The Searchers – Sugar And Spice (1963)

FrontCover1Originally founded as a skiffle group in Liverpool in 1959 by John McNally and Mike Pender (Mike Prendergast), the band took their name from the classic 1956 John Wayne western The Searchers. Prendergast claims that the name was his idea, but McNally ascribes it to ‘Big Ron’ Woodbridge, their first lead singer. The issue remains unresolved.

The band grew out of an earlier skiffle group formed by McNally, with his friends Brian Dolan (guitar) and Tony West (bass). When the other two members lost interst McNally was joined by his guitarist neighbour Mike Prendergast. They soon recruited Tony Jackson with his home-made bass guitar and amplifier and styled themselves Tony and the Searchers with Joe Kelly on drums. Kelly soon left to be replaced by Norman McGarry and it is this line-up—McNally, Pender (as he soon became known), Jackson and McGarry—that is usually cited as the original foursome.

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McGarry did not stay long, however, and in 1960 his place was taken by Chris Crummey (who later changed his name to Curtis). Later that year Big Ron had a successful audition with Mecca and became a ballroom singer. He was replaced by Billy Beck, who changed his name to Johnny Sandon. The band had regular bookings at Liverpool’s Iron Door Club as Johnny Sandon and the Searchers.

Sandon left the band in late 1961 to join The Remo Four in February 1962. The group settled into a quartet sharing the vocal lead and billed simply as The Searchers. They continued to play at the Iron Door, The Cavern, and other Liverpool clubs. Like many similar acts they would do as many as three shows at different venues in one night. They negotiated a contract with the Star-Club in the St. Pauli district Hamburg for 128 days, with three one-hour performances a night, starting in July 1962.

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The band returned to a residence, at the Iron Door Club and it was there that they tape recorded the sessions that led to a recording contract with Pye Records with Tony Hatch as producer.

Hatch played piano on some recordings and wrote “Sugar and Spice”—the band’s second number one record—under the pseudonym Fred Nightingale; a secret he kept from the band at the time.

After scoring their monumental hit “Needles and Pins”, bassist Tony Jackson went solo and was replaced by Hamburg pal Frank Allen of Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers.

Chris Curtis left the band in 1966 and was replaced by the Needles and Pins-influenced John Blunt, who in turn was replaced by Billy Adamson in 1970.

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As musical styles evolved, the Searchers could not keep up and as a result, the hits ran out and while they continued to record for Liberty Records and RCA Records, ended up on the British “Chicken in a Basket” circuit although they did score a minor US hit in 1971 with “Desdemona”.

The group continued to tour through the 1970s and were rewarded in 1979 when Sire Records signed the band to a multi-record deal. Two albums were released by them, The Searchers and Play for Today (retitled Love’s Melodies outside the UK). Both records garnered great critical acclaim but did not break into the charts. They did however revitalize the group’s career. According to John McNally, the band were ready to head into the studio to record a third album for Sire when they were informed that due to label reorganization, their contract had been dropped.

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In 1981, the band signed to PRT Records (formerly Pye, their original label) and began recording an album but only one single, “I Don’t Want To Be The One” backed with “Hollywood”, saw the light of day at that time. The rest of the tracks would be released as part of 2004’s 40th Anniversary collection.

Soon after the PRT release, Mike Pender left the group amidst great acrimony and now tours as Hollywood. McNally and Allan recruited former First Class vocalist Spencer James to fill Pender’s shoes.

In 1988, Coconut Records signed The Searchers and the album Hungry Hearts was the result. A very contemporary sounding release, it featured modern sounding remakes of “Needles and Pins” and “Sweets For My Sweets”. While the album was not a major hit, it did keep the group in the public eye.

The band continues to tour with Eddie Rothe replacing Adamson on drums and is considered to be one of the most popular 1960s bands on the UK concert circuit. (by wikipedia)

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Sugar and Spice is a 1963 album (their second one) by British rock band, The Searchers. This album features the band’s second single released, “Sugar and Spice”, the title track:

“Sugar and Spice” is a 1963 song by Merseybeat band The Searchers written by Tony Hatch under the pseudonym Fred Nightingale. It made number two on the UK charts (on Pye) and number 44 in the USA charts.

The composer and producer of “Sugar and Spice”: Tony Hatch, had produced the precedent Searchers’ single: a cover of the Drifters’ “Sweets for My Sweet” which had afforded the Searchers a #1 UK hit. Hatch, having written “Sugar and Spice” on the template of “Sweets for My Sweet”, pitched his original song to the Searchers as the work of an as-yet unknown songwriter named Fred Nightingale, as Hatch felt the group might be dismissive of the song if they knew it to be their producer’s work.

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The first line of the chorus “Sugar and spice and all things nice” references the nursery rhyme What Are Little Girls Made Of?, while the second line of the chorus is the title of the well-known Pete Seeger/ Lee Hays composition “Kisses Sweeter than Wine”.

