George Russell – alto sax (played on and off 1969-1970)
John Barter – tenor and baritone sax (played on and off 1969-1970)
Orange Rainbow were a West London soul band that was formed in late 1967/early 1968 from the ashes of The Bluesville Soul Band.
Little is known about the group and Garage Hangover would welcome any additional information.
According to tributes to the late Dave Goodman, who went on to become sound engineer for the Sex Pistols, Orange Rainbow began as 7-piece group.
Goodman had started out with The Frinton Bassett Blues band, who were profiled in the 22 September 1967 edition (page 2) of the Middlesex Chronicle, Hounslow Edition.
The article lists the band’s seven-piece line up as Steve Crawford (lead vocals); Alan Cook (lead guitar); Dave Goodman (bass); Denis Smithers (drums); Pete Watson (alto sax); Ray Johnson (tenor sax) and an unnamed keyboard player.
According to the newspaper, The Frinton Bassett Blues Band had been formed around the spring of 1966 and added the sax players in the summer of 1967, prompting the slight name change to New Frinton Bassett Blues Band.
Goodman (and possibly other members) subsequently worked with The Bluesville Soul Band, which formed the nucleus of Orange Rainbow.
With the exception of lead guitarist Geoff Foster, who joined in late 1968/early 1969 after playing with fellow West Londoners, The Casuals (Frankie Reid’s former group) and The Army (after Steve Priest had left to form Sweet), it’s likely that most, if not all, of the line-up at the very top was there from the outset.
According to Goodman’s webpages, Orange Rainbow toured the UK extensively and even worked on the continent. They also backed Ben E King, The Drifters, Nicky Thomas, The Flirtations and The Fantastics (from mid-1970 onwards after Pip Williams’ band, The House of Orange). Orange Rainbow also supported The Four Seasons and The Jackson Five on UK tours.
From mid-July to early August 1969, the band was booked to perform at the Ye Ye Club in Rimini, Italy for three weeks. Geoff Foster also remembers the musicians playing at Sloopy’s Disco in Manchester, the Place in Hanley, Staffordshire and the Pavilion Ballroom in Gillingham, Kent.
Orange Rainbow played Sunday lunchtimes at the Railway Hotel in Southall, Middlesex and were also regulars at Samantha’s in central London.
Geoff Foster’s former band mates in the Army, George Russell and John Barter worked with the band on and off throughout 1969-1970 but never officially joined as permanent members. All three left during 1970.
Orange Rainbow continued into the early Seventies during which time the group underwent many personnel changes. Dave Rose took over from Terry May on keyboards and Graham Board replaced Martin Bryan on drums. Eventually, the group morphed into Polecat.
26 April 1969 – Kingston College of Technology, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey with Episode Six and The Giant
10 May 1969 – Pavilion Ballroom, Gillingham, Kent
8 June 1969 – Woodhall Community Centre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
28 June 1969 – Railway Hotel, Southall, Middlesex
28 July 1969 – Ye Ye Scandinavian Club, Rimini, Italy with Root and Jenny Jackson
7-8 August 1969 – Samantha’s, Burlington Street, London
11 August 1969 – Samantha’s, Burlington Street, London
14 August 1969 – Samantha’s, Burlington Street, London
26 August 1969 – Samantha’s, Burlington Street, London
31 August 1968 – Samantha’s, Burlington Street, London
I would like to thank Geoff Foster for helping with the story and supplying the excellent photos.
The Blues Loft in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire became a notable blues venue when the UK ‘blues explosion’ took off in late 1967/early 1968. Many of the top blues-rock bands like Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown and Jethro Tull performed at the club.
I’ve started a list of acts, taken from the Bucks Free Press newspaper, which advertised gigs from 1968 onwards. Please leave comments with any memories and missing acts.
5 April 1968 – Champion Jack Dupree and Shakey Vick’s Blues Band 12 April 1968 – Savoy Brown Blues Band 19 April 1968 – Chicken Shack 26 April 1968 – Shakey Vick’s Blues Band (Chiswick group who play every Friday)
Bucks Free Press runs story on the club in its 24 April issue, page 2
24 May 1968 – Jethro Tull 31 May 1968 – Dynaflow Blues
7 June 1968 – Shakey Vick’s New Band 14 June 1968 – Doc K’s Blues Band 21 June 1968 – Black Cat Bones 28 June 1968 – Dynaflow Blues
5 July 1968 – Keef Hartley with His Good Good Band 12 July 1968 – Savoy Brown Blues Band and Wild Angels 19 July 1968 – Black Cat Bones 26 July 1968 – Doc K’s Blues Band
2 August 1968 – Bruno’s Blues Band 23 August 1968 – Pegasus 30 August 1968 – Champion Jack Dupree and Bruno’s Blues Band
6 September 1968 – Savoy Brown 13 September 1968 – Black Cat Bones 20 September 1968 – Doc K’s Blues Band 27 September 1968 – Keef Hartley
2 October 1968 – John Dummer Blues Band (Dave Kelly guest) 9 October 1968 – Ian Anderson 18 October 1968 – Steve Miller (Delivery not US band) 23 October 1968 – Doc K’s Blues Band
1 November 1968 – Duster Bennett and Smokey Rice 6 November 1968 – Pegasus (with guests) 8 November 1968 – Curtis Jones and Dynaflow Blues 15 November 1968 – Spirit of John Morgan 22 November 1968 – Bobby Parker and his band 29 November 1968 – Black Cat Bones
6 December 1968 – John Dummer Blues Band and Dave Kelly 13 December 1968 – John Lee’s Groundhogs and Tony McPhee 20 December 1968 – Duster Bennett, Killing Floor, Ian Anderson, Alexis Korner and Mike Raven 27 December 1968 – Savoy Brown
In August 1965, an obscure R&B outfit named Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement signalled its arrival on the London scene with an impressive rendition of The Velvelettes’ Motown classic “Really Saying Something” (later a sizeable UK hit for Bananarama) and then seemingly vanished off the face of the earth.
