The Three Degrees and The Meridian featuring Janine – Kings Country Club Eastbourne March & July 1978

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photos and menu supplied by Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Palfrey Martin… I have dug around and come up with the attached photos from Thursday 27 July 1978 – One is HRH talking to the girls before the show in the Foyer of Kings Country Club, Eastbourne and the other was taken with HRH and I think it was Sheila Ferguson doing the ” bump” – this image of HRH was flashed around the world within hours and made newspapers everywhere.

Alan Esdaile… Could it be Andre in the background on the first picture?

Andre Palfrey Martin … It could well be, I was working that night, and quite on the cards I would have been backstage, security had almost shut down the whole building, we had to be at the club by 6.00pm a good 2 hours earlier than usual, once in you could not get out ! however in the club itself, I could go anywhere as usual, so its on the cards that could well be me. I am sure that I would have had my hair and beard trimmed for the night, and would of course been in some form of formal attire. It was a great night. The Girls were really terrific people, but I still cannot remember their Tour Managers name, I think it was Richard …something, I do however recall that I had to give up my dressing room that night for him to use, I had to share the resident bands room with them.

Trevor Walker… My wife and I were there ! Good times were had at Kings ! Show Place of the South !!!

Jacqueline Marsh… I was there about half a dozen seats away from Charlie, he was absolutely drooling over the 3 Degrees !

Andre Martin… Your quite right about Prince C this was the famous shot that went global when he visited the club for the Prince’s Trust.l must dig out the original and have close look at this presentation line up,all I can remember was that was next to Sandy Croft in the second row it was 40 years ago

 

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing The Honeycombs, The Three Degrees and The Isley Brothers cd’s.

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304 HOLLOWAY ROAD REVISITED The Honeycombs

For those of you of a certain age like myself the album title will be immediately familiar. It is of course the address in North London of the legendary RGM studios home of maverick genius producer Joe Meek. If you haven’t seen ‘Telstar’ the excellent film of his life you really must. The Honeycombs gave Joe his third (and last) No.1 with the thumping ‘Have I The Right’ back in 1964. Founder of the band Martin Murray intended this new album to be released in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that achievement, the deadline overran due to this and that but is now here. Martin wanted to utilise the technology now available to re-imagine, rework and re-arrange The Honeycombs songs and keep to the spirit of Holloway Road. The majority of the songs were written by the emerging team of Ken Howard and Alan Blakley who were to have major success and endless hits with notably DD.D.B.M & T, The Herd and even Elvis. Indeed ‘Its so hard’ recorded by DDBMT appears on this album. So do these reworkings work? Yes in the main they do and I get Martins desire to put a new take on things. HITR becomes a slower tempo orchestral country tinged affair as opposed to the Dave Clark style stomper it was back in the day. Opening tracks ‘Leslie Anne’ and ‘Mary Jo’ both uptempo numbers sound fresh and ‘retro’ at the same time and there is no doubting the musical ability on display. Totem Pole 9 (theme from Howards Way) yes. you read that right! manages to come away sounding like a homage to the Tornados ‘Telstar’ Deliberate? don’t know but brought a smile to my face. I have to say the track that didn’t work for me was ‘That’s The Way’ The Honeycombs second hit, here given a reggae style makeover, reminding me of Blondie’s ‘Island of Lost Souls’ (I didn’t care for that either!). But overall as aforementioned Martin has made a refreshing, enjoyable and engaging album.

