Private Investigator from the album Retro Activ


RETRO ACTIV review by writer/musician David McGowan
13 July 2019

Anyone who likes good music has got to love Barron’s latest. It’s great just trying to spot the bands that have Influenced him, but it’s even better to hear how he’s taken those influences and made something that is very much his own.— David McGowan

Peter Barron goes from strength to strength and one wonders if he’ll have to follow up RETRO ACTIVE by entering the Mr. Universe contest!

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR gets proceedings off to a blistering start with a tongue in cheek trip into Sam Spade territory, but Bogart never had a soundtrack like this in The Maltese Falcon. Don’t confuse this with Dire Straits ‘Private Investigations’ – this is far superior. Nick Harradence pounds on the drums like he’s in a Tarzan movie and Barron’s searing solo would take the top off a hill of beans, if you’ll forgive the Casablanca reference.

For ‘99.99’, Peter buys a cheap guitar but I’ll wager it’s not the one he’s playing on this track. Heavy Metal meets Glam Rock here (Is there such a beast as Heavy Glam? Well there is now.)

BOOGIE STREET features some great blues harp from Neil Seymour and a Canned Heat riff that makes me wish my hair (or what’s left of it) was eighteen inches longer. Bolan gets a nod with a mention of Jitterbug Boogie, but this is one step beyond I Love To Boogie.

TWO STEPS TO HELL cranks up the gears even more. We’ve entered a parallel universe ‘Three Steps to Heaven’ with Wintertime instead of Summertime Blues.

NO PLACE TO GO thankfully slows the pace a tad, or I would have been reaching for my inhaler. If you can imagine Marc Bolan doing rap you’ll have some idea of where we are here. Sadly, it won’t be on the Radio One playlist owing to some Anglo Saxon in the lyrics.

The T. Rex influence continues with MIDNIGHT BLUES, though it’s blended in with Johnny Winter, Howlin’ Wolf and Boris Karloff – buy the album and it’ll all make perfect sense.

TAKE ME BACK is more early 80s than 70s and in some ways reminds me of Donovan when he moves into rock. Great production job with waves of keyboard and cutting guitars.

BAD BAD GIRL has shades of Nazareth and Tom Waits. Nick must have needed three days in intensive care after hammering away on this one. All about the type of female you always wanted to meet in a nightclub – but sadly never did.

THE SKY’S TOO BIG goes back to Tyrannosaurus Rex for its opening and T. Rex for its guitar solo. A lovely ballad which lets you get your breath back after a roller-coaster ride of an album.

Anyone who likes good music has got to love Barron’s latest. It’s great just trying to spot the bands that have Influenced him, but it’s even better to hear how he’s taken those influences and made something that is very much his own.

From the forthcoming album ‘RETRO ACTIV’ release date: 24th June 2019.
Peter Barron: Vocals, Guitar & Bass.

Read review: Retro Activ marks most eclectic moment


Retro Activ marks the most eclectic moment in the career of local musician Peter Barron

With his heart set firmly in the early seventies, his music mixes some of the sounds that seem familiar, from his loved Marc Bolan through to Sweet and on to Eddie and the Hot Rods and Graham Parker, but listen carefully to the picture play back. The dystopian world takes you into a kind of cartoon character visual world that is immersive and all his very own.

Why the work of Peter Barron is not yet to be heard on film soundtracks, video games or as a soundtrack on the playout to a documentary on BBC4 about some aspect of the social history of our country in the last thirty years of the twentieth century is something of a mystery.

In the eclectic mix is pure Peter Barron, a pastiche of styles and a dystopian world in which you can never be sure if his tongue is firmly in his cheek as he growls beside the fine harmonica of Neil Seymour on Boogie Street.

This is perhaps his most accomplished album release to date, start with Private Investigator and enjoy the lyrics to each song as you flick through his cartoon storybook world of characters.

Retro Activ is a seamless mix of styles on this latest album.

Rock on Peter Barron.

Release date, 24 June 2019

—Pevensey Bay Journal review, Retro activ
15 June 2019


Zoom Time: Perhaps the best Peter Barron work to date

Editor of the local broadsheet newspaper, the Pevensey Bay Journal, Simon Montgomery, said “this is perhaps the best Peter Barron work to date, only four tracks, but each one a gem.

“What we see is his ability to compose and write music and lyrics working within number of genres,. The work demonstrates real accomplishment.

“The last song about the Pevensey Whale is a gem of some description. Kind of early seventies/punk inspired take on the story of the Pevensey Whale, and amazingly, historically accurate. There is mention of the size of the whale and the coastguard that first saw the monster mammal on the shoreline in November 1865 and his name really was Bill Richards

“People will remember that when the Pevensey Timeline Association discovered the words to the skipping rhyme that was sung by school children in playgrounds in Sussex in November 1865 about the whale, the rhyme was recreated by the BBC.

