The Bag O’Nails was a popular hang out for rock musicians in the 1960s. Situated at 9 Kingley Street in Soho, the venue is probably most famous for being the place where Paul McCartney met his future wife Linda Eastman in May 1967.
I have started to compile a list of artists that played at the venue below but would welcome any additions as well as any memories.
21 November-4 December 1966 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
25 November 1966 – Jimi Hendrix Experience
9-10 January 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
11 January 1967 – Jimi Hendrix Experience
6-7 March 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
17-18 April 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
4 May 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
8 May 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
7 June 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
11-12 June 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
15 June 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
21-22 June 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
23 June 1967 – Amen Corner
5-6 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
9 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
11 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
17-18 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
20 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
23-24 July 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
6 August 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
25 September 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
6 October 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
17 October 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
21-22 October 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
24 October 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
30 October 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
16 November 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
19 November 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
28 November 1967 – Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
30 November 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
8 December 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
27 December 1967 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
4 January 1968 – Mike Cotton Sound with Lucas
10 January 1968 – The Web
11 January 1968 – The Shevelles
17-19 January 1968 – The New Formula
23-24 January 1968 – The Shevelles
20 May 1968 – Edwin Starr
8 August 1968 – Happy Magazine
11 August 1968 – Selofane
18 August 1968 – Selofane
20 August 1968 – Selofane
25 August 1968 – Selofane
25 September 1968 – Amboy Dukes
2 October 1968 – Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds
3 October 1968 – Ferris Wheel
4-5 October 1968 – Selofane
16 October 1968 – Amboy Dukes
24 October 1968 – Cliff Bennett and Circus
4 November 1968 – Toast
10 December 1968 – Amboy Dukes
17 December 1968 – Amboy Dukes
Fabulous 208 Magazine, Melody Maker, Ken Baxter (Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede) and Marmalade Skies website.
Johnny Thompson was a guitarist, producer and song publisher with an exotic bent to his records. He released singles under two group names, Johnny Thompson & the One-Eyed Jacks and the Johnny Thompson Quintet, all released on Guitarsville except the last, on Lyra.
The first releases were by Johnny Thompson and the One-Eyed Jacks. These had a simple label design, gold background with a basic logo and “A Circa Release”. “Soul Chant” actually had a release in the UK on Ember EMBS 206 with a picture sleeve.
Johnny seemed to like bizarre vocals referencing the supernatural, as his cut “The Sorcerer” demonstrates:
There were three 45s with the One-Eyed Jacks:
Guitarsville G- 2121: “Soul Chant” (J. Thompson) / “For Us There’ll Be No Tomorrow” (G-1755)
Guitarsville G- 2122: “Battle of Jerico ’65” / “I Feel Like A Saturday Night”
Guitarsville G-102: “The Sorcorer” (vocal)/ “The Sorcorer” (instrumental) (label shows address as 112 N. Garfield in Monterey Park)
The Johnny Thompson Quintet is known now primarily for one song, “Color Me Columbus” an intense psychedelic track with a horror-movie vocal. The backing has congas, flute, heavy guitars, and a great overall crunching sound. Unfortunately the flip replaces the heavy vocals for a lisping parody. I would have much preferred an instrumental version.
Two picture sleeves show a quintet, but the only names I can associate with this group are Johnny C. Thompson and Gilbert London who are credited as songwriters on the A-sides “Color Me Columbus” and “Promise Her Anything”.
The Johnny Thompson Quintet had three 45s:
Guitarsville 2125 (G-1762): “Color Me Columbus” / “Color Me Columbuth” (October 1966)
Guitarsville 2126: “Promise Her Anything” (Thompson/London)/ “For Us There’ll Be No Tomorrow” (J. Thompson) (Jan. 1967)
Lyra L100: “Turn Me Down” / “We’ll Make It Good” with b&w art sleeve (late ’60s)
The change in label name makes sense as Lyra L100: “Turn Me Down” / “We’ll Make It Good” is dominated by a harpsichord sound instead of guitar. With the exception of “Sorcerer”, Guitarsville singles list an address at 222 E. Garvey, Monterey Park, CA. Most of the 45s were produced by Dontom, or Don Tom as listed on other Guitarsville 45s. Publishing by Johnny Thompson Pub BMI.
There were a couple other 45s on the Guitarsville label. Most notable is Guitarsville G 2123: the V.I.P.’s “It” / “Don’t Turn Around” which seems to be highly rated as a garage 45, though I’ve never heard it. The other is the Clark Brothers on Guitarsville 2124: “Hide Me” / “Listen Girl” (both by T.J. Kouza for Nova Pub. BMI, produced by Don Tom) (G-1760/1).
The Johnny Thompson Music shop was obviously involved in the Eastside sound of such bands as the Premiers, Thee Midniters & Cannibal & the Headhunters and continues to be involved in community music projects to this day. Thank you to Gary Myers for pointing out that connection.
