Ipswich: Marmalade, Swinging Blue Jeans, Chris Farlowe and Steve Ellis take Regent back to the 1960s
- Credit: Archant
Sixties package tours are definitely in vogue again. One such show is the Sensational 60s Experience.
Hosted by Alan Mosca from Freddie and The Dreamers, it’s made up of Marmalade, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Chris Farlowe and Steve Ellis’ Love Affair.
Ellis was just 17 when he was lead singer of Love Affair. His powerful voice is evident on the hits Everlasting Love and Bringing On Back The Good Times to name but two.
With hits like Hippy Hippy Shake, Good Golly Miss Molly and You’re No Good, The Swinging Blue Jeans were among the top league of Merseybeat bands to make it big in the 1960s. Their tradition is upheld today by long-standing members Alan Lovell and Peter Oakman, along with Jeff Bannister and Graham Hollingworth.
Still fronted by singer Sandy Newman, Marmalade had a string of hits from 1968-1976 including Radancer, Cousin Norman, Falling Apart at The Seams and the chart-topping Ob La Di Ob La Da.
However, Chris has credentials going back to the 1950s and the man, whose massive hit Out Of Time is instantly recognisable, is enjoying every minute of the tour.
“It’s been going great,” he says. “Most of the dates have been completely sold out.”
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Chris, now 73, has performed in many styles including pop and prog rock - with Atomic Rooster and Colisseum - but his heart lies with one particular genre.
“I like my old, early RnB,” he affirms. “Especially Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.”
Despite hits with the likes of Handbags and Gladrags and My Way of Giving In, Chris is best known for the hit written for him by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones.
Out of Time spent five weeks in the Top 10 in the summer of love of 1967, but it was nearly never recorded.
“Mick played the song to me on a guitar and it was really rough and ready and I thought ‘I don’t think this is for me, I’m an RnB singer.
“But then he said ‘wait till you hear it with the orchestra’ and then I really liked it - the rest is history. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” he laughs.
Chris had now been touring for more than 50 years and reckons it’s not much different today than it was then.
“No, I still get to work and tour with some great names and even with my own band I still get packed houses. The fans love it. People think I’m a good singer and Otis Redding told me that and I’m not about to argue with him.”
For the New Year, the Swinging Blue Jeans have replaced Herman’s Hermits on the bill.
“I’ve played with the Swing Blue Jeans before but I’d never appeared with the Hermits or Marmalade, but they’re a fabulous bunch of guys.”
There’s a sense of camaraderie.
“That’s right,” Chris agrees. “We all appreciate each other and everyone looks after each other.”
He adds with a twinkle: “If anyone needs a fiver, we’ll all help out – but we’d have to think a bit if it was 20.”
With such a lot to fit in on the evening, time will be precious.
“I’ve got about half-an-hour so I’ll get to sing about six or seven songs. Things like Out of Time, Handbags and Stormy Monday Blues. I even do an a capella number. It’s gonna be a great night.”
The Sensational 60s Experience with The Swinging Blue Jeans, Marmalade, Chris Farlowe and Steve Ellis’ Love Affair arrives at the Ipswich Regent on Saturday, February 22.