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Jess Roden Band1

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ALBUMS/SINGLES

TOURS

The Jess Roden Band

Under Suspicion

Guitarist Bruce Roberts, for example, had cut his teeth with The Primeval – playing regular support gigs to the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Unit 4+2 and The Who.

He went on to join The Quik (also featuring Pete Hunt on drums) who were signed to Deram and released two singles – neither of which caused much trouble to the chart-compilers of the day – and toured with The Who, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band as well as Cream.

By varying degrees, Bruce became part of The Globe Show alongside the twin-horns of Chris Gower (trombone) and Ronnie Taylor (saxophone) and John Cartwright (drums).

JOHN CARTWRIGHT – “When I was six I asked for a guitar but got a banjo instead. Secretly, I was a bit cut-up about that.

" Prior to The Globe Show, he had a band called The Life - “a harmony group, playing all manner of Tamla stuff” before being contacted by Bruce with the suggestion of joining up. “I find that guitar, bass, piano and drums are all well within my reach – like when we formed the Globe Show, they had a bass player but no drummer.”

Cartwright took the hot seat for the next three years, gaining his nick-name (Maggot or Maggs due to his emaciated looks) from Ronnie Taylor along the way.

RONNIE TAYLOR – “I took an interest in soul music which led to loving the Sax. When I was 15 my Dad bought an old Boosey & Hawkes Sax and I went for lessons with a guy called Gill Hume from whom I later bought my Selmer mark Six.”

“The first band I got involved with was an 8 piece soul band in 1966 called The Anthony James Scene; we just toured round the British coast. From 1968 to 1971 I was part of The Globe Show – the real name of the band was actually The Chris Shakespear Globe Show – made up of musicians from four different bands.”

Chris Gower, on the other hand, only took up his instrument not long after he moved to Shanklin in the Isle of Wight aged nine; in 1963 he joined the Unity Stompers and four years later had turned pro, playing a raft of summer-seasons at British holiday camps. From there, he moved to London, joining Roberts, Taylor & Cartwright in The Globe Show.

RONNIE TAYLOR – “In 1968, ’69 and ‘70 we were touring around a lot, and our manager – who was as bent as a nine-bob note – put us with this agency in London which was run by Henry Sellers and Danny O’Donovan.”

“They had a work-out club as well ‘cos, if they had any problems at any of their gigs, then they’d send one of their henchmen along to sort things out.”

“It was a tough circuit… when the Globe Show was getting going, that was when Jess was with The Alan Bown and we’d bump into each other occasionally.”

“We used to tour all over but the idea was… it was a sort of visa exchange thing whereby if a certain number of players went to the States, then the same amount had to be left behind in America when the acts played in Britain and Europe. It had to balance out. So, that’s why we got to backing up all these American artists.”

“I worked out one day that I’d done 350 gigs with Ben E King – that’s over five tours.”

“We used to do 13 gigs a week over six weeks. We’d do doubles through the week and the Saturday we’d do a matinee to all the pill-pushing kids of 14.”

“Plus, we’d do places like The Steering Wheel in Manchester where the walls would be dripping water and you get up and do your four or five o’clock stint and then you’d go on at The Mecca at about 8-9pm in the evening and then you’d go to Birmingham and maybe you’d do one of the gangsters – like the Fewtrell Brothers (see sidebar) – clubs...’

“Then, after we’d done one of The Fewtrell’s places, it’d be The Cedar Rooms or whatever and then Sundays were your day off… so you travelled back to get your washing done and then Monday morning, the blast on the car horn outside the window and... off you’d go all over again.”

“We travelled in a Transit; so what we used to do when we went to Scotland, we used to lay a board down – we’d open the back doors, put all the gear in and we’d then lay a four by eight sheet of plywood across the top of the seats.”

“It was a luxury van, everyone wanted one… twelve-hundred quid back then they were brand new.”

“And you’d lay the board out – I mean, no one wanted to sit and look at the scenery or anything like that…  other than Bruce and he’d settle into a hole under it with one of his Mickey Spillane books… and then three of us would lay on this sheet of plywood.”

“Sometimes we’d have change arounds. Like if one of us had an argument with the bass player ‘cos he didn’t want to lie down as it’d crease his trousers…”

“So, it’d take 12 hours to get to the border then we’d get a cheap digs somewhere; y’know, five to a room, that sort of thing.” 

“Maggs said to me when I last saw him, ‘We were dead lucky then, what experiences we had; 20… 21 years old, working with Irma Franklin at the Royal Albert Hall… Wilson Pickett, Patti Labelle doing the only British tour she ever did… Ben E King… Jimmy Ruffin… Joe Tex...’ I mean, this was one band – The Globe Show – and we backed ‘em all.”

