Category Archives: London

Cats Pyjamas

Left to right: Colin Pullen, Roy Manderson, Kenny Bernard, Phil Lanzon and Alan Griffin. Thanks to Colin for the image.

Kenny Bernard – lead vocals
Alan Griffin – lead guitar
Colin Pullen – bass
Phil Lanzon – keyboards
Roy Manderson – drums

Hailing from South London Cats Pyjamas released two highly inventive yet extremely rare and collectable 45s for the Direction label during 1968. The quintet’s music bridged psychedelia and progressive rock with hints of soul/R&B and both releases were notable for their top notch production and the superlative musicianship of its players.

Trinidad-born singer Kenny Bernard had first come to prominence with R&B outfit The Wranglers during 1963. Formed around the Lewisham area, the previous year, the group subsequently recorded a lone single for the Pye label, “The Tracker”, which was released in August 1965. Around the same time, the musicians were captured live at the Ad Lib Club in Leicester Square for a rare acetate that years later found its way into the hands of Mark Lamarr. The DJ passed the live tracks to the Acid Jazz label, which released the recordings as the Kenny Bernard & The Wranglers Live ’65 CD in 2011.

When The Wranglers splintered a few months later, Bernard stayed with Pye Records and recorded a cache of stylish R&B/soul-inspired singles during 1966 and 1967, none of which troubled the charts. However, as Bernard noted in his autobiography, You Came Into My Life, he found going solo a daunting experience and missed working with a band on stage.

One night (the most plausible date is sometime in June 1967), the singer was out at the Scotch of St James nightclub in Mayfair with his old friend Pete Gage, former guitarist in Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, when he heard that South London group, The Loose Ends, were looking for a singer to front the band.

Originally from Bexley Heath in Kent, The Loose Ends had cut a couple of singles for Decca Records with singer Alan Marshall at the helm before undergoing a major overhaul in October 1966, which left the singer with the name. Marshall’s manager Bryan Mason then linked him with Croydon outfit, The Subjects, who featured guitarist Alan Griffin, keyboard player Phil Lanzon and drummer Roy Manderson.

The Subjects, 1966. Left to right: John Manderson, Malcolm Rudkin, Roy Manderson, Phil Lanzon and Alan Griffin. Thanks to Alan for the image.

Over the next few months, The Loose Ends’ manager also started to bring in musicians from Bexley band, Bob ‘N’ All to replace outgoing musicians. These included new bass player Colin Pullen and second singer Bob Saker. However, shortly before taking up a residency at the Bang Bang Club in Milan in mid-January 1967, first Roy Manderson and then Alan Griffin dropped out to make way for new recruits. Both, however, kept in touch with Phil Lanzon.

Fast forward to early March and The Loose Ends were back in London, and with Alan Griffin back in the fold, the group performed at the Scotch of St James and the Speakeasy. Shortly after a gig at the Central London Polytechnic on 15 April, where they opened for The Savoy Brown Blues Band, singers Alan Marshall and Bob Saker took up soul legend Otis Redding’s offer to fly to the US to record at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals.

Left without their two front men, The Loose Ends, who’d brought Roy Manderson back on board after his replacement Tony Glyde had left to join first The Fenmen and then Simon K & The Meantimers, put out feelers for another singer. With Marshall and Saker out of the picture, the musicians also decided to revamp themselves as Cats Pyjamas.

After spending a month or so working up a stage set with Kenny Bernard, Colin Pullen recalls that the group’s debut gig took place at a college in Epsom, Surrey, which quite possibly could have been nearby Ewell Technical College Refectory, a popular local venue for up and coming bands to perform at.

Over the next few months, Cats Pyjamas gigged fairly incessantly, and one of the band’s most notable gigs during this period was an appearance at the Starlight Room at Boston Gliderdrome in September with The Original Drifters. Pullen also recalls playing in Bournemouth’s Winter Gardens during the first few months of the group’s existence.

However, in early December, Cats Pyjamas secured a crucial deal with the Rik Gunnell Agency, which most likely was brokered by their manager Pete Gage, who’d co-written one of the band’s standout songs, “Virginia Water” with Kenny Bernard and had previous dealings with the agency during his time with The Ram Jam Band.

Selected gigs:
13 August 1967 – Starlight Ballroom, Crawley, West Sussex with The Geranium Pond (Crawley Advertiser)

30 September 1967 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Original Drifters and The Magic Roundabout (Lincolnshire Standard)

22 October 1967 – Elm Hotel, Southend, Essex (Southend Standard)

2 December 1967 – Cliff’s Pavilion, Southend, Essex with John Walker and The Timebox and The Seychells (Southend Standard)
2 December 1967 – Luton Boys Club, Luton, Bedfordshire with Tramline (Evening Post: Hemel Hempstead)

The link-up with the Rik Gunnell Agency brought in steady stream of live work and importantly gave the band a regular spot to shine at the agency’s top Soho club, the Bag O’Nails on Kingley Street. It also led to a recording deal with the Direction label and, that same month, the musicians recorded a superb version of Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector’s “Baby, I Love You”, originally a top 30 US hit for The Ronettes in 1963, at Olympic Studio’s in Barnes.

To this listener’s ears, however, it is the flip, the Pete Gage/Kenny Bernard penned “Virginia Water” that is the more impressive recording. A psych/prog-rock masterpiece, the song, named after the Surrey commuter town, benefits greatly from Mervyn Conn’s excellent production and demonstrates the inventiveness of a band that is only a few months old.

Alan Griffin sets the scene with a sizzling “nosediving” guitar effect, which is soon buried in the rhythm section’s intricate, syncopated bass and percussion lines. The action then cuts back to the guitarist, who interjects with a series of strident riffs, signalling the arrival of Phil Lanzon’s majestic, prog-rock Hammond fills. As the brooding atmosphere threatens to spill over, Kenny Bernard joins the fray with his distinctive, powerful and soulful lead vocals.

The single, when released on 26 January 1968, should have been a massive hit, but instead sank without a trace. Perhaps “Virginia Water” would have fared better had it been promoted as the A-side but then again the band’s unique style, marrying psych-progressive rock with soul influences was probably far too inventive and dare I say it, “ahead of its time” to meet the narrow demands of the pop charts. Needless to say, breaking into top echelons of the charts was practically an impossibility anyway given The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and others’ virtual stranglehold.