The Speakeasy club, located at 48 Margaret Street in London, was a notable music venue that opened in 1966.
During its heyday, the club was frequented by record industry and artist agency executives who in turn brought in many bands, hoping to land a record deal.
Many notable British bands played at the club during the 1960s, including The Soft Machine, Traffic and Pink Floyd. I’ve started a list below but would welcome any additions and any memories of the venue.
15 December 1966 – The Move (opens the club)
18 January 1967 – Roaring Sixties (became Family)
19 January 1967 – Jimi Hendrix Experience
14 February 1967 – Valentine’s Day Massacre with Pretty Things
1 March 1967 – Soft Machine
8 March 1967 – Soft Machine
15 March 1967 – Soft Machine
22 March 1967 – Soft Machine
29 March 1967 – Soft Machine
5 April 1967 – Soft Machine
12 April 1967 – Soft Machine
19 April 1967 – Soft Machine
26 April 1967 – Soft Machine
2 May 1967 – The Web
3 May 1967 – Soft Machine
4 May 1967 – Coloured Raisins
8 May 1967 – Brian Auger & The Trinity
10 May 1967 – Soft Machine
12 May 1967 – Amen Corner
17 May 1967 – Soft Machine
24 May 1967 – The Web and Soft Machine
31 May 1967 – Soft Machine
8 June 1967 – Amen Corner
20 July 1967 – Amen Corner
26 July 1967 – Eyes of Blue
3 August 1967 – Sharon Tandy & Les Fleur De Lys
17 August 1967 – Cream
19 August 1967 – Granny’s Intentions
21 August 1967 – Pink Floyd (cancelled)
27 August 1967 – Fairport Convention
26 August 1967 – Dantalion’s Chariot
31 August 1967 – Dantalion’s Chariot
19 September 1967 – Pink Floyd
1 October 1967 – Incredible String Band
6 October 1967 – Eric Burdon & The Animals
26 October 1967 – Jeff Beck Group
10 December 1967 – The Moody Blues
18 December 1967 – Traffic
21 December 1967 – Pink Floyd
29 December 1967 – Tintern Abbey
5 January 1968 – Jethro Tull
6 January 1968 – Circus
5 February 1968 – Jethro Tull
19 February 1968 – Robert Plant & The Band of Joy
21 February 1968 – The Attack
22 February 1968 – Monopoly
24 February 1968 – Legay
25 February 1968 – Tim Rose and Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation
26 February 1968 – Eyes of Blue
28 February 1968 – Penny Peeps
29 February 1968 – Sharon Tandy & The Fleur De Lys
10 March 1968 – Traffic
21 March 1968 – Gospel Garden
9 April 1968 – Circus
The club was destroyed in April 1968 and re-opened later in the year
13 December 1968 – Yes
24 December 1968 – Yes
31 December 1968 – Yes
10 January 1969 – Kaleidoscope
14 January 1969 – Jethro Tull
18 January 1969 – Freedom
23 January 1969 – Van Der Graaf Generator
23 January 1969 – Eclection
1 February 1969 – Edgar Broughton Band
3 February 1969 – Caravan
4 February 1969 – Idle Race
6 February 1969 – Spooky Tooth
7 February 1969 – Eire Apparent
8 February 1969 – Jody Grind
10 February 1969 – Clouds
11 February 1969 – Taste
12 February 1969 – The Gods
13 February 1969 – Juniors Eyes
14 February 1969 – Eyes of Blue
17 February 1969 – Village
18 February 1969 – Colosseum
20 February 1969 – The Nice
21 February 1969 – Pendulum
22 February 1969 – Sleepy
24 February 1969 – The Gods
25 February 1969 – Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog
27 February 1969 – Yes
28 February 1969 – Jody Grind
20 March 1969 – Deep Purple
9 April 1969 – King Crimson
19 April 1969 – Smile
20 May 1969 – Eclection
27 May 1969 – Juniors Eyes
28 May 1969 – Sam Gopal
29 May 1969 – Spooky Tooth
30 May 1969 – King Crimson
2 June 1969 – Spirit of John Morgan
3 June 1969 – Samson
4 June 1969 – Glass Menagerie
5 June 1969 – Renaissance
6 June 1969 – Velvet Opera
7 June 1969 – Audience
9 June 1969 – Blonde on Blonde
10 June 1969 – East of Eden
12 June 1969 – Jackie Lomax
13 June 1969 – Entire Sioux Nation
14 June 1969 – The Majority
16 June 1969 – Steamhammer
17 June 1969 – Bodast
18 June 1969 – Audience
20 June 1969 – Gracious
25 June 1969 – Bodast
27 June 1969 – Arcadium
28 June 1969 – Andromeda
30 June 1969 – Audience
1 July 1969 – Locomotive
2 July 1969 – Entire Sioux Nation
3 July 1969 – Mighty Baby
5 July 1969 – Sam Apple Pie
8 July 1969 – East of Eden
9 July 1969 – Arcadium
10 July 1969 – Deep Purple
11 July 1969 – Gypsy
12 July 1969 – High Tide
14 July 1969 – Audience
15 July 1969 – Clouds
16 July 1969 – Glass Menagerie
17 July 1969 – Principal Edwards Magic Theatre
20 July 1969 – Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
21 July 1969 – Shiva Jones and Quintessence
22 July 1969 – Jody Grind
23 July 1969 – Barclay James Harvest
24 July 1969 – Liverpool Scene
25 July 1969 – Gin
26 July 1969 – The Majority
28 July 1969 – Spirit of John Morgan
29 July 1969 – Eyes of Blue
30 July 1969 – Procession
31 July 1969 – White Trash
5 August 1969 – King Crimson
28 August 1969 – Atomic Rooster
2 September 1969 – Titus Green
18 September 1969 – Timebox
22 September 1969 – Juniors Eyes
23 September 1969 – Eclection
24 September 1969 – Edgar Broughton Band
7 October 1969 – Mott The Hoople
23 October 1969 – Juicy Lucy
27 October 1969 – Skin Alley
29 October 1969 – East of Eden
12 November 1969 – Mott The Hoople
Fabulous 208 Magazine, Melody Maker, Time Out, Greg Russo (Jethro Tull). Also Marmalade Skies website.
