It took thirty-six years for Stavely Makepeace to release their first album, The Scrap Iron Rhythm Revue, a compilation of all their singles.
They would often spend up to fifteen hours a day just running tape loops to achieve the sound they wanted. Much of the recording was done in the front room of Rob’s Kingsway house in the Stoke district of the City.
When Mouldy Old Dough hit the top spot in the UK, Chuck Berry was doing the same in the US charts with My Ding A-ling. That meant that both singles on either side of the Atlantic had been recorded in Coventry, Mouldy Old Dough in Kingsway, Stoke and My Ding A-ling at The Locarno in Coventry City Centre.
Local music expert Pete Chambers takes a look back at the best in pop music from the past and present that came from our area.
Every other Friday from 3pm, Pete will be on air to talk about the bands, singers and songs that made Britain swing during the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond. You can also take a trip down memory lane with the songs themselves.
Rob Woodward and Nigel Fletcher by Pete Chambers
Rob and Nigel will of course be forever linked with the seventies novelty record Mouldy Old Dough, thirty-four years on and it still refuses to leave the consciousness of anyone over the age of forty-five.
Indeed Nigel has often been taken aback when stopped in the street by someone who declares that they had purchased his record. Like it was the only thing they ever released! The truth is the guys have brought out some forty singles, be it as Lieutenant Pigeon or Stavely Makepeace.
Stavely Makepeace created what they called the scrap iron sound, a hybrid that relied as much on experimentation as it did on musicianship. They followed the Joe Meek path of sound creation, something like “it doesn’t matter how the sound was made or how it came about as long as it sounded great”. Without exception their body of work always did sound great, be it the quirky yodelling of Edna, or the Rock’n’Roll sound of Runaround Sue.
Lieutenant Pigeon began as a novelty offshoot for the guys that would include Rob’s sixty-year-old Mum Hilda to create the fabled double piano sound. On its release Mouldy old Dough looked to be heading for the big vinyl graveyard in the sky, that was until a Belgian TV news show began using it as it’s theme tune. This thrust it into the Belgian charts and gave Decca the confidence to push the song in the UK. The rest is history and Pigeon became the first local band to claim the number one spot.
Another major misconception about the band is they remain a one hit wonder, anyone who owns a copy of the Guinness Book of Hit Singles could tell you that they also! achieved a number seventeen in the UK charts with the follow-up Desperate Dan.
Nigel and Rob have never been far away from music, even now they delight in the creation of new songs. They along with Pete Chambers will join Bob Brolly on Friday 10th March at 3.00. Tune in to see if they play that record.