Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dog and Trumpet - Coventry Music Venue

Pete Clemons with yet another article in the Coventry Telegraph, this time looking at the former Coventry Bier Keller turned New Wave cellar bar pub / music venue The Dog and Trumpet.

Hot Snacks (Previously known as Machine) were a Coventry ska band with Ex Specials drummer Silverton / replaced by ex Wandering John drummer Jim Pryal / bassis Ollie Oliver aka Doc Mustard / Mike Collins / Julian Bell / Jackie / Simon Finch / Tony Clarke. 
This Coventry ska band c 1978 - 81 is not to be confused with the later Tyneside band with a similar name but with a different spelling of Snacks ie Snax!

EMF were another Coventry ska band who played the Dog and Trumpet c 1979, led by Tony (Mojo) Morgan. Anti Bellum and the B side One Way Girl.

21 Guns Coventry ska band c 1980 / 81 could also be heard at the Dog and Trumpet along with so many more. Tracks 21 Guns b/w Ambition Rock Neville Staples Shack Label 1981 Line up Gus Gary 'Judge' Chambers (Vocals)Trevor Evans (Keyboards) Johnny Rex (Drums) Kevin Turner (Bass) Stuart Maclean (Guitar) - Single on Neville Staples Shack label.

This is a promo for the Leeds Bier Keller to give a flavour of the former Coventry one before the venue changed.

Memories of the Dog and Trumpet c1978 / 81 from Trev Teasdel

EMF and The Dog and Trumpet
" I never went to this venue while it was the Bier Keller but by 1979 ish it had become the Dog and Trumpet (otherwise known by its colloquial and un-politically correct name, The Dog and Strumpet!). On my first visit, I was walking with friends through Broadgate, towards the Dog when we bumped into Tony Morgan (now known as Mojo Morgan). Tony was an old friend, and I'd worked with him 9 years earlier when he was bass player with The Mick Green Blues Band. I'd written some lyrics for the band and Tony had set to music at least one of the lyrics - The Elusive Metallic Idol. However the band split up before it was tried out. Our conversation was mostly about Mick Green who sadly was suffering  a stress related illness and was no longer playing music. Tony was excited about a new band he was forming EMF (Electro-Motive Force) which would be a Ska band but with blues bass lines. He invited me to write some songs for the new band and I went up to his flat a few days later to discuss it. I wrote two songs Saturday Night (inspired by a fight outside the Dog and Trumpet) and With Someone Nice Like You (inspired by a female friend I met at the Dog and Trumpet). As time went by Tony got two girl singers for the band who wrote their own material and the band took off. I went to quite a few of their gigs and got the job of getting everyone dancing. Later they had a track on the Battle of the Bands album which also was a single (see the youtube above). I remember the band eventually playing the Dog and Trumpet and I helped them take the amps out to the van, parked at the rear of the Dog and Trumpet. John Bradbury was helping too we had to laugh when he addressed Tony as 'Two Tony'!

Sniff n the Tears and the Dog and Trumpet

Around the same time Ron Lawrence came over to me one night to tell me about his new band Sniff n the Tears. I'd also met Ron about 8 or 9 years earlier when he was bass player for a folk rock band called April who practiced at the Umbrella Arts Club. I used to let them in to the building to practice and watch the band doing great covers of  James Taylor and Fairport Convention songs along with their own. Ron and Loz Netto (lead guitar) had both joined the band and made the single Drivers Seat above). It seemed at the time that many of the musicians in Coventry were beginning to get the breaks they'd been waiting for, for a long time. Ron went on to be a session musician and has since toured and recorded with the Kinks, playing bass on Come Dancing. I think Ron and Loz they had been down in London for a while playing in a band called Moon.