The Searchers recorded a German rendering of the song entitled “Süß ist sie”, and also the French rendering “C’est De Notre Age” , released in both countries by French Record Label, Disques Vogue. (by wikipedia)

Enjoy the power and energy  … here´s a classic album from the very early British Beat era !

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Personnel:
Chris Curtis (drums, vocals)
Tony Jackson (bass, vocals)
John McNally (guitar, vocals
Mike Pender (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Sugar And Spice (Nightingale) 2.17
02. Don’t You Know (Box/Hall) 2.03
03. Some Other Guy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.09
04. One Of These Days (Magill/Hawkins) 2.17
05. Listen To Me (Hardin/Petty) 2.13
06. Unhappy Girls (Burch/Wilkin) 2.39
07. Ain’t That Just Like Me (Guy/Carroll) 2.25
08. Oh My Lover (Mack) 2.24
09. Saints And Searchers (When The Saints Goes Marchin´ In) (Traditional) 3.17
10. Cherry Stones (Jerome) 2.32
11. All My Sorrows (Yarborough) 3.26
12. Hungry For Love (Mills) 2.23

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TONY JACKSON
(1938 – 2003)

CHRIS CURTIS
(1941 – 2005)

 

Various Artists – Beat, Beat, Beat! Volume One – The Mersey Sound & Other Mop Top Rarities 1962 – 1963 (2001)

FrontCover1Castle Music deserves some kind of an award for their Beat, Beat, Beat series — and even more honor because it’s unique; no other label, including EMI and English Decca, would have the courage or ambition to go up through three years of the British beat and British Invasion booms, single by single, and B-sides, focused on a single label. There are about 150 minutes of eminently enjoyable, delightfully danceable British Invasion-style music on this two-CD set, filling it to overflowing, and don’t let the fact that most listeners have only heard of maybe three of the three dozen acts featured put you off. Usually, with a compilation like this, covering the complete generic output of a particular label — in this case, England’s Pye Records — for a specific period, there are lots of apologies to be made and explanations to be given about why various tracks should be tolerated. Not so here — every track on this set has value precisely as what it was in 1962-1963: eminently listenable, usually exciting and diverting rock & roll. For starters, any Dave Clark Five fans worthy of the name are probably going to have to own this set because of the two early tracks by the group, “That’s What I Said” and “I Knew It All the Time,” which open these two CDs — they’re about as good as anything else the band ever recorded, and very catchy.

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A pair of early dance cuts by the Roulettes at the outset of their career are no less compelling. Erky Grant & the Earwigs may have been a less-compelling talent, but even they had a rhythm section that could pound out a solid dance beat, and generated one solidly memorable song in “I’m a Hog for You Baby.” Nelson Keene, Bobby Shafto, and Dickie Pride, all late-’50s popsters, didn’t do a bad beat-style single in “The Kissing Had to Stop,” masquerading as the Guv’ners. Much more interesting is the harmony-based trio the Kestrels and their cover of “There’s a Place,” which attempts (successfully) to lay a more ornate and soulful vocal take on the early Lennon/McCartney original. In this company, the Searchers sound like world-class talents, but they’re not that far above, say, Danny Stormthe Viscounts (featuring future songwriter/manager Gordon Mills), who tried for a Merseybeat/harmony approach on “It’s You” and “I’ll Never Get Over You.” Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four show why both singer and band were able to endure as potential breakout talents for years on the enjoyably frantic “Lies” and the ballad “On the Horizon.” Those who are curious about the Undertakers, a top soul outfit from Liverpool who somehow never made it despite enjoying the publicly stated fandom of the Beatles, can start here, and folkish, harmony-based the Overlanders are similarly well represented. Future Graham Nash collaborator and Threshold Records artist Gregory Phillips is also here, doing the Billy J. Kramer-style “Angie,” and the disc ends with the Brian Epstein client Tommy Quickly and reliable Pye mainstays Joe Brown & the Bruvvers. Enjoyable as the first disc is, disc two is even better, showing off the label’s slightly more sophisticated later-1963 vintage efforts at emulating the Mersey sound as it became established, with serious and more compelling talents, including the Puppets (produced by Joe Meek), the Chants (superb singers who not only were based in Liverpool, but were black as well), and the Migil 4 (soon to become the Migil 5, a top bluebeat outfit).

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There are several examples of good early versions of songs that would later manifest themselves as hits in the hands of other bands, including Johnny Sandon & the Remo Four’s recording of “Magic Potion,” the Sundowners’ interpretation (complete with electric guitar) of “House of the Rising Sun,” and Pat Harris & the Blackjacks’ “Hippy Hippy Shake,” done in a high-energy Brenda Lee style. The sound is excellent throughout, giving good, solid, even pumped-up play to the bass and rhythm sections that will tell you why many of these groups came off so well when they played live. (by Bruce Eder)

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Oh boys and girls … what a great, sentimental trip in the very earlydays of British Beat …

And I will dedicate this entry to all these unknown heroes of teh times of Merseybeat:

