Carol and the Memories

(cont.)
   

I asked Carol for some further information on her early career and this is what she has added:

HERE GOES,

Carol LoftusOne of my most abiding memories as a young girl singing with bands back in the Sixties was the big brother attitude of the lads. They tended to watch you like a hawk, and so, more often than not, you ended up with one of them as your boyfriend.

When playing the clubs (especially in town) there was always a clutch of young girls around the front of the stage making eyes at the band and totally ignoring ole me – and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, I felt very safe.

There was an incident while playing in Germany. If you remember I told you earlier about how the GI’s sat in separate groups. Well, we were all sat one night having a drink when this black guy came over to our table. He spoke to one of the lads in the band who then spoke to the friends sitting on our table. The next thing I knew was that I was told to stay put. Everyone else got up and went outside. Ten minutes later they came back. There had obviously been a fight and when I finally got it out of them, they told me that the black G.I. had offered $200 for me. I was glad my surrogate brothers were there that night.

I never had any problems with the band, except for rehearsals. It has always been my weak spot. Still, I hate going over and over the same thing, but it’s an occupational hazard and you just have to get on with it.

Another thing: any hope of a social life outside the band is pretty much impossible. It takes over your life so that any friends you tend to make are musicians. So it ends up being a very exciting but vicious circle. Most of my friends ended up being blokes and to this day I find it very difficult to make conversation with women. I would much rather talk football than babies or clothes. Mind you, back in the Sixties clothes were not really a problem as I lived in jeans, which was lucky for me as they were our stage gear as well. So I had no problems about getting changed in private, like other female singers.

My Mum and Dad despaired of me, but I must add that I was not a wild child. Most definitely not!

I must tell you, though, of one occasion while promoting the record. We were all playing at the Imperial Ballroom in Burnley. We were on the same bill as a band called the Overlanders (you may remember them for their recording of the Beatles number ‘Michelle.’) The stage was a revolving one and we were setting up at the back while the Overlanders were singing at the front. I was asked to plug an amp in and in doing so I unplugged them. I was mortified as all their guitars went dead. How I got away with it I’ll never know, but I did. In fact, one of them even wanted to take me out and, yes, you’ve guessed it, my guards appeared again!

All of this was a far cry from the way I started singing with bands. I was fifteen, I think, and my Dad took me to his local club to meet two of his work mates – Eddie Robotham, who played a bit of lead and Reg Scarisbrick, who played rhythm. They were well into country music and before I knew it, well…bring on Patsy Cline!

Carol LoftusWe actually went out on bookings with one Vox amp, a Reslo mic and two Eko guitars (Imagine that today). Believe it or not we worked for two years with the Mike Hughes Agency like that – and we were very successful playing clubs such as the Black Cat in London Road and Ossie Wade’s, by Everton’s ground - even the Bobbins in Garston.

I think our songs then all seemed to be about dying or leaving or orphans. Country Music was a lot like that in the Sixties.

As for the Memories, I often think about them, especially now as things seem to be picking up again. It would be great to talk about old times, how we argued with our recording manager at CBS about which song should be the ‘A’ side. I preferred ‘Crying My Eyes Out’, but for commercial reasons I believe they stuck to ‘Tears On My Pillow.’

Mind you, I managed to fulfil one of my ambitions by singing with a full orchestra. It was a fabulous experience and one I will never forget. I am proud to say I have even got a brick on the Cavern wall that proves that I have done all this.

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