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Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers / Mart Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

biography | discography | gigs | gallery | links | acknowledgments

Who Are Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

West Country band Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers are Gloucestershire's answer to The Wurzels; a humorous and fondly remembered band led by the inimitable and sadly missed Shag Connors. The band is still doing the business in the capable hands of Shag's son Mart, as Mart Connors & The Carrot Crunchers.

Described as a 'country comedy musical act' singing ribald songs of country life such as Gloucester Calypso, Blame the Breathalyser and I'm Jealous of the Farmyard Cockerel; the The Carrot Crunchers were perhaps best known for their black cockerel, which Shag taught to drink beer from a pint glass, and which was an integral part of the act. Story has it that one night the band played at an army base, and after the gig a bunch of squaddies killed the cockerel! This might explain why the two pictures in the gallery show different coloured birds - obviously Shag trained up a replacement!

Although Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers didn't achieve the UK chart success of Adge and The Wurzels, they were nevertheless is demand, appearing on various TV shows in the 1970s including The Wheeltappers & Shunters Show, the David Nixon Show (7/5/73 and 22/4/74), the Sooty Show and Opportunity Knocks which would have put them in front of a massive national audience.

Shag died in 1987 after a long fight against cancer - a sad end to a real gentleman. He is buried in Mayshill Cemetery. His son Mart (aka Martin 'Scarecrow' Connor) took over the reigns and the band still performs today.

Band Line-up

The band line-up appears to have mutated album by album. The descriptions below were found engraved on the back of their 1970 album Furzlin':

  • Mick "Shag" Connors - Found drunk with his head resting on a manure heap, which caused a Tobacco-like hair to grow on the sides of his face. Shortage of cigarettes on the farm caused him to try some in a roll-up, very strong but good. Now everybody smokes it in the village. He says "They all know I grow me own tobacco, so they call me Shag".
  • Pete "Plonker" McQuaid - Champion milker, can knock a fly off the wall at 25 yards with the swing of a teat. He says "I like the feel of teats, you can't beat a bit of the udder".
  • Richard "Cowcake" Harris - Caught eating the farmer's cowcake to counteract the cost of living, hence the name. Well known as the local "Ram"; so would you be if you eat the same food as the farmer's prize bull. Married the 20-stone Radstock Queen, says "What I der go through".
  • Keith "Scarecrow" Harris - Only human crowscarer left in the country. Covers hundreds of miles a day up and down the farmer's fields. Comes back to the pub at night white from head to foot. He says "I'm sure the crows have got to know me, they've been a-bombing me hard all day".

The 1973 line-up from the album notes on A Little Of What You Fancy sees the mispelt Shag Conner on vocals and harmonica, and Keith Harris on electric guitar from the Furzlin' line-up joined by Shag's son Martin Conner (electric guitar), Terry Conner (organ) - presumably another relations; as well as newcomers Ray Elder (bass guitar) and Graham Jefferies (drums).

By the time of the 1976 Country Capers album was released, the line up has changed again. Alongside Shag Connor (third spelling of that surname!) on vocal and harmonica, and Martin 'Scarecrow' Connor on electric guitar, were a swathe of newcomers: Barry 'Plonker' Hinchley on organ, Adrian 'Silage' Garland on drums, and Richard 'Cow Cake' Smith on bass. Additional musicians on the album were Steve Darrington (piano and harmonica), Phil Beer (fiddle and mandolin) and Paul Downes (acoustic guitar).

By 1978, the next reference I've been able to find, the line-up sees Shag Connors (vocals), Scarecrow Connors (guitar), Cowcake Smith (bass) and Silage Garland (drums) rejoined by (Keith) Raker Harris (guitar) and (Terry) Plonker Connor (organ).

Pete Cook (now with The Somerset Paddies) was also with the band for a short while.

The current (2007) line-up of Mart Connors & The Carrot Crunchers is:

  • Mart Connors - Jokes, Lead Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
  • "Ram" - Drums and Backing Vocals
  • "Goldtop" - Bass and Backing Vocals
  • "Lucky" - Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals
Shag & the lads have a pint
Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Shag and the lads taking a break taken around 1976 - and a sad reminder that the Courage Bristol Brewery (formerly George's) was closed by its owners in 1999 in spite of a protest by the local branch of CAMRA and many others - most of the historic old buildings are being pulled down to be replaced by luxury flats. Note also the famous Farmyard Cockerel - coincidentally the old Courage logo.

