Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Indian Summer - Coventry band

Indian Summer circa 1968-72

Progressive band.


Malcom Harker - bass, vibes
Paul Hooper - drums
Bob Jackson - organ, lead vocals
Colin Williams - guitar, vocals

Early band members included: Al Hatton (bass), Steve Cottrel (guitar), Malc Harker (drums), Roy Butterfield guitar.


Indian Summer - Full Album 1971

Peter Clemons treats us to the first of two articles top 70's Coventry Prog-rock band Indian Summer, published in the Coventry Telegraph.

Keyboard player Bob Jackson went on to play with a range of top artists and bands including John Entwhistle's Ro Ro and then Ross, Pete Brown's Piblokto, Badfinger, Dodgers and more recently The Fortunes. 

Part One

Music Success Dried up Too Quickly for Indian Summer

Pete Clemons 

Part 1 

IT is roundly acknowledged that the 1960s and 1970s produced a wealth of amazing music.
It is also agreed that, as well as the obvious talent, there was a lot of luck attached to those bands that reached greatness.

Sadly though there were an awful lot of bands whose music, although just as good - if not better - simply flew under the radar.

For whatever reason lady luck was just not on their side.

One of those bands that I feel never got the recognition they deserved were Coventry's 'Indian Summer'.

The roots of Indian Summer can be traced to the mid-1960s when, as teenagers Bob Jackson and Paul Hooper were members of bands like 'This That and the Other' and 'The Rochester Beaks'.

It was all very youth club stuff but even back then both Paul and Bob knew that they were determined to put something good together musically and that they had ambitions.

The two then became involved with friends who were playing in bands like The Perfumed Garden (1966/67) and the Acme Patent Electric Band (1967/68) where Bob ended up played bass.

Both bands were more than competent and covered everything from Stax to Tamla Motown although the Acme band would become renowned for stretching themselves by playing more progressive art-house material and utilising stage props for dramatic effect.

The band was really the mastermind of one Malcolm Harker, student at the Lanchester Polytechnic and multi-instrumentalist. Indian Summer was formed during late 1968 by Bob and Paul. Bob had by now realised his main goal at the time and he had bought himself a Hammond organ. 

This was an impressive bit of kit to own and involved a lot of self sacrifice and saving hard which meant Bob walked everywhere rather than pay for bus fares.

To show support and solidarity Paul often walked with him. The day finally arrived when Bob took ownership of his Hammond. This was the point where Bob and Paul, on drums, could put together their long planned for band and set about recruiting the other members.

Completing the line-up was bass player Alan Hatton and guitarist Roy Butterfield who had effectively been head hunted mainly through his excellent abilities and partly through his image.

Initially Indian Summer played covers which included playing the music of Jimmy Smith, Jimi Hendrix, Blood Sweat and Tears, early Arthur Brown and even Frank Zappa, but more and more the band developed their own songwriting abilities.

They rehearsed hard at venues such as the Antelope club and began to start playing many local gigs which they often got for themselves or via local agencies such as Friars Promotions.

Word about the band was spreading and gigs were forthcoming including several at Hotel Leofric. To transport equipment the band managed to get a Black Mariah van which, in itself, caused issues with the police, who often stopped the van being confused as to who was using it and for what.

Then, just as it was all getting serious with things looking good and taking off, Roy Butterfield suddenly and surprisingly left.

Local blues guitarist Steve Cottrel, from the band 'South Side Loop', was drafted in to take over lead guitar duties.

It was at this point that the band began to branch out further afield and started to secure gigs in and around Birmingham. It was during this period that they came to the attention of jazz musician, promoter, manager Jim Simpson, who was gaining a reputation for getting behind Birmingham bands such as 'Bakerloo Blues Band', and a band called 'Earth'.

Jim ran a production company called 'Big Bear Records' and he was interested in getting a deal for Indian Summer who were steadily gaining a good reputation.

In fact while supporting Fleetwood Mac at the Swan at Yardley bass player John McVie was so impressed that he asked the band to send him a tape. Thinking he was only patronising them they foolishly ignored his request.

It was while playing Henry's Blues house on the corner of Hill Street and Station Street in

Birmingham, a music club run by Jim Simpson, that they came to the attention of Olav Wyper who had founded the successful record label Vertigo for the Philips record company and who had signed Black Sabbath, another band from Jim Simpson's stable. 

Jim Simpson had recommended Indian Summer to Olav Wyper who, at the time, had not long been employed by RCA to head its progressive Neon Records label.

Most record labels back then had a progressive label. EMI for example famously had the Harvest label.

The interest was there and tough decisions needed to be made over commitment and ability. As a result Alan Hatton left the band as he felt he should adhere to his career as a computer programmer. At this juncture Paul and Bob left their respective 9-5 jobs to become professional musicians. Engineering student Malcolm Harker, who had been known to Bob and Paul since the days of the Acme Patent Electric Band and The Perfumed Garden, was drafted in on bass.

From when he joined though Malcolm knew that he could only commit for a limited time and would be leaving the band within 18 months in order to take over his father's engineering company in Stockton on Tees.