Interestingly, “Virginia Water” caught the attention of Scottish progressive-rock band, Writing on The Wall, who later recorded the track under an “unknown” title for their Power of The Picts LP.

Selected gigs:
15 December 1967 – Sibyllas, Swallow Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
16 December 1967 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
18 December 1967 – Kettering Working Men’s Club, Kettering, Northamptonshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
19 December 1967 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
22 December 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
23 December 1967 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
24 December 1967 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
26 December 1967 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28 December 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
29-30 December 1967 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
31 December 1967 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

2 January 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
5 January 1968 – “Big C”, 1 Camp Road, Farnborough, Hampshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
6 January 1968 – Cliff’s Pavilion, Southend (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
9 January 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11-12 January 1968 – Sibyllas, Swallow Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
13 January 1968 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Gods (Tony Bacon’s Book: London Live)
13-14 January 1968 – Il Grotto, Ilford, Essex (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
15 January 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
17 January 1968 – Sibyllas, Swallow Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
19 January 1968 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 January 1968 – Margon’s College, King’s Road, Chelsea (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
21 January 1968 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25-26 January 1968 – Sibyllas, Swallow Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
27 January 1968 – Holborn College of Law, Red Lion Square, WC1 (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28 January 1968 – Kettering Working Men’s Club, Kettering, Northamptonshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
29 January 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

1 February 1968 – RAF Wyton, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
2 February 1968 – Sibyllas, Swallow Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
3 February 1968 – Luton Boys Club, Luton, Bedfordshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
5 February 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
9-10 February 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
10 February 1968 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, Essex with The Merseys and North Sea Bubble (Southend Standard)
13-15 February 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
16 February 1968 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
17 February 1968 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, Essex with Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
18 February 1968 – Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 February 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
23 February 1968 – Boat 27, Sibyllas, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
24 February 1968 – Ceasar’s, Bedford, Bedfordshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28 February 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

2 March 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
3 March 1968 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

Undeterred by the chart failure of their debut 45, Cats Pyjamas returned to Olympic Studios in Barnes with Mervyn Conn to record a follow up release. According to Rik Gunnell’s agency bookings, the group spent two days recording (4 and 5 March).

Colin Pullen remembers that The Steve Miller Band were recording tracks for Children of The Future in the studio next door and when Cats Pyjamas had finished their session they watched the San Francisco group at work.

During the sessions, Cats Pyjamas recorded two new Kenny Bernard songs, “Camera Man” and “Houses”. Bernard would revisit the pedestrian “Houses” in later years and but here the rest of the band give the song a semi-acoustic treatment complete with progressive organ fills. To this listener’s ears, the track wouldn’t sound out of place on The Small Faces’ Autumn Stone or Family’s Music From a Doll’s House. Far better is the raving Mod/prog cross-over “Camera Man” with its infectious chorus and stomping, driving beat.

Like “Virginia Water”, “Camera Man” demonstrates just how innovative Cats Pyjamas could be in the studio; unfortunately the group’s second outing would follow its predecessor into obscurity. The tragedy is that the group never got the opportunity to cut more material towards an LP.

Selected gigs:
7 March 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
8 March 1968 – Meridan Youth Club, Royston, Hertfordshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
9 March 1968 – Locarno, Swindon, Wiltshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11-12 March 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
16 March 1968 – Gaiety Ballroom, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
17 March 1968 – King Alfred, Bellingham, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 March 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
23 March 1968 – Central School of Art, Southampton Row, WC1, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
24 March 1968 – Foseco Sports & Social Club, Drayton Manor, Tamworth, Staffordshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25-27 March 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25-27 March 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
29 March 1968 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
30 March 1968 – Twickenham College, Twickenham, Middlesex with Mystic Romance (Melody Maker)

Cats Pyjamas 7 April 1968

3 April 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Melody Maker)
5 April 1968 – Ministry of Health, Alexander Fleming House, Elephant & Castle, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
6 April 1968 – Stax Club, Cirencester, Gloucestershire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
7 April 1968 – Bull’s Head, Yardley, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
9 April 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11 April 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Melody Maker)
13 April 1968 – White Tiles Disco, Swindon, Wiltshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
14-15 April 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
19-20 April 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
21 April 1968 – Tower Ballroom, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25 April 1968 – Station Hotel, Selly Oak, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
26 April 1968 – Bolero Club, Wednesbury, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
27 April 1968 – Adelphi Ballroom, West Bromwich, West Midlands with The Happenings (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
27 April 1968 – Elbow Room, Aston, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28 April 1968 – Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
29 April-3 May 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

Cats Pyjamas 25 April 1968

4 May 1968 – Brave New World, Eastney, Hampshire (Website: http://michaelcooper.org.uk/C/birdcage.htm)
9-10 May 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11 May 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
12 May 1968 – Bull’s Head, Yardley, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
13 May 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
17 May 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
18 May 1968 – Dandylion Club, Cross Hands Inn, Brockworth, Gloucestershire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 May 1968 – Yeoman, Stafford, Staffordshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
21-22 May 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
24 May 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
30-31 May 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

Cats Pyjamas 27 April 1968

Released on 24 May 1968, “Camera Man” c/w “Houses” was another creative step forward but all was not well within the band. As Bernard later admitted in his autobiography, the singer was increasingly coming to blows with the rest of the group, both musically and personally. A rare high point was a month-long residency at the Stones Club in Madrid during June where Cats Pyjamas took over from Carl Douglas & The Big Stampede.

