Code: LRR02 PW CD006
Tribute to John Leyton-'The Lonely as the Wind Boy'
The John Leyton Story is well documented elsewhere, on wwwjnhnlgytnnofn'cial com, and within the notes of existing CDs including Remembering John Leyton-The Anthology, the EP Collection Plus and The Two Sides Of'Always Yours. Anyone unfamiliar with the work of John or Joe Meek and his 'Stable' should check out the above and also the recent releases of Joe Meek matenal. John has also just recorded an album of new recordings 'Look For A Star -Western Star Sessions Vol 1' which will be a treat for lovers of early 60s music and which will contain comprehensive and knowledgeable information from Meek expert. Rob Bradford. What a pleasure it was to finally meet John, a fine artist and gracious man at the signing of his World Cup CD single recently. Regrettably the single just missed the Top 100 because it would have warranted a Guinness Book of Records entry for record chart return following absence. As for the highly accomplished Peter Williams (whose CD this is after all!) it is a different story. Most John Leyton and Joe Meek aficionados will be largely unfamiliar with Peter's output, whilst instrumental buffs across the country, and indeed elsewhere are rapidly discovering his delightful playing. This tribute album has given the music of John LeytonJoe Meek/Geoff Goddard etc an exciting rebirth with a totally new perspective, whilst remaining true to the Meek spirit (but not the echo and compression of course, which Alan Wilson is recreating so well down in his Western Star Recording Studios.)
The latest surge of acclaim for Peter's body of work, (mostly from BBC Local Radio across the country and its listeners plus Radio Caroline and some other mdependents) has been largely due to his innate and uncanny ability to inject emotion into each track. This has earned him the well-deserved sobriquet. "My voice is my Guitar "-which is extremely apt, and which was coined by Steve Efherington. Peter, now a vibrant vigorous and humorous 60 years young, was bought his first guitar - a Martini Colette - at age 9. By age 15. living in Colwyn Bay. Rhos -on- Sea he joined a group, Peter Graham and the Gazelles (named after the pub in Anglesey where the band was formed) and recorded a single. The group played end of the pier shows m support of the likes of the Kakn Twins and Heinz. Peter is a friend of one of his former major influences, Bert Weedon. Guitar Boogie Shuffle being the first record Peter bought (in 1959.) In addition. Brian 'Licorice' Locking - bass player of The Shadows has now become a great friend, and is also recording some matenal with Peter. Even though Peter is an admirer of Hank Marvin, a great influence on his style of playing, he now has a style of his own. Comparisons with the great man. Hank Marvin, are valid and can surely do him no harm-but Peter is no direct copyist or Marvin tribute act. Following years of touring and holding down jobs in the publishing industry he set up his own guitar tutoring business and over the last few years has recorded six alburns. His most popular are those featuring a selection of numbers associated with different artists, all given the 'vocal guitar* treatment, but his Elvis tribute is also very successful. Of particular note have been the two highly acclaimed tribute albums to the legendary Billy Fun', which I know was a really pleasurable expenence for Peter being able to cover the artist that means so much to him. It had been thought that attempting to record those, often very ordinary numbers, made special in many cases only by Fury's distinctive and highly emotive voice, would not work. Sceptics such as myself, and many other fans of that unique artist were however, proved quite wrong. The Billy Fury'John Leyton connection is through the 1962 Tour they did together with that other fine artist, Eden Kane (plus others). John has some very happy memories from that tour, and recently shared them in an exclusive interview with Peter Williams for the Sound Of Fury Fan Club Magazine and John's website. No lovers of the all too often (and often unfairly) maligned music of the early 60s. and especially instrumentals. should be without Peter's output. Coming either later this year or early in 2007 will be Billy Meets Elvis, featuring a new selection of tracks of both artists, recorded in Peter's inimitable style.
Although getting airplay and recognition from various quarters Peter was not known to Steve Etherington. John Leyton's manager. Steve was introduced to Peter's guitar magic by Dell Richardson from Radio Caroline when Peter was guesting on Dell's Good Rockin' Tonight Show. Dell played Tlie Young Ones whereby Steve loved the track and contacted Peter after the show. The rest as they say, is history. Steve, a long term 60"s music fan and instrumental buff was bowled over and John was so taken that he asked Peter would he like to record a guitar instrumental tribute to John Leyton. Peter agreed immediately, as he was delighted to be asked to record an album of material by the great John Leyton. The content was chosen predominantly by Steve to reflect the deservedly legendary' Joe Meek studio output and mostly those numbers penned by Meek or me very talented Geoff Goddard. Regrettably some personal favourites of my own from the enjoyable album. Always Yours, such as A Man Is Nor Supposed To Cry and John's cover of Barry Darvell's How Will ir End. could not be included. Perhaps Peter may do them for another album!