For more information go to http://www.angelair.co.uk

STRATEGY (OUR TRIBUTE TO PHILADELPHIA) The Three Degrees

I have to confess straightaway that back in the 1970’s when the girls were huge with songs like ‘When Will I See You Again’ ‘Year of Decision’ ‘Take Good Care of Yourself’ et al I was to put it nicely… underwhelmed..ive always strived to be honest in 45 years of reviewing. To me those hits were too cabaret, over produced and to my ears dare I say soulless. So having said that I approached this new release with some trepidation. Celebrating 50 years in the business original members Helen Scott and Valerie Hobday along with (relative) newcomer Freddie Pool (she joined in 2011) have released this first new studio album in 25 years. Whether its the injection of Freddie, the superb choice of material, all covers/tributes to the O’Jays, McFadden and Whitehead, Billy Paul, The Trammps, Harold Melvin etc this is a whole different ballgame. This is SOUL, all those negatives I had are swept away. This is Proper with a capital P, the arrangements are stunning, I particularly single out ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ (always a personal favourite song), but there is not one track that doesn’t now ooze with real emotion and a real groove. This is an all new Three Degrees for me. Maybe they now have more freedom to record the way they want to, whatever, the end result is light years on. They may be covering old songs but this album is as relevant as any contemporary soul artist. Listen to the very ‘now’ lyrics in ‘Love Train’. I wasn’t aware until reading the press release that they are in the Guiness World Records as the longest running female vocal group in history. On this showing they’ve earned that status. Superb. And in closing I dedicate this review to SMART member and old friend Andre who worked a lot with the girls back in the day at Kings and probably wholeheartedly disagrees with my opening comments!….

MASTERPIECE/SMOOTH SAILIN (2CD SET) The Isley Brothers

I guess you could see this release as the third coming of the Isleys. The first being the Tamla glory days of Twist and Shout, This Old Heart of Mine, and my favourite Behind A Painted Smile and many more in the 60’s. Then moving into the 70’s with a revamped sound that brought forth hits like That Lady and Summer Breeze. This 2CD set released for the first time and recorded for Warners in 1985 and 1987 features the original three man line up of Ronald, O’Kelly and Rudolph Isley. In relation to the previous 2 decades this is the Isleys in a new direction using other songwriters as opposed to their own material. Covering Phil Collins ‘If Leaving Me Is Easy’ for example and making it a 7 minute exquisite soulful blissed out track. Indeed Masterpiece relies on lush ballads as befitted US R’n’b radio stations at that point in time. Out goes raw and in comes silky and that ubiquitous use of synthesizers and the (for real drummers) the prolific use of sodding drum machines..ahem, anyway despite the fact this has 80’s production stamped all over it you cant drown the sheer quality of vocals of the brothers, lets be clear they could sing the phone book and it would still encapsulate soul. Masterpiece isn’t for dancing (well only upclose and personal!) But to chill to it is right up there. Try ‘Come To Me’ as a prime example. Perfect to relax to and bathe in the warmth of a timeless band. Smooth Sailin, despite its title is a bit more of an upbeat affair Ron Isleys distinctive vocal is more to the fore on tracks like ‘Everything is Alright’ and the funk element is more prominent, as are the synth/drum…Smooth Sailin Tonight and ‘Come My Way’ standout, however I think of the two CD’s in this package Masterpiece just edges it for me. You, quite rightly, will make up your own minds.

For more information go to http://www.cherryred.co.ukcolin-head

Til next time, keep warm, Colin

 

White Rock Theatre – 2015

Gerry & The Pacemakers – 20th April 2015.
Letz Zep – 21st May 2015.
The Manfreds – 29th May 2015.
Three Degrees – 5th June 2015.
https://whiterocktheatre.org.uk 

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Jane Hartley… I’m already planning to see Gerry across the Mersey and the 5 faces ofMannfred Mann, next week the Fortunes!

Andre Martin… Well done Alan, following the good music as always – great number this with an interesting personal story for Gerry.

Jim Hobbs…Great song, well sung, well produced. A ‘Prime Cut’. Anybody remember ‘Porky Prime Cut’ etched into the inner ring of some classic eighties singles?

Alan Esdaile… Remember Porky Prime Cuts Jim Hobbs on the records but forgot the story behind it. Here is what Discogs says about it… George Peckham, better known as “Porky” [as in “A Porky Prime Cut”] is a lacquer-cutting and mastering engineer with an illustrious career that includes work on the Beatles, Genesis and Led Zeppelin catalogue. He started his career in disc cutting as a trainee at Apple in 1968 and his signature can be found in the dead/wax runout grooves of many classic and obscure Rock, Punk, Post-Punk and New-Wave records that were pressed in the UK. Porky would often include cryptic and humorous messages on his work [eg. “You’ll Never Work Again” is inscribed on the A side runout of The Fall’s LP “Totale’s Turns (It’s Now Or Never)”]. http://www.discogs.com/artist/380591-George-Peckham