January 26, 2022

On Thursday January 20th, the news of Peter Dunton passing away from a brain tumour was announced by his partner Jackie.

For the uninitiated, Peter Dunton was the drummer and songwriter of heavy psych-rock band T2, which he formed following a short time with Gun (best known for Race With The Devil). T2’s only official album It’ll All Work Out In Boomland, with all the music written by Dunton (T2 being one of the very few examples of a songwriter-drummer led band) was released in 1970. It reached no.20 in the charts … not bad for an album where one track took up the whole of Side Two … and has become a collector’s item, with original vinyl copies selling for around £150. The side-long Morning, and the sublime No More White Horses, were clear standouts on the album. And, after fifty-plus years, there’s still an interest in, and a buzz about Boomland. Interviewed by this writer in 2018, Peter said, ‘with Boomland, we were trying to create something different, not influenced by other acts. T2 wanted each song to sound different and, on Boomland, I think we achieved this.’  Was he happy with how Boomland came out? ‘No one’s ever 100% happy with an album. But, in retrospect though, I’m proud of it, especially as people are still writing about it 47 years after it was released.’

T2, with Peter Dunton (centre)

They also, however, achieved something which few bands ever have, which was to release a critically praised debut album after building a rep as a stage act, and then not follow it up. There’s little doubt a follow-up album of similar quality to Boomland would have seen T2 take a giant stride forwards but, due to factors like falling out with their manager, internal dissension and the departure of their guitarist Keith Cross (at the time touted as likely to be the next guitar hero) just before the band was due to leave for an American tour. this never happened. Becoming disillusioned by these events, bassist Bernard Jinks also left, which further derailed their momentum and, despite the recruitment of two replacement musicians, a second album wasn’t released because, as Peter said, ‘at that time (1972) record companies were only interested in pop acts and glam rock.’ Thus, T2 never achieved what they’d been tipped to do, which was to make a major name for themselves. The band fizzled out soon afterwards. Things, it seemed, didn’t work out in Boomland…

However, earlier in 2021, a Three-Disc set of T2’s music was released by Esoteric Records, which contained their debut album, plus two additional discs from recordings in 1970 and 1971-2, mostly works-in-progress, offering a tantalising glimpse of what might have been – showing that T2 had the potential to expand their sound and go further, and that a second album with the style and power of Boomland could have seen them taking a place in the higher echelons of rock. Interviewed again in early 2021, Dunton stated he still had some unreleased recordings of the band, though what will now become of these is unknown. Sadly, this triple set will now be Dunton’s epitaph and, if you don’t know T2, it’s worth investigating, if only for the stunning debut album.

My personal memory of T2 is that Boomland was the album myself and a friend called Gareth spent the summer and autumn of 1970 listening to, along with Jethro Tull’s album Benefit. We were both blown away by how good it was and we spent hours listening to it. If I ever want to think about Gareth as, sadly, he’s no longer of this parish, then just listening to the opening notes of Morning still reminds me of walking across the park near to his house in the autumn sunshine.

Thanks for the music and the white horses Peter …