|The First Recordings|
|The Break with the Industry|
THE FIRST RECORDINGS
The Enid signed first to BUK records, a tiny label which was then a part of EMI, and in 1976 released their first album, "In the Region of the Summer Stars". Based on the Tarot sequence and on the writings of Charles Williams (yes - shock, horror! a concept album!), it made no bones about where The Enid were at. The Epic Emotional Chariot Ride. Comparisons were unhelpful. Progressive rock it wasn't, although in many ways it was what prog rock should have been. But the energy was more akin to punk, and the drama was pure Hollywood.
The second album, Aerie Faerie Nonsense, released in 1978, went yet further down the same road. It told the story of Roland, the young knight aspirant questing his way across the world. The tale was told with pathos and humour; as Godfrey says "we had to take the piss out of ourselves a bit to get the music across".
On the strength of these albums and their live reputation - Sounds readers had voted them "The band most likely to succeed" - The Enid were able to swing a major record deal. They signed to Pye Records - one of the most expensive signings the company had ever made. Money was lavished on the band. They were even provided with their own studio in which to record their 1979 album, Touch Me. This album marked the onset of what one reviewer called their "Electro-Edwardian" phase - a lively, uplifting album with a surprisingly hard edge. The band - now a seven-piece - were regularly playing several-thousand seater venues such as the Hammersmith Odeon, and major success seemed just around the corner.
What was really lurking around the corner, though, was a near-disastrous setback. What Godfrey and his fellow musicians hadn't known was that Pye was in trouble. Lew Grade had just made the mega-flop movie Raise the Titanic, and his whole business empire was sinking majestically beneath the waves. Staff were deserting in their droves and The Enid were stuck in a top-notch deal with an essentially rudderless label. Panic was setting in at Pye, who suddenly didn't know what to do with their newest, costliest singing, and this led to the hasty release of a spate of singles, among them The Enid's classic Dambusters' March/Land of Hope and Glory showstopper. Rushed into the shops and not properly promoted, none of the singles charted. It was a sad waste of a lot of good music.
The same fate awaited the band's second and last album for Pye, Six Pieces. The album, released in 1980, contained a series of cameos of the then band members; quirky, yet often incisive portraits. According to Godfrey, it is one of The Enid's most personal albums, recorded in the knowledge that their relationship with Pye was all but finished and that the fruits of their labours would receive little or no promotion. Paradoxically, this fact seems to have given the album a curious sense of freedom. The pieces run riot with parody and a quirky energy which almost touches on jazz-rock in places.