Chris Farlowe always seemed destined for great things as a singer — and based on the company he kept on-stage and the people he worked with in the mid-’60s, he did succeed, at least on that level. Born John Henry Deighton in Islington, North London, in 1940, he reached his early teens just as the skiffle boom was breaking in England, and was inspired by Lonnie Donegan to enter music. His first band was his own John Henry Skiffle Group, where he played guitar as well as sang, but he gave up playing to concentrate on his voice, as he made the switch to rock & roll. He eventually took the name Chris Farlowe, the surname appropriated from American jazz guitarist Tal Farlow, and was fronting a group called the Thunderbirds, as Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds. They built their reputation as a live act in England and Germany, and slowly switched from rock & roll to R&B during the early years of the ’60s. Their debut single, “Air Travel,” released in 1962, failed to chart, but the following year, Chris Farlowe & the Thunderbirds (whose ranks included future star guitarist Albert Lee) were signed to EMI’s Columbia imprint, through which they issued a series of five singles thru 1966, all of which got enthusiastic critical receptions while generating poor sales.
In 1966, with his EMI contract up, Farlowe was snatched up by Andrew Oldham, who knew a thing or two about white Britons who could sing R&B, having signed the Rolling Stones three years earlier, and put him under contract to his new Immediate Records label. Immediate’s history with unestablished artists is mostly a story of talent cultivated for future success, but with Farlowe it was different — he actually became a star on the label, through the label. His luck began to change early on, as he saw a Top 40 chart placement with his introduction of the Jagger/Richards song “Think,” which the Rolling Stones later released as an album track on Aftermath. That summer, he had the biggest hit of his career with his rendition of the Stones’ “Out of Time,” in a moody and dramatic version orchestrated by Arthur Greenslade, which reached number one on the British charts. Farlowe had enough credibility as a soul singer by then to be asked to appear on the Ready, Steady, Go broadcast of September 16, 1966, a special program featuring visiting American soul legend Otis Redding — he’d covered Redding’s “Mr. Pitiful” on an Immediate EP, and now Farlowe was on stage with Otis (and Eric Burdon), and got featured in two numbers.
That was to be his peak year, however. The subsequent single releases on Immediate, including his version of the Stones’ “Ride on Baby,” failed to match the success of the first two singles, and he last charted for Immediate with “Handbags and Gladrags,” written for him by Manfred Mann’s Mike d’Abo. The label, always in dire financial straits, tried repackaging his songs several different ways on LP, but after 1967 his recording career was more or less frozen until the label’s demise in 1970. After that, Farlowe’s story became one of awkward match-ups with certain groups, including the original Colosseum on three albums, and Atomic Rooster (post-Carl Palmer). Following a car accident that left him inactive for two years, he made an attempt at re-forming the Thunderbirds in the mid-’70s, and “Out of Time” kept turning up in various reissues, but he saw little new success. Farlowe was rescued from oblivion by his better-known contemporary (and fellow Immediate Records alumnus) Jimmy Page, appearing on the latter’s Outrider album in the ’80s, which heralded a BBC appearance that brought him back to center stage in the public consciousness for the first time in two decades.
Farlowe followed this up with new albums and touring with various reconstituted ’60s and ’70s groups, and although he never saw another hit single, his reputation as a live performer was enough to sustain a career — nor did the release of his Ready, Steady, Go appearance with Otis Redding on videotape and laser disc exactly hurt his reputation; indeed, that was the first time many Americans appreciated just how serious a following he’d had in England. His recent albums, including The Voice, have gotten respectable reviews, and his Immediate Records legacy was finally getting treated properly in the 21st century, as well. Along with Manfred Mann’s Mike d’Abo and Paul Jones, Farlowe remains one of those voices from 1960s England that — with good reason — hasn’t faded and simply won’t disappear. (by Bruce Eder)
And Chris Farlow played for many years with Roy Herrington and his band:
Roy Herrington has been “on the road” for over 30 years – under his own name with his own band, as a guitar duo with Jens Filser and in collaboration with Supercharge, Chris Farlowe, Pete York, Jimmy Carl Black and others. Comparisons with other guitarists are superfluous:
“Roy the Boy” has long had his own style – sometimes bluesy and angry, sometimes rocky and snotty, but always with a good feeling and an amazing show.
Since some time, Roy Herrington live in Hattingen/Germany.
“Live in Berlin” was recorded at Berlin/Franz Club, Germany on 17th & 18th of October 1991. The album is is a great blues/R&B album from the lesser known blues guitarist Roy Herrington from the small former coalmining town of Featherstone, Yorkshire, England. (“they say the blues is black”). Roy has been on the road for over 20 years with various R&B artists including Spencer Davis, Gene Conners and the Route 66 Allstars, as well as his own band. Roy´s guitar style was influenced by artists like Pat Martino, Link Wray, Barney Kessel and Buddy Guy. Roy penned two songs, Chris one. The remaining seven tracks are covers of blues/R&B standards by artists including Willie Dixon, T-Bone Walker, and Michael Price and Dan Walsh. “Born in West Yorkshire” is a nine minute long guitar virtuoso piece by Roy but his guitar work throughout the album is terrific. The album also includes a great version of Chris singing “Stormy Monday Blues”. This album has been called “The best blues album ever made by a Yorkshireman.” (overdoseoffingalcocoa.blogspot.com)
The vinyl edition:
For the vinyl edition they limited themselves to the 6 best tracks of the concerts. The CD contains 4 tracks more. The beginning of the album with “Born In West Yorkshire” spreads a rousing live feeling. The atmosphere of cheering and screaming from the audience is captured very well. This is followed by “Thrill Is Gone” where Chris and Roy shift down a gear, making the imaging of voice and instruments more transparent without the music losing any of its tension. “Shakey Ground” is in no way inferior to the first tracks, simply great blues rock. Side B starts with “Ain’t No Love” this as well as the last two tracks are performed so rousingly that I can’t help but bob along. The recording is very well done for a live recording. The musicians are well represented on the imaginary stage. The live atmosphere is very well preserved, which gives this recording an authentic sound. What a pity not to have been there. But with this record I can conjure up an impressive blues-rock performance in my room at any time. Great fun for blues fans, I promise! (Sven Fandrich)
Recorded live at the Franz Club, Berlin, 17 /18 th October 1991
Chris Farlowe (vocals)
Roy Harrington (guitar., vocals)
The Rhythm ‘ n ‘ Blues Train:
Christoph Nehrer (bass)
Mickey Nehrer (drums, background vocals)
Bernd Rosenmeier (guitar)
Martin Schulz (keyboards, vocals)
01. Born In West Yorkshire (Herrington) 9.03
02. Crosscut Saw (Ingram/Walker/Ford/Moss/Sanders) 6.13
03. Thrill Is Gone (Darnell/Hawkins) 6.52
04. Shakey Ground (Boyd/Hazel/Bowen) 4.03
05. Chris´ Shuffle (Farlowe) 3.54
06. Ain´t No Love (In The Heart Of The City) (Walsh/Price) 7.27
07. Closer To You (Herrington) 4.38
08. Superstitious (Dixon) 4.28
09. Stormy Monday (Walker) 7:38
10 Givin´t Up For Your Love (Williams) 5.28
More from Chris Farlowe:
The official Chris Farlowe website (now deleted):
The official Roy Herrington websie (now deleted):