise the general activities of the puppets in the programme with passion and gusto.
Is this intended for adult consumption? Probably not. Nonetheless, there are elements of the single which do, once again, echo the late sixties, and that's possibly not too surprising when you consider that Patrick Campbell-Lyons of the UK group Nirvana was involved with the songwriting (it would seem that Rainbow Cottage had a filofax filled with the contact details of everyone who was almost someone in the late sixties). With a slight, only passing similarity to the Crocheted Doughnut Ring's flop psych single "Happy Castle", it's a piece of dayglo silliness only a complete grump would hate. It wasn't a hit, obviously - and nor really was the programme it came from - but this is a perfectly nice burst of sunshine.
Rainbow Cottage ploughed on through numerous line-up changes until 1987, when they decided to call it a day.