Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The JB 7's Last Stand at the R&B Corral

THE JOHN BARRY SEVEN-Twenty Four Hours Ago/Seven Faces U.K. Columbia DB 7414 1964

I'm not going to give you a run down on the history of Sir John Barry and his beat instrumental combo The "JB 7" as their drum logo proclaimed, but I will tell you two things about our 45 in question: it was their last and it was their first to feature vocals!

By 1964 The JB 7 had logged an impressive 11 singles, but by this time the veritable band which had been a who's who of British session musicians (among them pianist/arranger Les Reed, guitarist Vic Flick and drummer Bobby Graham) was barely a shell of it's former self.  In 1963 Barry left the band in the hand's of trumpeter Alan Bown remaining part of the band in name only.  By the time of this singles recording the band's line-up was: Bown (trumpet), Mike O'Neill (vocals/keyboards), Terry Childs (baritone sax), Dave Green (tenor sax), Ron Mencinos (guitar), Stan Haldene (bass) and Ernie Cox (drums).

Released in November of 1964, "Twenty Four Hours Ago" suffers from a somewhat strained vocal performance but the musical backing is solid.  With the full power of three horns and added Hammond organ the band could easily have passed for a Flamingo Club "Hammond n' horns" r&b combo.  The flip side, the mod-titled "Seven Faces" is far superior.  It's a mod-jazzy instrumental that's led by Bown's trumpet with some tasty Hammond licks and brilliant sax work and could easily be confused as an outtake by The Graham Bond Organization or Zoot Money's Big Roll Band.

The John Barry Seven (Alan Bown far right)

The band disintegrated shortly after this single and Alan Bown took sax men Haldene and Green with him along with Mike O'Neil's replacement Jeff Bannister to form the nucleus of Anorak Thing friendly mod/r&b band The Alan Bown Set, but that, as they say is another story for another time!

"Twenty Four Hours Ago"  and "Seven Faces" were reissued on the CD collection "John Barry: The EMI Years 1962-1964 Volume Three".

Hear "Twenty Four Hours Ago":

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