Tractor were formed in Rochdale in 1971 from the remains of three-piece band The Way We Live (originally formed in 1966 at Balderstone School, Rochdale). The band comprised Jim Milne (guitarist, vocalist and songwriter) and Steve Clayton (drummer, percussionist and songwriter) who had teamed up in 1971 with their manager and sound engineer John Brierley, who built his first studios (Dandelion Studios Rochdale) in his bedroom and attic. John later recorded Factory and many other bands at his Cargo Studios in Rochdale.
As The Way We Live, Tractor made a 1971 album for Dandelion Records boss, the late John Peel. After the release of this album, "A Candle For Judith", Peel described guitarist Jim Milne as "...the man responsible for some of the most urgent flowing and logical guitar playing I've ever heard".
Their second album, "Tractor” (as Tractor) got to number 18 in the Radio Luxembourg album charts and was frequently played on the BBC by DJs like Peel, Bob Harris and Anne Nightingale. It was also in the Virgin Top 30 selling album charts in 1972.
Later that year, former Rochdale College Social Secretary Chris Hewitt became their tour manager and sound engineer and the band opened recording studios in Dawson Street in Heywood. They performed on the college and university circuit from winter 1972 onwards (one night appearing on the same bill as future AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott) and also worked on their third album which would later become the CD release, "Worst Enemies".
In 1976, Tractor helped launch the Deeply Vale Festivals and were the main Festival attraction in 1976 and 1977. As it grew in reputation, other Manchester-based and nationally known artists appeared at the Festival alongside Tractor, including Durutti Column, The Fall, The Out, The Drones, Nik Turner (of Hawkwind), Here And Now, The Ruts, Fast Cars and Steve Hillage.
During their career, Tractor have issued LPs and CDs on Dandelion Records, UK Records, Cargo Records (Indie Rochdale label), Roach Records and they now control their entire back catalogue through their own Ozit-Morpheus Records. In 1998, they released a new CD of archive material, Tractor "Before, During and After the Dandelion Years".
They played at Glastonbury Festival in 2002 and the Canterbury Festival in 2003. There is a DVD available through Ozit-Morpheus Records entitled, ‘Beyond Deeply Vale’, and like all Tractor material, it received stunning reviews.
In 2004, ITV made a documentary about Deeply Vale and Tractor, "Truly Madly Deeply Vale", which is to be released on DVD with extra bonus footage. Further recognition came in December 2004 when Tractor played at a John Peel tribute concert along with Doves and Badly Drawn Boy, Marc Riley and Andy Rourke from the Smiths. In October 2006, Tractor released a new CD, “John Peel Bought Us Studio Gear And a P.A.”
1. King Dick II - 3:12
2. Squares - 5:02
3. Siderial - 5:27
4. Angle - 1:26
5. Storm - 4:52
6. Willow - 5:48
7. Madrigal - 2:08
8. The Way Ahead - 9:03
9. Lost On The Ocean (Live) - 5:59
10.Suicidal (Live) - 8:18
11.Vicious Circle - 2:28
12.Hollands Pie R - 2:50
13.As You Say - 4:16
14.Electric Witch (Live) - 7:45
All titles written by Jim Milne
Tracks 1 to 8 and 13 Recorded as The Way We Live in the late 60's/early 70's at John Brierley's home studio.
Tracks 9 and 10 Recorded as The Tractor in 1977 at Cargo Studios Mobile.
Tracks 11 and 12 Recorded as The Tractor in 1974/75 at Tractor Sound Studios, Heywood.
Track 14 Recorded as The Tractor 1980 at Cargo Studios Mobile
*Jim Milne - Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals
*Dave Addison - Bass Guitar
*Dave Goldberg - Keyboards
*Steve Clayton - Percussions
1971 The Way We Live - A Candle For Judith
the Free Text