Category Archives: Columbia

The Bad Seeds of northern Kentucky

The Bad Seeds of Kentucky, Cincinnati Enquirer January 14, 1967
The Bad Seeds featured on January 14, 1967.
From left to right, top row: Jerry Foster, Gene Clarke and Ernie Bands; bottom: John Reynolds and Donald Hodge

The Bad Seeds came from northern Kentucky, in the greater metropolitan Cincinnati area. The Enquirer featured the band in its Teenager section on January 14, 1967. At the time the members were John Reynolds, Donald Hodge, Jerry Foster, Gene Clarke and Ernie Bands [sic – should probably read Ernie Banks]. The article notes the Bad Seeds appeared at Granny’s teen club in Elsmere, that the group would have an album in addition to the single, and also that “all except Ernie hail from Northern Kentucky”.

As far as I know, the album never materialized, but nine months earlier a different version of the group traveled to New York to cut a single for Columbia Records featuring two original songs by the band, the Dylanesque “King of the Soap Box” (written by John Reynolds) and the fine 12-string song “He’s Lying”, written by Jerry Foster, both songs published by Red Brick Music, Inc BMI. Robert Mersey conducted and produced the single, released on Columbia 4-43670 in May, 1966

According to a comment by Lloyd McGlasson, the band’s members on the single were:

Jerry Foster – six string guitar and backing vocals
Lloyd McGlasson – 12 string guitar and backing vocals
John Reynolds – bass and lead vocals
Earnie Banks – drums (Ernie Banks?)

Other sources list additional members, including Vicki Spencer on backing vocals on the single, and even Charlie Brown. Vicki Spencer would sing with The Bubble Gum Machine on their 1967 LP for Senate Records.

These Bad Seeds were not the Texas group who had three singles on J-Beck, nor the group from Oxnard, California with a single “Why Oh Why” / “Hearts of Stone” on TVA.

Bobby Kris and the Imperials

Bobby Kris and the Imperials, 1966
Matt Faulkner spoke to Bob Burrows, vocalist and leader of Bobby Kris and the Imperials, and writes this article about the group:

Bobby Kris and the Imperials stood at the front of Toronto’s fruitful R&B scene in the mid-60s, alongside other notable acts like Richie Knight and The Mid-Knights, Mandala and Little Caesar and the Consuls. The group was one of the fourteen groups to take stage at the legendary “Toronto Sound” show at Maple Leaf Gardens, where they shared the stage with Toronto garage and psych greats such as Luke and the Apostles, The Ugly Ducklings, and the Paupers.

Originally titled J.S. and the Imperials, with Jimmy Snowden on vocals, the group had a number of lineup changes and recruitments from other bands. In early 1965, Bobby Kris joined the line up, and shortly after the key recording line up of the band was formed.

Bobby Kris (Bob Burrows) – vocals
Jerry Mann (aka Jerry Shymanski) – tenor sax
Rick Loth – tenor sax
Marty Fisher – piano
Gene Martynec – guitar
Dave Konvalinka – bass
Gordon MacBain – drums

The band fashioned themselves primarily an R&B outfit, having a hit with the Dionne Warwick classic “Walk On By”, and boasting a seven part line up, including two saxophones and keyboards. However, their recorded output does little to reflect this side of their sound, as the bulk of the songs on their two singles are more on the folky garage side of things. “Walk on By” was in fact the B-side of their first single, with the Bobby Kris/Gene Martynec penned “Travellin’ Bag” on the top side.

Their second single was fronted with a cover of Dylan’s “She Belongs to Me”, and a Byrds-like Kris/Martynec original, “A Year from Today” on the flip. It only took a lone three hour recording session for all four tracks to be laid down by the group, whom at the time consisted of Bobby Kris on lead vocals, Marty Fisher on keyboard, Gord MacBain on drums, Dave Konvalinka on bass, Gene Martynec on guitar, and Jerry Mann and Rick Loth sharing saxophone duties. Despite the recordings being a departure from their regular material, these singles hold up as worth while listening today, with “Travellin’ Bag” being one of my personal favourite recordings to come from the mid-60s “Toronto Sound”.

“We wrote the two songs as you know. To the best of my recollection we never played either one of them ever again,” said Kris, in one of our many online conversations. “For our normal fan base in Toronto, those songs were, well… an embarrassment, which explains why we never played them live. People who were into James Brown and Ray Charles didn’t want to hear Herman’s Hermits. If we played ‘Travellin’ Bag’ at one of those dances people would have thrown stuff at us.”

“The powers that be behind the recording session – including that wizard in the control room Stan and our supposed manager at the time, Fred White – determined that rhythm and blues was dead meat and that the only way for us to be successful was to make British style recordings. It didn’t occur to them that a lot of those British bands were in fact listening to American R&B. They didn’t want us to record ‘Walk On By’ at all. Not sure how we got away with that. In fact it was the B-side to ‘Travellin’ Bag’. Thankfully some DJ in Toronto turned it over! For some reason or other Eugene and I got commandeered or volunteered to write some songs, although we had never written any songs before. Somebody stumbled across a Dylan song that nobody had covered yet that we all liked. Not sure who did the arrangement on ‘She Belongs to Me.’ Likely Konvalinka.”

“We continued to be an R&B band after the session. We ended up trying some rather extreme experiments with some really fundamental blues songs by Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and such that was somewhat imitative of The Hawk’s recording with John Hammond Jr. – So Many Roads. But even then we were still fundamentally in the same musical neighbourhood. Unfortunately the pressure from all these supposed wise men to change our evil ways led to us throwing out the horns. No more three-piece silk and wool suits. Now we had flowery shirts or polka dots. Talk about not cutting your own path. Everyone in the world was doing that. Chances of being ‘discovered’ in that environment were about the same as winning the lottery. They say Robert Johnson sold his soul to the Devil. We sold ours to a bunch of dorks on Yonge St.”

“By the way, not long after that, along came Paul Butterfield and others who showed there was still a great market for that approach and style. We did have lots of fun eventually covering a new kind of material. We tried to be selective about it, and still leaned towards the bluesier stuff. That was the most fundamental problem Bobby Kris and The Imperials always had: We were exclusively a cover band. That’s mostly because we were playing teen dances and, later, bars where people expected to hear certain tunes, and you either played them or you didn’t play there. There was very little if any interest in original material in those venues.”

Bobby Kris in RPM, November 29, 1965
When doing some research on the group, I stumbled upon an interesting ad for one of the band’s shows later in their career. It was in 1968 at the Brass Rail Tavern, and the ad boasted that the show would feature “4 Topless Psychedelic Go-Go Dancers”. “We drank our brains out to get through the night there,” was Kris’s only remark.

During their tenure, the group managed to share the stage with an impressive list of bands, including The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beach Boys, Jose Feliciano, and Wilson Pickett, who at the time boasted Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Hendrix actually joined The Imperials on stage during one of their sets at the Night Owl. However, by late 1967, enough band members had gone on to other projects, that the group decided to call it quits.

Gene Martynec went on to form Kensington Market in May, and in September Marty Fisher and Gord MacBaingot recruited for Bruce Cockburn’s Flying Circus. Kris auditioned for the vocal position in Flying Circus with a favourable outcome, until, as Kris puts it “they decided that no one could sing Bruce’s songs better than Bruce, which was true.” Kris went on to front Livingstone’s Journey for a brief period before reforming an altered line up of The Imperials in mid-1968. A year later Gord MacBain left the reformed Imperials to go to England and join Mapleoak with Marty Fisher and original Kinks bassist, Pete Quaife, and thus Bobby Kris and the Imperials were done for good.

Special thanks to Nick Warburton and Bob Burrows (aka Bobby Kris). You can check out Nick’s article for a more detailed history of the band here.

Thanks also to Ivan Amirault for the RPM article scans.

Bobby Kris also put out an EP in 1995 titled “Now” which you can check out on iTunes.



