January 1965, a new year and a new line up for the Bo Street Runners.
The two new band members were experienced musicians and well known on the London jazz scene. Royston 'Fingers' Fry on a Vox Continental keyboard and Glyn Thomas on drums. The introduction of these seasoned professionals had a profound effect on the band's style.
The original, MkII, version of the group had established a blues style that was straightforward, fairly basic, with little in the way of arrangements or clever harmonies. Now, Roy as a trained musician , was to raise the musicality of the band with more interesting song structures and more sophisticated chordings. The blues based programme was being extended with the introduction of more jazzy, soulful numbers including Jimmy Smith instrumentals..
Under Roy's direction the group entered a period of concentrated rehearsal to learn the new programme.
Whether this change in style was beneficial or not is open to debate. The band was still riding on their Ready Steady Win legacy and still playing in dance halls all over the country where the teenage audiences came to see and hear the group that they remembered from the TV show; not necessarily the cooler, jazzy outfit that the Runners were becoming.
By this time the dust had settled on the release of the first single and the boys were under pressure from their publisher, Keith Prowse Music, to come up with a follow up disk. Another change that had happened since the failure of 'I'm a Bo Street Runner' to chart was that Decca had 'sold' the group to Columbia Records.
A style of music that was beginning to float across the Atlantic at this time was 'Soul' and although it had yet to make much impact on the record buying public it was attracting the interest of British bands; the prime example being that of Georgie Fame and he Blue Flames. One of the prime movers in this 'new' music was James Brown and it just so happened that the 'Runners' publisher, KPM, held the copyright to all of his material. It seemed an obvious step then to choose two James Brown numbers for the second single release; these were to be 'Tell me What You Gonna Do' and 'I Do Just What I Want'.
To enable them to record a more authentic soul sound a sixth member was recruited into the group; virtuoso saxophonist Dave Quincy, another established player on the London modern jazz scene.,
So back into the studio, with Columbia Records' producer Micky Most at the controls, the second single was laid down towards the end of January 1965. The event was not a happy one for the group as the producer had decided to hire several session musicians, including the legendary guitarist Jim Sullivan who recorded a spectacular solo on the A-side. Undeniably slick and professional the resulting record is not recognisably 'Bo Street Runners' compared to the first single with even singer John Dominic's voice having undergone a radical change of timbre!
'Tell Me What You Gonna Do' was released in February to a luke warm reception from the media and largely ignored by the public.
In retrospect it would seem to have been a mistake for the group and its managagement to have chosen such a radical change in musical direction and put out a disk that was so out of step with current trends.
The next page, Baby Never Say Goodbye