Updated December, 2006
Dave Kaye bass guitar
Jan Jeffries organ, vocal
Bob Neale drums
Andy Preston guitar
Roy Saywood lead guitar, vocal
This Birmingham-based beat group had a unique sound for that time based on the early 1960s American west coast harmony groups. It was not just the 'sounds of summer' that made them stand out, but also their mode of transport in the form of a genuine double-decker London bus!
Cliff and The Shadows had nothing on Andy's Clappers who experienced their very own real-life 'Summer Holiday' as told in his own words by their bass guitarist Dave Kinsey and shown here exclusive to the BrumBeat web site - Thanks Dave!
The origins of Andy's Clappers began in the late 1950's down in Middlesex. Guitarist Andy Preston and bass guitarist Dave Kinsey (Dave Kaye) formed a group with other apprentices from the GEC factory at Wembley where they both worked.
Like many other groups of the time, they played all the local clubs and pubs, but very soon after, Andy won a scholarship to Aston University, and Dave, who had several relatives living in Birmingham, decided to uproot and go with him. After a settling-in period they decided to reincarnate the group and recruited female organist and vocalist Jan Jeffries, lead guitarist/vocalist/song writer Roy Saywood, and drummer Bob Neale. So, Andy's Clappers was born. The first four names mentioned stayed with the group for the full duration of about 10 years.
From the very beginning, the Group decided to play their favourite type of music which was surfing, performing songs by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and the Four Seasons, as well as a few of their own, together with a few comedy and novelty songs. They gradually began to build up a reputation in the Midlands, often playing the Regan circuit, as well as all the local social clubs and British Legions. They also had a residency at the Locarno, on Saturday lunchtimes, which lasted for about two years. At one of the bookings, London agent Roy Tempest happened to see them, and signed them up. This led to prestige bookings up and down the country.
Although all the travelling wasn't too much of a bind for the group, they started thinking about buying a motor home so they wouldn't have to return home every night. Then, something happened that changed the course of the group, certainly as far as good publicity was concerned. At Hinckley Civic Hall they happened to be supporting the Barron Knights. The Knights turned up in a converted single-deck coach which they travelled and lived in while they were touring, but were looking to sell. This idea immediately appealed to the group and after several visits to the Knight's homes in Leighton Buzzard, a deal was struck and Andy's Clappers soon became the proud owners of an AEC coach.
This was a great success for a time, but the group soon realized they needed something even bigger, especially with a girl in the group. Enquiries were made, and for the princely sum of £500 an ex-London Transport double deck RTW bus was acquired. This was when the publicity really took off, especially as around this time the Group were beginning to play abroad, particularly at the USAF bases in Germany. As you can imagine, the group appeared in almost every local newspaper where they happened to be playing, not necessarily because of their music, but because of the bus!
An agreement when the bus was bought, by the way, was a requirement to get it repainted, but nothing ever happened and it ran all over Britain and the continent in its L.T. livery, even with the destination sign still on the front, as can be seen from the picture. Probably the highlight was a full double-page spread in the Daily Mirror, as this was very unusual at the time, to say the least. The band also had three front covers in the Midland Beat newspaper.
Andy's Clappers continued to play back in England and over on the Continent for several more years, graduating from the U.S. bases to the conventional club scene in Hamburg etc. In about 1969, a couple of the group decided to get married at about the same time, so it was thought that this was probably the best time to call it a day. One or two of the remaining members decided to carry on under the name of 'Fredz Peeple', but that is a different story. The group didn't have major record success but it did have a host of beautiful memories which will never be forgotten!
Thanks to Dave Kinsey for supplying this exclusive story of Andy's Clappers.
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