Saturday, January 31, 2009


There were many great British R&B groups who achieved fame and success in the 60's, like the Yardbirds and the Spencer Davis Group. But one of the finest outfits of the era never quite managed to crack the big time, despite gaining huge popularity among fans and critics and that band is the Artwoods.

Formed in 63' by (surprise, surprise!) Art Wood the group evolved out of Red Bludd's Blusicians and quickly became regulars at the 100 Club in London's Oxford Street. Art had a sturdy, unpretentious vocal style and had just the right unflappable personality to hold a band of restless musos together. Incidentally, his younger brother Ronnie, then in a band called the Birds, went on to fame with Rod Stewart and the Faces and later in the Rolling Stones.

The Artwoods achieved great popularity on the London club scene, but had little chart success, despite releasing 5 singles, an EP and an LP for both Decca and Parlophone between 64' and 67'. The problem with the band had nothing to do with musicianship: They were head and shoulders above their contemporaries in many respects. The big problem was that they didn't have any original material!

The coming of the psychedelic underground scene sealed the Artwoods' fate, although they tried one last stab to revamp their image. At the suggestion of Phillips A&R man Jack Baverstock, they renamed themselves the St Valentine's Day Massacre and recorded a version of “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime.” Despite a lot of publicity and a big launch party at London's Speakeasy Club (where they all wore gangster suits!), the single shitcanned and eventually the band broke up.

listen up!

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