D’Arcy Studios was started by Warren Miller, who had cut “Everybody’s Got a Baby But Me” / “Say You’ll Be True” for United Artists in 1958. In 1964 Miller had a label called D’Arcy with two country releases, one each by Charlie Wiggs and Jesse Travers.
In 1966 Miller started D’Arcy Sound Studios in Norfolk, and Sounds International seems to have been the house label for the studio.
About half the label’s releases were soul, of which the Sheepherders is most in demand. The Nite Liters and Del-Notes are good blue eyed soul.
The Rude Awakening is garage, the Outcasts single is heavy organ-based rock. The Common Wealth has been described as folky rock. The Holmes Brothers singles are country.
In 1968 Miller started using a new label, Nottingham Disc Co., which continued the last two digits of the numbering system (for example, changing from Sounds International 640, 641, 642 to 849, 850, 851 for Nottingham Disc Co). Nottingham 853 and 854 read “D’Arcy Studio Center” on the labels instead of “D’Arcy Sound Studios”.
The Journey Back’s single on Nottingham Disc is much sought after, and New Directions “Springtime Lady” is also very good. I haven’t heard the Russ Spooner or Mark III singles yet.
Around 1970 Miller changed the name of the studio to simply Studio Center and began a new five-digit numbering system beginning with “50”. He revived the Sounds International label for at least two releases in a 70s rural rock style.
Twenty Grand Music BMI published all original songs on Sounds International and Nottingham Disc Co.
Sounds International and Nottingham Disc Co. discography: Any help with this discography would be appreciated.
Sounds International 631 – Nite Liters – “Set Me Free” / “Harlem Shuffle” Sounds International 633 – Gentle-Men – “Only Love” (Wilson) / “Old McDonald” Sounds International 634 – Rude Awakening – “Certain Girl” / “Fortune Teller” Sounds International 635 – ? Sounds International SI-636 – The Del-Notes – “I Love You” b/w “I Wish I Was Home” Sounds International SI-637 – ? Sounds International SI-638 – The Sheepherders with Bubba Bailey – “If You Ever Need Me” (Jones, Lowder, O’Sullivan) / “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” Sounds International SI-639 – The Outcasts – “While I’m Here” / “Spell” (J.G. Heisler) Sounds International SI 640 – Elsie Strong “This is the Last Time” (Gene Casey) / “Ask the Lonely” (William Stevenson, Jobete BMI) Sounds International SI 641 – Holmes Brothers – “September Love” / “Splendor of Love” Sounds International SI 642 – Pop Tops featuring Roy Hines – “I Want to Make It With You” (Hines, Weaver, Leibman, Esenberg, Barthlow) / “I Can Live” Sounds International SI 643 – ? Sounds International SI 644 – Holmes Brothers – “Searching Eyes” / “It’s a Big Big World”
Nottingham Disc Co. 848 – Russ Spooner with the Sheep Herders – “We Got That” (Bobby Moore) / “The Truth” Nottingham Disc Co. 849 – The Journey Back – “Synthetic People” / “Run Away Baby” (L. Burnell, B. Sutton) Nottingham Disc Co. 850 – New Directions – “Springtime Lady” (L.H. Jones) / “Swlabr” (arranged by Chip Golden III) Nottingham Disc Co. 851 – The Machine – “Hey Grandma” / “Roll With It” Nottingham Disc Co. 852 – ? Nottingham Disc Co. 853 – Mark III “Gigolo” / “39-21-46″ (Norman Johnson) Nottingham Disc Co. 854 – Plague – “Brighter Side” (T. Charauros, J. Burcham) / “Cherry Road”
The following releases have a different numbering system and credit “A Product of Sound Center, Norfolk, Va.” on the labels:
Nottingham Disc Co. 50104 – New Directions – “Lalena” / “Them Changes” Sounds International 50120 – Franklin Freight Train – “Full on the Hill” / “Loving What You Can” (Seale-Leighton-Mahl-Seale) Sounds International 50166 – Common Wealth – “Circles” (Carl Brody) / “It’s Over” (Phil Liebman)
Thank you to Matt Beck for his videos of the Plague 45 on Youtube.