Hot Snacks at Dog and Trumpet
Another band enjoying a great following was Hot Snacks (who began as Machine and had a ska track on the Sent From Coventry album 1970 called Character Change) (the youtube is above). I was at the Butts Tech with the bass players girlfriend Gill, both of us doing an A level in Economic History. Gill told me about Ollie's band and urged me to come to some of the gigs. I'd met Ollie (aka Doc Mustard) in 1974 while running Hobo Magazine. I used to type the magazine at the Sunshine Music Agency in Gulson Road and Ollie was always popping in. At the time he was in a band called Pug-Ma-Ho (later changing the name to Smack). As with EMF I went to a lot of their gigs. Silverton (former drummer with the Specials) was the drummer later replaced by Jim Pryal whose first gig with them was at the Dog and Trumpet. The gigs at the Dog were always exciting, packed out and lively. The Dog was one of the best music venues in Cov in the late 70's and 80's. It seemed that anybody who was anybody was there.

The Selecter
Another memory from 1979 was of Neol Davies. Once again I'd known Neol since 1969, at the Umbrella Club. Back then he had the longest hair in town and played or guested with a range of bands, from Asgard, Cat's Grave, Mead, Chapter Five, Transported Men over the last 10 years. In 1977 I worked with Neol for a Temping agency, Neol would pick me up in his band van at some unearthly hour and we'd go off to Daventry to do some warehousing work at Greenshield Stamps. In the front of the van was a photograph of  Chapter Five, a band started by Charley Anderson, with whom Neol was guesting with at the time. It was the same year that he recorded the Selecter track recorded by Roger Lomas (the selecter / Bad manners producer) on  a 4 track Teac Tascam in 1977 that later appeared on the B side of Gangsters. Fast forward - I'd just seen Selecter live at the Lanch Poly in 1979, prior to the release of On My Radio. Not long after I met Neol in the Dog and Trumpet. On My Radio had been released and I mentioned to Neol that the staff agency had got him a good job this time! He wasn't amused and his reply was priceless but unrepeatable! 

The Selecter - B side of Gangsters written by Neol Davies featuring John Bradbury and recorded in 1977 by Roger Lomas.

By now, with Two Tone assailing the charts and other bands gearing up for success, it was getting hard to talk to long standing musician friends without appearing to be sycophantic. I tended to shy away from the crowds after they became well known. The Dog and Trumpet however truly reflected the new Coventry music scene of thriving new bands, many of whom got to make records and toured outside of Coventry. It was an exciting period.

Bad Manners Roger Lomas tells us " Bad Manners played at the Dog & Trumpet to absolutely jam packed audiences on two occasions in 1980. Both times, they were 'warm up' gigs for their first two album promotional tours. Both of Bad Manners first two albums were recorded at Horizon Studios in Coventry.  I produced all four of Bad Manners 'hit' albums. The first two ('Ska'n'B' & 'Loonee Tunes') at Horizon Studios in Coventry, and the second two ('Gosh It's....' and 'Forging Ahead') at Rockfield Studios in Monmouth" 

Folk Band
About that time, I was also in a band. I'd been jamming with Andy Cairns since 1975 when i was running the Hobo Workshop gigs at the Holyhead Youth Centre and the Golden Cross. Andy began playing lead guitar in rock bands and developed in to jazz funk, playing for a brief moment in 1975 with Horace Panter in a jazz rock outfit that  I knew as Ricky's Band. (Can't recall if they had an official name). They played for us at the Hobo Workshop when it moved to the Golden Cross. I was developing my calw picking techniques and writing new songs around them. Andy began experimenting with some of these folk forms, combining it with jazz rock developments and lead. In 1979 we formed a new band which focused on my songs but with Pentangle and other covers. It was an acoustic band although Andy did plug his acoustic guitar in! Although acoustic our one sop to the venue came when Andy skanked up my song Mrs Stress and Strain. Andy's former bass player Martin Smallwood swopped his bass guitar for an upright string bass. Martin roadied for selecter at that time, using his father's long wheelbase van and Selecter's equipment was stored in his father's unit underneath the railway bridge at Holbrooks, where we practiced. Desmond Brown would sometimes pop in the while we were practicing to collect a bit of equipment. What a nice guy he was, always polite and friendly. We'd often end up in the Dog and Trumpet at the weekend. Our music was a far cry from what was going down but we enjoyed being different even though we loved all the ska stuff. The band never got to the gigging stage though. Andy went off to Aberystwyth to do his phd and i went to teesside to do my BA. Before we both left Coventry in 1980, Nick Davies popped round to Andy's, while we were jamming. Nick had been commissioned to produce the graphics for the Specials Illustrated Song book (seen in the video below). Nick showed us drafts of some of the cartoon pages for the book. They were very impressive and he obviously had been working night and day on them. Nick offered to draw us into one of the cartoons but as a skin head but we it wouldn't been too flattering! Although it has nothing to do with Dog and Trumpet, the book was a masterpiece of  design and we got to see the rough drafts - in fact Nick was making alterations as he talked to us.

