Reviews & suggestions for punk rock fans.

One of the Best 1970s Punk Rock Band You’ve Never Heard (Maybe) – The Senders

The Senders, the Best Bar Band in the World

The Senders has a sound all of their own, and I’m shocked to see how little there is in the digital landscape for this band. The album, which you can find on most streaming services, Back to Sender Revisited is a compilation of their work – some live, some not, some hit, others muted, but at its core, a blues sound with a punk rock attitude.

The band formed out of love for old R&B records in New York City in 1976. Philippe Marcade would spend his days at friend Steve Shevlin’s place. Steve had a record collection and would play bass along to the tunes. Soon, with his experience playing drums, Phil would join in the fun. Then, their friends Reedy and Jorge would come over with their guitars and they would jam. Of course, Reedy and Jorge would be replaced, and Phil would become the lead singer for the band down the road. No matter, these four would spend their days playing music together and listening to old R&B records by Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Slim Harpo, Turner’s KIngs of Rhythm, and Little Walter at the start of the band’s formation.

The final lineup for The Senders would come to be Philippe Marcade (vocals), Wild Bill Thompson (guitar), Steve Shevlin (bass), Danny Ray (Saxophone), and Marc ‘Moe’ Bourset (drums). They played regularly at Max’s Kansas City. Max’s even had a drink named after the band according to Philippe Marcade‘s memoir Punk Avenue: Inside the New York City Underground, 1972-1982. As he puts it, it was a “vodka and I forget what else.” Ha. Ha … Anywho, beyond Max’s, The Senders played legendary venues like CBGB’s, The Rat, Mother’s, and more.

The musicianship of this band makes me scratch my head on why this band isn’t on more radars. Seriously give them a listen. When I give it a thought, I wonder if it is influence. As in “their influence.” For not sure many bands contributed to them with that title. Therefore it’s easy to look over them. Maybe? Pure speculation.

No matter, check out “Temperature” and you’ll hear Muddy Waters. Turn up “For Me Tonight” and you’ll notice the sounds of Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Honestly, any song of The Senders and you’ll quickly pick up the band’s influence for that bluesy, punk rock sound. Even look how they formed their name and see who is mentioned:

“We’d picked that name thinking it didn’t mean much and no one would want to steal it … So, we figured a name like The Senders was a bit like the Ramones: most likely obscure enough that no one had thought of it … And also, though it wasn’t much used in the lingo of the seventies, “sender” often appeared in fifties rock ‘n’ roll songs, like Little Richard’s “Slipping and Sliding.” And, of course, you had Elvis Presley’s “Return to Sender” and Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.”

Punk Avenue: Inside the New York City Underground, 1972-1982 by Philippe Marcade

Sad to say, quite a bit happened to end the run of The Senders in the early 1980s. Most of them were addicted to Heroin (who wasn’t during the 1970s?) including Phil and Marc. Bill is forced into a psychiatric hospital suffering from a nervous breakdown. And Steve is told by a doctor he will go deaf and must stop. During their run, the band would only record one full album, the 1978 Seven Song Super Single which I have trouble finding online. If you see it, please email (thanks in advance).

One of their biggest accolades, besides my post (ha. ha.), is from the New York Press which called The Senders the “Best Bar Band in New York.” So next time you’re in a bar, or a pub, raise a glass to The Senders, a band most have never heard of but should.

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