The Measles

Original line-up:

Stan ”Red” Hoffman
(real name - Stan Dulson)
lead vocals/harmonica

Dave Earl
(real name - Dave Barrow)
bass guitar/vocals

Wyn Davis
(real name - Graham Hopkins)
guitar/vocals

Ray Mondell
(real name - Ray Ward)
drums

Jomo Smith
(real name - Dave Smith)
lead guitar/vocals

 

Formed in Manchester in 1964 The Measles were a raw-sounding beat group led by singer Stan Hoffman. His real name was Stan Dulson, but he soon adopted the stage name of Stan Hoffman, and the ”Red” moniker was bestowed upon him by fans because of his hair colour! In addition to lead vocalist Hoffman the group had Dave Earl on bass, Wyn Davis on rhythm guitar, Ray Mondell on drums, and Jomo Smith on lead guitar.

They landed a recording deal with Columbia/EMI and their debut single was released on March 18th. 1965. Produced by Mickie Most, ”Casting My Spell On You” was an up-tempo R & B number written by the Brothers Johnson, Edwin and Alvin. The song had also been covered by Johnny Otis in 1959. The flip, ”Bye Birdie Fly”, was quite similar in style – a harmonica-led number co-penned by manager Tony Stuart and Stan Hoffman. Both sides of the single proved that not only was Hoffman a good singer but also an excellent harpist. The record company filmed a promo for the single on the South Bank in London with The Measles miming to their recording of ”Casting My Spell On You”. The film was shown on nationwide TV in America in an episode of ”Where The Action Is” in 1965.

According to Hoffman The Measles had a deal with Epic Records for the American market, but the single went absolutely nowhere over there. It is a possiblity that only a limited quantity of radio station promos were pressed up, and that regular stock copies never even reached the shops because of lukewarm reception from DJs. However, a group called The Talismen did have a version of ”Casting My Spell On You” out in the US at around the same time on the small American Arts label (AA-22), also released in the UK on Stateside/EMI (SS 408). The Talismen’s recording featured Jimmy Page on guitar, and it is rumoured that another famous session man, Big Jim Sullivan, played guitar on The Measles’ recording. What a coincidence that two obscure recordings of the same song could feature two of the most respected session guitarists of the decade!

”Casting My Spell On You” was undoubtedly a musically very solid debut single for The Measles, yet it failed to impress the record buying public.

The follow-up came in August 1965 with the medium-paced ”Night People” sung by rhythm guitarist Wyn Davis. A catchy and melodic number with a deep, unstrained lead vocal and a background humming giving enhanced effect. The B-side, ”Dog Rough Dan”, was co-written by Stan Hoffman, Country Gents guitarist Peter Cowap, and Harvey Lisberg of Kennedy Street Enterprises. Cowap played guitar on the recording, which sounded like an old Irish drinking song given a beat treatment!

Obviously done very much tongue-in-cheek like the version of ”Popeye The Sailor Man” they had incorporated in their live repertoire at the time. After their first two singles had both failed to register The Measles rushed out a version of the Mann-Weill written ”Kicks” in April 1966 in competition with US band Paul Revere & The Raiders.

It was obviously an attempt at a poppier, more commercial style for The Measles, whose rendition of ”Kicks” was quite similar to that of Paul Revere & The Raiders. The B-side, ”No Baby At All”, penned by Carter-Lewis was also a very appealing number, but sales were low and the single failed to give The Measles a much desired breakthrough.

In America Paul Revere & The Raiders got to No. 4 in the charts with ”Kicks”, and the song was actually revived by Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees twenty years later on the group’s ”Then & Now – The Best Of The Monkees” album (Arista ALS-8432) released 1986.

Peter Cowap came up with the A-side for The Measles’ fourth, and what was to be their last single on Columbia, ”Walkin’ In”, released on October 21st. 1966.

It was a cleverly constructed pop tune with some great, dexterous guitar work done by Cowap, and a very catchy chorus sounding oddly like Herman’s Hermits! ”Looking For Love” on the B-side was another medium-tempo number with a more pompous arrangement, building well, again with a lead vocal by Wyn Davis and a lot of work laid down on the harmony vocals. A fine production job by Mike Collier, who replaced Mickie Most behind the controls on this single.

But even though ”Walkin’ In” screamed out as a big commercial success, the single didn’t sell and marked the end for the group as a recording act.

However, the group continued to play as The Measles with a few changes in the line-up until mid-1968. Ray Mondell behind the drums quit and was replaced by Drachen Theaker towards the end of 1967.

Stan Hoffman also defected (see The Bujjies) and Paul Young from The Toggery Five/Paul Young’s Toggery took over on lead vocals.

