Neil Landon & The Burnettes

Photo of Neil Landon & The Burnettes in Germany, Mid 1965, courtesy Kevin Lang Left to right: Kevin Lang, Noel Redding, Neil Landon, Alan Dickenson and Pete Kircher.

The Burnettes were a Folkestone-based group fronted by singer Neil Landon, who enjoyed fleeting fame as a member of The Flowerpot Men with Carter-Lewis’ "Let's Go To San Francisco" in 1967. The band also featured other British luminaries such as drummer Pete Kircher aka “Pete Carter” later of Honeybus and Status Quo during the 80s, bass player Jim Leverton later of Savoy Brown, now with Caravan, and above all Noel Redding, the third man in the Jimi Hendrix Experience.


Neil Landon was born Patrick Cahill in Kirdford, Sussex, England, on July 26th 1941.
He had worked as a ship's carpenter then started singing in a semi-professional The 'Rolling Stones' from Dover (no connection with the later famous band of the same name) in October 1960 before fronting another kentish outfit the 'Cheetahs' from Ashford under the name of "Pat Barlow" from 1961 to 1962. They performormed a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on Southern Televisions talent show ‘Home Grown’ in early 1962.
In summer 1962, he was singing in London with The Thunderbolts and first teamed up with Noel Redding, who was then lead guitarist in another Folkestone-based group called The Lonely Ones.

By September 1962, adopting the name “Neil Landon”, he and the remaining Cheetah Mick Allen joined Folkestone band The Lonely Ones who eventually became “The Burnettes” as they were offered some prototype Burns Bison guitars after visiting the Burns guitar factory.
Mick Allen, who was originally intended as guitarist of the band along with Noel Redding, recalls: “The band was formed about September 1962 when Pat Cahill from 'Pat and The Cheetahs' joined with Noel Redding, Pete Kircher and Bob Hiscocks from 'The Lonely One's.' I also played a few gigs with them at the start but didn't want to give up the day job at that time to travel with the band!
The band went under the 'Lonely One's' name at first. Then when, they visited the Burns guitar factory and came away with new prototype Burns Bison guitars and changed the name of the band to the 'Burnettes.' I believe they did some form of a deal getting the guitars cheap for using the name!”

The first gig was at the American Airforce Base at West Malling in Kent. The band was going down very well during the gig and they were well supplied with cans of ‘Heineken’ beer. After the second gig, Mick Allen and original bass player of The Lonely Ones John Andrews, who were both in apprenticeships, decided to leave the band. They went on to join Pat Barry & The Travellers and Bob Hiscocks switched from Rhythm Guitar to bass.

In April 1963, Mick Allen joined the band on guitar as a replacement for Noel Redding who put a new set of Lonely Ones together.
Mick remembers that he first joined them not as a permanent member: “The band started working for Jack Fallon's 'Cana Variety Agency' and getting gigs all over England until about April 1963 when Noel Redding decided to leave. I was asked to help out at a gig at Swindon. I was originally just doing a few gigs until the band had replaced Noel. However they talked me into staying.”

After the departure of Bob Hiscocks who also joined up The Daltons, The Burnettes worked the remainder of the year without a bass player, and carried on with keyboardist Mel Simpson from London playing the bass riffs on the organ pedals.

During this period, they toured around England and Scotland, supporting acts such as The Searchers, The Barron Knights and The Rolling Stones who used their amps! To move with the times, and like so many British bands in the wake of the Beatles, the group moved to Germany where they acquired considerable musical refinement in the course of engagements lasting weeks and even months in Frankfurt, Cologne and Duisburg clubs.

In January 1964, they were booked to play the Storyville Club in Frankfurt, near to the American base… and finally enlisted a fifth member: Kevin Lang from Manchester on bass.

Mick Allen:
“The owner of the club, Jon Marshall, insisted we had five in the band, so being as we were playing for a couple of weeks in the Manchester area, we auditioned and enlisted the very capable Kevin Lang on bass. Incidentally, Kevin’s brother Bob was the bass player with Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.”

This stay in Frankfurt had been a rigorous apprenticeship in spite of unsanitary living conditions.
“I remember when we played the Storyville in Frankfurt from 1st February to 31st March 1964 that we stayed in The Hotel City. This was about 200 metres from the Storyville. The Hotel was a typical 'English band' dump! Myself and Neil were in a ground floor room that looked as if it was converted from a storeroom. The room had no heating and we had the same sheets on the beds for the whole two months we were there. This didn't matter because we would just collapse into bed exhausted after the long hours!… We played from 20.00 to 01.00 every day excepting Saturday when we had to play until 03.00... We also had to play a 2 hour matinee in the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays.”

“Our music in early 1964 was a mixture of some of the late 50's Rock'nRoll, perhaps the odd Cliff Richard song, lots of Beatles type stuff and some R&B. By 1964, if you were up to date you were incorporating a Hammond organ into the band and getting into the R&B music such as played by Georgie Fame!”

