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RPM’s British Invasion Continues with The Scorpions, Crispian St. Peters

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Scorpions - Hello JosephineOur RPM Records round-up continues with news of two anthologies sure to interest any fans and collectors of mid-sixties British pop.

The Scorpions of Hello, Josephine – 30 Rhythm and Beat Classics 1964-1966 aren’t to be confused with the German metal band or even the British instrumental trio from the early sixties. These Scorpions were a beat band from Manchester, the same stomping ground as The Hollies. But Peter Lewis (vocals), Tony Briley (bass), Mike Delaney (drums), Tony Postill (lead guitar) and Rodney Postill (rhythm guitar) didn’t find success in their native England. Instead, they made a name for themselves in Holland! RPM’s new collection sheds light on this “lost” beat group.

Just months after the band was formed, Dutch audiences discovered The Scorpions on the country’s stages in summer 1964. They were signed to the CNR label almost immediately, and released their first single (“Bye Bye Johnny” b/w “Rip It Up”) in August. With their selection of songs by Chuck Berry and Little Richard, The Scorpions revealed their roots in American R&B, and the group followed up the 45 with covers of songs by Doris Troy (“Just One Look”), Ray Charles (“What’d I Say”) and Berry again (“Johnny B. Goode”). In late ’64, The Scorpions endured some personnel shifts: Tony Briley left the band, Rodney Postill took over on bass, Tony Postill switched from lead to rhythm guitar, and Terry Morton joined on lead guitar. But the new line-up scored big with December’s release of Fats Domino’s “Hello, Josephine.” It remained in the Dutch charts for 33 weeks, peaking at No. 2. Its follow-up was naturally also titled after a gal, and “Ann-Louise” also made the Top 40.

Further troubles plagued The Scorpions after this initial burst of success, however. Mike Delaney was replaced in 1965 by Ian “Skins” Lucas (who, like Morton, was an alumnus of Wayne Fontana and The Jets). A third hit record – an adaptation of “Greensleeves” inspired by the arrangement of The Country Gentlemen, another old band of Morton’s – made No. 22 in the summer, but soon, the band was forced to return to England when the members’ work permits expired. Morton and the Postills both gave up, leaving Peter Lewis and Ian Lucas to soldier on with new members Graham Lee (guitar/vocals), Dave Vernon (bass) and Roy Smithson (organ/vocals). This group of Scorpions recorded the optimistically-titled album Climbing the Charts, and the single “Balla, Balla” b/w “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” gave them another Top 20 hit. Still more comings and goings threatened to derail The Scorpions’ career, and the group was briefly rechristened The New Scorpions by its record label. Another album arrived in late 1966, but the band finally called it a day the next year when they were once again forced to return to England.

After the jump, there’s more on The Scorpions – plus The Complete Recordings of the Pied Piper himself, Crispian St. Peters! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 21, 2014 at 09:41