“In the beginning, we didn’t even know what Ben E King looked like. Well, not really ‘cos… at the first rehearsal we were thinking… this can’t be him… and it wasn’t, it was just the MD he’d brought with him.”

“And, then Ben E came in and, directly he opened his mouth it was… wow. He was wonderful and as that tour went on he just got better and better. If you pulled your weight with Ben E - he was excellent but Jimmy Ruffin... he was a real pain in the butt – he thought he originated from The Moors in North Africa.”

“He sacked Bruce on tour… but, obviously he didn’t have a key player within his band then and had to reinstate him… Ruffin had a saying, ‘To hurt you would be to hurt myself.’”

“Patti (LaBelle) had a few tears to start with but she was alright in the end. Her and the girls cooked us food one night, soul food. Patti never did doubles, she’d just do her six gigs a week.”

The Globe Show cut their teeth not just up and down the length and breadth of Britain but right across Europe as well. Then in 1971 the band reinvented themselves as... Iguana.

The line-up was: Bruce Roberts, Chris Gower and Ronnie Taylor from the afore mentioned Globe Show together with John Cartwright who switched to bass... Don Shin on keyboards... with Pete Hunt coming in on drums. 

PETE HUNT – “My first band was The Storms (playing Buddy Holly covers) then there was another that played Society Balls – we even had the tartan suits, just like the Shadows.”

“Then there was a soul band, The Bit-T Show, where we did loads of Ray Charles material.”

Next up for Pete was The Soul Agents (that originally featured a certain Rod Stewart), prior to a stint in The Quik with Bruce Roberts before he auditioned for Freddie Mack’s backing group.

 

Taken from the first JRB photosession l/r: Ronnie Taylor, Pete Hunt (standing), Steve Webb, JR, John ‘Maggs’ Cartwright, Chris Gower (standing), Bruce Roberts

Birmingham Nightlife

While sailing just beyond the arm of the law, it’s nonetheless fair to say The Bros Fewtrell did more to develop Birmingham’s nightlife culture than nearly anyone else.

They initially opened up The Bermuda Club in Navigation Street – which assumed legendary status for having both a front of house bar and ‘backstage’ gambling den that was frequented by high-ups within the Birmingham City Police force as well as City dignataries – then came the Cedar Club (off Constitution Hill) before launching Barbarella’s on Cumberland Street (just off Broad Street).

Barbarella’s was one of the key Midland venues of its time and, during its lifetime, boasted a veritable who’s who of touring bands, many of whom would go on to global renown.

Rebeccas (on John Bright Street) followed and, for a time, became the epicentre of Birmingham nightlife during the ‘80’s.

With Jess’ first solo record nearly complete, conversations within Island turned to who might be available for him to go out on the road with and, promote it.

Among the many dozens of ‘demo tapes’ sent in to the Island A&R team at 22, St Peters Square, one had caught the ears – this particular group had a spot of previous with Polydor. But the session that they’d recorded for Island wasn’t quite enough to get them a deal.

Nevertheless, they’d aroused enough interest to prompt suggesting that they and Jess meet up. And... the band were called... Iguana.

“I went down to Southampton to meet them in a pub where they rehearsed, we spent the afternoon together and we all seemed to be getting on really rather well and agreed to rehearse some stuff.”

Iguana formed in the Hampshire coastal town of Southampton in the early seventies; although the genesis of their founding members can be traced back to a slew of hugely experienced, dues-fully-paid-up, t-shirts washed and properly laundered, jobbing musicians.

And, as a consequence of that... we need to step back in time a little bit.

The Globe Show, from L/R: Cliff Barks (bass) Ronnie Taylor (sax), John ‘Maggs’ Cartwright (drums, below), Tomy Lowe (trumpet), Bruce Roberts (guitar, vocals) and John Rennie (sax). Not in photo Chris Shakespeare (lead vocal.)
The Quik with Bruce Roberts (standing centre, back) and Pete Hunt (seated centre, front.)

 

Freddie Mack

Born on a cotton plantation in South Carolina, Freddie Mack originally found fame as a light-heavyweight boxer before becoming a sparring partner to the likes of Henry Cooper.

He then embarked on a brief career in films – even landing a role in Cleopatra (that starred Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor).

In the late sixties he re-invented himself with the variously know Freddie Mack Sound / Freddie Mack Extravaganza through which a plethora of notable musicians – including Dick Morrissey (tenor sax), B.J. Wilson (drums), Alan Cartwright (bass), Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thomas (trumpet) as well as Pete Hunt passed.

