Saturday, May 05, 2007

Soul Britannia: The Jury's Still Out There...

While perusing the internet for info about Chris Farlowe, I read this excerpt from an interview with guitarist Albert Lee. It gives a little bit of an insight into the influence of US airbases, r&b, and the Caribbean community on the beat explosion:

"In 1961 ... I ran into this bloke called Bob Xavier, who asked me to join his band. So I wore a variety of open necked silky shirts and worked American airbases and London clubs for over a year.

Bob Xavier was West Indian, and the band was modelled on Emile Ford and the Checkmates. Most other groups around town were still doing rock'n'roll, but we were into Drifters/Brook Benton sort of stuff...but in summer '62 Xavier left and we became the house band at the 2Is [paid 18 bob a night].

We'd play in the cofee bar 5 or 6 nights a week - backing whoever wandered onto the stage...and at weekends we would go out of town doing one-nighters backing Vince Eager, Keith Kelly and Jackie Lynton (who were all managed by Tom Littlewood - owner of the 2Is at the time)."

The band were called Bob Xavier & The Jury, and recorded a single with Jackie Lynton after Bob Xavier left. I found a picture of an old gig poster, but nothing else concerning Bob Xavier, or what he went on to do. If anybody knows anything about Bob Xavier and The Jury, I'd love to here from you!

4 comments:

,Mike Oliver said...

With Bob Xavier, I re-formed "The Jury" from the small group of musicians that accompanied Jimmy Justice at the Breadbasket coffee bar near the Post Office Tower. This was right at the start of the 1960s and two of the members (guitarist & drummer)left shortly afterwards to be replaced by Albert Lee and a drummer whose name I just can't recall. Pat Donaldson, the bassist stayed with us. We then added a second saxophone player and I went on piano.

We got signed up for the Mecca circuit, playing the Orchid at Purleigh, the Putney Ballroom and The State at Kilburn. Other regular venues were the Whiskey Agogo, the 2 Is and the Embers Ballroom at Harlow.

Towards the end of 1962. I went to a gig for the Harrod's Staff Christmas party to be told the band's name had been changed to "Nightsounds" and we had a new singer (Jackie Lynton). I was also advised by Bob that the band had been asked to go to Germany. This didn't fit in with my plans, so I left and bid the guys a fond farewell. Shortly after, I heard the boys had split up but, more recently, I've been in touch with Albert and had a brief but pleasant meeting with him.

I'm currently trying to get in touch with other members of the band.

Mike Oliver

senton said...

I use to play the drums with bob x and al lee at the American Air Force bases....terry Aris

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry:

Just found this location again. I remember you well but couldn't recall your surname. Can we get in touch some way?

Cheers,

Mike

Mike Oliver said...

Recently made contact with the Jury's vocalist, Ron Roker, who's still in the music business. Albert says he is in touch with Pat Donaldson. He, Albert and I are trying to arrange a reunion so, if Terry Aris reads this and would like to make contact, post here and I'll provide an e-mail address.

Mike Oliver