The BPA 'I Think We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat'
The Brighton Port Authority was an outfit who built a huge word-of-mouth reputation on England’s south coast from the early 1970s before petering out in the mid-‘90s. From what can be pieced together, they were a loose-limbed jamming unit. At its core were musicians Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and Simon Thornton, who gathered various singers and session men around them, built the rather ramshackle BPA studio, and would occasionally hold multi-day warehouse parties from which their semi-legendary reputation stems.
The BPA’s modus operandi appears to have been to convene for sessions at times pre-agreed according to astrological principles laid out by their guru Baba Ganoush, sadly now deceased. These sessions are classic, notably a song called ‘Local Town’ sung by Jamie T some time in the late ‘70s. Lots of other artists crossed paths with the BPA, although many deny ever having had met them. The vocal on a catchy number called ‘Toe Jam’ is patently David Byrne, despite his reticence on the subject, and at some point during The BPA’s ‘mauve spell’, when Cook and Thornton insisted they could only record on equipment painted mauve, Martha Wainwright stopped by and laid down the vocals for a dubbed out track called ‘Spade’. X-Press 2’s Ashley Beedle is one of the few who acknowledges his presence at BPA sessions, the results being the rock-steady ‘Should I Stay Or Should I Blow.’
“It would have been a tragedy if this material had been lost,” says Seal, “It’s been called Norman Cook’s ‘Smile’ and it’s certainly been hidden from public eye about as long as Brian Wilson’s masterpiece. The BPA are a very different kettle of fish, though, and I can’t wait to hear these songs played at a modern disco. I want to see what the young people think.”
He will very shortly have his chance and, given the stone cold grooves of songs such as ‘Dirty Sheets’ and ‘Jumps The Fence’ it seems likely that people, both young and old, will finally be able to wrap their ears around a long lost treasure.