Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mel Waiters and Twinkle

I've read reports today that southern soul singer Mel Waiters has died aged 58. It seems hard to believe as when I saw him for the first (and only) time at the Crescent City Blues and BBQ Festival in New Orleans last year he seemed in the best of health and larger than life. Here's what I wrote at the time.
'Mel Waiters had a largely black female audience eating out of the palm of his hand as he swept onto the stage wearing a pink suit and showing what an excellent showman he is. Originally from San Antonio, he is a big name on the chitlin circuit and knows how to whip up some fervour with a non stop, risqué and often amusing set, backed by a lively band and two female backing singers. Numbers included many of his hits, such as The Smaller The Club The Bigger The Party, Pop It Baby, Got No Curfew (much enjoyed by the ladies in the audience), Got My Whisky, Hit It And Quit It and Hole In The Wall. He also paid tribute to two Bobby's who have passed away recently - Bobby Womack (That's The Way I Feel about You) and Bobby Bland (Members Only Tonight).'
I hope that the reports are not true, but if they are I am sorry that yet another soul man has passed on, and I'm glad that I got to see him at his peak.
The Vinyl Word also raises a glass to Twinkle (Ripley) who, as a 16 year old, had a big hit with the death
disc Terry and who epitomised the sixties dolly bird. The daughter of the leader of Surrey County Council, she briefly became a star when her then boyfriend Dec Cluskey of The Bachelors persuaded Decca to record her self penned tragic song. Big Jim Sullivan and Jimmy Page were among the session musicians. Follow up records, including Golden Lights and Poor Old Johnny, were less successful and she retired from the pop music business aged just 18. She recorded one more single Micky in 1969 and a couple of records under her full name, but after Terry Twinkle's sparkle gradually faded from view.  She may not have had a great voice, but Twinkle was one of the faces of the sixties and in many ways summed up the era.
A final word too for drummer Mac Poole, who played with the Tales From The Woods band at the Joe Meek show in April 2014. Mac apparently turned down the chance to play with Led Zeppelin but played with the Dangerfield Band, Warhorse and Gong, among others. Another sad loss.


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