Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rupert's People - 45'




Rod Lynton - guitar/vocals, John Tout - keyboards, Steve Brendell - drums

Rupert's People was formed in 1967. Rod Lynton (real name Brosse) and Steve Brendell had been members of a North London band called the Extraverts who were said to be similar to the Kinks. The band split and Rod and Steve continued in Hard Edge although this did not last long. Ray Beverley joined on bass and Sweet Feeling started to rehearse, mostly with Rod Lynton's songs. they were good enough to gain a management contract with Howard Condor of the Robert Stigwood Agency. The group recorded a one-take demo acetate in the studio although this is believed to be lost for ever although a "single" acetate of a track called All So Long Ago is in existence. This was later released as a single on Colombia with Charles Brown on the b-side.


Sweet Feeling evolved and Rod was asked to change Charles Brown and put it to the tune of Air on a G String. It was retitled Reflections of Charles Brown. Les Fleurs de Lys were recruited to play on the track as well as the excellent Hold On. Peter Solley also joined for the sessions on organ. He was later in Procol Harum. Les Fleurs de Lys pulled out leaving the manager with a record deal, single but no band. However, the "virtual" band was christened Rupert's People. This was not the end of the Procol Harum connection though as Whiter Share of Pale was released around the same time and, like the Rupert's People track, was based around a classical piece. Reflections of Charles Brown was a moderate success while Whiter Shade of Pale was a blockbuster.

At this time it was decided to look to form a band called Rupert's People to capitalise on the success of the single. The former Sweet Feeling was viewed as the basis of this as Rod was already involved and did not sound unlike the Fleurs vocalist Chris Andrews. However, Sweet Feeling did not agree and so manager Howard Conder put together a band comprising Chris Andrews (who later used the name Tim Andrews to avoid confusion with Chris Andrews of Yesterday Man fame), Johnny Banks of the Merseybeats, Adrian Curtis who had been in the Knack and Tony Dangerfield who had been one of Lord Sutch's Savages as well as recording a single for Pye in 1964. However, this line-up did not last for long and Andrews was replaced by Paul Curtis (brother of Adrian and also former Knack member). This was also short-lived. Feeling he was losing a grip on the group, Conter fired all its members.

John Tout returned to the band and Dai Jenkins (formerly of the Iveys) joined on guitar. At some point a Germany-only b-side called Love Opus 193 was recorded but little is known about this today although it may have been performed by session musicians. Howard Conder persuaded Rod to shift his songwriting towards more esoteric themes and the idea started to develop for A Prologue to a Magic World. This reflected the times when psychedelia was popular and references to literature such as Alice in Wonderland were sure to prove lucrative! This single had Dream in My Mind on the b-side. There was even a fan club by the end of 1967 and this released a christmas flexi-disc with messages from the band and unreleased music. Prologue was less successful than the first single and Dai Jenkins left the group soon afterwards.

A final single called I Can Show You/I've Got the Love was recorded after a tour of France. The latter track features a brief snatch of Day Tripper. As part of the launch a young Prince Andrew was awarded fan club membership and was presented (via a footman) with his badge and Rupert the Bear annual. However, Prince Andrew was said not to be a fan and the bade was sent back but the annual retained. After missing a rare TV appearance a trip was made to the Lebanon to play a residency in a club. A drummer called Abi replaced Steve for some of the engagement. Following this eventful episode the band severed relations with the manager and appointed Miles Copeland who was later to have immense success as manager of the Police.
Rupert's People were said to have recorded a track called Water to a Stone in 1968/1969 said to be like Born to be Wild. The track sounds unlike previous Rupert's People tracks, possibly due to being the hands of an untried producer, the Beatles' roadie Mal Evans!
Ray Beverley left the band in 1969 although the band had been gigging far more frequently around the UK. Dave Casey replaced him on bass but was himself replaced by Terry Poole, formerly of Bakerloo Blues Line, before playing a gig. Poole also undertook some of the vocal duties such as on Reflecting.
The band was coming to its natural conclusion. Copeland had brought in his younger brother Stewart on drums. He played on an unsuccessful French tour alongside John Tout and Terry Poole after Rod Lynton left the group.
Tout later joined Renaissance including on their Northern Lights hit single. Steve Brendell worked for Apple Corps as well as John & Yoko's Yoko Films and played on the Imagine album. Steve and Rod formed Matchbox and released a single called Don't Shut Me Out. Note that this is not the rockabilly band of the same name. Rod Lynton also played on Imagine as well as Ringo's It Don't Come Easy and a track of Ronnie Spector's. He later became involved in the public relations side of the business working for Led Zeppelin and Wishbone Ash amongst others.

There was a one-off gig in 1992 with John, Rod, Steve and Ray. The band reformed again to play at a Mod rally in Hastings in 1999. Rod, Ray and Steve were still present although John Tout was not.
 



45' rarities: Love / Opus 193 - Rupert's People,
b-side from Reflections Of Charlie Brown, 
 released in Germany only

01 - Love / Opus 193 - Rupert's People
02 - Reflections Of Charlie Brown

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