The Del Notes came from Newport News, Virginia. Danny O’Brien attended Newport News High School and formed the group at school.
Early members included:
Danny O’Brien – vocals and keyboards Tom Clark – guitar Earl Howard – guitar and vocals Ronny Methany (also written as Ronnie Matheny) – bass guitar Dickey Moore – drums
An early photo shows Earl Howard and Ronny Methany jamming with members of another group, including Steve K. (surname?) on rhythm guitar, Harrell Baker on lead guitar and sax and Donny Falk on bass guitar.
The Del Notes recorded their singles at D’Arcy Studios across the James River in Norfolk, VA.
The first included two original songs, “Don’t Leave Me Girl” by Danny O’Brien b/w “I Been Thinking Lately” by Earl Howard, released on Top Cat 968 in April of 1968.
For their second single on the Sounds International label, Danny O’Brien wrote a great blue-eyed soul song “I Love You” b/w another Earl Howard ballad “I Wish I Was Home” which a commentator said was written for Ronnie Matheny who had been sent to Vietnam.
Twenty Grand Music BMI published their original songs.
Danny O’Brien periodically revived the Del-Notes over the next few decades. Later members included bassist Garland Reese, guitarist Fred Ordonio and drummer Randy Jackson.
Earl Howard was killed in an auto accident on May 16, 1991. Dan O’Brien passed away on December 4, 2003.
The photos seen here Tom Hudgins submitted to the Peninsula Garage yahoo group some years back.
I don’t know of any other releases on this Top Cat label, but D’Arcy Sound Studios and Twenty Grande Music publishing show up on many releases on the Sounds International label. I’ll publish a discography of Sounds International next.
Retired American light-heavyweight boxer Freddie Mack, sometimes spelt Freddy Mack and also known as Mr Superbad, relocated to the UK in 1965 and established a second career as a soul singer and disc jockey.
Between late 1965 and the mid-1970s, Mack fronted a succession of bands featuring a staggering number of notable British R&B and soul musicians.
Originally called The Mack Sound, the singer’s bands also worked under the names The Freddie Mack Sound, The Fantastic Freddie Mack Show and the Freddie Mack Extravaganza.
In December 1965, Freddie Mack was briefly paired with The Phil Wainman Band for a Christmas/New Year show with American singer Cleo Sylvester. The group’s line up at the time comprised lead guitarist Mick Stewart; bass player Ron Thomas; organist Mick Fletcher; sax players Mel Wayne and Dave Mahoney; and drummer Phil Wainman.
Mel Wayne says that if he recalls correctly, Mick Fletcher was staying with him in Twickenham and the pair had problems with the trains and arrived late. Mack was going to fine them but the rest of the band rallied and said they’d leave if he did.
Unfortunately, the show proved to be a one off and Wainman’s band went on to work with a succession of Jamaican artists, including Millie, Owen Grey and most notably Jimmy Cliff.
Around April 1966 Freddie Mack approached Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages to form a new (and larger) stage show, which already had Cleo Sylvester plus another American singer, Ronald Bertram Greaves (aka Sonny Childe) lined up to join (although Melody Maker lists Sonny Childe playing with The Charms at the Cue Club, Paddington on 11 May 1966).
Screaming Lord Sutch had been using Liverpool band, Derry Wilkie & The Others as a backing group for several months but the musicians were keen to break away from Lord Sutch.
The entire outfit – singer Derry Wilkie; lead guitarist Ernie Hayes; tenor sax player Phil Kenzie; baritone sax player Ashton Tootell; bass player Derek Bond; and drummer Billy Adamson accepted Mack’s offer and signed up, debuting at the Ram Jam in Brixton on 22 April 1966 under the name Freddie Mack’s This ‘N’ That.
The excellent Derry Wilkie website also lists a number of other players that were part of this larger show: singer Jo Baker; lead guitarist Geoff Krivit; tenor sax player “Nobby Clarke”; trumpet player Mark Charig; organist Mike Vaughn-Jones; and percussionist Eddie Lincoln.
Krivit, incidentally, had briefly been a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1965 and would go on to play with Dr K’s Blues Band. Charig meanwhile had been a member of The Sidewinders (recently playing at Count Suckle’s Cue Club in Paddington) and later worked with Bluesology (alongside Elton John).