Although I left Coventry in october 1980, in the midst of Coventry's finest moment musically, I often frequented the Dog and Trumpet on visits back home. By 1983, as I was completing my degree, the atmosphere had changed in Coventry. The bubble had began to burst. I stood with Ollie at the Dog and Trumpet bar. Hot Snacks had split up and later i went on with friends to the Oak and Roddy Radiation sat at our table. the Specials had split up and Roddy was back working as a painter and decorator. The split in the Specials had obviously got to him but he was already forming his own band.

The Dog and Trumpet (along with other important music venues) had played host some of Coventry's finest band and provided an atmosphere place to listen to music and socialise, make contacts and drink beer."

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rog and Pip - New 'Heavy' Album

Pete Clemons takes a look at an old but new Roger Lomas album with material recorded with another Ex member of The Sorrows, Pip Whitcher. Rog and Pip's new album on Rise Above Records, run by Lee Dorian is the subject of Pete's latest article for the Coventry Telegraph.

Rog & Pip Rarities Get New Release.

by Pete Clemons

RISE Above Records is a London based independent record label owned by Coventry born Lee Dorrian. Lee, of course, is probably best known for his involvement in bands such as Napalm Death and, in more recent years, Cathedral. The record label itself is named after a Napalm Death song, titled 'Rise Above' which came from their 1988 EP release 'Mentally Murdered'. Lee has been running Rise Above since 1988. The label itself was created, initially, as an outlet in order to sell releases by his band Napalm Death. It was a mail order business which operated out of Hillfield's House. And, for all correspondence, he would use a PO Box number in Bishop Street sorting office.

Over time the label grew and it began to release the music of groups that were similar to that of his own band. And over time Rise Above Records has built up a considerable back catalogue. A few years ago Rise Above expanded by announcing a sub label called Rise Above Relics which would cater for rare and vintage 1960s and 1970s releases. Several albums have so far been released on the 'Relics' label.

Rise Above Relics has, just recently, announced a series of new releases for 2014 and among them is an amazing collection of never before, and rarely heard, material by a Coventry partnership who created music together under the name of Rog and Pip.

For music lovers in Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond Rog and Pip (aka Roger Lomas and Philip 'Pip' Whitcher) should need little or no introduction. Both had been members of legendary 1960s Coventry band The Sorrows and, clearly, the pair was more than just band mates together. They had actually struck up a strong creative relationship during that period when they were together in The Sorrows.

Sometime after returning home, and settling down again, from The Sorrows infamous tours of Italy, during the late 1960s, Rog and Pip realised those dreams and ideas by creating a very productive song writing team. And over the next few years Rog and Pip recorded a treasure trove of songs.

Their partnership lasting well into the 1970s and during that period they apparently recorded a vast amount of material, mainly, at the state of the art AIR studios in London. Fortunately, Roger made sure he kept hold of copies of tapes of everything the pair recorded together. His instincts told him that, should they not be used, the contents of those tapes may well have been lost forever.

Some of the tunes they recorded were formally released but many never saw the day of light. And, now for the first time, this Rise Above Relics release titled 'Our Revolution' pulls together a dozen of those songs of which some are being aired for the very first time.

As the CD title suggests the songs themselves, all involve Roger Lomas and Pip Whitcher and of those which were formally released, had been, under various different group names. So the CD includes releases by Rog & Pip from the early 1970s along with other bands they were both involved with such as Renegade and The Zips.