Neil Landon & The Burnettes released no record during the 60s however they made some recordings that later appeared on a LP called “Neil Landon and The Burnetts live at The Storyville, Koln in 1964.” This record compiled, in fact, various recordings the band made since their first trip to Germany.

“There are 9 songs we recorded [at a studio] in Frankfurt in 1964 as a demo for Marshall Chess of Chess records in Chicago who came to see us at the Storyville club. He had wanted us to record a cover of 'High Heeled Sneakers', however, we were so popular at the Storyville that the boss man asked us to stay for another month! Consequently, by the time we returned to London Chess Records had released the original version of 'High Heeled Sneakers' by American singer, Tommy Tucker.
There is also a recording that was made at the Storyville Club in Cologne and recorded by a member of the audience in June 1964. The song is 'Bye Bye Johnny' and was sung by Pete Kircher the drummer.”

At the end of June 64, Mel Simpson decided to stay in Germany with a beautiful blonde called Elka from Frankfurt, and joined a German band but without the Hammond organ because it was still being paid for by The Burnettes!

When the band returned to the UK, they tried another organist who only played with them at The Hous Da Musika in Wuppertal for the last two weeks of July 64, but he wasn't up to the standard required and eventually the Hammond was sold and they reverted to a four piece band.

At the end of August 1964, Mick Allen, who'd had enough travelling about, announced he was leaving the Burnettes and Noel Redding returned on guitar. Mick later formed a Kentish outfit called The 'Shades of Black'. Among the first gigs of his new group was a jam session with Neil Landon & The Burnettes at the Hillside Club in Folkestone in April 1965. Incidentally, the Hillside Club was the venue of another jam session on 31st December 1966. The band that new year’s eve was Folkestone band ’The Circuit’. Jamming with them was Noel Redding and none other than Jimi Hendrix!

By May 1965, the band returned to the Storyville in Germany and they enlisted a new keyboard player Alan Dickenson for a short while. There was a bit of disagreement within the band about the scale of their pay while in Marburg and Dickenson was the first to leave followed shortly by Kevin Lang and Pete Kircher in late July.
At the end of Summer 1965, they were respectively replaced by Norman Hale, Jim Leverton, and Eric Dillon. Leverton was formerly bass player with the 'Big Beats' from nearby Dover. Hale was the original organist with The Tornados, and Dillon had previously been in Chris Sandford & The Coronets alongside him.
Incidentally, Eric Dillon had been enlisted in The Coronets as a replacement for another very young drummer: Mitch Mitchel who is also rumoured to have been brought in The Burnettes.
Alan Dickenson would later play on Dave Carlsen’s “Death On A Pale Horse” in January 1973, alongwith Noel Redding and Keith Moon.

Neil Landon and his new set of Burnettes went back to Germany for another month, supporting the Mersey beats. Tom Jones, who was also touring there after landing his first hit. 'Its not unusual', even had to share a flat with some of them! However as Eric Dillon was under age, Pete Kircher eventually returned to the fold. But shortly thereafter, Neil Landon decided to pursue a solo career and the band split up.

In late 1965, Noel Redding, Jim Leverton and Pete Kircher teamed up with singer Derek Knight to become the core of The New Lonely Ones briefly before deciding to call themselves The “Loving Kind.”

Meanwhile Neil Landon recorded an album with Sheila Boddicott aka “Sheila Deni”, female vocalist of the Black Diamonds from Midlands, then got to know the songwriting/producing team of Carter–Lewis, who helped him out to launch his debut single for Decca records, before joining the Ivy League which would become The Flowerpot Men.

Prior to joining the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Noel Redding teamed up with the Folkestone-based Concords who backed him for a tour of the north as the new Burnettes.

When Noel Redding decided to leave the Jimi Hendrix Experience by 1969, he embarked on a solo project that reassembled with his old friends: Neil Landon on vocals, Jim Leverton on bass and Eric Dillon on drums. During sessions at the Olympic Studios they agreed to expand the project into a group: 'Fat Mattress'. The band toured the US as warm-up for the 'Jimi Hendrix Experience'...

Then, in October 1970, Landon & Redding formed 'Brain Police', a band that reassembled with keyboardist Norman Hale. Incidentally, Norman Hale and Kevin Lang had both auditioned with Jimi Hendrix in the early days.

Neil Landon kept fronting various bands, while in Germany, from Mid 1980s to present such as The Klaus Gerlach’s Undertakers, The Neil Landon Band and more recently The Neil Landon Five…



Discography

Neil Landon & The Burnettes
· “Neil Landon and The Burnetts at live at The Storyville, Koln in 1965” - LP

Neil Landon
· 'Waiting Here For Someone' / 'I've Got Nothing To Lose' (Decca F 12330) - February 1966
· 'I'm Your Puppet' / 'I Still Love You' (Decca F 12451) - August 1966

Fat Mattress
· Naturally/Iridescent Butterfly (Polydor 56352) - August 1969
· Magic Lanterns/Bright New Way (Polydor 56367) - 1970
· Highway/Black Sheep Of The Family (Polydor 2058 053) - 1970



