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Mock Turtles

With 1990's "Can You Dig It?" the Mock Turtles scored one of the more enduring singles to emerge from the so-called Madchester scene. More than a decade later, the song and group returned to prominence thanks to a hugely popular advertising campaign for British mobile operator Vodafone. The Mock Turtes were led by singer/guitarist Martin Googan, the older brother of famed British television comedian and actor Steve Coogan. Bassist Steve Green, keyboardist Krzysztof Korab, and drummer Steve Cowen completed the lineup, which channeled influences spanning from folk-rock to psychedelia to glam. The Mock Turtles issued their debut single, "Pomona," in 1987. Contributions to Imaginary Records tribute LPs celebrating the Byrds, the Kinks, and Captain Beefheart followed, but in early 1989 Green and Korab exited, with bassist Andrew Stewardson, guitarist Martin Glynn Murray, and keyboardist Joanne Gent signing on for "The Wicker Man," a single inspired by the cult horror classic of the same name. With 1990's "Lay Me Down" the Mock Turtles began incorporating the club-inspired rhythms that would come to define the Manchester sound in the months to follow, and that June the band issued its first full-length effort, Turtle Soup, to significant critical acclaim. Major label Siren soon extended a contract offer, and for their label debut the Mock Turtles reworked the "Lay Me Down" B-side "Can You Dig It?" The record proved a Top 20 chart hit, accompanied by an appearance on the BBC's Top of the Pops. A slick second album, Two Sides, nevertheless failed to earn much attention and in 1993 Coogan dissolved the group to form Ugli with Green and Korab. After more than a decade out of the limelight, the Mock Turtles enjoyed a commercial renaissance when Vodafone licensed "Can You Dig It?" to promote its wireless services. The single was quickly reissued to radio, followed by a greatest-hits compilation featuring eight brand-new recordings. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
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