Nick Warburton assembled this list of advertised live shows:Advertised gigs

June 18 1965 – Mimicombo, Mimico, Ontario
July 9 1965 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario
July 17 1965 – Purple Candle Club, Wasaga Beach, Ontario
August 7 1965 – Purple Candle Club, Wasaga Beach, Ontario (new line up with Wayne and Loth)
August 27 1965 – Dunn’s Pavilion, Bala, Ontario
August 28 1965 – Club 888, Toronto
September 4 1965 – Club 888, Toronto
September 24 1965 – Mimacombo A Go-Go, Mimacombo, Ontario
November 5 1965 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario (not sure about date)
November 28 1965 – Avenue Road Club, Toronto
December 18 1965 – Club 888, Toronto
December 25 1965 – Gogue Inn, Toronto with The Sparrows and The Twilights
December 26 1965 – Hop in the park, Toronto
January 28 1966 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario
January 29 1966 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
March 19 1966 – North Toronto Memorial Arena, Toronto
April 13 1966 – O’Keefe Centre, Toronto with National Ballet Company and Susan Taylor
April 15 1966 – North Toronto Memorial Arena, Toronto
May 8 1966 – Massey Hall, Toronto with The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Big Town Boys and Little Caesar & The Consuls
May 14 1966 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto (one of Wayne and Loth’s final dates)
June 12 1966 – Modern Age Teen Lounge, Toronto (one of Davis’ first dates)
June 26 1966 – Broom and Stone, Scarborough with The Five Rogues
July 8 1966 – Balmy Beach Club, Scarborough, Ontario
July 9 1966 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
July 13 1966 – Whitby Arena, Whitby, Ontario with The Five Rogues, The Ugly Ducklings and Jon and Lee & The Checkmates
July 20 1966 – Don Mills Curling Club, Don Mills, Ontario with Jon and Lee & The Checkmates, The British Modbeats and Dunc & The Deacons
July 22 1966 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario
July 23 1966 – Hunter’s Beach Pavilion, Lake Simcoe, Ontario
July 26 1966 – Balmy Beach Club, Scarborough, Ontario
July 30 1966 – Purple Candle Club, Wasaga Beach, Ontario
July 30-31 1966 – Purple Candle Club, Wasaga Beach, Ontario with R K & The Associates
August 2 1966 – North Toronto Memorial Arena with The Stitch In Tyme and Luke & The Apostles (one of Shymanski’s final dates?)
August 20 1966 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
August 21 1966 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario
August 30 1966 – North Toronto Memorial Arena with The Five Rogues and The Fiends
September 3 1966 – Port Carling Surf Club, Port Carling, Ontario
September 9 1966 – Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
September 16 1966 – Jubilee Auditorium, Oshawa, Ontario
September 24 1966 – Maple Leaf Gardens with The Last Words, Luke & The Apostles, The Ugly Ducklings, The Tripp, The Paupers, The Big Town Boys, The Stitch In Tyme, The Spasstiks, Roy Kenner & The Associates, Little Caesar & The Consuls and others
September 30 1966 – Gogue Inn, Toronto (blue room)
October 8 1966 – Club 888, Toronto with The Tripp
October 22 1966 – Club Kingsway, Toronto with Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs, The Ugly Ducklings and The Ardels
November 27 1966 – El Patio, Toronto
December 18 1966 – Boris’, Toronto
December 23 1966 – Horseshoe Valley, Barrie, Ontario
January 6 1967 – Gogue Inn, Toronto with A Passing Fancy and The Dana
January 27 1967 – Shelburne Arena, Shelburne, Ontario
March 1967 – The Syndicate Club, Toronto
March 24 1967 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto with Franklin Sheppard and The Good Sheppards and R K and The Associates
May 13 1967 – Whitby Arena, Whitby, Ontario with Shawne Jackson, Jay Jackson & The Majestics, The Last Words, E G Smith & The Power, Jack Hardin & The Silhouettes, Roy Kenner & The Associates, The Tripp, The Ugly Ducklings and others (possibly one of Martynec’s final dates)
May 27 1967 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
June 9 1967 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
June 10 1967 – Scarborough Arena Gardens, Scarborough, Ontario with Eddie Spencer & The Mission, The Magic Circus, The Tripp, Roy Kenner & The Associates, The Lords of London and others
June 16 1967 – Bramalea Arena, Bramalea, Ontario with James and Bobby Purify with The Mission
June 17 1967 – Don Mills Curling Club, Toronto with The Symbol
July 29 1967 – Broom and Stone, Scarborough with BTB 4 and The Dynamics
June 13-14 1968 – The Night Owl, Toronto
July 19 1968 – Brass Rail Tavern, Toronto
October 5 1968 – The Hawk’s Nest, Toronto
June 19-21 1969 – The Night Owl, Toronto

Dates taken from the Toronto Telegram’s After Four section, Globe and Mail and Toronto Star.

RPM, November 15, 1965

RPM, April 18, 1966

RPM, May 16, 1966

RPM, June 6, 1966

RPM, June 6, 1966

The Noblemen

The Noblemen, January 1965. Left to right: Mike Turnill, Bernie Smith, Bryan Stevens, Mike Ketley and Chuck Fryers
Chuck Fryers (guitar, vocals)
Mick Ketley (keyboards, vocals)
Bryan Stevens (bass)
Bob Pettit (sax)
Bernie Smith (drums)


December The group evolves out of Bognor Regis group, The Detours, which was formed in early 1960 by bass player Bryan Stevens (b. 14 November 1943, Laha Datu, North Borneo). The Detours have gone through numerous personnel changes over the years with singer Johnny Devlin (real name: Johnny Hobbs, not the New Zealand singer) joining in early 1962. His arrival prompts a name change to Johnny Devlin & The Detours. Shortly afterwards, Stevens recruits former Soundtracks keyboard player Mick Ketley (b. 1 October 1947, Balham, London). Later that year, he also brings in former Cruisers guitarist Alan Paul “Chuck” Fryers (b. 24 May 1945, Bognor Regis, West Sussex) and adds sax player Bob Pettit from a Chichester abattoir. In 1963, Bernie Smith, another former Sountracks member, takes over the drum stool. Johnny Devlin & The Detours sign to Pye in November and record two tracks – “Sometimes” and “If You Want Someone”, which are coupled for a single, released in January 1964. Despite a group appearance on TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars, the single fails to chart and Devlin leaves. Pete Townsend and John Entwistle see Devlin’s band on the TV show and decided to change their band’s name from The Detours to The High Numbers, which will subsequently become The Who. The group carries on with singer John Read and plays venues on the south coast like Littlehampton’s Top Hat and Worthing’s Mexican Hat. Bob Gaitley, who runs both clubs, invites The Detours to back a new singer, South African Mike Bush, who is launching himself as Beau Brummell. The group accepts and changes name to The Noblemen.
December EMI producer Bob Barrett signs Beau Brummell and The Noblemen and takes them into Abbey Road to record a single – Beau Brummell Esquire and His Noblemens “I Know, Know, Know” backed by a version of “Shopping Around” from Elvis’ film GI Blues.

The Noblemen at the Piper Club, Rome in October 1965
Left to right: Chuck Fryers, Mike Ketley, Keith Gemmell and Jem Field

January Mike Turnill briefly joins on sax taking over from Pettit, who returns to work in an abattoir and plays with Johnny Devlin in Act IV.
(4) The new line up appears on Granada Television in Manchester.
(8) Beau Brummell and The Noblemen appear at the Shoreline club in Bognor Regis. Despite an appearance by Brummell on TV show Ready Steady Go, his debut single, released on Columbia, does not chart.
February Bob Slomat replaces Turnill. The group also takes on a second sax player Malcolm Randall, who answers an advert in NME after playing with Jeff Curtis & The Flames and joins The Noblemen in time for a short trip to Germany, where they play at the Storyville in Cologne before returning to the UK that summer. The Noblemen are photographed in Brighton wearing regency clothes. Randall will move on during the summer while the band are in Germany and join The Manchester Playboys.

Bob Slomat and Malcolm Randall, Germany, spring 1965
May (1) Beau Brummell and His Noblemen appear at the California Ballroom in Dunstable with The Downsiders and The Richochets.
July The Noblemen take on new sax players Keith Gemmell (b. 15 February 1948, Hackney, London) and former Gene Vincent sideman, Jeremy “Jem” Field and travel to Norway for a brief tour before returning to Bognor Regis.
August (20) Beau Brummell and His Noblemen Orchestra appear at Cheltenham Town Hall.
September The band travels to Rome, Italy to appear at the famous Piper club.
October (1) Beau Brummell and The Noblemen start working at the Piper club for a six-week stand, travelling through the city in an open carriage drawn by four white horses. During their stint at the club, the band meets actor Vincent Price and George Harrison’s parents who have won a holiday to Rome. While playing at the Piper club, the band is invited to play at the coming-out dance of the daughter of the millionaire, Prince Ruspoli. They also meet a female American singer called Kathy, who sets up a gig for the band at the Big Apple Club in Munich (where she lives) for the following May.
November After completing a six-week season, Beau Brummell and The Noblemen perform in Milan for 10 days and record four tracks in a studio that was formerly a church. These include the powerful sax-driven “Jezebel” and the Brummell composed, “I’m In Love”, a slow lilting number, neither of which are released. The group then heads south to Naples to play further dates before returning to Rome where The Noblemen sans Brummell record the tracks “Jump Back Baby” and “Ecstasy” with Chuck Fryers on lead vocals. Columbia releases Brummell’s third single (and second with the band) – “A Better Man Than I”, a spoken number, backed by “Teardrops”, which is credited to Brummell’s “Noblemen Orchestra” but it does not chart.
December Beau Brummell and The Noblemen play in Ostend in Belgium before returning to the UK.
(17) The group returns to the continent to play in Turin. An engagement in St. Moritz is announced but the band did not play there.
(25-31) Beau Brummell and The Noblemen play at a club in Turin through to the new year and share the bill with Mussolini’s son Romano who plays piano with his jazz group. During January 1966, Brummell briefly splits from The Noblemen to return to Rome and tries to get into the film industry.

