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Artefact

Excerpt taken from the excellent Garage Hangover website (link below) run by chas_kit@hotmail.com.

For the rest of the informative piece, click the link to Garage Hangover below.

Kerry Burke – vocals
John Denson – organ/lead guitar
Stuart Fahey – rhythm guitar/trumpet
Alan Watkinson – bass
Mel Preston – drums
Malcolm Tag-Randall – saxophone
Jim Warhurst – lead guitar
Peter Simensky – drums
Graham Sclater – organ
Kenny Anders – lead guitar

This tragically overlooked British soul/R&B outfit were authors of the infectious, horn driven soul classic, “I Feel So Good” c/w “I Close My Eyes”, which was released on Fontana Records in 1966.

The original line-up was formed in the early 1960s in the Manchester area. Singer Kerry Burke and drummer Mel Preston were from St Helens, Lancashire, bass player Alan Watkinson and trumpet player/guitarist Stuart Fahey were from nearby Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire while John Denson was from Manchester. Burke had started out as singer/harmonica player with St Helens band The Denims and was invited to join Manchester’s Playboys in 1964.

“I was an apprentice electrician,” remembers Burke. “The Playboys were out looking for a lead singer and approached me after watching me at a local gig. I turned them down as I already had a good band and apprenticeship. They wouldn’t let go and in the end I joined up. In no time at all, I had a passport, no work permit and we were off to Frankfurt for a month at the Storyville Club.”As Burke recalls, the band made a number of trips to Germany over the next few years, appearing at Hamburg’s Star Club and Top Ten Club, the Savoy Club in Hanover and the Liverpool Hoop in Berlin to name just a few.

During the summer of 1965 while playing in Germany, Manchester’s Playboys crossed paths with Beau Brummell & The Noblemen and their sax player Malcolm Tag-Randall, who was originally from Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, jumped ship. Tag-Randall had started out with Twickenham band, Jeff Curtis & The Flames in July 1962. Around this time, session drummer Bobby Graham took over the band’s management.

In late 1965/early 1966 the band recorded a four-track EP at Pye Studios near Marble Arch on behalf of Barclay Records, a large French label. The EP featured covers of “Woolly Bully”, “Lipstick Traces” and two James Brown covers – “And I Do Just What I Want” and “Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do”. The EP allegedly topped the French charts. Soon afterwards, the band started playing regularly in Belgium, particularly at the Shark Club in Ghent.

Manchester’s Playboys.

Kerry Burke – vocals
John Denson – organ/lead guitar
Stuart Fahey – rhythm guitar/trumpet
Alan Watkinson – bass
Mel Preston – drums
Malcolm Tag-Randall – saxophone
Jim Warhurst – lead guitar
Peter Simensky – drums
Graham Sclater – organ
Kenny Anders – lead guitar
This tragically overlooked British soul/R&B outfit were authors of the infectious, horn driven soul classic, “I Feel So Good” c/w “I Close My Eyes”, which was released on Fontana Records in 1966.

The original line-up was formed in the early 1960s in the Manchester area. Singer Kerry Burke and drummer Mel Preston were from St Helens, Lancashire, bass player Alan Watkinson and trumpet player/guitarist Stuart Fahey were from nearby Newton-le-Willows in Lancashire while John Denson was from Manchester. Burke had started out as singer/harmonica player with St Helens band The Denims and was invited to join Manchester’s Playboys in 1964.

“I was an apprentice electrician,” remembers Burke. “The Playboys were out looking for a lead singer and approached me after watching me at a local gig. I turned them down as I already had a good band and apprenticeship. They wouldn’t let go and in the end I joined up. In no time at all, I had a passport, no work permit and we were off to Frankfurt for a month at the Storyville Club.”As Burke recalls, the band made a number of trips to Germany over the next few years, appearing at Hamburg’s Star Club and Top Ten Club, the Savoy Club in Hanover and the Liverpool Hoop in Berlin to name just a few.

During the summer of 1965 while playing in Germany, Manchester’s Playboys crossed paths with Beau Brummell & The Noblemen and their sax player Malcolm Tag-Randall, who was originally from Harrow-on-the-Hill, Middlesex, jumped ship. Tag-Randall had started out with Twickenham band, Jeff Curtis & The Flames in July 1962. Around this time, session drummer Bobby Graham took over the band’s management.

In late 1965/early 1966 the band recorded a four-track EP at Pye Studios near Marble Arch on behalf of Barclay Records, a large French label. The EP featured covers of “Woolly Bully”, “Lipstick Traces” and two James Brown covers – “And I Do Just What I Want” and “Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do”. The EP allegedly topped the French charts. Soon afterwards, the band started playing regularly in Belgium, particularly at the Shark Club in Ghent.

“We played [the Shark Club] numerous times along with Tony Blackburn as guest DJ,” says Burke. “Dave Berry was huge in Belgium due to a performance in the Eurovision song contest. He turned up at the Shark and he did get up and do a set with us.”

Not long after, Manchester’s Playboys also became the second British band to tour Romania after The Federals and spent six weeks there. While in Romania, the band recorded an ultra-rare 10? album with Carol Kay (aka Karol Keyes) and Bobby Shaftoe, which was released as The Playboys on the Electrecord label.

“Romania was a hard place to live in those times,” says Burke. “Although we were being employed by the Government, they would try and undermine us at any opportunity via photos and articles in the press. We were deemed to be a bad example from the West. They would jam Radio Luxembourg on a regular basis and would greatly restrict the amount of tickets made available to the young people. I didn’t witness much joy there at all.”

Back home, Manchester’s Playboys played on the same bill as Manchester band, The Meteors in Oldham and asked their guitarist Jim Warhurst (Hyde) to replace John Denson who was leaving. The new line-up recorded the group’s lone UK single, an excellent blue-eyed soul number, which was released on Fontana Records.
Artefact added : 19th November 2015
by Abigail
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