Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Elgins in Basingstoke

Northern soul ventured south tonight with legendary Motown group the Elgins performing at the Academy, a club usually dominated by snooker and pool, in the outskirts of Basingstoke. Just how much resemblance the group bore to the real Elgins is debatable, as the only one with any claim to membership was Yvonne Vernee Allen (pictured above), who joined after original lead singer Saundra Edwards left in 1968, and this was some time after their classic Motown sides were recorded. Yvonne had earlier recorded a solo soul number called Just Like You Did Me which is worth a listen (see Youtube clip below).
Despite the handicaps of playing to a backing tape and suffering from a cold, Yvonne showed that she has a strong voice. They began with Stay In My Arms (B side of Heaven Must Have Sent You) and followed up with a number which I didn't recognise (possibly Real Love?). Fellow 'Elgins' - Tony and Jackie - tried hard to provide support and Tony then performed rather uninspired versions of In The Midnight Hour and Mr Pitiful before Yvonne finished off with the group's big hits Put Yourself In My Place and Heaven Must Have Sent You. Partway through the set former Wigan Casino and Blackpool Tower DJ Ken Edwards came on stage to pay tribute to Frank Wilson, who died the other day.
This was one of the shortest sets I've seen and not one of the more impressive ones, but it was good to see Yvonne and hear some great soul records being played by DJs doing a 60s Ricky-Tick club (in Windsor) revival set. And I learned something - apparently Elgins is pronounced with a soft, rather than a hard G - unlike the Scottish city.


At 11:36 pm , Blogger john marriott said...

Learned how to say the groups name correctly when saw them with Yvonne in '72 in Doncaster promoting the reissue of "Heaven etc. Also the names is from the famous US watch company Elgin Watches (or not so famous if you've not heard on it).
Spent the last 40 years correcting everyone who mispronounces the name.


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