Billed as This ‘N’ That, the line-up recorded a lone single, “Get Down With It” c/w “I Care About You” for the Strike label, which was released on 10 June 1966.
Judging by an advert printed in 11 June 1966 edition of Melody Maker, the single features singers Derry Wilkie, Sonny Childe, Cleo Sylvester and Leon plus “the explosive sound of TNT and Mack Sound”.
But Derry Wilkie didn’t hang around long and briefly embarked on a solo career (possibly when Sonny Childe came fully on-board).
The rest of Mack’s group left in early July 1966 to work as Sonny Childe & The TNT. According to Ernie Hayes, when Sonny Childe returned to the US around August 1967, the guitarist, plus organist Mike Vaughan-Jones and drummer Billy Adamson joined forces with bass player Jet Harris and former Geno Washington guitarist/singer Pete Gage for a few months. Phil Kenzie meanwhile joined Tuesday’s Children for four months.
In December 1967, Ernie Hayes, Mike Vaughan-Jones, Billy Adamson and Phil Kenzie reunited in TNT to back American singer PP Arnold with former Creation’s member Eddie Phillips on bass. Adamson later played with The Searchers while Kenzie returned to Freddie Mack’s band in spring 1968 (see forthcoming entry).
Back in late August 1966, Derry Wilkie returned to sing with The Mack Sound. By this time, Freddie Mack had brought in baritone sax player Roger Warwick, whose CV included spells with The Tornados and Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, to put together a new formation.
Drawing on a number of web sources, and accounts from several musicians, it looks like the new line up’s formation, which signed to Dumont Associates (as advertised in Melody Maker’s 15 October issue), comprised the following at some point between September 1966 and January 1967:
Freddie Mack – lead vocals
Derry Wilkie – lead vocals
Tony Morgan – lead vocals, congas
Kenneth Harry – lead vocals
Kookie Eaton – lead vocals
Ged Peck – lead guitar
Art Regis – organ (most likely joined later, around November 1966)
Alan Cartwright – bass
Roger Warwick – baritone saxophone
Dick Morrisey – tenor saxophone
Clarence Jackson – trombone
Bernie Wehrman – tenor saxophone
Chris Burdett – alto saxophone (possibly joined later in 1966)
Jeff Bridge – tenor saxophone (possibly joined later in 1966)
Phil Presland – baritone saxophone (possibly joined later in 1966)
Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton – trumpet (joined October 1966)
B J Wilson – drums
Hammond organist Art Regis, who’d previously performed with Mel Turner & Rupert and The Red Devils, Dutch band The Defenders, The SW5 and The Arthur Brown Union, remembers Derry Wilkie, Tony Morgan, Kookie Eaton, Dick Morrisey, Bernie Wehrman, Clarence Jackson and Eddie Thornton being in the band at the same time as him.
Clarence Jackson was a member of Otis Redding’s touring band when the singer had made his UK debut in September 1966, so it’s probably safe to assume he joined after the tour had finished.
Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton, however, was still working with Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames until October 1966, and therefore it’s possible that another trumpet player was there before.
Also, if Art Regis joined around the same time as (or just after) Thornton, it’s possible that another organist briefly augmented the formation that September. Billy Davidson, who later worked with The Flowerpot Men, among others, is often cited on websites as being a member of Freddie Mack’s band during this period.
One thing is clear from tracing Freddie Mack’s bands during the 1960s, the line-ups tended to be pretty fluid and (particularly) horn players appeared to come and go on a regular basis, making pinning down definitive formations almost impossible.
Of the other musicians listed above, lead guitarist Ged Peck had been a member of The Favourite Sons before briefly playing with Chris Lamb & The Universals. Dick Morrisey came from The Ian Hamer Sextet while B J Wilson had played with The Paramounts and George Bean & The Runners.
In late February 1967, Wilson joined Sands and then Procol Harum, so would only have been there a matter of months. Alan Cartwright was an old friend of Wilson’s and would later play with Procol Harum in the Seventies.
