Creme, Godley and Stewart had all been members of Manchester's beat scene. Creme's first group was The Sabres, Godley started out in Jerry Lee and The Staggerlees and was later in The Mockingbirds, which had been formed by Graham Gouldman in 1965. Gouldman was also a talented songwriter who wrote several hits for other artists and made several attempts at a solo career. Stewart first came to light in Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. When The Mindbenders broke away from Fontana Stewart stayed with them but when they finally split, Stewart and Gouldman bought a recording studio in Manchester. Godley and Creme, meanwhile, released a 45, I'm Beside Myself, under the pseudonym Frabjoy and Runcible Spoon, on which Stewart and Gouldman played as session musicians. Having done songwriting for the US Kasenetz-Katz production team, the group re-equipped their Manchester studio (now called Strawberry Studios) and wrote and recorded Neanderthal Man, a song with an extremely distinctive heavy rhythmic backing, which was released as a 45 under the name Hotlegs and became a massive worldwide hit, selling over two million copies. It peaked at No 22 in the US, but climbed to No 2 here in the UK. Subsequent recordings under this name failed but, as most of you know, a couple of years later the same personnel became 10cc.
A classic one-hit wonder act this band will always be associated with the classic pop song I Can't Let Maggie Go.
The band formed in London in 1967. Pete Dello (real name Peter Blumsom) and Ray Cane (real name Raymond Byart) formed it as a vehicle for their songwriting aspirations. The other two original members were Colin Hare and drummer Peter Kircher, who'd previously played for the Folkstone-based Loving Kind. Signed to Decca's progressive Deram label, their debut 45 sunk without a trace but is worth checking out. The 'A' side was something of a novelty with a kazoo and birdwarbler, the flip a good slice of psychedelic pop with some fine fuzztone guitar and fast, upfront drumming. The follow-up, (Do I Figure) In Your Life?, was a rather wistful folksy ballad with intricate harmonies and a string accompaniment. Despite considerable airplay Chart action inexplicably eluded it, although several artists, including Dave Berry, Joe Cocker and Dana subsequently covered it. Certainly it was one of the classics that got away. The flip was another strong electric composition with some fine guitar work.
It was a case of third time lucky for the band when Dello's I Can't Let Maggie Go became their one and only Top 10 hit in April 1968. Another superb arrangement of strings and woodwind it echoed all the freshness and optimism of Springtime and its reputation was further assured when it was adopted as the theme tune by Nimble's TV bread advert. With the band on the brink of stardom Dello quit disillusioned with the music business - initially to study musical theory and to learn to play the violin. The band replaced him with Jim Kelly, a Scottish guitarist who they'd met whilst playing out in Germany.
Ray Cane now became their principal songwriter and his first 'A' side, Girl Of Independent Means, was quite catchy and the Cane, Hare and Kircher composition on the flip boasted fine harmonies. Sadly, the punters just weren't interested and over six months elapsed until their next 45, She Sold Blackpool Rock. Coming with a lush string arrangement, it lacked the magic of their second and third 'A' sides but was a fair attempt to emulate them. When it failed to make any impact the band split in the Summer of 1969 on the advice of their manager Terry Noon.
Deram released the Story album posthumously in 1970 and aside from an earlier 'B' side, How Long, it consisted of entirely new material. Much of it, like the title track, She's Out There and He Was Columbus, was accomplished pop with their by now characteristic string quartet arrangement but their harder side was well represented by Under The Silent Tree.
Deram also released the title cut as a 45 backed with a previously unreleased cut. Colin Hare and Pete Dello both embarked on solo careers after the band's demise (see their entries for details). Encouraged by the critical acclaim his solo album had received Dello reformed Honeybus in late 1971 with the original line-up. They recorded some tracks for the Bell label and one 45 resulted. In 1973 they recorded an album's worth of material for Warner Brothers but then vetoed its release. Just one 45 emerged and the 'A' side featured the band's classic string arrangement plus a mandolin. Their final reunion came in 1976 and Decca put a product of it, Julie's In My Heart, on the flip to I Can't Let Maggie Go, the same year. Only Pete Kircher has remained active in the music business since then, initially as a member of R&B revivalists Shanghai, then in Original Mirrors and from 1983-86 in Status Quo.
1. Tramp (3:30)
2. Family (4:30)
3. Pause for a hoarse horse (3:00)
4. Red E. Lewis and the red caps (4:30)
5. In my time (4:15)
6. How would it feel (3:25)
7. Bad days (4:10)
8. Mother (4:05)
9. Moses (5:10)
10. Welwyn Garden City Blues (1:30)
11. You're no good (3:00)
- Laurie Wisefield / Electric guitar (lead), vocals
- Mick Stubbs / Electric guitar, 12 string guitar, lead vocals
- Mick Cook / Drums, Percussion
- Cliff Williams / Bass guitar, vocals
- Clive John / keyboards, mellotron
- Johnny (Willie) Weider / violin
CD 1 (66:27): 1. Ghost Dance (6:41) 2. Watching the Grass Grow (4:46) 3. D-Rider (8:59) 4. Master of the Universe (8:35) 5. Sonic Attack (7:30) 6. Thoth (5:23) 7. King (1:59) 8. God Rock - Slo Blo (7:49) 9. Serenade (2:29) 10. Throw Away the Rind (3:00) 11. Utopia 2000 (1:58) 12. Brainstorm (7:18)
CD 2 (58:06): 13. Ejection (5:34) 14. The Awakening (2:05) 15. The Right Stuff (5:08) 16. Armour for Everyday (6:31) 17. Nirbasion Annasion (5:23) 18. You Shouldn't Do That (10:55) 19. T.V as Eyes (4:32) 20. Orgone Accumulator (5:12) 21. Silver Machine (12:46)
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