Then, almost two years later, a band calling itself Hamilton & The Movement descended on the airwaves with the infectious soul-rocker, “I’m Not the Marrying Kind”, a Bill Wyman penned and produced number, infused with punchy horn lines, funky drums and some groovy Hammond organ fills. Could this really be the same band and, if so, why such a long radio silence?
The answer to that question is both a yes and a no. While both outfits were fronted by a singer called Gary Hamilton, they were in fact two entirely different groups, albeit each with fascinating histories. To understand how these two bands became entwined, it’s important to go back to the early Sixties and the man who kick-started ‘the movement’, so to speak – Gary Hamilton.
The son of an English mother and American father, Gary Hamilton was in fact a certain Gary Laub, who grew up in London’s Marble Arch and St John’s Wood areas.
In 1962, Laub formed his first (unnamed) group with a school friend and lead guitarist named Graham who lived opposite Lords cricket ground. Soon after, they were joined by bass player Chris Palmer, rhythm guitarist Ian Hunt and (finally) drummer Fedon Tilberis, who all attended Haverstock School.
“How Chris and Ian met Gary I don’t know,” says Tilberis. “I joined a little later but Graham was still in the band and left soon after. We enlisted a replacement lead guitarist named Mike Allen and emerged as a five-piece named The Moondogs. The name was [Gary’s father] Mr Laub’s idea before we auditioned at the famous Two Is coffee bar.”
Fast forward to spring 1965 and Laub, Palmer and Tilberis had to reshuffle the pack when Allen and Hunt moved on. Through a friend of Tilberis, they were introduced to two older guitarists – Costas and Bernie – and started gigging as Cell Block 5.
“Costas was an ex-pro who had played US bases in Germany; he was a men’s tailor by trade. Bernie was from Rochdale. They were then in their late Twenties,” remembers Tilberis.
“We practised in the cellar of a scrap shop in south London that they knew. They did a three-nighter with us in a Greek Street cellar club called Les Cousins that I hustled but Bernie, not feeling very happy, left on the last night after the gig. Costas stayed on for a London suburb gig. They were only with us for about seven or eight weeks.”
Coining a new name, The Reaction, Tilberis hit the jackpot when he stumbled across Rayrik Studio owners Rick Minas and Bruce Rea, who offered up their Chalk Farm studio as a practice room. In return, the outfit would play free on any demo recording sessions when required.
“As it turned out, this was a great deal for us as we never had to record anything there other than our audition to clinch the agreement and practised for free,” continues the drummer.
Abetted by guitar legend Mick Green, The Reaction duly auditioned and Minas was bowled over by the performance.
“Chris and I had auditioned Mick at Chris’ place in Kilburn shortly before the Rayrik audition and we were both very impressed,” remembers Tilberis.
“Although Mick didn’t commit himself, he was interested in doing the Rayrik session, maybe hoping for some recording session gigs. I can’t remember what the number was that we recorded or if Gary was even there, but do remember listening to the backing take after and Mick’s comment. He said that it was a good clean recording and that you could build on it. Rick and Bruce agreed.”
However, when Mick Green opted to return to The Dakotas, with whom he had been playing with after leaving Johnny Kidd & The Pirates the previous year, Peter Vernon-Kell, a member of Goldhawk Social Club and Ealing Club regulars, The Macabre assumed guitar duties. Incidentally, Vernon-Kell had also been a brief member of The Detours, a forerunner of The Who.
“Both Mick Green and Peter Vernon-Kell came to us via a [Melody Maker] ad in that order. We did see other guitarists but finally settled for Peter after Mick moved on to greener pastures [excuse the pun],” explains Tilberis.
“Peter shared our new musical orientation and attitude, and as far as we were concerned, he fitted the bill. I then arranged our first practice at Rayrik.”
Prior to Vernon-Kell’s addition to the group’s ranks, Minas and Rea had introduced impresario Robert Stigwood, and the Australian subsequently offered Gary Laub a recording deal and put the band on his agency books.
Stigwood insisted that “Really Saying Something” should be the ‘A’ side while Rick Minas and his song-writing partner Mike Banwell offered up “I Won’t See You Tonight” for the flipside.
Before cutting both tracks at a demo session at Regent Sound in Denmark Street, Vernon-Kell coined a new name; The Reaction sounding too similar to The Action, The Who’s regular Tuesday night opener at the Marquee.
“He came up with The Hamilton Movement [in honour of Macabre guitarist Ed Hamilton] in the pub before the session [and] we thought it was great,” remembers Tilberis, who adds that Gary Laub, although at first not so keen, adopted ‘Hamilton’ as a stage name.
Having booked Olympic Sound (then situated in Baker Street) for the final recordings (and unbeknownst to the musicians), Stigwood augmented the band with Graham Bond on piano.
“We were aware who Graham was and were pleased to have him on board for the session,” says Tilberis.
According to the drummer, the tracks required only a few takes per playback and for the lead/backing vocals. Released in August 1965, the single entered the Radio Caroline charts at number 65 on 23 October and peaked at number 53 the following week.
However, the musicians soon realised that any talk of ‘band democracy’ was just that. Not only did the single list the outfit as Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement but Stigwood started promoting them as such.
“Only Gary was allowed to perform on Ready Steady Go using our playback, though we were allowed to attend the show,” explains Tilberis.
Interestingly, as future Hamilton Movement member Mel Wayne recalls, Stigwood insisted on the same conditions with another of his charges, The All-Nite Workers, who were backing Indian singer Simon Scott around the same time.
“Simon mimed to our backing track [on Ready Steady Go] while we had to stand on the balcony with the audience,” says the sax player. “It must have been a Stigwood thing.”