Selected gigs:
June 1968 – Stones Club, Madrid, Spain (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

3 July 1968 – Hyde Park Hotel, Debs Ball, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
4 July 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
5 July 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
6 July 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
7 July 1968 – King Alfred, Bellingham, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
10 July 1968 – Elbow Room, Aston, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11 July 1968 – Station Inn, Selly Oak, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
12 July 1968 – Bolero Club, Wednesbury, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
13 July 1968 – Mothers, Erdington, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
14 July 1968 – Bull’s Head, Yardley, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
15-19 July 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 July 1968 – Fellowship Inn, Bellingham, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
26 July 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
27 July 1968 – Petersfield Town Hall, Petersfield, Hampshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

Cats Pyjamas Adelphi Ballroom 27 April 1968

3 August 1968 – Kirklevington Country Club, North Yorkshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
4 August 1968 – Beau Brummell Club, Alvaston Hall Hotel, Nantwich, Cheshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
9 August 1968 – County Hall, Weybridge, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
10 August 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
12 August 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
17 August 1968 – Swan Hotel, Yardley, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
23 August 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Melody Maker)
24 August 1968 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester with Ben E King (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25 August 1968 – Excel Bowling Alley, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25 August 1968 – Cellar Club, Hartlepool, County Durham (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
30-31 August 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

2 September 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
5 September 1968 – John Gunnell’s Wedding Reception, 55, Jermyn St, W1, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
8 September 1968 – Surrey Rooms, Kennington, Oval (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
14 September 1968 – Britannia Club, Nottingham (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
15 September 1968 – Pantiles, Bagshot, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11-13 September 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20-21 September 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28 September 1968 – Rainbow Suite, Co-op, Birmingham (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
29 September 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

4 October 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
5 October 1968 – Fellowship Inn, Bellingham, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
6 October 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
11 October 1968 – Kingston College of Art, Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
18-19 October 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
20 October 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
21 October 1968 – Rasputin’s, New Bond Street, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
25 October 1968 – Bag O’Nails, Kingley Street, Soho, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
26 October 1968 – White Hart, Acton, Middlesex (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
27 October 1968 – Mercer’s Arms, Swan Lane, Coventry, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
28-31 October 1968 – Playboy Club, Park Lane, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

1-9 November 1968 – Playboy Club, Park Lane, London (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)
10 November 1968 – Swan Hotel, Yardley, West Midlands (Rik Gunnell Agency bookings)

The band late 1968. Left to right: Phil Lanzon, Alan Griffin, Kenny Bernard, Roy Manderson (back) and Colin Pullen. Thanks to Alan for the photo.

Having returned to the UK after working in Madrid for a month during June 1968, tensions between Kenny Bernard and the rest of the band continued to grow and following some final gigs for Rik Gunnell in mid-November, the singer parted ways to resume a solo career.

Cats Pyjamas stuck together a bit longer but sometime in 1969 Colin Pullen left. Around November of that year, remaining members Alan Griffin, Phil Lanzon and Roy Manderson joined Geno Washington and worked as his Ram Jam Band until the spring of 1970. Griffin remained with the singer when he put together a new version that year.

Phil Lanzon, however, maintained the greatest profile over the succeeding years, later working with Grand Prix, Chris Spedding and Sweet among others before joining Uriah Heep in 1986 with whom he continues to play.
Huge thanks to Colin Pullen (who kindly shared the Rik Gunnell Agency booking list), Alan Griffin and Phil Lanzon for providing information about the band.

Joe E Young & The Toniks

Colin Young – lead vocals

Wendell Richardson – lead guitar

Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel – bass

Richard London – keyboards

Tony Bauman – saxophone

Denis Overton – saxophone

Conrad Isidore – drums

London-based West Indian soul outfit, Joe E Young & The Toniks recorded a superb, ultra-rare, and highly collectable, LP called Soul Buster! for Vicki Wickham’s small Toast label during 1968 before splintering when singer Colin Young joined British chart toppers The Foundations, subsequently singing lead on the UK #2 hit, ‘Build Me Up A Buttercup” and UK #8 hit, “In The Bad Bad Old Days (Before You Loved Me)”.

The band’s career is shrouded in mystery and very little is known about its tangled history, not to mention its origins. What we do know, however, is that Colin Young was born in Barbados on 12 September 1944 and first came to London for a holiday with his father in the mid-Sixties (most likely during 1966). A former bookkeeper, Colin Young presumably gravitated to the Stoke Newington/Tottenham area of the city as that was where Antiguan-born bass player Calvin Samuel and drummer Conrad Isidore were both living after moving to London as kids.

Samuel’s first notable musical outfit appears to have been The Blue-Ace-Unit, formed sometime in late 1965/early 1966 with future Bob Marley sideman, Junior Marvin, who at the time used the name Junior Kerr and played keyboards rather than guitar. Apparently, it was Kerr who coined Samuel’s nickname ‘Fuzzy’ after the musician used a fuzz box on his bass.

When Kerr departed to join Herbie Goins & The Night-Timers, Samuel hooked up with another Antiguan immigrant, guitarist Wendell Richardson, who’d grown up in Tottenham after moving to the UK at the age of 11. This may (or may not) be the same band that Richardson refers to on his website as The Four Aces.

During the summer of 1966, school friends Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel and Conrad Isidore linked up with Richardson and three other musicians to form The Toniks. These were fellow West Indians, Richard London (organ) and Tony Bauman (sax), and a second sax player, Denis Overton, who is most likely the same South African-born musician who had previously played with John O’Hara & His New Playboys during 1965-1966 and then briefly worked with Liverpool band, The Roadrunners.

Incidentally, Richardson, Samuel and Isidore were also close friends with The Equals and apparently Eddy Grant used Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel as a session bass player on some of The Equals’ recordings. He would later produce and pen material for all three musicians in their post-Toniks band, The Sundae Times.

Billed as either The Toniks or The Tonicks, the sextet quickly found work gigging across the north London club scene in venues that catered for the city’s burgeoning West Indian population. British music magazine, Melody Maker, lists the following gigs for the band, which included a few forays into central London. The New All-Star Club near Liverpool Street railway station became a favourite haunt.

Selected gigs:

7 September 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London

11 September 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London with The Pilgrims

5 October 1966 – Zebra Club, W1, London

8 October 1966 – Club West Indies, Stonebridge Park, Middlesex

9 October 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

17 November 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

3 December 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

9 December 1966 – Beachcomber Club, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

17 December 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

25 December 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

26 December 1966 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London with The Sugar Simone Show

Judging by the gigs listed above and below, it appears that Colin Young may not have joined forces with The Toniks until early January 1967. Unless, that is, his billing as frontman didn’t start until this month. As the list below makes clear, some gigs continued to be attributed solely to The Toniks/Tonicks. The gigs below are all from Melody Maker unless otherwise stated.

As well as the New All-Star Club, Joe E Young & The Toniks also became regulars at Count Suckle’s Cue Club in Paddington and the Roaring 20’s in Carnaby Street, Soho. Joe E Young & The Toniks also started to venture further afield to play gigs nationally.