Brighton Crescent, spring 1965, from left: Bryan Stevens, Chuck Fryers, Mick Ketley, Bob Slomat, Malcolm Randall and Bernie Smith

Oslo National Park, Norway, 1965: Chuck Fryers, Mick Ketley, Bryan Stevens, Bernie Smith, Keith Gemmell and Jem Field

January Columbia releases a final Brummell single, a cover of Ray Donner’s “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got” backed by “Take Me Like I Am”, but it fails to chart. The Noblemen travel to Germany to set up their stage show for dates at the Storyville clubs in Duisberg, Cologne and Frankfurt in March. On their return to the UK, the band starts a national tour in Scotland.
February (27) The Noblemen are a late addition to an all-nighter show at the original Cavern in Liverpool, which closes after tonight’s performance. Also included on the bill are Rory Storm and The Hurricanes and The Big Three among many others. The Cavern will officially reopen on 23 July.
March The Noblemen perform at the Storyville Club in Duisberg before moving on to Cologne.
(7-10) Beau Brummell rejoins The Noblemen briefly to share a week-long residency at the Storyville in Cologne with The Clayton Squares. The Squares’ singer Denny Alexander will reunite with Ketley and Stevens in The Motivation in April 1967. While in Cologne, the group meets English group The Loving Kind featuring guitarist Noel Redding, who will join The Jimi Hendrix Experience in September. After playing at the Storyville Club in Cologne, the band holds down a residency at Frankfurt’s Storyville Club with Rory Storm and The Hurricanes and Johnny Guitar Watson.
April The Noblemen split from Brummell who returns to South Africa and records further singles (and later owns a naturist valley in the Northern Transvaal). The Noblemen accept a short residency at the Livorno Club in Pisa, Italy.
May (20) Thanks to the American singer they met in Rome last October, the group opens for The Spencer Davis Group at the Big Apple Club in Munich and both performances are recorded for German TV. Fryers has to borrow Spencer Davis’s guitar as his own was stolen while playing in Italy.
(21) Field leaves the band and returns home by train. Stripped down to a quintet, The Noblemen play some US air bases in Germany with singing group, The New Faces. Gemmell does not stay long and returns home with The New Faces a few weeks later. Gemmell will find success in the late 1960s/early 1970s with the progressive rock outfit, Audience and also plays with Sammy.
June On the way home, the remaining members back country and western singer/comedian Don Bowman, who invites Fryers to return to Nashville as his guitarist. The Noblemen then play at the Star Club in Hamburg before arriving back in the UK. Fryers, Ketley, Smith and Stevens decide to carry on as The Noblemen and bring in a new singer, Jimmy Marsh (b. 9 April 1941, Carmarthen, Wales). Marsh first met the group members in 1964 at the Top Hat in Littlehampton when they were The Detours and he was fronting The Del Mar Trio. When Bernie Smith opts to take up a more regular job, Marsh suggests his former colleague Malcolm Tomlinson (b. 16 June 1946, Isleworth, Middlesex) as drummer. Tomlinson has worked with Marsh since 1964 in The Del Mar Trio and James Deane and The London Cats. Before that, he was a member of Jeff Curtis and The Flames, the house band at the Ealing Club. Bernie Smith will later reunite with Mick Ketley in Bognor Regis group, The Concords in 1969.
July (16) Stevens advertises for a new sax player in the 23 July issue of Melody Maker, which hits the newsstands on this day. Former Moonrakers members, Chris Rodger (b. 16 October 1946, Solihull, Warwickshire) and Martin Barre (b. 17 November 1946, Kings Heath, Birmingham) respond to the advert after missing out on a job with Screaming Lord Sutch.
(22) Barre buys a saxophone at Sound City in London’s Shaftsbury Avenue for the audition three days later.
(25) Both Rodger and Barre are hired for the new line up as sax players, with Rodger doubling up on trumpet. Barre’s main instrument is lead guitar but his services on the instrument are not needed because Fryers remains with the group.
August After early rehearsals, Fryers decides not to stay with the new Noblemen line up. Two months later he joins Bognor Regis group, The Warren J Five with Colin Madeley (trumpet) and Geoff Prior (bass), formerly of The Treatment. The new group is completed with former Untamed drummer Terry Slade and singer John Read from The Hustlers. The Warren J Five travels to Hamburg, Germany in late 1966 and plays at the Top Ten Club with singer Tony Sheridan. In early 1967, The Warren J. 5 travel to Rome and perform regularly at the Piper club. The band records an album in Italy entitled Rhythm & Blues for the Vedette label and a single, “Sto Con Te (Tell It to the Rain)” c/w “Se Hai Qualcosa Da Dire (Tell Me)” before splitting with Read. After a brief period as The Reflections, Fryers and Prior return to the UK and join Coventry group, The Sorrows.

The Noblemen, early 1966. Clockwise from centre: Bryan Stevens, Bernie Smith, Keith Gemmell, Jem Field, Chuck Fryers and Mike Ketley

with the Spencer Davis Group, Big Apple Club

The Noblemen in Pisa, Italy, April 1966, left to right: Mike Ketley, Bryan Stevens, Jem Field, Keith Gemmell and Chuck Fryers
September The new Noblemen line up moves up to London and shares a flat in Chelsea (and later Gloucester Road). They sign to the Roy Tempest Agency and start backing up visiting US soul acts.
(10) The Noblemen back The Vibrations at the Starlight Room at the Boston Gliderdrome in Lincolnshire on a bill that also includes Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and The Little People.
(16) The Vibrations appear at the Domino club in Openshaw and the Princess Theatre in Chorlton, Greater Manchester with seven other acts (possibly including The Noblemen).
(17) The Noblemen back The Vibrations at the new Cavern club in Liverpool. Also on the bill are Sooner or Later, Intent and Purpose, The Klubs, The Signs, The Times, The Tremas, The Dark Ages and Jimmy James and The Vagabonds.
(18-19) Around this time, The Vibrations (backed by The Noblemen) appear at the Scotch of St James in Mayfair, London. American soul legend Otis Redding, who has been touring the UK for the first time, turns up. (On 18th September, Redding played a show at the Ram Jam Club in Brixton, south London).
(23) The group backs The Vibrations at Toft’s in Folkestone, Kent. Former Loving Kind guitarist Noel Redding joins the musicians backstage after the show. Little does he know but his future band leader Jimi Hendrix is flying out from the USA tonight on route for London. (Redding will audition unsuccessfully for the Animals on 29th September but is picked up by Chas Chandler for The Jimi Hendrix Experience the same day.) On the same evening, The Vibrations are booked to appear at the King Mojo Club in Sheffield for an All-nighter with Londons Ravers (who could be The Noblemen). Also on the bill are The Amboy Dukes Big Band.
(25) The Vibrations are advertised to play at the Club West Indies in Stonebridge Park, London.
October (14) Around this time The Noblemen back Lee Dorsey, who begins a UK tour today with shows at Greenford and Wembley Starlite ballrooms.
(15) Lee Dorsey plays at Tofts, Folkestone, Kent but it is not clear whether The Noblemen are his support band for this show.
(16) Lee Dorsey is part of a marathon show at the Cavern in Liverpool, which runs from 3pm-11pm. While The Noblemen are not billed, band members recall backing Dorsey at this venue. The same day, they start working with singer Edwin Starr, kicking off with an appearance at the Beachcomber club in Nottingham. John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers are also on the bill.
(17) Edwin Starr and The Noblemen perform at Wolverhampton’s Queen’s.
(21) The Noblemen play at De Montfort in Leicester backing Edwin Starr on a bill that also features The Ike & Tina Turner Revue and Alvin Robinson.
(22) Edwin Starr appears at Reading University (presumably with The Noblemen backing).
(23) Edwin Starr is billed to play two London shows, one at the Wembley Starlite and the other at the Greenford Starlite. It is not clear whether The Noblemen back the singer for these two shows.

(28) The Noblemen begin working with Alvin Robinson, performing with the singer at the Dungeon club in Nottingham.
(29) The Noblemen back Alvin Robinson at the Starlight Room at the Boston Gliderdrome in Lincolnshire on a bill that also features The Alan Bown Set, John McCoy’s Crawdaddies and Listen (with a young Robert Plant on vocals).
(30) Alvin Robinson plays at the Jigsaw in Manchester.
(31) Robinson is billed to appear at the Whisky A Go Go in London. While it cannot be confirmed with any certainty that The Noblemen are the backing band for the 29-31 October dates, it is highly likely as they support Alvin Robinson for two shows in Birmingham on 1-2 November billed as The Motivations.
November (4) The Noblemen back The Coasters (and appear in their own right) at the King Mojo Club in Sheffield with Sonny Childe & The TNT.
(5) The Coasters (most likely backed by The Noblemen) appear at Rawmarsh Baths in Rawmarsh near Rotherham, West Yorkshire. Also on the bill are Brian Poole & The Tremeloes and Dawley Crews Amblers. Around this time, they change name to The Motivation but are often billed as The Motivations (and sometimes still The Noblemen).
(19) Billed as The Noblemen, the group backs The Coasters at the Cavern in Liverpool. Also on the bill are The Hideaways, The Kids, The Love Trade and The Escorts. After an all-nighter show, The Coasters perform (presumably backed by The Noblemen) at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester.
(25) The Noblemen support The (original) Coasters at the New Yorker Discotheque, Swindon. They continue as The Motivation throughout the rest of 1966 and into 1967 before evolving (through various line up changes) into The Penny Peep Show, The Penny Peeps and Gethsemane. Martin Barre will join Jethro Tull in December 1968. Malcolm Tomlinson will move to Canada in January 1969 and form Milkwood. Ketley will join The Concords on bass, reuniting with former Noblemen drummer Bernie Smith. Smith later opens a music shop and drum school in Chichester.

with Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, the Vibrations, The Little People and the Ferryboys
September 10, 1966
the following week: Otis Redding, Chris Farlowe, Gates of Eden, and Rising Sons

The Noblemen at Tofts, September 23, 1966
next evening: The Rick ‘n’ Beckers?!

The Noblemen, Bognor Regis Beach, summer 1966.
Left to right: Mike Ketley, Martin Barre, Jimmy Marsh, Chris Rodger, Malcolm Tomlinson, Bryan Stevens

Former Noblemen guitarist, Chuck Fryers records an album with The Sorrows in Italy entitled Old Songs New Songs for the Miura label. After a handful of singles on the Pye and Miura label, Fryers joins Electric Heart. In 1969, he marries his girlfriend in Chichester and returns to Italy. Over the next few years, he plays with Treves Blues Band. During the 1970s, Fryers performs with The Baker Street Band and then forms his own group, which records a CD Fryers and Friends First. He currently lives in Milan.


