Big Daddy hits the road in the UK…part 1

Our first album “What Really Happened To The Band Of ’59” had already peaked here in the US when we got word from Rhino in 1984 that a small record label in England – “Making Waves” – was interested in releasing the album in the UK.

We had experienced a few false alarms about foreign releases of the LP in the past, but this offer appeared to be different.  Making Waves, a new label run by well known English Blues guitarist Barry Martin from the Kursaal Flyers, was willing to fly us over to promote the album with national TV appearances, radio interviews and live shows including the legendary Dingwalls in Central London. The record would also be distributed by EMI in the UK.  Arrangements were made and in early 1985, we were off on what would turn out to be an amazing adventure.

Flying into Gatwick International in February, 1985 on the heels of a major snowstorm and seeing London covered in two feet of snow was quite a wonderful sight – that was until we arrived at our flat in the Hamstead area of North London.  There we were, in the middle of the night after a ten hour plane ride, having to cart all of our heavy band gear up two flights of stairs with the first flight being outdoors and completely covered in a thick sheet of slippery ice and snow!

Early the next morning we were off to the Nomis Rehearsal Studios to meet with two session musicians that had been selected by the UK label to augment the band on tour.  (We could only take six of our eight members to England due to cost constraints and labor laws at the time.)  After one very long rehearsal with saxophonist Nick Pentelow (later with B.B. King, Elton John and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings) and piano man Dave Taylor (a well known Boogie Woogie & Rockabilly recording artist in England and Finland), we were ready for a live BBC-TV performance that very night.

The first program we appeared on was “(Old Grey) Whistle Test” on February 12th.  We were following some pretty famous acts that had performed on that show over the years including John Lennon, Billy Joel and Bob Marley.

The show’s producer at the time, Trevor Dan, had us scheduled to perform two songs live and wanted to make a last minute change.  The first single on Making Waves was “I Write The Songs” but was bumped in favor of “Dancing In The Dark”, a bonus cut (from the UK cassette release of the album), that we had recorded for our then unreleased second Rhino album “Meanwhile Back In The States”.

Trevor had legendary “ears” and felt strongly that our version of the Bruce Springsteen penned “Dancing In The Dark” had hit potential and wanted it on the show along with our Little Richard inspired “Ebony & Ivory”.  He was “spot on” as the next installment of this journey will attest to.

   In a future installment…”Dancing In The Dark” hits the national charts in the UK!

London Underground, 2:85


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