Art Regis recalls Freddie Mack coming to his flat in Portobello Road and discussing the possibility of forming “an extravagant international soul show”. The Hammond organist also remembers playing at Silver Blades Ice Rink in Streatham and a trek down to Cornwall to play an air sea rescue base in Falmouth (possibly gig listed below on 30 March 1967).
More importantly, Art Regis also recalls performing with Freddie Mack at Billy Walker’s The Upper Cut in Forest Gate, which opened on 21 December 1966. According to Melody Maker, Mack’s band was the resident support band at this notable venue until early February 1967.
Throughout this period, musicians appear to have come and gone on a regular basis. According to Nick Simper’s excellent website, Roger Truth, who had played with the future Deep Purple bass player in Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, took over the drum stool in late November 1966.
Like B J Wilson, Roger Warwick also left in the winter of 1966. Warwick moved to Italy to form a band for Lebanese singer Patrick Samson.
Nick Simper also spent a week with the band when it was resident support act at the Upper Cut (most likely the first week in January 1967) after working with Bobby Hebb’s touring band. However, Alan Cartwright was soon back and Simper formed The New Pirates the following month.
Art Regis would reunite with Nick Simper and Ged Peck June 1967 in Billie Davis & The Quality before working briefly with Engelbert Humperdinck. Regis confirms that he then joined Jimmy James & The Vagabonds on 27 July 1967.
Another keyboard player that is often associated with Freddie Mack during this time is future Gonzalez member Roy Davies, who’d previously been a member of Southeast London band, The Loose Ends. It looks most likely that Davies came on-board when Art Regis left.
10 September 1966 – The Cavern, Liverpool with Eddie Cave & The Fix, The Kop, The Hideaways, The Seftons and The Rocking Vicars
1 October 1966 – Flamingo Ballroom, Redruth, Cornwall with Jaguars
8 November 1966 – The Place, Hanley, Staffordshire
26-27 November 1966 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent
4 December 1966 – Douglas House, London (listed as 13-piece band) with Herbie Goins & The Nighttimers)
5 December 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London
10 December 1966 – King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent with In-Betweens and Lonnie’s Few
11 December 1966 – Golden Torch, Tunstall, Staffordshire
11 December 1966 – Esquire Club, Sheffield with The Orginators Creed, The Hobo Flats and The Chicago Line
16 December 1966 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent
21 December 1966-12 February 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate:
21 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Who
22 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Easybeats
23 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch
24 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Eric Burdon & The Animals
26 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Jimi Hendrix Experience (day)
26 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Pretty Things (evening)
27-29 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
30 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Spencer Davis Group
31 December 1966 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
1 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with The Move
2-5 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
6 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with The Small Faces
7 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with The Bitter End Singers
8 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with The Mindbenders (Nick Simper’s website says Pink Floyd replaced them)
9-12 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
13 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Four Pennies
14 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Terry Lightfoot’s Jazzmen
15-19 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
20 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Sounds Incorporated
21 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with The Fourmost
22-26 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
27 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Jimmy James & The Vagabonds
28 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Jimi Hendrix Experience
29-31 January 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
1-2 February 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
3 February 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate with Winston’s Fumbs (now listed as 15-piece band)
4 February 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate
5-12 February 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest
13 February 1967 – Winter Gardens Ballroom, Penzance, Cornwall with The Jaguars
14 February 1967 – Flamingo Ballroom, Redruth, Cornwall with The Dissatisfied
25 February 1967 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent
18 March 1967 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Kool Combination, The Bone and The Steel Band
23 March 1967 – Cleethorpes
24 March 1967 – Scotland
25 March 1967 – Scotland
26 March 1967 – Scotland
27 March 1967 – Scotland
30 March 1967 – RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall (Art Regis a member?)
1-2 April 1967 – Flamingo Ballroom, Redruth, Cornwall with The Hoboes
Other changes around this time included another drummer (possibly B J Wilson), who would have filled in when Roger Truth temporarily bailed to rehearse with Nick Simper’s New Pirates but then had a change of heart and returned. Also, some sources note that West Indian trumpet player Sonny Corbett joined during early 1967.
Ged Peck certainly was gone sometime in late March/early April 1967 and joined Nick Simper in Billie Davis & The Quality that May before going on to a number of notable acts, including Warhorse (alongside Simper). His temporary replacement was former Tornados and Echoes guitarist Stuart Taylor.
