One of the very
first articles printed about Christie, reprinted from New
Musical Express, May 1970.
ON THE GOOD SHIP VENUS!
By Roy Carr
currently at No 4 on the charts with one of the fastest
selling singles in months, Yellow
River, have yet to play their first live gig together.
So off I went
to ask the question why to Jeff Christie, Mike Blakley and
Vic Elmes at their manager's office in Holborn last week.
On my arrival,
I found Jeff, Mike and Vic making plans to spend two whole
weeks at a very quiet hotel in Exeter.
already?" I blurted out, thinking of the foolhardiness
of going away just when their first record is rapidly moving
towards the top slot.
I was immediately
informed that the sole purpose of the trek was to enable
the group to plan and rehearse a good strong stage act.
As Jeff was keen
to point out, "Our main concern is to consolidate our
first hit. We've all been around in different groups far
too long to make just one hit and then slip away into oblivion.
"So now we
intend to spend the next couple of weeks making quite sure
that the people who come to see us won't be disappointed."
So what could
the Great public expect to hear from Christie? Heaviest
of underground sounds? Purest of teenybop? A completely
Jeff, with undoubtable
natural good looks that could easily adorn thousands of
bedroom walls, clarified:
are a rock'n'roll band. We are going to play basic, exciting
rock. There will be quite a few songs that I have written,
some really good old standards like Slow
Down, a few of those great Carl Perkins ravers, and
"As a band,
we would like to try and recapture the old feeling and bring
back some of the excitement of the early days of rock."
Up until the formation
of Christie, the individual lifelines of the group had followed
the all-too-familiar pattern of hang-ups, frustration and
insufficient money. A scene which I'm sure thousands of
groups have experienced time and again.
had to take a day off work to record Yellow
River," Mike confessed, before the rather subdued
Vic revealed, "In fact we only gave up our day jobs
I knew for a fact
that the Tremeloes had been seriously considering recording
Yellow River as a single. So
Yellow River 18 months ago
and sent it down to their office with some other material
where it just laid around for ages," Jeff said.
liked it and were going to record it. Then they had a monster
hit with one of their own songs, and after that they dropped
it in favour of their own material.
Brian Longley was certain Yellow River
would be a hit for someone. He eventually persuaded me to
travel down from Leeds, and after an all-night discussion
we decided to get hold of Mike and Vic to form the group
and record the song."
Mike, the brother
of the Trems' Alan Blakley, interjected: "Though the
Trems didn't record the song, they have been most eager
to help. They have been so pleased with our success that
they now include Yellow River
in their act and plug it for us every night."
As yet Christie
have no history as a group, apart from their hit record,
but individually the boys have many hilarious yarns concerning
their exploits with other groups.
and I used to be with a group called the Epics, and most
of our work used to be in Scandinavia," Mike said.
were in Copenhagen, we appeared at the Carousel Club. A
great part of our act used to include complete and unexpurgated
versions of such classics as On The
Good Ship Venus, together with our own ribald interpretations
of Yesterday. Most of the people
in the club didn't have the faintest idea what it was all
Vic took up the
story: "Sometimes, an English businessman and his wife
would wander into the club, and it would really crease all
of us up to see the look of horror and shock on their faces
as we sang all those songs loud and clear. "I don't
think we will be including any of those in Christie's programme,"
he joked. "And Jeff has also written well over 150
songs from which we can choose."
Jeff said: "They're
not all in the same class as Yellow
River, however, I believe there is some interesting
material among that lot.
even a song that I'm positive could be a big smash for Roy