Photo taken from one of their promotional flyers, and shows the band complete with the original (?) black cockerel drinking beer.

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers Discography

Singles

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

The Cotswolds EP (?)

a-side - Nagging Woman / The Cotswolds
b-side - Watching The Chicks / Pub Crawl

[Ed. Unsure about the title]

SRS 2105
1979

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Shag Connors with Luan Peters

It's Me Again, Margaret (Paul Craft) / Henhouse Holiday

Precision 5P 205
1980
Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers
Watch It / A Little Blondie Called Jean Play 154
1982

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

The Little House Upon The Hill / Did You Miss Me Play 202
1985

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

The Cleanest Little Piggy In The Market / That's Life Play 204
Dec 1985

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

I'm Jealous Of The Farmyard Cockerel / Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel Play 208
Aug 1986
 

Bristol City Songs EP

Side 1: One Bristol City / There'll Always Be a Bristol (There'll Always Be An England) / Glory Glory Bristol City
Side 2: When The Red Red Robin (Comes Bob Bob Bobbing Along)

??

Albums

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Furzlin' with Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Side 1: Gonna Have Some Fun Tonight / Farmyard Cockerel / Furzlin' / Whopper Of The West / Radstock Queen / Au Pair Girl
Side 2: De Doodlin' / Blame The Breathalyser / Cauliflower Power / Oh Ar! / Gloucester Calypso / Kilroy Was Here

Marble Arch MALS1342
1970

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

A Little Of What You Fancy

Side 1: Winter Time In Gloucester / A Little Of What You Fancy (Does You Good) / Gloucester Cheese / If I'd Have Known / Go Man Go / Shorty / O Lordie It's A Crying Shame / Go Tell Your Mother /
Side 2: The Whistle Of The Train / Far Better Off When I'm Gone / I Can't See You Until Saturday Night / Girl Called Anne / A Fella's Got To Earn His Corn / Man It's A Hard Life / Don't Ever Let It Get You Down / Turkey In The Straw

Recorded at the Globe Inn, Newton St Loe, Bath, Somerset on 27 November 1973

EMI Starline SRS 5186
1973

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Country Capers

Side 1: On The Boghorn / I Can't Read The Thoughts (That's In Your Mind) / The Skinniest Legs / I Ain't Got No Money For My Wedding / The Bristol City Streaker / The Girl With The Big Blue Eyes / The Irish Washerwoman
Side 2: Gypsy Joe / Rich Man's Daughter / Nellie From Poole / Missing Kissing Blues / I Never Told You (But I've Known All Along) / Poking The Fire / The Chicken Reel

Sweet Folk & Country SFA 064
1976

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers

Sing Country Style

Side 1: Trip To Heaven / Snowbird / There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight / Oh! Susanna! (jig) / Five Hundred Miles / Everybody's Talking At Me / Abilene
Side 2: What Made Milwaukee Famous / Little Green Apples / So Lonesome I Could Cry / Ruby / Time Is Tight / Help Me Make It Through The Night / Okie From Muskogee

Sweet Folk & Country SFA 084
1977
 

The Best In The West

In The Springtime / I'm Feeling Blue / Shut The Gate / The Local Vicar / Glad To Be Alive / Within A Hundred Years / Waiter Bring Me Wine /
On The Phone / The Girl Who Works Next Door / On The Milk Round / Cos I'm A Peeping Tom / I've Been Born To The Sound Of An Alarm Clock

SRT SRTZ/CUS 78099
1978

Shag Connors & The Carrot Crunchers Links

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the following Carrot Cruncher fans who have helped with information:

  • Ian Goodridge for drawing to our attention the album Country Capers and providing the track listing, personnel details, etc.
  • Andrea Llewellyn for drawing our attention to the album A Little Of What You Fancy and providing the track listings, personnel, etc.

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