Bognor Regis Post, 9 January 1965 and 18 December 1965.
Flying Colours by Greg Russo, Crossfire Publications, 2009.
Music Echo – Liverpool, week ending 12 March 1966.
The Best of Cellars – The Story of The Cavern Club by Phil Thompson, Bluecoat Press, 2007.
The South Coast Beat Scene of the 1960s by Mike Read, Woodfield Publishing, 2001.
The Tapestry of Delights Revisited by Vernon Joynson, Borderline Productions, 2006.

Many thanks to Bryan Stevens, Chuck Fryers, Mick Ketley, Bernie Smith, Jim Marsh, Malcolm Tomlinson, Keith Gemmell, Nigel Norman and Sylvia Stephen.

Live dates sourced from Melody Maker, New Musical Express, Nottingham Evening Post, the Liverpool Echo, the Manchester Evening News, Sheffield Star.

Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2010. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email:


The Wheels (The Wheel-a-Ways)

The Wheels, l-r: Victor Catling, Rod Demick, Brian Rossi, Tito Tinsley and Herbie Armstrong
all photos and clippings courtesy Victor Catling
Brian Rossi – organ, piano and vocals
Rod Demick – rhythm guitar and vocals
Herbie Armstrong – lead guitar
Tito Tinsley – bass
Victor Catling – drums

Updated September 2013

The Wheels came out of the same Belfast band scene as Them, playing at the famous Maritime Hotel in College Square North.

They began as the Golden Eagles, fronted by the charismatic singer Brian Rossi (Brendan Rosebotham, as noted on the songwriting credits to “Bad Little Woman”) and house band for the Plaza, one of the circuit of dance halls owned by the Mecca company. Van Morrison briefly played saxophone with the Eagles – previously he and Herbie Armstrong had been in the Manhattan Showband together. Some time after changing their name to the Wheels they were fired from the Plaza and in September 1964 began a club residency in Blackpool in northern England (just above Liverpool), where they built a strong following while sharing a house with the Rockin’ Vicars. In 1965 the Wheels’ rhythm guitarist Kit Carson quit the band, to be replaced by Rod Demick of Tony and the Telstars with Tony G. Ford, Robert Green, Ernie Graham and Chris Stewart.

EMI Columbia signed them to a singles deal in 1965. All three of their releases would be produced by Tommy Scott (Thomas Kilpatrick), a young Glaswegian who had been working with Them since producing “All For Myself”, the flip to Them’s third single “Here Comes the Night”.

The Wheels’ first recording, “Don’t You Know”
This label is the flip of the US release of “Bad Little Woman”, February 1966

Rossi ‘hopes to make his disc debut with a Van composition, ‘Gloria'”

At their first session at Regent Sound Studios they chose a good cover of Them’s “Gloria” for their first single, backed with Tommy Scott’s “Don’t You Know” (a song Them would also release, on the flip to their ’66 single “Richard Cory”). The single came out in September ’65. Also from this first session was a fine version of “Mona (I Need You Baby)” with Rod Demick on harmonica and Brian Rossi on lead vocals. It would show up in 1997 on Belfast Beat Maritime Blues along with several other unreleased gems by the Wheels.

The Wheels went back to Regent Sound Studios to record five songs, two of which would appear on their second 45, from February 1966, the originals “Bad Little Woman” b/w “Road Block”. Three other songs from that session had release on Belfast Beat Maritime Blues, “Send Me Your Pillow”, “You Got Me Dizzy”, and “I’m Leaving”.

“Bad Little Woman” was released simultaneously in the U.S. on the Aurora label (it was predicted to reach Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on February 5, 1966), which included the b-side from their first Columbia single, “Don’t You Know” instead of “Road Block”. The Aurora release renamed the group the Wheel-a-Ways, possibly to prevent their being confused with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, whose first chart single “Jenny Take a Ride” hit the charts in November of ’65.

What makes this single so fascinating is Columbia accidently sent Aurora a tape with a different take of “Bad Little Woman”. The Columbia version begins fast, with two guitars, organ and drums equal in intensity. The Aurora version starts at a much slower pace with room for intermittent guitar licks and harmonica bleats, and forgoes the organ.

With the line “and he don’t love you baby …” both versions accelerate for twenty seconds of rave-up, but the Aurora version achieves incredible velocity, with the guitars cranking out one of the best amp sounds I’ve ever heard recorded, while the vocals go completely into the red with distortion.

The band comes together for a last chord on the Columbia version, while the Aurora version ends quietly – a slow slide down a high guitar string to the final sound of a guitarist taking his fingers off the frets.

Judging by the audio quality and the assured pace of the band on the Columbia single, I’d say the Aurora version was recorded first, possibly meant to be a demo rather than a finished single. The timing of 2:20 on the Aurora label doesn’t make any sense, the song is 2:44.

The Wheels went back to Regent Sound for a third session, this time producing two covers of recent singles by other bands. “Call My Name” was another Tommy Scott composition, originally the A-side of Them’s seventh single, from March of 1966. “Tell Me (I’m Gonna Love Again)” had been A-side to the Graham Bond Organisation’s third 45, from April of ’65.

The Wheels version of “Call My Name” would show up as the b-side to their third single “Kicks” in August of 1966. It would also appear on the b-side of most UK promo copies of “Bad Little Woman”, though mislabeled as “Road Block”. A 1992 Record Collector article on the band erronously listed the mislabelled promo b-side as “Kicks” – impossible as the Feb. ’66 release date would have been a month prior to the Raiders’ release of “Kicks”!

The nearly solid sound spectrum during the song’s peak!

Notice for Aaron Shcroeder’s Aurora Records in Billboard, Feb. 6, 1965

“The Wheels say most of the English groups just hate showbands.”

Six-member version of the Wheels
from left: Tito Tinsley, Victor Catling, Rod Demick, Brian Rossi, Eric Wrixon and Herbie Armstrong

The Record Collector article and the notes to Belfast Beat Maritime Blues state that Brian Rossi left the band after the failure of the second single, and that Eric Wrixon from Them joined the group on keyboards. According to this chronology, Wrixon would be playing on the third Regent Sound session that produced “Call My Name”. However, since “Call My Name” was recorded in time to be on some promo copies of “Bad Little Woman”, then it’s likely Rossi was still with the band at the time of that session. If so, then it’s also probable that “Kicks” was the only session that included Eric Wrixon.

Curious as to who sang on the singles, I asked Rod Demick and he stated in an email that he sang lead vocals on the singles released by The Wheels. In an interview with Shindig magazine Rod specified that Brian Rossi sang lead on “Mona” and “You Got Me Dizzy”. Victor Catling wrote to me “Rod was the lead singer with that [hard r&b] style of music. Rod used one of those harmonica racks when playing. Brian Rossy sang ballads and rock numbers when we were on stage. Herbie and Tito also sang but mostly as backup singers. I never heard what happened to Tito.”

From their first Regent Sound Studios session, “Mona” has lead vocals simultaneous with the harmonica, and I don’t think either is dubbed, so that confirms Rossi on lead vocals and Demick on harp. It’s a step from that level of singing to what Rod accomplishes on “Gloria” (from the same session), “Bad Little Woman”, “Road Block” & “I’m Leaving” (these three from their next Regent Sound session).

Rossi was probably not with the band by the time they recorded their version of “Kicks”, so Demick is likely singing on that song, which is very different in style from their other recordings.

Cityweek, September 1, 1966

An article from the Belfast newspaper Cityweek in September 1, 1966 depicts a six-member lineup including both Wrixon and Rossi. This show is described as a short-lived reunion with Rossi before the band broke up in early ’67, but the article doesn’t mention anything about it being a reunion, nor does it suggest the band is about to break up. In any case, they did fall apart.

I know of only one version of the Wheels’ “Bad Little Woman” from that era, a great one by the Shadows of Knight. An obscure group called the Right of Way copied the Shadows of Knight version, unreleased until Norton’s Northwest Killers Vol. 3. This can only be a testament to how obscure this single was at the time.

After the Wheels, Rod Demick and Herbie Armstrong recorded two singles as the James Brothers for Page One Records in 1967, “Does It Have To Be Me” / “You Don’t Really Love Me” and “I Forgot To Give You Love” / “The Truth About It”. I haven’t heard either. Rod Demick switched to bass and with Herbie they backed Screaming Lord Sutch for a time, and then recorded two LPs together in the early ’70s. Demick has since played with many bands. Armstrong joined Fox and also Van Morrison’s band for a time, and then had his own groups.

Brian Rossi passed away in 1984. There are some photos of the Wheels within a tribute video created by his daughter Tamara Rossi; if anyone has access to better quality versions of any photos, please contact me at

Thanks to Bruce Welsh for pointing out the first James Brothers 45 to me.

Special thanks to Victor Catling for the newsclips and photos seen here.

Victor Catling of the Wheels

Wheels Sessionography

Regent Sound Studios, Summer 1965:
Don’t You Know (b-side to first single, Columbia DB 7682, September 1965)
Gloria (a-side to first single, Columbia DB 7682, September 1965)

Unknown studio and date:
Bad Little Woman (A-side to US release as the Wheel-a-Ways, Aurora 157, Feb. 1966)

Regent Sound Studios, late 1965:
Bad Little Woman (a-side to second single, Columbia DB 7827, February 1966)
Send Me Your Pillow
You Got Me Dizzy
I’m Leaving
Road Block (b-side to second single, Columbia DB 7827, February 1966)

Regent Sound Studios, late 1965 or January 1966:
Tell Me (I’m Gonna Love Again)
Call My Name (b-side to third single, Columbia DB 7981, also shows up on some promo copies of their second single mislabeled as “Road Block”)

unknown session, probably without Rossi, so assume Demick on lead vocal:
Kicks (a-side to third single, Columbia DB 7981)

The Wheels, l-r: Victor Catling, Rod Demick, Brian Rossi, Tito Tinsley and Herbie Armstrong

Los Buitres

Five musicians from Madrid formed Los Buitres (The Vultures) in July 1964:

Enrique Martinez (Quique) – lead vocals
Juan (Jeannot) – lead guitar and vocals
Santiago Villaseñor – rhythm guitar, harmonica and vocals
Michel Minguez – bass guitar and vocals
Antonio Casado – drums

The band landed a contract with Columbia in November and cut four songs released in February of 1965. The EP included two fine original songs: the excellent “Sensacion” and more formulaic “Ritmo y movimiento”, but failed to sell. The band was disappointed with the sound of the EP, which they though lacked proper reverb, as well as the lack of promotion on Columbia’s part.