The band Renegade came about after Roger had spent several months down in London doing session work for Southern Music. He made many contacts while in the capital including the estranged wife of Danny Williams. Her name was Virginia Williams and she recorded and released one of Roger's songs, 'Loving and Forgiving.' .' Rather than the song being released using her own name the single came out under the moniker of Renegade and was issued on the Parlophone label during 1973.

When he returned to Coventry Roger set about the creation of Renegade the band. For this he returned to his partnership with Pip Whitcher. Rog and Pip each played guitar and, together, they added the talents of bass player Mick Eastbury and Roger's brother Nigel Lomas on the drum seat. A second Renegade single 'A Little Rock 'n' Roll' complete with B side 'My Revolution' followed in 1974 and this was released on the Dawn label.

The Zips were a three-piece band who featured Rog and Pip and also ex-Indian Summer drummer Paul Hooper. The Zips were signed to Mickie Most's Rak Record label. For a short while, during studio work only, the band also included bass player Tom Evans from Badfinger. This band existed, approximately, between 1974 and 1976.

The Zips recorded two singles for Rak Records. One was a cover of The Everly Brothers 'Bye Bye Love' and the other covered The Beach Boys 'You're So Good To Me.' .' In both cases Mickie Most was at the helm for production duties. Mickie Most, you may remember, produced a host of bands and artists from the 1960s and 70s and was also on the judging panel for the 'New Faces' talent show.

Although the A sides of those RAK releases are not included on the CD, it is the B sides that do feature on 'Our Revolution'. Despite both singles getting plenty of airplay at the time they failed to dent the charts and so Zips disbanded, which was a shame, as the singles were both really good records.

Listening to the songs today after so many years Roger says 'these tracks were long forgotten about and the fond memories I had of recording the tracks, came flooding back. It was a very nostalgic and enjoyable experience.'.

Pip continues, 'When we first played the tapes again in Roger's house, for me it was quite an emotional experience. I was amazed how good some of the stuff was. Some of the tracks I don't even remember recording but it was wonderful hearing them again. I don't think either Rog or I realised just how good we were.' It is important to note that the sounds you will hear on the CD are not re-recordings. They are the actual songs created at that time maintaining a raw, gritty and slightly edgy tone. This is the genuine article and it is a tremendous slab of history.

Many of the tapes were not in the best of condition as they are over 40 years old. So Roger had to bake the tapes and mastered them himself. 'Some of the tracks turned out better than others, but considering that they are the only copies in existence, we had to accept that,' said Roger.

Roger's response to a question on would he and Pip ever perform or make more music again was 'As much as I would love to be able to turn back the clock I can't see it happening unfortunately. We had a phenomenal energy in our music. Could we achieve that again? Could we take the risk, and maybe fail? Better to let bygones be bygones. However, never say never, as they say.' To the same question Pip says, 'Oh if only. I loved all the stuff I did with Roger as Renegade, Zips and Rog & Pip. Musically, it was the best time in my life but unfortunately the years have moved on and, as Rog says, could we ever have the power and energy that we had then? It is great to listen to it now and wonderful to think that I was part of it. But in saying that I think the chemistry we had between us will always be there and I suppose stranger things have happened.' So the full track listing of 'Our Revolution, as arranged by Lee Dorrian, is as follows: 1. Why Won't You Do What I Want, 2. My Revolution, 3. Rock With Me, 4. Evil Hearted Woman, 5. Gold, 6. Doin Alright Tonight, 7. A Little Rock N Roll, 8. Hot Rodder, 9. Its A Lonely World, 10. Why Do You Treat Me Like That, 11. From a Window, 12. War Lord.

What 'Our Revolution' does is to give you a glimpse into the world of Rog and Pip's activities during the 1970s and, this release will be sure to be of interest to those keen on the Coventry music scene and vintage rock music in general.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Ecko Four and The Pickwicks

Pete Clemons visitation to the Coventry music scene once again - this time with a Coventry Telegraph article on the The Ecko Four and The Pickwicks - managed by Larry Page c 1963 / 64.