Aired on 22 October 1965, Gary Hamilton appeared on the popular British TV show alongside The Animals, The Searchers, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds and The Rolling Stones, which may have been where the singer linked up with Bill Wyman.
By then, the group had started to pick up consistent live work, kicking off with a memorable gig at Sophia Gardens Pavilion in Cardiff on 30 August with The Who, The Graham Bond Organisation, The Merseybeats and The Easybeats (not the Australian outfit), which had been arranged by the Stigwood/Lambert-Stamp team.
“It looked like a sports hall with an enormous stage at one end. We went up the day before and slept in the van and hung about till early next afternoon to unload our gear,” says Tilberis.
“Townsend was also there early and limbering up in The Who’s dressing room. As our Pete knew him, he went to say ‘allo’ and introduce his new mates… [Townsend] asked Pete if he could borrow his Fender amp for the gig. Pete was more than wary, after all he didn’t want his amp wrecked so Townsend promised to only demolish his Marshall gear.
“Keith Moon and Tony Banks, drummer of The Merseybeats, were looning around and generally getting on everybody’s nerves, especially Entwistle’s as Moon had donned his bass and was running up and down the stage strumming it like a maniac. I thought John was going to thump him.”
More provincial gigs followed, not to mention the obligatory Mod clubs in London, including the El Partido in Lewisham where the outfit played alongside The Duke Lee Sounds and The Loose Ends on 30 October 1965.
However, in mid-late January 1966, the Stigwood/Lambert & Stamp team secured a spot for the band on a three-day, two shows a day package tour, once again opening for Vernon-Kell’s former band mates, The Who, and also featuring Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, The Graham Bond Organisation, The Merseybeats and The Fortunes.
“Bob [Stigwood] arranged for us to practise at the Granada TV rehearsal studios at the Oval about a week beforehand,” remembers Tilberis. “He and Lambert came to oversee the rep and offer presentation tips for our opening spot on the show.”
The tour debut duly took place at the Astoria Cinema, Finsbury Park on 4 February and was followed by a gig at the Odeon Cinema, Southend-on-Sea the next day, culminating with a final engagement on 6 February at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool.
The following month, on 11-12 March, the musicians found themselves on the campus of Essex University in Colchester where a number of bands, including the up and coming Pink Floyd were entertaining the students.
Then in April, Stigwood linked up with Chris Blackwell to promote a second package tour headlined by The Who, this time with Hamilton and The Hamilton Movement joining the likes of The Spencer Davis Group, The Band of Angels and (most notably) Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System (aka New Generation) (who featured musicians that would form part of the soon-to-be Hamilton Movement).
The four-day tour, with two shows a day, kicked off at the Gaumont Theatre in Southampton on 14 April. After weaving its way on to Fairfield Halls in Croydon, then the Odeon in Watford, the tour wound up at the Regal Theatre in Edmonton.
“Gary’s mum called me on Saturday, 16 April in the afternoon asking if we would do the Watford gig that evening,” says the drummer. “Although we all had other plans I rounded up Pete and Chris and we did that gig.”
Stigwood then proposed a second single and once again engaged Graham Bond on piano. The sessions included a stab at The Who’s “A Legal Matter” as the ‘B’ side, which was cut as an instrumental track. However, the recording of the ‘A’ side did not go well, as Tilberis recalls.
“We weren’t raving about the number. Stigwood arranged a practice room and gave us a single to learn but I can’t remember what it was called. I had a trouble with the drum part on the session.
“Bob was well peeved but let us play one of our tunes that we were working on, but there was no melody line or title at that stage and he didn’t like it. The Olympic session was a blow out and Bob gave us the thumbs down, we were out and the gig flow stopped.”
As Tilberis points out, there was still no signed contract, and the singer was looking out for himself. “Gary’s dad [Harry] being a shrewd businessman and used to dealing with contracts and small print had deleted a hefty portion of the contract!”
Chris Palmer and Fedon Tilberis soon left for Jimmy & The Rackets, a British beat group with hit parade successes in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
Joining long-standing frontman, Jimmy Duncombe and guitarist Mike Bell, Tilberis remained with the Swiss-based outfit until spring 1968 while Palmer stayed on for another year.
The pair appeared on a cache of European-only released singles by The Rackets, kicking off with a cover of Eddie Cochran’s “C’mon Everybody” backed by a cover version of George Harrison’s “I Want To Tell You”.
The pair ended up setting up home in Switzerland where, in 1970, The Chris Palmer Band recorded the ultra-rare solo LP Fingertips, featuring originals from all the band members.
Palmer later hit pay day in 1980 when Surface Noise topped the UK dance music chart with a cover of his song, “The Scratch”. Tilberis re-joined The Rackets and played with local bands, including Swiss Sixties specialists, The Countdowns.
Vernon-Kell meanwhile subsequently moved into production. Setting up PVK Records, he managed Peter Green and produced a string of his late 1970s and early 1980s albums. More recently, he’s become an executive producer for films and currently runs Cabana Films Ltd.
But Gary Hamilton wasn’t finished with The Hamilton Movement. In late July/early August 1966, he linked up with Jimmy Cliff’s backing band, The New Generation, renaming them The Movement.
Bass player Ron Thomas, who years later struck fame with The Heavy Metal Kids, thinks the link-up came through The New Generation’s keyboard player Mick Fletcher.
“[Mick] was always going down all the clubs around Wardour Street,” says the bass player. “He was always ducking and diving and I thought he just met him [Gary Hamilton] out there one night.”
“Me and Mickie Fletcher were great mates and frequented The Ship in Wardour Street and drank with Gary there quite a bit,” confirms sax player Mel Wayne.
“We were all a bit frustrated the way things were going with Jimmy Cliff because he didn’t have a soul or pop voice, which was the sort of music Chris Blackwell wanted him to do and engaged us for.”