“They came to Pevensey and Westham Primary school and recreated the rhyme with the schoolchildren reciting the rhyme, the first time that the words had been heard since 1865. The broadcast was seen by a million or more people on both BBC South East News and BBC Look East.

“Here we have got an original punk inspired song and lyric crafted by the masterful Peter Barron. Perhaps what we are about to see is a return to the story of the Pevensey Whale by the BBC broadcast again to a big audience.

“Who knows, maybe the Pevensey Whale song is a hit in the making. This is certainly an interesting song and would not be the first time that a famous local historical incident has been turned into song”.

“I could see this song as part of a documentary or part of an advertising campaign, who knows even a hit for the originality in the song”.



article reprinted by kind permission, Bay Life
listen to first track from new album, One More Crow, “Turn it Up‘” here

The new album, “One More Crow”, is published by Copro Records, a specialist label based in Henley-on-Thames.—Bay Life, 6 October 2016

“Listen with the volume set to 11”, he said grinning as he put on the first track, Turn it Up, of his new album, One More Crow, writes Bay Life.

In come the jangly guitars, Big Country style. The tune locks into your head, and you end up hearing the song all day along the Eastbourne Road.

The new album is a revelation. Coming away from Coast Road in Pevensey Bay, where Peter lives with wife Jan, you start to wonder if we may be about to witness someone local on the road to success.

One More Crow, is published by Copro Records, a specialist indie label based in Henley.

They argue, “we always make sure we release stuff on Copro that we are 100% behind and believe in”. If a demo is still being played in the office a week later, it stands some chance”. Peter now has that chance.

The standard of music is such that it is possible to imagine tracks appearing on a BBC4 documentary, specialist radio stations, a new social media advertising campaign for a company or even airplay on the mainstream radio channels.

Catchy is the word for the songs. And catchy in a way that draws on an era of music that is beginning to resonate again now.

As well as writing the compositions, Peter sings and plays guitar.

By day, Peter is a furniture restorer, but his spare time is taken up with restoring the early seventies to its rightful place in the cannon of musical history.

It all started with Peter riding a white swan in the shadow of Windsor Castle in 1970. Born in the winter of 1957 in the shadow of Windsor Castle (but sadly lacking any blue blood as he emphasises), he first picked up a guitar at the age of 14 after hearing ‘Ride a White Swan’ on the radio.

He explains that, “I immediately put it down again as I hadn’t a clue how to play it – but after a while, the necessary two chords were mastered and I went on to play in various rock and pop ensembles throughout the 70s and 80s”.

The music, draws from various strands of key influence.

“At the beginning of the 21st Century,” he explains, “I was reborn and rocking with a new attitude, new guitar (new hat) and a whole host of new and original tunes”.

‘Jupiter Diamond’, his last album, was conceived, writtenº, recorded and published at the beginning of 2014.

The album saw Peter fronting a strong rhythm section (with Nick Harradence on drums and Danny Lectrow on bass) performing ten original songs.

Pinning down the sound is quite hard, but there is a theme than runs like a stick of rock through the sound that references the early seventies and in particular the work of Marc Bolan and T Rex.

The sleeve notes pin down the sound in a particular way. “Rooted a little in the 70’s/80’s but with its (bleeding) heart in the 21st century, the songs are mostly up-tempo electric rock numbers with catchy hooks”.

A couple of the songs were picked up by the rock radio station ARfm.

They liked the album enough to feature tracks on three of their radio shows. (‘Bad Blood’ being a particular favourite). Catchy hooks is where we come in with the new album, One More Crow, as well.

The album is something of a more mainstream sound with still the same seamless feel in the compositions. Peter has created something of a synthesis, mixing a number of styles and genres into his own recipe book. So is he on the path to the success?

Think Sweet meets Suzie Quatro riffs with an underlying T Rex kind of shape and you get the point, except that you do not get the point.

The synthesis is pure Peter Barron, which I guess partly explains why his tracks have been picked by specialist radio stations and the record companies have come calling.

Something about 2016 says that the ensemble pieces he creates, moving from teeny bop rock, early seventies into more classically composed three chord wonders, says that his sound is right for the times in which we live.

The sound draws from the greats, much like painters study old masters.

As well as stories, the songs are visual, if that makes sense.

‘Blood Runs Black’ on YouTube, for example, from the album ‘Jupiter Diamond’, sees him white faced growling about burying those rocking bones.

Think Screaming Jay Hawkins meets a cranked up Tom Waits.

When we met up in a local cafe to talk about the record deal, the obvious first question was whether he is still riding a white swan in the shadow of Windor Castle.