According to Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band guitarist Pete Gage, who would work with the band later in the year, it was Colin Young’s manager Ken Edwards, who owned the Cue Club who renamed the singer Joe E Young.

Selected gigs:

8 January 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

28 January 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

28 January 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with Dave Berry & The Crusiers and The Crestas (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/) (Billed as the band only but unlikely that Colin Young wasn’t fronting them)

28 January 1967 – Chalk Farm, London with The Vaudeville Band, The Soft Machine and The Hectic Poets (Billed as the band only)

 4 February 1967 – Ricky Tick, Hounslow, Middlesex (Poster) (Billed as The Tonicks featuring Joey Young)

5 February 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Joey Young & The Tonicks Band)

11 February 1967 – Birdcage, Eastney, Hampshire (Dave Allen research)

11 February 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

17 February 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

17 February 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London

19 February 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

24 February 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

25 February 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

25 February 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London

4 March 1967 – Harvest Moon Club, Guildford, Surrey (Aldershot News)

4 March 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London

5 March 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

7 March 1967 – The Place, Hanley, Staffordshire (Poster)

16 March 1967 ­– Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London

18 March 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

23 March 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, Soho, London

23 March 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book)

24 March 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

25 March 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

27 March 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

31 March 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

8 April 1967 – Bluesville, St Thomas’ Hall, Brentwood, Essex (Essex Chronicle)

9 April 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

16 April 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

14 May 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

22 May 1967 – Queen’s Ballroom, Wolverhampton, West Midlands (Express & Star)

29 May 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London with Nyla Rose

2 June 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

17 June 1967 – Gaiety Ballroom, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire with The Kinsmen (Website: http://peterboroughimages.co.uk/music/?p=8130) (Billed as the band only)

17 June 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London (Billed as John Lee Hooker & The Tonicks)

24 June 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London with The Toys (Billed as the band only)

9 September 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

9 September 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

15 September 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

23 September 1967 – Royal Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with Soul Concern (North Norfolk News)

24 September 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

28 September 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London

13 October 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as The Tonicks Band)

From late October-mid-November 1967, Melody Maker reports that Joe E Young & The Toniks were resident band at the New All-Star Club but did not say if this was every night. In early November, Ruby James & The Stax were also residents.

Selected gigs:

21 October 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as The Tonicks with Joey Young)

21 October 1967 – Ram Jam, Brixton, London

23 November 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London

Sometime around October/November 1967, Joe E Young & The Toniks landed a recording deal with Vicki Wickham’s Toast label. Paired with former Ram Jam Band guitarist Pete Gage as an arranger, the band started to record material for an LP with producer Tommy Scott, which appears to have been cut over several sessions, starting in late 1967 and culminating with a final session in mid-1968.

According to Gage, it was Vicki Wickham (Dusty Springfield’s manager) who approached him via Rik Gunnell to arrange and produce Joe E Young & The Toniks. Gage believes that session players, which possibly included keyboard player Tim Hinkley and guitarist Ivan Zagni, who’d previously played with Mike Patto in The Chicago Blues Line and worked with his girlfriend Elkie Brooks in early 1968, may have been employed on some tracks. He also thinks that Colin Young’s friend Jimmy Chambers and Trinidad-born singer Ebony Keyes may have contributed vocals to the sessions.

Two of the earliest tracks to be recorded were two Pete Gage songs, co-written with Ebony Keyes (aka Kenrick Pitt), “Lifetime of Lovin’” c/w “Flower In My Hand”. Paired as a single, the tracks were issued on Toast in January 1968 but did not chart. Incidentally, the single also saw a South African release on the Continental label.

Debut single promotion. Courtesy David Else

Selected gigs:

8 December 1967 – Burton Constable Stately Home, Hull, Humberside

9 December 1967 – Enfield Technical College, Enfield, Middlesex with Ten Years After (Poster)

9 December 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

10 December 1967 – Ram Jam Club, Brixton, London

11 December 1967 – Hull University, Hull, Humberside

16 December 1967 – Royal Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with The Rubber Band (North Norfolk News)

23 December 1967 – Royal Lido, Central Beach, North Wales

25 December 1967 – Co-Op, Addlestone, Surrey

25 December 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London with Ronnie Jones, Owen Grey, The Youth and Herbie Goins

26 December 1967 – Shelimar Club, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

30 December 1967 – Israeli Student Association, West Hampstead, London

30 December 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington, London

31 December 1967 – “Big C”, 1 Camp Road, Farnborough, Hampshire

31 December 1967 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

13 January 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

9 February 1968 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Page, E1, London with James and Bobby Purify

10 February 1968 – Club A Go Go, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear with Hylton Ks (http://www.readysteadygone.co.uk/club-agogo-newcastle-2/)

2 March 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex

2 March 1968 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

30 March 1968 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

31 March 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London with Count Suckle Sound System (Billed as Tonicks Band)

12 April 1968 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

21 April 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

22-25 April 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London with Count Suckle Sound System

26 April 1968 – New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1, London

Sometime around April 1968, Wendell Richardson and Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel departed to form The Sundae Times, who landed a record deal with President Records thanks to their friendship with Eddy Grant. Conrad Isidore also participated but appears to have continued to play with Joe E Young & The Toniks simultaneously. It’s not clear why the two musicians quit the group they had helped to form but the fact that session musicians were employed on some of The Toniks’ studio recordings may have been a contributory factor.

Trinidad and Tobago-born siblings Kelvin Bullen (lead guitar) and Hugh Bullen (bass), who had started out with Reading, Berkshire band, The Soul Trinity, took Richardson and Samuel’s places.

Left to right: Kelvin Bullen, Richard London, Hugh Bullen, Colin Young, Conrad Isidore (sitting), Denis Overton and Tony Bauman

Colin Young – lead vocals

Kelvin Bullen – lead guitar

Hugh Bullen – bass

Richard London – keyboards

Tony Bauman – saxophone

Denis Overton – saxophone

Conrad Isidore – drums

One of the first series of gigs that the new members appeared on was a short tour that Joe E Young & The Toniks participated in supporting American soul legend Aretha Franklin. Also on the bill was Johnnie Walker, Robert Knight and Lucas with The Mike Cotton Sound. One of the highlights was a show at what later became the Hammersmith Odeon in May 1968.

