Friday, April 10, 2020

Bern Elliot and The Fenmen - The Beat Years

The only group to reach the charts with "Money", a song performed by many groups of the day, Bern Elliott & The Fenmen formed in Kent in 1961, they spent a lot of the next two years playing the clubs of Hamburg before being signed to Decca in early 1963.

Although not from Liverpool, the group played in a similar style to the "Merseybeat" bands and Elliott himself possessed a good R&B influenced voice. Their recorded output was small because the partnership did not stay together for long - going their separate ways in the middle of '64.

Elliott put another group together named The Clan, while the Fenmen carried on without him until 1968 when the band broke up. Povey and Allen both joined a later line-up of The Pretty Things.

Formed in Erith, Kent, in 1961, this outfit cut its teeth on the Hamburg club circuit. Their cover of The Beatles' Money gave them a Top 30 hit and the following year their cover of New Orleans repeated the success. After an EP the group split and Elliot initially got together a backing group called The Clan. He then recorded a couple of solo singles and The Fenmen also carried on making discs including a cover of The Four Seasons' Rag Doll. Allen and Povey later joined The Pretty Things in 1968.
The See For Miles compilation includes the band's two 45s and their EP, the 45 Elliot recorded with his new backing band, The Clan, and his two solo 45s, the first of which was a big production number

Band members

Bern Elliott - lead vocals
Alan Judge - lead guitar
John Povey - drums 
Wally Allen - rhythm guitar 
Eric Willmer - bass guitar

Beat Years

Twenty-three songs from 1963-65, including everything Elliot and the Fenmen recorded for Decca, together or separately: the Bern Elliot & the Fenmen singles, their EP and compilation tracks, the sole Bern Elliot & the Klan single, the Elliot solo efforts from 1965, and the first two singles the Fenmen recorded without Elliot. It's quite impressive that See For Miles went to all the trouble to tie up the loose ends for a band that was so marginal, even in the eyes of British Invasion specialists. Elliot & the Fenmen were a good rockin' combo, but one without any songwriting ambitions whatsoever, which limits the interest of the material here considerably, as it consists entirely of well-worn R&B/rock covers. Mildly unusual in this context are Elliot & the Klan's "Good Times," awith a more-poppy-Animals feel, and the Fenmen's "I've Got Everything You Need Babe," an obscure number that Al Kooper co-wrote. Unfortunately this disc doesn't have the Fenmen's 1966 CBS single "Rejected," the best thing they did, either with Elliot or on their own.

"Money" was a staple of the set of most British Invasion bands. Oddly, the only group to have a U.K. hit single with the song was the obscure one-shot outfit Bern Elliot & the Fenmen. Elliot's version entered the British Top Twenty near the end of 1963; it wasn't a patch on the Beatles' rendition (which had been released at about the same time on their second LP), but it was actually a pretty decent, soulful interpretation. Elliot and his backup group played in a sort of tough Merseybeat style (although they weren't from the Mersey), and Bern was a pretty decent R&B-influenced singer, somewhat along the lines of the Dave Clark Five's Mike Smith. Elliot & the Fenmen made a few singles and an EP without any more notable success; their reliance upon old R&B/rock tunes for the entirety of their repertoire made them almost instantly passe, although the songs were executed pretty well. Elliot fell out with the Fenmen in 1964, and briefly teamed up with the Klan, as well as putting out some orchestrated pop solo singles in 1965. the Fenmen went on their own and made a few singles for Decca and CBS in a harmony pop/rock style, highlighted by the original minor-keyed tune "Rejected." After the demise of the Fenmen, members Wally Allen and John Povey joined the Pretty Things, in time for that group's psychedelic recordings.

No comments:

Post a Comment

RULE : ANONYMOUS REQUESTS WITHOUT ANSWER ! Please,treat with understanding ...
All comments are moderated to avoid spam Other comments and requests must be fast published !