They lost their singer Quique to Los Continentales and for a time Santiago took over on lead vocals. By coincidence, they were soon able to recruit the former lead singer of Los Continentales, Boris (Salvador Benzo), who was born in Ceuta, the tip of North Africa across from Gibraltar. Calling themselves Boris y Los Buitres, they entered a band competition in León. They didn’t make the finals, but Boris was a sensation due to his shoulder-length hair. Boris soon went solo and the group broke up, members scattering to other bands.

At the end of 1968, Santiago Villaseñor formed a new version of Los Buitres with the drummer Pancho from Los Comperos, but, according to the liner notes to a 1985 Spanish LP Historia de la musica pop española no. 32 on Alligator Records soon they dropped the name “Los Buitres” and had a working name of the “New Group”. Bassist Ramón Morán provided many photos and a history of the group, so I have moved that part of this article to its own page.

Thanks to Bård for the transfers of “Sensacion” and “Ritmo y moviemiento” and for pointing me to for a scan of the EP cover. Special thanks to Borja for turning me on to these songs by giving me a copy of the Cefe y Los Gigantes / Los Buitres split LP. This article is based on the liner notes to that LP – if anyone has more information or corrections please contact me.

Mastin and Brewer

Mastin and Brewer, Spring 1966. L-R: Tom Mastin, Billy Mundi, Michael Brewer and Jim Fielder. Unknown lady.
Following the overnight success of “Mr Tambourine Man”, a generation of folk musicians abandoned the traditional form to follow The Byrds’ lead and merge folk with rock elements. One of the most promising outfits was the little known, and decidely short-lived Mastin & Brewer, formed in the spring of 1966 by aspiring singer/songwriters Tom Mastin and Michael Brewer (b. 14 April 1944, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, US).

Both had been active on the nation’s folk circuit since the early ‘60s and had met at the Blind Owl coffeehouse in Kent, Ohio in 1964. With the folk scene on its last legs, the duo, abetted by Mastin’s friend and fellow singer/songwriter Dave McIntosh, decided to head out to San Francisco the following year to check out the emerging West Coast scene. Following a brief spell in the city, Mastin and Brewer, parted company with McIntosh and travelled to Los Angeles to visit some old folk friends working with New Christy Minstrel Randy Sparks and manager Barry Friedman (later better known as Frazier Mohawk). While there, they recorded a three-song demo comprising original compositions “Bound To Fall”, “Need You” and “Sideswiped”. Suitably impressed by the qualtiy of the songs, Friedman (who had produced the recordings) took the recordings to Columbia Records, which immediately expressed an interest in signing the duo.

With a recording deal in the can, Friedman hastily organised a support band, so that they could take the songs out on the road, and duly drafted in ex-Skip Battin Group member Billy Mundi (25 September 1942, San Francisco, California, US) and former Tim Buckley bass player Jim Fielder (b. James Thomas Fielder, 4 October 1947, Denton, Texas, US).

During this period, the newly formed band rehearsed in an apartment on Fountain Avenue, sharing the accomodation with like-minded souls Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, then in the process of forming Buffalo Springfield with Friedman’s assistance. Shortly afterwards, Mastin & Brewer and Buffalo Springfield ventured out on the road together as support acts for The Byrds and The Dillards on a six-date tour of southern California.

Mastin & Brewer also played at the Ash Grove and the Whisky-A-Go Go on a few occasions, during which time, they went under the rather unusual name of The Elesian Senate.

Sadly, the group’s initial promise was shattered by internal problems; Mastin reportedly flipped out on a few occasions, and ultimately walked out of the group during sessions for the band’s debut album. With the group’s future uncertain, Mundi moved on to rival folk-rockers The Lamp of Childhood leaving Brewer to soldier on (abetted by Fielder when he wasn’t doing sessions for Tim Buckley or filling in for Bruce Palmer in The Buffalo Springfield) until late 1966.

Amid all this activity Elektra Records released Tim Buckley’s eponymous debut album (featuring contributions from both Jim Fielder and Billy Mundi) and when Mastin failed to turn up for a show at the Whisky-A-Go Go, Fielder decided to take up the offer to rejoin Mundi in Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention.

With the group in tatters, Brewer recruited his brother Keith to replace Mastin (who later committed suicide) and the duo, abetted by Barry Friedman readied the Mastin & Brewer single “Need You” c/w “Rainbow” (45 4-43977) for release, with Keith Brewer overdubbing his vocals over Mastin’s. Columbia duly released the single, albeit in limited numbers, as Brewer & Brewer that autumn, but it failed to attract much interest.

Early in the new year, the duo began work on a new batch of material, including “Love, Love”, and for a brief period called themselves Chief Waldo and The Potted Mum, although they never performed or recorded under this name.

By the summer, Keith had moved on and Mike found work as a songwriter at Good Sam Music, an affiliation of A&M Records. He was soon joined by another old friend from the Blind Owl coffeehouse, Tom Shipley, who had just arrived in Los Angeles in search of work and together they forge a new partnership, Brewer & Shipley.

Working on fresh material at Leon Russell’s house, the duo also recorded “Love, Love” and Mike Brewer’s “Truly Right”, written about Tom Mastin. The latter song was also recorded by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, while The Byrds recorded an instrumental version of “Bound To Fall” for their album ‘The Notorious Byrd Brothers’, but it was not used. Group member Chris Hillman later revived the song in Steve Stills’s Manassas.

Thanks to Mike Brewer for additional additional information on the group’s career, to Billy Mundi for use of the Mastin & Brewer photograph and to Carny Corbett for information on the Brewer and Brewer single.

Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2001. Updated 2009. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

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The A-Cads

Left to right: Louis McKelvey, Les Goode, Sam Evans, Hank Squires, Dick Laws and Rob Kearney

Mid-1960s beat merchants The A-Cads heralded an exciting new age in South African rock music and were promoted by the local press at the time as a super group of sorts.

The band’s leading figure, rhythm guitarist/singer Hank Squires (b. Henry Stephen Smitsdorff, 20 May 1941, Johannesburg, South Africa) was well-established in South African musical circles, having previously worked with British expat Mickie Most, then a popular singer in South Africa and later one of rock’s most successful producers.

Hank Squires’ early career

Squires’s career began in the late 1950s when he made his debut on the city’s fledging rock ‘n’ roll scene playing with the popular rock ‘n’ roll outfit, The Playboys.

Training to become an electrical engineer, Squires soon abandoned Johannesburg Technical College after witnessing a concert by English émigré, the late Mickie Most (real name: Michael Hayes), a singer of modest talent who had moved to Johannesburg in 1958 to marry his South African fiancée. Impressed by the singer’s performance, Squires approached Most for guitar lessons and after a few months joined his original backing group, The Playboys.

Most’s move to the colonies proved to be extremely fortuitous – his British solo recordings (as well as singles recorded with future producer Alex Murray as The Most Brothers) had all met with widespread indifference back home. However, after changing his name, Most and his newly formed group quickly established themselves as one of, if not, the most successful band(s) in South Africa, scoring six consecutive South African hits over the next three years (including one with Jackie Frisco). And although Most would subsequently return home during 1962 to try his hand at production, he would continue to maintain contact with Squires, seeing him as one of the few musicians in South Africa that he thought had the potential to go on to greater things.

Squires, meanwhile, had already left The Playboys prior to Most’s departure for the UK and formed a new band, The Silhouettes. This short-lived outfit also featured another ex-Playboys member, Leon Booysen (bass), alongside the late George Hill (drums) and the late Archie Van der Ploeg (lead guitar). During The Silhouettes’ short lifespan, the group supported singer June Dyer on her number one single “Whirlpool of Love”. Squires moved on soon afterwards and joined another local group, The Giants, who scored a number one hit in late 1961 with “Dark and Lonely Street” and also recorded a rare album entitled Meet The Giants. The Giants subsequently changed their name to the Rebels and became June Dyer’s backing group.

While his old friend Mickie Most struck gold in the UK as a producer for The Animals and Lulu, among others, Squires kept busy performing and recording with Johnny Kongos and The G-Men. This exciting band was arguably one of the best outfits to emerge in South Africa during the early-mid 1960s and included some of the city’s most accomplished musicians. The group’s potential, however, was cut short when the band’s singer (and future solo artist) John Kongos (best known for penning the international hit “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”, made famous by indie revellers The Happy Mondays in the 1990s) left to do national service.

Kongos later enjoyed moderate success with his solo work and his UK bands Floribunda Rose and Scrugg. The former also featured English expat Pete Clifford, who had toured South Africa with Dusty Springfield and worked with Tom Jones before forming The 004 and later joining South African rock-comedy group, The Bats.

