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RPM Collects Complete Singles of Beatle Pal Buddy Britten

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Buddy Britten - Long Gone BabyWho’s that guy holding the guitar with the Buddy Holly glasses?  Why, it’s Buddy Britten!  Geoffrey David Glover-Wright reinvented himself in the fashion of Buddy Holly after taking in a March 1958 concert, recalling his hero leaping about the stage “like a lunatic” and playing an “extraordinary” guitar.  And so Glover-Wright, a.k.a. Britten, joined the ranks of early British rock and rollers.  His short but exciting career from Merseybeat to psychedelia has recently been chronicled by RPM, an imprint of the Cherry Red Group, on Long Gone Baby: Complete Singles 1962-1967.

Glover-Wright had been playing with the colorful Vince Taylor when promoter Reg Calvert spotted him for a group that would eventually be known as a tribute act.  In Spencer Leigh’s new liner notes for RPM’s anthology, Glover-Wright recalls, “Reg said to me, ‘You’re thin and tall, you wear specs and you can sing and play guitar like Buddy Holly; you’ll be Buddy Holly and we’ll call you Buddy Britten!’”  And so when Decca released the young singer’s first 45 in 1962, it was credited to Buddy Britten.  That single, “Don’t Spread It Around,” was written by future “Georgy Girl” composer (and stage and screen star) Jim Dale, and its B-side, “The Beat of My Heart,” was Britten’s own work.  Buddy and his backup group, The Regents (not the American group of “Barbara Ann” fame, but a three-piece modeled after The Crickets, naturally, with Barney Peacock on drums and Pete Mist on bass) were on their way, and in June of 1962 were signed for a residency at Hamburg’s Star-Club.  Buddy befriended The Beatles and in particular, John Lennon; the future Fab would remember Britten years later and bring him on board Apple Publishing.  The “fruit” of his labor can be heard on RPM’s 94 Baker Street Revisited.

Following the Decca debut, Britten and the Regents moved to the Piccadilly label and then over to Oriole, where they remained through 1965.  Their first Oriole side, “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody,” was recorded at Lennon’s suggestion but its success was curbed by Freddie and the Dreamers’ competing version for EMI.  Producer John Schroeder continued to allow the artist to continue selecting his own material, however, and other songs given the Regents treatment included Barrett Strong’s “Money” (of course, also recorded by The Beatles), the Pajama Game standard “Hey There,” Hoagy Carmichael’s “My Resistance is Low,” Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman’s “Sorrow Tomorrow,” and the Disney (and Phil Spector) favorite “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”  By the time of the group’s final Oriole single in 1965 (“Everybody Has Their Day” b/w “A Merry Go Round of Love”), the personnel other than Britten had changed, but the new Regents followed their leader back to Piccadilly for another few 45s including a cover of The Sir Douglas Quintet’s “She’s About a Mover.”

After the jump: Buddy forms the Simon Raven Cult!  Plus: the full track listing with discography, and order links!

Britten, with Regents Nick Simper (bass), Roger Pinner (drums) and Tony Lost (piano), hit upon a notion to extend his group’s life.  He reinvented The Regents as The Simon Raven Cult in time for the heady, heavier days of 1966.  The Cult’s single of Bert Berns’ “I Wonder If She Remembers Me” b/w a revival of Phil Phillips’ “Sea of Love” didn’t make too many waves, but Britten persisted even after Pinner and Simper departed The Cult.  As Simon Raverne, Britten recorded another one-off in 1967, this time for Fontana: “Daily Situation” b/w his own “Empty Beaches, Cobbled Streets and City Walls.”  From Buddy Holly-esque rock and roll to offbeat psych-rock, Buddy Britten had seen, and done, it all.

Eventually, the onetime Buddy Britten placed music on the back burner in favor of writing, and reinvented himself (again!) under his real name as a novelist.  Geoffrey Glover Wright’s thrillers have kept him busy for decades now, but he’s never abandoned performing.  The singer-songwriter recently found time to return to the stage as Buddy Britten once more for a British Rock and Roll Heritage Show.  RPM’s anthology includes the entirety of his Britten ouevre (save three songs on the Apple Publishing release), including with The Regents, The Simon Raven Cult and as Simon Raverne.  The disc, compiled and produced by Glover Wright with Mark Stratford and remastered by Simon Murphy, also premieres two previously unissued tracks from the Raverne period.  A rendition of John Sebastian’s “(Sittin’ Here) Lovin’ You” makes its first appearance alongside the Raverne take of Tom T. Hall’s “Billy Christian.”

Long Gone Baby: Complete Singles 1962-1967 is a fascinating look at the vibrant, largely unknown music made by Buddy Britten during one of rock and roll’s most electrifying, and transitional, periods.  It’s available now at the links below from RPM Records!

Buddy Britten and The Regents, Long Gone Baby: Complete Singles 1962-1967 (RPM RETROCD 931, 2013) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

  1. Don’t Spread It Around
  2. The Beat of My Heart
  3. My Pride, My Joy
  4. Long Gone Baby
  5. If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody
  6. Money
  7. Hey There
  8. I’ll Cry No More
  9. My Resistance is Low
  10. When I See You Smile
  11. Sorrow Tomorrow
  12. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah
  13. I Guess I’m in the Way
  14. Bye Bye Johnny
  15. Come Along
  16. Everybody Has Their Day
  17. A Merry-Go-Round of Love
  18. She’s About a Mover
  19. Since You’ve Gone
  20. Right Now
  21. Jailer Bring Me Water
  22. Billy Christian
  23. I Wonder if She Remembers Me
  24. Sea of Love
  25. Daily Situation
  26. Empty Beaches, Cobbled Streets and City Walls
  27. (Sittin’ Here) Loving You

Tracks 1-2 from Decca single F 11435, 1962
Tracks 3-4 from Piccadilly single 7N35075, 1962
Tracks 5-6 from Oriole single CB 1827, 1963
Tracks 7-8 from Oriole single CB 1839, 1963
Tracks 9-10 from Oriole single CB 1859, 1963
Track 11 from Oriole single CB 1889, 1963
Tracks 12-13 from Oriole single CB 1911, 1964
Tracks 14-15 from Oriole single CB 1912, 1964
Tracks 16-17 from Oriole single CB 1942, 1964
Tracks 18-19 from Piccadilly single 7N35421, 1965
Tracks 20-21 from Piccadilly single 7N35257, 1965
Tracks 22 & 27 previously unreleased
Tracks 23-24 from Piccadilly single 7N35301, 1966
Tracks 25-26 from Fontana single TF 842, 1967

Written by Joe Marchese

February 10, 2014 at 09:45

2 Responses

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  1. Who knew? Curious to hear if he’s just an artifact or if he’s any good.

    Jeremy Shatan

    February 10, 2014 at 09:53

  2. The Apple Publishing demos are good enough to warrant a listen or two. John Lennon must have heard something to back him as he did. Lennon seemed not to suffer fools gladly.

    Sean Anglum

    February 10, 2014 at 11:26

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