Friday Brown - "I've got Friday on my mind"
by Olaf Owre
Marian Stockley, better known as Friday Brown, was born in Manchester on February 18, 1947. As a teenager she emerged as a very gifted young female singer handling folk, blues, pop songs and standards equally well. Not only was she very good-looking and had a great voice, she also played guitar, wrote poetry and composed songs.
She was 15 and had started studying to become an art teacher at Bolton art college, when she fell in love with a fellow student and guitarist, Wilf Lewis, who was three years ahead of her.
He asked her to join his group, The Mike Taylor Combo, based in Darwen, Lancashire. They entered the Lancashire and Cheshire beat contest in Liverpool in 1962-63, and Marian won the ’best vocalist’ award and a contract with Peter Sullivan at Decca. Her loyalty to the group pulled singer Mike Taylor along, but not the group. They formed a duo called Marianne And Mike and had two singles released on the Decca subsidiary label Vocalion Pop in 1964, ”As He Once Was Mine”/”Go On” and ”You’re The Only One”/”One Good Turn Deserves Another”. Marian’s boyfriend Wilf Lewis wrote the songs for them.
The year after, in 1965, Marian and Wilf became founder members of a new Salford based group called Wynder K. Frog along with Mick Weaver and sax player Alex Kirby (see also St. Louis Union).
However, Marian didn’t stay long enough to do any recordings with the group.
|She was discovered by Kennedy Street Enterprises and they got her a recording deal as a solo act with Parlophone/EMI. They also came up with a new stage name for her - Friday Brown.
Marian: ”The name Friday Brown was a Kennedy Street Artists idea. Something to do with the fashion for stupid names. I remember a meal, k.s.a. bigwigs ..... the rest is confusion.... I was born on a Tuesday.... Tuesday Weld got that name, so they decided Friday.......... and Brown was either cos I sounded black or they wanted an ordinary surname or both.......... I really don't recall exactly.”
Her debut single was out in January 1966. It was a ballad with a lush orchestral arrangement titled ”Getting Nowhere” written by Graham Gouldman with ”And (To Me He Meant Everything)” on the flip, which was co-written by Marian and her sister Barbara. The A-side was also covered by P. J. Proby under the subtitle ”I’m Twenty-Eight” on his ”Enigma” album, and later Toni Basil also recorded it.
Songwriter Graham Gouldman got in Friday Brown to sing on many of his demos at the time, for instance ”Behind The Door”, which was sent to Cher amongst others. St. Louis Union also recorded it.
Marian: ”On the B-side of ’Getting Nowhere’ there are two guitarists backing up my voice… one was me… the other was a young session guy whom I’d had the pleasure of working with on the Marianne and Mike sessions and loads of folk/blues stuff we did for the Beeb in London… His name was and still is Jimmy Page.”
With ”Getting Nowhere” Friday Brown’s recording career was sadly getting nowhere, despite being part of a big Kennedy Street promoted UK package tour with Herman’s Hermits, Dave Berry & The Cruisers, The Mindbenders, David & Jonathan, Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours and Ivans Meads in the spring of 1966. After the short-term deal with Parlophone she signed with Fontana and recorded three singles for them between 1966 and 1969. Her first single on Fontana was "32nd. Love Affair", a selfpenned Northern soul hipswinger with accompaniment directed by Alan Caddy. It sold poorly at the time, but it has later become a highly sought single among collectors of Northern soul records.
1966 also saw her team up with High Society, a studio group with Peter Cowap, Christine Ebbrell and Keith Lawless (ex-Ivans Meads bassist) who recorded two tracks with Graham Gouldman behind the controls. ”People Passing By”, was written by Gouldman while Cowap had originated the flip. The blend of voices and Seekers style arrangement was perfect for the Gouldman song. It was released in the UK on Fontana in November 1966. A Stateside release was secured on Cameo Parkway Records, but sales were low on both sides of the Atlantic.
|Marian: ”When it comes to High Society the recording sessions took place at Olympic Studios in London. I remember doing loads of tracks, dubbing harmonies on ’People Passing By’.... I also remember falling in love with 'Star Of Eastern Street', and if my memory serves me well, it was only Graham, Peter and I multitracking on that one. Can't remember if we did both sides of the record on the same day or not. The other girl, Christine, I only met twice, once at the ’People Passing By’ session and then at the photo session. We had publicity photos taken at Granada Studios in Manchester. The photographer was Harry Goodwin, the guy that ’Top Of The Pops’ used at Dickinson Road.”
