Saturday, August 3, 2013

Tower Records Spotlight: The Toggery Five - I'm Gonna Jump/Bye Bye Bird

I'm Gonna Jump

Bye Bye Bird
[See comments section below for insightful comments from the song's author and singer, Frank Renshaw]

Another great double sided gem on this post. Today's Song(s) of the week are given to us from the Toggery Five, a Manchester based band named after a mod clothing shop which employed one Graham Nash of Hollies fame. He went on to do other stuff, but I'm not too sure what.

The Toggery Five were led by guitarist and vocalist, Frank Renshaw who was joined by Keith Meredith, Ken Mills, and Graham Smith. A wee-lad named Paul Young (he of the 80s blue eyed soul hits) rounded out the quintet. Today's songs are from their debut single recorded on Frank Renshaw's birthday and released in the Summer March of '65 in the United States. The songs are a Frank Renshaw original, I'm Gonna Jump, about a lovelorn and love scorned lad contemplating taking a leap off a Manchester bridge into the chilly River Irwell. The Flip-Side (we like flip-sides) was a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson's Bye Bye Bird. A song also covered nicely by the Moody Blues at about the same time. The double sided gem was released in the Summer of '65 on Parlophone and even saw a US release on the legendary Tower Records. [Note that Renshaw's name is misspelled on the US release.] The US pressing has become quite a coveted single, and for good reason. Both songs are wickedly good. I'm Gonna Jump being the superior and, quite frankly, one of the best of the garage singles to come out that year. Despite having the very talented Paul Young in the band, Renshaw takes the lead on both of these numbers as Young had just joined the band a few weeks or months prior to the recording session. For more about the band, check out Frank Renshaw's webpage for The Toggery Five. Until next time, we'll see you on the flip-side.

15 comments:

  1. sweet. Love the opener for Bye Bye Bird. Where'd you get pick this up? Heard anything else by them?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I believe I picked this single up in San Diego in a shop in North Park. I've seen it a few times since, but eBay now shows this going for +/- $75.

    If you follow the link to the website Renshaw set up, you'll hear their other single, plus one other song. All decent, but nothing as good as I'm Gonna Jump.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice one Morgan. Good to see we're still out there.

    Frank Renshaw.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Frank -

    Thanks for stopping by our little corner of the internet. As this post illustrates, I'm a big fan of the record and have subjected many a friend to this record in the 26 or so years I've owned it. Now, i just took it from my music room to a slightly bigger space.

    But most of all, thanks for making a great record that still holds up through the years and decades. I saw a documentary last night in which Art Garfunkel talked about his first record and how he realized he had just made something permanent. Something that could be tangibly held in a hand. Something that had his name on it. Something he could point to and say..."hey, I made that." I thought of this record as he spoke of that revelation.

    So, if I were in Manchester (or wherever you are now), I would buy you a pint and say thanks for the entertainment. But I'm not. So please consider this post as my thank you, my sincere appreciation for the art you gave us 47 years ago.

    If you want to fill in more about the recording session, the songwriting process, anything, please consider this a formal invite to do so.

    Morgan Young

    ReplyDelete
  5. It was recorded on my birthday, Monday 22nd June 1964. Abbey Road Studios London.
    We had a 3 hour recording session booked (pretty normal in those days for a band to record a single and B-Side). Our recording manager, Ron Richards, who also recorded The Hollies, had the mad idea for us to record this intrumental he's just received.
    We used to do "Bye Bye Bird" by Sonny Boy Williamson in our show, so decided to use that as th B-Side. We knew it backwards so it only took about 5 minutes to record.
    The A-Side (I think it was called "The Shark") took a lot longer as get a sound we were satisfied with. We decided that the problem was, I was playing it on a Gibson ES 335, and it really needed a Fender Stratocaster. With about 15 minutes to go, it was too late to do anything about that.
    Ron asked if we had anything else we could do really quickly. As Paul Young had only been with us a couple of weeks, he really didn't know many of our songs, so it was suggested we try a new song that I'd written called "I`m Gonna Jump". We did a run-through, then did it in one take. That was it, session over.
    To our horror, it was subsequently BANNED by the BBC as a suicide song. What !!!!
    So sadly it never got the air-time it should have done, as the BBC ruled the air-waves.
    It has become a bit of a cult record, and very collectable. For the same reasons you mention about Art Garfunkle, I'm proud that it still creates interest, even as far as San Diego where you are.

    Frank Renshaw. 2013

    ReplyDelete
  6. Frank - Thanks for the wonderful background information. Fascinating that you only needed 20 minutes out of the 3 hours. Had you showed I'm Gonna Jump to the band already? Any thoughts on the inspiration for this song, influences? It makes me think of Runaway in parts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Also, how could they think it was a suicide song? Suicide songs don't end on a major chord!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very cool that you have stopped by Mr. Renshaw. This remains one of my favourites. A mod classic for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Elaine Morrisey HoffstadtApril 5, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Great story, Frank! Banned in the U.K.,doesn't surprise me as ludicrous as it was. About the same time that "lets Spend the Night Together" by was Stones was bleeped in the U.S. The radio would bleep over the word "Night". What a huge disservice to the listening audience to have your song censored...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Jack, you're right about the major chord, Ha, well spotted.
    Yeh, we did the song in our show and it always went down well as it was different from all the usual "Merseybeat" stuff that was going around.
    It's really just a chord progression down from Am-G-F-E. Don't ask where the words came from, I really can't remember. The lyrics just seemed to fit the mood of the chords.
    Cheers anyway guys. Really appreciate your interest.

    www.frankyoung.info

    ReplyDelete
  11. Added a link to www.toggery-five.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Morgan,
    Good to see that people still enjoy The Toggery Five's "I'm Gonna Jump" almost 50 years after Frank & Co. recorded it in London in 1964. Great record! In America the single on Tower was released in March 1965.

    http://www.45cat.com/record/nc041259us

    Cheers,

    Olaf Owre

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the clarification Olaf. I've made the change in the body copy to reflect.

      We've already got your great site linked in our Blog, Blog, Blog section. It's a great resource.

      Delete
  13. Hey Frank..I',ve still got the precious single:I've gotta Jump/Bye Bye Bird. Let's reopen the Monor Lounge,and make it happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you open it, I'm requesting one free drink for being the connecting point!

      Delete