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

Arrival - later Kokomo

Arrival were a vocal harmony group from Liverpool who appeared on Maynard Ferguson's British television special in 1970 and also appeared at the third Isle of Wight festival the same year. Their appearance took place on Friday 28th August. 'Nights In White Satin: An Illustrated History of the Isle of Wight Festivals' commented, "Dressed in a bizarre variety of costumes, they managed to gain the audience's mass attention with 'Hard Road' and sustained it with Leonard Cohen's 'Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye', on which Dyan Birch sang lead. After 'Sit Down And Float' (which the crowd seemed to be doing anyway) they went into 'Not Right Now'. Frank Collins sat and played twelve string acoustic guitar with Dyan sitting on the stage at his feet. It was an appealing sight. Unfortunately, an unruly mob decided to throw cans into the Press and VIP area during the number and rather spoiled the effect. They ended with the hot gospel song 'See The Lord', which though it went on rather too long was irresistible and many peace signs were noticeable throughout the congregation".

The four main vocalists were Dyan Birch (born 25th January 1949), a former member of NEMS staff; Carroll Carter (born 10th June 1948) and Frank Collins (born 25th October 1947) and Paddy McHugh (born 28th August 1946), both previous members of Liverpool vocal group The Excelles. The other members were Don Hume (born 31st March 1950 in Watford) on bass and Lloyd Courtney (born 20th December 1947 in Cheshire) on drums. The group travelled to London in January 1969 seeking a recording contract. The Gunnell Agency asked Tony O' Malley (born 15th July 1948) to join them on piano and he was to remain with the line-up. The group sent a demo tape to Decca Records and the company's A&R man, Tony Hall, signed them to the label and became their manager. Don and Lloyd appeared on all the Decca recordings and the first two CBS singles before leaving the band in 1972. They were replaced by Lee Sutherland on bass, Steve Chapman on drums and George Lee joined them on saxophone.

Steve Chapman was only with the band for a short time before being replaced by Glen LeFleur. When they began recording their CBS album they were joined by Raphael Pereira on guitar although by that time Sutherland had been replaced by Phil Chen. Chen then left to join the Butts Band, an American outfit and Lee had also left, while Pereira switched to bass guitar. The changes had been mainly with the various musicians while the vocalists were the basic mainstay of the outfit until Birch, Collins and McHugh then went on to form Kokomo in 1973. During their brief career, Arrival had two chart hits. The first was a cover of the Terry Reid composition 'Friends' c/w 'Don't Turn His Love Away' issued on Decca F 12986 in 1968. The single reached No.8 in the British charts on 10th January 1970, with a chart life of nine weeks. Their follow-up was 'I Will Survive' c/w 'See The Lord', issued on Decca F 13026 in 1970 which reached No.16 in the charts on 6th June 1970, with a chart life of 11 weeks. The group's other singles didn't chart. They were 'Let My Life Be Your Love Song' (penned by Jimmy Webb) c/w 'Out Of Desperation' issued on CBS 7035 in 1971. 'Family Tree' c/w 'Part Of My Dream' issued on CBS 7617 in 1971. '(The Theme From) Heartbreak Kid' c/w 'Sweet Summer' issued on CBS 1350 in 1973 (the artists on the recording were Dyan Birch, Frank Collins, Carroll Carter, Paddy McHugh vocals; Tony O'Malley, keyboards, vocals; Ed Smith, trombone); and 'Mr. Know It All' c/w 'Not Gonna Worry' on Epic 1891 in 1973. 'I Will Survive' c/w 'See The Lord' was reissued on Decca F 13593 in 1975 and 'Friends' c/w 'I Will Survive' was reissued on Decca F 13763 in 1978.

Their first album 'Arrival' was issued on Decca SKL 5055 in 1970. Tracks were 'Live'; 'Light My Fire'; 'Friends'; 'No Good Advice'; 'Prove It'; 'See The Lord'; 'I Will Survive'; 'Sit Down And Float'; 'Take Me'; 'La Virra'; 'Not Right Now'; 'Hard Road' and their second album, also called 'Arrival', was issued on CBS 64733 in 1972 and contained tracks such as 'Glory Be'; 'Family Tree'; 'Part Of My Dream'; 'So It Is Written' and 'Not Preconceived.' Before they disbanded, Arrival had enjoyed chart hits in several countries, toured the world, appeared at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, and performed before Queen Elizabeth II at a Royal Command Performance. When Arrival disbanded, Kokomo formed in May 1973 with former Arrival members Dyan Birch, Paddie McHugh and Frank Collins together with Neil Hubbard and Alan Spenner, former members of Joe Cocker's Grease Band, Mel Collins on sax, Terry Stannard on drums, Jim Mullen on guitar and Jody Linscott on percussion, plus Tony O' Malley.

The group were described as a white soul group, similar to The Average White Band. They initially played on the pub rock circuit in London where they became extremely popular and they recorded their debut album 'Kokomo 1'. The group made three albums and toured Britain, Europe and the States. They also supported their friends The Average White band on several tours. They recorded a couple of albums with CBS, toured constantly and there were various personnel changes before they eventually split in January 1977 following a farewell tour at the end of 1976. They reformed in 1982 and released their third album 'Kokomo' which entered the Top 50. When they arrived in New York in July 1975 Bob Dylan was so impressed by the group that he invited them to join him on the early studio sessions for the recording of his 'Desire' album, although only one song featuring the band, 'Romance in Durango', made the finished record. Sadly, financial problems reared their heads and the group was forced to split while the individual members sought work with other artists such as The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker and Bryan Ferry. Dyan, for instance, provided vocals on Brian Ferry's album 'In Your Mind' in 1977 and toured with him the same year. She also featured on the Roxy Music and solo singles 'Roadrunner' and 'Ticket to Ride' in addition to working with Bob Dylan, Marianne Faithfull, Alvin Lee, Roger Daltrey, Manfred Mann and others. Dyan also sang on George Hatcher's 1977 album 'Talking Turkey', along with Frank Collins and Paddy McHugh and they are also featured on albums by Tony O'Malley, Brett Marvin & The Thunderbolts and others.

Dyan Birch - Arrival             Arrival             Arrival             Arrival

Mersey Beat Magazine 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.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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