SOUL TRAIN – with South Shields born singer & songwriter Vincent Edwards

From his home in Germany, singer &  songwriter Vincent Edwards has been looking back at his 1970’s chart pop singles. Recent posts have featured stories behind Right Back Where We Started From, Love Hit Me and Run for the Sun. European audiences have been kind to Edwards with many re-releases of his records in Belgium, Italy and Germany.

Edwards was born and brought up in the seaside town of South Shields in the North East of England. After hearing Sam Cooke on the radio he knew what he wanted to do with his life and went for an audition at a youth club to be a singer.

I was in a band called The Invictors, who were a Shields band, and they evolved into The Answers where I played drums and was singer. We played a lot of soul and blues, our lead guitarist Tony Hill wrote the songs. We learnt our trade working on American military bases in France, that was around ’63 to ’66. We played a lot around the UK including London and getting over to Paris, plus Shields of course.

We were living in London and recorded two records for Columbia records in the UK. Just a Fear was recorded at Central Studios in London, it was heavily played on the pirate stations in 1966. The second single That’s What You’re Doing to Me, was recorded in a studio in Putney, South London. It’s a bit softer than the first and again it was played a lot on pirate radio. We recorded both in three hours including the b sides. Our record producer was Jimmy Duncan, the brother of late singer Leslie Duncan.

Stockton born Leslie Duncan’s most notable work was during the 1970’s when she performed backing vocals or wrote songs for musicians including Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Scott Walker and Pink Floyd. The next post will look at the music career of Duncan more closely.

At the time we were managed by Tony Stratton-Smith who was also looking after The Kubers and Creation. As for promotion I can’t remember any TV then, that came later.

A former sports journalist, Tony Stratton-Smith is best known as founder of independent label Charisma Records in 1969. He released records by The Nice, Lindisfarne, Genesis, and Monty Python’s comedy albums.

Vincent Edwards.

Eventually we drifted apart but stayed good friends. Tony is living in south London playing in a band called Friction. Our bass player Bob Calder who became sound engineer for the musical Hair, sadly he’s passed away. I’ve lost touch with Ron our second guitarist. I’m still writing and a track I wrote, Soul Train, you never know somebody might record it.

‘Just a Fear’  (link below) has been called a ‘bona fide freakbeat classic with incisive, driving raga-like fretwork from Tony Hill, it’s a dance floor stomper, pounding drums and frenetic finish with soulful vocals from Vincent Edwards’.

The Answers – It’s Just A Fear – 1966 45rpm – YouTube

Interview from August 2020: BACK WHERE HE STARTED FROM with singer & songwriter Vinny Edwards | ALIKIVI (garyalikivi.com)

Interview by Gary Alikivi  May 2021.

LOVE HIT ME – with South Shields born singer & songwriter Vincent Edwards

Over a steaming hot curry Vincent Edwards recalls his days back in South Shields nipping along Ocean Road to get fish and chips at Colmans.

Yes I really miss them, I was brought up nearby in Shortridge Street and used to play in the Marine Park and the beach.

Edwards featured in August 2020 talking about his music career and living in Germany. In the last post he added another story about his European chart single Run to the Sun. In this post he talks about another European chart hit – Love Hit Me, and it’s extra life with British soul singer Maxine Nightingale.

I wrote the song in 1975 in London for my beautiful late wife Angel Uschi when we lived there. It was recorded and produced at Pye Studios in London. Later I sent it over to Maxine Nightingale who I shared a stage with in the musical Hair, she also sang my top UK hit Right Back Where We Started From, and done a great job. Again she recorded a great version of Love Hit Me for release in America.

It was out in ’76 and charted all over Europe. There was a load of promo slots on TV shows in the UK and around Europe where I had hits in most countries as did darling Maxine.

In 1977, with a Top of the Pops appearance, Maxine took the song to #11 in the UK charts. It was also released in Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

The video (link below) of the live TV appearance was a few years ago in Ostend, Belgium, I think it was number one at the time. Paul Young was also on the show, we had a few beers after.

You Tube link to TV show:

LOVE HIT ME – J. VINCENT EDWARDS – YouTube

Interview from August 2020: BACK WHERE HE STARTED FROM with singer & songwriter Vinny Edwards | ALIKIVI (garyalikivi.com)

Chart information from Discogs.

Interview by Gary Alikivi  May 2021.

RUN TO THE SUN with South Shields born singer & songwriter Vincent Edwards

Originally from South Shields, but for the past 26 years living in Germany, singer & songwriter Vincent Edwards first featured on the blog back in August 2020 talking about his music career (link below). 

Notably his 1975 top 10 UK chart hit, and in 1976 a USA #2 with ‘Right Back Where We Started From’ sung by British soul singer Maxine Nightingale. In this post Edwards looks back to another of his singles.

I was in the London show Hair and had a record out from it called Aquarius, on United Artists. At the same time a song Run to the Sun was written with a very dear friend and writing partner Pierre Tubbs back in ’68. We recorded it first under the name Owl in Central Sound studio, Denmark Street, London. It became a bit of a cult amongst the hippy generation.

During my time in Hair I signed to CBS records and my first record for them came about with the help of Richard Harris.

(Irish stage & screen actor, sang McArthur Park a hit in UK & USA 1968. The song is better known for the Donna Summer hit).

He had seen me in the show, we got together and I played him Run to the Sun, I thought he would like it. He did and we re-recorded the song in London’s Pye studios with his brother and good soul Dermot Harris producing.

