Copyright © Bill Clarke
Updated June, 2006
Roger Hall drums (left in 1967)
Joe Ellis guitar (left in 1967)
John Edwards tenor sax (left in 1966)
Bill Clarke bass guitar (left in 1968)
John Burnett trumpet (joined 1966, left 1968)
Barry Lunn organ (joined 1966, left 1968)
John Howells lead vocal (joined 1966, left 1968)
Frank Rudge tenor sax (joined 1966, left 1968)
John Barry baritone sax (joined 1967, left 1967)
Charlie Grima drums (joined 1967, left 1968)
Vernon Perriera guitar (joined 1967, left 1968)
John Hill bass guitar (joined 1967, left 1968)
Bob Chatwin trumpet (joined 1967, left 1968)
Frank Fern saxophone (joined 1967, left 1968)
Chris Brown organ (joined 1968, left 1968)
The Wellington Kitch Jump Band featured some well-known local musicians and performers from previous groups as well as some who would go on to join famous chart acts later in their careers. Founding band member Bill Clarke has written their story as follows:
The band was formed in 1965 when Joe Ellis, Roger Hall, John Edwards and Bill Clarke became the first four members of the group known as 'Blues Ensemble'. All experienced musicians, they agreed to turn themselves into a top seven-piece outfit playing the best in blues and soul.
They kept a look out on the scene and soon added John Burnett, a promising young trumpet player, and organist Barry Lunn, ex Misphits. All that was missing now was the right man to front the band. This position was filled by John Howells who was previously the lead vocalist from the top Wolverhampton group The 'N Betweens (later to become Slade).
It was at this point that the band was ready to progress and advance its music. They were approached by Phillips Records to cut their first disc with the Walker Brothers' Recording manager Johnnie Walker in charge.
In 1967, tenor sax player John Edwards left the band and was replaced by Frank Rudge from Giorgio and Marcos Men. Baritone sax player John Barry joined from The Locomotive boosting the band members to eight but, unfortunately, Joe Ellis left just before the band embarked on their German tour with the new name of 'The Wellington Kitch Jump Band' under the successful management of Jim Simpson.
After returning from Germany the band made one more change. Drummer Roger Hall left the band and was replaced by the up and coming Charlie Grima. The band was now being used by top London agents to back American artists on their U.K. tours i.e. The Platters, The Impressions, and the very successful Garnet Mimms. The band had now risen to new heights and were possibly one of the top three bands in the Midlands.
By 1968 baritone sax player John Barry had left, guitarist Vernon Perriera came in and the band was ready for a return to Germany, this time a tour of Berlin. The band were also now playing semi-resident at The Cedar Club in Birmingham as well as touring under their own name. It was during this period that a further recording session took place and a future number one was all but guaranteed. Due to disagreement between management and record company, the record was shelved and never released.
Because of this the band started to decline. Within weeks John Burnett, Frank Rudge and Barry Lunn all left the band. Two weeks later Bill Clarke left to join the Ivy League where he teamed up with former "Kitch" drummer, Roger Hall. With some new replacements the band carried on until the end of the year and then disbanded.
Note: the 1967-68 line-up of the Wellington Kitch Jump Band also featured former Band Of Joy bass guitarist John Hill as well as trumpet player Bob Chatwin and saxophonist Frank Fern (this bit of info was sent by John Hill).
Charlie Grima went on to join the progressive rock outfit Ghost and later joined Roy Wood's Wizzard (see The Move) with whom he enjoyed much success. He later embarked on an acting career and is now teaching music in Kent. John Howells went on to do his own thing and is still singing in his own band.
Thanks to Bill Clarke and John Howells for supplying this exclusive story of the Wellington Kitch Jump Band.
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