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Rare LP discovered by Islington musician released nearly five decades after recording

PUBLISHED: 11:31 07 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:14 08 September 2020

Band photo taken at The Angel pub. Left to right, Frank Martines (guitar), Tom Kelly (drummer), Paul Chritodoulou (bass guitar) and Jeff Ball (vocalist). Picture: Kostas Berou

Band photo taken at The Angel pub. Left to right, Frank Martines (guitar), Tom Kelly (drummer), Paul Chritodoulou (bass guitar) and Jeff Ball (vocalist). Picture: Kostas Berou

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A demo by an Islington musician has been picked up and released by a Spanish label some 48 years after it was recorded.

Band photo in Athens. Left to right: Paul Chritodoulou, Jeff Ball, Tom Kelly and Francisco. Picture: Submitted by Francisco MartinezBand photo in Athens. Left to right: Paul Chritodoulou, Jeff Ball, Tom Kelly and Francisco. Picture: Submitted by Francisco Martinez

After discovering a 1972 record by his Islington-born prog-rock band Grit, vocalist and guitarist Francisco Martinez posted a recording of it on YouTube.

The upload was picked up by Lleida recording label Guerssen Records and this summer the demo has been released as a full LP.

The original acetate is believed to be one of only three original copies in existence.

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A third copy was discovered in a German flee market in 2012 by a scout of renowned record collector Hans Pokora, and featured in his book 7001 Record Collector Dreams.

Grit’s self-titled original acetates are rated to have the maximum rarity possible. Picture: Submitted by Francisco MartinezGrit’s self-titled original acetates are rated to have the maximum rarity possible. Picture: Submitted by Francisco Martinez

“I think they valued the record at €1,000, that’s what one of the guys from Guerssen told me,” 73-year-old Francisco told the Gazette.

Francisco, who grew up off Holloway Road on Wedmore Road, said: “On Christmas eve 1972 we did a recording in Clerkenwell’s SWM studio and it was our base player’s copy that Pokora’s scout found in Germany 40 years later.”

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In the book, Grit’s self-titled original acetates are rated to have the maximum rarity possible.

At The Angel Pub, Paul Christodoulou left and Francisco Martinez right. Picture: Submitted by Francisco MartinezAt The Angel Pub, Paul Christodoulou left and Francisco Martinez right. Picture: Submitted by Francisco Martinez

Seven years later in 2019, Francisco, who now lives in southern Spain, rediscovered his own copy of the demo: “I was clearing out my electronics equipment when a friend and I came across my copy of the acetate and he encouraged me to put a recording on YouTube.

“Only a few days later I was contacted by Guerssen Records.

“Shortly after, Alex Carretero from Guerssen came down to have a look at the demo. He said ‘send it to us’, so I did and they made the record – 48 years later.”

Grit went on tour to Greece in 1973 but after Francisco’s father fell ill, they ended the tour early and disbanded.

Alex Carretero of Guerssen Records said: “The music was raw, unadulterated hard-rock with psych and prog touches, fuelled by a powerful vocalist, a killer guitar player and a fabulous drummer.

“Basically, the kind of stuff we crave for. I arrived at the right time, because prior to my interest, Frank was thinking of throwing away everything.”

Grit’s self-titled LP release is €20.00 from Guerssen.


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