Graham Gouldman was then commisioned to produce Friday Brown’s new solo single ”Ask Any Woman”/”The Outdoor Seminar” (Fontana TF 851) in 1967. Again a great ballad written by Stewart/Langley and it’s one of Friday Brown’s most compelling performances on record. Credited as musical director was John Paul Jones (later of Led Zeppelin). Fontana also released the single in Holland, and in USA it was out on RCA Victor. But just like in the UK the single failed to do the trick chartwise.
Friday still had faith in the song and at the prestigious Knokke Festival in Belgium in 1968,”Ask Any Woman” was one of the songs she performed there. She also did a knockout rendition of a soul ballad titled ”God Bless The Child”, as well as ”I Who Have Nothing”, later a big hit for Tom Jones in 1970. Friday Brown stood out as a white version of Aretha Franklin. The British team at the festival that year also included Wayne Fontana doing ”Words Of Bartholomew” and Marty Wilde with ”Abergavenny”.
Marian: ”Marty and I were both up for the press prize at the Knokke festival in ’68. I won it by one vote on the second ballot!”
Coinciding with Knokke a single was released in Belgium with the sublime ”God Bless The Child” on the A-side and ”I Want To Rain” on the flip. The latter was mis-titled ”I Want The Rain”.
In the UK her third single on Fontana came in 1969. It was a cover version of the country & western classic "Stand By Your Man" with accompaniment directed by Mike Vickers - a rendition certainly on a par with Tammy Wynette's original, but it failed to give her a much deserved commercial breakthrough as a recording artist.
In the late 60’s and early 70’s Friday was involved with the Dickinson Rd. studios for a time – performing at ”The Simon Dee Show”, ”Pop North”, Granada’s ”Scene At 6:30” and some stuff for BBC North West.
She also performed in various international song contests and festivals.
Marian: ”I did an awful lot of TV, radio and festivals all over the place. I won the international prize in the Polish song festival in 1970 and then in the Bulgarian festival in 1971. I also sang in the Yugoslavian festival in Split in 1971, but got disqualified in that one for changing the arrangement!”
In 1971 Friday Brown moved from Fontana to Philips and recorded a couple of singles and a jazz-tinged easy-listening album for her new label. The self titled album included covers of contemporary hits such as Nilsson’s ”Everybody’s Talking”, Beatles’ ”Let It Be” and Simon & Garfunkel’s ”Sound Of Silence” alongside a couple of her own songs. Peter Knight directed the orchestra and the album was produced by John Franz.
Still with Philips she cut a new version of The Mindbenders’ classic 1966 hit ”Groovy Kind Of Love” in 1973. On the B-side she paid homage to her hometown with the selfpenned ”Salford”. The single was recorded at Strawberry Studios, Stockport with members of 10cc guesting on the sessions.
After that she was doing a lot of jobs for advertising agencies, writing and recording jingles for radio and television.
In the late 70’s she was singing on a concept album titled ”The Eye Of Wendor: Prophecies” by the Mandalaband.
Marian: ”The project started out as music and songs for an idea that the writer/producer Davy Rohl had for 'Lord Of The Rings'. He didn't manage to get the rights, so we had to go back into the studio to re-record the re-written lyrics. This was one epic album and it took months and months to record it. We started the 'epic' in a Manchester studio in the city centre in 1976 with Davy bouncing and layering waves of oohs and ahhhhhs, high notes, low notes, and sounds I can't describe but somehow managed to do.
Davy got some money from Chrysalis to carry on with the recording and moved the production to Strawberry Studios in Stockport. Then money started to become a big issue. We needed a name artist, so I asked Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span to sing the solo on ’Like The Wind' and I therefore lost my solo song. Anyway the pennies continued to come from Chrysalis and the album was finished after two years in 1978.”
Marian Stockley alias Friday Brown can look back at a long and versatile artistic career. She is a very gifted composer, singer and guitar player, but her artistic talent is also evident in the paintings she has done over the years. Is she still singing or writing songs?