This excellent tribute kicks of with the driving Lone Rider. The wonderful throat)' sound of the 1955 Norton Dominator (provided by Barry Boumer who owns this fantastic motorcycle) at the beginning excepting, this has a Western feel, a subject beloved by Peter and myself - 'Cheyenne. Cheyenne, where will you be camping tonight!' A favourite of John's and written by Geoff Goddard. this was an A- side for John from 1962 and reached Number 40. entering the chart on the 15* of March 1962. It was also on the Hit Parade EP. Following this mumping opener a personal favourites of mine, the quite wonderful and ethereal Wild Wind, is powered along primarily by the sheer exuberance of Peter's skilled picking. Also a Goddard penned song it reached No 2 in 1961. charting on the 5-of October 1961 and remaining on the charts for 10 weeks. The music paper Disc for September 30* 1961 carried the heading 'Fantastic orders for Leyton's 'Wild Wind'. Advance orders for Wild Wind have been phenomenal according to EMI. "They have been coming m the volume usually reserved for Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and Elvis Presley.*" said a spokesman early this week. The advert ran. Britain's most exciting singer. JOHN LEYTON, sings this years most exciting song. WILD WIND. It was to be voted 13* Best British Disc of the year. This number, along with many penned by Goddard actually reflected his own inherent sense of loneliness, but inevitably the resultant image of John Leyton was of course, that of 'Lonely Johnny". Magazines such as Pop Weekly propagated the myth with articles such as No Fun For John, describing his lonely Christmas in a recording studio. Many of the publicity shots also featured a sombre looking John and in Boyfriend he added further fuel by saying, "I felt so alone as an actor". There Must Be seems an unusual choice but it is in keeping with Peter's penchant for B-sides and quite beautifully handled. It would make a great theme for a TV soap. Written by Joe Meek imder the pseudonym of Robert Duke it was nicked away on the back of Johnny Remember Me and has a new lease of life in Peter *s capable hands. One of Steve Ethermgton's favourites is up next-Cat't You Hear The Bear Of A Broken Hearr. Written by Meek, it is a jaunty mid-tempo number which was featured on the Two Sides of LP and would sit well m the soundtrack of a comedy or spoof Western. Backing Wild Wind was a competent track which could well have been an A-side. The decidedly catchy You Took My Love For Granted, written by Meek is agam full of classy playing from Peter. A great favourite of many is the dramatic Son This Is She, with its biblical overtones. Charting on the 28* of December 1961 it reached the number 15 slot, one of nine Top 50 hits that John would enjoy from 1961-64. It was written by Geoff Goddard. who incidentally wrote Chapel On The Hill, which was an in - concert stalwart for Billy Fury during 1963 and featured on his LP, Billy. Who can ever forget the mesmerising clip of John singing his soon - to - be anthem. Johnny Remember Me on the Harpers West One TV programme. This was the clip.
(recently brought to us again by Paul Pierrot in his excellent TV series Juke Box Heroes) which helped to propel this truly classic track to the coveted number one spot. Surely the finest moment of both singer and songwriter (Goddard claimed to have written it in ten minutes!) it even beat the incredible Halfway To Paradise (John's favourite Billv Furv song) to become the NME Record of The Year. John was also voted Top New TV or Disc Singer and 4"1 Top British Singer, no mean achievements. The combination of two immense hits, incredibly good looks and stage presence had him placed at number 5 in the Most Requested Artist for Poll Concert section.
