Toyah: Sheep Farming In Barnet

Produced by Steve James & Keith Hale


1979 Germany LP: EMI Electrola / 1C 064-63 442
1980 UK LP: Safari Records / IC 064
1980 UK cassette: Safari Records / 1C 264
1980 Australia 2-LP: Safari/Polygram / 2679 086 (bundled with ‘Sheep Farming In Barnet’)
1990 UK LP reissue (red vinyl): Great Expectations / PIPLP014
1990 UK cassette reissue: Great Expectations / PIPMC 014
1990 UK CD reissue: Great Expectations / PIPCD 014
2002 UK CD: Safari Records / VOORCD 4002 (bundled with ‘Sheep Farming In Barnet’)*

Available digitally: iTunes / Amazon / Spotify

Sheep Farming in Barnet is the debut release by Toyah, fronted by Toyah Willcox, released in 1979 by Safari Records. The album was originally released as a 6-track extended EP, dubbed an ‘Alternate Play’ record (AP) by Safari, and was later expanded into full-album status. The album was later reissued on CD, cassette and white vinyl by Great Expectations in 1990 (As PIPCD 014), and again on CD by Safari themselves in 2002, this time digitally remastered and coupled with the band’s second album, The Blue Meaning.

The album was produced by Steve James and future band member Keith Hale, and was released as an AP on 3 August 1979, with the album version following in February 1980. The album was originally compiled by the band’s German record label, EMI Electrola, but importation of the disc was so widespread, Safari decided to cash in and follow suit. The tracks added included several songs which did not make the original tracklisting and the debut single “Victims of the Riddle” (originally released in July 1979), plus its b-side “Victims of the Riddle (Vivisection)”.

The album’s title refers to sheep being seen in a field in Finchley just off Regent’s Park Road. According to John Craig of Safari, the cover featured Toyah at the RAF Fylingdales radar station near Whitby in Yorkshire, “a shoot achieved with considerable difficulty as, quite predictably, guards chased Toyah and the crew from the high security site”.