The American Band was an original music group formed in 1968. It had a short and sweet life with only one memorable gig and one demo album. This was the first original material by Truxton Fulton, the composer/musician who currently works under the pseudonym Karl Mahlmann. The focus of this article is the composer’s juvenilia, the band and the music they created while in high school almost 50 years ago.
In 1969, three teenagers who attended school together in Danville, Virginia came together to create an unusual album of original material that isn’t easy to categorize. It isn’t hard rock and is not quite psychedelic, but it was certainly different from anything playing on the radio that summer.
But The American Band’s story begins earlier, with two friends teaming up in 1968 to perform and produce original music. The band was an informal regrouping of friends who had played together on and off in different bands. The group started as a duo with Fulton on keyboards and vocals and Larry Abbott on drums. After a while they coalesced into a band with the addition of Walter Dalton on guitar. Before it was over, the American Band had become a quartet with the addition of vocalist Jeff Fiske.
The George Washington High School variety show was a yearly tradition and helped launch several groups, including the as yet unnamed American Band, which first performed at the 1968-69 assembly. Fulton and Abbott played three original songs: “The Milkman’s Wife,” “Beware of Falling Dreams” and “Look for Your Utopia in Your Backyard.” The first two would be recorded the following summer in Greensboro, after the band added a guitarist and decided upon a name.
Bassist Alan Rowe says the show was in March of 1969. He remembers the date distinctly because his band had been scheduled to perform but had to withdraw at the last minute after several members were involved in a serious car accident. Rowe recalls that the event was held in the school’s gymnasium and was a “true variety show,” including comedy routines, skits and an assortment of musical styles including a jazz set with saxophonist Allen Rippe; a soul band fronted by Rickie Fox; Pete Viccellio on piano; a drum solo performed by Lynn Finch; and a power rock trio that included guitarist Mark Aldridge, Rick Crane on bass, and future American Band guitarist Walter Dalton on drums.
But Rowe says he was most impressed by Fulton and Abbott. Not only did they play original material, but Rowe says the music and performance were exceptional and “really good.” Rowe recalls that “their music was so different from anything else that was being done. They were very accomplished and had a built-in uniqueness… just two people and they were doing their own thing and doing it well.”
The band, as a duo, also played a talent show sponsored by the Danville Rotary Club. Fulton recalls that “We had a fun time backstage while everyone was prepping. Larry and I pretended we were doing a dance routine and we just couldn’t get our steps right. We didn’t win. I think we went over the time limit. On the other hand, we may have just weirded everyone out; we were very counterculture.”
Fulton was already a veteran of the local band scene in Southside Virginia, having played in several groups, including the Stones Unturned, Radio Super Ice Cream Parlor and the Satisfactions Band and Show, a Farmville-based horn group that performed extensively and recorded two 45s for the Stag label in Greensboro, N.C. By his senior year in High School, Fulton was ready to concentrate on his own material. He explains that “from the beginning it was a little different in that it was a band for original music. We were never a cover band.” While the group performed “a couple of cover songs” live, Fulton says their purpose was to record his songs.
After graduating in 1969, Fulton took a summer job at wallboard maker U.S. Gypsum, saving $500 to finance a session in Greensboro. The group — now a trio with the addition of guitarist Walter Dalton — began rehearsing original material that would be recorded during a marathon session in mid-July.
