SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing The Drifters: We Gotta Sing – The Soul Years 1962-1971, 3CD Box Set

WE GOTTA SING! THE SOUL YEARS (1962-1971)    The Drifters (3CD SET)

Does the world need another Drifters compilation you may ask? There are dozens available its true. Most of them are ‘Best Ofs’ or ‘Greatest Hits’ which are fine i have a couple myself.  Well i would say the answer is yes, if like me you are a true fan. This new 3CD set from Strawberry Records boasts 76 tracks, including 5 unissued songs long deleted from available CD’s. Plus 2 tracks ‘I Dig Your Act’ & ‘You And Me Together Forever’ which were thought to be lost making their worldwide debut here on this collection. Over the years i have written thousands of words about the institution that is The Drifters and i have been very fortunate at different times to have worked with Ben E King & Johhny Moore. If for some reason you are new to The Drifters they were formed the year after i was born in 1953 and must now qualify for the world’s longest running band. Originally fronted by Clyde McPhatter they were 50’s R&B Stars. The story of the band is a long and complicated one and one i have told before so let’s confine ourselves to this release. The band really can be thought of in terms like a sandwich divided into 3 parts. The bottom slice being their early R&B years from 1953-1960, the top slice their re-incarnation in 1972 when they relocated to London and had a string of pop/soul hits and the meat in the middle is their glorious years contained here, with a title that does what it says on the tin. What i really like about this new compilation is that the tracks appear in chronological order, something i am always a big fan of when a project like this is put together. It allows the listener to grow with the band and hear them change and mature rather than the aforementioned ‘Best Of’s’ etc that tend to leap about all over the place in time and often make for a jarring listen. Disc1 contains 25 tracks and contains some of my favourite early soul tracks ‘Only In America’ ‘Rat Race’ ‘Vaya Con Dios’ & ‘One Way Love’ (which most people know from the hit version recorded by Cliff Bennett) sit alongside the classics ‘Up On The Roof’ ‘Under The Boardwalk’ mono & stereo mixes, ‘On Broadway’ studio & live recordings & ‘Saturday Night At The Movies’. Lead vocal duties are shared by Rudy Lewis & Johnny Moore. Everyone has their own favourite lead singer when it comes to The Drifters. For me it will always be Johnny Moore, they all have their different distinctive styles. but for me Johnny’s seemingly effortless delivery has always captivated me the most, and having had the privilege to know him i admit to also being swayed by what a really lovely guy he was. Disc2 Kicks off with the gorgeous ‘Spanish Lace’ followed by ‘The Christmas Song’, which to be honest i don’t recall hearing before but features a sublime vocal performance by Johnny, indeed it may be one of his very best ever. Other familiar favourites to me are ‘What Kind Of Fool Am I’ ‘As Long As She needs Me’ & ‘Looking Through The Eyes Of Love’ (probably better known to people through Gene Pitney’s hit version). The 2 absolute ‘classic’ hits on this disc are probably in my all time top 5 of all their hits and are records i have played at my gigs thousands of times they are, ‘Come On Over To My Place’ & ‘At The Club’ (in both mono & stereo mixes). Disc3 begins with my all time favourite single 1965’s ‘I’ll Take You Where The Musics Playing’ its the epitome of Johnny Moore at his effortless finest and has always lifted my spirits every time i’ve ever played it. Track 4 is another track i’ve always loved in ‘Up In The Streets Of Harlem’ others are ‘Memories Are Made Of This’ ‘Aretha’ & ‘Baby What I Mean’. Its here on this disc you can also hear the 2 tracks making their debut i referred to at the start. The enduring success of The Drifters wasn’t just down to their peerless singing. They also benefitted from material written by some of the best songwriters in the world Goffin/King, Ellie Greenwich, Bacharach/David, Pomus/Shuman and one of my own favourite combinations in Mann/Weil (The Crystals/The Ronettes/Righteous Brothers). They have now been making music for an incredible 7 decades. You may be a fan of their early years or of the catchy poppier years in the 1970’s, but it would be a brave person that argued against this compilation representing their finest work. The decade this covers from 1962-71 truly was the soul years and with Rudy & Johnny at the helm was a magical time. The compilation comes in a sturdy box with a very well researched and detailed booklet and the sound quality throughout is excellent, Due to space constraints i have only scratched the surface of all the joy that is waiting to be had, listening to all the wonderful treats contained here. Enjoy.

