In 1967, the Roadrunners were Paul Rodgers, vocals; Mick Moody guitar; and me on bass — along with a drummer (Dave Usher) who only wanted to earn enough money to buy his own truck.
Shortly before turning pro and leaving Middlesbrough for London, the band recorded a rehearsal at a local church hall. This tape, made on a domestic reel-to-reel machine, was thought lost decades ago. It was found recently, but obviously in very poor condition. Best efforts have since been made to clean it up.
Either way, it’s the first known recording of three aspiring musicians who went on to greater things. You can already hear that Paul Rodgers was destined to be one of the great voices of rock. Within a couple of years of this recording he’d already moved on to help set up Free, before going on to Bad Company and, eventually, Queen. Mick Moody later played with many solid blues/rock bands, the best-known being Whitesnake. On this tape I’d been playing little more than a year and was only too obviously trying to run before I could even walk — yes folks, I ‘overplayed’ from the very beginning. So here it is …‘as tight as a pair of clown’s trousers’ …a historical or hysterical recording …however you care to hear it.
▶ Rock Me Baby is the B.B.King song that featured in the Jeff Beck Group’s live set at the time we first heard it.
▶ The Walk is a Jimmy McCracklin R&B favourite of the time.
▶ Get Ready: the Temptations’ song is given our own unique treatment.
▶ Early in the Morning is a traditional Blues that we learned from ‘The Sound of ’65’ album by the organ-based Graham Bond Organization, a band that featured Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.
▶ Getting Mighty Crowded is the Betty Everett song that was also covered many years later by Elvis and the Attractions.
▶ Rehearsal Jam: An early attempt at song writing by the band, with lyrics yet to be sorted out. Jimi Hendrix had recently made his first appearance on British TV, and his impact on the Roadrunners is obvious.