Kongos’ replacement in The G-Men was another expat, singer Sam Evans (b. 1947, Glasgow, Scotland), a short, burly man with a rough-edged voice, who had arrived in South Africa in early 1964 after fronting a number of now long forgotten bands back home. Evans would ultimately become Squires’ first choice as the singer in what would become The A-Cads. Another former G-man, drummer Robbie Kearney (b. South Africa), fresh from a nine-month army stint at Simons Town naval base, joined him soon afterwards.

Before such a project could materialise, however, Squires left The G-Men during December 1964 to pursue a short-lived solo career. Spotted playing in a club by Mickie Most (on a flying visit to South Africa), Squires was subsequently offered a recording contract and a single, a cover of Fats Domino’s “I’ve Been Around”, produced by Most, was issued in spring 1965. A follow up single, “Stand By Me”, produced this time by Squires, also failed to attract much attention and the singer began to look around for fresh adventures. After brief stints with The Falling Leaves and a short-lived line up of The G-men featuring John E Sharpe, Squires started to put together a new group that would storm the South African charts.

Johnny Kongos & the G-men, 1964, l-r: Jesse Sumares, Johnny Kongos, Ed Burns (with bass), Rob Kearney (drums) and Hank Squires
The Falling Leaves, 1965: Leib Brews, George McCauley (on chair), Hank (standing) and Arthur Fisher (high chair)

The G-Men, l-r: Jesse Sumares, Leib Brews, Hank Squires and John E Sharpe

l-r: Jesse Sumares, John E Sharpe, Hank Squires and Leib Brews

The A-Cads form

Formed during October 1965, The A-Cads were essentially the brainchild of English émigré Peter Rimmer, a former support musician for the likes of Marty Wilde and The Tempests, who had decided to try his hand at management following his move to South Africa in 1963. By the time that Rimmer ran into Squires, he had become the manager of the Rand Academy of Music, and it was probably this experience that inspired him to form what would essentially be the first South African super group. Squires immediately recruited Evans and Kearney for the new project. He was also instrumental in bringing in the band’s remaining members, lead guitarist Dick Laws (b. 15 May 1946, London, England) and bass player Les Goode (b. 10 September 1946, Surrey, England). Both musicians had impressive pedigrees and were first-rate musicians.

Londoner Dick Laws had first visited Johannesburg in early 1963 when his band, Bill Kimber & The Couriers, got work in the city through local-born businessman Frank Fenter who had seen them play in his London coffee bar and raved about them to friends back home. Like many British artists who ventured to the colonies during this period, the group arrived to be greeted like visiting royalty. Over the next year or so, Bill Kimber & The Couriers scored a string of South African hits for the Renown label, including covers of The Beatles’ “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and Booker T & The MG’s Green Onions. They had a starring role in South Africa’s first rock movie, Africa Shakes, where they also backed local singer Sharon Tandy on various songs, including the well-known R&B hit, “I’m Movin’ On”.

The Couriers eventually returned home, but Squires was convinced that Laws was key to his new group’s success, and with Rimmer’s support, managed to coax him back to join The A-Cads. Laws brought with him a unique guitar style and, perhaps more importantly, an in-depth knowledge of the UK rock scene, as well as choice material to cover.

Les Goode (real name: Les Gutfreund), meanwhile, had emigrated from England in 1952 and played with Shadows tribute band, Les Beats, which morphed into The Nitwits, before working with The Deans, formed in 1963 with the late singer/guitarist John E Sharpe. Coinciding with the arrival of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, The Deans subsequently adopted the more progressive name John E Sharpe and The Squires and quickly became Johannesburg’s top R&B attraction.

The A-Cads’ unusual name appears to have been, according to press releases from that period, a compromise between Rimmer and the band. Apparently Rimmer was keen to name the group after the Rand Academy, while the group members’ preferred choice was The Cads, the result being The A-Cads. After weeks of intensive rehearsals, Rimmer duly launched The A-Cads at a cocktail party at Ciros in Johannesburg, hosted by A G J McGrall, a managing director of a well-known record company. The event attracted a great deal of publicity and made the front cover of the South African music rag, Record Express.

Soon afterwards, the band signed a recording deal with Teal Records (with distribution by RCA Victor) and, on the recommendation of Laws, recorded a stunning version of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates’ “Hungry For Love”, which reached #1 on the South African chart in January 1966. The South African music press was quick to praise the band’s debut disc, with one review quoted as saying “an excellent disc by an excellent group, backings are great, and vocal beautifully handled, this is about the best record ever produced in South Africa…”Laws’ piercing guitar work on the single’s b-side, a storming version of Bo Diddley’s “Roadrunner” meanwhile, provided a more accurate insight into the group’s musical abilities and hinted at its potential to develop into a formidable force. In addition, the track featured some amazing throat shredding vocals from Sam Evans. However, as the next few months would prove, the band would never capitalise on this early success.

During December, The A-Cads began work on an album, and while in the process recorded a cover version of The Small Faces’ “Sha-La-La-La-Lee”, which for some inexplicable reason was later omitted from the album when it was issued the following spring. To add to the confusion, the track was finally issued as a single following the album’s release and after the band had relocated to London in April 1966.

Unfortunately during the recording process, the band started to unravel as Laws increasingly voiced his objections over the choice of material being presented to the group. As he later recalled: “A lot of stuff we did was just floating around in memory (Chuck Berry, Rufus Thomas etc.), old favourites, that sort of thing. But some of it was producer Derek Hannan playing us things in his office that he thought would be good for us. I never agreed with his choices, but then I had a distinct vision of what the group should be. I always thought that it would have been better if Teal had just let us loose in the studio to get on with it ourselves (as we did initially with “Hungry For Love”). I think the band would have lasted a lot longer and surprised a few people.”

Louis McKelvey, Andy Keiller and the Upsetters

At this critical juncture, Squires decided to introduce a second lead guitarist Louis McKelvey (b. 31 October 1943, Killorglin, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland), as Laws looked increasingly to be on the verge of splitting. McKelvey, whose family had moved to Twickenham during his adolescence, was already a seasoned player on the West London club scene.

His earliest musical venture had been local group The Persuaders, but he quickly jacked this in to become the lead guitarist in R&B outfit Jeff Curtis & The Flames, regulars at the famous Ealing Jazz club. Though no recordings ever emerged from this period, The Flames did record an acetate comprising four tracks for the late, legendary Joe Meek. The band also spent a brief period playing at the Star Club in Hamburg and secured some bookings as a backing group on cross-channel ferries with big names like Jerry Lee Lewis.

After the band’s drummer Malcolm Tomlinson quit the band to play with The Del Mar Trio, McKelvey eventually grew restless and took off for South Africa with his newly wedded bride (not before joining Tomlinson’s band in Germany for about a month’s worth of gigs).

McKelvey’s parents had run a theatre production company in Leicester Square and on their travels had been struck by Cape Town’s beauty. McKelvey’s dad was briefly director of theatre in South Africa and the guitarist had spent part of his childhood in the country. On the look out for fresh musical adventures, he decided to follow their advice and return to South Africa for a few months.

Arriving in Johannesburg around September 1965, McKelvey quickly fell in with another expat, singer Andrew Keiller. Though relatively new to the music business, Keiller had nevertheless, witnessed first-hand many of the hotbeds of the early London rock scene (including a brief incarnation of The Rolling Stones featuring Carlo Little and Rick Brown), before moving to South Africa in March 1964 and recording a single for Continental Records, “Find My Baby” c/w “Elaine”. This was followed by an album, Round About Midnight, which was held back for release until mid-1966 when it was given a write up in Teenage Personality in its 12 May issue.

Within a short space of time, Keiller and McKelvey established one of Johannesburg’s finest beat groups, The Upsetters, with former Playboys member Leon Booysen (bass) and future Freedom’s Children member Colin Pratley (drums), who soon made way for George Hill.

Thanks to Booysen’s contacts at Trutone Records, the band (with George’s brother Frank on the skins) recorded a single for the label, “Daddy Rolling Stone” c/w “Pain In My Heart”, at EMI studios in Johannesburg. The single’s a-side, which was brought to Keiller’s attention when he heard The Who cover it, is an arresting R&B tune written by Derek Martin and features some fiery guitar work from McKelvey. The flip meanwhile is more restrained and is the same Otis Redding song that had recently been made popular in the UK by The Rolling Stones.

The group’s name appears to have been McKelvey’s idea – The Upsetters being his idol, Little Richard’s original support band. The Upsetters proved to be particularly apt as it was also a fashion at the time to insult the audience and, according to sources close to the band, Keiller was keen to emulate what The Who were doing back in London.

Shortly after the single’s release, the band underwent a number of personnel changes as Leon Booysen and George Hill both left to be succeeded by 18-year-old drummer Gregory Allen Plotz and former Johnny Kongos & The G-Men bass player Jesse Sumares.

The new Upsetters line-up ventured back into the studio to record further material for a follow up single – “Down Home Girl”, “Boom Boom” and “High Heel Sneakers”, but for some inexplicable reason, the tracks were subsequently left in the can. Perhaps it was this disappointment that led to the group’s collapse later that autumn.

Whatever the reason, Keiller decided to return to London in late November and the others drifted apart after a short Bloemfontein tour with the A-Cads the following month, during which Sam Evans handled vocals for both bands. It was shortly after the final tour that Squires approached McKelvey about joining The A-Cads.

Dick Laws and Sam Evans depart the A-Cads

As mentioned earlier, McKelvey’s primary role appears to have been to take over from Dick Laws, who had increasingly come to blows over the band’s musical direction.

As Laws later admitted: “The band was moving in a super-commercial direction, recording puff pieces like “Fool, Fool, Fool”. I was interested in keeping the heavier sound of “Hungry For Love”. Also, there were too many people involved in the band’s management – three managers actually. It felt like no one was interested in the music itself. Producer Derek Hannan was coming up with these hits (which I suppose was his job). Yet the success of “Hungry For Love” should have proved that a song doesn’t have to have an infantile hook to top the charts, but no one was listening.”

