Cops n Robbers R&B Band
Next year marks 50 years since the demise of the Cop n Robbers for which I played keyboards. The band existed for a brief time only, from its ragged beginnings in 1963 to its implosion in 1966. We gigged with most of the bands of the day on the British R&B and blues scene: Alexis Korner, Manfred Mann, the Kinks, the Who, John Mayall with Eric Clapton, The Pretty Things, etc., etc. We backed Buddy Guy and the great John Lee Hooker. Along the way, we launched the career of our mate Donovan Leitch.
The Cop n Robbers made a couple of good records and some lame ones (you didn’t have any control over what you recorded in those days). Our records didn’t do much, but we built up a demand for our music through our live gigs. And, hey, our influence lives on: A couple of years ago in a talk he was giving in Ealing, Pete Townsend was ‘raving about this group and wondering what happened to them’. Last year in an interview with Bob Harris, Wilko Johnson explained how the Cops n Robbers has influenced his own stage persona.
A French film scheduled for release this September has used ‘Oh, My Love’, on its film and trailer sound track – a song me and Smudger wrote, covered by the Art Woods. Arthur was the older brother of the Stones’ Ronnie. The film, ‘Marguerite et Julien’, has the worst reviews ever apart for some great notices about our song. Check out the trailer on YouTube. I remember thinking when we had arranged the song, that I might have gone over the top with my melodramatic piano parts, so it’s interesting to see how well they’ve used them in the trailer. It’s Jon Lord playing them with the Art Woods, by the way. He adds a nice organ solo of his own during the instrumental break. Jon left the Arts to co-found Deep Purple.
AND THE POINT OF ALL THIS IS?
I am currently drafting a biography of the Cops n Robbers and would love to hear from anybody who has any memories of the group, first or second hand – your mother or father might have told you something. Yeah, OK, or your grandparents. Memories big or small. Photos would be a bonus. I can’t guarantee submitted material will necessarily be directly used in the book, but I can promise you that all of it will be welcome and useful. Little things can remind of bigger things. Anything used will be appropriately attributed, of course.
Many thanks and travel safe.