Various Line-ups of Neil Landon’s Bands

The Rolling Stones #3 (October - Late 1960)

· Ronnie Hambrook (Lead Vocals)
· Patrick Cahill (Lead Guitar/Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Johnny Smith (Rhythm Guitar/Vocals)
· Bob Hopkins (Bass)
· Brian Scotcher (Drums )

Pat Barlow & The Cheetas #1 (Early 1961 - June 1962)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Pat Barlow"
· Mick Allen (Lead Guitar)
· Mick Startup (Rhythm Guitar)
· Geoff Playford (Bass)
· Buster Osmonds (Drums)

Pat Barlow & The Cheetas #2 (June - August 1962)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Pat Barlow"
· Mick Allen (Lead Guitar)
· Mick Startup (Rhythm Guitar)
· Geoff Playford (Bass)
· Ian Spratt (Drums)


The Thunderbolts (August 1962)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar)
· Teddy Wadmore (Bass)
· ?? ?? (Drums)

The Lonely Ones #4 (September 1962, only the first 2 gigs)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Mick Allen (Lead Guitar)
· Noel Redding (Rhythm Guitar)
· Bob Hiscocks (Rhythm Guitar)
· John Andrews (Bass) "Andy"
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"


Neil Landon & The Burnettes #1 (September 1962 - April 1963)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar)
· Bob Hiscocks (Bass)
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"


Neil Landon & The Burnettes #2 (April 1963 - January 1964)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Mick Allen (Lead Guitar)
· Mel Simpson (Keyboards)
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"


Neil Landon & The Burnettes #3 (January - August 1964)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Mick Allen (Lead Guitar)
· Kevin Lang (Bass)
· Mel Simpson (Keyboards)
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"

Neil Landon & The Burnettes #4 (September 1964 - July 1965)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar)
· Kevin Lang (Bass)
· Alan Dickenson (Keyboards)
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"


Neil Landon & The Burnettes #5 (August - October 1965)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar)
· Jim Leverton (Bass)
· Norman Hale (Keyboards)
· Pete Kircher (Drums) "Pete Carter"
· Eric Dillon (Drums)
· Mitch Mitchell (Drums)???


Fat Mattress #1 (June - December 1969)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar)
· Jim Leverton (Bass)
· Eric Dillon (Drums)


Fat Mattress #2 (December 1969 - October 1970)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Steve Hammond (Lead Guitar)
· Jim Leverton (Bass)
· Mick Weaver (Keyboards)
· Eric Dillon (Drums)


Brain Police #1 (October - Late 1970)

· Patrick Cahill (Lead Vocals) "Neil Landon"
· Chris Mayfield (Lead Guitar)
· Noel Redding (Bass)
· Norman Hale (Keyboards)
· Les Sampson (Drums)



The Burnettes Without Neil Landon

Noel Redding & The Burnettes (North England Tour, Summer 1966)

· Noel Redding (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
· Barry Viles (Rhythm Guitar)
· Mike Tordoff (Bass) "Tinker"
· Bob Piper (Drums)


Some gigs of Neil Landon & The Burnettes
Debut gig at the American Airforce Base at West Malling in Kent, September 1962
Cellar Club, Kingston on Thames. 12th September 1963: supporting The Rolling Stones
California Ballroom, Dunstable. 4th January 1964: supporting Shane Fenton & The Fentones
The first month at The Storyville Club, Frankfurt, from February 1st 1964: first gig with Kevin Lang
The second month at The Storyville Club, Frankfurt, from March 1st 1964
The first month at The Storyville Club, Koln, from June 1st 1964
Die Hause de Musik, Wuppertal. July 1st 1964: last gig with Mel Simpson
Die Hause de Musik, Wuppertal. 13th July 1964: with an unknown organist


For more on Neil Landon & The Burnettes, see
http://www.kentgigs.com/musicbiz/Bands.html
http://www.kentgigs.com/musicbiz/Mick%20Allen%2020%20years%20band%20history.htm
http://www.youtube.com/user/oldaxeman

with special Thanks to Mick Allen, Chris Ashman, Claire Davies, Norman Hale, Kevin Lang and Mick Morris
sorry for people we would have forgotten

4 comments:

  1. I was a member of Niel Landon & The Burnettes #4,
    (Alan Dickinson Keyboards).
    I wouldn't mind saying hello to Kevin or Neil or Pete if anyone knows their whereabouts.I'm at the following e-mail address.
    smd.music@wanadoo.fr
    Regards
    Al

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kevin lives in Bath I played with him couple years ago.

      Delete
  2. This is a great blog. I wonder how many people still drop by?

    Anyway, way back in the dark reaches of time I managed The Lonely ones With Noel as lead guitarist. We gigged around Southeast Kent and the outer reaches of London.

    How time flies :)

    Cheers!

    John Newton

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't know if anyone might remember the "London Beats," who played a lot in Germany during the sixties and later. I have a few photos but I don't see a button for appending them here. Just another obscure band from way back then.

    All the best,
    Ralph

    ReplyDelete