Within weeks of McKelvey’s arrival, Laws abandoned the group, initially to work on a solo rock instrumental album for Teal Records, but he soon lost interest and the project was shelved. Over the next few years, Laws would maintain a relatively low profile, working occasionally with The Derick Warren Sound in South Africa during 1969. However, that same year he joined Tommy Roe’s visiting support band and subsequently moved to the US. During the early 1970s, Laws contributed to Tommy Roe’s critically acclaimed albums We Can Make Music and Beginnings, but has kept a low profile since then, although he is still active musically in Los Angeles where he resides.

Review in Pop Gear, May 1966

Pop Gear discusses the breakup, February 1966

Sam Evans during his time with This Generation in mid 1966
Laws was quickly followed by Sam Evans, who was keen to go solo and wisely used the success of the group’s debut single to launch his career. After a brief stint with local beat group This Generation, Evans debuted with a revival of Dean Martin’s “Memories Are Made of This” on the Pye label, and later that same year scored with Roy Hammond’s composition, “Shotgun Wedding”. Incidentally, the song was at #10 in the South African charts on 12 August 1966 when the Beatles’ hit “Paperback Writer” was removed from the Springbok charts as a result of a SABC Board decision that no Beatles songs may be played on any government-sponsored radio station. They took the decision in response to Lennon’s apparent remark about the Beatles being more popular than Jesus.Later, Evans would go on to record a string of singles throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s for the WRC, Parlophone and Nitty Gritty labels. He enjoyed further chart success with his singles, “Ain’t Love A Funny Thing”, “Goodbye Girl” and “Goodbye Guitarman”. Evans also issued a solo album in 1970 for Parlophone entitled “Ain’t Love A Funny Thing”, but sadly passed away in Johannesburg on 23 December 2004.

The A-Cads, meanwhile, briefly split up for a few weeks, but soon reformed with Hank Squires handling the vocal duties and McKelvey covering the lead guitar. “Evans and Laws were responsible for the group’s break up,” explains Squires. “Evans conspired to have me kicked out, Laws backed him. Their whole scheme backfired when Les and Robbie joined with me, giving us the majority to carry on as The A-Cads. McKelvey was in the right place at the right time, so I replaced Laws with him.”

The new line-up quickly emerged with a follow up single, “Fool Fool Fool” c/w “Zip-A-Dee Doh Dah” (the b-side in fact had been recorded before Evans’ departure) and, in a rather unusual move, also toured the Garden Route by train with the Boswell-Wilkie circus during the school holiday. One of the most memorable dates during this period was appearing at the Vaal Festival where the band played to 3,000 screaming fans. Soon afterwards, the new line up toured Mozambique.

Hungry for Love

Amid all this activity, RCA Victor issued the band’s album, which credited McKelvey for lead guitar and Dick Laws for bass (Les Goode wasn’t mentioned at all in the sleeve notes!). Curiously, the label also chose to use a rare picture of the short-lived Laws-McKelvey line-up for the album’s front cover with the group pictured on the back of a lorry. The true extent of McKelvey’s involvement in the sessions, however, is a matter of contention.

According to Dick Laws, McKelvey wasn’t around in the studio when he was recording with the group, and Laws is almost certain that he played lead on all the album tracks and three of the singles. Other sources close to the band, most notably Hank Squires, support his claim although McKelvey insists he played on some tracks.

One possible explanation is that both guitarists recorded material for the album and RCA Victor handpicked the best cuts when choosing on a final track listing. That might explain the delay in the album’s release and may also explain why the group’s second single, as well as earlier recordings with Laws – “Roadrunner” and “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” were subsequently excluded.

Whatever the reason, the media was unaware of any musical differences, and its response was overwhelmingly positive. Record Express gave the album a beaming write up in the April 1966 issue: “This tremendous, versatile, local group have followed up their hit single with this terrific album of bluesy R&B type numbers.”

Though no long lost classic, the album, named after the group’s debut single, does show The A-Cads in fine form with the band tearing its way through covers of R&B favourites like “In The Midnight Hour” and “Got My Mojo Working”. If any criticism could be levelled at the record, it would have to be the absence of any original material. Even The A-Cads’ British contemporaries, Them, The Rolling Stones and The Animals were writing their own songs, and The A-Cads’ dependence on such well-trodden material would probably not have helped the group’s cause over the long-term.

The album’s appearance also coincided with the belated release of the non-album track “Sha-La-La-La-Lee”, which as mentioned earlier, had been recorded while Laws was still in the band. Despite the changes in personnel and fresh developments in the group’s career, which will be discussed in a moment, the media continued to sing the group’s praises. Record Express’ Cordy Gunn enthusiastically told readers in that month’s issue: “’Sha-La-La-La-Lee’ is the A-Cads’ best since ‘Hungry For Love’ …I predict that this new single will immediately leap to the top.” Though it never quite matched the success of the band’s debut single, “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” did indeed become a sizeable hit that spring, but by then the band was no longer in the country to promote it.

Departure to London

With Squires’ old mate Mickie Most now acting as the group’s agent in London, the group’s fortunes appeared to be on the up, and plans were made to launch the group overseas. Record Express was quoted as saying in the April issue, that “Louis McKelvey has left South Africa on the Edinburgh Castle bound for London where he’ll meet the other members of the group in a month’s time”.

Pop Gear, June 1966

Pop Gear, May 1966
Squires and Goode (joined by former member Dick Laws) sailed on the Windsor Castle during May 1966, and the trio ended up renting a flat in Notting Hill Gate where McKelvey occasionally dropped by.

Robbie Kearney meanwhile decided against the move as he had recently married the leading dancer from the Boswell-Wilkie circus. He would maintain a profile of sorts, reportedly playing briefly with The Falling Leaves and recording with Birds of A Feather in late 1968. Later qualifying as an artist, he went on to design the cover of the Ancient Mariner album, which featured Les Goode on bass! Today, he is a successful artist.

However, plans to get The A-Cads’ singles issued in Europe remained just that, and though a recording company in Amsterdam was reportedly interested, Most’s attempts to negotiate a deal quickly floundered. When the opportunity to play some dates in Hamburg also failed to materialise, and tentative plans to move to India to play at a major festival fell through, Goode returned somewhat despondently to South Africa in September 1966. (Incidentally, Teenage Personality reported in its 21 July issue that Squires was in Hamburg, so perhaps he did play there as a solo artist?)

Re-establishing ties with John E Sharpe, Les Goode became a member of The John Sharpe Set. Goode continued to work with the guitarist and was also a member of his next outfit, Impulse, which was formed in September 1967 with John Elliot (sax), Albert Rossi (drums) and Alan Shane (bass). Impulse recorded a number of tracks, including the fascinating “Melon Man”.

Impulse changed its name to The Board of Directors in August 1968 and recorded two excellent singles: “New Orleans” and “Legend of A Big Toe”, before Sharpe and Goode left in November to put together The Crystal Drive alongside South African guitar legend Julian Laxton from Freedom’s Children. Goode also briefly played with The Derick Warren Sound during this period, recording two singles with the group for the Continental label: “Lingering On” and “Every Other Saturday”.

Since then, he has become one of South Africa’s most highly regarded bass players and has appeared on records by (or played with) such notable outfits as Dickory, Backtrax, Morocko, Foxy and 909. Goode also worked with future Yes member and fellow South African Trevor Rabin’s support group when he toured England in 1979, and during the 1970s was also a member of Hawk. He is currently A&R and owner/director of Great Value Music in Johannesburg, a successful wholesale/distribution budget record company.

July 1966

Pop Gear, September 1966
After the A-Cads: Hank Squires and Louis McKelvey in Canada

Back in England Hank Squires’ decided to trade in a career as a performer. His decision may primarily have been influenced by The A-Cads’ recent demise, but it is likely that other factors played a part. During the summer, the South African division of Columbia Records had released Squires’ solo album Strange Effect, but neither it nor two singles – “Don’t Come Knockin’” and “Strange Effect” had been commercially successful. Nevertheless, the album, recorded in late 1965/early 1966 (largely with the original A-Cads in support, although McKelvey appears on a couple of tracks), did receive a positive write up in the South African music press.

Tony Hamilton writing in Teenage Personality that summer said: “[The album] carries 13 carefully chosen numbers including “It Only Took A Minute”, “Concrete and Clay”, “Up On The Roof” and “My Girl”. Hank has lots of talent and deserves a break. He is now in England, and this new LP may help him over there.”

Unfortunately, it didn’t and after recording a number of demos with American producer Steve Rowland, South African songwriter Hugh Patterson and his mentor Mickie Most, Squires was forced to leave the country. “Due to the politics practised in South Africa I wasn’t able to secure a work permit and had no choice but to leave the UK, so I immigrated to Canada,” recalls Squires.

According to Teenage Personality in its 22 December 1966 issue, Squires recorded a rare single in Europe and then headed to Canada for a three-month engagement after he couldn’t get a work permit to perform in England. Arriving in Montreal in December 1966, he hooked up with McKelvey who’d made the crossing months earlier.

Like Les Goode, Louis McKelvey decided that England was not the ideal place to pursue his musical ambitions and around September 1966 he took the boat to Montreal with only $10 in his pocket. However, after only a few weeks in the city playing with the French-speaking Les Sinners, during which time he performed at the Paul Sauve Arena sporting a Union Jack jacket (an extremely daring move considering the political climate in Quebec), he took off for a cross-country jaunt to Vancouver. Returning to Montreal that December, he hooked up with Our Generation.

