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The Beautiful Changers

"THE Pete Atkin tribute band!"

biography | discography | gigs | gallery | audio clips | links | acknowledgments

Who Are The Band?

The Beautiful Changers were formed in 1999 as a tribute band to legendary 1970s singer/songwriter Pete Atkin, also featured in this website. The band consists of the following members:

  • Roy Brown - bass guitar and vocals
  • Richard Corfield - electric guitar and vocals
  • Ben Coulson - vocals and mendoza (don't tell me you don't know what that is!)
  • John Denton - drums and vocals
  • Paul Gunningham - electric guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals
  • Leslie Moss - acoustic guitar, keyboard and vocals
  • Sylfest Muldal - bass guitar, acoustic guitar, recorder and vocals
  • Ian Sorensen - keyboard and vocals

The following guests have also appeared with the band: Pete Atkin (vocals), Carole Birkill (vocals), Steve Birkill (vocals), Julia Daly (vocals) and Dave Jones (acoustic guitar)

Why are they called The Beautiful Changers?

Isn't it obvious by looking at them? No? ...well, they took their name from the Pete Atkin / Clive James song The Beautiful Changes which was featured on the eponymous 1970 Julie Covington album - which incidentally is currently available in the shops!

What's special about them?

The Beautiful Changers can justly claim to be among the world's first bands to form over the Internet! They were formed by a group of Pete Atkin fans who were all members of the Midnight Voices, a discussion group formed by Pete's number one fan Steve Birkill, who started the celebrated Smash Flops website devoted to the works of Pete Atkin and Clive James (see also the Scrumpy 'n' Western Pete Atkin page for a brief introduction to Pete).

To cut a long story short: thanks largely to Steve and his untiring efforts, a Pete Atkin concert was arranged for the summer of 1999 - to become known as FoD 99 - see below for more on this! A bunch of Midnight Voices decided to form a tribute band to open for Pete at the gig. Some of the band members had previously only "met" over the internet - although most of them had been to one or more of the various Pete Atkin events organised by Steve over the previous few years, or at Pete's few sporadic gigs in folk clubs over the same period.

Because the band members are based in diverse parts of the UK - including the West Country, London, the Home Counties, the Midlands and Scotland - getting together for rehearsals presents a bit of a problem! Not only that, but they all (still!) have day jobs and family commitments, etc., which makes it difficult to arrange mutually convenient dates. In spite of this they managed to get together for two rehearsals prior to the FoD 99 gig, plus a final rehearsal at Monyash the day before the event. So please make allowances when you hear them! And you can do this right here - listen to the audio clips below!

What's their story so far?

The band got together in April 1999, the intention being to perform some of Pete Atkin's songs. Their first appearance was before an invited audience at the 1999 Pete Atkin Field of Dreams (FoD 99) gig at Monyash, Derbyshire, UK, on 17 July 1999. The band's second appearance was at the Pete Atkin School of Dreams (SoD 2K) gig at Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK on 21 October 2000. The two high points of their career were being invited on stage to accompany Pete on the song Rain-Wheels at the end of his triumphant return to Monyash, and again at the SoD event in Milton Keynes, this time to accompany Pete on I See The Joker. The band was also mentioned in PC Format magazine in May 2000. There is a review of the Beautiful Changers' performance at the FoD 99 gig on the Pete Atkin website!

So, what's next?

The band are planning to continue to perform and record on an occasional basis. Although the band has so far concentrated on the works of Atkin / James, they intend to expand into other areas of music. As a few of their members are Scrumpy 'n' Western fans, you might even hear the odd Wurzels number - you never know... Watch this space for news!

Update (January 2000): The band have had one full rehearsal since FoD 99 and a few of the members got together before that. They have been working on improving their arrangements of some of the successful numbers from the Monyash gig, as well as working on some more Atkin/James material.

