In April 1965 it was decided to take a summer season performing on a ferry in Jersey. Whilst there, we were the first group to perform for the Dame of Sark. We were booked to play on the tiny Channel Island of Sark, to commemorate the 4th Centenary of the family who owned/governed the island. When we returned to the UK in September, I didn’t fancy going to Germany indefinitely. I decided to call it a day, so that’s it for The Hi-
I told our agency about me leaving The Hi-
Some years later Len Ford, Malcolm Wright, Malcolm Lenny and myself, all ex members of The Hi-
We did 3 Joe Meek related gigs and made an instrumental album, of dubious quality titled “This Is It” (before Michael Jackson named his tour), and that folks is very definitely it!!
Born September, 1941 in Camberwell, South East London.
It’s September 1959 when my parents bought for my 18th birthday a Hofner President S/A electric guitar up to this point I had been using a friends cast off acoustic to learn the basics.
After learning the basics I’m spending time uptown at the 2 I’s coffee bar and get to jam before it gets too busy, when a couple of guys Stan-
Not long after that in April 1960 they turned up at my home late one night “ fancy a summer season ,pays £20 per week at Butlins, Ayr in Scotland”. So I packed a suitcase and joined them in a small van, where I met the leader and vocalist Roy Tempest. When we stopped somewhere for a travel break, Danny took me to one side and told me I was playing bass guitar, and that’s where it really all began.
So I learnt to play bass for most of the season and by September I knew that it was the instrument for me. But like so many other musicians, I got ripped off moneywise and so I decided not to pursue anymore gigs with that line up. Trouble was I did not have my own bass guitar. If I was to get a bass guitar, I had to get money coming in-
I bought a 2 pick-
1961, September/October I answered a Melody Maker advert for a bass and lead guitarist. This turned out to be Tony Holland and The Packabeats. They came over to my house bringing with them a guitarist named Malcolm Lenny. The audition went well and they asked both of us to join the group. I carried on with the day job until about February 1962, when my boss asked me to make a choice-
The Packabeats had 2 instrumental 45’s released on Pye records.
7N15480 Evening in Paris/The Traitors.
7N15549 Dream Lover/Packabeat.
Plus a vocal featuring Tony Holland. HMV pop1135 Sidewalk/Time Goes By
This never got a try out on stage, we were busy putting a playlist together when Brian got a phone call, with an offer to back Duane Eddy on an upcoming tour with Little Richard and The Shirelles @ £20 per night! (This had come about due to a musician’s union dispute with America, over reciprocal musician exchange). We all had a meeting in a London Hotel, which I cannot remember the name of, where Duane Eddy’s bass player (name not remembered), explained that they only wanted drums and bass plus some quiet keyboard. As we all needed the money, we decided to split the cash 4 ways. It’s all a bit hazy, but I think Garry Peterson didn’t want to kick his heels for 5/6 weeks and after that I don’t remember him being around, where he went I do not know, but he was never seen or heard of again after that.
We didn’t get to meet with Duane Eddy, until the final rehearsal (his bass player had been in charge of taking the sessions), we only met the stand in sax player (Rex Morris, a top session player and former Lord Rockingham’s 11 member, known as Sexy Rexy) at that final run through. We went through about 45 minutes worth (12 songs + banter) and at the end of it he said “that’s fine guys” shook our hands and was gone. I think of Duane Eddy as a reluctant front man, just playing his guitar, with that unique sound, which sounded on stage exactly the same as his records. Every night his 3 piece band, were at the side of the stage encouraging Duane and us. I remember it as a very good experience.
These 3 singles were all recorded and produced by the legendary Joe Meek. This had the group travelling all over the UK during 1962/63, but the “Mersey sound” was taking over. As so many bands at that time were willing to play gigs for next to nothing, just in the hope of being spotted, I found it hard to carry on, earning less and less. So I decided to leave in the summer of 1963. As I had composed the song for Tony Holland’s record, which didn’t chart, I thought I would spend some time composing, but after a few weeks and 5/6 songs later, I was missing the interaction with other musos.
So in October 1963 once again I replied to a Melody Maker advert for bass guitarist/vocalist and met with Brian Bennett and Malcolm Wright of The Hi-
Little Richard had been top of the bill, but after the first few nights he dropped out of the tour (the official reason was that he had hurt his ankle, but I felt there was a strong male dominated audience and he wasn’t getting the adulation he expected), so we went top of the bill with Duane Eddy. The promoters (Don Arden/George Cooper) brought in Gary U.S. Bonds and Gene Vincent. The Shirelles closing the first half, Duane Eddy closed the show. We were just hired as 4 musicians, no mention of The Hi-
All this certainly opened my eyes, to how good a musician’s life on the road was for well known artists. Luxury coach travel, free meals and drinks, a gang of roadies setting up the gear. It was a big jolt going back to a tatty old van and having to do everything and pay for it all as well.
In early 1964 a guitarist name of Brook Trickett, who lived in Blackheath joined us. We taped some songs I had written. Our agency liked them and booked us for a recording session at IBC sound studios. The producer/engineer was Glynn Johns, who went on to do great things, (but not for our records) and became legendary. From that session a single was released in May 1964, “Will yer or won’t yer/she’s the one” on Pye records 7N15635. Apart from an appearance on the “5 0’Clock Club” TV show, it went completely unnoticed and at the end of June 1964, we took an open ended gig in Portugal playing 2 clubs. One was in Lisbon and the other near Estoril. We did a live TV show and locals and holiday makers made a big fuss of us for a short time afterwards (free meals and drinks etc). However we were not getting the agreed wages for our residencies and had to resort to going to the British Embassy for help. We got our money and we also got fired-
A large front page advert in the New Musical Express was acquired by our management and a package tour headlined by The Hollies followed ( I can remember playing a gig on the Isle of Man that was not on the listing in the New Musical Express and also another 5 o’clock TV show appearance. So Oct/Nov/Dec 1964 were hectic times. We also backed Jess Conrad on many dates and whether it was because of his influence or not, we got to do The Saturday Club radio show (now titled Sound of the Sixties), backing Jess and also performing our own songs.
Early in December 1964 we got to appear on the Kathy Kirby TV show, which must have gone down really well as we were invited back in February 1965, on one of her “Song for Europe” shows, along with Adam Faith. This saw the release of our final Pye records release, our cover version of the Lennon & McCartney/Beatles song “Baby’s in Black” and the B side was my song “Kiss and Run”. Pye records 7N15788 Surely this was going to be our big break at last! How wrong could I have been, apart from guesting odd nights on package tours with Manfred Mann and The Yardbirds, which I remember had Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page playing together in the band.
I think it was around this time that Brian Bennett and I decided we needed a third vocalist and as I was still in touch with Malcolm Lenny from The Packabeat days, he told me that they had split up and he was now playing with a 3 piece outfit called The Premiers. So as luck would have it we arranged a swap, Malcolm joined The Hi-
Pye records wanted another single to release, so we did an arrangement of a Chuck Jackson song, “I Keep Forgettin” for the A side and my 3rd song, already in the can from April as the B side, “Why Can’t I Stop Loving You” Pye records 7N15710 Brook Trickett had his name credited in the release sheet, but left the group well before it was released and it should have been credited to Malcolm Lenny.
Brian Bennett, Tony Coates, Malcolm Wright, Ted Harvey
Malcolm Wright, Brian Bennett,Ted Harvey, Brook Trickett