These are the only recordings by the Shotgun Express, an essentially club-orientated aggregation, centered around Rod Stewart, Beryl Marsden and Peter Bardens. They formed in May 1966, a conscious attempt to re-create some of the excitement of Stewart's previous group, the Steampacket, who'd also included Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and the Brian Auger Trinity. Stewart had been fired by Auger, and immediately teamed with Peter B's Looners (aka the Peter B's), one of the Gunnell Agency's club house bands. This group included Peter Bardens (organ), Mick Parker (guitar), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums), modelling itself on Booker T. and the MGs. Peter Green replaced Parker in time for their lone single "If You Want To Be Happy c/w "Jodrell Blues", and its failure probably prompted the merging, especially as Stewart's own last single, "Shake", had similarly disappeared. Rod naturally assumed vocals, and Beryl Marsden, who'd previously issued several records on both Decca and EMI, was added as a second singer.
"I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round" was released in October, by which time Peter Green had left for John Mayall, replaced by John Mooreshead. It mixed the R&B of their live act with a carefully arranged original song, with its precise vocals and orchestration. "Curtains" is an instrumental counterpart, and taken together, they show some of the scope of the group.
There was yet a further lead guitar change at the end of the year when Phil Sawyer came in over John Mooreshead. But the crucial break came early in 1967, when Rod Stewart left to join the embryonic Jeff Beck Group. He wasn't replaced, and a second single, "Funny 'Cos Neither Could I", was released in April. If perhaps without the immediate hook of its predecessor, it's written and performed with a similar care, with Bardens joining with Marsden's vocal. Another (Ray) Smith/(Tony) Colton song (both later in Head, Hands and Feet), it was backed by another instrumental "Indian Thing". "Funny" was also unsuccessful, and clearly the impetus of the group was now fading.
Peter Bardens has since remarked that - "Rod was always in bed, Beryl was always at the hairdresser, Phil often didn't appear for gigs" and the Shotgun Express split just after their second record was issued. Mick Fleetwood went to John Mayall and Fleetwood Mac, Dave Ambrose to Brian Auger, Beryl Marsden to the She Trinity, Phil Sawyer to Spencer Davis, and Peter Bardens moved to sessions, Village, solo work, and then Camel. All that was left are these four tracks; only a hint of the group's possibilities and obvious live excellence; caught out by changing contemporary tastes, and now much more easy to appreciate fully.
'Bam Balam' Magazine
Original sound recordings made by EMI Records Ltd.
This compilation (P) 1983 by See-For-Miles Records Ltd. as licensee of EMI Records Ltd.
(C) 1983 Charly Records Ltd.
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