All-Stars (band)

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This article is about the 1960s British blues combo. For other "All-Star" bands, see All-star (disambiguation)#Music.
"The Velvettes" redirects here. For the Motown singing trio, see The Velvelettes.
The All-Stars
Also known as The R&B All-Stars
The Cyril Davies All-Stars
The Immediate All-Stars
Origin London, England
Genres Blues
Years active 1962-1965
Labels Pye Records
Immediate Records
Associated acts Cyril Davies, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Long John Baldry
Past members Nicky Hopkins
Carlo Little
Rick Brown
Bernie Watson
Micky Waller
Geoff Bradford
Johnny Parker
Mick Jagger
Ian Stewart
Bill Wyman

The All-Stars (originally known as the Cyril Davies (R&B) All-Stars) were a short-lived British blues combo active in the early-mid 1960s that later evolved into a studio supergroup. Their later recordings are often credited less ambiguously to the Immediate All-Stars due to their strong ties to Immediate Records.

History[edit]

Cyril Davies[edit]

The All-Stars were initially formed as a backing band for Cyril Davies after his departure from Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated in October 1962. The original lineup was tentatively christened the Cyril Davies Blues Band and was made up of former members of Screaming Lord Sutch's group, the Savages, including Nicky Hopkins on piano, Carlo Little on drums and Rick Brown on bass. The band also featured Jimmy Page on guitar for a brief period, though he soon backed out to focus on his burgeoning career as a session musician and was replaced by Bernie Watson, another former member of the Savages.[1][2]

With Davies, the All-Stars had standing engagements at a number of London's jazz clubs.

"I went over to Eel Pie Island that night to see Sutch and the Savages as billed. In the event, members of the Savages had teamed up with Cyril Davies, from Alexis Korner’s Blues Inc., to perform as the Cyril Davies Rhythm and Blues Allstars. Cyril had been in Blues Inc., and he’d recruited members of the Savages rather than taking over from Dave Sutch."

Don Craine, leader of contemporary band The Downliners.[citation needed]

In December 1962, Davies was in competition with Korner to recruit Long John Baldry as a second lead vocalist. Baldry played a few gigs with each band before eventually deciding to join Davies' camp in January 1963. At the same time, Davies also added female backing singers to the lineup in the form of South African trio the Velvettes (not to be confused with Motown trio, the Velvelettes). This trio was made up of Hazel Futa, Patience Gcwabe and Eunice Mamsie Mthombeni, all of whom had emigrated to England after touring with a musical stage production of King Kong.[3] On 27 February, the band recorded their first single for Pye Records: the original compositions "Country Line Special" and "Chicago Calling", released under the name Cyril Davies and His Rhythm and Blues All-Stars.[1][2] However, Baldry and the Velvettes are not featured on these recordings.[4]

In May 1963, illness forced the departure of Hopkins as he was hospitalised for several months. Former Blues Incorporated pianist Keith Scott was recruited in his stead, but growing tensions between Davies and the other band members meant that Brown, Little and Watson each soon left the group to be replaced by bassist Cliff Barton, guitarist Geoff Bradford and drummer Micky Waller. In August, this lineup recorded the R&B All-Stars' second single for Pye: "Preachin' the Blues", a Robert Johnson cover, and "Sweet Mary", a Lead Belly cover.[1][2] As with the previous recordings, Baldry and the Velvettes are not featured. Instead, backing vocals for "Preachin' the Blues" are provided by Alex Bradford and Madeline Bell.[4]

Towards the end of 1963, Scott and Waller were themselves replaced by the group's final members Johnny Parker and Bob Wackett. Two more cover songs are known to have been recorded for Immediate Records: Little Joe Walter's "Someday Baby", first issued in 1968 on the compilation album Blues Anytime Vol. 3, and Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", which would remain unreleased for more than thirty years until it was included as a bonus track on the 1996 CD box set The Immediate Blues Anthology. These tracks were credited to Cyril Davies and the All-Stars, although it is not clear when these recordings were made, nor with which lineup(s).[1][2]

Following Davies' death in January 1964, Baldry took the helm and the surviving All-Stars lineup of Barton, Bradford, Parker and Wackett were joined by Rod Stewart to become known as the Hoochie Coochie Men.[1][2] Pye Records paid tribute to Davies by re-releasing the four tracks he had recorded for them as the EP The Sound of Cyril Davies and His Rhythm and Blues All-Stars.[4]

Immediate Records[edit]

By 1965, Jimmy Page had established himself as a prolific session guitarist and was signed to Immediate Records as an in-house producer. Around eighteen months after Cyril Davies' death, Page brought together Hopkins, Little and Barton to record with him and his friend Jeff Beck under the All-Stars banner.[5][6] Together they recorded five original tracks, with Hopkins taking the lead on "Piano Shuffle", Beck on "Chuckles" and "Steelin'", and Page on "Down in the Boots" and "L.A. Breakdown".

The first track from this session to be issued was "Steelin'", although its initial release was not credited to the All-Stars. Charles Dickens (a pseudonym for London fashion photographer David Anthony)[7] had recorded a cover of The Rolling Stones' "So Much in Love" for Immediate Records, which was released as a single in 1965 with "Steelin'" as its b-side under the title "Our Soul Brother TH", also credited to Dickens.[8] The rest of the tracks from this session would eventually get their first release in 1968, alongside "Steelin'", properly credited to the All-Stars on the Immediate compilation album Blues Anytime Vol. 3.