Those of us who entered our formative years to the sounds of early 60s pop believe that it's time that the music from those years was oven the arasnc acclaim which is its due John Leyton was a major pan of that pre-beat time, and we are grateful for what he and Joe Meek. Geoff Goddard and so many- others gave us There was of course much dross during that period, as there was earlier and later, but finelv crafted sones and great performances abounded, and should be celebrated That's partly why Peter is devoting so manv hours of his precious nm* to recording this tasteful and sincere tribute and other numbers from mis wonderful era. Meeting and working with John has been one of be major high pomis of Peter's life. U"hen John heard the first take of 'Johnny', with Peter dome his usual sparse style of following the vocal line, he asked Peter to "Play all over it!" so that's what he has done, and a: the very end of the track Peter finishes it Shadows style A fine version, and a great finish Contrary to most persons I have always loved some of those Beat Group pastiches, by the likes of Adam Faith (First Time etc). Many Wilde (My, W)\at a Woman Kiss Me). Tommy Bruce (Let It Be AiV),Bobby Vee (She's Sony etc) and this next track to me almost comes into that category. The song writing credits fas Make Love To Me (A 1954 Top 10 hit for Jo Stafford) list eight composers and it charted for John on 20'h February 1964 attaining the number 49 position John was touring with the Rolling Stones during that year (still the world's greatest rock band) and he could see by part way through the tour that the writing was on the wall for his singing career and that of most early 60s pop anists. He was backed on this number by The Le Roys, a four piece-recording band in their own nght. releasing (by June 1964) Gotta Lotra Love and Chills. Peter does a nice funky take here.
One of the major highlights of Johns hfe was meeting Elvis in Hollywood in 1964 When Elvis, surely the all-time supreme Pop Being told him that be had stolen one of his songs and done a good job of it. John was understandably pleased John has reminisced about this fascinating moment in his life in interview with Peter Williams (is there no end to this mans talents!) and it is available on the John Levton website in addition to beine featured in the magazine of the Official Elus Fan Chib The ongmal number pre-dates rockabilly but of course it is the Sun version by Elvis which almost everyone associates it with. It was placed on the Two Sides of John Leyton LP and Peter's version reflects John's cut. It proved difficult to master and it is a tribute to Peter's ability that he did just that and managed to play it at breakneck speed with what seems like consummate ease. Featuring a great rockmg piano middle break it has been included because of the Elvis.'John connection and the Meek Production angle. John actually cut a very-creditable version, owing much to Elvis's vocal style, and perhaps along with Fabulous the nearest to rock'n'roll that he ever got in the recording sense. Walk with Me My Angel is a number most people associate with the 1962 release by Decca artist Don Charles. Written by Joe Meek and recorded by Geoff Goddard in addition to John, it was featured on The Two Sides of LP. All versions are pleasant but Peter has brought a special quality to it. plavmg it almost in Duane Eddy mode, and making a truly beautiful recording in the process The most romantic track on the album, and one for
lovers everywhere The onginal cut by Peter featured a too prominent guitar, and whilst I loved it. it would not have melded with the rest of the album. Don's version charted on the VP* February 1962. attaining the 39 slot. Regrettably be has recently been lost to us.
1 well recall John performing Fabulous during the 1999 Solid Gold Show and it was impressive. This number, written by Land Sheldon is of course associated with its prime exponent, the legendary US rocker. Charlie Gracie. He charted with it on 14* June 195" and it reached number S m the UK. John's version was racked away on a 1963 EP and the Two Sides of LP Peter really had fun with this one and let rip. and its 'Obvious!*
John made a highly successful transition from the UK small screen to both US TV and of course the film industry. Working with the likes of Steve McQueen and Charlie Bronson. (let alone the awesome Sinatra) made a popularity already covering Japan and Sweden in particular, even more worldwide. The next offering from Peter is his version of the StillmanBemstein penned song. Tlie Great Escape, from the classic ruovie. and currently available on DVD. Once again Peter plays this catchy and familiar number with gusto and skill and what a pity it didn't catch on as the world cup track when he released it. A bit specialist as songs go but it just had to be included-evideuce were it needed of one of Johns major lifetime achievements on celluloid, playing Willie the Tunnel King. John's recording was the B-side of I'll Cut Your Tail Off bom. a hit m July 1963. Voodoo Woman is on here because John wanted it to be. Again written by Goddard. this track appeared on the LP The Two Sides of John Leyton. Peter gives it an enjoyable new slant and the more pronounced bongos evoke a definite mental picture of the voodoo scene m Live and Let Die.