Lead guitarist Dave Tedstone, who had previously been a member of The Doc Thomas Group, remembers going to Eel Pie Island to see Freddie Mack’s band and says that it was one of Roger Truth’s final gigs (before he left to join Simon Raven Cult). Tedstone also recalls that Stuart Taylor was on guitar. Thanks to Pete Watt’s excellent research this gig can be confirmed as 4 April 1967.
TO BE CONTINUED…
I would personally like to thank the following for helping to piece this story together: Mel Wayne, Art Regis, Dave Tedstone and Nick Simper.
PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS BELOW TO ADD/CORRECT INFORMATION
Live gig sources:
During my research on Freddie Mack from 1965-1969, I have found gigs from the following sources:
The Cornish Guardian, Derby Evening Telegraph, Evening Sentinel, Melody Maker, West Briton & Royal Cornwall Gazette, Lincolnshire Guardian, Birmingham Evening Mail, NME, Northwich Chronicle, Sheffield Star, Warrington Guardian, Wrexham Leader
Pete Frolich – guitar (replaced original guitarist)
Martin Woodward – keyboards
Dave Moses – bass
Chic – drums
This five-piece harmony band was formed at Warlingham School in Surrey during 1968. The group recorded two singles for NEMS, kicking off with “Like the Sun” c/w “Florence”, which was released in September 1968. Both sides were produced by guitarist Pete Gage, who co-wrote “Like the Sun” with the band. “Florence” was written by Mike Hutson with a school friend.
A second single, “Heart and Soul” c/w “Who Wants Happiness” came out on 24 January 1969 by which point the band had split up. Produced again by Pete Gage, “Heart and Soul” was composed by R MacDonald and M Green while Dave Moses penned “Who Wants Happiness”. Pete Gage made the decision that Pete Frolich rather than Mike Hutson should sing on “Heart and Soul”.
Martin Woodward joined The Fantastics’ backing group, The House of Orange and later recorded with Aquila before working with the Tommy Hunt Band. Mike Hutson subsequently took up a post in promotions at United Artists and RCA.
Thank you Martin Woodward for providing information about this band and also to Pete Gage. Garage Hangover would be interested to hear from anyone that can add more information about the group.
Originally known as The Velours, US soul band, The Fantastics had enjoyed Stateside success before being brought to the UK by promoter Roy Tempest in late 1967.
Billed as the “Fabulous Temptations” (even though there was no connection with the more famous Motown act), the group’s debut UK tour took place in September 1967.
To support the soul act on the road, Roy Tempest’s agency hired West London band, The Sovereigns, who had been formed in mid-1965 and comprised singer Roy St John (real name: Roy Thwaites), lead guitarist Pip Williams, bass player Mick Williams, tenor sax player Freddie Tillyer and drummer Keith Franklin.
When the band turned professional, Pip’s brother Mick dropped out and Mick Tomich took over on bass. Shortly after, sax player Freddie Tillyer also left. Just before the band got picked up by Roy Tempest’s agency, Scotsman Brian Johnson, keyboard player in The Senate, came on board.
1 September 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Hertfordshire (billed as “Fabulous Temptations”) (possibly debut show)
2 September 1967 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Equals, The Sovereigns and The Rubber Band (billed as “Fabulous Temptations”)
3 September 1967 – King Mojo, Sheffield (billed as “Temptations”)
5 September 1967 – Whisky A Go Go, London (billed as “Temptations”)
Within weeks of the tour starting, Mick Tomich departed and Ron Thomas was brought in from Hamilton & The Movement. Tomich went on to play with Pickettywitch among others. By this point, the group had changed name from The Sovereigns to The House of Orange.