Marian: ”No, I don't sing any more..... Haven't been involved with the music business since 1984...... I did do some music related things with young people in the community until 1995 or so...... My head still writes songs, though..... no choice.... it just does...”
Thanks to Mike Baker for letting us use these two photos he took in BBC Manchester's new studio 'N' sometime between 1967 and 1972.
Mike's website www.bakerlite.co.uk is well worth a visit. Images copyright Mike Baker.
Marianne And Mike:
7”: As He Once Was Mine (Lewis)/Go On (Lewis) Vocalion Pop V.9218 /64
(B-side billing: Marianne)
7”: You’re The Only One (Lewis)/One Good Turn Deserves Another (Lewis-Blagman) Vocalion Pop v.9225 /64
Friday Browne: (family name spelt with an ”e”)
7”: Getting Nowhere (Gouldman)/And To Me He Meant Everything (Stockleigh-Stockleigh) Parlophone R 5396 1/66
45:”People Passing By” (Graham Gouldman)/”Star Of Eastern Street” (Peter Cowap) Fontana TF 771 (267655) 11/1966
45:”People Passing By” (Graham Gouldman)/”Star Of Eastern Street” (Peter Cowap) Cameo C-452 /1966
7”: 32nd. Love Affair (B. & M. Stockley)/Born A Woman (Martha Sharp) Fontana TF 736, 267 615 /66
7”: Ask Any Woman (Stewart-Langley)/The Outdoor Seminar (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana TF 851, 267 737 /67
7”: Stand By Your Man (Sherrill-Wynette)/I Want To Rain (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana TF 996, 267 917 /69
7”: Untitled=I Sing An Open Letter To A Man (Stockley)/ I Want To Rain (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana UNRELEASED ACETATE /--
7”: The Only One To Love Me (Trent-Hatch)/The Promise (Brown) Philips 6006 169 /71
7”: Shake A Hand (Carmichael)/Everything’s Alright (Lloyd Webber-Rice) Philips 6006 239 /72
7”: Groovy Kind Of Love (Toni Wine-Carol Bayer)/Salford (Brown) Philips 6006 324 /73
LP: Friday Brown - “Friday Brown” Philips 6308 074 1971
Everybody’s Talkin’ (Neil)/Make It With You (Gates)/Bird On The Wire (Cohen)/What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life (Bergman-Bergman-Legrand)/Wailing Of The Willow (Nilsson)/Let It Be (Lennon-McCartney)/Spaghetti Junction (Brown)/Once Upon A Summertime (Mercer-Barclay-Legrand)/The Gentle Rain (Bonfa)/Once I Was A Sailing Ship (Brown)/The Sound Of Silence (Simon)/Love’s Been Good To Me (McKuen)
7”: Ask Any Woman (Stewart-Langley)/The Outdoor Seminar (Stockley-Stockley) RCA Victor 47-9505 /67
7²: Ask Any Woman (Stewart-Langley)/The Outdoor Seminar (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana 267 737 TF with picture sleeve /68
7”: Ask Any Woman (Stewart-Langley)/The Outdoor Seminar (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana 267 737 TF with picture sleeve /68
7”: Stand By Your Man/I Want The Rain (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana 267 917 TF with picture sleeve.
7”: God Bless The Child (Herzog Jr.-Holiday)/ I Want The Rain (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana TF 267 877 with picture sleeve /69
7”: Stand By Your Man (Sherrill-Wynette)/I Want The Rain (Stockley-Stockley) Fontana TF 996, 267 917 /69
PORTUGAL EP: (From Knokke'68: Side 1: Wayne Fontana/Side 2: Friday Brown)
7" EP: WAYNE FONTANA: The Words Of Bartholomew(Cini-Shapiro-M. Shepstone)/Mind Excursion (P. Andreoli-V. Poncia Jr.)