New Generation members Ron Thomas and Mel Wayne, together with fellow sax player Dave Mahoney, had first come together in West London R&B outfit Mike Dee & The Prophets.
Adding Thomas’s school friend Mick Stewart on guitar in mid-1965, they split from Mike Dee and worked as Anglo-Indian singer Simon Scott’s backing group, The All-Nite Workers. Their lone single together was produced by none other than Robert Stigwood!
By late 1965, former Paramounts drummer Phil Wainman had assumed leadership, and after cutting several singles with Errol Dixon and briefly backing Freddie Mack, Mick Stewart jumped ship to join Johnny Kidd & The ‘New’ Pirates. Having previously introduced Mick Fletcher, guitarist Tony Sinclair (aka Tony St. Clair) completed the new formation, now gigging as The Sound System.
Through a chance meeting with Chris Blackwell, the sextet supported his roster of artists – Jackie Edwards, Millie, Owen Grey and most notably Jimmy Cliff. Trumpet player John Droy joined just before the Gary Hamilton pairing.
The expanded group began rehearsing at London’s Colony Club where Gary’s father was employed; US film star George Raft worked as its casino director and briefly financed the outfit. Mel Wayne adds that the group also rehearsed at Caesars Palace in Dunstable and Ken Collier’s London club.
When John Droy bailed after a short nationwide tour with The Walker Brothers in mid-August to join The Quotations, The Movement expanded its line-up, bringing in trumpet players – Mike Bailey, Alan Ellis and Patrick Higgs, the latter from Elton John’s group, Bluesology. (Ed: One of the unsuccessful musicians to audition was trumpet player Verdi Stewart, who would be instrumental in landing Mel Wayne future work with Carl Douglas.)
“We had a ten-piece band; a five-piece brass section; three trumpets. When I think of it now, we were all on a wage,” recalls Thomas.
That November, Gary Hamilton landed a recording deal with CBS and the musicians entered IBC Studios to work with Rolling Stone Bill Wyman in the producer’s chair.
“That was something that [Gary’s father] Mr Laub put together. He said, ‘We’ve got a song for you’,” remembers Phil Wainman, who adds that the group nailed both sides in a couple of takes.
“He [Bill Wyman] just let us get on with it. The band was so good. We’d rehearsed it prior to the studio and… in three hours I think we were done, recorded and mixed.”
“I’m Not The Marrying Kind” c/w “My Love Belongs To You” was duly released on 10 February 1967 and hit single written all over it.
However, despite having supported The Who at Leeds University on 21 January and then making a notable appearance at the Saville Theatre opening for Chuck Berry and Del Shannon on 19 February, the single’s commercial failure prompted the backers to drastically reduce the group’s bookings.
Mel Wayne was first to abandon ship for Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede (and today plays with The All Night Workers) but Phil Wainman was not far behind, joining Jack Hammer, author of “Great Balls of Fire”.
After co-penning The Yardbirds’ cover “Little Games” and working with The Quotations, Wainman became a top session player and then a successful producer with Sweet and Boomtown Rats, among his credits.
“As a producer I did so much better than as a musician,” says Wainman. “That’s where I did well. I probably sold about 300 million records.”
James Smith, fresh from an audition with The New Pirates, reforming after Johnny Kidd’s death, assumed the drum stool.
“I got a call from Ron Thomas,” remembers the newcomer. “He said Mick Stewart had given him my number and would I be interested in auditioning? I got the gig, though it was a hard act to follow. Phil was one of the best drummers around at the time.”
Smith remembers the band finding plenty of work on the university circuit that spring, including Keele, Nottingham, Leeds and Birmingham. On 27 May, Hamilton & The Movement joined Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, The Action, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and The Swinging Blue Jeans to entertain the students at Oxford’s Hertford Balls.
The drummer also says that The Hamilton Movement opened for US soul act Sam and Bill several times (most notably the Boston Gliderdrome on 15 July and the Starlight Ballroom in Crawley on 30 July) before further changes ensued during August 1967.
“The brass section dropped out and this kind of triggered a fairly rapid exodus… There were no gigs for a while so Tony, Mick and Ron found other work,” says the drummer.
While Mick Fletcher failed to reunite with Mel Wayne in Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede (the job went to Rod Mayall) and appears to have vanished off the face of the earth, Tony St. Clair briefly played with Lace before joining Freddie Mack’s band in early 1968. The soul outfit split from the former boxer in 1969 and worked with Dave Hadfield at his studio on the Old Kent Road, providing backing tracks for various artists on Hadfield’s Revolution label.
Ron Thomas meanwhile got a job with guitarist Pip Williams’s band, The House of Orange, backing US soul act, The Fantastics.
“They were right in the middle of a tour backing Garnet Mimms,” he recalls. “They were a house band working with Roy Tempest. They just phoned me up. Their bass player had got slung out in the middle of the tour and they had a gig that night.”
With ‘The Movement’ on hold, James Smith had also started to explore other avenues and even had an offer on the table when Gary Hamilton convinced him to hang on.
“Gary came up with Mick Stewart and Tony Savva and said he wanted to change the style and format going with a three-piece backing band, so I decided to stay,” says the drummer.
Bass player Tony Savva was best known for his work with A Wild Uncertainty, the group that featured Eddie Hardin, who had replaced Stevie Winwood in The Spencer Davis Group that spring.
Savva is uncertain how the link-up with Hamilton came about but has some photos with A Wild Uncertainty drummer Gordon Barton and lead guitarist Peter Tidmarsh in them, which offers a clue.
“Gary and I were behind the camera,” he explains. “How and why I don’t know but obviously we were backing Gary as vocalist. Maybe Gordon and Peter split and Mick [Stewart] and Jimmy [Smith] came in.”
Mick Stewart, however, can throw more light on this transition period. “I believe that I played with Tony Savva for a little while because of something to do with Don Arden’s son David being a would-be-singer at the time,” says the guitarist.