Pete played with Mack for nearly a year but, one ‘phone call from Bruce Roberts later and the final pieces of the jigsaw that would, ultimately, become Iguana were assembled.

 

ROB ROWDEN (crew) – "I started working with Iguana in 1969 having met John Cartwright (Maggs) through an associate, with him sleeping on the floor of a friend’s flat. Unintentionally, I started to assist the band in setting up and breaking down after gigs and before too long it became pretty much full time. 

"Iguana, at the time, were also working under the guise of a pub band called Platform, this was really to supplement the day jobs and it also paid for the rehearsal room that was situated on a dilapidated farm not far from the Fawley Oil Refinery. All of the spare time was spent recording and rehearsing the Iguana songs – even at this stage Maggs was really prolific as a songwriter, totally dedicated to his craft.

"The recorded demo tapes were sent far and wide with the usual vast delay before anyone showed interest. Then, one day, the guys received a letter from Wayne Bickerton (he was head of A&R for Polydor Records). They went to a meeting in their offices just off Oxford Street and that where they were introduced to his partner in a management company, Tony Waddington.

"Shortly after that, they were offered a contract and Wayne and Tony got a record advance on the merits of the demos – to this day nobody knows how much it was, although years later the word substantial was mentioned."

RONNIE TAYLOR – "The Polydor deal came about after sending tapes out and then in 1971 we joined up with a couple of managers from Liverpool – Tony Waddington and Wayne Bickerton.

They didn’t want us to carry on as The Globe Show and so they put the money up for us to do the album which was in ’72.”

ROB ROWDEN – “The association with Wayne and Tony was always fractious at best. All the band members were meant to be on a weekly retainer but many weeks the guys didn’t get paid which led to many mutterings of mutiny along with morbid scenarios of how much they would like to dismember the aforementioned.

“Plus, during all of this carry on, and several months after signing, the band received a letter from George Martin. His letter apologised for not responding to their demo sooner as it had lain on his desk under some clutter for a few months. The band were less than happy after committing to Polydor, Bickerton and Waddington.”

RONNIE TAYLOR – “So, off we trotted, into the studio and recorded the album in four days and mixed it in three.”

 

The Profumo

Connection

Indeed, the Island canteen was one of the hot meeting places throughout West London at that time, not least because of the legendary canteen that was overseen by the equally legendary pianist-turned-chef ‘Lucky’ Aloysius Gordon; at one time Christine Keeler’s pimp and a central figure within the Profumo affair.

That was one of the most sensational political scandals of the 20th Century when, as a British Government minister, John Profumo (the Secretary of State for War) was forced to resign from the Cabinet in 1961 for lying to the House of Commons over his affair with Keeler.

Lucky – one of Notting Hill’s acknowledged hard-men as well as one of Christine’s lovers – played a pivotal role within the affair that very nearly brought down the Government of the day since he was also part of the bizarre love quintet centering around Profumo and Yevgeny Ivanov (a naval attaché to the USSR’s London embassy) that also included Johnny Edgecombe, a fellow Jamaican hard-man and Stephen Ward, a Harley Street doctor.

A fight between the two Jamaicans broke out at the Flamingo Club in Wardour Street, ending with Lucky’s face being seriously sliced by Edgecombe. This, in turn, led to Johnny looking for Keeler at Ward’s Harley Street flat, and shooting at the door while Profumo himself was being advised by Sir Roger Hollis, the then-head of MI5.  Most (but not all of which) was commited to celluloid in the 1989 film, Scandal starring John Hurt as Ward and Joanne Walley-Kilmer as Keeler.

The Jess Roden Band

In the studio

 