Drummer Drachen Theaker had previously participated in the filming of The Measles’ ”Casting My Spell On You” television promo in London back in 1965, but didn’t last long as a permanent member.

He went on to join The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown who hit big with ”Fire” at the time. Leo Laherty of The Country Gents came in on drums.

Original rhythm guitarist Graham Hopkins, better known as Wyn Davis, left to join The Bujjies and was replaced by Barry ”Taz” Reynolds from Kearsley, Manchester.


photo courtesy Olaf Owre

Beatles at the Oasis Club, Manchester
MEN Dec 10th, 1965



This excellent promotional flyer is kindly provided by Tracks Ltd - the world’s market leader in Beatles autographs and rock ‘n roll memorabilia.

This item is for sale - contact jason@tracks.co.uk


Measles line-up with Leo Laherty on drums

The ”new-look” Measles played a lot on the German club circuit and also visited Denmark in 1968, where they played Copenhagen’s Karusell club and other venues. The group didn’t stay together that long, though, and by mid-1968 the members all went their separate ways.

For some of them the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music scene would prove far more successful than the 60’s scene in Manchester. For more details see line-up information below.



Line-ups:

The Measles (#1) 1964-early 1967

         
Stan Red Hoffman Dave Earl Barrow Wyn Davis Jomo Smith Ray Mondell
lead vocals/harmonica bass guitar/vocals guitar/vocals lead guitar/vocals drums
         
L to R back row : Mondell - Hoffman
front row : Smith - Davis - Earl
L to R : Davis - Earl - Mondell - Smith - Hoffman

photos courtesy Brian Stevenson - taken at Oasis Club, Manchester

 


The Measles (#2) early 1967-late 1967

         
Stan Red Hoffman Dave Earl Barrow Wyn Davis Jomo Smith Drachen Theaker
lead vocals/harmonica bass guitar/vocals guitar/vocals lead guitar/vocals drums
     
The Bujjies (68-69)
The Attic (69-70)
Dougie James Soul Train (70s-to present)
Victor Brox (70s-to present)
      The Crazy World Of
Arthur Brown (68)
Love (69)
Warren Zevon (69-70)
Kim Fowley sessions (71)
Arthur Brown (74-89)
Michael Moorcock &
Deep Fix (82)
High Tide (90-91)
Died of a brain tumor
in 1992.



The Measles (#3) late 1967-early 1968

Johnny Dark & The
Midnights (61-62)
Paul Fenda & The Teenbeats (62)
Paul Fender & The Tigers (63-64)
The Toggery Five (64-66)
The Toggery Soul Band (66)
Paul Young’s Toggery (66-67)
Electric Circus (67)

Paul Young solo (67)
      Little Frankie & The
Country Gents (63-67)

Paul Young Dave Earl Barrow Wyn Davis Jomo Smith Leo Laherty
lead vocals bass guitar/vocals guitar/vocals lead guitar/vocals drums
       
    The Bujjies (68-69)
Gary Wright session (88)
Michael Thompson Band (89)
   
         

 


 

The Measles (#4)
early 1968-mid 1968

Paul Young, Leo Laherty, Dave "Jomo" Smith, Barry "Taz" Reynolds and Dave Barrow.
Photo courtesy of Jason Young

(click on image for larger picture)

         
         
Paul Young Dave Barrow Barry "Taz" Reynolds Jomo Smith Leo Laherty
lead vocals bass guitar/vocals guitar/vocals lead guitar/vocals drums


Paul Young solo (68)
The Young Brothers (68-69)
Young & Renshaw (70-73)
Paul Young solo (73-75)
Paul Young’s Paradox (73-76)
Mandalaband (75-77)
Gyro (76-77)
Sad Café (77-89)
Devaney Young (84)
Claire Moore & Paul Young (87)
Mike & The Mechanics (85-00)
Died of a heart attack July 15, 2000



Shane Fenton band (68-70)
Alvin Stardust band=Alvin’s Heartbeats (73-76)
Marty Wilde touring band (70s)
Herman’s Hermits (80-82)
Mindbenders (85-88)
Pete MacLaine band
(80s-to present)

Pacific Drift (69-70)
Blodwyn Pig/Jack Lancaster (70)
Barry Reynolds solo (73-82)
Sessions/co-writer for:
Marianne Faithfull (79-99)
Island Record’s in-house band at Compass Point, sessions for:
Grace Jones (80-84)
Black Uhuru (80-83)
Joe Cocker (82)
Valerie Lagrange (83-85)
Cristina (84)
John Martyn (84)
Sly & Robbie (85)
Tim Buckley (92)
Toots & The Maytals (96)
Charlelie Couture (98)
Baaba Maal (98)


Shane Fenton band (68-70)
Cabaret work
(70s-to present)
Country Gents and others re-union shows (90s)