“The intro to that was in a way due to Johnny Kidd. Over the years, he was in fact booked quite a bit by Don Arden’s agency and after he died, I believe that someone at Arden’s company suggested I play guitar in this back-up band. Tony was already in the line-up. At the end of the day, however, David Arden although he was a really great guy to be in a rock ‘n’ roll band with, he was not really a singer at all.”
The new-look Hamilton Movement soon hit the road, appearing at Salisbury City Hall on 30 September 1967. Later that year, on 8 December, the group joined The Soft Machine and others for a gig at City University in London.
With the new version finding its feet, Gary Hamilton returned to the studios with session musicians to cut a solo single. Produced by Tony Meehan and penned by Mike D’Abo, “Let the Music Play”, backed by the self-penned “Don’t Ask”, was released by Decca on 12 November 1967 but flopped. A dramatic, big band production, “Let the Music Play” appears on Colour Me Pop, Volume Three and Fading Yellow Volume 9: The Other Side of Life.
Just after Christmas, Gary Hamilton expanded the line-up by bringing in organist Terry Goldberg, who had previously played with The Mark Leeman Five and (briefly) Tintern Abbey.
The five-piece gigged prolifically over the next four months, even opening for Ike & Tina Turner and others at the Boston Gliderdrome on 20 April 1968. Two days later, the musicians played possibly their final show at the 100 Club on Oxford Street before the inevitable split.
Mick Stewart immediately joined James Royal and participated in a prestigious concert tour alongside Johnny Cash, June Carter and Carl Perkins. During 1969-1970, he recorded three singles with Sweet before later moving to the United States in the late 1970s, where he works in Los Angeles and Nashville as a successful record producer and also owns a music publishing company and a recording studio.
Tony Savva meanwhile subsequently worked with Lionel Bart and Samuel Prody among others and currently lives in Cyprus. James Smith, who later recorded with Aquila, played with a revamped Nashville Teens before reuniting with Ron Thomas in The House of Orange.
“[Ron] said The Fantastics were coming back to the UK for a tour and he and Pip Williams were getting a backing band together and looking for a drummer and organist. I’d seen Ron and Pip previously so I didn’t need asking twice.”
As for Gary Hamilton, he joined the London production of Hair before resuming his solo career with a lone single for CBS and gigging briefly with Cozy Powell’s band, Big Bertha. Produced by Bernard Lee, the self-penned “Easy Rider” stalled when it was released on 5 December 1969.
Undeterred, he returned to Polydor for a cover of Ed Welch’s the “Monkey Song”, produced by Peter Knight Jr and arranged by John Fiddy. Released on 20 November 1970, the single flopped and Hamilton moved into movie acting; the eagle-eyed can catch him in the cult horror flick, Tower of Evil.
Thanks to Fedon Tilberis, Peter Vernon-Kell, Chris Palmer, Ron Thomas, Phil Wainman, Mel Wayne, James Smith, Mick Stewart and Tony Savva
To add information and make corrections, email: Warchive@aol.com
A version of this article appears in Ugly Things magazine.
Happy Magazine was soul/R&B band that was formed during August 1967 by singer Alan Marshall and lead guitarist Peter Kirtley and was managed and produced by former Animals keyboard player/singer Alan Price.
The two musicians have previously played together in Southeast London R&B group, The Loose Ends from around July 1965 to October 1966 when Kirtley departed to join The Alan Price Set.
Alan Marshall meanwhile formed a new version of The Loose Ends, drawing on Croydon, Surrey band, The Subjects, which featured Malcolm Rudkin (vocals); Alan Griffin (lead guitar); Phil Lanzon (organ); John Manderson (bass); and Roy Manderson (drums).
After a few months, John Manderson and Malcolm Rudkin, who did not want to turn professional, departed and the band’s manager Bryan Mason recruited sax player/guitarist Mick Patel, who had previously worked with Carl Douglas and bass player Colin Pullen from Kent band, Bob ‘N’ All. Not long after, Roy Manderson was succeeded by another Bob ‘N’ All member, Tony Glyde.
In early December 1966, Bryan Mason expanded the formation by adding another Bob ‘N’ All member – singer Bob Saker and the group played regularly at the Playboy Club.
The Loose Ends then landed a residency at the Bang Bang Club in Milan’s San Guiliano district, which kicked off in the third week of January but Alan Griffin departed just before the group left for Italy and Colin King from Bob ‘N’ All took his place.
During early March 1967, The Loose Ends returned to London and played at the Scotch of St James and the Speakeasy. At one of the venues, Otis Redding spotted Alan Marshall and Bob Saker and invited them to Muscle Shoals to record, and during May/June the singers cut two tracks – “Johnny B Goode” and “Keep on Pushing”, which were never released. Marshall and Saker then returned to the UK.
By this point, Peter Kirtley was ready to leave The Alan Price Set to team up with Alan Marshall and around August the pair formed Happy Magazine. Initially, Marshall’s friend Bobby Sass was going to play keyboards but he departed after initial rehearsals.
Kirtley, who was originally from Tyneside and had played with Shorty & Them during the early 1960s, introduced his old friends from Jarrow, the late Kenny Craddock on organ from Tyneside bands The Elcorts and New Religion, and Brian Rowan on bass from Shorty & Them. He also recruited drummer Alan White, formerly a member of Tyneside outfits, The Bluechips and The Gamblers.
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”. During this time, the group also became regulars at Rasputin’s club in Bond Street.
During 1968, Alan Price recruited Alan White for his backing band, and Malcolm Wolffe from West London bands, The Tribe and Dream took over. The band then cut its third and final outing, a brilliant reading of the Dee/Potter collaboration, “Who Belongs To You” (again with horns), coupled with the previously available “Beautiful Land”. Issued on 14 February 1969, the single 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); his old friend and keyboardist Bobby Sass; bass player Brent Forbes from Salford bands, The Rogues and Sunshine; sax and flutist Norman Leppard; and drummer Conrad Isidore, One should have been a huge success but the album (which featured Peter Kirtley on lead guitar) sank without a trace.
