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‘Arctic Frosties’ by Salt Solution

Sleeve notes

The 'Arctic Frosties' album coverIf there was ever a typical concert for Salt Solution, this was it. A darkened church hall with a single spot light and pulsing disco lights. I was off the stage with my microphone lead trailing behind, with an arm full of broken percussion. It was that time in the evening when I usually hunted out likely victims to perform with the band on stage. I thrust a cow bell at a bloke in the audience, “Can you play that?” I shouted in his ear. “I’m better on saxophone” came the reply. “We haven’t got one of those” I didn’t have time for this conversation. “I’ve got one in the car”. “Off you go then”. He was better on saxophone, and Pete stayed with the band for the next seven years. It would have been the stuff of legend, had we ever been famous. But fame was fairly low on the agenda, and just a well. Not that there weren’t high points to savour. The large and enthusiastic crowd at the Brixton Academy; that hadn’t come because of us. The near Beatle mania in the small mining town in Yorkshire; but then they hadn’t seen a live band before. Then there were the schools concerts where with kids queuing for autographs at the staff room door, asking when we were going on Top of the Pops. Rob was on Top of the Pops once; in the audience. There were low points too, but we won’t dwell on those. Suffice to say that most involved audiences that you didn’t need your shoes and socks off to count.

Mervyn Sprocket and the Crankshaft Assembly 1982. L to R: Robert Bathurst, Simon Bartlett, Martin Day, Kenton Keys
Mervyn Sprocket and the Crankshaft Assembly line up ’82-’83. Rob Bathurst, Simon Bartlett, Martin Day, Kenton Keys

Essentially the Salties were always a live band, ever conscious that we were subjecting each audience to an hour or more of unfamiliar music, we needed to ensure that it didn’t all sound the same. And so to the songs themselves, eventually, here they are, on the album we always longed to make. There are stories behind each one, if anyone had cared to ask. The oldest is Unwilling Guest, dating back to our “Mervyn Sprocket and the Crankshaft Assembly” days. It was played at the first concert in St. Johns Church, where we were pelted with kneelers, and at the last concert too. Not with the same tune, mind. This was always a Salty habit, putting old lyrics to new tunes. I was always slow at writing. If the truth be known this song only survived because the tempo was right for dancing, and it was a good excuse for the fire breathing. A strong theme throughout this collection is the re-telling of Bible stories and a gravitation towards scripture; another comments on lifestyle. In fact you have to look hard for songs without an obvious Christian stance, but there are a couple.

1984: Salt Solution (before Pete Milner) L to R Martin Day, Simon Bartlett, Andy Clark, Rob Bathurst
Salt Solution line up ’85-’88. Martin Day, Simon Bartlett, Andy Clark, Rob Bathurst

Now recorded, these songs can live on, but what of those that didn’t make it Strong, Lonely, Torn Leather Tearaway, Tarmac Wheels on Rubber Roads, Floating on the Peddelo of Life, Taking His Own, Safe Among the Shadows, Insurance Man, Dogs life, Tearing the Curtain, Second Fall… sorry not Second Fall. That was a recording that I found abandoned 8 years later. We hadn’t known how to finish it at the time. But then that was before Pete started the tap classes. Who knows what will become of this album. I would always hope for something grander, but I suspect that they will get tucked to the back of a few record collections, serving as an occasional reminder of a splendid evening, afternoon, or morning assembly, long ago. Maybe of the first live band you ever saw. And I would be happy with that. Martin.

The credits and a few honorary mentions:

Andy Clark – Drums.
Simon Bartlett – Bass, backing vocals.
Pete Milner – Sax, keyboards, occasional backing vocals, tap dancing.
Robert Bathurst – Lead & rhythm guitar, occasional backing vocals.
Martin Day – Vocals, occasional lead & rhythm guitar.

Special contributions from:
Andrew Clark and Simon Bartlett , an image used on the back cover of Salt Solution's 'Arctic Frosties' album
‘Arctic Frosties’ back cover photo (Andy Clark and Simon Bartlett)

Helen Jayne – backing vocals on The Day in between & The Perfect day
Jo MacKinnon – backing vocals on Must be seen
Mags Law – Keyboards on Arctic Ostrich & Your Country Needs You
Doug McKellar and ‘Brett’ – Backing vocals on Your country needs you.
Tim Hawes – Mixing: Second Fall, MrX, Get Out, Must be, Unwilling Guest, Hard Way, and Straight Furrow, and post production of all other tracks.
Nigel ‘Chopper’ Palmer – Engineering & Mixing: New Life, You Country and Arctic Ostrich
Doug McKellar – Engineering & Mixing: All other tracks
Richard Taylor – Artwork

Heartfelt thanks to those who gave us special encouragement and support:
Julie Bartlett, Marion Bathurst and Jill Day.
For the Kids (who would love to get a mention) Janna, Stevie & Robbie Bartlett. Ben, Josh & Hannah Bathurst. Chloe & Sam Day. Joseph & Luke Milner.
Tony Stippelmans for our single
Jon Wensley for his constant generosity
Doug McKellar for his days as drummer, manager and engineer.

© 2000 Salt Solution Music

The Arctic Frosties artwork

click on each image to see a higher resolution version

The 'Arctic Frosties' back and front cover
‘Arctic Frosties’ booklet, back and front cover
The 'Arctic Frosties' pages 1 & 2
‘Arctic Frosties’ pages 1 & 2
The 'Arctic Frosties' pages 3 & 4
‘Arctic Frosties’ pages 3 & 4
The 'Arctic Frosties' pages 5 & 6
‘Arctic Frosties’ pages 5 & 6
The 'Arctic Frosties' pages 7 & 8
‘Arctic Frosties’ pages 7 & 8
The 'Arctic Frosties' pages 9 & 10
‘Arctic Frosties’ pages 9 & 10

The 'Arctic Frosties' CD

Salt Solution pages


Salt Solution disbanded amicably in 1995 but there were still half a dozen recordings unfinished. Over the next five years these were completed, but at an even slower rate than when the band had been together, by recording individual instrument tracks in band members homes and by occasional visits to studios. These
and all the Salt Solution tracks from previous session were then compiled for a CD’. Most of these recordings were made on the Band’s own Fosdex 8-track reel-to-reel recorder. The exceptions to this were the three earlier studio recordings of ‘Arctic Ostrich‘, ‘New Life‘ and ‘Your Country Needs You‘.

The ‘Arctic Frosties’ CD was issued as a retrospective in 2000 and the album is still widely available
from buy from Amazonlisten on Apple Musiclisten on Spotifylisten on Deezerlisten on Youtubelisten on KKBox and “all good online e-tailers” (although all the tracks are now available on this site for free). Some of the songs needed to be faded pre-maturely in order to crowbar the 19 songs onto the 74 minute CD. The album title is taken from the nick-name that Rob Bathurst coined for the song Arctic Ostrich.


Cross Rhythms is a Christian media company – radio, magazine, andeven a festival. Salt Solution contributed to all these and there is still a review of the Arctic Frosties CD on their site as well as for the demo cassette ‘The Art of Growing Old‘ (that we have no other memory of but that clearly also included the track ‘The Day In Between‘)