Pickwicks were frock and roll.
By Pete Clemons

ONE of the earliest of the Coventry beat bands was Tony Martin and the Echo Four. They formed during the early part of 1963 and the original line-up doing the circuit back then was Tony Lucas (AKA Tony Martin) on vocals, Mac Watts lead guitar, Alan Gee rhythm guitar, Rod Simpson bass guitar and Malcolm Jenkins on drums.

They were a relatively short-lived band but during 1963 Tony Martin and the Echo Four played well over 100 gigs in our region alone. The earliest dates I can find being at The Binley Oak in Paynes Lane which was one of the earliest venues to regularly put on 'rock and twist' nights. The band soon found their popularity growing and quickly got themselves on the circuit that included venues such as The Baginton Oak, The Craftsman, The Heath Hotel, Coventry Flying Club and many others.

Tony Martin and the Echo Four were highly rated for their musical ability and, after around a year or so, came to the attention of Larry Page who, at that time, was in control of entertainment at The Orchid Ballroom. I am guessing though that he had his own ideas about them and in what direction they should take.

One mystery that I do have concerns the discovery of a few dates I have made by a spin-off band called The Bandits who apparently featured Tony Martin. These gigs occurred toward the end of 1963 at the Flying Club and The Parkstone Club. Apart from those dates I know very little about this group and I am curious to know a bit more about The Bandits along with the other musicians who made up this group.

By March 1964 and, under his guidance, Larry Page reshaped The Echo Four and re-launched them as The Pickwicks. Firstly Mac Watts, who left the band, had been replaced by Johnny Miles and Tony (Martin) Lucas took on bass guitar duties as well as doubling up on vocals because Rod Simpson had also left the band.

The overhaul was completed with a final line-up of John Miles (vocals and lead guitar), Alan Gee (rhythm guitar), Tony Martin (bass) and Malcolm Jenkins (drums).

The Pickwicks, through Larry Page, obtained a residency at The Orchid Ballroom and they also gained a recording contract with Decca Records. Their first single was released during May 1964. It was a "beat" version of a song made some forty years previous which they called 'Apple Blossom Time.'.

* The original, '(I'll Be With You) In Apple Blossom Tim',' was a popular song in its day written by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Neville Fleeson, and first copyrighted in 1920. The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Artie Shaw, Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, Anne Shelton and many others.

In keeping with the Charles Dick-k ens theme the band had a photo shoot where they were dressed in Dickensian attire complete with top hats. But with dry cleaning and the pressing of this gear, in particular the frilled shirts, taking up to a week and a half it proved to be totally impractical.

Johnny Miles sang lead vocal on The Pickwicks version of 'Apple Blossom Time' and it and was given a B-side titled 'I Don't Wanna Tell You Again'. The matrix number for the single was Decca 1964 - F11901 but, despite the publicity, it failed to hit the charts.

So by the time the second single, 'Your Old Enough',' was released the band had reverted back to a more orthodox stage dress. On its release it was described in the local press as 'a throbbing rhythm and blues sound led by vocalist John Miles who also comes over well on the flipside 'Hello Lady'.

Incidentally 'Your Old Enough',' Decca 1964 - F11957, was released during August '64 and was specially written for the band by songwriter Michael Julian who had also written Cliff Richard's hit 'Constantly'.

The Pickwicks, although playing a lot of dates in and around Coventry, seemed to spend a lot of their time on the road playing many dates around the country. There are plenty of tales to tell that involved incidents with their van overheating, breaking down on the M1 and such like.

The band's third and final single was released in January 1965. This one was titled 'Little by Little' and was released on the Warner Brothers label. Its matrix number was WB151 and produced by Larry Page himself. Its B-side 'I Took My Baby Home' is an early Ray Davies song and the original version can be found on the B-side of The Kinks' first single 'Long Tall Sally'. It was widely reported that future Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, played lead guitar on the single but some reports I have read deny it.