Two years earlier, Dalton had worked with Fulton and Abbott in Radio Super Ice Cream Parlor, a cover band that featured a light show and included guitarist Bob Tamson and bassist Rick Crane. The short-lived group performed in the GW High School cafeteria, either for graduation or a homecoming dance. And while the band specialized in lesser known numbers like “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago,” Tamson and Dalton both concede that this may not have been a wise choice for the football crowd.
Dalton remained a fan of Fulton’s “amazing” talent on the organ, and says “he could really whip it out on a (Hammond) B3.” So, “when Trucky asked me if I’d be interested in working with him (on) this original material he wanted to record… I was more than willing to do it.” The band rehearsed over the summer “to the point where it went pretty smoothly” by the time the three traveled to Greensboro.
Fulton, Abbott and Dalton made the trek to Crescent City Sound Studios on July 15, 1969. Crescent City was founded by Walt Copeland, who managed the studio and doubled as chief engineer. Fulton says it seemed like a logical choice. He was familiar with the studio, having recorded there earlier with the Satisfactions.
The sessions were done in a single afternoon. The original master tapes are lost, but Dalton kept his copy of the mono acetate, which includes eight original songs written and sung by Fulton. The album is an eclectic mix of styles, incorporating rock, jazz, soul and classical music, with heavy fuzz guitar and Fulton’s Hammond organ.
The threesome provided the instrumental backing, save for a session violinist who contributed to one track. While the band provided sheet music, Fulton remembers that the violinist “never did get his part right.” At one point, Dalton stood in front of him, waving his arm on each beat. In retrospect, Fulton wishes he had erased the part because the violinist was playing out of tune.
Most of the songs were performed live-to-tape in a single take, with very little overdubbing. Fulton did overdub piano parts and his vocals. In addition to organ, he also played a Fender Rhodes bass piano, ala the Doors. The band had rehearsed the arrangements and Dalton remembers that “there were some songs that Trucky planned to do some overdubs for vocals as well as maybe other parts; I think there was one that he played a recorder on.” Dalton was excited because it was his “first and only real experience in a full fledged recording studio.” He recalls that the sessions were “pretty much straight in” and that he was only required to do overdubs on a couple of songs “and then it reached the point where we were done, meaning me and Larry, and we just left. I remember we left Trucky down there with the recording engineer.”
His only hesitation came when Fulton brought a Vox wah-wah pedal to the studio and asked that Dalton use it on some of the songs, most notably on the coda of “Beware of Falling Dreams.” While the band may have rehearsed with it once or twice, Dalton admits it was “kind of a new toy, so I had to fool around with it a little bit, but it went pretty well.”
There were no studio jitters. The band was well rehearsed and Dalton says he was comfortable with the arrangements. He knew what he “needed to do (and) just tried to go in and concentrate and do it.” And with the studio charging “a fairly hefty rate per hour,” there was an incentive to do it right the first time.
While the album holds up well, Fulton insists the sessions were “ill-conceived, in the sense that we tried to do too much in too short a time.” While the recordings are raw and include mistakes, he remembers the sessions as fun and “a good learning experience.” The three entered the studio with a plan to use the recordings to promote the band, “either to record companies or to get some good gigs, which we did with the Steel Mill job up in Richmond.”
The trip to Greensboro was highlighted in a story — “Band to Make Album” — that appeared in the Commercial Appeal, a weekly Danville newspaper known for its liberal stance on politics.
Describing their music at the time, Fulton said their style was unique, adding: “It’s partly classical rock, but mostly rock. Kids won’t be able to dance to some of it. But I don’t think that means it isn’t good. I mean you couldn’t dance to Beethoven, and he was good.”
For the newspaper photo shoot, the band posed in Truxton’s bedroom in front of a borrowed American flag. Fulton asked the photographer whether he thought his beard would show up in the picture. Not missing a beat, the photog replied: “Oh, in about two years.” Fulton also remembers that his father was none too pleased when the band picture appeared and his son had a cigarette dangling from his lips.
A few seconds of video of the band was also filmed around this time by Gary Gaddy, a friend from high school. The silent film is in color and was shot on a Super 8 camera. It provides a glimpse of the band rehearsing “Beware of Falling Dreams” in Fulton’s home. The camera pans from Fulton’s hands at the keyboards to a shot of a sweaty Abbott pounding the drums. There are a few frames of Dalton in sunglasses playing his Rickenbacker guitar before the film runs out.
The American Band only performed once, but it was a memorable gig. Fulton was a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall of 1969 when he approached concert organizers about playing at the Free U, which Fulton describes as “a short-lived hippie thing,” offering classes with no tuition. The venue was later known as the String Factory. The American Band opened for Bruce Springsteen and his group Steel Mill, which had just changed its name from Child so as not to be confused with another group by the same name that recorded for Roulette Records.
Fulton secured the band a supporting spot on the bill, largely on the strength of the acetate. He played their demo for the manager of the Free U, Russ Clem, who listened to several songs without saying a word. After taking it all in, he looked up and remarked: “It’s so refreshing to hear some really good original music”. Clem agreed to add the American Band to the show. While Fulton had never heard of Steel Mill or Springsteen, the group played regularly in Richmond and Fulton says they “were regional stars and had a good following there.”
