Part Two of Field's Festive Fab 'Forty' for Sunday 25/12/66

From Head To Toe Escorts Columbia DB 8061

Liverpool's Escorts were formed in 1963, and this single was recorded by the sixth of seven line-ups. John Kinrade (ld gtr), Mike Gregory (bs/vcl), Paddy Chambers (ld vcl) and Paul Comerford (drms).

From Head To Toe was a track on the Miracles' Going To A Go-Go album. Despite the impressive pedigree of a song penned by Smokey Robinson and a recording produced by Paul McCartney, who also featured on tambourine, the single never charted nationally. Motown's Chris Clark was to issue probably the best-known version of the song the following year. Chris Clark rerecorded From Head To Toe with producer Ian Levine for Motor City Records in 1991.

The second of the Escorts' line-ups included Knees Club members Kenny Goodlass (#197), and #101, Terry Sylvester. Terry was with the band through line-ups one to four, leaving in February '66 to join the Swinging Blue Jeans.

Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Claus Neil Spence Go AJ11403

Neil Spence is the real name of Big L DJ, Dave Dennis (KC member #12). The lyrics to Yes Virginia... are credited to our original Knees Club President, and Big L's Head DJ, Tony Windsor, under his real name of Withers, and Lionel Segal.

Many thanks to Alan Hardy for reminding us:

Segal is Lionel Segal, one of the two owners of Strike Records. Yes Virginia There is a Santa Claus was issued on Go Records, a subsidiary of Strike. Lionel Segal and Adrian Jacobs owned Millwick Music, a music publishing company – the record labels were their outlets. Lionel was a budding songwriter as well as businessman and antiques dealer. Millwick's first signing (before launching Strike) was singer, songwriter, producer Miki Dallon. Miki was apparently friendly with DJs from Radio London and as a result, the first single on Strike That's Nice by Neil Christian was played heavily on the station. Hence the connection with Neil Spence/Dave Dennis!

Alan Field says:

Apparently the song was inspired by an 8-year-old girl's letter to the New York Sun in 1897, asking if Santa Claus really exists, and the gushing editorial that was published by the newspaper in reply. (The piece was subsequently reprinted every Christmas for the next 50 years!)

Dave Dennis being a trained actor, milked the sentimental piece for all it was worth and then some!

Yes, Virginia.. it's DD and TW!

Dave Dennis had already left Radio London on December 6th and his place aboard the Galaxy was taken by Chuck Blair (#375), to the right of the picture, who joined the station from the recently-defunct Radio England.

Dave went on to enjoy an illustrious radio career and became a mentor to many DJs. Sadly, he died in December 2007. 0

Photo courtesy of Hans Knot

Besides climbers that were played at the time of the broadcast of the Sunday Fab Forty, Alan kept a note of others he heard later in the week and incorporated them into his list. With fewer new releases during the Christmas and New Year period, there were no DJ picks this week.

Hard Lovin' Richard Kerr/Guy Darrell
Tell It To The Rain Four Seasons
I Want Her, She Wants Me Mindbenders
Matthew And Son Cat Stevens
His Girl Guess Who
Only Your Love Kenny Damon
I Remember The Feeling/Baby What Do You Want Me To Do Barbara Lewis
Sea Of Faces Ways and Means
Club Nitty Gritty Chuck Berry
Right Or Wrong Mike Leslie
Standing In The Shadows Of Love Four Tops
Disc of the Week:  
I Don't Need Anything Sandie Shaw
Album of the Week:  
Finders Keepers Cliff Richard & the Shadows

The Finders Keepers album was on release to coincide with the new Cliff and the Shadows film: "'The beat is the wildest! The blast is the craziest!... and the fun is where you find it!" The plot? Cliff and his merry men attempt to defuse a bomb in Spain! This epic starred Robert Morley, Peggy Mount, John Le Mesurier and Graham Stark.

Hard Lovin' Richard Kerr Decca F12538

We have been unable to verify this, but are guessing that this is an early single in the career of the British musician and songwriter who co-wrote the hymn to booze, called Brandy, with Scott English.

Richard Kerr's own recordings did not bring him chart success, but in 1968, busker Don Partridge took his song Blue Eyes, into the Top Three. Kerr was to find his greatest success as a songwriter.

Scott English took Brandy to #12 in the UK in 1971, scraping into the US Hot Hundred at #91. But in 1974, a reworking of the song as Mandy was a #1 smash in the US and #11 in the UK a few months later, for Barry Manilow. Specialising in big ballads, Kerr has co-written more hits for Manilow, and his compositions have also been recorded by megastars such as Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.

Sea Of Faces Ways and Means PYE 7N 17217

The Ways and Means single has a B-side appropriate for Big L, called Make the Radio A Little Louder. The group recorded three singles, all on different labels. The first, also released in '66, was a cover of two Beach Boys tracks, Little Deuce Coupe and The Little Old Lady From Pasadena. (That's three songs with 'Little' in the title on two records recorded in one year, trivia fans.)

The band, from Canterbury, Kent, were Tony Allison, Les Stankovich, Roy Delo and drummer Dave Legge (aka David Lee)

There's a band photo on the Kent Music Biz archive

His Girl Guess Who King KG1044

John 'Purpleknees' Edward (pictured in 2001 with Pauline Miller, who kindly supplied the photo) tells how he produced this single, just after leaving Radio London:

"Guess Who" was the same band that eventually went to number one in the States with American Woman.

I was 'A & R' and promotions head at King Records when I was 19 years of age and had just left Big L. The tape was offered to me and I thought it could be a monster – if it was sweetened with some nice romantic strings. I had the tape sent over from Canada and overdubbed the orchestra at Pye records, with Geoff Calver as engineer.

The record was released crediting me as co-producer and it started to move, but was not picked up by the Beeb, so suffered from a distinct lack of promotion. The group was invited over to 'be here' for whatever was needed promotionally, but, by the time they arrived the record was on its way down."

Red additions to the climbers indicate singles listed in Brian Long's book 'The London Sound' based on information typed in the Curzon Street offices or other sources.
Alan Field did not hear them played or announced as climbers.

The 'Family Forty' - an additional 40 tracks to cover the festive period, is here
The Caroline 'Countdown Sixty' chart (south ship) for this week is here

This week's Radio City 'City Sixty' on the Pirate Radio Hall of Fame is here

Tune in next week for another Field's Fab Forty!