Bo Street Runners “Never Say Goodbye: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966” (RPM, 2014)
A band given far too little attention during their brief lifespan (1963-1966), 2014 has seen efforts to set the record straight and make British R&B/pop band, Bo Street Runners, known as more than the band with whom drummer Mick Fleetwood first recorded. At least two major efforts have been made in the name of the band, with almost simultaneous releases of the new two volume “Tapestry Of Delights” by British music historian Vernon Joynson, which contains comments by Bo Street Runners member Gary Thomas, intended to remedy the lack of biographical information available regarding the band. Now, thanks to John Reed and RPM Records, UK, the band’s complete recordings are available legitimately, and conveniently in this one package, consisting of a four song EP, four singles, two radio recordings, both sides featuring latter day frontman/vocalist, Mike Patto, released as a solo single, credited to Patto with Bo Street Runners as his backing band, and the recording of song “Bo Street Runner” prepared especially for the Ready, Steady, Win! competition held by Ready, Steady, Go! on UK television. Seventeen tracks in all, with a total run time of about forty three minutes.
The story of Bo Street Runners recorded legacy begins with the four tracks comprising their Oak Records’ EP. Three of the tracks are covers, well chosen and consistent traditional R&B, Ray Charles, and blues, Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed, covers as well as a band original by vocalist and harmonica player, John Dominic. The latter’s contribution is the band’s namesake tune, “Bo Street Runner” which reinforces the reality that the Bo in the band’s name was indeed an homage to Chess Records’ artist, Bo Diddley, and the Street Runners part of their name inspired by his classic tune “Road Runner.” Only 99 copies of the EP were pressed, resulting in its’ collectability.
The band’s four singles follow. Among the highlights are the band’s namesake tune in its 45 rpm mono version featuring new keyboard player, Roy “Fingers” Fry, on Vox Continental organ and gorgeous Zombies’ style vocal harmonies. The collection’s title track, “Baby Never Say Goodbye” c/w “Get Out Of My Way” further drives home the band’s mixture of jazz and pop sensibilities. These are also the first recordings of drummer Mick Fleetwood. The band had 13 members, including 5 drummers, resulting in a sound, varying from the Bo Diddley style rockers to jazzy, keyboard and horn driven numbers like “Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do” the latter produced by hit maker (Donovan, The Animals) Mickie Most (employing studio musicians some claim) and even including an interesting cover of the Lennon/McCartney classic “Drive My Car.” Invariably the band’s blues/R&B roots show through, especially during the John Dominic era recordings which end here. Gary Thomas’ guitar is featured as well.
The collection finishes with the two Patto single sides, two very interesting takes done for radio by Bo Street Runners, and the version of “Bo Street Runner,” for the Ready, Steady, Win! television competition. Which, the band won by the way. While the band did not have a signature sound it always sounded interesting. The amount of talent on display here is considerable and the band’s versatility makes for quite pleasant listening. What you have here then, is the complete recorded legacy of The Bo Street Runners. The sound quality is excellent thanks to a fine remastering job by Simon Murphy and the package is topped off by a 16-page full color booklet, featuring extensive sleeve notes by set compiler John Reed. Fans of melodic pop rock would love to find this one under the Christmas Tree!
Review made by Kevin Rathert/2014
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