16 September 1967 – The Place, Wakefield, West Yorkshire
14 November 1967 – Whisky A Go Go, London (billed as “Fabulous Temptations”).
17 November 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire (billed as “Fabulous Temptations”)
3 December 1967 – Starlight Ballroom, Crawley, West Sussex with The Army (billed as Temptations)
5 December 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (billed as “Fabulous Temptations”)
17 February 1968 – Princes Pavilion, Falmouth, Cornwall with Peace & Quiet
25 February 1968 – Beau Brummel Club, Nantwich, Cheshire (bills backing group, The House of Orange) with The Jaytree Organisation
2 March 1968 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Gospel Garden, The Reformation (bills backing group, The House of Orange)
2 March 1968 – Brave New World, Portsmouth, Hampshire (billed but replaced by Mike Cotton & Lucas)
3 March 1968 – Ram Jam, Brixton, London
17 March 1968 – Beau Brummel Club, Nantwich, Cheshire (bills backing group, The House of Orange) with The Jaytree Organisation
26 April 1968 – Clockwork Orange, Chester, Cheshire (bills backing group, The House of Orange)
27 April 1968 – Ram Jam, Brixton, London with Duke Reid Sound
6 May 1968 – Belfry, Wishaw, West Midlands with Immediate Pleasure
13 May 1968 – Cromwellian, London
3 June 1968 – Queen’s Hall, Leeds with The Herd, Bill Haley & The Comets, Alan Bown, Edwin Starr, Amboy Jukes, Gospel Garden, Clockwork Orange and others
3 June 1968 – Blue Lagoon, Newquay, Cornwall with The Action (unlikely with gig in Leeds on the same day)
10 June 1968 – Carlton Club, Warrington
11 June 1968 – Klooks Kleek, London
15 June 1968 – Bulmershe College of Education, Woodley, Berkshire
11 August 1968 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent
16 August 1968 – Fishmonger’s Arms, Wood Green, London
22 August 1968 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London
24 August 1968 – “Middle Earth”, Torquay Town Hall, Torquay, Devon (bills backing group, The House of Orange) with The Royals and Howard Stephen Shape
1 September 1968 –Queen’s Hall, Leeds with Ben E King, Clyde McPhattter, Flirtations, Tim Rose, Timebox and The World of Oz
