Monday, May 18, 2015

Great Obscure U.K. 60's R&B Sides: The Alan Bown Set

THE ALAN BOWN SET-Headline News/Mr. Pleasure U.K. Pye 7N.17148 1967

The Swinging Summer of '66 (July to be exact) saw The Alan Bown Set, a 7 piece London lot of r&b musos release their third imprint on Pye records. The Alan Bown Set were known as one of those many acts like The Action and The Graham Bond Organization who were a "band's band" with a heavy club reputation and absolutely zero chart presence despite a continuous string of singles.  The band at the time of this release were: Jess Roden (lead vocals),  Alan Bown (trumpet), Jeff Bannister (keyboards), John Heliwell (saxophone and later in Supertramp!), Pete Burgess (bass) and Vic Sweeny (drums).

Edwin Starr's "Headline News" ( U.S. release April 1966 on Ric-Tic RT-114) was their latest stab.  Despite being a cover, "Headline News" works thanks in no small part to Jess Roden's powerful voice and the solid as gold brass section sticking pretty much to the arrangement of the original.

"Mr. Pleasure"sees keyboard player Jeff Bannister taking the lead vocals.  It's a soulful affair punctuated by the band's horns and reminds me of one of the poppier soul tunes that The Foundations would be doing for the label a few months later.

Both sides were compiled on the Castle Alan Bown Pye anthology "Emergency 999" and "Headline News" was also featured on the final volume of their "Doin' The Mod" CD compilation series "That Driving Beat Volume 5".

Hear "Headline News":

Hear "Mr. Pleasure":

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