The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (From 'Way out West')
Laurel (b. Paul Dawkins, October 1962, London, England) and Hardy (b. Anthony Robinson, April 1962, London, England).
Before entering the reggae scene in 1978 the duo tried their luck at performing soul but found the DJ style more absorbing. The pair followed the sound systems of the day, such as Neville King, Moa Ambassa and Sufferer. They began performing with a young girl known as the Virgin Mary, while they were known as Reverend T and Pope Paul. Following in the combination style of Clint Eastwood And General Saint, Yellowman And Fathead, and Michigan And Smiley they became known as the Holy Two. Located in Battersea, London, it was not long before their debut single appeared on the locally-based Fashion Records label, and they became known as Laurel And Hardy. Emulating Stan and Ollie, they would appear in bowler hats, bow ties, white gloves and suits, to the delight of the audience. The release of ‘You’re Nicked’ surfaced on a 10-inch disc, a popular fad at the time, and the success of the single brought them to the attention of CBS Records. The signing led to a tour of universities supporting the funk fusion group Pigbag. Following the rave reviews on campus another tour of universities was arranged, using a band as opposed to backing tapes, and supported by the dub poet Benjamin Zephaniah. The pair were also featured in the national press and appeared on Saturday morning television shows promoting the release of ‘Clunk Click’ in 1983. However, major label contracts frequently prompted the demise of reggae performers’ careers, and the duo was no exception. Following the second release, ‘Lots Of Loving And She’s Gone’, Laurel And Hardy returned to an independent label and recorded with Papa Face. Sadly, the duo’s credibility was already low and they were unable to recapture the popularity that they had previously enjoyed. Other outings followed, notably ‘Dangerous Shoes’, but they were unable to maintain a high profile in the reggae chart. During a quiet spell they set up their own recording studio and worked in the background, although an appearance on the television series Black On Black was met with enthusiasm.