The album closes, naturally enough, with the Goddard penned. It \ Goodbye Then, another escapee from the Two Sides Of album, given a lovely poignant treatment here bv Peter at his most soulful and sensitive. He loves his ballads, (the old romantic) and it shows. Great stuff I defy anyone not to be inadvertently humming this melody soon after listening to the CD. A wistful goodbye, closing an album which is great for summer motoring or just simply for lifting the spirits with its drive and verve, and transporting the listener back to the gentle part of the 60"s with its ballads and mid-tempo numbers. Play it loud!
I have little doubt but that that anyone whatever their interest, either in John Leyton, (surely a national treasure to rank alongside those other 50s. 60' solo artist survivors still performing so welL) or that of the'Joe Meek or purely the instrumental scene, will find much to enjoy in the refreshing, understated but beautiful playing of the highly talented Peter Williams This tribute to John Leyton. like the excellent Billy Fury ones which preceded it. can. when taken together with John's own current and recent releases, only serve to complement, and perhaps even enhance the standine of both artists. John may have waved goodbye to the charts in 1964.and Peter has yet to realise the success which is his due. but this album will I am sure, help to bring on board the Lone Rider Record Company a lot mote of those 60"s music lovers who do soil bother to attend gigs and buy new product Peter deserves success, for that quite rare combination of generosity, warmth and humour, let alone for his immense talen: and sheer doeged determination, and this firnng tribute to a fine UK artist (with soil a lot to give) is just another reason why.
Chns Eley-The Sound of Fun-Chichester. July 2006
Special thanks go to Barn' & Bettee Boumer (for the use of their 1955 Norman Dominator and Danny the golden retriever- who is a right poser!). It was a really difficult task to get the recording we needed to make the track - Lone Rider - something special. I believe we have achieved that.
Special thanks goes to Chris Eley for writing the Liner Notes for this album. I want to thank both Chris & Linda who are both great friends for all the hard work and research that has gone into compiling the notes. And not forgetting Graham Hunter and Adrian Whitehouse whose provision of information greatly assisted Chris in this task. I would like to thank Deano for creating the backing tracks for me to use on this album. He is a really gifted musician, and is able to re-create the music I need perfectly. Ronnie and his team at CME Duplication in Glasgow, for mastering and producing my CD. The track selection from my Manager - Steve Ethenngton. Dell Richardson and his Good Rockin' Tonight show on Tuesday evenings on the fantastic Radio Caroline. The local BBC Radio Presenters for playing my stuff- Big George Webley, Stephen Foster. Bemie Keith, Geoff Barker. Spencer Leigh. Billy Butler, Frankie O'Connor. Ralph Gowling, Susan Marchant. John Randall, Julie Mayer. Mike Adams. Chris Savory. Luke Ashmead. Mike Barry at CRMK Radio & The Guinness Book of Hit Singles.
I would also like to thank John Leyton for originally recording all of the tracks that I have covered on this album, and it has been a great pleasure for me to record these wonderful tracks. Dave & Margaret Lodge and Tommy Bnice. Brian 'Licorice' Locking., Todd Slaughter of The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club. David Parker - The Beat Magazine. Mark Newson - Thunderbolt Magazine. Alan Wilson - Western Star Recording Studios. Davy Peckett - New Gandy Dancer Magazine. Alan Taylor - Pipeline Magazine. Robin & Norma Speechley. John Fisher, Bob Thomas. James Cullman of Finbarr International. Pat & John Reid. Roy The Professor' of Nenous Records. Rockin' Jan. Ray & Angela Mudie. Bob Tanner for his enthusiasm for my work and for being the best Managing Director I have ever worked for during my publishing career - a true friend. Margaret and Eric Gunn, Phil of Hollywood Music for keeping me in guitar strings, Geoffrey Strachen for creating my effects, Dave at Hobgoblin Music and Albert Mirwald who looks after my web site.
A special thanks as always to Mr Bert Weedon (who taught me to play the guitar) and his lovely wife Maggie. Two very special people. Finally, special thanks to all my family, and friends in the Consenative Club in Stony Stratford.
Dedications: Track 2-Chris Eley and Linda Shawley, Track 4-Steve Etherington. Track 6-Dave and Margaret Lodge, Track 10-Don Charles, Joe Meek and Geoff Goddard, Track 11-Charlie Grade. Track 14 It's Goodbye Then is for the 'London Boy'-the unique.special and much missed Tommy Bruce.
This album is dedicated to John Leyton-a true English gent.