The Pickwicks eventually split up in March 1965. Maybe The Kinks and his latest find, The Troggs, were now uppermost in manager Larry Page's thoughts. But it seems that the group had not been getting the amount of work they expected.

Tony Martin, as well as working as a driver, went on to join a band called The Clouds alongside both Roger and Nigel Lomas. Alan Gee worked for Alfred Herberts. John Miles and drummer Malcolm Jenkins had hoped to form another group. I am not sure if this ever happened but Malcolm did have continued success when he resurfaced with The Ray King Soul Band appearing on their Live at the Playboy Club album.

The story of The Pickwicks did not end there though. Even after the band called it a day their legacy continued for a little while longer... well at least the band's name did.

It seems that after Coventry's Pick-k wicks disbanded a group of musicians based up in Manchester bought the rights to the band's name. Back in the 1960s you could easily register a name. The Manchester version of the band toured Germany and other parts of Europe. One of those band members would go on to become an agent and promoter.

Cutting via Broadgate Gnome A to Z 

The Pickwicks (R&B/Beat group)  made three singles under Larry Page in 1964 -

Apple Blossom Time - 1964 b/w I Don't Wanna Tell You  (Decca 1964 - F11901)

You're Old Enough b/w Hello Lady  (Decca 1964 - F11957)

Little by Little b/w I Took my Baby Home  (Warner Bros. 1965 - WB151)

The Pickwicks made three singles under Larry Page in 1964
This one, a B side from c1965,  was written by Ray Davies of the Kinks with - allegedly Jimmy Page on guitar.

From Broadgate Gnome 2003 
"The Pickwicks line up consisted of - John Miles (lead guitar), Alan Gee (rhythm guitar), Tony Martin (bass), Malcolm Jenkins (drums).

Started life as Tony Martin And The Echo Four, before Larry Page signed them in March 1964 and changed
their name. Initially their stage gear was top hats and tails a' la 'Pickwick Papers' , but when they couldn't find anyone to clean them, they quickly gave the image up!

They cut 3 fine singles of tough Beat/R&B, with Jimmy Page playing lead guitar on at least the first 2 of them. 'Apple Blossom Time' is a cover of the old standard with a tough backing but fairly weak vocals, whilst the B-side has a great Page guitar solo. The A-side of the second single was a ballad, but the B-side was described as '...throbbing R&B...' 'I Took My Baby Home' is an early Ray Davies song, originally released as the B-side of 'Long Tall Sally', The Kinks first single. 

They eventually split up in April 1965 with drummer Jenkins going on to join The Ray King Soul Pact / Band."

NOTE - " On Youtube Darcylee writes " Darcylee96
"Singles: Why is it on all of these i have to put Tony Martin and the Echo Four did NOT originate from the Pickwicks ... The Pickwicks had John Miles and he wasnt it the echo four ... he told me that himself ... Johnny miles is my grandad"


From Pete Chambers - Backbeat - Coventry Telegraph

" DID fabulous Coventry beat group The Pickwicks lose out on chart success because their B-sides were better
than their A-sides? PETE CHAMBERS investigates.
TONY MARTIN and His Echo Four had been playing the local and national circuits, including a prime show at Coventry Theatre supporting Brian Poole and The Tremeloes. Local impresario Larry Page spotted them and so began the image building.
Out went the black suits and ties. In came the "Mr Pickwick" frock coats, breeches, top hats and even stick-on whiskers!
It was March 1964 and The Pickwicks had completed the transformation with the line-up of John Miles (vocals and lead guitar), Alan Gee (rhythm guitar), Tony Martin (bass) and Malcolm Jenkins (drums).

With a residency at the city's Orchid Ballroom and a diary full of bookings, Larry Page secured a Decca recording contract for his boys.

Johnny Miles insisted their first single was a remake of the old classic Apple Blossom Time (the 1920s Fleeson &
Tilzer song that had been recorded by The Andrews Sisters among others).

But this was no ballad, instead it was given the big beat treatment.

"I was always influenced by the drums and bass sound that Johnny Kidd and the Pirates achieved," reveals John Miles.

