To the Citadel (1990)

9 August 2006 | Por | Categorías: 80's, 90's, Discos, Grupos

I wouldn’t like that this web is a image of a lost cause demand, I only try to write about those groups who had touches me deeply all through the years, and, in most cases, they deserved more luck. The only thing I hope is that present-day records which are being commented have more fortune than some old records, although, I’m afraid that groups as for example Bill Ricchini or Fugu will never leave the independent market.

If I had to talk about groups who had been unfairly treated in the 80’s, in my opinion more than one of you will agree with me that Fire Records was an unlucky label (I will talk about them soon). This label had an amazing catalogue, but only a few groups as Close Lobsters and the Blue Aeroplanes were able to shine, although, they didn’t reach the well-deserved fame, and…what about Perfect Disaster (Their Hey, hey , hey was one of the best songs of those days) or Parachute Men? Nobody seems to remember them.

But, in my opinion, The Rain is the most ignored group in 80’s. And the injustice is not only that they had not the well deserved recognition, but nowadays, with C-86 resurgence and recovery, nobody knows The Rain. It seems they have never existed or not having published a record. No web gives a little information about the British group and It seems they will not be the protagonists in future compilations of The Sound of Leamington Spa. And, believe me, whenever you find some of the few records of The Rain, don’t miss this chance for anything in the world! The Rain was one of the best groups in the 80’s and To The Citadel is a Lp full of songs completely timeless, with classical references and elegant sound.

Our story begins in 1985 when Clive Stubbings and Chris Morrell (who came from other groups) joined together in The Rain, that same year, their first single, a 7” entitled Tom Paine, will come to light, with two themes full of melodies, classic guitars and strong bass in Tom Paine, that, with women’s choirs will turn the record into a melodic treasure, with a sound with certain degree of roughness that should be polished in the followings works. But then, bad luck came and the group was recording compilation after compilation for three years, with piezes as First of May or Bright Pavilions in tapes and fanzines which, little by little were making that they were known.
In the finals 80’s, al last a label remember The Rain, so, They take part in the catalogue of Medium Cool, where they will have the company of some great groups as Raw Herbs, Corn Dollies or a promising Popguns. It seems that, at last, fortune smiles at them and they take part in the famous compilation The Edge of the Road. Things seemed to be ok when, again, bad news came. Medium cool is going to close down, ant it finally disappeared. After this fact, some of their groups worked with Midnight Music, but it was not the case of The Rain who were now “on the street” and without label after having published Down Here, one of their best songs, in a flexi shared with Corn Dollies. The theme leaves the usual melancholy held by a contagious chorus and a rhythmical section with more spirit than never before, pure Jangle Pop and voices which join together with euphoria.

Since they were unlucky, the group had to create Orangewood, their own label which, from that moment, will publish their records. In 1990 the group publishes To the Citadel, this record is really a compilation about the whole work of the group, versions are not exactly the same than those which had been published in tapes and flexi, but nearly all of them are in this record. To the citadel begins with a declaration of love by The Byrds, one of their favourite groups, guitars sounds with Byrds style and Clive begins singing “Hi There Roger Mcguinn, this is a summer or 1968, the I was young…” this song is Hi There 1968! a true hymn with an amazing spirit which reminds to Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark. Just think about the sensation that Throwaway (Mighty Mighty) makes you feel and you will understand what you can feel if you listen to this song. St Martin’s-in- the- fields comes back to melancholy , this song is an amazing piece which is sung with depth. The followings songs are well known: Tom Paine, First of may or Down here, and another themes are new. The record gives off energy, every songs are indispensable, and there are some influences, as The Go Betweens, which appear without overshadowing the personality of a group who can’t be completely included in the C-86 or another particular trend, The Rain produces one of the best Pop record in that decade, It’s sad to think about what a little information we will hear about them.

The Rain history will end soon, next year to the publication of To the Citadel, a 12” entitles The Watercress Girl is published. The song which entitles the Ep is one of the best songs which were published by the group, and the sound is simply perfect, their songs sounds kinder than never before. Songs as Train Watching and Before the Rains Come have a certain folk style, specially the first one and One Day in Spring, my favourite theme of The Rain; voice, guitars and a simple choirs. It’s the quitter and more delicate theme of the group. This song, unfortunately, meant their final as The Rain.

And, to round off their bad fortune, they had to change their name for Clark Springs because of a dispute with another group whose name was the same. Clark Springs published to marvellous 7” in Summershine and Organgewood, a pair of themes in compilations and…that’s the end of the story. The Rain, this group deserved recognition and not the ostracism they were sentenced to.

Every references of The Rain are completely sold out and It’s very difficult to find them in Ebay. Last years have appeared some copy of To the Citadel, with relatively moderate prize. Don’t miss the opportunity the next time you find it!.

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  1. Hola,

    The Rain es otro de los muchos grupos olvidados de los 80, y es una pena porque tiene canciones maravillosas. Pero te olvidas de que por aqui si se les hizo algo de caso, en el 92 Elefant saco una cinta con demos suyas, 10 canciones en total. Claro, que mirandolo bien, no creo que se vendieran mas de 20 o 30 copias de dicha cinta. Si Elefant hubiese tenido los medios que hay ahora hace 15 años, muchas de esas cintas no habrian quedado en el olvido, estoy seguro. Hardy Boys, Home and Abroad, They go Boom, Strawberry Story, Egg…. en fin, un muy buen catalogo.



