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The Count Bishops

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Biography

Although amounting to little more than a footnote in the early days of English punk rock, the Count Bishops were a fine, energetic, R&B-based band capable of kicking out a fierce racket of noise that sounded like a grimier version of seminal British R&B revivalists Dr. Feelgood. Originally fronted by journeyman American singer Mike Spencer, the Count Bishops' 1975 debut EP, Speedball, released on Ted Carroll's wonderful Chiswick Records, was a straight-ahead slice of R&B that featured the spooky, exhilarating "Train, Train." Surprisingly, the band unceremoniously dumped Spencer and recorded their self-titled debut with fellow Englishman Dave Tice, who had a voice so gruff it sounded as though he gargled with ground glass. A ripsnorting live record followed (by this time they had dropped "Count" from their name), but it was clear that the band was simply treading water. By 1979, the thoroughly mediocre Cross Cuts was released to public apathy, guitarist Zenon de Fleur was killed in a car wreck, and lead guitarist Johnny Guitar hooked up with Dr. Feelgood. The Bishops called it a career. ~ John Dougan

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