British instrumental quartet Billy Mahonie
traced its origins to 1994 and the first collaboration between guitarist Gavin Baker and drummer Howard Monk
; the project proved short-lived, however, and both went their separate ways, playing in other bands over the next two years. Inspired by the emergence of the Chicago post-rock movement, in 1997 Baker
and Monk reunited; after making a series of four-track recordings the duo recruited bassists Hywell Dinsdale and Kevin Penney, playing their first gig that December in support of Rothko. A split single, also with Rothko, preceded the late 1998 release of "Whistling Sam," and in early 1999 Billy Mahonie
signed with the Too Pure label; the group's debut LP, The Big Dig
, followed in the summer. Two more efforts -- Come On Billy Mahonie Give It Your Best Shot
(a set of three CD singles given out at live performances) and the EP One Thousand Years of Billy Mahonie (Too Pure's celebratory 100th release) -- appeared prior to year's end.