Week of June 7, 1998



Steve Clayton Keyboards, Bass, Drums, Flute
Jim Milne Guitar, Vocals, Bass


Tractor (Dandelion 2310 217) 1972

Reissued on Thunderbolt (THBL 002) in 1983 and on album and CD (Repertoire RR 4081-WP) 1991. It's also been reissued on one CD along with The Way We Live album (See For Miles SEECD 409) 1994. There's also a compilation, Worst Enemies (Sunflower SFCD 102) 1991 and Original Masters (World Wide Records SPM-WWR-CD-0036) 1992, which contains a number of early demos of variable standard, along with a few studio cuts.


Stony Glory/Marie/As You Say (Dandelion 2001 282) 1972
Roll The Dice/Vicious Circle (UK UK 93) 1975

This progressive duo were previously known as The Way We Live and came from Rochdale.

The album, which is now sought-after by collectors, is recommended. It's a nice mix of acoustic ballads and heavier material, but it's the latter that really, catches the ear. The opening cut, "All Ends Up", begins with strange sound effects which give way to a heavy futuristic sound, which is undoubtedly one of the album's highlights along with the finale, "Make The Journey", which again features distorted guitars and wild drums. Sandwiched in between are more complex heavy progressive cuts like "Little Girl In Yellow" and acoustic ballads like "The Watcher", spoilt only by the throwaway, "Ravenscroft 13 Bar Boogie".

The Repertoire reissue comes with the original artwork, an annotated booklet and a picture disc CD which contains three bonus tracks from 1973. The Sunflower release is a collection of previously unissued and rare material dating from 1971-91. Its highlight is "Peterloo", a 21-minute cut in live movements, detailing the events of the 1819 massacre. The World Wide Records' CD will mainly interest archivists and Tractor fanatics, due to the inclusion of a number of pre-album demos of which the Eastern-tinged "Siderial", the inventive acoustic number, "Madrigel", and the fuzzy "Willow" seem the pick.

They reformed to record 45s in the late seventies and early eighties, one under the moniker, Jim Milne and Tractor.

Source: The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson ISBN 1 899855 04 1

Tractor were formed in Rochdale in 1971 from the remains of three-piece band The Way We Live (originally formed in 1966 at Balderstone School, Rochdale). The band comprised Jim Milne (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter) and Steve Clayton (drummer, percussionist and songwriter) who had teamed up in 1971 with their manager and sound engineer John Brierley, who built his first studios (Dandelion Studios Rochdale) in his bedroom and attic. John later recorded Factory and many other bands at his Cargo Studios in Rochdale.

As The Way We Live, Tractor made a 1971 album for Dandelion Records boss, the late John Peel. After the release of this album, "A Candle For Judith", Peel described guitarist Jim Milne as "...the man responsible for some of the most urgent flowing and logical guitar playing I've ever heard".

Their second album, "Tractor (as Tractor) got to number 18 in the Radio Luxembourg album charts and was frequently played on the BBC by DJs like Peel, Bob Harris and Anne Nightingale. It was also in the Virgin Top 30 selling album charts in 1972.

Later that year, former Rochdale College Social Secretary Chris Hewitt became their tour manager and sound engineer and the band opened recording studios in Dawson Street in Heywood. They performed on the college and university circuit from winter 1972 onwards (one night appearing on the same bill as future AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott) and also worked on their third album which would later become the CD release, "Worst Enemies".

In 1976, Tractor helped launch the Deeply Vale Festivals and were the main Festival attraction in 1976 and 1977. As it grew in reputation, other Manchester-based and nationally known artists appeared at the Festival alongside Tractor, including Durutti Column, The Fall, The Out, The Drones, Nik Turner (of Hawkwind), Here And Now, The Ruts, Fast Cars and Steve Hillage.

During their career, Tractor have issued LPs and CDs on Dandelion Records, UK Records, Cargo Records (Indie Rochdale label), Roach Records and they now control their entire back catalogue through their own Ozit-Morpheus Records. In 1998, they released a new CD of archive material, Tractor "Before, During and After the Dandelion Years".

They played at Glastonbury Festival in 2002 and the Canterbury Festival in 2003. There is a DVD available through Ozit-Morpheus Records entitled, Beyond Deeply Vale, and like all Tractor material, it received stunning reviews.

In 2004, ITV made a documentary about Deeply Vale and Tractor, "Truly Madly Deeply Vale", which is to be released on DVD with extra bonus footage. Further recognition came in December 2004 when Tractor played at a John Peel tribute concert along with Doves and Badly Drawn Boy, Marc Riley and Andy Rourke from the Smiths. In October 2006, Tractor released a new CD, John Peel Bought Us Studio Gear And a P.A.

Tractor/The Way We Live

Back to Alex's Home Page