Although Iguana’s 1972 album was well received, the deal with Polydor fizzled out despite the band’s reputation as one of the hottest live acts on the circuit, garnered from supporting the likes of Planxty, Marsha Hunt, Wizzard, The Sweet, ELO’s Jeff Lynne and David Bowie. RONNIE TAYLOR – “Tony and Wayne wanted us to be commercial like the other band they were managing called The Rubettes. And... that wasn’t what we wanted at all... so, basically, the Polydor deal fell apart. Round about that point, Don Shin left the band and moved to Norway – and thats when Webbo joined Iguana.”
STEVE WEBB – “I joined Iguana just after they released their début album; they were the top band in the south of England, with power and a whole heap a’ soul; on drums there was Pete with as heavy a groove as Al Jackson Jnr plus horns to kill for – ace trombonist Chris and the seriously Coltranish Ronnie on alto. Then there was Maggs – a songwriter of great talent on bass and the whole band was fronted by Bruce – soul personified.”
“With the Polydor deal over, we’d sent new tapes to all of the London labels and... we’d recorded some demos for Island but got turned down.” “I moved to London and, in the summer of 1974 while loading steel pipe at Chiswick Ironworks, I got a call from Island and went to meet Jess. He was in the final stages of his new record and, after spending some time with him at Basing Street, I also got to play a couple of solos on it.” From that initial meeting in Southampton and the ensuing rehearsals, it was evident that both elements had found their respective musical match. RONNIE TAYLOR – “For me, it was a compromise becoming known as The JRB, because I didn’t feel we should have lost our band’s original name and felt it should have become Jess Roden and Iguana because when The Jess Roden Band ended we were left with no name.” “We should have talked more but… we didn’t. Some of us just went along with it, I probably wasn’t very high in the pack at that time, in the pecking order so to speak.” “Pete – he was one of the main driving forces of the band... Manfred Mann wanted him… Pete was first call ... but he took more of a back seat as well.” “Actually... all I wanted to do was be out on the road, working and gigging, playing rock ‘n roll with the lads and having a good time. I had a great respect for Iguana and, I thought the band was a really good little band.”
JR- “CB wanted one more song to add to the album – for the American version – before release and hopefully, a single. ‘So, I went into the studio with the guys from Iguana and we cut ‘Under Suspicion.” The newly named Jess Roden Band’s growing reputation as a live act to be reckoned with began from their very first dates, out supporting Roxy Music and grew apace as they began bedding in not only Jess’ material but other songs out on the road. “We soon found our feet and after a month of pretty constant gigging, the band had shaped up really well.
“Ben Foot was our Tour Manager – actually, he was with us from start to finish as were Richard ‘Hutch’ Hutchison, our sound engineer and Alan McStravick who was road manager. Rob Rowden who’d been with the Iguana guys from way back came on board a bit later.” ROB ROWDEN – “How that happened was… I came across a few of the members of the band out drinking one night. They invited me to come along to gig at the Roundhouse ‘cos they’d fairly recently hooked up with Jess and… an offer was made to work with them once more. So, I was back on the road all over again, chauffeuring the guys all over Europe when not commuting more or less daily to London and the Island Records offices.
JR- ‘The start-up of the JRB pretty much coincided with Island Records move from Basing Street to a new HQ in St Peters Square, Chiswick.
‘Things for Island were growing at a pace and the new HQ offered up enough space to get the entire operation pretty much under one roof.
‘As well as all of the ‘down to business’ areas, there was a rehearsal room, a canteen with a games area and a recording studio and in retrospect, it seems to me that for the next two years the JRB, when not out on the road or in an Indian restaurant, spent most of our time in one or other of those three places.” ROB ROWDEN – “Island was always a really relaxed haven where everyone could just be themselves without any thought of adhering to the perceived glory of it all. We spent many months there, either rehearsing or recording and a lot of it was centered around the pool table in the canteen. 'Its where we’d see the likes of Jim Capaldi, Speedy Keen, Georgie Fame or the guys from Ultravox or Aswad or Sparks playing the table. Ronnie was always one for putting his foot into his mouth whether unintentionally or not – he’d often have a pop at Georgie who was, at the time, all over the television doing coffee adverts for Maxwell House, constantly sidling up to him and asking if he would like a brew. 'Ronnie and Chris Wood of Traffic were like two peas in a pod and were often seen together when at Island; I supose horn players are the same the world over. But, without a doubt the best faux-pas of all was Ronnie coming up from a session down below in the studio – The Fall Out Shelter – and coming out with an absolutely unforgettable line. "Who’s the black dude with the chick?" He asked all innocently. Well… the two he’d not recognized were Bob Marley and Miss Jamaica, the then Miss World who’d been sat across the room from him.”
RONNIE TAYLOR ‘We first met Jess at The Cliff Hotel at Woolston and that’s where we started to rehearse – about three times a week.
“Because the ‘Jess Roden’ album was one that had been recorded over quite a long period, I was now in a new phase of writing. As were the guys in the band. So there were new songs to be recorded.” In the basement studio at St Peters Square – known as The FallOut Shelter – the JRB started to record their new material. “Maggs was incredibly prolific… really unbelievable… he’d write something pretty much every day… ‘He was a strange little fella. He had a little flat in Southampton, more like a bed-sit, there was a Wurlitzer piano in there, and he had a tape recorder… and he lived for it. He was like a one-man Mose Alison sort of thing. Head nodding, ciggie hanging out the corner of his mouth, and that’s what he would do. ‘If he wasn’t in the van or in the curry house or if we weren’t doing a gig, he played. Maggs didn’t socialise much, he just sat and played, and wrote songs… ‘And also Steve Webb had new tunes evolving all of the time. So, there was loads of material… and we just, sort of started bashing ‘em out. And, Steve Smith was the man at the helm.”
Lucky Gordon back in the days of the Profumo Affair and left, in 2009
Maggs

