Paul Shuttleworth and Vic Collins have played music together since 1969 when they formed one of England’s first country rock bands Cow Pie. In 1972 they became founder members of the Kursaal Flyers who were an integral part of the flourishing pub rock scene that was happening in London and other areas of the UK.
The Kursaals were one of the few bands to break out of the pubs when, in 1977, they enjoyed a UK hit single with “Little Does She Know”. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 2003 a chance meeting led Paul and Vic to explore the idea of forming a new band to play the cosmic country music they both loved. A call to guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Steve Oliver from Ipsissimus (which later became Jerry The Ferret, another pub rock mainstay) quickly formed the nucleus of the new band which they named The Ugly Guys after a much-loved Kursaal Flyers song.
Southern stalwart Bob Clouter, who had played with Mickey Jupp in both the Oriels and Legend, with The Lew Lewis Band and Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack, became the drummer. The bass guitar position was initially held by Mike Steed and then Andy Ferrell until 2018 when Nevil Kiddier, former bassist with hit makers The Pinkees and Glyder, took up the mantle.
In March 2020, like every other band in the UK, The Ugly Guys gig sheet went through the floor and all live dates were postponed due to the Covid pandemic. Like many musicians up and down the country they were left with no gigs and nothing to do. They did have one saving grace… Bad Dog Studio – guitarist Steve Oliver’s recording setup at his home in deepest Essex where Steve had produced all of the previous Ugly Guys albums since 2003.
Up until this time The Ugly Guys had mainly concentrated on their own original material but this time, subject to lockdown restrictions, they decided to record cover versions of their favourite songs in their own style, put together videos to go with them and put them out on YouTube under the loose umbrella of “Covers for Covid”. The videos were also put out on Facebook and proved to be very popular not only in the UK but in other territories too.
The Ugly Guys’ cover of Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let The Old Man In” has so far reached over 60,000 hits on YouTube and this success inspired them to try their hand at other unusual takes on songs such as their bluegrass version of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Goode” in a brooding Louisiana style.
The success of the videos prompted Conquest Music to offer The Ugly Guys a new recording deal, their own one having expired during lockdown. The first release from Conquest was an EP featuring “Rolling in the Deep” that got to number 25 on the Heritage Chart then the full album “Cover Your Tracks” was released to great critical reviews.
When The Ugly Guys started back in 2003 they took their name from the song “Ugly Guys” recorded originally by Paul and Vic when they were in the Kursaal Flyers. They have played “Ugly Guys” at every gig and recorded a new version for this album.
The original material may have come from many different sources but the tracks on this album are pure Ugly Guys.
In 2023 the band celebrates 20 years since its inception and still champions country music in all its forms to the delight of its many followers both in the UK and around the world.