Dreams Of The West (The Joe Meek Collection: Volume 1)

Artists: The Outlaws, Mike Berry, John Leyton
Cat No:CCD2002
Format: Audio CD (Mono)
Release Date: 26 November 2012

RRP: £5.99

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Buy Dreams Of The West ( The Joe Meek Collection: Volume 1) - The Outlaws Dream of the West (The Joe Meek Collection: Vol. 1) - The Outlaws
In 1960, numerous groups were performing in dance halls, youth clubs and holiday camps across the UK. The resident band during the summer season at the Butlins in Filey Yorkshire was Billy Grey & The Stormers. They were performing covers of recent hit records, especially Cliff Richard & The Shadows. The group consisted of Billy Grey on vocals, Billy Kuy on lead guitar, Reg Hawkins on rhythm guitar, Chas Hodges on bass and Bobby Graham on drums. At the end of the season, Billy Grey left the group to get married and the remaining members decided to disband

Meanwhile at his recording studio at 304 Holloway Road London, Joe Meek received a four track demo disc from Kenny Lord & The Statesmen which including a cover of Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue Got Married. While not being impressed by the Statesmen, the singer reminded him of Buddy Holly (Meek was a big Buddy Holly fan). Meek decided Kenny Lord (real name Michael Bourne) was not the appropriate name for his Buddy Holly, so decided on the name Mike Berry

The only trouble was the lack of a backing group. Somehow The Stormers came to Meek's attention, although there are conflicting accounts whether they either sent Meek a demo disc or were recommenced to Meek by either Berry or his manager. Meek was impressed, but decided that they should change their name to The Outlaws, with the associated Wild West outfits and image. The Shadows recently had their first solo number one with the twangy guitar instrumental Apache.

The first record to be released by Mike Berry & The Outlaws was a version of the Shirelles Will You Love Me Tomorrow (track 17) in January 1961. The original had not been released in the UK and Decca wanted a version before any other covers could be released. Although Meek did not want to record a cover version, he realised that Decca would promote the single. The track was arranged by Charles Blackwell, with Mike Berry required to record the vocals more than twenty times before Joe Meek was satisfied. The B side was the Buddy Holly influenced My Baby Doll (track 18). The record was not a hit.

Besides backing Mike Berry, The Outlaws were Meek's house band for his various artists and also started to record their own solo material. Continuing with their Wild West image, Meek recorded their first solo single Swingin' Low (track 13), an instrumental country & western inspired twangy guitar arrangement of the traditional gospel song Swing Low Sweet Chariot. It was released in March 1961, which reached number 46 in the charts. The B-side Spring is Near (track 8) was a rearrangment of Valley of the Saroos from Meek's aborted I Hear A New World album.

Meek would be prepared to use any method to promote his records. One of the most famous was for the Swingin' Low with The Outlaws dressed as cowboys on a stagecoach going around the West End of London, blaring out the record. Although the Police were not impressed and stopped them in Leicester Square for breaking various by-laws.

The follow up single was Ambush (track 6) released in May, it was written by Joe Meek using his Robert Duke pseudonym. It featured a galloping rhythm and gunfire effects, with Indian Brave (track 9) on the B Side. This was their biggest solo hit, reaching number 43.

In September, their third solo record was released, with Valley of the Sioux on the A side and Crazy Drums on the B side which showcased Bobby Graham's drumming skills. Both sides had the solo writing credit of Robert Duke, even through Crazy Drums was devised by Graham.

Due to the group's singles successes, it was decided that that an album was required for the Christmas market. Although busy working as a backing group and recording a weekly 15 minute programme on Radio Luxembourg called It's The Outlaws. They managed to record nine new tracks for the album with “Robert Duke” composing and producing all the tracks. With Spring is Near, Ambush and Indian Brave from their first two singles completing the album. Three of the new tracks were rearrangments of Meek's songs from I Hear a New World. The Bublight became The Outlaws (track 2), Orbit Around the Moon became Husky Team (track 3) and Entry of the Globbots became Tune for Short Cowboys (track 12). After the album was completed, Reg Hawkins left the band.

Throughout the year they continued to tour with Mike Berry and they also performed on his next single. Tribute to Buddy Holly (track 19) was banned by the BBC due to its subject matter, although due to extensive promotion it made No 24 in the UK charts. The B side was What's the Matter (track 20).

The Outlaws performed anonymously on numerous Joe Meek produced records, including the number one hit by John Leyton Johnny Remember Me (Track 16). With the success, there was no mention or publicity for the Outlaws. They only received the Musicians Union session fee rate of £7.10s. This resulted in Bill Kuy's wife writing a letter to the New Musical Express complaining about the group's treatment. Meek read the letter and fired Billy Kuy.

By the start of 1962, Bobby Graham had left group to join Joe Brown as the drummer for his band the Bruvvers. The only original member left in The Outlaws was Chas Hodges.

Track Listing
1Dream Of The West  
2The Outlaws  
3Husky Team  
5Smoke Signals  
8Spring Is Near  
9Indian Brave  
10Homeward Bound  
11Western Sunset  
12Tune For Short Cowboys  
13Swingin' Low  
14Valley Of The Sioux  
15Crazy Drums  
16Johnny Remember MeJohn Leyton & The Outlaws 
17Will You Love Me TomorrowMike Berry & The Outlaws 
18My Baby DollMike Berry & The Outlaws 
19Tribute To Buddy HollyMike Berry & The Outlaws 
20What's The MatterMike Berry & The Outlaws