Jess Roden Band - Albums

Keep Your Hat On

Jess Roden – Vocals, Guitar

Bruce Roberts – Guitar, Vocals

Steve Webb – Guitar, Vocals

John Cartwright – Bass

Pete Hunt – Drums

Ronnie Taylor – Saxophone

Chris Gower – Trombone

Play It Dirty Play it Class

1. U.S. Dream (John Cartwright / Steve Webb)

2. Stay In Bed (Jess Roden)

3. Can’t Get Next To You (Norman Whitfield / Barrett Strong)

4. Dirty Bars (John Cartwright)

5. Me And Crystal Eye (Jess Roden / Steve Webb)

6. Stone Chaser (Jess Roden / Steve Webb)

7. The Ballad Of Big Sally (John Cartwright / Bruce Roberts)

8. All Night Long (Jess Roden)

Jess Roden – Vocals, Guitar

Bruce Roberts – Guitar, Vocals

Steve Webb – Guitar, Vocals

John Cartwright – Bass

Pete Hunt – Drums

Ronnie Taylor – Saxophone

Chris Gower – Trombone

Billy Livsey – Keyboards

1. You Can Leave Your Hat On (Randy Newman)

2. Jump Mama (Jess Roden)

3. Blowin’ (John Cartwright /Jess Roden)

4. In A Circle (John Cartwright /Steve Webb)

5. On A Winner With You (Jess Roden/Steve Webb)

6. Mama Roux (Dr John /J. Hill)

7. Desperado (Don Henley/Glen Frey)

8. Too Far Gone (Billy Sherrill)

9. Send It To You (John Cartwright)

Produced by: Geoff Haslam

Horns Arranged by: Derek Wadsworth / Chris Mercer

Strings Arranged by: Nick Harrison

Engineered by: Dick Cuthell

Recorded at: Island Studios / The Fall Out Shelter Hammersmith

Label: Island ILPS 9349

Released: Autumn 1966

Cover Photography: Gered Mankowitz – Photograph taken at Island’s rehearsal room, 22 St Peters Sq

Produced by: Geoff Haslam

Horns Arranged by: Chris Gower

Engineered by:

Dick Cuthell

Recorded at: Island

Studios / The Fall Out

Shelter Hammersmith

Label: Island ILPS 9442

Released: Autumn 1976

Cover Painting: Tony

Wright

Photography: Richard

Polak

Blowin'

The Ballad Of Big Sally (Bruce Roberts / John Cartwright)

In A Circle (Steve Webb / John Cartwright)

Desperado (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)

Me And Crystal Eye (Jess Roden)

Blowin’ (John Cartrwight / Jess Roden)

Jump Mama (Jess Roden)

Blowin’ Reprise (John Cartwright / Jess Roden)

Jess Roden – Vocals, Guitar

Bruce Roberts – Guitar, Vocals

Steve Webb – Guitar, Vocals

John Cartwright – Bass

Pete Hunt – Drums

Ronnie Taylor – Saxophone

Chris Gower – Trombone

Billy Livsey – Keyboards

Produced by: Jess Roden

Engineered by: Howard Kilgour

Assistant Engineer: Barry Sage

Live Sound: Richard Hutchinson

Recorded at: Birmingham Town Hall and Leicester University in November 1976 – The Island Mobile

Label: Island ILPS 9496

Released: 1977

Photography: Keith Morris

Live at the BBC

1. The Ballad Of Big Sally (John Cartwright / Bruce Roberts)

2. On A Winner With You (Jess Roden / Steve Webb)

3. In A Circle (Steve Webb / John Cartwright)

4. Desperado (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)

5. Stay In Bed (Jess Roden)

6. Me And Crystal Eye (Jess Roden)

7. You Can Leave Your Hat On (Randy Newman)

8. Blowin’ (John Cartwright / Jess Roden)

9. Can’t Get Next To You (Norman Whitfield / Barrett Strong)

10. Jump Mama (Jess Roden)

11. All Night Long (Jess Roden)

12. Lies (John Cartwright)

13. Honey Don’t Worry (John Cartwright)

14. Under Suspicion (Jess Roden)

15. What Took Me So Long? (Jess Roden / Steve Webb)

 

Jess Roden – Vocals, Guitar

Bruce Roberts – Guitar, Vocals

Steve Webb – Guitar, Vocals

John Cartwright – Bass

Pete Hunt – Drums

Ronnie Taylor – Saxophone

Chris Gower – Trombone

Billy Livsey – Keyboards (tracks 1 & 11)