Update (July 2000): The Beautiful Changers got together on Sunday 23rd July for their first practice together (or in some cases, at all!) for well over six months. Their next appearance is scheduled for October 21st at the SoD 2K event, organised by Andy Love. The practice was a great success and the band worked on the numbers they intend to do at the gig. The line-up features the same personnel, but the instrumentation has been augmented since last year, with the band members sharing duties in what they hope will be more 'professional' arrangements. The main changes have been in the keyboard, bass and guitar parts - the two keyboardists Ian and Leslie have upgraded their instruments (don't get alarmed, missus!); Sylfest has taken up bass guitar and will share duties with Roy, allowing the latter more chance to take the lead vocals; and Paul has taken up electric guitar and has been pushed into the 'Eric Clapton-in-Gordano' lead guitar slot (or should that be 'leaden'?!) - anything to stop him attempting to sing! So whatever happens at SoD 2K, the audience is guaranteed something different from last year! Leslie will continue on rhythm guitar on some numbers, while Ben will again be their lead singer and John the drummer.

Update (October 2000): Little did I know when I wrote above "whatever happens at SoD 2K, the audience is guaranteed something different from last year" how true those words would be! The band performed at Andy Love's SoD2K event as planned, but there were a few hitches! Firstly, lead vocalist Ben Coulson and John Denton (drums) failed to turn up. Richard Corfield was also unable to attend. On top of this, because Wizz Jones phoned ahead to say he would arrive late, the band had to go on early, so prior to this a hurried conference was held to decide what to do. The Changers decided the show must go on, and changed the running order to allow them to share vocal duties to cover for Ben. The biggest problem, however, was the lack of a drummer. An appeal to the audience "Is there a drummer in the house?" was unsuccessful, as none of the audience would admit to an acquaintance with the sticks. Unfortunately, the Jokers' drummer Oliver Ash arrived too late to be able to sit in. So the Changers had to use Ian's keyboard to provide the rhythm where necessary. All in all, a bit of a nightmare - and not only for the audience!

Have they made any recordings?

So far they have made a limited edition CD For Pete's Sake!, clearly destined to become a collectors' item in years to come - hopefully not too many years, as one or two of the band members are getting on a bit and can't afford to hang around too long... start collecting, folks! The CD includes the unique, legendary version of Rain-Wheels featuring Pete Atkin as guest vocalist. As for the rehearsal tapes, well - remember that old reel-to-reel tape found in an attic on Merseyside...?

Gigs Archive

Below is a list of the band's gigs archive. We have no information as to further gigs are arranged, but details will be published here as they are announced.

Date
Venue / Set List
Lead Vocalist(s)
17 July 1999 The Field of Dreams "FoD 99"
Monyash, Derbyshire, UK
 
First Set: I See The Joker
Impractical Man

  (parody of Practical Man)
The Beautiful Changes
Rain-Wheels - with Steve Birkill
The Original Original Honky Tonk Train Blues
Richard Corfield
Richard Corfield, Ben Coulson

Sylfest Muldal
Steve Birkill (Guest Vocalist)
Leslie Moss
Second Set: The Wristwatch For A Drummer
The Pressure Boys
Phantoms Of The Opera House

  (parody of Apparition In Las Vegas)
The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley
Gargoyle On A Drain

  (parody of Girl On The Train)
No Dice
Errant Knight
Ben Coulson
Sylfest Muldal
Ben Coulson

Ben Coulson, Sylfest Muldal
Carole Birkill, Julia Daly (Guest Vocalists)

Corfield/Brown/Muldal/S. Birkill/Coulson
Ben Coulson
Encore: Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger The Ensemble
Guest Appearance: Rain Wheels - with Pete Atkin
(at the end of Pete Atkin's final set)
Pete Atkin (Guest Vocalist!)
  • There is a review of the Beautiful Changers' performance at the FoD 99 gig on the Pete Atkin website!
Date Venue / Set List Lead Vocalist(s)
21 October 2000 The School of Dreams "SoD 2K"
Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK
 
Set List: 1. A Dream Of Fair Women
2. Shadow And The Widower
3. A King At Nightfall
4. Thirty Year Man (parody)
5. Rain-Wheels
6. My Brother's Keeper
7. Singer In Town
    (parody of Stranger In Town)
8. The Hypertension Kid
9. The Wristwatch For A Drummer
10. The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley
Roy Brown
Sylfest Muldal
Paul Gunningham
Sylfest Muldal
Steve Birkill (Guest Vocalist)
Sylfest Muldal
Roy Brown