He is fond of quoting the Lou Reed line, “One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz”.

We wanted to dig into what makes the new album work.

One More Crow seems to take the last album one stage further with a mix of genres and styles, would be a fair estimate?

“Yes I suppose so, but nothing is really deliberate, it’s just how things turn out although I did aim for a harder edged sound with this one…..”

The harder edged sound is definitely there, but most certainly not at the expense of the tunes or the writing.

We pointed out that the first track “Turn it Up” starts with swirling guitars and has an infectious poppy hard to pin down tune with finely crafted words. What kind of steps go into getting the distinct sound?

“Musically, this track has a lot in common with early Alice Cooper, although it didn’t occur to me while I was writing it, but I recently listened back to the ‘Killer’ album and I can now hear the influence.

“Lyrically it deliberately references Bolan and finding salvation in rock & roll but the seed of it came with the opening line – Things sound different with your eyes wide (open or shut) so it became about sound so ‘Turn It Up’ seemed the obvious chorus”.

It has been said that some of his couplets are stand out song writing, bearing comparison to Elvis Costello, was he aware of these comparisons?

In ‘Blood Runs Black’ for instance, on the album Jupiter Diamond, we get “My knees are shaking, I can’t sit still/I’m hyperventilating as I write my will”, which is Ramones territory, but the lines could equally have come from something like “My Aim is True” by Elvis Costello.

“To be honest I really don’t think of Costello as being much of an influence – the only album of his I have ever owned was Almost Blue, where he covers lots of country standards so I can thank him for introducing me to country music perhaps but have never been much of a fan otherwise.

“Cohen and Dylan are probably more of an influence lyrically I would think and probably Robyn Hitchcock too but he’s not so well known… I do like things to flow and rhyme well though”.

Whatever the influences the songs are certainly strong on hooks.

It led on to a question about the synthesis, starting in the early seventies, that seems to be the hallmark of the songs. Sometimes, we suggested, you hear Tom Waits, sometimes we hear Iggy Pop.

He talked about T-Rex being such an important source of material with the early seventies sound, but what we are hearing is pure Peter Barron, how we asked, do the compositions take shape, does he consciously start with an idea to write something in a particular genre?

“I rarely sit down and try hard to write a song, that won’t usually work.

“I tend to wait until a line or a melody hits me so hard, I can’t ignore it – it’s usually a phrase or hook line that acts as a catalyst.

“I can often have the whole song written or mapped out in my head before I’ve even picked up the guitar – although I didn’t used to be able to do that.

“I suppose the mood of the lyric will dictate the pace and delivery of the song, whether it’s going to be a ballad or an up tempo pop song’.

Last we asked about the excitement of the indie label record deal, where would he like to be a year or so with his music?

“That’s a tricky one – I enjoy the writing and recording process but I’m not really interested in performing live, so promoting myself as an all round artist is a bit tricky but I’d love to see one of my tracks picked up for a soundtrack or maybe covered by another artist, so it may lead me somewhere or it may lead me nowhere but whatever happens, I’m not going to stop writing songs”.

With the troubadour style picture on the front cover of his album, “Time Stands Still”, shot sitting beside a groyne in Pevensey Bay, it is not impossible to envisage a scene in which Peter Barron comes back to where it all began to film a sequence in different circumstances. The pot holes will no doubt still be in evidence.

Maybe not Highway 61 Revisited, but what ever happens next with the music of Peter Barron, what seems sure is that we will be hearing more from the quiet man of Coast Road.

The Peter Barron music platform is here, You can listen to ‘Turn it Up’, the first tack from his new album, ‘One More Crow’, on Soundcloud. www.peterbarron.co.uk

© Bay Life, all rights reserved


article courtesy Bay Life

News that will be of interest to budding musicians in the Bay seeking contracts with their music that will give them access to a wider audience.

Local musician, Peter Barron, who lives in Coast Road in Pevensey Bay, by day works as a furniture restorer, but in his spare time he crafts music.

He has recently heard that there has been a take up with one of his tracks by a publisher in the States. The track, ‘Running on Empty’ comes from his latest CD, ‘Jupiter Diamond’.

His music is a kind of retro take, with a strong influence from the Marc Bolan era but reviewers also hear Tom Waits and some of the rhyming couplets in his songs have been noted as having the simplicity and sophistication of early Elvis Costello songs.

Peter himself describes the music as being ‘rooted a little in the seventies, eighties, but with its (bleeding) heart in the 21st century, the songs are mostly uptempo rock numbers with catchy hooks’.

His latest track ‘Ghost Dancers’, that will form part of his new CD, to be published in Spring 2016, has been well received. One local reviewer said “In my view, the latest track is the very best. All the songs are you, but this is you maturing and working and crafting words/music in a way that is distinct and marked”.

