From Bumblies To Cryin’ Shames

By George Robinson  

The Cryin' ShamesLater that same week Meek was at Nems offices with Eppy and telephoned us. He desperately wanted to work with Nems, but we were emphatic. Unfortunately, one of our members told them both to 'F-off'. Meek broke down and cried in front of the Nems staff. I know this was a fact and he never forgave me because he thought I was the instigator in the revolt. It was shortly after that he shot himself to death. Refusing to sign with Nems was probably our biggest mistake, and may possibly have contributed to Meek's depression.

Not signing with Nems had repercussions for us. The record suddenly stopped moving and TV appearances were cancelled. 

However, although our success only lasted months, it was a wonderful time.

The Scaffold made our clothes; they had a boutique (there's a Sixties word!) in Dale Street. They also did our hair at the same premises. We were actually featured on TV having our hair styled.

Lewis's department store had life sized photographs of all six of us in the windows right around the shop.

We were invited to parties with the big names in the pop world. We mixed socially with the Walker Brothers and we appeared in theatres with our idols. Roy Orbison and Martha & the Vandellas were just two of them.

Nights out were at the Scotch Of St James, the nightclub where all the stars went.

We did the Dick Clarke Show in the U.S.A. Dick preferred the B-side 'What's News Pussycat' and that was the side played on American TV. It was unreal!

All this happened over a period of a few months, and ended after a few hours.

When the second record missed the charts the Cryin' Shames were forgotten instantly.

I think it was all over for the Liverpool Sound then as well. New groups were appearing: I remember Eddie Cave & the Fix as one of the best.

John Repsch interviewed me, and others, in depth before he wrote the Joe Meek book, then proceeded to write anything that he wanted. I hated the constant reference to Meek's homosexuality in the book, as though that was all there was - Meek never ever bothered any of us, he just got on with the music.

I have written an article for the Joe Meek Appreciation Society and told them that none of the events referred to in the book, regarding the recording of 'Please Stay' were true.

It took a day to complete the recording. Joe Meek was easy to work with on the session: the difficulties did not arise till later.

Contrary to some reports Meek did not hold a gun to Charlie Crane's head, nor did he 'extract' a performance. Charlie could sing well enough without any 'pushing' from Meek.

The reason we changed the tempo on 'Please Stay' was simply this: in rehearsal I had learned the chords from the Zoot Money version of the song, then Charlie sang the words from a piece of paper, consequently we played slowly so that everyone could pick it up. We liked the sound when played at a slow tempo, and decided to keep it that way; it was very moving the way Charlie Crane sang it.

The main problem with Joe Meek, in my opinion, and at that time, was his inability to recognize other people's views. He realized too late that groups could write their own songs and put useful ideas into the production. Had he taken the Beatles on in the beginning, we probably would never have heard all those great songs. Everyone had to do things his way and record songs written by him or Goddard.

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