TO HELL WITH BURGUNDY was a Manchester-based trio founded on October 22nd, 1987. Karl Walsh (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Joanne Hensman (vocals and percussion) met as drama students and the line-up was completed by Kevin Metchear (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars) after they left college. The name of the band came from a line in “The Song Of The Vagabonds” from an operetta entitled The Vagabond King by Czech composer Rudolf Friml.
In March 1988 Joanne’s song “Mother Of The Sea” appeared on an EP put out by a friend on his own “From Chorley Records” label. The EP led to a deal with Factory Records, and the album Earthbound followed in May 1989, together with a CD single of “Who Wants To Change The World?”, which also featured the non-album track “Money”. Sadly, the album, which included the original version of “Go”, has been unavailable since the demise of the Factory label. In August 1990 they were invited to join Barclay James Harvest as special guests on their European Tour, and THWB subsequently toured with Graham Parker, BJH (again!), Clannad and Bob Geldof amongst others.
A re-recorded version of “Go” featuring a string quartet was issued on a 12” 4-track single in November 1990, and the album Only the World came out on the band’s own Stig Europe label in February 1992. Numerous concerts followed in Britain, Italy and Canada, and a new album, 3, appeared in July 1994. A limited edition CD single of “The King And I” was released at the same time.
The band’s fourth album, The Marvel Of The Age, was released on April 27th, 1998 and the band toured extensively in support of it. In March 2001 THWB were invited to appear as special guests for three UK concerts by their old friend John Lees of Barclay James Harvest, but these would prove to be the last shows that THWB ever performed, with the band splitting up due to personal issues.