Compiled by Olaf Owre, 2000
Peter Cowap, guitar/vocals
Graham Gouldman, guitar/vocals
Phil Dennys, keyboards
Clem Cattini, drums/percussion
John Paul Jones, bass
Mike Collier, producer
As late as 1966 Graham Gouldman was still working at Bargains Unlimited, a mens clothes shop near Salford Docks in Manchester. His magnificent songs had been big hits for The Yardbirds, The Hollies and Herman’s Hermits, whereas his own releases with The Whirlwinds and The Mockingbirds, as well as a solo single for Decca had all been flops. So being one of the best young songwriters in the UK was an achievement that Gouldman had difficulty in relating to. Many of his songs were in fact written in the backroom of the shop during lunch hours, and his father, Hymie, often helped him with the lyrics.
Gouldman wanted to expand upon his songwriting career by trying his luck as a record producer, but singles for Friday Brown and Little Frankie & The Country Gentlemen didn’t bring much success. However, Gouldman instigated a casual songwriting partnership with his friend Peter Cowap, leader of The Country Gents. Notably the two came up with ”The Cost Of Living” for The Downliners Sect’s last Columbia single, released in September 1966, while Cowap wrote ”How To Find A Lover” for The Mockingbirds, released on Decca the following month.
Gouldman and Cowap also launched a couple of very interesting studio projects onto record that same year, when they brought a few people together in the recording studio to cut some new songs they had written.
First out was a group called High Society with a Seekers styled A-side written by Gouldman, titled ”People Passing By”, coupled with the Cowap written flip, ”Star Of Eastern Street”. Phil Dennys, Clem Cattini (ex-Tornadoes of ”Telstar” fame) and John Paul Jones (later of Led Zeppelin) were hired for the sessions.
This was swiftly followed by The Manchester Mob, who revived two classic rock and roll songs in one with ”Bony Maronie At The Hop”.
courtesy Olaf Owre
The group comprised Gouldman and Cowap, again using Phil Dennys, Clem Cattini and John Paul Jones as session men. Produced by Mike Collier the single was released on UK Parlophone/EMI in January 1967. It was a fantastic record packed with energy, but rather unfashionable at a time when when the hippie fad was coming in big.
Gouldman and Cowap shared the lead vocal work on the recording. The B-side, credited to Plonk, was a sort of tribute to the new influences from other parts of the world entering rock music at the time. Sadly the single went absolutely nowhere, and copies are now very hard to find.