Selected gigs:

4 May 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Tonicks Band)

17 June 1968 – Barn Club, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts (Steve Ingless book: The Day Before Yesterday)

22 June 1968 – Gaiety Ballroom, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire with The Soul Mates (Website: http://peterboroughimages.co.uk/music/?p=8130)

22 June 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London

27 July 1968 – Cue Club, Paddington, London (Billed as Joey Young & The Tonicks Band)

18 August 1968 – Railway Hotel, Wealdstone, Middlesex

Melody Maker lists some gigs under the name The New Toniks, which may or may not be the same band. The ‘new’ prefix suggests that a new formation was put together and this writer would welcome any further information.

Selected gigs (New Toniks):

22 August 1968 – White Hart, London

23-25 August 1968 – Scotland

25-26 August 1968 – Manchester

27-28 August 1968 – Recording

Colin Young joins The Foundations. Courtesy David Else

According to Melody Maker, Colin Young joined The Foundations in late September and made his debut at Aberdeen University on 4 October 1968. By this point, Conrad Isidore had already jumped ship to commit to The Sundae Times full-time. With the band splitting, the Bullen siblings ended up joining Herbie Goins & The Night-Timers.

With the album ready to release, Toast quickly shipped a second single in November 1968, pairing the soul classic, “Sixty Minutes of Your Love” with Lennon & McCartney’s “Good Day Sunshine”.

Around the same time, the label also belatedly issued the Soul Buster! LP, highlights of which include one of the best covers of Darrell Banks’ “Open The Door To Your Heart”. Sadly, it was all too little, too late. With few copies pressed and scant promotion, the LP slipped out unnoticed. In subsequent years, however, it became a highly prized collector’s item, not least due to the band’s personnel and individual members’ post-Toniks career.

In a final, last gasp, Toast paired “Good Day Sunshine” with the year old “Lifetime of Lovin’” for a final single, issued on 31 January 1969, but it also failed to dent the charts.

Besides Colin Young’s chart success with The Foundations, original members Wendell Richardson, Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel and Conrad Isidore all went on to greater things.

Richardson was a founding member of Osibisa and subsequently worked briefly with Free. The guitarist also released a solo LP, Pieces of a Jigsaw in 1972.

During his time with The Sundae Times, Isidore also played and recorded with Alan Marshall’s band One, who released a rare eponymous LP for Fontana. After a stint with Manfred Mann Chapter 3 during 1970, he became a noted session player, working with the likes of Joe Cocker, Linda Lewis, Terry Reid, Vinegar Joe and Eddy Grant to name a few. He also later played with Junior Marvin in his band Hanson and with Hummingbird.

Isidore appeared on Stephen Stills’ first two solo albums, thanks to his connections with Calvin ‘Fuzzy’ Samuel, who landed the gig after Stephen Stills reportedly caught Samuel playing at the Bag O’Nails in March 1970 (possibly in PP Arnold’s backing band).

The bass player was hired for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, appearing on the single, “Ohio” and subsequently worked in Stephen Stills’s Manassas before also finding work as a session player, including with Graham Nash, Rita Coolidge and Taj Mahal. Samuel later wrote and recorded songs with Marianne Faithfull and Stevie Winwood and worked with The Alvin Lee Band and Tumbling Dice with Mick Taylor and Nicky Hopkins. In 1999, he self-released two CDs, This Train Still Runs and Love Don’t Taste Like Chicken.

Latter day member Kelvin Bullen went on to work with Swiss rock band, Toad, while his brother Hugh found success with the highly revered British funk band, Gonzalez after a spell in Italy with Herbie Goins. Hugh Bullen also cut an Italian solo LP, Feeling, in 1978.

Colin Young meanwhile went solo and recorded for Pye Records. He later joined UK group Mercy, Mercy who had a hit with “It Must Be Heaven” in the 1980s. Since then he has participated in various Foundations reunions.

Many thanks to Pete Gage for his recollections. I would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who can add or correct any of the information here.

Thanks to David Else for this image.

The Sundae Times

Wendell Richardson – guitar/vocals

Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuel – bass

Conrad Isidore – drums

A noted yet relatively obscure late 1960s rock/soul outfit formed by three former members of Joe E Young & The Toniks around April 1968, who cut a great lone LP, Us Coloured Kids, and a handful of singles for President Records.

Born in Antigua, guitarist Wendell Richardson had moved to London at the age of 11 and grown up in Tottenham. During 1966, he befriended fellow Antiguan-born musicians Calvin “Fuzzy” Samuel and Conrad Isidore, who were living around Stoke Newington, and the trio formed The Toniks (later joined by singer Colin Young aka Joe E Young). Through the local West Indian population, the trio got to know Eddy Grant and his band The Equals and became firm friends.

Having lost interest in The Toniks, Richardson and Samuel jumped ship in April 1968 shortly after the band’s debut single on Toast, “Lifetime of Lovin’” c/w “Flower In My Hand” had been released. Isidore, however, remained with The Toniks but agreed to help out on the pair’s next project, The Sundae Times, who landed a deal with President Records thanks to their connection with The Equals (Ed: Samuel reportedly played bass on some of their recordings).

With Eddy Grant producing and penning the trio’s first release, “Baby Don’t Cry” c/w “Aba-Aba”, The Sundae Times’ debut was issued by President on 7 June 1968 but failed to chart in the UK. In the US, the single appeared on the small Seville imprint the following month. German and Spanish releases also followed but somewhat bizarrely it was in Israel where The Sundae Times made the biggest impact. Released as the A-side, “Aba-Aba” broke into the top 10.

With The Sundae Times starting to pick up gigs and with further hits potentially in the pipeline, Conrad Isidore left The Toniks around September 1968 to commit to the project full-time. In retrospect, it was a sensible move as singer Colin Young quit The Toniks soon after to join British hit-makers, The Foundations.

With Isidore fully committed, The Sundae Times began work on an LP for President Records’ subsidiary Joy during the autumn of 1968 with Eddy Grant producing. Richardson dominated the song-writing, penning the tracks, “Angels In The Sky”, “Adam and Eve”, “Electric Tree” and “Jack Boy”, which graced the A-side of The Sundae Times’ second single, issued on President on 22 November 1968. Coupled with “I Don’t Want Nobody”, a Richardson co-write with Isidore and Samuel, the single failed to chart.