The Richmond psyche group Morning Disaster may have also performed that day, but Fulton says the American Band was a last-minute addition and did not make the concert poster. The bands performed in an upstairs room and the attendees sat on the floor.
Jeff Fiske, whose family lived behind the Fultons on Confederate Avenue, had joined the American Band by this point and handled some of the lead vocals. Fiske was older than the other band members and fronted several local groups, including the Kondors, Manchesters and City Council when lead singer Charles Hairston was unavailable.
Fiske was drafted right out of high school and served in Vietnam in 1967-68, so he was anxious to get back into the band business. He said he was impressed by the musicianship of the American Band, noting the trio was “amazingly tight considering they hadn’t played together very long.”
His audition involved singing “A Whiter Shade of Pale” to Fulton’s accompaniment on organ. Fiske doesn’t recall how it came about and says he could have heard the band jamming or he may have been recommended by Mrs. Poindexter, another neighbor who was a big fan of the Kondors.
The band’s one-off performance at the Free U caught Dalton by surprise. He was still in high school and recalls finding out “with fairly short notice that Trucky had gotten us this gig in Richmond where he was going to school.”
Dalton, Abbott and Fiske drove up to Richmond and were unloading their equipment for the sound check when Dalton was informed that he didn’t need to bring his amp, just his guitar. “So I show up with just my guitar wondering what kind of amp am I going to be playing through, but there was this nice guy who was telling me, ‘Here’s my amp, you can use it,’ and showing me a couple of tips on how we set up and everything. I only found out recently that the guy was Bruce Springsteen, which is really a big surprise for me because nobody ever gave me a clue that’s who we were playing with.”
The band opened the Richmond concert with “Beware of Falling Dreams.” Before the next number, Fulton turned to the audience and asked them to be kind because it was the group’s first performance. To his surprise, the comment was greeted with a round of applause. According to Fulton, their set was “very well received in spite of the fact that Steel Mill was much more of a mature act than we were.”
Fiske recalls that the place “was packed with all the audience sitting on the floor.” The crowd was “laid back, but appreciative of the band’s music.” The stage had a short walkway that extended into the audience and Fiske’s mike stand was placed on the extension. He said it “was very cool (to be) surrounded by those folks singing for them, and I thought the band sounded great that night.” While most of the attendees were waiting for the main attraction, he recalls that the American Band still “received a great response from most of them.” Fiske was wearing his Vietnam boonie on stage that night, in the midst of demonstrations against the war. At some point he realized his apparent faux pas, but if anyone objected there were no complaints.
Fulton played Steel Mill’s Hammond B3 at the concert and was impressed with the keyboard player and Springsteen, who watched the American Band in the wings and cheered them on. Steel Mill already had quite a following in the Richmond area and Fulton remembers them performing “The War is Over” and “Sweet Melinda,” along with a cover of the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
While Steel Mill played September 19 and 20, 1969 in The Center at Richmond’s Free University, Fulton says the American Band only performed one night. Photographs were made of the concert but have been lost to time.
This was to be the American Band’s first — and last — performance. The group parted ways shortly thereafter. Fulton insists there was no animosity about the break-up and says the logistics of keeping a Danville-based group together were just too difficult with the leader a full-time student at VCU and the other members attending high school three hours away. Dalton concurs and says the distance separating the band made it impossible to continue, adding that “we just kind of understood that this probably was gonna be it.”
1969-70 was a year of musical growth for Fulton, who became well-integrated with the Richmond music scene. His band Matrix opened for Jethro Tull that November, playing a set of Fulton’s compositions, including the 20-minute suite, “Miscarriage.” Reviewers described Matrix as “a strangely original group” whose music was as good “as any band heard on record or off.” Some of Fulton’s cohorts from that year are still involved in projects with him today under the band name Play Innocent.
As for the other American Band members, Walter Dalton moved to the Norfolk area, where he lives today. Larry Abbott remained in Danville. Sadly, he died in 2010. Jeff Fiske continues to live and work in Danville.
Alan Marshall – lead vocals Ron Bryer – lead guitar Rick Marshall – bass Roy Davies – keyboards Alan Whitehead – drums
Formed in Lewisham, southeast London in late 1963, The Loose Ends were fronted by Indian-born singer Alan Marshall and his bass playing cousin Rick Marshall, both residents in nearby Brockley.
Original lead guitarist Ron Bryer and keyboard player Roy Davies appear to have been there from the outset while Orpington-based drummer Alan “Noddy” Whitehead completed the formation after playing with singer Crispian St. Peters.