 

Produced by: Jess Roden

Live Sound: Richard Hitchinson

Recorded at: The Hippodrome, London for Jess Roden ‘In Concert’, produced by Jeff Griffin / Tracks 12 - 15 are taken from a John Peel Show session (24th April 1975) - recorded at the BBC Studios in Maida Vale and produced by Tony Wilson

Label: BBC Recordings & Bond Of Joy (USA) BOJCD 015

Released: 1996

Jess Roden Band - Singles

AUGUST 1974

27th – BBC Session,Langham 1 (studio); produced by Tony Wilson – four songs, three of which were taken from JR’s first solo record; What The Hell, Reason To Change, Feelin’ Easy and Live, Love And Learn.

The BBC session notes show that the session was listed as Jess Roden with Iguana (henceforth to be known as The Jess Roden Band)

 

SEPTEMBER 1974

10th – The first JRB BBC session is transmitted on the John Peel Show

13th – Portsmouth,Guildhall (opening for Procul Harum)

18th – Lyceum Ballroom, London - the show was recorded on the Island Mobile with Brian Humphroes engineering, assisted by Bryan Pickering and Rod Thear

19th – Oxford, New Theatre (opening for Procul Harum)

21st/22nd – Cardiff, Capitol Theatre (opening for Roxy Music)

23rd/24th – Bristol, Colston Hall (opening for Roxy Music)

26th – Chester, Tivoli Ballroom - onstage 10.30pm

27th – Stoke, Trentham Gardens (opening for Roxy Music)

28th/29th – Birmingham, The Odeon (opening for Roxy Music)

30th – London, The Marquee

OCTOBER 1974

1st – Leicester, De Montfort Hall (opening for Roxy Music)

3rd – Sheffield, City Hall (opening for Roxy Music)

4th – Sheffield, Polytechnic

5th - 8th – London, The Rainbow (opening for Roxy Music) - Steve Webb, “Our sax player (Ronnie Taylor) kicked the monitors off stage one night but I don’t remember during which gig it was.”

9th – London, photosession - Richard Polak - 2pm (at Island)

11th – JR, Sounds On Sunday, BBC Radio 1 - Broadcasting House

12th – Dudley, JB’s Club / JR’s album released

13th/14th– Bournemouth, The Winter Gardens (opening for Roxy Music)

16th/17th – Liverpool, Empire Theatre (opening for Roxy Music)

18th – Manchester, Bellevue Theatre (opening for Roxy Music)

19th – Leeds, University (opening for Roxy Music)

21st, 22nd – Edinburgh, Odeon Theatre (opening for Roxy Music)

23rd- 25th – Glasgow - The Apollo (opening for Roxy Music).

26th – Leeds - University (opening for Herbie Hancock).

27th – Newcastle, City Hall (opening for Roxy Music).

Also the transmission date for the BBC’s Sounds On Sunday - during which the JRB played Sad Story, I’m On Your Siide, Feelin’ Easy, Live Love And Learn as well as Get Ta Steppin - the latter being a highpoint of their live set at the time.

The set was recorded at the Hippodrome in London (precise date unknown - though in all probability, the 22nd - since, generally speaking BBC pre-records were undertaken a week in advance).

28th – Newcastle, City Hall (opening for Roxy Music).

30th – Guildford, Civic Hall (opening for Herbie Hancock).

 

NOVEMBER 1974

1st – London, The Hippodrome, Golders Green. BBC Radio 1 In Concert - Recorded at 9.00pm

2nd – Exmouth, Rolle College Students Union - on stage 10pm

3rd – Basing St  sessions with Rhett Davies engineering and Dick Cuthell as tape-op laying down JRB versions of two tracks from JR’s first solo album, Sad Story and What The Hell

DECEMBER 1974

8th – London, The Roundhouse with The Sutherland Brothers & Quiver and Tim Rose

10th – London, The Marquee

JANUARY 1975

7th-11th – Rehearsals at Island's Film Theatre

12th – Recording sessions at Island Hammersmith studios - The Fallout Shelter - with Diga (Richard Digby-Smith) engineering and Dick Cuthell as tape-op. Dick, of course, would - in time - go on to become an integral part of The Specials as well as adding his trumpet / cornet and flugelhorn skills to inumerable other recordings. Songs laid down included Send It To You and Don’t Let It Die

13th, 14th – Rehearsals at Island's Film Theatre

15th, 16th – Recording at Island's The Fallout Shelter

17th – Chippenham Technical College, Wiltshire - on stage 9.30pm

21st – Recording at The Fall Out Shelter again - with a number of new tunes being worked on including Don’t Let It Die and Love Is All I Have