Peter Kirtley, Kenny Craddock and Alan White meanwhile brought in two friends from Newcastle – ex-Skip Bifferty members, singer Graham Bell and bass player Colin Gibson, 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.
Having fronted new versions of One, Alan Marshall 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. Marshall continues to perform in London.
Alan White became a top session player, working with John Lennon and George Harrison among others and later joined Yes, with whom he continues to play.
White’s replacement Malcolm Wolffe meanwhile joined Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
9 September 1967 – Tiles with Winston G Set and Heart and Souls
23 September 1967 – Clouds, Derby
7-9 March 1968 – Hatchetts Playground, London
8 June 1968 – Clockwork Orange, Chester with Watson Brown Band
1 August 1968 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London
8 August 1968 – Bag O’Nails, London
9 August 1968 – The Grotto, Ilford, Essex
10 August 1968 – Beachcomber, Nottingham
7 September 1968 – Rainbow Suite Co-Op, Birmingham with The Baron
19 September 1968 – Klooks Kleek West Hampstead, London
Today, Elton John is one of rock music’s most revered artists but during the early-mid 1960s he struggled for recognition, learning his trade as Reg Dwight with West London R&B outfit, Bluesology.
Below, I have started to piece together a timeline on this band’s history, including the period after Reg Dwight/Elton John left in March 1968 to start his solo career.
In particular, I need to credit the invaluable work carried out by Keith Hayward, who has written the excellent book, Tin Pan Alley: The Rise of Elton John, for some of this material. He has been a huge help. I have also reference below sources that I have drawn on for live dates.
I would welcome any additions and corrections in the comment box below.
Bluesology was formed in 1962 after Reg Dwight and Stu Brown had played in Pinner, Middlesex group, the Corvettes. The original line up comprised:
Stu Brown – guitar/vocals
Reg Dwight – keyboards/vocals
Geoff Dyson – bass
Mick Inkpen – drums
Circa May 1965 – Reg Dwight’s ‘Come Back Baby’ recorded
6 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)
13 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)
20 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)
27 May 1965 – Elms Club, Corbins Lane, South Harrow (every Thursday)
(Source: Harrow Weekly Post – stopped advertising after above date)
June 1965: Dyson leaves to join Mockingbirds
+ Rex Bishop – bass
Circa June 1965 – ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’ recorded
5-19 January 1966 – Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles first tour with Bluesology (Source: Melody Maker)
5 January 1966 – Scotch of St James, Mayfair
6 January 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington
8 January 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with The Checkpoints
9 January 1966 – Flamingo, Soho
11 January 1966 – Cromwellian, South Kensington
14 January 1966 – All Star Club, Liverpool Street and Flamingo, Soho
15 January 1966 – Dungeon, Nottingham
15 January 1966 – Mojo, Sheffield (according to The Star, the billing also included Fontella Bass, The Stormville Shakers and The Just Us. Bluesology were credited as Bluesology Inc and Pattie La Belle was billed as Tattie Rebelle & Her Belles!)
16 January 1966 – Plaza, Birmingham (Handsworth?) (Source: Melody Maker)
February 1966 – Reg Dwight’s ‘Mr Frantic’ c/w ‘Every Day I Have The Blues’ released
February 1966 – Doris Troy tour with Bluesology
11 February 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington with Herbie Goins & The Nightimers
11 February 1966 – El Partido, Lewisham, London with Duke Lee (Source: Melody Maker)
16 June 1966 – Streatham Locarno, Streatham, London
17 June 1966 – Royal Tottenham, Tottenham, London
18 June 1966 – Marcam Hall, March, Cambridgeshire
18 June 1966 – Mojo Club, Sheffield (Source: Melody Maker)
Circa June 1966:
+ Neil Hubbard – guitar (joins around this time)
25 June 1966 – Marquee, London (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
8 July 1966 – Marquee, London with The VIPs
14 July 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
6 August 1966 – Marquee, London with The Soul Agents
11 August 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
29 August 1966 – Nottingham Blues Festival, Sherwood Rooms, Nottingham with Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, Jimmy Cliff & The Shakedown Sound and Wynder K Frog (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph)
Mid-August-mid-September, Bluesology travels to St Tropez for a month (Papagayos).
26 September 1966 – Marquee, London with Jimmy James & The Vagagonds (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
7 October 1966 – Marquee, London with Gary Farr & The T-Bones
20 October 1966 – Marquee, London with The Move
29 October 1966 – Marquee, London with The Herd (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
29 October 1966 – Shoreline, Bognor Regis with Long John Baldry, The Action and David Bowie & The Buzz (Source: Bognor Regis Post)
5 November 1966 – Starlight Ballroom, Crawley, West Sussex with Deadly Nightshade (billed as Long John Baldry – not sure if they have linked up with Baldry yet?) (Source: Crawley Advertiser)
12 November 1966 – Marquee, London with The Herd (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
Mid-November 1966: Neil Hubbard departs
Around mid-late November – Bluesology travel to Sweden for mini-tour???