Shortly after coming together, the musicians started landing regular gigs at notable local venues like the Bromel Club in Bromley, the Tiger’s Head in Catford and the Glenlyn Ballroom in Forest Hill. Crucially, their manager Bryan Mason secured the group a residency at Lewisham’s El Partido, a club that he owned, which helped build their local fanbase.
However, around June/July 1965, Ron Bryer departed to join Carl Douglas & The Charmers and remained with the Jamaican singer for a year before hooking up with Bexley, Kent R&B outfit, The Big Wheel, which featured future Clark-Hutchinson member, Andy Clark. The group toured extensively in Switzerland and recorded a rare Swiss-only single in late 1966 for the Eurex label.
When The Big Wheel split, Ron Bryer joined Dee Dee Barry & The Movements in July 1967 and appeared on a string of singles. During 1968, however, he formed Brainticket, who recorded the Krautrock classic Cottonwoodhill album in 1971. Tragically, he died from a drug overdose in 1973.
Guitarist Peter Kirtley from Newcastle upon Tyne took Ron Bryer’s place. A former member of The Chevrolets and Shorty & Them, Kirtley had appeared on the latter’s lone single, “Pills or Love’s Labour Lost” c/w “Live Laugh Love”, released on Fontana in 1964, and a German-only album, shared with Liverpool group, The Roadrunners, before decamping to London in early 1965.
According to the South East London Mercury newspaper’s 19 February 1965 edition, Kirtley and fellow Newcastle musician, bass player, the late Brian Rowan formed the short-lived Take Six with southeast London musicians, organist Roger Read (ex-Wranglers/Showtimers) and drummer Graham Willard in early 1965.
In February 1966, The Loose Ends landed a semi-residency at swinging Mayfair club, the Scotch of St James.
Having inked a deal with Decca Records in late 1965, The Loose Ends cut their debut single, an impressive take on “Send The People Away”, a rare Moody Blues’ track, backed by a cover of “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore”, which was shipped in July 1966.
That same month, South East London Mercury reported that bass player Dave Collman had taken over from Rick Marshall.
Barely a month after the band’s debut release, Decca issued a second single on 5 August 1966, once again produced by Noel Walker. Coupling a superb freakbeat version of George Harrison’s “Taxman” with the more R&B flavoured “That’s It”, the second outing should have been a hit but for some reason failed to chart.
More encouraging in the immediate term was the fact that Otis Redding had spotted the group when it played at the Scotch of St James on his debut UK tour in September 1966.
Impressed by Alan Marshall’s gritty, soulful voice, he took the singer to Muscle Shoals, albeit following his second UK tour in 1967, and recorded some material. It’s unclear, however, what has happened to these tracks.
However, despite the clutch of great singles and Otis Redding’s interest in recording Alan Marshall, The Loose Ends were unravelling quickly.
The Attack and Marmalade
In late September, Alan Whitehead departed, initially to join Cops ‘N’ Robbers. He then spent a month or so playing with The Epitaph Soul Band before joining The Attack alongside singer Richard Shirman and guitarist David O’List, and cut enough material in the run up to Christmas for a debut single.
Issued on 27 January 1967, the drummer can be heard on The Attack’s debut single, a great cover of The Standells’ “Try It” c/w the band original, “We Don’t Know”. By the time the single had reached the shops, he had decamped to join The Marmalade and remained with the band throughout its most successful years. In an interesting side note, he also auditioned for the band that became Procol Harum.
Alan Whitehead’s departure appears to have prompted a wider split. In October 1966, Peter Kirtley accepted an offer to join The Alan Price Set, working alongside bass player Boots Slade; trumpeter John Walters; sax players Steve Gregory and Clive Burrows (replaced by Terry Childs) and drummer Roy Mills.
With two of the band’s most integral members gone, The Loose Ends splintered in December 1966 and singer Alan Marshall joined Croydon, Surrey outfit, The Subjects.
Renamed The New Loose Ends, the musicians gigged until September 1967 when Marshall reunited with Peter Kirtley in Happy Magazine, a soul/R&B outfit that was managed and produced by Alan Price.
Joined by Kirtley’s old friends from Newcastle, the late Kenny Craddock on organ from Tyneside bands The Elcorts and New Religion, and Brian Rowan on bass from Shorty & Them plus West Londoner Malcolm Wolffe on drums from The Tribe, the band cut material that was split over three singles for Polydor.
Kicking off with Alan Price’s excellent “Satisfied Street”, backed with “Beautiful Land” in December 1967, featuring a horn section that may well be Amboy Dukes members Buddy Beadle and Steve Gregory (also ex-Alan Price Set), the label re-issued the track three months later coupled with the Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham soul classic “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man”.
However, it was possibly the band’s third and final outing, a brilliant reading of the Dee/Potter collaboration, “Who Belongs To You”, coupled with the previously available “Beautiful Land”, issued on 14 February 1969, that should have catapulted the band into the charts.
With the single failing to grace the charts, Alan Marshall departed to form the experimental jazz/funk/blues band, One, who cut a brilliant lone album for Fontana later that year.
