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The Prisoners

With Makin’ Time doing great things live and on record - and at the cash registers – the future looked brought for Stiff’s offshoot mod label, Countdown.  Their regular club nights at the Clarendon Hotel and the 100 Club attracted their next major signing.  Enter Chatham four-piece The Prisoners, starring Graham Day (vocals), Jamie Taylor (Hammond organ), Allan Crockford (bass) and Johnny Symons (drums) who delivered the fourth Countdown single, Whenever I'm Gone (VAIN 4).

Taylor is the pivotal name among them, with his organ sound driving all of the Prisoners’ work and, some years later, playing a major part in the inspiration the band gave Tim Burgess and The Charlatans.  Jamie Taylor became James Taylor and formed the James Taylor Quartet with Allan Crockford, defining the 90s acid jazz scene as a band that went further, and lasted far longer, than The Prisoners ever could.

To have placed The Prisoners at one point in history, and purely in the mod bag, would be doing them a disservice.  Prolific on and off Countdown, and regrouping in every decade that’s followed, they touched on garage rock, neo-psychedelia and various other related strands.  Which is why they showed up alongside bands ranging from That Petrol Emotion to The Inspiral Carpets on Rhino Records’ Children Of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1996, a follow-up to Lenny Kaye’s definitive Nuggets set released by Elektra in 1972. 

Children Of Nuggets co-producer, Alec Palao called the collection “the missing link between artists on the original Nuggets and the ‘grandchildren of nuggets’ like The White Stripes, The Vines, The Strokes and The Hives,” pointing out that, “Despite the negligible commercial impact of most all of the artists (on the compilation), they have had an influence upon successive pop generations.  People like The Prisoners, early Primal Scream and the L.A. Paisley Underground bands all influenced the early/mid-‘90s Britpop scene; The Milkshakes and Screaming Trees - in totally different ways - helped to inspire the Northwest grunge movement; and the recent wave of neo-garage groups…”




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