2 September 1968 – Brave New World, Portsmouth, Hampshire
14 September 1968 – Blue Lagoon, Newquay, Cornwall with Same Brothers and Confusion
17 September 1968 – Hatchettes Playground, London
11 October 1968 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham
12 October 1968 – Links, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire with Fragrant Blend
29-31 October 1968 – Rum Runner, Birmingham with Catz
31 October 1968 – Birdcage, Harlow, Essex
1 November 1968 – Bird Cage, Harlow, Essex with Chuck Jackson and Carla Thomas
2 November 1968 – Rawtenstall Baths, Rawtenstall, Lancashire
5 November 1968 – Concord, Southampton, Hampshire
8 November 1968 – Swimming Baths, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire
22 November 1968 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire
23 November 1968 – Odeon Manchester (or was this Manchester Free Trade Hall?) with Diana Ross & The Supremes and others
24 November 1968 – London Palladium, London with Diana Ross & The Supremes and others
29 November 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London
30 November 1968 – New Century Hall, Manchester
1 December 1968 – Princes and Domino clubs, Manchester
3 December 1968 –The Place Club, Henley, Berkshire (sure not The Place, Hanley, Staffordshire?)
6 December 1968 – City Hall, Sheffield
7 December 1968 – Elm Court Ballroom, Botley, Hampshire
9 December 1968 – Ramsgate Coronation Ballroom, Ramsgate, Kent
12 December 1968 – Pavilion, Worthing, West Sussex
13 December 1968 – Top Rank, Doncaster
15 December 1968 – RAF Mildenhall
16 December 1968 – Tithe Farm, Harlow, Essex
20 December 1968 – Tabernacle, Stockport, Greater Manchester
21 December 1968 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, Essex
22 December 1968 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent
23 December 1968 – Golden Torch, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
24 December 1968 – Plaza Ballroom, Newbury, Berkshire
26 December 1968 – Imperial Ballroom, Nelson, Lancashire
27 December 1968 – Newmarket Hotel, Bridgewater, Somerset
28 December 1968 – Civic Hall, Nantwich, Cheshire with The Hideaways
29 December 1968 – Mercers Arms, Coventry, West Midlands
30 December 1968 – Belfry Hotel, Wishaw, West Midlands
31 December 1968 – Morecambe Pier, Morecambe, Lancashire
2 January 1969 – Sloopy’s, Middlesbrough
3 January 1969 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham
4 January 1969 – Civic Hall, Winsford, Cheshire
17 January 1969 – Town Hall, Birmingham
18 January 1969 – Town Hall, Glastonbury, Somerset
19 January 1969 – Surrey Oval Rooms, Kennington, Surrey
21 January 1969 – King’s Hall, Aberystwyth, Wales
24 January 1969 – White Lion, Edgware, Middlesex
25 January 1969 – Winter Gardens Pavilion, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
1 February 1969 – New Astoria Ballroom, Rawtenstall, Lancashire and Bin Lid Club, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire
2 February 1969 – The Place, Hanley, Staffordshire
7 February 1969 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham
14-15 February 1969 – Scene 2 Club, Scarborough
16 February 1969 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent
22 February 1969 – Cliff’s Pavilion, Southend, Essex
23 February 1969 – Good Companion’s Hotel, Slough, Berkshire
In late February, Keith Franklin and Brian Johnson both departed. Pip Williams and Ron Thomas brought in drummer James Smith from The Nashville Teens and organist Martin Woodward from Tapestry.
19 March 1969 – The Lyceum, the Strand, London with The Move (debut show with new line up)
Martin Woodward remembers playing the following venues but doesn’t remember the dates:
April – US airbases in Germany and then Zurich, Switzerland with Gun
25 April 1969 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham
25 May 1969 – Skegness Seaside Soul Festival, Skegness, Lincolnshire with Amen Corner, Inez and Charlie Foxx, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band and Jimmy James & The Vagabonds
According to James Smith, the Fantastics had problems with UK work permits around this time and had to work in Europe for six months. Just before the following gigs in Germany, Ron Thomas left (later to play, most notably, with The Heavy Metal Kids) and one of the roadie’s mates joined on bass.
June-July 1969 – US airbases in Germany
July 1969 – NATO airbase in Naples, Italy
Pip Williams, who wasn’t long married and needed to return home, left while the band was in Naples and returned home, later joining Jimmy James & The Vagabonds. A guitarist called Fred was flown out to Majorca after the bass player filled in briefly for shows in Cannes, France.
Pip Williams later became a top session player, working with producer Phil Wainman among others. Later on, he became a successful producer, and is best known for producing Status Quo and The Moody Blues, among others.
August 1969 – Majorca (for one month)
When the band folded in 1970, Martin Woodward and James Smith formed Aquila who, after gigging around the UK, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam, recorded a lone ‘prog rock’ album for RCA. They then teamed up again backing Geno Washington for a short time. Woodward then joined the Tommy Hunt Band and Smith hooked up with a German-based American soul band working in Spain.
A huge thanks to Pip Williams, Martin Woodward, Ron Thomas and James Smith for their help piecing the band history together. Thank you to Pip Williams for The Sovereigns photos. Thanks to Martin Woodward for personal photo and to James Smith for Aquila image.
The Sugar Band was formed in late 1966 out of the ashes of West London R&B/soul outfit, Colin Shane & The Shannons. Coxon had joined the outfit that summer after working with Hampton, Middlesex group, The Others.
Around September 1967, the group’s agent linked the band with Jamaican singer Delroy Williams and they worked initially as Delroy Williams & The Sugar Band before becoming The Delroy Williams Shows. Go go dancers Una and Paula joined them on stage.
During 1968, Dave Mumford and Dick Merrit departed and were replaced by new members. However, a combination of poor management and artistic differences led to a split in early 1969 when Coxon left to join The Kool. He subsequently reunited with Dave Mumford in Calum Bryce alongside sax player Mel Wayne, who had been Colin Shane & The Shannons from 1962-1964.
Mumford had recorded the track ‘Love Maker’ under the name Calum Bryce and needed a group to tour to promote the single. The band recorded a second single, “In My Valley”, which was never released.