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Til next time…..stay safe….Colin

Colin Norton… Great album!

Mick O’Dowd… Love it. Love them!

Lazybones Disco Hastings photos 1977 supplied by Linda Boiling

All photos supplied by Linda Boiling

Simon Falla, Linda Charman (Boiling) and Mike Kasey

John Baker… I used to run Disco Trax mobile with Mike. Are you still out there Mike?

James Turner… Simon was the manager I believe and I was on the door in my dickie bow and tails.

David Edwards… Where was Lazybones?

James Turner… David, under the Queens Hotel

Simon Falla… Yes it’s me……the ‘after parties’ at Lazybones were ‘emotional’ affairs that usually lasted until sunrise. Clearly me in my more relaxed state! Great memories. (Dave: Lazybones was under Queens Hotel Hastings seafront)

 

Geordie plus Bitch or Moonstone?? and Colin Bell – Hastings Pier 26th October 1973

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geordie-album

poster supplied by Mick Mepham

Pete Prescott….after Brian Johnston left the reformed Geordie to join ac/dc i was briefly in the band that struggled to continue (with a different name – the DUDES ) they tried terry slesser from crawler.i replaced him.i recorded three tracks with them at Luxembourg studios.they wanted me to re locate to newcastle.i couldn’t do that.nice guys.

Yvonne Cleland….Great band, Geordie! Saw them on the pier! it was a good gig!

Pete Fairless….The best Slade record Slade never made!

Pete Prescott….i sang love if you want it another night in the city and the last one escapes me.i think i have the versions of terry slesser singing them as well as mine.brian sang nutbush city limit at the ac/dc audition and got the job instantly.i was told he is a nice guy.

Andy Qunta…..singer of Geordie was Brian Johnson, who later joined AC/DC, and still with them now! After Factory’s gig with them in Torquay, I met him in the motorway services Gent’s (accidentally, not pre-arranged, before your minds start working overtime!). He was very flustered! He had been driving their truck, it was one of those where the cab tipped forward to get to the engine. After checking the oil or something, apparently the cab wasn’t locked properly, so when he got to some traffic lights, the whole cab tipped forward, and he was properly freaked out! Geordie almost lost his liggy!

Peter Howard… I know one of Bitch

Colin Bell… Always handy to know what i was doing 48 years ago tonight! I remember Brian (Johnson) being a really nice guy, sadly i don’t remember Bitch.

More dj’s that appeared at Lazybones Hastings. in the 70’s

all supplied by Linda Boiling

Linda Boiling… first photo is Peter Boiling (Peter Craig) he was sometimes known as but he was Demon Disco who he ran with Nick (Sbyke) Biker. The second photo is of Mick Oxbury (in the pink shirt) can’t remember his stage name and ? and was taken at Derritron which used to be on the site before Sainsburys was built.

Julian Deeprose… Pretty sure the other guy in the pic is John Austin. Used to play Bar Billiards with him in The Bulverhythe

Linda Boiling… just found out from Micks partner in crime Jim Hobbs (James Casner) that Micks stage name was Mick Damon.

Claire Triance… Remember Lazybones used to have a go go dancer 76 77 was underage but we got in ok

Jane Hartley… Mick and I were always asked if we were brother and sister, in the end we used to say we were!

Kevin Burchett… Mick Damon had a spell in Scalliwags to

 

 

Judge Dread at Stylus Records – September 1975

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judge-dread-album

 

record bag supplied by Linda Boiling

Mike O’Dowd… I saw him there looking through the cheapos upstairs. I said to him that I had just found a heavily discounted Judge Dread album for 10p. He said that was all it was worth! I quite liked his records especially the take-off of “Come Outside” & FGTH’s “Relax”.

Clifford Rose… Even though he was never the accceptable side of ska, I did find his song Y Viva Suspenders funny.

