Easter Saturday (Blackpool)
Poster advertised 'Solomon Burke
But was he cancelled for the Drifters to appear
And so they were not the REAL ONES!
about the Drifters, I thought you girls liked them the most?” asked Angelo.
“Yeah, we all do,” answered a group of girls he was
talking to in the café on
Victoria station, the morning after
the All-nighter. I think he was surprised by the knowledge that the leader of
this group of girls had, when she said: “Did you know the Drifters go back to
the very early fifties? Their original lead singer was Clyde
McPhatter. Later, Johnny Moore did the lead, but they had an argument
with their manager and he just went out and got a completely new group. That’s
what started out several Drifters groups doing live tours in the
USA, and two going round
She continued: “On my LP it’s got the names as Ben E.
King, Charlie Thomas, Dock Green, Elsbeary Hobbs and
And not one of those guys here the other week looked
anything like their photograph on
my LP cover. Ben E. King wasn’t one of them, he went solo years ago.” She
paused, reached into her handbag and put more Wrigley’s Gum into her mouth.
After chewing for a bit, she said: “When Ben E. King left, the lead singer was
Rudy Lewis and he died soon after. That’s when Johnny Moore became the lead
“How do you know all this stuff?” asked Angelo, sort of
amazed. Usually it was blokes that could spout such details, which were often
designed to impress other Soul obsessives.
“Oh, your friend Roland gave me and Pat two tickets. He
had loads of tickets, he’d printed them. They were forgeries, but we got in no
problem. After the Drifters had finished, we went into the room at the back to
talk to them. We got in because their manager was a nice lady called Fay. We
spoke to the oldest guy, Johnny.”
“We told them all their records are just fantastic, and it
was him who told us the recent Drifters story. He said he’d been in the group
twice and he was really annoyed that there were loads of Drifters fakes. He said
guys are just going around pretending to be the real ones, like Bill
Pinkney’s Original Drifters, who’ve only got one of the
early Fifties members. He told us he was the only real one left – the only lead
singer that is. He thought it was only happening over in the States, but he said
he was pissed about the number of them operating in
England. It was funny – I
didn’t think he was pissed, he didn’t look drunk… did he Pat?” She was looking
at Pat, who looked over with glazed eyes and didn’t respond. Then she laughed
and explained: “We thought he meant he was drunk, but in
America pissed means
angry. He told us he was pals with the Dells, and they had even more imitators
USA than the Drifters!”
More chewing intervened, and she made a final statement:
“Well, he was a very nice man, Johnny Moore was.”
“Especially so, as you got in free as well!” said Angelo.
“Maybe they were the other ones with this guy, just pretending to be one of the
blokes on the records.” He told her about DL asking one of the Drifters tribes
to sing a request, and they turned out to be the Invitations!
From the book:
THE MANCHESTER WHEELERS
And was that
Johnny the real J Moore?
A lot of the ‘Manchester Wheelers missed these ‘Drifters’
going to Blackpool as an advanced party getting drunk on the Saturday – spending
the weekend at the seaside – looking for Greasers .. trying to re-live old times!