DATBLYGU

David R.Edwards

Pat Morgan

T.Wyn Davies

Formed in Aberteifi in 1982 by schoolboys David R. Edwards and T.Wyn Davies and joined in 1984 by Pat Morgan , Datblygu(Develop) are , in their own words ‘ non conforming non-conformists’ . Along with Anhrefn , Y Cyrff, Fflaps ,Llwybr Llaethog and Tynal Tywyll they were at the forefront of the ‘new wave’ of Welsh language underground bands that kick started a new generation of musicians in the mid eighties . Prior to their first appearance on vinyl in 1985 on the seminal compilation album Cam o’r Tywyllwch(1985) on Anhrefn Records the band had already released a series of 4 cassette albums - Amheuon Corfforol( Body Doubts) , Trosglwyddo’r Gwirionedd (Transferring the truth) , Fi Du ( Me Black) , Caneuon Serch I Bobl Serchog (Love Songs for Lovers) .

They followed their appearance on ‘Cam o’r Tywyllwch’ with two songs on the follow up compilation ‘Gadael yr 20fed Ganrif’(1986) and with their debut 7” E.P. Hwgr Grawth-Og(1986) , all on Anhrefn .

In May 1987 they recorded the first of five John Peel Sessions and started to get attention from the UK music press .They were recognized as the most idiosyncratic of all the Welsh groups , with music that takes in styles approximating such diverse elements as disco , country , nursery rhymes , rockabilly , Sinatra-croon and just about about anything else , whilst remaining uniquely Datblygu . The NME compared them to Kraftwerk ‘with a hangover’ whilst Sounds had the following observations to make :

‘Datblygu are a merciful break form the well-worn past .They sing entirely in their native Welsh and manage to combine an uncanny sense of Mark E.Smith with sombre but evocative music”

They released ‘Wyau’(Eggs) , their debut album in 1988 . The 20 tracks took in a variety of subjects , including a Welsh language instrumental called ‘Painting the ceiling :with my brain’ . The band included helpful sleeve notes to guide the listener through the tracks , here are some highlights from their ‘export information’ ;

Gwlad ar fy nghefn - is intended as a national anthem in reverse. Wales is the ‘Land on my back’ of the title , and true cliches include ‘ an excess of butter’ and ‘take acid before being a teacher’ .The singalong chorus translates as ‘Living in Wales is like looking at the paint drying , at the grass growing’

“23” - is an anti pension plan piece . “I was 23 Monday , and I feel and look like Jock Stein”

Hen Ysgol Cloff - ‘Lame Old School’ . A plea for a real education system or compulsory sterilization.

Blonegmeddyliau - “Lardminds” .A truly rugby club mix .Never trust a man in tidy jeans , particularily the speckled variety or the ones that are advertised . An attack on men who like shopping , people who want to change their skin colour and ‘one track minds in 48 track studios’

Their second album ‘PYST’ (Posts) was released in 1990 on Ofn Records and manage to be the equal of their debut . Musically the album was more accessible and in time the album would become regarded as the Datblygu masterpiece . Songs included ‘Next Year maybe Leukaemia’ , ‘Goodnight Scum’ , ‘Ms Laver Bread’ ‘Down and Out’ , ‘The nurse is home’ and ‘Monkey with Scabs’

When both albums were collected together and released by Ankst in 1995 under the title ‘Wyau & Pyst = 32 Bom =1987 - 1990’ , Datblygu main man David R.Edwards had this to say :

sleeve notes about musical notes and non-suicide notes :

“ at the time the albums were released I was employed as a low paid slave within various UK government institutions , like auschwitz etc… if you do an excess of hard labour you end up being cremated before your time , luckily be 1991 I had escaped the stress-inducing situations which inspired these songs .as a child , adults used to elaborate on the bad old days . this c.d. documents the bad old days . I dislike my memories but stand by the songs . at best this collection is a time capsule . at the worst the songs are a product of a mind incensed by circumstances , I make no apologies for either” .

In 1991 Datblygu joined Ankst Records and released the cassette album Blwch Tymer Tymor (Season Temperament Box) a xmas concept album that included a re-interpretation of the Nativity myth as well as the pop hit ‘Santa a Barbara’ and the deeply personal ‘Ga I fod Sion Corn’ ( Can I be Santa Claus) .

This was followed by the LL.LLv T.G. Mc DRE(Ankst 025) collaboration album which found Datblygu singer David R.Edwards collaborating with techno band Ty Gwydr on one side of the album and siding up with rap-dub pioneers Llwybr Llaethog on the other side .

In 1992 Ankst also released the ‘Maes E’ single as well as an album of Peel Sessions by the band .The Peel Sessions album contained 3 Peel Sessions which were sub titled as May 87 - No Aids , February 88 - No Salmanela and January 1991 - No war in the Gulf . The album contained many exclusive songs and as ever Datblygu included helpful liner notes .

Slebog Bywydeg - Biology Slut .Stricly anti durex ‘ I want to share you body form your head to your feet gamble with Aids and share your blood , share my blood’ .

Nid Chwiwgi Pwdin Gwaed -Not a blood pudding pilferer . The Gulf war was on and the singer was consuming a litre of vodka every two days ,Daily he had to face hormone crazy schoolkids who he got on with in his role as a teacher of Welsh . the song itself is about the creative process i.e. the most creative behaviour is neurotic , but it sure beats murder .

Rhag Ofn I Chwi Anghofio - In case you should forget . Expresses the wish for real culture in Wales , one not based on childish competing of the national Eisteddfod nor the insanity of television .

In 1993 Datblygu released their third album Libertino . Once again it was a monumental 20 track rollercoaster ride . Highlights include:

Gazpacho - ‘Hopeless bastard is my middle name ,Singers like me can’t sing , actors like me can’t act . all I can do is piss gazpacho on Valentino’s grave ‘

Maes E/ E field - ‘When the police were beating the miners , I was waiting for you. When Bob Geldolf had his hand in our pockets , I was only playing without you .When she said we weren’t a society I desired only you .When Iraq was covered by a carpet I only wanted the bedclothes over us’

Hei George Orwell - Hey George Orwell . I never wanted to read Shakespeare , I only wanted to put my hand in his hand .

The band released a final single on Ankst in 1995 which contained 2 songs ‘Alcohol’ and ‘Amnesia’ . This was all that was left to say .