MP3 Daily: The Artwoods

Formed in London in 1964, the Artwoods consisted of Arthur (Art) Wood on vocals, Derek Griffiths on guitar, Malcolm Pool on bass, Jon Lord on organ and Keef Hartley on drums. Art is the elder brother of Ronnie Wood. Red Bludd's Blusicians had been formed in 1963 and the Artwoods were formed following the departure of Don "Red Bludd" Wilson who played bass and Red Dunnage the drummer. Jon Lord came from the Bill Ashton Combo while Art Wood has sung with Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. Keef had previously played with Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, replacing a certain Ringo Starr, and Freddie Starr and the Midnighters.

The Artwoods gained a reputation as the hardest working R & B band on the circuit. The live set consisted of both Chicago Blues standards and original material. Many appearances were made on the top UK pop TV show Ready, Steady Go. Originally the groups mimed to songs but, over time, more and more live performances were allowed. The Artwoods performed on the first Ready Steady Goes Live. Tom Jones mimed to It's Not Unusual on the show. The Kinks and Donovan played live and the Artwoods promoted their first single Sweet Mary.

The group was very popular in the clubs around London but they never equaled this on record despite releasing an LP, an EP and a string of singles. The only chart single was the 1966 I Take What I Want although this is not corroborated by The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles. This was a cover of a Sam & Dave song.

There was also one EP called Jazz in Jeans and an album Art Gallery.

There were successful tours of Europe and Poland. Eel Pie Island was a regular gig with the band playing there about once a month. This is an island in the Thames which had to be reached over a small bridge, the equipment requiring three trips.

It was everybody's dream to walk into the Blue Boar just as their hit of the moment was playing on the jukebox."

The Artwoods were chosen to represent the 20th Century at the centenary celebrations of the State of Monte Carlo. The ball was held in the Casino. After this, the band traveled to Paris and played next door to the Moulin Rouge at The Locomotive.

The band split in 1967 and, at a time of psychedelia, there was a name change to St Valentine's Day Massacre. This was intended to "cash in" on the thirties-style gangsters craze which had been started by the film Bonnie & Clyde. Brother Can You Spare a Dime was a cover of an old Bing Crosby song.

Keef Hartley left the band in 1967 to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and later formed the Keef Hartley Band. Jon Lord joined the Flowerpot Men and later moved to Deep Purple. Derek Griffiths became a session player.

Quiet Melon was formed in July 1969 when the Jeff Beck Group folded. Lead singer Rod Stewart was left without a band and started hanging out with Ronnie Wood, his brother Art Wood and Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan. Art Wood got them a recording session at the Fontana studios, where he had a contract and, according to Art, recorded four songs - Diamond Joe, Engine 4444, Right Around The Thumb, and Two Steps To Mother. They delivered the tapes to Fontana who said the tracks weren't good enough and canceled Art's contract. The group then got a promoter called Rufus Manning to try and get them a deal but nobody wanted to know. The group played quite a few gigs but the project soon folded and Art retired from the music business to become a Graphic Designer. The remaining members - Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan then inherited the name the Small Faces which was soon shortened to the Faces.

Enjoy Stop and Think it Over and Don't Cry No More from their 1966 album Art Gallery.

MP3: The Artwoods-Stop and Think it Over
MP3: The Artwoods-Don't Cry No More

Source: Making Time

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