EURO TOURING, BBC TV and END OF THE FIRST LINE-UP
We record our fist and only single 'Back Track' in September '75, it is never released. We are in a strange place, audiences like us a lot, but record companies have no idea what to do with us. We're female but not as they know it or want it.
A tour of France, Luxembourg and Belgium is like something from Smiley's people. Crossing the borders of these countries so many times, we run out of carnet forms, as we have to hand one in every time, or our equipment will be impounded. A guy from the booking agency with local knowledge knows which frontier posts are only manned intermittently, goes ahead to check them out, then gives us a sign if it's safe to cross. If only we had something to smuggle we could have made some good money on this tour. The highlight was supporting The Scorpions in Liege (we played with them at the Marquee too).
We were not happy to be told we’re to be on 'It's Cliff and Friends' but there’s no way out. We're going to play 'Love The One You're With' and later in the show join with Cliff for 'Sweet Little Sixteen'. He came to rehearse with us and was very courteous and friendly, but not convinced that we could correctly count the bars of the intro and insisted upon waving his arm at us so we'd know when to start!
On the day of the recording he came to the make-up room to chat and wish us luck, as he left, the make-up lady said to me 'It's time to get into your stage gear.' 'I'm in it.' I replied. 'Oh.' The idea that I would consider appearing on TV wearing a pair of patched Levis was incomprehensible. The green lipstick and maroon eye shadow I was using drove her crazy. She did something very strange to Audrey's hair, which made her almost unrecognisable. The sight of Cliff singing and dancing in front of me is probably something I will never forget. One of the strangest things in a long list of strange things we were involved in.
A few months after our Scandinavian tour (see Lesley's piece in More Gigs...) we are to invade Finland. We fly to Helsinki, are given a rose each at the airport and do a press conference. We've hit the big time! There are many gigs and lots of travelling, some by rail in our own 1920s carriage hitched onto the back of a train. We have bunk beds, kitchen, sitting room and are parked in sidings at night. It's midsummer when the sun never sets - a truly beautiful sight. There are several outdoor gigs, where huge audiences seem to appear from nowhere. As we drive along the Russian border, we pass many signs saying no stopping and no photographs, while we are stationary, taking some photos of Russian peasants working in the fields, next to a watchtower, an old guy in uniform on a bicycle comes up to us, tells us to stop and tries to take Jackie's camera, she convinces him there is no film in it and off he pedals. The day before we fly home, we are taken to a studio to record a jingle for Lee Cooper jeans - 'feel super in Lee Cooper' I don't think any of us are feeling particularly super. Managerial problems and frustration from the endless gigging with no way or sign of improving our situation financially or creatively is taking its toll. Lesley leaves, to join The Daughters of Zeuss.
Audrey and Jackie B on 'It's Cliff and Friends'
The gig in Wandsworth Prison is fantastic, what an appreciative and captive audience they are and when Lesley is half way through her introduction to our cover of the Santana number 'Evil Ways', we all crack up. None of us had considered the significance of the title and it's opening line 'you gotta stop your evil ways. The inmates found it hilarious.