Steve Maxted… he was a good friend of mine and often came along to my shows. Lovely man.

Jimi Hendrix Experience – Hastings Pier Sunday 22nd October 1967. One official, one fake poster.

official poster supplied by Peter Fairless

Autograph poster listed as £15,000.00 in Record Collector December 2017

Mick O’Dowd… the second poster is a fake. Note the date. He played on SUNDAY at the Hastings Pier Sunday Club.

Peter Gladwish… I  remember this event very well. Jimi was straddling his guitar on the stage about 6 feet in front of me, when he poured lighter fuel on it and set it alight. Not being able to afford a ‘Strat’ at the time, I remember thinking, “What a ****ing waste!”

Chris Farley… Well done with tracking down detailed event of Hastings Pier & jimmy hendrix on Oct 1967. – I was there as a teenager still at Bexhill Grammer School – never heard of the Experince or MR J Hendrix at age 17y …

Grimey Wilks… I was there too. I clambered onto the stage and took a few photos before being bundled offstage by a security guy. Before the gig Jimi stood at the bar quietly talking with his team untroubled and unmolested. I recognise the left hand poster but I too believe the other to be a fake.

Graham Ellis… I was there too, also a student from Bexhill Grammer School, what a night! Chris, did l know you ? I was leaning against the stage front and remember the lighter fuel burn and the sexy groupie next to me making eyes with Jimi all night. She rushed backstage as soon as he finished playing.

Mick O’Dowd… Supporting programme was Orange Seaweed. Any info on them?

Peter Fairless… Google tells me… The Orange Seaweed – Biography. Psychedelic band from Hastings, England who formed out of cult Freakbeat act The Kingpins who recorded some acetates on the mega collectable Oak label. Ray Neale – Guitar / vocals, Keith Neale – Bass, Les Warren – Drums

Paul Morfey… How much would we pay to go back 50 years and be there on that night??!!?

Peter Fairless… Hey, join the queue for that time machine!

Jan Warren… Wow!!

Bob Laurie… I recall that his wah-wah kept cutting out during Burning of the Midnight Lamp. I think that he started with Foxy Lady and finished with Purple Haze – everything else was a bit blurred!

Clive Wiltshire… I was there too!

Bob Shipway… It was an amazing gig. I remember being very close to the front of the stage. The showmanship and musicianship were on 11 that night! One of my all time Pier gigs.

Paul Coleman… I was there too – with Chris Farley. Where are you now Chris – Wolverhampton? Paul Coleman, Bexhill. pacman22@hotmail.co.uk

Jan Warren… My (late) sister-in-law was there!

Jim Breeds… I’m just comparing the Graham Nash autograph with the one that I have from a couple of years ago.

supplied by Jim Breeds

Alan Esdaile… Completely different. The G starts similar but I can’t see someone changing their autograph this much.

Jim Breeds… That’s what I was thinking. I didn’t want to say so in case of influencing the subject. I know mine is genuine.

Colin Bell… I was backstage that night and have no recollection of Graham Nash being there at all im sorry to say.

Mick O’Dowd… Why would anyone want to sign as Graham Nash? He never appeared onstage and in postings recently on another page another lady also got the autograph complete with Graham Nash! Strange! I know that I once signed a certain silver clad singer’s autograph (GG) behind the stage door but at least he was there and went onstage.

Jim Breeds… Perhaps it is a slightly different name? Or a different guy with the same name? (Seems unlikely, I know).

Tim Purcell… I was there, near the front when he went into his smashing up the guitar routine – although immediately before he tossed his good guitar over the speaker stack and a stage hand threw back an already battered one! Rock and roll with a cost conscience!

Grimey Wilks…  Tim, Absolutely right! When he humped the speaker cab it was a Marshall cab with no speakers in. Smoke and mirrors! Still the greatest though and SO glad I was there.

Tony Bird… I was there!

John Byrne… I represent 99.99999999999999% of the human race that wasn’t there !

Mick O’Dowd… Tim Purcell, were you the one that tried to put a band together with Twidge Partridge, Fats Wilshire and Neil (?) and me.?

