Tuesday, 21 January 2014

From the Green, Green Grass of Home

I caught a very short clip of the BBC programme, The Voice, recently and witnessed Tom Jones in action. From the little I saw he is relishing his role as the Elder Statesman of British Pop and enjoys pontificating on the performances of a seemingly endless stream of pretty mediocre singers. He's travelled a long way since I first saw him in action so come with me as I take you back in time to the mid 1960s.
In those days my regular Saturday night haunt was the Palais de Danse in Caerphiily. More formally known as the Plymouth Ballroom, it was THE place to be for any lover of rock groups (bands hadn't been invented yet). Someone once said that you will always remember the first group you called your own. I can and they were The Sons of Adam, from Cardiff. A hairy bunch who played a lot of very loud R & B with a thundering bass line. Wonderful stuff and I can still remember their versions of John Lee Hooker's 'Boom, Boom and Boom' and  Leiber and Stoller's 'I'm a Hog for You Baby'. Although I can recite in toto the lyrics of the latter, I'll admit that I had to look up the composers - my memory isn't that good.

Another group on the circuit at the time was Tommy Scott and the Senators. Less hard-edged, and to me less interesting than the Sons of Adam, the Senators were really just a backing group for the lead singer who obviously thought a lot of himself. I remember them dressed in leather waistcoats and,
Tommy Scott and the Senators
on another occasion (at a dance at Bedwas Comprehensive School of all places), in a set of rather tasteless pastel-shaded jackets. They were big on Elvis numbers and anything really that allowed Tommy Scott to exercise his tonsils. To be completely objective, he did have a distinctive style and was clearly a few notches better than the lead singers of most groups (except for the Sons of Adam, of course, who took it in turns to share the microphone).

It came as no surprise when we heard that Tommy Scott and the Senators headed to London. Because of a name clash, Tommy Scott morphed into Tom Jones and the Senators became the Squires. After a couple of unsuccessful records together, the Squires were sidelined (perhaps dumped would be a more accurate description) and Tom Jones went solo with 'It's not unusual'. The rest, as they say, is history. 

I can't find any pictures or recordings of the Sons of Adam (shame!) but here's a really badly dubbed clip of Tommy Scott and the Senators performing one of their deservedly unsuccessful releases - 'Baby I'm in Love'.

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