Hank Squires in the studio, 1969
Reunited with Hank Squires, McKelvey helped his former A-Cads band member find work with (arguably) Montreal’s finest garage band, The Haunted, who had recently scored a sizeable Canadian hit with “1-2-5”. Squires would work with the band and be given co-production credit on their lone album, which has since become a popular collector’s item.

McKelvey was also briefly involved with The Haunted. He was given co-production credit for the single “Searching For My Baby” c/w “A Message To Pretty” with Squires and, according to band member Jurgen Peter, was responsible for suggesting the ‘A’ side’s gutsy guitar intro. In an interesting side note, The Haunted single was given a South African release on the Continental label during early 1968 and was given a positive write up by Tony Hamilton in Teenage Personality.

A short while later, Hank Squires became a talent scout for Johannesburg-based label Highveld and through Jurgen Peter produced a single for Montreal singer, Andrew Storm (real name: Andrew Lacroix). Storm’s single, “Tic-Tac-Toe” c/w “I’d Love To Love You Again”, which features McKelvey on guitar, was later given a South African release on Highveld in 1970. Squires sadly died on July 13, 2009.

McKelvey meanwhile had thrown in his lot with Our Generation – a Haunted spin-off featuring former members Bob Burgess, Tim Forsythe and Jim Robertson. Our Generation already had one single to their credit, “I’m a Man”” c/w “Run Down Every Street”, issued on the Transworld label, but McKelvey’s arrival gave the band a “shot in the arm”. His fiery lead guitar work is immediately distinguishable on the group’s second (and arguably best) single, “Cool Summer” c/w “Out To Get Light”, which was issued in May 1967 and was produced by Squires.

By the time it reached the shops, McKelvey had moved on and pieced together a new musical project, Influence alongside Andy Keiller from The Upsetters. Keiller had arrived in Montreal in April 1966 and spotted McKelvey playing on TV with Our Generation. Influence subsequently recorded an album for ABC in late 1967 before splitting late the following year. McKelvey then worked with the short-lived groups Milkwood, Damage and Powerhouse.

During the early 1970s, McKelvey briefly re-united with Hank Squires, working as a songwriter and session guitarist for Squires’ short-lived studio group Marble Hall, which featured singer Brian Redmond. McKelvey contributed to the group’s lone single, “Marble Hall” (originally recorded as a demo with Influence).

Following his work with Andy Storm, Hank Squires released one more solo recording that year – “Ecstasy”, which appeared on a compilation album called Command Performance. Squires later produced a number of recordings in the early 1970s for a singer known as Martin Martin. Based in Victoria, British Columbia, he is preparing an album of new material, which will be released under the name, SmityBoy.

Interest in The A-Cads has grown meanwhile and an Italian label, Crystal Emporium, brought out a CD of The A-Cads album in 1998 complete with bonus tracks featuring some rare Hank Squires solo material, taken from an unreleased EP recorded in 1966.

Hank Squires in Montreal, 1970
Many thanks to the following for generously helping to piece the story together: Hank Squires, Les Goode, Dick Laws, Louis McKelvey, Andy Keiller, Tertius Louw, Jurgen Peter, Ian Hannah, Mike Paxman, Garth Chilvers, Tom Jasiukowicz, Gregory Plotz and Leon Booysen.

Strange Effect LP photos courtesy of Ivan Amirault.

© Copyright Nick Warburton, September 2008. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

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The Monotones and the Treetops

The Monotones in Holland, 1964: Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols, Jim Eaton and Pete Stanley
The Monotones in Holland, 1964
from left: Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols, Jim Eaton and Pete Stanley

If you’ve ever seen the 1964 documentary Seven Up you may have wondered what song the kids are dancing to during the party scene towards the end of the film. I learned from my friend Michael Lynch that the song was “What Would I Do” by the Monotones, a group from Southend-on Sea in Essex, about 45 miles directly east of London.

Monotones Pye 45 What Would I Do

Mark Lloyd and Jim Eaton singing the Everly's
Mark Lloyd and Jim Eaton singing the Everly’s
“What Would I Do” was the first of four singles they released on Pye in ’64 and ’65. To say this song has charm would be an understatement, even more so if you’ve seen Seven Up. The bridge is especially fine, with tremolo guitar behind the vocals “if I say that I love you, and you know that it’s true …”

The band gives a sharp performance on the flip, “Is It Right” though the song is less distinctive than the top side. Both songs on their first 45 were written by ‘Stanley Alexander’, actually Brian Alexander and Stanley Peter Frederick according to the BMI database. I didn’t know anything else about the band until Phil T. contacted me with the newspaper clipping and the following info:

During their early years, the group line-up changed many times but by 1964, it comprised Brian Alexander (lead), Jim Eaton (vocals and rhythm), Pete Stanley (bass) and Gary Nichols (drums) and I believe that it was these four who made the recordings. Their original vocalist, Nigel Basham also performed separately under the name Mark Loyd and was backed from time to time at local gigs by another Southend band, The Mustangs, who also originated at Westcliff High.

Sadly, I understand that The Monotones’ drummer, Gary Nichols, died in April 2007.

Photos of the band’s early years sent to me by guitarist Ian Middlemiss can be seen on this separate page.

Much more information about the band came when Jim Eaton and Peter Stanley left detailed comments about the band. To read the full history of the group and it’s change to the Treetops, read through the comments below. Jim also sent the photos seen here with this comment:

I have attached some photos of The Monotones in the early sixties and also some of The Treetops (our new name when we joined Mecca at the Wimbledon Tiffanys). You will note we added a female to our lineup, a great vocalist Martha Smith. We cut several records as The Treetops when the lineup comprised Brian Alexander (lead guitar and backing vocals), Jim Eaton (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Pete Stanley (bass guitar and backing vocals), Mark Lloyd (lead vocals, vibes and harmonica), Martha Smith (lead vocals and piano) and Pete Trout our very fine drummer.

In the article about the band for The Southend Standard Jim Eaton also noted their appearance on Ready Steady Go, Thank Your Lucky Stars and Juke Box Jury, clips I’d love to see if they still survive.

The Monotones, 1962
The Monotones, 1962

Monotones Hickory 45 When Will I Be LovedThe Monotones had two U.S. releases on the Hickory label, one of which, “When Will I Be Loved” / “If You Can’t Give Me All” was not released in the UK. It turns out to be a demo recorded before their first Pye 45, released in the U.S. without the group’s knowledge!

Monotones Hickory 45 If You Can't Give Me AllJim Eaton recently heard these songs again for the first time in about 47 years! He wrote to me:

I received and played the record yesterday and it is definitely us. I now recall cutting both sides as a demo in 1963 at the Regent Sound Studio in London’s famous Denmark St. (also known as Tin Pan Alley due to the large number of studios, record publishers and musical instrument shops.)

Monotones 45 releases:

Pye 7N 15608 – What Would I Do / Is It Right (February 14, 1964)
Pye 7N 15640 – It’s Great / Anymore (1964)
Pye 7N 15761 – No Waiting / Like A Lover Should (1965)
Pye 7N 15814 – Something’s Hurting Me / A Girl Like That (1965)

Hickory 1250 – What Would I Do / Is It Right
Hickory 1306 – When Will I Be Loved / If You Can’t Give Me All

Monotones promo photo for "Now Waiting", from left: Jim Eaton, Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
Promo shot for “Now Waiting”, from left: Jim Eaton, Brian Alexander, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
Mark Loyd backed by the Monotones with session musicians:

Parlophone R 5277 -I Keep Thinking About You / Will It Be the Same (1965)
Parlophone R 5332 – Everybody Tries / She Said No (1965)
Parlophone R 5423 – When Evening Falls / When I’m Gonna Find Her (March 1966)

Note that all his solo releases spell his last name “Loyd”

Treetops 45 releases:

Parlophone R 5628 – Don’t Worry Baby / I Remember (1967 – also released in the U.S. on Tower 388)
Parlophone R 5669 – California My Way / Carry On Living (Feb. 1968)

Columbia DB 8727 – Mississippi Valley / Man Is a Man (1970)
Columbia DB 8799 – Without the One You Love / So Here I Go Again (1971)
Columbia DB 8934 – Why Not Tonite / Funky Flop-Out (Oct. 13, 1972)
Columbia DB 9013 – Gypsy / Life Is Getting Better (Aug 3, 1973)

Mark Lloyd, 1964
Mark Loyd, 1964
Postscript, February 2011:

Jim Eaton: “I have just returned from Australia where I caught up with Mark Loyd who was for many years part of The Monotones before he pursued a solo career.

Update, April, 2012

I’m sorry to report that Mark Loyd (born Nigel Basham), the lead singer with the Monotones and Treetops passed away on April 4, 2012, after fighting cancer for seven years. Mark had been living in Sydney, Australia where he ran a successful event/management company. My condolences to his family, friends, and band mates.

Thanks to Phil for sending in the article from The Southend Standard, January 2006 and to Jim Eaton for his help with songs, photos and information for this page.

The Monotones at the Elms, 1964: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton and Gary Nichols
The Monotones at the Elms, 1964
from left: Pete Stanley, Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton and Gary Nichols

Monotones Hickory 45 What Would I Do

Monotones at The Elms, l-r: Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
At The Elms, l-r: Brian Alexander, Jim Eaton, Gary Nichols and Pete Stanley
The Treetops, 1966
The Treetops, 1966
The Treetops, 1967
The Treetops, 1967
The Treetops promo for "Don't Worry Baby"
The Treetops promo for “Don’t Worry Baby”
The Treetops, 1968
The Treetops, 1968