FEBRUARY 1975

1st – Manchester, Polytechnic

2nd – London, The Greyhound

3rd – Sessions at Mayfair Studios with Geoff Haslam producing - songs include Honey Don’t Worry and a version of Desperado

5th – London, rehearsals at Island

6th – London, City Of London Polytechnic, Whitechapel, on-stage 10.00pm

MARCH 1975

8th – The first takes of Rat Race are put down at The Fall Out Shelter

10th – Back to The Fall Out Shelter with Diga and Dick Cuthell

14th – The JRB release Under Suspicion / Ferry Cross

APRIL 1975

4th - Recording date for the JRB’s second BBC session - this time at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studio 4 but, once again with Tony Wilson producing. The band played four songs - Lies, Honey Don’t Worry, Under Suspicion and What Took Me So Long. By this point, Billy Livsey was an integral part of the JRB

7th – The Fall Out Shelter once more and Work Out and Spanish Eyes are demo’d

MAY 1975

1st - Transmission date for the second JRB session on the John Peel Show

JUNE 1975

26th - London - The Lyceum (support A Band Called O)

JULY 1975

3rd – Live Love And Learn is recorded at The Fall Out Shelter

AUGUST 1975

15th - Orange (France) - while the JRB are in Europe, strings are added to Honey Don’t Worry at Basing St - Steve Smith producing with Phil Brown engineering and Barry Sage as tape-op

25th - London, The Roundhouse with The Edgar Broughton Band and Chilli Willi & The Red Hot Peppers

27th – Theale - still unhappy with the results (thus far) for Honey Don’t Worry, the Island Mobile sets up shop at Woolwich Green Farm (Chris Blackwell’s home) and the track is cut once again.

SEPTEMBER 1975

7th- 11th – Rehearsals at Island's Film Theatre

12th – Recording sessions at Island Hammersmith studios - The Fallout Shelter - with Diga (Richard Digby-Smith) engineering and Dick Cuthell as tape-op. Dick, of course, would - in time - go on to become an integrap part of Specials as well as adding his trumpet / cornet and flugelhorn skills to inumerable other recordings. Songs laid down included Send It To You and Don’t Let It Die

13th, 14th – Rehearsals at Island's Film Theatre

15th, 16th – Recording at Island's The Fallout Shelter

17th – Chippenham Technical College, Wiltshire - on stage 9.30pm

21st – Recording at The Fall Out Shelter again - with a number of new tunes being worked on including Don’t Let It Die and Love Is All I Have

27th – The Fall Out Shelter once more and... another four takes of Honey Don’t Worry are in the can

OCTOBER 1975

13th – At The Fall Out Shelter and Raise Your Hand, Can’t Stand The Rain, Let It Roll, are all mixed by Geoff Haslam

16th – Every Time A Man Gets Lonely is demo’d at The Fall Out Shelter and Desperado is laid down

22nd – You Can Leave Your Hat On is completed at The Fall Out Shelter

NOVEMBER 1975

2nd – Basing

DECEMBER 1975

10th – Mixing is underway and Mama Roux, Too Far Gone, and This Wheels On Fire are all completed - the latter won’t make it onto the first JRB album

21st – Aylesbury, Friars

 

The Glasgow Apollo is (or rather was) one of Britain’s legendary concert halls - one of the very few venues worthy of that nom de plume. It was named after the equally legenday building on Harlem’s 125th Street and, having originally opened in 1927 as Green’s Playhouse, was the biggest cinema in Europe with a capacity of 4,000.
 
However, on June 12th, 1967 everything changed when one of the seminal package tours reached Glasgow’s Playhouse - on stage that night were: Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Move, Amen Corner and The Nice. Before too long, projectors were replaced with amps, speaker-stacks and sweating roadies yelling ‘one, two; one, two’ at soundcheck from atop the highest stage in the UK - it was a sixteen foot drop into the stalls.
 
The first act to play there under its new name was Johnny Cash - the final one was the mod-meister in one of his mid-period incarnations as The Style Council, dateline 16th June ‘85… legend has it, that after that gig, fans stayed behind removed anything they could lay their hands on which wasn’t bolted down (including radiators).
Roxy Music’s drummer, Paul Tompson, trashed his kit the previous night and used Pete Hunt’s for this third show in Scotland. As Steve Webb remembers, “My memory is a bit rusty as I don’t have the set list but we were playing most of the solo LP plus we would have played ‘Raise your Hand’ and ‘Can’t Get Next To You’ and maybe ‘Desperado’. Roxy Music were great lads especially the drummer Paul.
 