CBS pushed the promotion around Europe where the record charted in most countries especially Holland and Belgium. It still gets played quite a bit on ‘Blast from the Past’ radio stations. The music video was filmed on a beach in Holland at 8am. It was pretty cold but I was used to it having spent my childhood on South Shields beach. Happy days, great memories.

Check it on this You Tube link.

Run to the Sun – J.Vincent Edwards – YouTube

Interview from August 2020BACK WHERE HE STARTED FROM with singer & songwriter Vinny Edwards | ALIKIVI (garyalikivi.com)

Chart information from Discogs.

Interview by Gary Alikivi  May 2021.

POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL -new album by LOWFEYE 

Durham band Lowfeye deliver a mix of Stooges, Dusty Springfield and Velvet Underground – the deadly duo don’t write songs they make potions. Their first album Pow oozed creative energy, new album Poor Little Rich Girl has fired up more toxic tunes vocalist/songwriter Carol Nichol set’s the record straight…and hits play.

Basically I’m a melody nut, the songs I write are usually written on acoustic guitar or piano and my melodies determine the style of music. The songs evolve from experimenting with sounds and different styles. I then paint the story visually with words, but being dyslexic I can’t always read my lyrics (laughs).

The arrangements are then brought together by Alan Rowland who is a self-taught multi-talented instrumentalist. Using basic equipment, the recordings and production are all done at our home. We’ve created a really diverse DIY album featuring everything from dark folk, post punk, heavy pop, cinematic, to metal, psyche and garage rock.

POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL

The title of the album is taken from the song of the same name. It’s a dig at the music world dominated by middle class artists, with lines like ‘And your daddy buys the world that I can’t feel, as you float in silver bubbles and your world is not a struggle, you’re not real’.

Being working class and juggling jobs to find free time to create independently as well as fund it, is a struggle, it’s very different to artists who go to Brit school and have money and privilege to pay others to create, produce, record and fund tours. It’s all manufactured. They pay their way into the industry without actually creating anything themselves. Then we are banged over the head with songs with no meaning singing about sunshine and utopia.

GASOLINE

The album opens with Gasoline. A murder ballad I wrote in contrast to the typical run of the mill love songs. Their fate meets a dramatic end, swilled down with gasoline and blown to smithereens.

GUN

The track Gun was based on characters from TV series Peaky Blinders and one of the main cast from the show saw potential in the track, but as we are unknowns it wasn’t used.

EMILY’S TREE

Emily’s Tree the second murder ballad is about a haunting, a ghost of a child tormenting the killer. In this dark period folk track it draws you in but at the end of the track the landscape leads into the heavy track Raw which was written by Alan and features our friend Neil Tunstall on bass putting some heavy bass on with roaring backing vocals which work great.

VERTIGO

A Lowfeye album wouldn’t be complete without a post punk track and Vertigo is it. The tapestry of my life has the art and music of Bowie in everything so this track is about a feeling I had when he died. I had a feeling of losing balance and looking down on the world with dread, thinking this isn’t real. A Bowie riff is played in the end of the song as a tribute.

STAY

Stay is a personal haunting ballad I wrote, with the loss of my father very young, the line I use ‘savage silence’ was written by my mother who wrote a poem after his death. Her poem was published under her maiden name Elsa Bunting, a distant relation to Basil Bunting the poet.

SNOWFLAKE GENERATION

A bit like Beautiful World the last song on previous album Pow, we close out with a critical song – Snow Flake Generation. It’s a criticism of the now, the 21st century snowflake in the times of political correctness. A world that hammers out any opinions and free speech. A world where we are spoon-fed what the media want you to read and hear.

You had Richard Hell (Television/The Heartbreakers) singing about a Blank Generation well we are singing about a snowflake generation who think they have it so hard and get offended very easily, this begins to silence people from voicing their opinion and squashing healthy debate.

What I can see in the future is the music industry ticking boxes so not to offend anyone, and real DIY bands who have a voice, getting it hammered out on radio – yet they sell out their gigs.

So our track Snowflake Generation wasn’t going to be played on BBC Introducing, because you’re not allowed to swear and we do in this track. We were not prepared to take swearing out as it’s real and from the heart.

NORDIC TUNE

We are both into ‘60s and ‘70s music with the old analogue sounds and mellotron. I am also a big film lover of soundtracks from that period. When we finished the album I’d written the Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America) style track Vaquero. It was picked up by a Swedish record label who wanted to publish it and sync it in the Warner Brothers Swedish drama, Partisan, in August 2020.

The track was featured heavily around the main actor Fare Fares and won best at Cannes – serious. We took the track off the running list for the album as its now signed to the Swedish label who manage it.

The drama has been played on TV screens across Europe, Australia, the Nordics and is going to America. They are hoping it comes to the UK.

NEXT UP FOR LOWFEYE

We have no plans of going out live as Lowfeye yet – but never say never. At the moment we are concentrating on soundtracks for Europe, as well as a third Lowfeye DIY album, it will be full of different styles of music both intimate and widescreen, also some very critical of the times we live in.

Lowfeye do it for the love of music, we are not in a box. For even one person to get what we are about is great for us and drives us on as independent DIY artists.

The album on CD is available from Lowfeye/Carol Nichol via Facebook or email  cnichol66@btinternet.com at £7 including p&p.

Released on digital platforms May 2nd 2021.

Interview by Gary Alikivi  April 2021.