In the Beginning
A Short History:
39 Shillings is a four piece acid-folk band now based in Lane County, Oregon. Most of the line-up hail from extremely rural New Zealand but have lived in America long enough to lose their accents and most of their native optimism.
While in the old country they played in a locally popular pub band (also called 39 Shillings) which despite making several well received (and sadly out of print) records, never caught on outside the land of many sheep.
Some said their strange failure to make it big in American (or even Australia) was because their lead singer sounded too much like lou reed. Others blamed the drunken (and/or psychotic) guitar work of the great blueford mackellar.
At any rate the whole great & mad experiment came to an end when blueford met his in a bizarre ice cream truck incident. Despite all the press reports the whole episode was never intended as a publicity stunt. Or if it was, the plan was for BM to survive...
Sadder but wiser the three surviving members retreated from the public eye, eventually drifting across the ocean to America where (thanks to extremely lax background checks) they able to take up residence and begin the long process of learning to speak English.
Despite their sometimes painful and extremely patchy memories of the glory years of 39 S the surviving three always intended to regroup, but somehow never got around to it until a young avid disciple of blueford mackellar and his novel approach to guitar playing (and indeed ice cream) tracked down lead singer garth engdahl and told him he couldn?t see the lou reed thing at all.
Having said just the right words young kyle mangan was soon pretty much a member of the band.
All that was left was to knock some of the rust off that 20 years will bring. In addition to his almost mackellar-esque guitar skills mangan made himself immediately useful by reminding everyone what chords and words were associated with what song (it is believed mangan is the only person on earth with the complete early works of 39 shillings on acetate, vinyl and recorded over Bee-Gees 8-track tape). Soon the band sounded almost as good, well, pretty much the same, as they had 20 long years ago.
And ready to embark on their reunion tour at long last!
Why 39 Shillings ?
The name is a nod to Blueford Mackellar's family history back in England where his earliest known relative - Richard "Blackford" Mackrel allegedly made off with "several Fine Golde Plats" and went on a 3 country spree. Finally caught, Blackford was in serious trouble. The penalty was death for thefts of goods valuing more than 40 shillings. The golden plates that Blackford had broken up & distributed throughout every pub in a 100
mile range were worth approximately 4000 shillings...
he was saved by two things - the pressing need for cheap labor in the New World and the judge's natural disinclination to hang anyone who had bought so many rounds for the house in so many places. The plates were revalued to an extremely improbably 39 shillings.
Richard "Blackford" Mackrel was tossed on to the next rat infested ship leaving England.
eventually, the rest was history.