Late November 1966: Paul Gale departs while the band is in Sweden
+ Pete Gavin – drums (ex-Soul Pushers)
11 December 1966 – Saville Theatre, London with Little Richard and Alan Price Set (Source: Melody Maker)
Around this time, Bluesology become Long John Baldry’s back-up band
+ Long John Baldry – vocals
+ Alan Walker – vocals (ex-Roadhogs)
30 December 1966 – Marquee, London (billed as Long John Baldry Show) with The Good-Goods (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
31 December 1966 – Blue Moon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (billed as Long John Baldry featuring Alan Walker, Stuart Brown & Bluesology) (Source: Gloucestershire Echo, 1966)
15 January 1967 – Gyro Club, Troutbeck Hotel, IIlkley, West Yorkshire (billed as Long John Baldry with Bluesology) (Source: Yorkshire Evening Post)
31 January 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry) (Source: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)
17 March 1967 – Marquee, London with The Long John Baldry Show and Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
3 April 1967 – Feathers, Ealing, Middlesex (billed as Long John Baldry & Bluesology) (Source: Melody Maker)
21 April 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)
22 April 1967 – Blue Moon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (billed as Long John Baldry featuring Alan Walker) (Source: Gloucestershire Echo, 1967)
2 May 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry)
11 May 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Bluesology) (Source: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek: Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms)
Mid-May 1967: Pat Higgs and Dave Murphy both left immediately after this gig (Higgs also working with Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement during late 1966/early 1967)
Del Paramor – tenor sax (ex-Warren Davis Monday Band)
Jack Drew – trumpet
Roy Peen – drums
This soul R&B outfit was formed in early 1968 and played until early 1971 when Sketto Rich and Roy Peen left. Johnny Wright was succeeded by Dennis Brown during this period as well.
Bobby Morris joined around April 1968 and rehearsed with the band throughout May and June at the Railway Tavern, Plumstead.
Morris’s first gig with the band took place on 3 August 1968 at the Aurora Hotel in Gillingham, opening for Unit 4+2. The musicians also played regularly at the Harrow Inn in Abbey Wood.
Sketto Rich & Sonority also began to play further afield. Morris recalls playing at the Locarno Ballroom in Swindon on two occasions – 9 August 1969 with The Red Squares and 27 December 1969 with Spectrum. He also remembers playing at Queen Mary’s College in Mile End Road with Clarence “Frogman” Henry on 18 October 1969.
Del Coverley joined briefly in 1971 as new lead singer alongside incoming drummer Pete Mole (also ex-Warren Davis Monday Band) and they became Brass Lungs, performing jazz rock similar in style to Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears in Soho clubs.
When Coverley departed, the musicians linked with Freddie Mack and played their debut show at the Thomas A Beckett Pub on the Old Kent Road in London.
However, as the band started picking up more regular work, the line-up became increasingly fluid with only Brian Morris and Don Shepherd staying the course.
Musicians that joined throughout 1971-1973 included:
Johnny Orlando – lead vocals
Dave Newman – drums (ex-Sounds Incorporated and The Fenmen)
Ray Lewis – bass (ex-Barbette and Memphis Mail)
Dave Roffey – lead guitar (ex-Barbette and Lee Hawkins)
Mel Day – lead vocals (ex-Orange Rainbow)
Roy ? – trumpet (ex-Johnny Jackson & The Band Wagon, J J Jackson, Del Vikings, Otis Redding, The Temptations)
Mick Eve – tenor sax (ex-Georgie Fame, Alan Price, Zoot Money)
Eddie Thornton – trumpet (ex-Georgie Fame)
Buddy Bownes – trumpet (ex-Roy Orbison)
Carl Douglas – lead vocals
Huge thanks to Brian Morris for providing the band information.
Please email me at Warchive@aol.com if you can add or correct any information.
West London six-piece horn band Simon K & The Meantimers recorded a Hammond-drenched dance-floor classic called “Bring Your Love Back (To Me)”, which was coupled with “You Know I Do” for a UK single on the B&C label in November 1969.
Fronted by current Hot Chocolate lead singer Kenny Simon, The Meantimers had originally formed around late 1964/early 1965 in West Hampstead before linking with Simon (most likely around March 1967).
Managed by Arthur Armes, father of the band’s drummer Michael, the original Meantimers also comprised lead guitarist Rick Thomas, classically trained organist Bill Pitt, bass player Warwick Rose and a rhythm guitarist called Tony, who also handled lead vocals.
According to Michael Armes, his father turned the basement of his shop on Belsize Road in Kilburn into a rehearsal and recording room. It may well have been here that Simon cut some demos with West London band, The Tribe, including future Sweet guitarist Frank Torpey, that were picked up by Arthur Armes.
Notable gigs (prior to Kenny Simon):
7 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
21 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
9 October 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
13 November 1966 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)
14 January 1967 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)
19 January 1967 – Tiles, London (billed as Meantimers)
22 January 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
11 February 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex (billed as Meantimers)
26 February 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
12 March 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate, Essex with Pussyfoot (billed as Meantimers)
When Kenny Simon replaced the original singer, prompting a name change to Simon K & The Meantimers, former Overlanders’ bass player Paul Hewson had already taken over from Warwick Rose, who’d moved on to join The Soul Survivors, an early incarnation of The Love Affair.
The new line up lasted until about July 1967 when former Quiet Five drummer Ray Hailey succeeded Michael Armes.
12 April 1967 – Flamingo, London
28 April 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent with The Groove (billed as The Meantimers)
17 May 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
21 May 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
6-7 June 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
24 June 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent (billed as The Meantimers)
2 July 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
22 July 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex
However, the changes did not end there and in the summer of 1967 an entirely new line up came together, starting with lead guitarist George Teo.
Originally, from Singapore, Teo had migrated to the UK in the early 1960s with friends Sam Young on bass and brothers Andrew and John Gwee on guitar and drums respectively and formed The Etceteras. After two singles on the Oriole label in 1964, Teo next joined the Ying Tongs before hooking up with The Meantimers.
Also on board were siblings, bass player Mick Glyde and drummer Tony Glyde (brothers of Major Glyde, the lead sax player from Sounds Incorporated) and sax players Brent Carter, Alan Wherry and Ken Hendy, who was later replaced by former Cliff Bennett Rebel Rousers’ baritone sax player Sid Phillips in late 1967/early 1968.