"Our drummer Malc was a big guy so he could hit the skins with a lot of power."

Indeed such was the style of Malcolm Jenkins that when John heard a band long after The Pickwick days playing live, without seeing their drummer he recognised Malc just by his drumming style.

Apple Blossom Time was completed in just three takes and I Don't Want to Tell You Again was picked for the B-side.

Apple Blossom was a good song, but the B-side was a great song - a product of that time and akin to the multi-part harmonies The Beatles were doing on the likes of She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand.

Johnny's fabulous pop-beat voice was more than good enough to be heard on the charts, but Apple Blossom Time was the chosen single and I Don't Want to Tell You Again never got a look-in.

Towards the end of 1964 the Pickwick Papers image had been dropped, mainly due to the fact that they couldn't get the costumes cleaned quickly enough.

John says: "It was so hard to find a cleaner who knew how to clean and press all the ruffs and frills, and when we eventually did find one, it took about a week to get them back, so it was easier to just give them up."

But The Pickwicks were more than just an image. Anyone who has ever witnessed them will know what a top-flight
freakbeat unit they were.

This was much in evidence on their second single You're Old Enough with Hello Lady on the flip.

On hearing these two tracks you start looking yet again for which is the A-side and which the B.

You're Old Enough is a good enough song, but the B-side - that's what The Pickwicks were all about.

Hello Lady (recorded in just one take) positively rocks along in a 12- bar boogie style and John's lead vocals are spot on.

I talked to him about the way the single was released, saying I couldn't understand why Hello Lady was consigned to a B-side. I felt that had it been an A-side then Coventry may well have had another hit band.

"You are right of course", explains John. "We pleaded with the management at Decca to flip the whole thing, but they were adamant and look what happened."

What happened was, like its predecessor, it failed to chart.

Despite the lack of hit-parade success, the band continued to play up and down the country. One such concert at
Bradford's Fat Black Pussycat Club was more memorable than most.

John says: "We were on stage at this smallish club, when suddenly Tony Martin started going wild. He was leaping about with his bass still playing. I was knocked out. I thought Tony's well into it tonight, this was pre- Hendrix but he was doing all his kind of stuff, going mental.

"It turned out that he had leant against some heating pipes at the back of the stage and burnt the skin off his neck, but like a good trooper he had continued to play."

In 1965 they switched labels to Warner Brothers releasing the now highly collectable single Little by Little with I Took my Baby Home (a Ray Davies/Kinks song) on the B-side. Yet again, in my opinion, a mistake.

Both songs were good but I Took my Baby Home was by far the catchier of the two.

As I said, this single is highly collectable, because all over the internet it is claimed a certain Jimmy Page played guitar on the track.

Although a great session man, the future axe-person for Led Zeppelin never played on this or any other Pickwicks
record, it was a guy called Harry Friar.

So that's just lopped pounds 50 off my copy of Little by Little!

Before 1966 The Pickwicks had split up, with Malcolm Jenkins joining The Ray King Band and Tony Martin joining Roger Lomas in The Clouds. John went on to work with The Kinks and with his idol Johnny Kidd: "He was a lovely man, I never heard him criticise anyone. Such a talent."

And then in 1988, while visiting a relation in Myton Hospice, John saw a face he barely recognised. It was Tony Martin.

"We sat and talked about the old days, it was so good to see him again. I went back a few days later with Alan Gee. We took our guitars along and sang Apple Blossom Time with Tony one last time, it was magical but so very sad.

"A month later Tony was gone, but he will never be forgotten."


HELLO LADY was written by former Harley Street specialist Michael Julien in just five minutes. He had previously
written Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me for Shirley Bassey and Constantly for Cliff Richard.

LARRY PAGE got The Pickwicks a prime place on the bill at the Royal Albert Hall. Others playing that night included The Applejacks and Adam Faith.

Little by Little was also released on Warner Brothers in America.

Malcolm Jenkins started his drumming career with The Coventry School of Drums. ";+BACKBEAT:+BECAUSE...-a0132909874