Joined by lead guitarist Kevin Fogarty (originally a member of Southport R&B group, Timebox); keyboardist Bobby Sass (some sources suggest Bobby Tench using an alias); bass player Brent Forbes; sax and flutist Norman Leppard; and drummer Conrad Isidore, One should have been a huge success but the album sank without a trace.
Peter Kirtley and Kenny Craddock meanwhile brought in three friends from Newcastle – ex-Skip Bifferty members, singer Graham Bell and bass player Colin Gibson, and future Yes drummer Alan White, who’d replaced Malcolm Wolffe in time for Happy Magazine’s final single (after the latter had left to join Geno Washington), and signed to Bell Records for a one-off single as Griffin.
Produced by Alan Price and issued on 25 September 1969, the Kirtley-Gibson-Craddock collaboration, “I am The Noise in Your Head”, coupled with Kirtley’s “Don’t You Know” was an impressive outing but failed to trouble the charts.
Griffin soon splintered and Kirtley went on to record with several notable bands, including Riff Raff, Radiator and Pentangle. Later he appeared on albums by Liane Carroll and Bert Jansch.
Kirtley has also issued two solo albums, Peter Kirtley and Bush Telegraph as well as the charity single, “Little Children”, for Jubilee Action, to raise money for street children in Brazil and featuring Paul McCartney.
Alan Marshall, meanwhile, had surfaced as a solo artist on Fontana in 1970. In France, the label issued a rare single that coupled One’s excellent cover of Richie Havens’s “Don’t Listen To Me” with a solo outing – “How Much Do You Know”, adapted from “Adagio Royal” by F de Boivallee.
When that single failed to chart, Marshall ended up joining Strabismus, which subsequently changed its name to Riff Raff when the singer’s former band mate from The Loose Ends/Happy Magazine, Peter Kirtley joined. However, Marshall quit before Riff Raff’s debut album was recorded and pursued a solo career before recording with Zzebra. He then joined Gonzalez in the late Seventies in time for their 1979 release, Move It To The Music.
Interestingly, Gonzalez’s keyboard player was Roy Davies, Marshall’s former band mate from The Loose Ends. In the intervening years between the end of The Loose Ends and joining Gonzalez in 1974, Davies had worked initially with The Freddy Mack Sound and later The Butts Band with members of The Doors. He later became a prolific session player before passing away in 1986.
The Loose Ends recordings meanwhile have surfaced on numerous Sixties CD compilations, including Deram’s Mod Scene and Freakbeat Scene.
I would like to thank Alan Whitehead and Peter Kirtley for helping with the story. Thanks also to Vernon Joynson and Bruce Welsh. Thank you Alan for the use of The Loose Ends photo.
The following selected gigs are taken largely from Melody Maker and the South East London Mercury.
19 December 1964 – Cromer Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with Maniax (may be another Loose Ends)
25 January 1965 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
13 February 1965 – Cromer Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with The Trends (may be another Loose Ends)
25 February 1965 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
10 April 1965 – Ricky Rick Club, Basingstoke, Hants
16 May 1965 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
16 May 1965 – Studio ’61, Leicester Square, London
23 May 1965 – Studio ’61, Leicester Square, London
14 August 1965 – Ticky Rick Club, Basingstoke, Hants
10-11 September 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham with Duke Lee
11 September 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham with Duke Lee, Sonny Childe and Lou Johnson
18 September 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham with The Artwoods
25 September 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham with Guy Darrell
February-April 1966 – Scotch of St James (three times a week)
26 February 1966 – Glenyn Ballroom, Forest Hill, London
16 July 1966 – Savoy, Catford, London
17 July 1966 – Eltham Baths, Eltham, Kent
26 July 1966 – Scotch of St James
27 July 1966 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
29 July 1966 – Glenyn Ballroom, Forest Hill, London
15 September 1966 – Ram Jam, Brixton, London
17 September 1966 – Witchdoctor, Catford, London (last gig with Alan Whitehead)
23 October 1966- Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
28 October 1966 – Tiger’s Head, Catford, London
3 November 1966 – Raven’s Club, Lewisham
20 November 1966 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent
26 December 1966 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent (billed as New Loose Ends)
15 January 1967 – Bromel Club, Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent (billed as New Loose Ends)
8 March 1967 – Bromel Club, Downham, Kent (billed as Loose Ends)
15 April 1967 – The Polytechnic, Central London with Savoy Brown Blues Band (billed as Loose Ends)
I found mint copies of the first two 45s by the Dantes in company sleeves, and they were so cool I had to put scans of them up on the site with something about this quintessential mid-60s band.