The three musicians also collaborated on three other tracks on the LP, “Take Me Back Again”, “Psychedelic Dream” and “Do You Know What Love Is”. Samuel meanwhile penned two tracks, “On The Run” and “Live Today”, which belatedly headed up The Sundae Times’ final single outing (issued on 13 March 1970), and was coupled with Eddy Grant’s “Take Me Higher Baby”.

By then, Samuel and Isidore had been snapped up by Stephen Stills for sessions for his debut solo LP. Samuel was working with PP Arnold at the time and Isidore was working with Alan Marshall’s band One, who’d cut a lone LP for Fontana during 1969.

While Samuel subsequently landed a gig with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (replacing Greg Reeves), Richardson formed Osibisa and Isidore joined Manfred Mann Chapter 3.

The Sundae Times’ own LP, Us Coloured Kids, had slipped out on Joy Records during 1969 and has since become an extremely rare, yet highly collectable item thanks in part to the Eddy Grant connection.

Selected gigs:

6 October 1968 – Mistrale Club, Beckenham Junction, Kent (Poster)

2 November 1968 – Weymouth Pavilion Ballroom, Weymouth, Dorset with The Firestones (Dorset Evening Echo)

13 December 1968 – Fishmongers Hall, Wood Green, Middlesex with The Action (Melody Maker)

For more on the band members’ post career, see the Joe E Young & The Toniks entry on Garage Hangover. I’d be interested if anyone can add or correct any information below.

 

 

Junior Kerr’s 1960s bands

Junior Kerr (second left) with White Rabbit in early 1968. Photo courtesy of Rod Goodway

Born in Jamaica in 1949, Donald Hanson Marvin Kerr Richards Jr, moved to London as a young teenager and at the age of 16 appeared in The Beatles’ movie, Help!

Based around the Stoke Newington area in North London, Kerr was inspired to learn the Hammond organ after hearing Booker T & The MG’s “Green Onions” and soon befriended local musicians, Calvin Samuel (bass) and Conrad Isidore (drums).

Together with Samuel, who he allegedly nicknamed “Fuzzy” because the musician played his bass through a “fuzz box”, the pair formed the short-lived Blue-Ace-Unit in late 1965/early 1966. The outfit played clubs around North London for about a year before Kerr moved on.

Around October 1966, he joined Herbie Goins & The Night-Timers (where he met guest singer Linda Lewis) and it was during this period that Kerr saw Jimi Hendrix playing at the Bag O’Nails in Soho. Inspired by his incendiary guitar work, Kerr started to practise guitar in his free time.

During September 1967, Kerr left Herbie Goins to form The Junior (Pretty Boy Kerr) Group. The Aldershot News lists the band playing at the “Big C”, a popular club on 1 Camp Road, Farnborough in Hampshire on 4 November. It’s not clear who else was involved in this band and whether it was the same line-up of musicians that became White Rabbit but Linda Lewis was featured as singer.

In July 1967, Polydor Records had issued Linda Lewis’ debut solo single, “You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet” but it had not been a chart success.

Towards the end of the year, Kerr and Lewis put together White Rabbit, which comprised lead guitarist Andy Rickell from Calne, Wiltshire groups, The Pack and J P Sunshine, and his friend (and former Pack member) drummer Terry Stannard, who’d recently been working with Freddie Mack & The Mack Sound. A photo of the group reveals that the group was a sextet and this author would be interested to hear from anyone who can add any further details about this short-lived band.

During the early months of 1968, White Rabbit toured France and Italy but after their return from the latter in April, Kerr decided to leave and briefly re-joined Herbie Goins & The Night-Timers for a few months.

In the late summer of 1968, Kerr ran into guitarist Mike Piggott, who had just left The System Soul Band, led by singer Ivan Sinclair. The pair formed a new outfit, Junior’s Conquest, who landed a regular gig at the Pheasantry on the King’s Road in Chelsea.

Junior’s Conquest, late 1968. Courtesy of Mike Piggott

With drummer Pete Dobson and a bass player, who was replaced by John Best, Junior’s Conquest played together for about six months, including a show at the Broken Wheel in Retford, Nottinghamshire on 5 October 1968 and the popular West End club, Hatchettes in Piccadilly on 22-23 November 1968. However, according to Piggott, Kerr increasingly started to play guitar and after a short tour of Sweden in late 1968/early 1969, the group splintered.

While he was fronting Junior’s Conquest, Kerr had also participated in the London production of Hair on Shaftsbury Avenue, which debuted on 27 September. It was here that he met singer Marsha Hunt whose band he briefly worked with in 1969. The following year, Kerr would work with Keef Hartley and then move to the US before subsequently changing his name to Junior Marvin and finding fame with Bob Marley during the late 1970s.

I would be interested to hear from anyone who can add any further details to Kerr’s 1960s career.

White Rabbit

White Rabbit in late 1967/early 1968. Left to right: unknown musician, Junior Kerr, Terry Stannard, Linda Lewis, Andy Rickell, unknown musician. Photo courtesy of Rod Goodway.

A fascinating, yet short-lived band that included a number of notable musicians who went on to greater things.

The original White Rabbit line-up came together circa November 1967 around singer/Hammond organist Junior Kerr and singer Linda Lewis, who’d met earlier that year as members of Herbie Goins & The Night Timers. Junior Kerr, incidentally, had started out with The Blue-Ace-Unit while Lewis had performed with John Lee Hooker in 1964 and sung with The Q-Set before they backed Maxine Brown and then Ronnie Jones.

Linda Lewis in Record Mirror. Thanks to David Else for the cutting

The band’s guitarist Andy Rickell and drummer Terry Stannard had both previously worked together in Calne, Wiltshire band, The Pack during 1966 with future White Rabbit singer Rod Goodway. The trio had also played with another, albeit short-lived, Wiltshire group, Flower of Wisdom between February-June 1967.

When Flower of Wisdom broke up, Terry Stannard moved to London where he joined Freddie Mack & The Mack Sound, which is probably how he ran into Junior Kerr, who’d formed his own band, The Junior ‘Pretty Boy’ Kerr Group around October 1967. In fact, Stannard may well have been a member of this band after working with Freddie Mack (and possibly may have been with Herbie Goins briefly).

