Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper Mersey Beat
Drummer John Konrad (born Liverpool, 3rd October 1944) and bassist Keith Karlson (born Keith Alcock in Liverpool, 14th August 1944) formed a group called The Nomads with lead guitarist Roy Woods. However, Woods didn’t fit in and he was replaced by Adrian Wilkinson in September 1962.
Stu Slater (born Stuart Leslie James Slater on 14th July 1945 in Liverpool), a student at Liverpool University, joined them as vocalist/pianist, changing his name to Stu James. He didn’t think his original name was strong enough for a pop star and just reversed actor James Stewart’s name. He recalled: "I was in the Sixth form at Liverpool Institute - post A-levels, waiting to go to University - but somehow I got involved with The Nomads instead. I came in as pianist, playing an ordinary upright until I could afford a Hohner, and then I started singing too. Our repertoire was powerful, hardline R & B...we were a sort of Liverpool Yardbirds.”
At one time, Stu almost became a member of The Undertakers. He rehearsed with them for three days, but Geoff Nugent threatened to leave if the group employed Stu. As The Nomads they appeared with The Beatles at the Cavern on Sunday 3rd February 1963 and recorded on the ‘This Is Mersey Beat’ album.
When they discovered that a London group had registered the name The Nomads, they changed the band's name to The Mojos, due to Muddy Waters and the record ‘I’ve Got My Mojo Working.’ The band entered the Lancashire & Cheshire Beat Group Contest at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool and, although the group didn’t win, they were awarded a songwriters contract with Carlin Music.
It was ironic that Carlin leased their tapes to Decca because The Escorts, the group who won the competition, failed to be given the promised Decca recording contract.
The Mojos were joined by Terry O’ Toole on piano and Stu became lead vocalist.
Now managed by Spencer Lloyd Mason, they saw their first record, ‘Forever,’
released in October 1963 and also gained a residency at the Blue Angel club
in Liverpool. Adrian left to join The Mastersounds and was replaced by Nicky
Crouch (born Aintree, Liverpool, on 9th February 1943), former member of
Faron’s Flamingos. They appeared for a five-week season at the Star Club
in Hamburg and, while in Germany, they recorded ‘Everything’s Alright’,
which became a Top Ten hit.
The group also toured Britain with The Rolling Stones and The Dave Clark Five. Soon after the release of ‘Seven Daffodils’, Keith Karlson and Terry O’ Toole left because the group couldn’t agree on musical policy. Lewis Collins (born Bidston, Birkenhead, on 27th May 1946) on bass and Aynsley Dunbar (born 10th January 1946 in Liverpool) on drums became the new members of the quartet in December 1964.
The name was changed to Stu James & The Mojos. This line-up continued until September 1966. Lewis Collins was to join other bands before becoming an actor and starring as Bodie in ‘The Professionals’ while Dunbar joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Mojos finally disbanded in January 1967 after a short spell backing singers Paul & Barry Ryan.
Stu James was to recall:
“We made our name in Liverpool as Blues specialists but were persuaded to do all sorts of lightweight pop stuff. After our initial success, we just stumbled on in a fairly aimless way. The acclaim we got was for our live performances which remained loud and raucous.” The group also appeared in the film ‘Every Day’s A Holiday’, known in America as ‘Seaside Swingers.’
Their singles were:
‘They Say’ c/w ‘Forever’ on Decca F11732 in 1963;
‘Everything's Al'right’ c/w ‘Give Your Lovin' To Me’ on Decca F11853 in 1964 which reached No 9 in the charts;
‘Why Not Tonight’ c/w ‘Don't Do It Any More’ on Decca F11918 in 1964 which reached No 25;
‘Seven Daffodils’ c/w ‘Nothin' At All’ on Decca F11959 in 1964 which reached No 30 in the charts;
‘Comin' On To Cry’ c/w ‘That's The Way It Goes’ on Decca F12127 in 1965;
‘Wait A Minute’ c/w ‘Wonder If She Knows’ on Decca F12231 in 1965 (which was the only single issued under the name Stu James & The Mojos);
‘Goodbye Dolly Gray’ c/w ‘I Just Can't Let Her Go’ on Decca F12557 in 1967;
‘Until My Baby Comes Home’ c/w ‘Seven Park Avenue’ on Liberty LBF15097 in 1968.
Their eponymous EP, issued on Decca DFE8591 in 1964 reached No 12 in the EP charts and comprised the numbers:
‘Everything's Al'right’, ‘I Got My Mojo Working’, ‘The One Who Really Loves You’, ‘Nobody But Me.’
|Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.|
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