SMART 57 coffee meet report

Our 57th SMART coffee meet and great to catch up with some old faces that we haven’t seen for awhile as well as new ones. Among the newbies this time were Linda Boiling and Dave Nattress. Linda was reminiscing about when she worked in Stylus record shop and had with her the Johnny Lambe Orchestra programme which Stylus promoted at The White Rock Pavilion, as well as a bundle of photos of dj’s and others from ‘Lazybones’ disco from 1977. We will be posting these on the website in the next few days. Good to see Dave Nattress at last! He had with him posters and artwork of Samisen from the 70’s and the group The Charts from 81. He will send me copies of these soon for the website and hopes to find some long lost photos as well. Geoff Peckham was chatting about the recent success of Plumptonfest and the track ‘This Land Is Green’ which proved very popular. Anthony ’Nan’ Morland arrived with some more interesting items. Including photos and autograph of Adam Faith when he was at the Hastings Museum The Mods and The Rockers exhibition in 2007, as well as photos of Mike Berry, The Redcoats and some interesting stories to tell. Merv Kennard had with him Terry James ‘The DeeJay’ keyring from when the shop was in Hastings Indoor Market and a copy of Merv’s Pirate Disco business card. He was in conversation with Lance Collins and Chris Kennard on disco equipment and memories. John Busbridge had a photo album which included some great photos of his groups and club membership cards. Cliff Wootton is still looking for photos and information of groups that used his dads Supersound amps and guitars and pretty sure that they are used in the GT Strokers photos at the Ore Kit Kat Club in 1967. Dave Trodd is working through photo negatives that he took  and in conversation with Jon and Julie McCallion, that it’s possible he took the original promotion photos for ‘Muller’. Elaine & Neil Roberts were chatting to Graham Belchamber about a new group that’s being formed and Graham was talking about his popular radio show and looking for more local groups that he can promote on the air.  Stephen Moran in between chatting to Colin Bell, was busy interviewing people, including Pete Millington, Mick O’Dowd and others for his research into the popular music history of Hastings. General chat was about Malcolm Mitchells, the restaurant plan to replace the toilets in the town centre, booster jabs and Fred Dinenage to leave Meridian.This is just a bit of what I can remember but if you wish to add anything else interesting that you were talking about, then please do. Hopefully plan to get one more meet in before Christmas.

Mick O’Dowd… Great Meet as usual Alan. Nice relaxed Meet. Had a long chat with Stephen Moran. Good stuff!

Tony May… Sounds like a cracking meeting! I’m wondering now whether Linda Boiling was the lady who I went to see The Commodores with at Eastbourne in or about 1985? She was going out with the one-armed electrician B.J. at the time…

Stephen Moran… Thank you Alan

Claire Lonsdale…I really wanted to come but I have been laid up with a nasty cold for a few days and I’m still not back to fighting fit. Hope to get to the next meeting. Xx

Geoff Peckham… Well done, Alan. Thanks for bringing us all together again. x

Tony Davis… Sorry to have missed today Alan

Jim Breeds… Sorry couldn’t make it. Face was all numb from dentist appointment immediately beforehand.

Cliff Wootton… Good to make it back after so long. Had a great time.

Elaine Roberts… Thank you for an enjoyable meet Alan. This is our new band, in case anyone’s interested

https://fb.watch/8PRD68V0BH/

Colin Bell… great to see all of you at the SMART meeting yesterday, kudos as ever to Alan, who works hard to put it on and re-unite people, well done mate.

Linda Boiling… In reply to Tony May… 1985 I had been married to Peter Boiling (Demon Disco, Lazybones) for 7 years and had 2 daughters, I remember the one armed electrician, (didn’t go out with him)and Peter knew him too, I think they worked together at one time. don’t remember going to see the Commodores sorry.

Tony May… It wasn’t you I worked with at Stylus then! (lol) No surprise me not remembering the poor girl I did work with. For 25 years everyone used to tell me I was thoughtless…only because I didn’t know what being thoughtless meant and didn’t care to find out because I WAS thoughtless I carried on regardless! (lol) Hopefully, I’m a tad less self -centred these days – just a tad!