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July 20, 2011

Rod The Mod Part Three

The Soul Agents by David St John

posted by Mike Walton

Following on from the brilliant Rod The Mod Portsmouth stories from Dave Allen we can now move on to Southampton and Rodís days in local band The Soul Agents,

Local music scene expert David St. John who is Originally from Southampton but now based near Birmingham in the West Midlands - and has an amazing background in show business, having started out as a ten year old rock and roll singer in his home town of Southampton followed by being lead vocalist and frontman of several pop groups throughout the Sixties and early Seventies before going solo back in 1972. Has helped fill us in with a couple of stories and also shared a fantastic photo of Rod from his Soul Agent days

Southampton band The Soul Agents really took off when becoming Rod Stewarts' backing group after he had left Long John Baldry's Hoochie Coochie Men and Bluesology etc - these bands had also played the legendary Concorde Club with the likes of a shy bespectacled piano player called Reg Dwight - later known as Elton John!) Rod and the Soul Agents had a residency at the showpiece Marquee Club in Wardour Street London and they all enjoyed the delights of being in the middle of Soho as you can imagine! The group had to collect Rod from his flat above a fish and chip shop in Brentford in a battered old Commer band before making their way to the club - I wonder if Rod remembers all this as he lies in his Jacuzzi in his Essex mansion or any of his other homes around the world?

Gill Waters remembers Rod in the 60's,ĒHe went out with my friend who incidentally was a tall leggy blonde. She called herself Janet Pooley, she was a manager in C & A in Southampton, She became a model for Friend magazine in her early teens.
Rod used to stay with her at her mother's flat and I always thought he was most unattractive. She obviously supported the Soul Agents whereas I was fan club secretary for The Chances 'R'.-They often did gigs at the same venues... Rod used to put rollers in his hair, Yuk! Never in a million years did she or I think he would ever be a global phenomenonĒ.

Promoter Terry Rolph from Avenue Artists told DavidÖ
Nice to hear someone from Star Combo is still about, .every Saturday night was a sell out with them!
Rod Stewart with the Soul agents only did a couple of Sunday nights for me at the Blue Indigo sadly and the crowds were never that great. Rod came down on the train and would stay at Lens house in Shirley and would go back the next morning-it was the first time anybody asked for ladies hair laqueur!
I always got the acts to sign the wall at the club; they were all up there, Rod, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, John Mayall,, Chris Farlowe,,Grahame Bond, Denny Laine (had Moody Blues week before they went to No1 with Go Now they drew 15 people!)
The wall is long gone the club is now flats-that wall would be worth a fortune now
Happy days we wonít see the like of them again

Another of Davidís friends from the time Gerry Hayne (aged fifty-nineteen) remembers...

Oh yes I recall the Woolston and Rod who was with Long John Baldry etc plus of course our own local talent the Soul Agents. I later even went so far as to rent one of the keyboard player Don's "organs" from Terry at Avenue Artists a Bird Duplex I think - it was 2 manual and a sort of poor man's Hammond. I still have the Soul Agents record "45" with their hit "Seventh Son" and flipside "Letís make it pretty baby" - a record which went to number one in the juke box charts at Liverpool; so impressed by this were we that the band I was then with (Dave Chalk's 007s) went all the way up to the Cavern to see if they liked us as much - of course they didnít.....
I attended said Woolston regularly but on one occasion I took a rather special "lady" friend but, sad to report, when I last saw her she was riding the floating bridge with Rod on the roof !
Story of my life, since I took a gorgeous lady from Winchester to The Yardbirds gig at the Southampton Guildhall and she disappeared with young Eric Clapton (allegedly).
I went on to play with Johnny Watsons' Star Combo at the bay Tree (Blue Indigo) [thanks Terry R] as the resident band and got to meet all the big band names who came and played there regularly. We used to time our breaks so that we could go downstairs and watch Morecombe & Wise - seriously we really did! The Combo also had the late John Murfitt, Mike Lewis (in Australia or NZ) Colin M (hopefully still local) Johnny Watson (Australia) and yours truly. Those were the days my friends we thought they'd never end.

David, also recalls a story about Rod getting the hump with someone at the Bay Tree Inn/Blue Indigo and jumping in a car to try and run him over outside the pub! Donít think he even had a licence thenÖ par for the course when Rod hit town!!!!!!!!

For more information on the Southampton music scene of the fifties and sixties go to Davidís brilliant website

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