Splinter “Costafine Town” live at Newcastle City Hall

Splinter “Costafine Town” live at Newcastle City Hall
imageMy friend John mentioned the band Splinter to me in an email the other day, which brought back memories of this fine duo. Splinter was a two-man vocal group from the North East, South Shields in fact. The two members were Bill Elliott and Bobby Purvis and they formed in the early 1970s. Elliott and Purvis had both been members of local rock band Half Breed, who were quite popular on the circuit in the early 70s; I remember seeing them at Newcastle Mayfair or Sunderland Mecca. Splinter were connected with George Harrison, being the first act to sign to Harrison’s Dark Horse Records label. The band’s sound was often compared to The Beatles and Badfinger. Their debut album, “The Place I Love” was released in 1974 and contained the hit single “Costafine Town”. “Costafine Town” is a great pop song, and a favourite of mine at the time.
I remember seeing Splinter live at the City Hall at least once; I think they were support act for the Kinks. I recall making a special effort to pass on visiting the City Tavern or the City Hall bar, so that I could see them, largely to hear them play Costafine Town, which they of course did. I have an old vinyl copy of their debut lp upstairs. Time to get on the turntable again.
I often wondered what Costafine Town was about, and a little googling revealed the answer, which I found on the Sheilds Gazette website: “Costafine Town took its inspiration from Corstorphine Town in Shields, the stretch of the riverside between West Holborn and Templetown, which includes McNulty’s shipyard. The name was said to derive from Robert Corstorphine, the landlord of the Cookson’s Arms there in the 1830s, but it later emerged that his surname was actually, originally, Robert Marsham, and he had simply adopted the name of the locality.”
“A dirty old hole, In the side of the road, For the man who cleans the streets, Open pub doors, Where the working class goes at night.
Written on walls, Where the cats never crawl, For the glass along the top, Man I was born there, I’m gonna walk right back.
Costafine town, it’s a fine town, I’m coming home
I feel so lonely, I’ve been too long away
Costafine town, it’s a fine town, I’m coming home
I wish I’d never, Made up my mind to stray”
(Splinter, 1974)
There’s a YouTube video of the guys performing Costafine Town on the Whistle Test. Check it out. Great song.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Had completely forgotten this! Thanks for the reintroduction. Thom

    Reply

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