Perhaps Keith Harris is someone some people would not admit to having met! We not only met but also worked with Keith in his pre Orville days. A genuinely funny guy with an eye for the ladies (like me in those days). We first met on 2/6/69 when we worked with him at The Best Cellar Club in W1. We then toured the Royal Air Force and Navy bases in the Middle East with him from 26th March to 6th April 1970, Julie Rogers was top of the bill, working for Derek Agutter (Jenny's father) and the CSE organisation, then later at a club in Spennymore, County Durham I believe it was. His impersonation of Pete Townsend was spot on! We did three CSE tours in all, one with Dickie Henderson. to Malta, Cyprus and north Africa and another with 60's heartthrob Michael Cox, again to the Gulf states.
P J Proby had already been through his over publicized trouser tearing episode when we supported him at The La Dolce Vita night club in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1966 We were brought in to replace a girl (Veronica Dean?) who played the accordion! Jim said, “She’s not a suitable act to support me” (or words to that effect)! So we moved from The Contessa Club in Middlesborough over to Newcastle on the 15th February for the remaining 5 nights of the week. He took a shine to us (probably Shirley really) and came to listen to our act each night. As the week drew to a close he suggested we might join him on his next tour with The Searchers. Oh yea, we’d heard that one before! But sure enough, we did the tour! Starting 12th March ’66 at Birmingham City Hall.
Who’s Alex Harvey? I now can’t believe we said that! However in 1969 I guess one could say, in England Alex wasn’t a household name. It was Monday 27th January and our first night of playing three clubs in the W1 area, The Crazy Horse in Baker Street, The Can Can and, last spot of the night The Eden Roc in Leicester Square. As was customary, ‘Shep’ came in to see us and said those immortal words, ‘Isn’t that Alex Harvey’? He was pointing to the rather ‘unusual’ looking guy sat amongst the house band with a battered ‘Telecaster’ round his neck. We shrugged and replied ‘who’s Alex Harvey’?! The upshot was, the Fontana album ‘Roman Wall Blues’. Brian produced the album. Alex’s brother Leslie Harvey played on the rhythm tracks. The pit band from ‘Hair’ (Alex was playing in the pit band at the time) fronted by Derek Wadsworth - MD and Trombone were used on the album. I was fortunate enough to be at a number of the sessions in March of ’69 at the now defunct Philips Studio in Stanhope Place. (Later owned by Paul Weller). To see the guy in action was fabulous! It was a real performance with everyone playing live. We went to many gigs and concerts to see Alex and the SAHB in the years to come including the wonderful ‘Dancing cheek to cheek’ gig at Hammersmith Odeon on 6/10/74? Wish you were still with us Alex! I recently found ‘Roman Wall Blues’ on CD. Red Fox Records RF609. YouTube also has some video from the 70’s
I feel a special tribute must be made to Jack Segal our sole agent from 13th November 1968. He was a lovely man who had SO much faith in us and worked tirelessly on our behalf. Jack was tragically killed in a car crash whilst on holiday in Spain on 15th April 1969.
‘I don’t want to know’ was covered in France by Les Frangins titled ‘Pourquoi toujuors’ on Pathe Marconi.
We also have a very worn copy on acetate of ‘All the time in the world’/’One man band’ in German! Was it ever released??
I understand that ‘Only once’ was also recorded by two Japanese girls called ‘Les Peanuts’ true?
The album ‘Shirley and Johnny’ was released in Romania on the ‘Electrecord’ label. (We have a copy). Date unknown.