  2. Hola de nuevo, Alex

    Pues no, no creas que he olvidado la cinta de Elefant, pero confieso que en su día no me hice con ella y todavía ando lamentándome. La verdad es que las cintas de Elefant son, junto con alguno de sus primeros discos, veraderas joyitas. Es una pena que como dices vayan a quedar en el olvido puesto que las de They Go Boom!!! Home and Abroad y otras son impresionantes. A ver si algún alma caritativa se decide algún día a digitalizarlas como ya hizo en su día un común conocido (aunque hoy incluso dudo de quién lo hizo) con la de Home and Abroad, cinta (ahora cdr) que sigo escuchando con asiduidad.

    Hace poco contacté con Elefant para preguntarles de dónde había salido la versión del Going To the Sea, You Kiss Me de Bridge que aparece en la K7 Around The World Again, puesto que es distinta a la que aparece en los cd-ep correspondiente, y por el poco interés que tuvieron en darme una respuesta satisfactoria no creo que estén muy entusiasmados en recuperar alguna vez esas cintas, aunque fuera en cdr. Seguro que habría bastante gente interesada en hacerse con ellas. En fín.


  3. Hola de nuevo, yo podria ser una de las almas caritativas que digitalizara esas cintas, pero da una pereza…. en fin algun dia que este con tiempo y con ganas me pongo, te lo prometo :-). Hasta ahora solo he digitalizado 2 o 3 vinilos para probar y la cosa no sale mal. Cuando me ponga con las cintas te lo digo, pero ten paciencia.

    Un saludo y si vienes por Madrid no dudes en llamarme, bueno del 3 al 17 de septiembre apuramos las vacaciones y no estaremos por aqui. Y me jode porque me he enterado que tocan los Rezillos en el Lemonpop y me apeteceria mogollon volver a verlos, si tienes oportunidad no te los pierdas.

  4. Perfecto Alex, pero que no caiga en el olvido esa idea de digitalizar las cintas, más que nada porque a mí ya se me fastidió alguna con el paso del tiempo y no veas la pena que da perder esas canciones.

    El Lemonpop yo también me lo pierdo, para variar tengo una boda, así que en esas fechas me cruzo España y me voy para Bilbao. Pero en Octubre/Noviembre pasaré días en Madrid 🙂


  5. It’s good to see that the Rain have some fans. They were truly a wonderful band, I had the pleasure of knowing as I worked in their local record shop and they were all charming. Favourite Rain song has to be ‘Hi There 1968’, I’ve still got my signed copy of To the citadel!

  6. So glad to see some recognition for a fabulous band.
    The Rain should, if there were any justice in the world, have had way more success than they did.
    ‘1st of May’ is a blinding song.

  7. casi nunca me he sentido más enfermo de la garganta pero jamás olvidaré que hoy conocí to the citadel.
    siempre quise hacerle una especie de tributo a Grant McLennan y nunca supe como.
    dónd estaba escondido este disco?

  8. Hello,my Spanish is virtually nil So, my apologies,but mostly ,thank you very much for an excellent “testimonial” for me Clive and Tony..I am beginning to explore web-development..but we were very much a (just) pre-cd..obviously pre–internet band…unable at that time ,to take part in any of this sort of “networking”… My (largely silly) blog has a “Clark Springs” heading link to a “myspace” page that i am just adding to right now… here is a direct link to html here so it’s the long “clumsy-looking” version..
    you will have to “cut and paste” ,obviously..Probably easier to use my “website” link….i will add as much information and stuff like photos and mp3’s as i can to the site. Can i add a link to this blog from there?
    I am just in the process of adding “Talking Kent State” …i will also amend and add to the Wikipedia page about us..Founding member, Nigel Rivers who you may not have heard about ,needs to be added for a start… I just saw Nigel the other day,and he still has copies of “the Watercress Girl” 12″ single,which could be made available..
    Listening to the records again,i cant help wishing they “sounded better” had better production ,that i had been able to play better!!..but i agree with you ,that Clive’s songs are brilliant,and are just full of positive youthful energy and feelings. Serious ,but full of chutzpah!
    Chris Morrell

  9. As a part-time roadie/super fan of The Rain, and latterly Clark Springs, it warms my heart to see that the wonderful tunes in this album touched many a far flung heart.

    Thank you Chris, Tony and the masterful Mr Stebbings for these wonderful tunes.

  10. Wonderful to see a space on here for The Rain, with whom I have a sentimental and personal attachment…..Why a band never quite breaks through into the ‘Big Time’ is a complicated and sometimes soul-searching business, and The Rain never quite broke through from the mass of jangly British indie bands of the 1980s. Listening to their sole album ‘To The Citadel’ (the title perhaps a reference to the nearby ruins of Basing House, not far from the band’s birthplace in Basingstoke, England), one hears the influence of older artists like The Byrds (obviously) and Neil Young, and similarities to 80s fellow travellers like The Smiths, Microdisney, James, and so on. The Rain’s songs were catchy and memorable, a kind of Anglo-American countrified-rock, which made their mark in prestigious papers such as NME and Sounds. No, they were not overlooked at the time, but what they needed was a second album to build on the good work achieved by the first. Maybe they also needed to become favourites of DJ John Peel. Anyway, a second album was not forthcoming and, if it had been, it would almost certainly have been released under their subsequent name Clark Springs. The Rain/Clark Springs were full of promise, but for reasons best known to themselves, they ran out of steam a bit too soon to make a bigger impact…

    Chris Blackford

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