Friday, 6 May 2011

Fox news

As Fox's S-S-S-Single Bed was the widespread breakout hit of repeat number one (and is on again next week, and it definitely will be with the unedited repeats) we were interested to see the story of former member Herbie Armstrong on Britain's Got Talent this week. Herbie, having done the requisite heart melting of Amanda Holden and got through to the final stages, was outed by the papers (by the way, Sun, "despite saying he had "never broken through as the front man", only last year Herbie released his own solo album". Yeah, and did he break through with it? Well, no, given he was selling it himself). According to the Sun, "Several of his previous telly appearances, on TOTP with both his old bands, are available on YouTube. A young Herbie is clearly visible playing guitar."

On YouTube? How quickly they overlook a rerun when it's no longer Trending Topic enough.

Summarily, Steve Williams points us at Armstrong's following band Yellow Dog's sole TOTP appearance, from February 1978, an appearance giving us plenty to admire even if they are clearly The Jags before their time. Flying goggles and shades were clearly someone's idea of the fashion zeitgeist, and keep on for the bit of fadeout-related comedy crosstalk at the end:

Now, according to that Sun article screengrab Herbie is the central guitarist in that clip, wearing a customised T-shirt of his own band, or if you like the acoustic guitar playing one behind Noosha here. If someone could then point out to us which one in both clips is founder of both bands Kenny Young we'd be grateful because there doesn't seem to be much overlap between what the members look like, Herbie aside, and it's not helping that yet another guitarist, Jim Gannon, and bassist Gary Taylor were also in both.


Arthur Nibble said...

Sorry, I don't mean to keep clogging up this website, other people should have a go.

Anyway, I think Kenny Young is probably the singer in Yellow Dog. My reasoning is that Kenny was more of a songwriter / backroom member of Fox, but the singer in Yellow Dog is clearly visible with a luxuriant hairstyle on the cover of the sleeve of 'S-S-S-Single Bed' yet he never appears on ToTP promoting the song. Check the similar labour-of-love-but-work-of-art Chart Stats website to see what I mean.

OldApplejack said...

I agree with Arthur - I think Kenny is singing in that Yellow Dog clip - check out the pic on his Wikipedia page - but he's not in the Fox TOTP appearances.

I like watching Herbie in those TOTP clips with Fox. He just looks so happy to be there!

wilberforce said...

i'm not surprised that fox with "s-s-s-single bed" has become the main point of interest in these old TOTP's - it's by some distance the best thing that's appeared "live" so far.

i must have watched the second (black dress) appearance at least 10 times on video so far! the funny thing is that i'm not so much interested in noosha as the band... or to
be more specific (perhaps because of their vocal contributions in the chorus) the geeky-but-clean-cut guitarist (is that kenny young? if not then who is he?), and the ever-so-slightly cool and laid back bassist...

i remember the track of course, but never realised quite how funky it was - i have listened to the original record on youtube, but the TOTP version actually sounds better! (maybe it's because of the tinny speakers in my laptop ha ha) - anyway it's now definitely on my "must get" list...

regarding herbie armstrong: i'm sure he made a substantial contribution to the recording, but it looks like he's just a mate of the band who was invited to go on TOTP for a laugh (in a faces/peel scenario)... as such he's mugging away with a maniacal grin that looks like he can't decide if he's grateful or embarrassed, whilst hacking away on an acoustic guitar in the vain hope of making it sound audible (btw, how did they deal with extraneous noise from acoustic instruments whilst the performers mimed? were they instructed to pretend to play them? i know they used to put pads on the drums to muffle them, but even so there must have been some overspill... i remember one hilarious occasion when rat scabies of the damned was holding one such pad in his mouth, which must have annoyed the producers ha ha!)

anyway, it is interesting to see that herbie has decided to re-ignite his musical career just as one of his old bands are taking off again - is that coincidence or not...?

btw, kenny and herbie's next project yellow dog appeared on TOTP more than once if this is anything to go by:

i love the cod-shadows routine, and herbie's got himself a cool haircut too!

Simon said...

According to Wikipedia, the official Fox line-up:

Noosha Fox (vocals)
Kenny Young (guitar, vocals)
Herbie Armstrong (guitar, vocals)
Jim Gannon (lead guitar, vocals)
Pete Solley (keyboards, vocals)
Mike Lavender (accordion, electric piano)
Gary Taylor (bass, vocals)
Jim Frank (drums, percussion, vocals)

Can't imagine Mike Lavender was working that day either with that specific a role. Moreover, that'll be Jim Gannon on talkbox, and he went on to Yellow Dog too, it says here. (He'd previously been in Black Widow who played the famous Isle Of Wight festivals and later worked with Alice Cooper and was last seen managing Port Vale, unless that's another one)

Arthur Nibble said...

Kenny Young is definitely the singer in Yellow Dog, and I’ve discovered a clip on YouTube of Fox performing "Only You Can" on ToTP with Kenny (sky blue T-shirt) on guitar, backing vocals and luxuriant hair.

Can't believe Kenny decided to take over lead vocals for half of Fox's second album, thereby wiping out the band's ‘unique selling point’.

seekenee said...

I heard Herbie being interviewed on John Murray’s morning radio show on RTE (Ireland).
What caught my ear was a snippet they played of one of his old records – I thought, that sounds like Fox, (it was prob the hit before s-s-s single bed), all I know of Fox is what I’ve seen on TOTP last month (I didn’t watch TOTP till 78) – so I’m wildly guessing this is a guy from Fox and  listening to his cheery speech, I guess that it’s the smiley delighted chap playing acoustic guitar.
He was discussing the new Talent thingy and Yellow Dog and his work with Van Morrison were mentioned. (it’s prob on a podcast if anyone’s interested). 
Later on I google his name, get a few 2011 images and sure enough it’s the smiley guy on acoustic.  So I Wikipedia Fox and get more detail on the lineup and scratch my head trying to place Kenny Young in the TOTP line up (the chap with the voice box wrote Under The Boardwalk in the 60s?? nah).
Isn’t it great that there are still some mysteries that can’t be solved in a click? 
Great blog by the way. C
(wrote this couple weeks back late to post sorry)

Icthus Saltsa said...

Found your blog while researching Kenny Young. I have Yellow Dogs eponymous album from 1977, which is pretty straight compared to Fox and the later "Beware of the dog"/"One more night" stuff. There's a pic on the back of Kenny and Herbie. I can scan and post if anyone's interested.