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Shropshire group re-releases album after 40 years

Telford | News | Published:

Shropshire's top pop group of the late 1960s and early 1970s has this week released a "new" album – 40 years on.

Shropshire 60s and 70s pop group Ironbridge, known locally as Fluff recreate the cover of their album Ironbridge in 2010

The 1973 release by "Ironbridge" – better known to many pop-loving Salopians by their earlier name of "Fluff"– was creating such an internet stir that a record company has now re-released the album as a CD.

Austin Powell, of Bucknell, who used to manage the band all those years ago and has remained in touch since, said: "We spotted that the vinyl album, which was only ever released in France, was starting to sell for between £30 and £40.

"People seem to have turned it into a bit of a collectors' item.

"The next thing we knew, a record company in Sweden bootlegged the LP.

"We got Amazon and eBay to remove it, but every dealer and seller said that if we got a legitimate release, to let them know, because they wanted to keep on stocking it.

ds had a listen to the album, liked it, and have put it out on CD."

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The official release date was Monday.

The album, which is available from the record company's website (www.angel air.co.uk), is titled "Ironbridge", which is also the group name "Fluff" eventually adopted.

"It came about because when the group was playing in France and Germany the audiences didn't seem to understand or like the name Fluff.

"When this LP was made it was a very significant decision for the lads when they said 'Let's call ourselves Ironbridge,'" said Austin.

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The band had evolved in the 1960s from a local group called The Birds & The Bees and in 1969 became the first Shropshire group to land a record contract.

Although the recording debut "Holly Golightly" received no national airplay and sales were minimal, great things were expected of Fluff's January 1970 release, "Make Believe."

However, despite appearances on The Radio 1 Roadshow, sessions for other Radio 1 shows, Granada TV's "Lift Off" and Radio Luxembourg making it that station's "Powerplay", playing it every hour on the hour for a whole week, the record didn't chart and Fluff remained frustratingly on the edge of stardom, never quite making the big break.

Over the years the band's line-up changed gradually.

And at the time of the "Ironbridge" album was Alan "Milly" Millington, drums and lead vocalist; Alan "Phil" Phillips, guitar and vocals; Mick Skinner, guitar and vocals; and Gerry Ward, bass. "Gerry has lived in Germany for many years but the rest of the lads have stayed around Telford," said Austin.

"They have continued to play, either individually as solo artistes doing pubs and clubs – Mick Skinner did that for some years – or as loose aggregations of groups that get together."

As for the album's re-release, he said: "They're quite bemused by it, but quite pleased with it all."

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