FRIDAY BROWN: Ask Any Woman (Stewart-Langley)/The Outdoor Seminar (Stockley-Stockley)
Fontana P 65 015 TE with picture sleeve /68
7": In My Dreams (Brown)/Once I Was A Sailing Ship (Brown) (different to version on Philips LP) Balkanton BTK 2959 /71
2LP-set: Various artists - “Golden Orpheus Stars” Balkanton BTA 1483/84, gatefold sleeve with photos of all artists 1972
Featuring 30 artists from most European countries including Friday Brown representing Great Britain with a live performance of a song titled ”It Was Not You” (B. Karadimchev, English words by Friday Brown).
LP: “The Eye Of Wendor: Prophecies” Chrysalis CHR 1181, 1978
Concept album featuring an impressive list of artists including members of 10cc, Barclay James Harvest, Sad Café, Moody Blues, Steeleye Span and the Hallé Orchestra. Friday Brown is on vocals.
CD: “The Eye Of Wendor: Prophecies” RPM RPM-105, 1992
Reissue on CD of 1978 Chrysalis album.
Friday Brown is on vocals.
CD: “The Eye Of Wendor: Prophecies” Eclectic Discs ECLCD 1004, 2003
Remastered CD-version of 1978 Chrysalis album with one bonus track.
Friday Brown is on vocals.
I recall being SO impressed by her doing a Bo Diddley number on Saturday Club - it was " Before You Accuse me" - and so hip for a lady to sing a pretty obcure (at the time) R & B number.
I also reckoned "Getting Nowhere " was a great "lost" UK lost hit
She also did a series for Tyne Tees in the sixties called A Girl called Friday.
We did 3 shows with her as the Two Good Reasons. David Mc Williams was also on the bill.
I remember some days in 1978 when Friday came to Rostock (Germany) where she had taken part in the maritime song festival "Menschen und Meer" (Men And The Sea) long time ago. The audience and the people that watched her on tv loved her very much.
Friday Brown was one of four singers who, along with the Northern Dance Orchestra, featured on BBC Radio Manchester's first jingles in 1970.
Source material: http://audioboo.fm/boos/464963-bbc-manchester-launch
I remember meeting Marrianne at The Beachcomber Club in Bolton in 1964, at that time she was a fairly regular visitor. I remember one occasion chatted with friends, including Marrianne, mostly about the music scene and the different styles of music of the era.
When I worked at Manchester airport during 1970/1973 Friday was on a TV show singing a song to me. I wondered if anyone remembers which TV show it was I would love to get a video of it if it exists. Can anyone help?
I think I remember a song she sang on local teatime TV (Yorkshire) probably ITV. Think it was called "Rocking Chair". Of course she sang it sitting in one. Am I correct ?
I have a copy of her LP given to me by the Philips Rep as a sample. (White Label). Sleeve almost mint. Used to play this all the time. . . really nice LP !
To Steve O. The song was 'Getting Nowhere '. I think it was a pop programme they used to broadcast nationwide. Can't remember the title, however,I believe Ayesha presented it.
Not only "Stand by your man" was famous in Lebanon, also "Ask any woman" was very known and famous ... golden oldies. Friday Brown has a great voice ...
When I was producing for BBC Radio 2 in the 1960s, Friday Brown would travel down from Manchester to London to record sessions for series I was producing. She has a simply beautiful voice.
Friday Brown came over to Cleethorpes in 1979,and performed at The Sands Club,where I was the resident drummer. I became her musical director/drummer,before I joined The Nolan Sister's band. I have a recording of the Phillips LP, recorded directly from Marian's own copy. A lovely memory of some lovely days.
Marian Stockley, Ruth Ireland, Pat Wantling and me (Ann Perry) used to sing together in the last years of junior school - St Paul's Peel, Little Hulton - where Mr. Stockley, Marian's father, was the headmaster. Playtimes and dinner times we would go up to the attic room (good accoustics!) and do harmonies on 'Catch a Falling Star...' and other mid to late 50s pop.
Marian had a superb tone & timbre to her voice. I followed Friday Brown's career thanks to news from home (I left Lancashire when I was 17) - my mum wrote "Marian bless 'er was on the radio again yesterday, Friday Brown... Lovely voice.. & lovely girl". Good to remember - we are the same age, born the same year ('47) and myself, I must say, I still refuse to be 'my age'. I'm sure Marian and our other pals are the same.
I hope life is kind to all... a good vintage!
Ann Gavriel nee Perry