They made us very welcome thats for sure and I don’t think I’d ever seen a guitarist with so many stomp box’s as Manzanera had. We were a very normal bunch – a bit of booze but not a lot of fooling around. I guess we were too beardy or something.
 
Ferry chatted now and then but his manager seemed to want to keep him away from everyone so it was all a bit formal with him. Scotland was always a great time for us, we stayed at Dollar Farm when we were there, lovely place between Glasgow and Edinburgh.”

JANUARY 1976

27th – At The Fall Out Shelter, I’m On A Winner With You is laid down

FEBRUARY 1976

2nd – The final mix of You Can Leave Your Hat On is completed at Mayfair Studios by Geoof Haslam with Trevor Vallis engineering

MARCH 1976

5th – Manchester, Owen’s Park

6th – Liverpool, The Stadium

8th – Portsmouth, Locarno

9th – Birmingham, Barbarella’s

11th – Derby, Kings Hall

12th – Rugby, Lanchester Hall

14th – London, Victoria Palace Theatre (support Nasty Pop)

18th – BBC Session at Maida Vale, Studio 4. Four songs recorded - Blowin’, In A Circle, You Can Leave Your Hat On and On A Winner With You.

APRIL 1976

1st – Transmission date for the BBC session recorded on March 18th

MAY 1976

18th – London, The Marquee - support act was Under The Sun

19th/20th – London, The Marquee - both nights recorded on the Maison Rouge mobile

22nd – Colmar, Parc des Expositions (opening for The Who)

25th – Lyons, Sports Palais (opening for The Who)

JUNE 1976

4th – Basing St

7th - Geleen (Holland) - The Pink Pop Festival with Little Feat, Uriah Heep, The Outlaws, Streetwalker and The Chieftains

JULY 1976

4th – Crystal Palace Bowl - with Eric Clapton, Freddie King, Barbara Dixon and The Chieftains

 

AUGUST 1976

26th - 31st – Pinewood Studios - the JRB camp out for a week; the stage is set up so as to replicate a live gig and, with the Island Mobile parked at the back of the lot, basic tracks for their second album are worked on.

As JR recalls - "Touring was turning out to be a great success both in the UK and also parts of Europe (particularly Holland) but for some reason, that success was not translating into huge record sales and so, it was decided that maybe if we recorded at a soundstage and set up like a live show, we would best capture what it was that made our live performances so successful.

"On one of the soundstages, we set up the equipment the same as at our gigs (except with baffle boards around the drums and amplifiers). We would run through the tunes (for a soundcheck) and then around six in the evening, eat, drink, smoke, whatever - and then record a performance of three or four tunes back to back and maybe do that twice over."

SEPTEMBER 1976

1st  – Pinewood

2nd  – The final sessions with Geoff Haslam at Pinewood - ultimately, nothing worked as it was hoped it might and so... its back to the drawing board (or more accurately, Basxing St and The Fall Out Shelter). “In essence, it was a good idea - but it didn’t really work and I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it was something to do with the lack of an audience to raise the game for - and/or, real discipline, because when we shifted to Basing Street and then St Peters Square to record the same songs, everything came together really well and really fast.”

Tracks recorded there - although not ultimately used – included Dirty Bars, Big Sally, All Night Long, Stone Chaser, US Dream, Can’t Get Next To You, All Along The Watchtower, Come Together and Me & Crystal Eye.

6th / onwards – Through September andf the band record at both The Fallout Shelter and Basing St; the 6th being a particularly productive day with All Night Long, Can’t Get Next To You, Big Sally and Stone Chaser all completed that night. 

OCTOBER 1976

8th - 19th  – Basing St. and The Fallout Shelter – Final mixing sessions for Play It Dirty... Play It Class; Howard Kilgour engineering with Bari Sage as assistant

17th - 21st – Rehearsals at St Peters Square

24th - 30th – Production rehearsals

NOVEMBER 1976

5th – Newcastle Mayfair

12th – Bournemouth Winter Gardens

20th – Leicester University

30th – Birmingham Town Hall

DECEMBER 1976

1st – Stoke Kings Hall

7th – BBC Session recorded at Maida Vale 4 with Jeff Griffin producing and Mike Robinson engineering.

17th – BBC Session transmits - unfortunately, no record remains of what the band played.

JANUARY 1977

16th-22nd  – Basing St – Mixing the Blowin’ album 

 

Tours and Recording

RONNIE TAYLOR – “The guy who ran the Cross Keys had an artificial leg and his party-trick was that he’d open a bottle of beer using the hinge on his leg…”

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