Sylfest Muldal
Paul Gunningham
Sylfest Muldal
Guest Appearance: 11. I See The Joker - with Pete Atkin
(at the end of Pete Atkin's final set)
Pete Atkin (Guest Vocalist!)
The Beautiful Changers line-up for SoD 2K:

- Roy Brown bass guitar (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11); lead vocal (1, 7)
- Paul Gunningham lead guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11); lead vocal (3, 9)
- Leslie Moss keyboard (4, 10, 11); rhythm guitar (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
- Sylfest Muldal bass guitar (1, 7); lead vocal (2, 4, 6, 8, 10)
- Ian Sorensen keyboard (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Guest Artists:

- Steve Birkill lead vocal (5)
- Dave Jones rhythm guitar (11)
- Pete Atkin lead vocal (11)

The Beautiful Changers Photo Gallery

Visit the Beautiful Changers Photo Gallery to see some exclusive photos of the Beautiful Changers in action!

More photos on the Smash Flops - Pete Atkin website of the Beautiful Changers' second rehearsal for the Field of Dreams gig on 6 June 1999, Long Hanborough, Oxon.

Listen to The Beautiful Changers here!

Now you can hear for yourselves what The Beautiful Changers sound like! All sounds will require an mp3 player (such as WinAmp) to play them.

I See The Joker
247KB, 32sec
Vocal: Richard Corfield
Beware Of The Beautiful Stranger
343KB, 44sec
Vocal: The Ensemble
The Beautiful Changes
303KB, 39sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal
Rain-Wheels
327KB, 42sec
Vocal: Steve Birkill
The Original Original Honky Tonk Train Blues
292KB, 37sec
Vocal: Leslie Moss
The Wristwatch For A Drummer
245KB, 31sec
Vocal: Ben Coulson
No Dice
376KB, 48sec
Vocal: Steve Birkill
The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley
369KB, 47sec
Vocal: Ben Coulson, Sylfest Muldal
Errant Knight
294KB, 38sec
Vocal: Ben Coulson
Impractical Man
249KB, 32sec
Vocal: Richard Corfield, Ben Coulson
Gargoyle On A Drain
272KB, 35sec
Vocal: Carole Birkill, Julia Daly
The Pressure Boys
161KB, 21sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal

Now you've heard them, take a listen to what they should have sounded like!

Rain-Wheels
(Pete Atkin FoD 1999 version)
265KB, 34sec
Vocal: Pete Atkin
It was generally agreed that Pete Atkin's version of Rain-Wheels (accompanied by The Beautiful Changers) would probably have been better if the band had played it at a faster tempo. This is what it might have sounded like if they had!

Pete Atkin and The Beautiful Changers at SoD2K

I See The Joker
(Pete Atkin SoD2K version)
738KB, 1min 34sec
Vocal: Pete Atkin
Pete Atkin kindly (and somewhat bravely!) invited The Changers up on stage at the end of his final set to accompany him on I See The Joker - this is a taster of what it sounded like.

The Beautiful Changers at SoD 2K

A Dream Of Fair Women
663KB, 1min 24sec
Vocal: Roy Brown
The Hypertension Kid
475KB, 1min 00sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal
The Wristwatch For A Drummer
521KB, 1min 06sec
Vocal: Paul Gunningham
Singer In Town
535KB, 1min 08sec
Vocal: Roy Brown
Rain-Wheels
450KB, 58sec
Vocal: Steve Birkill (Guest Vocalist)
Thirty Year Man (parody)
463KB, 1min 00sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal
Shadow & The Widower
550KB, 1min 10sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal
My Brother's Keeper
700KB, 1min 25sec
Vocal: Sylfest Muldal
A King At Nightfall
683KB, 1min 27sec
Vocal: Paul Gunningham

Watch this space for further exclusive sound clips of the band!

The Beautiful Changers Links

Acknowledgements

Thanks to:

  • Paul Gunningham for all the information
  • Pete Atkins for allowing permission to use his audio clips

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