“The words are just peach, you are an accomplished songwriter and the way that the song is shaped is you working with your own music in a kind of synthesis that is individual and marked”.

Added to the mix in the work of Peter Barron are catchy hook lines and a raw feeling. As compositions the songs stand in their own right and have both aural and visual appeal. They are the kinds of songs that are interesting as a listen and catch you unawares with their well crafted structure.

It is possible to see them utilised as backdrops in documentaries, for example. They have a strong ‘story telling quality’ and their catchiness sees them enjoying repeated plays on specialist radio stations.

Talking to Bay Life last Friday (28 August), Peter told us; “It was only signed/confirmed the other day but I have just been offered a ‘single song contract’ from a music publisher in America (Nashville) for my track ‘Running On Empty’ from Jupiter Diamond .

“I just sent him three tracks (so he’s still yet to hear the rest of the album) and he particularly liked that song and thinks he may be able to ‘place’ it, either for film/advertising/rerecording by another artist or maybe even as it stands”.

The news will be of interest to local budding musicians whose talent often struggles to be heard in the world of streaming music that sees millions of tracks recorded but few ever reaching a wider audience.

Peter commented; “I’ve been added to his ‘songwriters list’ and will be contacted monthly with certain types of material he’s looking for. So that’s a step in the right direction”.

Peter points out that “as well as ARFM radio, I am now getting loads of plays on an online 24 hr music station called ‘The Shift Radio Station’ I sent them the Jupiter Diamond CD a few months ago and they still play about four tracks a day!”

Unassuming Peter added “If I was getting that kind of exposure on Radio 2 I’d be famous by now”.


Letter, 22/12/14 [extract]
, Vocals & Lead Guitar, T.Rextasy

Hello Peter,

Many thanks indeed for sending your latest album, ‘Jupiter Diamond’. I get a lot of Bolan fans sending me their recordings, and I must admit that when I saw your letter with ‘enclosed CD’ I thought “oh no—what am I going to say about this”, as most of what I receive are, shall we say, not too professional—I think you must know what I mean!

I have played it through twice already and, for what my opinion is worth, I think it’s absolutely brilliant. From the first track ‘Electric Boogie’, through to the sublime title track, it all falls together beautifully. Nicely recorded—to me like a 2 sided vinyl album put together as one CD. I love a lot of your lyrics as well, which I feel mean a lot to you, as much as the music does.

I do hear, of course, the Bolanic influence on some of the songs (not to mention lyrically), but also in-between, I can hear your own originality too. I hope the album has been doing well for you as it deserves attention from the public and the media. Being in the Brighton vicinity, I would think that there are people there that could pick this up running.


Vocals & Lead Guitar, T.Rextasy

The World’s Only Official Tribute Band to T Rex and Marc Bolan
Voted as the UK’s number one live tribute band by a BBC1 ‘Battle of the Fantasy Bands’


republished by kind permission of Bay Life

Local musician, Peter Barron of Coast Road, Pevensey Bay is celebrating today (October 23) with news that his latest track has been picked up by well regarded specialist radio station, ARfm.

It is to be featured in their weekend programme on Friday 31 October. ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ crafts a story in a late seventies groove, with lyrics that lean on the idea that ballads can be cranked up into a tuneful blitzkrieg to tell a tale.

This particular track takes up the story of the death of Wild Bill Hickok and turns it into a memorable tune with the kind of hook lines beloved of bands like the Ramones.

Peter describes his work as ‘rooted a little in the seventies, eighties but with its (bleeding) heart in the 21st century’ featuring up tempo electric rock numbers with catchy hooks.’

Noted for its Marc Bolan influence, his latest album, Jupiter Diamond, caught the attention of music journalist David McGowan, “Jupiter Diamond? T. Rex immediately came to mind when I saw the title – Ballrooms of Mars and Diamond Meadows – a different planet (queen) I know, but still within the confines of our solar system.

“Hope it sees some commercial success – it certainly deserves to. It has passion and for me that is a pre-requisite for the arts, and it’s sadly lacking in this X-factor world of no-talent wannabees. I commend it to the House!”

Talking to Bay Life today (October 23) Peter explained “Just heard back from Colin Noble at ARfm – he will be playing the new song ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ on Friday 31st October. The show is – The Colin Noble Unsigned Show and it airs Friday nights from 7 – 9pm

“I will post the song on SoundCloud the day before (30th) and it will be available as an audio and free download for 14 days only (until 13th Nov)”.

You can find out more about the Pevensey Bay unsigned musician who is attracting attention, here on his web platform or you can follow him, here on his twitter feed.