West London six-piece horn band Simon K & The Meantimers recorded a Hammond-drenched dance-floor classic called “Bring Your Love Back (To Me)”, which was coupled with “You Know I Do” for a UK single on the B&C label in November 1969.
Fronted by current Hot Chocolate lead singer Kenny Simon, The Meantimers had originally formed around mid-1964 in West Hampstead before linking with Simon.
Managed by Arthur Armes, father of the band’s drummer Michael, the original Meantimers also comprised lead guitarist Rick Thomas, classically trained organist Bill Pitt, bass player Warwick Rose and an Irish rhythm guitarist called Tony, who also handled lead vocals (sometimes with the group’s roadie Mick Eagan).
According to Michael Armes, his father turned the basement of his shop on Belsize Road in Kilburn into a rehearsal and recording room. It may well have been here that Simon cut some demos with West London band, The Tribe, including future Sweet guitarist Frank Torpey, that were picked up by Arthur Armes.
It is not clear when Kenny Simon joined The Meantimers but it could have been anytime between spring 1966 and early 1967.
Notable gigs (possibly before Kenny Simon):
7 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
21 August 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
9 October 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
13 November 1966 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)
Former Overlanders’ bass player Paul Hewson had already taken over from Warwick Rose, who’d moved on to join The Soul Survivors, an early incarnation of The Love Affair, sometime before Kenny Simon joined on vocals.
A bass player called Terry briefly took over from Hewson in early 1967 but soon left to work in the West End as a scenery mover. Around the same time, former Quiet Five drummer Ray Hailey succeeded Michael Armes.
14 January 1967 – Tofts, Folkestone, Kent (billed as Meantimers)
19 January 1967 – Tiles, London (billed as Meantimers)
22 January 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
11 February 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex (billed as Meantimers)
26 February 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
12 March 1967 – Upper Cut, Forest Gate, Essex with Pussyfoot (billed as Meantimers)
12 April 1967 – Flamingo, London
28 April 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent with The Groove (billed as The Meantimers)
17 May 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
21 May 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
However, the changes did not end there and in early-to-mid-1967 an entirely new line up came together, starting with lead guitarist George Teo.
Originally, from Singapore, Teo had migrated to the UK in the early 1960s with friends Sam Young on bass and brothers Andrew and John Gwee on guitar and drums respectively and formed The Etceteras. After two singles on the Oriole label in 1964, Teo next joined the Ying Tongs before hooking up with The Meantimers.
Also on board were siblings, bass player Mick Glyde and drummer Tony Glyde (brothers of Major Glyde, the lead sax player from Sounds Incorporated) and sax players Brent Carter, Alan Wherry and Ken Hendy, who was later replaced by former Cliff Bennett Rebel Rousers’ baritone sax player Sid Phillips in late 1967/early 1968.
Tony Glyde had previously worked with Southeast London bands, Bob ‘N’ All, The Loose Ends and Bern Elliott’s former group, The Fenmen while Alan Wherry had come from The Richard Henry Sensation (with David O’List) and Harlem Shuffle (with Alan Shacklock).
Wherry remembers that the group also had a keyboard player but it wasn’t Bill Pitt. Mick Glyde confirms that the keyboard player’s name was Terry Vandenburgh. Vanenburgh however had left before Sid Phillips joined in late 1967/early 1968 and the group recruited a Russian Hammond organist.
Wherry left in early 1968 and later moved in to publishing, as director of Corgi, Penguin and then as co-founder of Bloomsbury in London in 1986.
The remaining members stayed until about late spring/early summer 1968, during which time former Quiet Five drummer Roger “Tex” Marsh took over the drum stool from Tony Glyde.
6-7 June 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
24 June 1967 – Witchdoctor, Catford, Kent (billed as The Meantimers)
2 July 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (billed as Meantimers)
22 July 1967 – Witchdoctor, Hastings, East Sussex
2 September 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
16 September 1967 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire with Jeanette and Abee
7 October 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
4 November 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
2 December 1967 – Industrial Club, Norwich, Norfolk
17 February 1968 – Chelmsford Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, Essex with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
20 April 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
11 May 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
2 August 1968 – Samantha’s, London (billed as Meantimers)
3 August 1968 – Town Hall, Clacton, Essex (billed as Meantimers)
4 August 1968 – Surrey Rooms, Oval, London (billed as Meantimers)
6-7 August 1968 – Hatchetts Playground, London (billed as Meantimers)
24 August 1968 – Savoy Rooms, Catford, Kent
14 September 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
By the autumn of 1968, Kenny Simon had reshuffled the pack, bringing in Marsh’s former band mate from The Quiet Five, Roger McKew on lead guitar. Sid Phillips had already left by this point to go on to Redwind and his place was taken by Tony Hall, whose CV including Peter’s Faces, Wainwright’s Gentlemen and Rupert’s Spoon.
The new formation then comprised:
Kenny Simon – lead vocals
Roger McKew – lead guitar
Tony Hall – saxophone
Brent Carter – saxophone
Mick Glyde – bass
Roger ‘Tex’ Marsh – drums
The new-look formation resumed gigging. In March 1969, Brian Johnston from The Fantastics’ backing band, The House of Orange joined on Hammond organ. Two months later, however, Mick Glyde left and was replaced by another bass player.
Later that year, original keyboard player Bill Pitt returned to take over from Johnston. Simon also added Irish trumpet player Ron Carthy, who’d previously worked with The Blue Aces and Wynder K Frog (among others) to the six-piece line up that came together in time to cut the group’s lone ‘45 in November 1969.
In March 1970, however, Brent Carter and Tony Hall also departed at this point and joined Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
When the band finally splintered in the early 1970s, Pitt ended up working with Espirit de Corps, while Carthy joined Gonzales and also did a multitude of sessions for artists like Freddie King, Slade and Suzi Quatro.
26 October 1968 – Locarno Ballroom, Swindon, Wiltshire
23 November 1968 – Fellowship Inn, Eltham, Kent
30 November 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
10 December 1968 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent with Olaf Groups Kneed
28 December 1968 – Burton’s, Uxbridge, Middlesex
22 February 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Jon James & The Swamp and The Western Kind
4 April 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
19 April 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet
17 May 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire
22 May 1969 – Klook’s Kleek, London
26 July 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
2 August 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Sir Percy Quintet
9 August 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent
6 September 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
4 October 1969 – Savoy, Catford, Kent
25 October 1969 – Starlight Room, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Lovin’ Spoonful
8 November 1969 – Alex’s Disco, Salisbury, Wiltshire
25 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
29 November 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
31 December 1969 – Walton Hop, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey
7 February 1970 – Cloud 9, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Many thanks to Kenny Simon, Michael Armes, Tony Hall, Alan Wherry, Ken Hendy, Sid Phillips, Mick Glyde and Bruce Welsh for their help. Thank you Michael Armes and Alan Wherry for the photos.
Very little is known about the personnel in Simon K & The Meantimers. The author would be interested to hear from anyone that can provide more detail on the group for a future, updated version. Please email the author, Nick Warburton at Warchive@aol.com
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