The Page/Clapton jams[edit]

In June 1965, Page also invited Eric Clapton to join him in a jam session at his home studio on Miles Road, and the two guitarists recorded seven instrumental tracks together; "Choker", "Draggin' My Tail", "Freight Loader", "Miles Road", "Snake Drive", "Tribute to Elmore" and "West Coast Idea". At the end of the session, Page and Clapton were both of the opinion that the tracks they recorded were merely rehearsals rather than complete songs, but representatives of Immediate Records soon approached Page informing him that they legally owned the publishing rights to all recordings he made as per the terms of their contract. Page reluctantly gave them the recordings of the jam session in fear of a lawsuit and was asked to clean them up by adding overdubs, which he recorded that August at Olympic Studios with a new lineup of the All-Stars. This time, the group featured members of The Rolling Stones; Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Ian Stewart, together with drummer Chris Winters (noted as a possible pseudonym for Charlie Watts),[6] as Immediate Records was co-founded and owned by the Stones' manager at the time, Andrew Loog Oldham. This was seen by Clapton as a betrayal of confidence on Page's part, and greatly damaged the personal relationship between the two guitarists for years to follow.[6][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Immediate Records released these tracks alongside the All-Stars' previous recordings in 1968, spread out across their compilation albums Blues Anytime Vol. 1–3. The tracks were initially attributed simply to Eric Clapton or Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, although many subsequent releases have given the credit to the Immediate All-Stars.[6][9][14]

Personnel[edit]

1962–1964[edit]

Cyril Davies and the R&B All-Stars[1][2]
Timeline
Note: Dates represented here are approximate, accurate only to within a month.

1965[edit]

Discography[edit]

Pye Records[edit]

All releases credited to Cyril Davies and His Rhythm and Blues All-Stars.

Date Release Notes
1963 "Country Line Special"
b/w "Chicago Calling"
Recorded 27 February 1963. Baldry and the Velvettes not featured.[4]
"Preachin' the Blues" (Robert Johnson cover)
b/w "Sweet Mary" (Lead Belly cover)
Recorded in August 1963. Baldry and the Velvettes again not featured.
Backing vocals on "Preachin' the Blues" by Alex Bradford and Madeline Bell.[4]
1964 The Sound of Cyril Davies and His Rhythm and Blues All-Stars Compilation EP of all 4 tracks from the previous 2 singles.[4]

Immediate Records[edit]

Tracks recorded
  1. Cyril Davies and the All-Stars – "Someday Baby" (Little Joe Walter cover)
  2. Cyril Davies and the All-Stars – "Not Fade Away" (Buddy Holly cover)
  3. The All-Stars featuring Nicky Hopkins – "Piano Shuffle"
  4. The All-Stars featuring Jeff Beck – "Chuckles"
  5. The All-Stars featuring Jeff Beck – "Steelin'" (aka "Our Soul Brother TH")
  6. The All-Stars featuring Jimmy Page – "Down in the Boots"
  7. The All-Stars featuring Jimmy Page – "L.A. Breakdown"
  8. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page – "Choker"
  9. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page – "Draggin' My Tail"
  10. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page – "Freight Loader"
  11. Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page – "Miles Road"
  12. Eric Clapton – "Snake Drive"
  13. Eric Clapton – "Tribute to Elmore"
  14. Eric Clapton – "West Coast Idea"
Notable releases
Note: These tracks have been released several times on many different compilation albums since Immediate Records was shut down in 1970. This list includes only those releases that feature three or more tracks, and were released by a record label that is itself notable.
Date Release Tracks Featured Label Link
1968 Blues Anytime Vol. 1 (aka An Anthology of British Blues Vol. 1) 12, 13, 14 Immediate Records Discogs
1968 Blues Anytime Vol. 2 (aka An Anthology of British Blues Vol. 2) 8, 9, 10 Immediate Records Discogs
1968 Blues Anytime Vol. 3 (aka The Beginning: British Blues) 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11 Immediate Records Discogs
1969 Anthology of British Blues Volume 1 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 13 Immediate Records Discogs
1969 Anthology of British Blues Volume 2 9, 11, 14 Immediate Records Discogs
1970 British Archive Series: Blues for Collectors Vol. 1 12, 13, 14 RCA Victor Discogs
1970 British Archive Series: Blues for Collectors Vol. 2 8, 9, 10 RCA Victor Discogs
1971 British Archive Series: Blues for Collectors Vol. 3 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11 RCA Victor last.fm
1971 Guitar Boogie 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 RCA Camden Discogs
1980 Immediate Blues 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14 Virgin Records Discogs
1984 White Boy Blues: Classic Guitars of Clapton, Beck & Page 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Castle Comms. Discogs
1987 Eric Clapton – The Early Clapton Collection 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Castle Comms. Discogs
1991 Down and Dirty: The Immediate Blues Story Vol. 3 9, 10, 11, 13 Sony Music allmusic
1992 Stars of British Blues Volume One 4, 6, 11, 13 K-Tel Records allmusic
1993 Stars of British Blues Volume Two 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 K-Tel Records allmusic
1993 Eric Clapton – For Your Love 8, 9, 10, 12 Pilz Discogs
1996 The Immediate Blues Anthology 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Charly Records Discogs
1998 Eric Clapton & Friends – Strictly the Blues 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 Castle Pulse Discogs
1998 Clapton, Page, Beck: Three Guitar Giants and Their Seminal Works 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Cleopatra Records allmusic
1999 Eric Clapton – The Blues Years 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Castle Select Discogs
2000 Eric Clapton – West Coast Idea 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Sony Music allmusic
2000 Jimmy Page and His Heavy Friends – Hip Young Guitar Slinger 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Sequel Records Discogs
2006 Blues Anytime I: An Anthology of British Blues 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14 JVC Victor allmusic
2006 Blues Anytime II: An Anthology of British Blues 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11 JVC Victor allmusic

References[edit]

External links[edit]