Formed in Derby, Derbyshire, England, and frequently compared to the Levellers, this band were never especially fond of their press tag of ‘crusty rock’. Although relying on the half-acoustic, half-electric songwriting pioneered by the Levellers and other contemporary folk rock groups such as Men They Couldn’t Hang, the music of the New Cranes was additionally flavoured by a strong Slavic influence. This was informed principally by Wally (vocals), who has a Ukrainian background and had previously worked as a performing Cossack dancer. He had released his own, self-financed debut collection, The Wally Album, in 1989. In the early 90s he recruited fellow Derby residents Mark (guitar), Bobby (bass), Mickey (accordion) and Chris (drums) to form the New Cranes. They signed with French label Musidisc Records and subsequently supported Stiff Little Fingers on their UK tour of 1993. Their ‘Don’t Drag My Body Down’ single was released on Vinyl Urinal Records in the same year after leaving Musidisc, and was followed by an album that attracted only minimal interest.
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