sábado, 25 de septiembre de 2010

Tony's Defenders - Both Singles


Tony's Defenders (Both Singles) Columbia - 1966

El grupo se formó a mediados de los 60 en Tunbridge Wells, una ciudad de West Kent, a unos 50 Kms. al sureste de Londres. Musicalmente, sustituían las influencias del rhythm & blues de la mayor parte de los grupos jóvenes del momento por un sonido un tanto más pulido y elaborado, y más cercano al soul blanco.

Fueron fichados for Columbia y pronto se vieron en el estudio grabando su primer single, "Yes I Do", una gran canción compuesta por el cantante del grupo, Tony Preble, en la onda de lo que en ese momento estaban haciendo Al Kooper, The Blues Project o The Remains al otro lado del Atlántico. Para la cara B, la discográfica les adjudicó "It's Easy To Say Hello", una canción del autor profesional Bob Barratt, aqui con el sin duda más atractivo seudónimo de Dwayne Detroit. Bajo la tutela de una agencia de management de Oxford street en Londres, Tony's Defenders hicieron una aparición en TV para promocionar el disco, y una pequeña gira por Alemania y Dinamarca, aparte de los bolos habituales en Inglaterra.

Para el segundo single los managers, a través de sus conexiones, les presentaron un par de canciones de Tony Macaulay y John MacLeod. Entonces unos perfectos desconocidos pero que, en tan sólo un par de años, disfrutarían de un montón de grandes éxitos internacionales con canciones suyas escritas para The Foundations, Long John Baldry, Herman's Hermits, Tom Jones, The Hollies, Scott Walker y cien más. De hecho, estas dos canciones son posiblemente las primerísimas grabadas de tan ilustre tandem. Es de destacar que ambas estan todavía algo alejadas del sonido ultracomercial que posteriormente desarrollarían Macaulay y MacLeod. Efectívamente, venían como anillo al dedo a Tony's Defenders y a la fantástica voz de Tony. "Since I Lost You Baby", una preciosa balada de soul pop y "Waiting For A Call From You", dentro del espectro de un mod pop bailable.

Como en tantas otras historias similares, las ventas de este par de singles no fueron las apetecidas por Columbia, y Tony's Defenders se disolvieron en el aire, dejando una ténue pero firme huella. Sólo "Yes I Do" ha aparecido en un par de recopilaciones a través de los años, quedando todavía en el limbo las otras tres canciones. Y aqui están las cuatro, como homenaje y recuerdo a otro gran grupo que apenas aparece en los anales del pop de los 60.

Después de Tony's Defenders, el guitarrista Brian Bennett (no confundir con su homónimo de The Shadows), siguió camino con The Mike Stuart Span / Leviathan, con High Broom y luego con otros proyectos. El bajista Brian Preble, tras un corto período con The Riot Squad, anduvo la senda del psyco pop con la segunda formación de Jason Crest y luego siguió también con High Broom. El batería Roger Siggery con Jason Crest, High Broom y Holy Mackerel. Sorprendentemente, el cantante Tony Preble, a pesar de tener un indiscutible talento y una más que buena voz, parece ser que dejó la música y nunca volvió a grabar. Y el organista Graham Webb, a quien agradecemos su gran ayuda para la elaboración de este artículo, continuó en formaciones diversas con sus teclas, con las que afortunadamente todavía sigue en la actualidad.

Viva Tony's Defenders.



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The band was formed in the mid 60s in Tunbridge Wells, a city in West Kent, about 50 Kms. south east of London. Musically, they were exchanging the rhythm & blues influences, common to many of the young bands of the time, for a more polished and elaborated sound, closer to white soul.

They were signed by Columbia and soon found themselves in the studio recording their first single, "Yes I Do", a great song written by the singer of the band, Tony Preble, in the wave to what Al Kooper, The Blues Project or The Remains were doing around the same time in the other side of the Atlantic. For the B side, the record company assigned them "It's Easy To Say Hello", a song written by professional songwriter Bob Barratt, here with the doubtlessly more attractive pseudonym of Dwayne Detroit. Under the wing of a management agency from Oxford street in London, Tony's Defenders appeared on TV promoting the single, and made a small tour in Germany and Denmark, besides the usual gigs in England.

For the second single their management, through their connections, brought a couple of songs by Tony Macaulay y John MacLeod. Then a completely unknown pair but, in just a couple of years time, both would enjoy a whole bunch of great international hits with some of their songs written for The Foundations, Long John Baldry, Herman's Hermits, Tom Jones, The Hollies, Scott Walker and a hundred more. In fact, these two songs were possibly the very first recorded ones by such a distinguished tandem. It's remarkable that both songs were still a bit far from the ultracommercial sound which Macaulay and MacLeod would develop very short time later. Indeed, they were like hand in glove for Tony's Defenders and for the fantastic voice of Tony. "Since I Lost You Baby", a precious soul pop ballad, and "Waiting For A Call From You", within the spectre of some dance mod pop.

Just like in so many other similar stories, sales of both singles were not the ones expected by Columbia, and Tony's Defenders dissolved in the air leaving a faint but strong trace. Only "Yes I Do" has ever appeared in a couple of comps through the years, the other three songs still remaining in limbo. And here we have all four of them, as homage and remembrance to another great band who has hardly appeared in the 60s pop annals.

After Tony's Defenders, guitarist Brian Bennett (not to be confused with his The Shadows namesake), went on his way with The Mike Stuart Span / Leviathan, with High Broom, and later on with other projects. Bass player Brian Preble, after a short spell with The Riot Squad, followed the psych pop path with the second line up of Jason Crest, and then also with High Broom. Drummer Roger Siggery with Jason Crest, High Broom and Holy Mackerel. Surpisingly, it seems that singer Tony Preble, in spite of having such an inquestionable talent and a more than great voice, left the music business and never recorded again. And organist Graham Webb, to whom we are so grateful for his great help with the making of this article, went on with several projects with his keyboards. And fortunately, he's still at it nowadays.

Viva Tony's Defenders.



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5 comentarios:

Niall dijo...

Love your choice of rare 60's recordings and other pop material...always check out your latest posts,well worth the wait when they materalise !!
Niall

Esmenard Victor dijo...

Good UK pop group. And great to have all their recordings :)

frumious bandersnatch dijo...

Hope you'll be back soon...

Joselino dijo...

Tiene gracia, mi hermana fué al colegio en Tunbridge Wells, y yo mismo he ido últimamente varias veces por allí por trabajo. Es un pueblo encantador.

Norm dijo...

Is there any way this can be re-upped? Thanks!!