8 October 1967 – Flamingo, London
20 October 1967 – Flamingo, London
29 January 1968 – Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
10 February 1968 – Blue Lagoon, Newquay, Cornwall with Spirit of John Morgan
1 March 1968 – Galashiels, Scotland
2 March 1968 – Glasgow, Scotland
3 March 1968 – Edinburgh, Scotland
4 March 1968 – Aberdeen, Scotland
5 March 1968 – Elgin, Scotland
6 March 1968 – Stonehaven, Scotland
7 March 1968 – Dundee, Scotland
8 March 1968 – Forfar, Scotland
9 March 1968 – Edinburgh, Scotland
10 March 1968 – Glasgow, Scotland
11-16 March 1968 – Playboy, London
17 March 1968 – Leytonstone, Essex
18-23 March 1968 – Playboy, London
24 March 1968 – Burton-on-Trent
25 March 1968 – Recording
26 March 1968 – Bournemouth, Dorset
27 March 1968 – Catford, Kent
28 March 1968 – Ealing, Middlesex
29 March 1968 – Flamingo, Soho, London
30 March 1968 – Gloucester, Gloucestershire
31 March 1968 – Gillingham, Kent
1 April 1968 – Rhodes Centre, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
11 April 1968 – Colchester, Essex
12 April 1968 – Eastbourne, East Sussex
13 April 1968 – Yeovil, Somerset
14 April 1968 – Stockport, Greater Manchester
15 April 1968 – Leeds
16 April 1968 – Hanley, Staffordshire
17 April 1968 – Revolution, London
18 April 1968 – Abingdon, Oxfordshire
19 April 1968 – Perton
20 April 1968 – Waddington
21 April 1968 – Silver Ends
22-23 April 1968 – London
26 April 1968 – Weymouth, Dorset
27 April 1968 – Torquay, Devon
29 April 1968 – London
14 September 1968 – Alex Disco, Salisbury
Most gigs were sourced from Melody Maker.
Many thanks to Geoff Coxon for background information on the Sugar Band.
Garage Hangover would love to hear from anyone who can provide more information on the band and its members.
Johnny Eaton – lead vocals Dave Thompson – lead guitar Louis McKelvey – rhythm guitar Dave Wigginton – bass Alan Worrell – drums
Johnny & The Pursuers was a short-lived R&B outfit from Twickenham, Middlesex, formed around 1961. Drummer Alan Worrell had gone to Spring Grove Grammar School in Isleworth and was classmates with future Small Faces keyboard player Ian McLagan. They had previously worked together in a skiffle group with Terry Munro.
According to Worrell, Ian McLagan designed and produced the group’s business cards in black and silver.
On 28 April 1962, the band took part in the Twickenham Rhythm contest alongside local rivals Colin Shane & The Shannons and The Bullets. They also played at Wimbledon Theatre for a week in the Tommy Trinder variety show.
In June 1962, Dave Wigginton and Louis McKelvey departed to join Jeff Curtis & The Flames while Worrell went on to play with Colin Shane & The Shannons.
Garage Hangover would be interested to hear more about this band and what happened to its members.
Thanks to Alan Worrell for the information and images.
Here’s a great single by the Skeptics, whom I’ve read were from Dayton, Ohio. The urgency and scuzzy burning distortion on the guitar on “Wondering” scream out 1968 to me, a date confirmed by the QCA # 80330, specifically March 1968. The flip is a slow recitative called “I’m Lonely Again” that I find less essential.
This band of Skeptics is not related to the Oklahoma group who cut “Apple Candy”, “Stripes”, and “Turn It On” among other classics.
There’s very little info on the label, even the publishing is limited to simply BMI. No trace seems to exist in BMI’s databases, but I found a Library of Congress copyright record listing Michael Downing (Michael Joseph Downing) and John Hoskins as co-composers of both songs, plus Donald Ray Parrett on “Wondering”, published by Lamar Music in May of 1968. Presumably Downing, Hoskins and Don Parrett were members of the band.
Spring Records was part of O’Brien’s Recording Service in Springfield, Ohio, 24 miles north east of Dayton. There were at least a few releases on the Spring label, but this may be the only one in a rock style. The 45s were pressed at Queen City Albums in Cincinnati.
O’Brien’s Recording Service did register copyrights for a few of song-poem composer Irene Dollar Heffner’s songs, including one, “Vietnam Sweetheart” that was sung by Rodd Keith (under the alias of John Dough). The flip of that was arranged by Jeanne O’Brien.