Meanwhile, Rickell and Goodway began working with the studio project J P Sunshine, which they kept together after Rickell joined White Rabbit (possibly also after a short stint with Herbie Goins) and Goodway was invited to replace Art Wood in the post-Artwoods band, St Valentine’s Day Massacre between January-April 1968.

The original version of White Rabbit was completed with two additional musicians, a bass player and possibly an organist, who may well have been Mick Aron. This author would be interested to hear from anyone who can throw any further light on the band’s formation.

After a short Italian tour, and billed as Junior Kerr and Linda Lewis and White Rabbit, they performed at the “Big C” club in Farnborough on 24 February 1968 before travelling to France to perform.

On their return, Junior Kerr departed to re-join Herbie Goins and subsequently form his own band, Junior’s Conquest. In later years, he would change his name to Junior Marvin and work alongside Bob Marley. Terry Stannard also departed, later working with Mirrors (with Boz Burrell and Nick Judd), Alan Marshall’s band One and Kokomo among others.

Linda Lewis and Andy Rickell meanwhile pieced together a new version of White Rabbit during late April 1968. Rickell recruited his former Pack and J P Sunshine colleague, singer Rod Goodway, who’d left St Valentine’s Day Massacre, to replace Junior Kerr.

Rod Goodway shortly after joining White Rabbit

The pair also recruited drummer Ron Berg, who interestingly had also played with Freddie Mack & The Mack Sound (alongside Stannard) during mid-late 1967. To complete the new version, they added Cyprus-born bass player Pete Pavli and organist Mick Aron, who may well have been in the original formation.

White Rabbit in St Tropez. Left to right: Ron Berg, Rod Goodway, Linda Lewis and Peter Pavli. Courtesy Rod Goodway

Almost immediately, the new White Rabbit left the UK for the south of France and performed at the Papagayo Club in St Tropez for three weeks, starting in the first week of May. The musicians were back in London for a notable gig at the Middle Earth club in Covent Garden, opening for Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band on 25 May. The group also opened for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in the following months.

In September 1968, however, Rod Goodway and Linda Lewis both left, the latter to embark on a successful solo career after fronting Ferris Wheel where she played alongside future Foreigner drummer Dennis Elliott. Pete Pavli also left to join High Tide while Mick Aron went on to work with Pete Brown.

Andy Rickell and Ron Berg kept the band going until November of that year, bringing in a number of musicians, including guitarist/singer Peter Jennings, who subsequently joined the group that became Cressida. On the band’s demise, Ron Berg joined Mick Abrahams’ post-Jethro Tull group, Blodwyn Pig while Rickell later joined The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

This author would be interested to hear from anyone who can add any further information. Huge thanks to Rod Goodway for photos and background information. 

The band live in St Tropez. Left to right: Andy Rickell, Pete Pavli and Mick Aron. Photo courtesy of Rod Goodway

Hamilton and The Hamilton Movement

Back row, left to right: Chris Palmer, Gary Laub and Peter Vernon-Kell. Front: Fedon Tilberis
Hamilton and The Hamilton Movement, 1965. Back row, left to right: Chris Palmer, Gary Laub and Peter Vernon-Kell. Front: Fedon Tilberis

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.

Cell Block Five“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.

Hamilton Movement NorwichHowever, 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.”

Hamilton 19 March 1966Stigwood 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.

Clockwise from front: Ron Thomas, Mick Fletcher, Gary Laub, Tony Sinclair, Mel Wayne, Dave Mahoney and Phil Wainman
Clockwise from front: Ron Thomas, Mick Fletcher, Gary Laub, Tony Sinclair, Mel Wayne, Dave Mahoney and Phil Wainman

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.

Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement extended line upThat 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”.

Hamilton and The Movement Fab November 1966After 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.”

18 March 1967

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.

Hamilton July 1967The 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.

Hamilton July 1967 with Sam and BillRon 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.

Gary Hamilton 25 November 1967 Record Mirror

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.

Hamilton Jan 1968Just 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.

August 1967

 

Hamilton and the Movement Dungeon Club 13 August 1967

 

 

Steering Wheel 25 August 1967

Happy Magazine

Back row left to right: Alan Marshall, Alan White and Kenny Craddock. Front row, left to right: Peter Kirtley and Brian Rowan. Photo: Peter Kirtley
Back row left to right: Alan Marshall, Alan White and Kenny Craddock. Front row, left to right: Peter Kirtley and Brian Rowan. Photo: Peter Kirtley

Alan Marshall – lead vocals

Peter Kirtley – lead guitar

Kenny Craddock – organ

Brian Rowan – bass

Alan White – drums

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.

Happy Magazine singleDuring 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.

 

Peter Kirtley Brian Rowan Kenny Craddock Malcolm Wolffe Alan Marshall
Left to right: Peter Kirtley, Brian Rowan, Kenny Craddock, Malcolm Wolffe and Alan Marshall

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.

Notable gigs:

Happy Magazine at Clouds 23 September 19679 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

Happy Magazine Eastern Evening News 9 October 1967Sources:

Fabulous 208 Magazine, Derby Evening Telegraph, Northwich Chronicle, Melody Maker, Birmingham Evening Mail

Thanks to Alan Marshall, Peter Kirtley, Alan Griffin, Phil Lanzon, Bob Saker and Colin Pullen for helping piece the story together. Thanks to Peter Kirtley for the photos.

Please contact the author at Warchive@aol.com with further information/corrections

Elton John and Bluesology

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

 

23 July 1965 – ‘Come Back Baby’ c/w ‘Times Are Getting Tougher Than Tough’ released (Source: http://www.45cat.com/artist/bluesology)

 

November 1965:

+ Pat Higgs – trumpet

+ Dave Murphy – saxophone

 

3-20 December 1965 – Major Lance tour with Bluesology (Source: Melody Maker)

3 December 1965 – Flamingo, Soho and In Place

4 December 1965 – Manchester

5 December 1965 – Nottingham

6 December 1965 – Rochester

7 December 1965 – Bird Cage, Portsmouth

8 December 1965 – Bromley Court Hotel, Bromley, Kent

9 December 1965 – Paddington (most likely Cue Club)

10 December 1965 – Durham (most likely the university)

11 December 1965 – Middlesbrough

14 December 1965 – Harlow

16 December 1965 – Cromwellian, South Kensington

16 December 1965 – Marquee, London with Alan Price Set (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

17 December 1965 – Stockport (most likely Tabernacle)

18 December 1965 – New All-Star Club, 9 Artillery Passage, London, E1

19 December 1965 – El Partido, Lewisham, London with Duke Lee

19 December 1965 – Flamingo, Soho

20 December 1965 – Cooks Ferry Inn, Edmonton (Source: Melody Maker)

 

