Thursday, April 22, 2010

45 Revolutions: The Chasers

"The Chasers were one of the longer-lived and harder-luck British beat bands to last through the 1960s, having been established in 1960 at the Chase Cross School in Romford by Len Tuckey (guitar), Jack Chambers (bass), and Lenny Butcher (drums). The group played local youth clubs and a music festival where they established enough of a reputation to get some fairly steady work. In 1961, Tony Wadlow succeeded Chambers on bass and also brought his saxophone and flute into the group's sound, which mostly consisted of British beat-style instrumentals. In 1963, The Chasers went through a repertory change, switching gears to r&b (and adding singers such as Roger Pincott and Bobby Rio to their lineup). The reconstituted group began getting more and better gigs, including many on the same bill as the Downliners Sect. Where acts like the Downliners Sect got recorded, however, The Chasers seemed destined to be nothing but a support act. A series of extended gigs in Germany, set up with help from their personal friend, recording artist Chris Andrews, got The Chasers' act together, and Andrews got them a contract with English Decca. The Chasers' debut single, "Hey Little Girl" b/w "That's What They Call Love" failed to chart despite being showcased on Juke Box Jury and Radio Caroline, the top pirate radio outlet in England. The group began jumping from label to label and experimenting with different sounds, looking for a commercial breakthrough, releasing "Inspiration" on Parlophone in 1966 and "The Ways of a Man" on Philips the following year. They got steady work as a support act — on the lower part of bills with acts like Shotgun Express, featuring Rod Stewart — but they never found a wider audience of their own. Following the failure of their Philips single, the group was reduced to a trio, and Len Tuckey (the husband of Suzi Quatro) soon exited to join one of the later line-ups of the Riot Squad, thus calling an end to the existence of the Chasers." -All Music Guide

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