Tony Glyde had previously worked with Southeast London bands, Bob ‘N’ All, The Loose Ends and Bern Elliott’s former group, The Fenmen while Alan Wherry had come from The Richard Henry Sensation (with David O’List) and Harlem Shuffle.
Wherry remembers that the group also had a keyboard player but it wasn’t Bill Pitt. He also recalls that he had left before Sid Phillips joined. Wherry later moved in to publishing, as director of Corgi, Penguin and then as co-founder of Bloomsbury in London in 1986.
The new formation was active until about spring 1968, during which time former Quiet Five drummer Roger “Tex” Marsh took over the drum stool from Tony Glyde.
2 September 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
16 September 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire with Jeanette and Abee
7 October 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
4 November 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
2 December 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
17 February 1968 – Chelmsford Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, Essex with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
20 April 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
11 May 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
2 August 1968 – Samantha’s, London (billed as Meantimers)
3 August 1968 – Town Hall, Clacton, Essex (billed as Meantimers)
4 August 1968 – Surrey Rooms, Oval, London (billed as Meantimers)
6-7 August 1968 – Hatchetts Playground, London (billed as Meantimers)
24 August 1968 – Savoy Rooms, Catford, Kent
14 September 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
By the autumn of 1968, Kenny Simon had reshuffled the pack, bringing in Marsh’s former band mate from The Quiet Five, Roger McKew on lead guitar. Sid Phillips had already left by this point to go on to Redwind and his place was taken by Tony Hall, whose CV including Peter’s Faces, Wainwright’s Gentlemen and Rupert’s Spoon.
The new formation then comprised:
Kenny Simon – lead vocals
Roger McKew – lead guitar
Tony Hall – saxophone
Brent Carter – saxophone
Mick Glyde – bass
Roger ‘Tex’ Marsh – drums
The new-look formation resumed gigging. Bringing former keyboard player Bill Pitt back, Simon also added Irish trumpet player Ron Carthy, who’d previously worked with The Blue Aces and Wynder K Frog to the six-piece line up that came together in time to cut the group’s lone ‘45 in November 1969.
In March 1970, however, Brent Carter and Tony Hall also departed at this point and joined Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
When the band finally splintered in the early 1970s, Pitt ended up working with Espirit de Corps, while Carthy joined Gonzales and also did a multitude of sessions for artists like Freddie King, Slade and Suzi Quatro.
26 October 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
23 November 1968 – Fellowship Inn, Eltham, Kent
30 November 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
10 December 1968 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent with Olaf Groups Kneed
28 December 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
22 February 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Jon James & The Swamp and The Western Kind
4 April 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
19 April 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet
17 May 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire
22 May 1969 – Klook’s Kleek, London
26 July 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
2 August 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet
9 August 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent
6 September 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
4 October 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent
25 or 29 October 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Lovin’ Spoonful
8 November 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire
25 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
29 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
31 December 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
7 February 1970 – Cloud 9, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Many thanks to Kenny Simon, Michael Armes, Tony Hall, Alan Wherry, Ken Hendy, Sid Phillips and Bruce Welsh for their help. Thank you Michael Armes and Alan Wherry for the photos.
Very little is known about the personnel in Simon K & The Meantimers. The author would be interested to hear from anyone that can provide more detail on the group for a future, updated version. Please email the author, Nick Warburton at Warchive@aol.com
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.
Thanks to tenor sax player Geoff Driscoll, it’s possible to pin down the line-up for Freddie Mack’s band from about February 1968 through to about January 1969.
According Driscoll, drummer Colin Davy left shortly before he joined (later playing with Joe Cocker among many others). The band, he adds, had just returned from playing the Blow Up club in Munich. When he hooked up with Freddie Mack, the band comprised:
Freddie Mack – lead vocals
Tony Morgan – lead vocals
Sonny Gibbons – lead vocals
Tony St Clair (Sinclair) – lead guitar
Roy Davies – organ
Alan Cartwright – bass
Sonny Corbett – trumpet
Phil Kenzie – tenor saxophone
Dave Potter – tenor saxophone
Geoff Driscoll – tenor saxophone
Dave Coxhill – baritone saxophone
Pete Hunt – drums
Of the new line-up, Pete Hunt came from the Southampton area and had worked with a number of bands, most notably The Quik, The Meddyevils and The Soul Agents.
Tony St Clair, who came from Hackney, had joined Phil Wainman’s band literally a few weeks after they’d played the Christmas/New Year show with Freddie Mack in 1965. He would remain with Wainman’s band as it became The New Generation and backed Jimmy Cliff during 1966. The formation then joined forces with Gary Hamilton and became The Hamilton Movement. When St Clair left in late 1967, it’s reported that he played with Lace.
Phil Kenzie of course had worked with Freddie Mack in 1966 and had gone on to play with Sonny Childe & The TNT, Tuesday’s Children and PP Arnold & TNT in the interim.
Geoff Driscoll recalls that the new line-up soon returned to the Blow Up club in Munich via a gig in Belgium and then travelled to Rome (around April/May 1968) to play at the famous Piper Club for three weeks. Some of the band met an RCA record executive who informed the musicians that the label was about to release a single by an actor that was going to be an enormous hit – it was Richard Harris’ “McArthur Park”.
However, after nearly a year of playing with Mack and moaning about not getting paid, the band split from the singer whereupon they were approached by Dave Hadfield to work as the house band (The Breed) at his Maximum Sound Studio on the Old Kent Road. The Breed backed a few reggae singers on Hadfield’s label before Manfred Mann got involved and lured the horn section away for Manfred Mann Chapter 3.
While Dave Coxhill and Sonny Corbett remained with Manfred Mann Chapter 3, Geoff Driscoll and Phil Kenzie reunited with Roy Davies and Alan Cartwright in Sweet Water Canal. Pete Hunt later worked with The Jess Roden Band among many others.
10 February 1968 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Informers and Plus 2
23 February 1968 – Birmingham University with Elmer Gantry