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)

12 February 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with Manchester’s Playboys (Source: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/features/gig_guides/gig_diary.php)

13 February 1966 – Flamingo, Soho with Chessmen

18 February 1966 – Club West Indies, Stonebridge, Middlesex with Caribbean Show Band

18 February 1966 – Golders Green Refectory, Golders Green

19 February 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Captain First (Source: Melody Maker)

22 February 1966 – Marquee, London with Spencer Davis Group (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

March 1966 – Bluesology travels to Hamburg to play Top Ten Club with Linda Laine & The Sinners

 

12 April 1966 – Marquee, London with Manfred Mann

22 April 1966 – Marquee, London with Sands (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

Late April/early May 1966: Inkpen leaves

+ Paul Gale – drums

Late April/early May 1966: Bishop departs

+ Freddy Gandy – bass

 

3-circa 21 May 1966 – Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles second UK tour (Source: Melody Maker)

3 May 1966 – Birdland, London

4 May 1966 – Scotch of St James, Mayfair

5 May 1966 – Ram Jam, Brixton

6 May 1966 – Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire

7 May 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St (Source: Melody Maker)

8 May 1966 – Oasis, Manchester with Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles and Polecatz (Source: http://www.manchesterbeat.com/features/gig_guides/gig_diary.php)

9 May 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

13 May 1966 – Flamingo, Soho with The Gass (Source: Melody Maker)

14 May 1966 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester with Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles and Ram Jam Band (Source: http://manchestersoul.co.uk/TWheel/1966.html)

17 May 1966 – Marquee, London (Patti La Belle & Her Belles with The Clayton Squares) (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon) (probably with Bluesology backing Patti La Belle)

 17 May 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

21 May 1966 – Cue Club, Paddington (Source: Melody Maker)

 21 May 1966 – Rhodes Centre, Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire (Patti La Belle & The Bluebelles with Bluesology and The Ultimates (Source: The Day Before Yesterday: Steve Ingless)

 

3-19 June – Ink Spots tour (Source: Melody Maker)

3 June 1966 – RAF West Ruislip, Middlesex

4 June 1966 – Douglas House, London

4 June 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Admiral Ken Sound System

5 June 1966 – Plaza Ballrooms, Birmingham

7 June 1966 – Whisky A Go Go, London

10 June 1966 – Orchid Ballroom, Purley, Surrey

10 June 1966 – New All Star Club, Liverpool St with Admiral Ken Sound System (Source: Melody Maker)

11 June 1966 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester (Inkspots with Alan Bown Set) (Source: http://manchestersoul.co.uk/TWheel/1966.html)

12 June 1966 – Riverboat, Gainsborough

13 June 1966 – Douglas House, London

15 June 1966 – Riverboat, Gainsborough

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)

+ Marsha Hunt – vocals

+ Elton Dean – saxophone (ex-Soul Pushers)

(Source: http://homepages.3-c.coop/facelift/facelift/elton%20dean.html)

+ Marc Charig – saxophone (ex-Sidewinders)

(Source: http://musiciansolympus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/texmakins-bass.html)

21 May 1967 – Co-op, Warrington, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry Show) (Source: Manchester Evening Post, 1967)

 

1 June 1967 – Clouds, Derby ‘for Derby College Students’ Rag Week’ (billed as Long John Baldry Show with Bluesology and Pepper’s Machine) (Source: Derby Evening Telegraph)

9 June 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldy Show) with C-Jam Blues (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

 

16 July 1967 – Starlite Ballroom, Greenford, Middlesex (billed as Long John Baldry Show)

28 July 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with The Workshop (Source: Melody Maker)

 

11 August 1967 – Bluesville ’67, Manor House, London (billed as Long John Baldry Show)

14 August 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Jimmy Powell & The Dimensions (Source: Melody Maker)

20 August 1967 – Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands (billed as Long John Baldry Show) (Source: Birmingham Evening Mail)

26 August 1967 – New All Star Club, Liverpool Street, London (Source: Melody Maker)

 

September 1967: Around this time Reg Dwight took part in Scottish tour with Simon Dupree

3 September 1967 – Beau Brummel Club, Nantwich, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry, Bluesology, Stewart A Brown, Marsha Hunt and The Scorpions) (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

10 September 1967 – Hotel Leofric, Coventry, West Midlands (billed as Long John Baldry Show with Stuart A Brown and Marsha Hunt and Deuce Coupe) (Source: Coventry Evening Telegraph)

12 September 1967 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead (billed as Long John Baldry)

15 September 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with The Remo Four (Source: Melody Maker)

 

5 October 1967 – ‘Since I Lost My Baby’ c/w ‘Just A Little Bit’ released (Source: http://www.45cat.com/record/56195)

19 October 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with Timebox (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

Late October 1967: Stu Brown leaves around this time to record as solo artist

+ Caleb Quaye – lead guitar/vocals

 

23 November 1967 – Marquee, London (billed as The Long John Baldry Show) with The Nite People (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

14 December 1967 – Penthouse, Birmingham with Skip Bifferty (Source: Express & Star)

23 Februay 1968 – Clockwork Orange, Chester (billed as Long John Baldry and the Long John Baldry Show and Soul Finger) (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

 

March 1968: Reg Dwight and Caleb Quaye leave Bluesology

+ Bernie Holland – guitar (ex-Jam)

(Source: Georgie Fame – There’s Nothing Else To Do. Life and Music: Uli Twelker)

+ Jimmy Horowitz – keyboards (ex-Five Proud Walkers) (Source: http://www.marmalade-skies.co.uk/elmer.htm)

26 March 1968 – Mr Smith’s Club, Winsford, Cheshire (billed as Long John Baldry) with Look Twice (Source: Northwich Chronicle)

30 April 1968 – Marquee, London (billed as Long John Baldry (Source: London Live: Tony Bacon)

In late 1968 the group backed The Paper Dolls before splintering.