The Roulettes – Buddy Britten & The Regents – Carter-Lewis – Joe Brown – Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs – The Guv’ners – The Kestrels – The Viscounts – Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four – The Hi-Fi’s – The Undertakers – The Overlanders – Gregory Phillips – The Bruvvers – The Puppets – The Chants – Nicky James – The Sundowners – Danny Storm & The Strollers – Pat Harris & The Blackjacks – The Migil 4 – Jeannie & The Big Guys – Dickie Rock & Miami Showband

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Tracklist:

CD 1:

Dave Clark Five feat. Mike Smith:
01. That’s What I Said (Clark/Ryan) 2.19
02. I Knew It All The Time (Murray) 2.25

The Roulettes:
03. Hully Gully Slip ‘N’ Slide (Vandyke) 2.09
04. La Bamba (Traditional) 2.31

Buddy Britten & The Regents:
05. My Pride, My Joy (Britten) 1.54

Carter-Lewis:
06. Here’s Hopin’ (Reed/Stephens) 1.59

Joe Brown:
07. What’s The Name Of The Game (Westlake/Subotsky) 2.34

Erkey Grant & The Eerwigs:
08. I Can’t Get Enough Of You (Mills)  2:22
09. I’m A Hog For You Baby (Leiber/Stoller) 2.08

The Guv’ners:
10. Lat’s Make A Habit Of This (Reed/Murray) 2.02
11. The Kissing Had To Stop (Howard/John) 2.00

The Kestrels:
12. There’s A Place (Lennon/McCartney) 2.16

The Searchers:
13. Sweets For My Sweet (Pomus/Shuman) 2.28
14. It’s All Been A Dream (Crummy) 1.50

The Viscounts:
15. It’s You (Mills/Paul/Wells) 2.11
16. I’ll Never Get Over You (Mills) 1.55

Johnny Sandon & The Remo Four:
17. Lies (Manley) 2.08
18. On The Horizon (Leiber/Stoller) 2:23

The Hi-Fi’s:
19, Take Me Or Leave Me (Bennett/Higgins) 2.01
20. I’m Struck (Bennett/Higgins) 2:51

The Undertakers:
21. (Do The) Mashed Potatoes (Rozier) 2.14
22. Everybody Loves A Lover (AdlerAllen) 2.17

The Overlanders:
23. Summer Skies & Golden Sands (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.32
24. Call Of The Wild (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 3.07

Gregory Phillips:
25. Angie (Springfield/Slater) 2.00
26. Please Believe Me (Beveridge/Oakman) 1.52

Tommy Quickly:
27. Tip Of My Tongue (Lennon/McCartney) 2.09
28. Heaven Only Knows (Rapaport/Murray) 2.21

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers;
29. Sally Ann (Klein) 1.57
30. There’s Only One Of You (Klein/Brown) 2:35

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CD 2:

The Puppets:
01. Everybody’s Talking (Cap) 2.01
02. Poison Ivy (Leiber/Stoller) 2.09

The Chants:
03. I Don’t Care (Amoo) 1.57
04. Come Go With Me (Quick) 2.32

Johnny Sandon & Remo Four:
05. Yes (Leiber/Stoller) 2.35
06. Magic Potion (Bacharach/David) 2.19

Nicky James:
07. My Colour Is Blue (James) 2.18

The Undertakers:
08. What About Us (Leiber/Stoller) 2.40
09. Money (That’s What I Want) (Bradfod/Gordy) 2.53

The Sundowners:
10. Baby, Baby (Takes) 2.12
11. House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 2:54

Danny Storm & The Strollers:
12. Say You Do (Storm/Pritchard) 2.10
13. Let The Sun Shine In (Barberis/Weinstein/Randazzo) 2.27

Pat Harris & The Blackjacks:
14. Hippy, Hippy Shake (Romero) 2.25
15. You Gotta See Your Mama Ev’ry Night (Rose/Conrad) 2.10

The Overlanders:
16. Movin’  (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.31
17. Rainbow (Mason/Friswell/Bartholomew) 2.30

The Migil 4;
18. Maybe (Flynn/Madden) 2.24
19. Can’t I ? (Lovett) 2.29

The Searchers:
20. Sugar & Spice (Nightingale) 2.16
21. Saints & Searchers (Traditional) 3.18

Jeannie & The Big Guys:
22. Don’t Lie To Me (Dawson/Ford/Hiller) 2.19
23. Boys (Farrell) 2.06

Tommy Quickly & Remo Four:
24. Kiss Me Now (Martin) 1.55
25. No Other Love (Could Ever Be The Same) (Leonard) 2.00

The Chants:
26. I Could Write A Book (Rodgers/Hart) 2.02
27. A Thousand Stars (Pearson) 1.56

Dickie Rock & Miami Showband:
28. Boys (Farrell) 2.40

The Searchers:
29. Needles & Pins (Nitzsche/Bone) 2.14
30. Saturday Night Out (Anthony/Richards) 1.47

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Ca. 1963 excerpt from Mersey documentary on the music scene, featuring The Undertakers (Jackie Lomax, Chris Huston, Geoff Nugent, Brian Jones, Bugs Pemberton) at the Iron Door Club in Liverpool.