The Magic Highway


An Interview with Paul Cardus
(Bass player with The Tremmers)

Paul  CardusQ: Tell us about the early days with Jeff.

A: Back in the 60s in Leeds there were four or five groups that were any good. Jeff was in one, The Tremmers, I was in another, The Lightings. We used to see each other playing at various locations in Leeds. If I had a night off I'd go to see The Tremmers and vice versa.
   I think I first actually spoke to Jeff in a club called The Tropicana where I was playing. That was when Jeff first approached me to join the Tremmers. After about a week thinking about it I decided to join.
   Jeff and I wrote a couple of songs together which we recorded at a studio in Leeds. The master tape was apparently destroyed in a fire a good few years ago. There was a bass player between Rod Brookes leaving and me joining but I can't remember his name: tall, blonde, horn rimmed glasses, Jeff might remember. His name might have been Ken.

Q: The Tremmers had a black singer in a "white" band. That would have been quite unusual for the times.

A: Gary Steele was the lead vocalist of the Tremmers when I first joined, prior to that they had two singers. Having a black singer back then was unusual but he was a showman who got the audience on his side. As to what happened to him? The last time I saw him was in the late 60s, probably 1969/70 when he'd unfortunately been arrested for robbery so he probably went to prison.
   Gary Steele asn't his real name, Graham was his first name and either Spencer or Robinson was his surname. I haven't seen or heard of him since then.


The Tremmers: Paul Cardus (left), Gary Steele, Stan Drogie, Gerry Layton, Jeff Christie.

Q: You and Gary joined 5-Man Cargo, whose song was on the flipside of The Outer Limits' first single release.

A: The Tremmers split up after an audition for a summer season at Butlins. We were told that the group had passed the audition but not the coloured singer. When it came to a vote to accept or decline Butlins, Gary and myself were outvoted so we went our separate ways.
   Gary and I then formed an R&B/soul group called 5-Man Cargo which contained two university students. We had plenty of uni gigs. There was always fierce competition between the two groups.
   The reason for two groups on one record? Well, the RAG comittee at Leeds Uni decided that its two most popular "house" bands should have a side each .. The Outer Limits on one side with When The Work Is Thru, and on the other side was 5-Man Cargo with What a Wonderful Feeling written by Carter/Lewis of Ivy League fame. We had recorded this once already with Ken Lewis but I was told Gary wasn't a good enough singer so it never got released. We got permission to use it for the uni record.

Q: You also played with The Outer Limits.

A: I think I stood in for maybe two gigs with the group but I certainly never toured with them.

Q: What was your reaction to Jeff's success?

A: In June 1970, I was laid on a beach in Newquay, Cornwall, where somebody had a radio playing Johnny Walker doing the lunchtime rundown of the charts; suddenly this song Yellow River was blurting out. I remember sitting bolt upright, I turned to my wife and said "I know that voice" and when it was announced as No.1, Yellow River by a group called Christie, I thought the coincidence was too great and I remember saying "He's gone and done it".
   My wife hadn't got a clue what I was talking about, she knew nothing of my past in groups. I didn't compare it the Outer Limits because I knew they were long gone and Jeff hadn't been grouping for some time. Part of the chord sequence reminded me of a Motown number we used to do.

Q: What have you been doing since?

A: Since those days I've been living in the East Midlands, working for a living and playing in a threesome (lead-bass and drums) doing MOR rock at RAF camps, WM clubs and private functions in the Lincolnshire, South Yorks, Notts, Derbys and Cambs area.
   I packed in a couple of years ago as things were getting a bit stale, no new material and no rehearsals. But I am still hanging on to my gear in case I find another band!
   I went to see Jeff at his house in Leeds about 30 years ago.