Barry Hayden – lead vocals
Dave Workman – lead guitar
Lynn Wehr – rhythm guitar
Carter Holliday – bass
Joe Hinton – drums
The Dantes formed about 1964 in Columbus, Ohio suburb of Worthington. Though they drew inspiration from the Rolling Stones and covered Stones songs live and on their records, their first single displays an original and catchy style. “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love” begins with quick finger picking more like something from the Byrds until the opening vocals come blasting out at the listener. The rhythm section chugs along with a sound peculiar to styrene discs.
Although it made #1 on Columbia station WCOL, the single didn’t break out nationally. Song writing credits are to Harvey-Wehr for Doraflo Music BMI, arranged by lead guitarist Dave Workman.
The flip “80-96″ starts out like the Yardbirds’ “I Ain’t Done Wrong” then settles into a bluesy instrumental. According to Buckeye Beat the band wanted to call this song “8-69″ but Jamie insisted it was too suggestive a title. Writing credits are to Dantes-Weber. Released in March 1966 on Jamie 1314, both sides are listed as “A Sire Production for B.J.R. Productions”.
According to an article in the Mansfield News-Journal, their manager was DJ Johnny Garber, while a later article from January 1968 discusses Garber and Chuck Swisher co-managing the group.
In late September, 1966 the Dantes released their second 45, this time on the Cameo label, a cover of the Stones “Under My Thumb” with a good version of “Can I Get a Witness” (which the Stones also did) on Cameo 431, the labels reading “a Richards Production”.
An article in the Newark Advocate from May 9, 1968 mentions Dave Workman had left the band and formed Dave Workman’s Blues Group with other Columbus musicians. Dave’s leaving may have led to a softening of the band’s sound, evident on their last 45 in October 1968. Featuring horns and a pop sound, the A-side was a cover of another Stones song, “Connection” backed with the band original “Satisfied”. Walt Masky produced the record, coordinated by Jerry Sharell; it was released on the Main Line label.
The band lasted until about January 1969, at which point they changed their name to Moonstone. The Circleville Herald has an ad for one Moonstone gig in January with the Fifth Order and the Young Generation, and another in April ’69 with the Tree and the Fifth Order. After this Moonstone and the Dantes seem to disappear.
Any photos or info on the band would be appreciated.
The Black Prince Hotel in Bexley, Kent was a popular live music venue during the 1960s. I’ve started to compile a list of artists that performed there and would welcome any additions as well as any memories of the pub.
12 April 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
17 May 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
21 June 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
12 September 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
18 October 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
29 October 1964 – Graham Bond Organisation
28 February 1965 – Rod Stewart & The Soul Agents with Buddy Guy
29 August 1965 – John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
30 January 1966 – Spencer Davis Group
6 February 1966 – Alex Harvey
13 February 1966 – Graham Bond Organisation (with Big Wheel Soul Band?)
27 February 1966 – Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band
6 March 1966 – The Action
27 March 1966 – Steampacket
5 June 1966 – Downliners Sect
3 July 1966 – Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
21 August 1966 – Shotgun Express
4 September 1966 – The Moody Blues
11 September 1966 – Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers
18 September 1966 – Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band
20 November 1966 – Downliner’s Sect
14 March 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
9 April 1967 – Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger & The Trinity
25 April 1967 – Jimmy Cliff (with The Shakedown Sound)
30 May 1967 – The Nite People
2 July 1967 – The Coloured Raisins
3 September 1967 – The Amboy Dukes
10 September 1967 – John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
8 October 1967 – The Amboy Dukes
7 November 1967 – Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede
12 November 1967 – Dantalion’s Chariot
5 May 1968 – Spooky Tooth
9 June 1968 – Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity
23 June 1968 – Spooky Tooth
4 August 1968 – Spooky Tooth
15 September 1968 – Ten Years After
22 September 1968 – Timebox
10 December 1968 – Simon K & The Meantimers
27 June 1969 – The Symbols
10 August 1969 – Trapeze
19 October 1969 – The Greatest Show on Earth
9 November 1969 – Timebox
South East London Mercury, Marmalade Skies website, Melody Maker, Fabulous 208 and Bruno Ceriotti (Graham Bond Organisation)
Daniel Lane (Danny Lutzky) – guitar
Richie Winston – 6 and 12 string guitar
David Knopf – bass
Lloyd Goldberg – drums and lead vocals
Eddie DiBiase – harmonica
I was very excited to track down a copy of this 45 only find it to be in nearly unplayable condition – if anyone has a nice spare please contact me!
Mustache Wax came from the Bronx, in Riverdale. This was the last of several lineups and band names they used before breaking up after high school. They recorded the 45 in a studio on 42nd St.
Eddie DiBiase came from Queens and was the connection to Inner Records, though I can’t find any other releases on that label. Eddie wrote the top site, “I’m Gonna Get You” published by Luv Music ASCAP.
I also like the flip, “On My Mind” alternately somber and quick, written by guitarist Danny Lane for Philonic Music, BMI.
The 45 was produced by Epstein-Schwartzberg, yet it’s also “A Vitale-Eden Production”.