Discography:
Click on link/disc for larger image

UK SINGLES:

Casting My Spell On You” (Edwin Johnson-Alvin Johnson)/”Bye Birdie Fly” (Stuart-Hoffman) Columbia DB 7531 3/1965
   
Night People” (Cooper-Spencer-D’Errico-Rabbitt)/”Dog Rough Dan” (Cowap-Hoffman-Lisberg) Columbia DB 7673 8/1965
   
Kicks” (Mann-Weill)/”No Baby At All” (Carter-Lewis) Columbia DB 7875 4/1966
   
Walkin’ In” (Peter Cowap)/”Looking For Love” (Carl D’Errico-Helen Kelly) Columbia DB 8029 10/1966


UK LP:

LP: Various artists: “Scene ’65” Columbia 33SX 1730 1965
Contains 12 songs including “Casting My Spell On You” (Edwin Johnson-Alvin Johnson) by The Measles. Other artists featured on the album are The Animals, The Yardbirds, Alexis Corner’s Blues Incorporated, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Bo Street Runners, The Fairies, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, The Mickey Finn, The Zephyrs and The Downliners Sect.


BOOTLEG LP:

Various artists: “Hide ’n’ Seek Again – 16 Long Lost Beat & Garage Jewels 1964-1967” Moms Records DREAD 002 (no country of origin given, label says BIEM/NCB indicating France/Scandinavia, but not necessarily correct) 1996
Contains 16 tracks including “Casting My Spell On You” (Edwin Johnson-Alvin Johnson) by The Measles. Other artists featured on the album are Los Jockers, Wayne Gibson & Dynamics, Barbarians, Los Brincos, Palmes, Southern Gentlemen, E.B. & The Animals, I Rolls 33, News, Toppers, Adam Sailor, King Bees, Gesine Darieux & Chosen Few, Bootjacks and Monks.

Hungarian CD:

Various artists: “Rare 60’s Beat Treasures - Vol.4” Hungarian Gone Beat BT-CD 77013 1995
Contains 26 tracks including The Measles’ “Casting My Spell On You” (Edwin Johnson-Alvin Johnson) and ”Bye Birdie Fly” (Stuart-Hoffman).

Memories

"Whilst other groups played R & B or Soul, the Measles always played pop hits (and very good at it, they were). I recall them playing several Beatles songs (Help, Tell me what you see), Stones (Satisfaction), older rock & roll - Fats Domono (Let the four winds blow), plus oddities like 'Popeye' and Dave Earl singing 'A four legged friend' (Roy Rogers, I think!).

All the times I saw them, they never played 'Castin' my spell', although they played 'Night people' regularly and even 'Dog rough dan'.

One night at the Oasis, the owner, a man called Tony, who also owned the Warmingham Country Club (between Middlewich, Sandbach and Crewe), where the Measles also played, announced that the group were keen to branch out into 'cabaret'. As a result, Red Hoffman donned a flat cap and scarf and miming to a stingless mandolin whilst Jomo Smith played high up the guitar neck, he sang George Formbys 'Leaning on a lamppost'!!! "
Brian Stevenson

Used to wish I could play bass like Dave Barrow - still do!
Diccon Hubbard

First saw Stan singing "I'm leaning on a lampost" George formby style. He sang it with a small uke on his knee. Stayed till two, then drove to Blackpool on my scooter.

Mickey Rooney

Going to the Oasis with girlfriend Kathy, we  used to love Wyndham Davis singing a solo feature called Funeral of the Dead, great ballad used to stop the show, they were a truly great Manchester band.

Billy Masterson
10/3/09

Ray Mondell is my uncle, unfortunately he died around 7 years ago very suddenly :(

To the day he died he loved the drums and was amazing at it!! Just incase anyone wonders what happened to them, that's a little update. Take care all.

Joanne M
1/6/11

My dad was Wyndham Davis, real name Graham Hopkin, of the Measles. Unfortunately we lost him to cancer un expectantly in 2007.

Although he didn't continue his musical career he never put down his guitar and I have the most fabulous memories of him playing guitar and singing to myself and my sister when we were young. We miss him terribly and have finally managed to obtain all 4 singles but had to import them from America which he would have found amusing.

"Fireblade Dave"
17/11/11


Just talking about Uncle Graham with my sister today - what a surprise to see a website and my cousin writing comments on it. We remember Graham singing and how cool it was to say that my uncle was in a pop group! His brother Peter was mine and my sister Jane's brother.

Susan Alexander (nee Hopkin)
20/6/12

 


My sincere thanks to Stan Hoffman, Pete Cowap, Leo Laherty, Dave Barrow, Alan Doyle and Jason Young for information and inspiration to write this article.


Compiled by Olaf Owre
2003

 




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