He was a forthright character with business acumen and used this skill to promote and get gigs for the band. No sooner had Malcolm joined when Steve Cottrel, out of sympathy for Alan's departure, also decided to go. This resulted in guitarist Colin Williams being asked to join.

Colin had come with a reputation for being a fast playing guitarist with an impressive technique and had been a member of local band 'From the Sun'.

The 'classic' line-up was now complete.

Next week: The release of Indian Summer's album and the key management decision involving Black Sabbath which hit their career. 


                      PART TWO by PETE CLEMONS 

Seasons in the Sun -Part Two - Pete Clemons

BEFORE long enough original material, and more, had been written for an album with everyone contributing.

This new line-up rehearsed at the Lanchester Polytechnic music room and Olav Wyper came back and signed them teaming them up with producer Rodger Bain. All the songs were 'auditioned' for Roger at T+G Union building that can be seen at the ring road end of London Road. Meanwhile the band was travelling all over the country doing gigs and now promoting their self penned material.

The music largely evolved from Bob's compositions written on keyboard, although all members contributed and collaborated on the song writing and composing. The sound revolved around Bob's Hammond organ and Colin's fluid guitar style, which had more jazzy/classical leanings than typical rock licks. Arrangements allow for intricate changes of pace from driving rhythms to pastoral pieces. Bob's distinctive lead vocals dominate throughout as the compositions develop from one melodic section to another. Interesting and often subtle use of time signatures create inventive passages of music and have lead many to compare Indian Summer with other prog rock acts of that era such as King Crimson, Caravan, and Colosseum.

Through their associations with Jim Simpson and Rodger Bain the band got to know the

members of Birmingham band 'Earth'. Rodger went on to produce Earth's first album, soon after they changed their name to 'Black Sabbath'. It came to the attention of Bob and Paul that Sabbath were in the process of leaving Jim Simpson's management to join Don Arden.

Don was renowned for his 'tough' and demanding style of management and when the band asked why Black Sabbath were leaving Jim Simpson 'Ozzy' Osbourne told them that 20 per cent of lots of the money that Don could make them was way better than 90 per cent of the nothing that Jim would probably get them. True, as it transpired.

At the same time that the RCA Neon deal was on the table ready to be signed, Colin Williams had sent tapes to Island record subsidiary label Chrysalis who, after hearing them, also offered the band a brilliant deal. But in the end the band did the ethical thing and turned down Chrysalis out of loyalty to Jim Simpson and RCA. On such decisions careers are built or fail. At the time the band decided to stick with the same successfully proven team that made the first Black Sabbath LP and remained confident of success.

With the RCA deal signed Rodger Bain took the band to London's legendary Trident Studios to record their self titled debut album. It took several days to record with some of the sessions lasting well into the night that resulted in the band having to sleep rough at times.(i.e. in the van). However, the record was completed and 'Indian Summer' (catalogue number NE3) was released in early 1971.

The album was launched alongside another release by RCA band Fairweather who were lead by Andy Fairweather Low. It was received well and got very good reviews but despite the high profile promotion, regrettably failed to sell. The label itself never took off. It could be that Neon failed partly due to the fact that it was pushed as the "underground" label for students. Students, at that time, preferred to find things out for themselves rather than have things pushed on them. Indian Summer felt that the LP didn't really capture their raw and exciting sound they achieved at gigs and looked forward to addressing that when recording a follow-upbut they never got the chance.

However, following on from the LP release the band was asked to release a commercial single. A cover of 'Ride a Pony' by 'Free' was suggested by the record company but the band, naturally, wanted to see their own music released. They recorded the unreleased 'Walking on Water c/w Firewater.' But the single failed to see the light of day as RCA didn't get behind it.

Soon after the LP was released, and true to his word, Malcolm Harker left the band in order

to concentrate on the engineering business. Previously with The Sorrows, guitarist Wes Price came in to take over the promotional work, gigs and festivals that followed.

Still gigging but with no encouragement or plans from the record company to make another album and failing singles the band's days were numbered. A 10-12 date tour of Switzerland was arranged. Wes was going to Italy on a family holiday but was happy to drive from Italy to Switzerland in order to fulfil the tour. The rest of the band made their way overland from the UK, travelling in a hire van loaded with friends as extra road crew. It was a final party tour.

Despite the tour being a comparative success both Wes and Colin, for a variety of reasons, became disheartened after it was completed. With well paid gigs hard to come by and a non-supportive record company the momentum fell away. Making great music is a dream but a living still has to be made. So both Wes and Colin gave up professional music to work in the car industry. Bob and Paul were too disappointed to carry it on. Sadly that was the end for Indian Summer.

Ironically, the Indian Summer LP is now often held up as a fine example of the progressive rock genre by those who appreciate that kind of music, and is now highly regarded and prized as a collector's item.

Bob and Paul continued their dream with bands like The Dodgers. Bob, notably, spent some time as a member of hit record makers Badfinger.

They both eventually reunited with almost 20 years together in 'The Fortunes'.

Malcolm, apart from the engineering business, built his own studio in the north east where a then unknown Chris Rea would begin to realise his career by recording demos etc at Malcolm's place in the Cleveland Hills. Malcolm would later emigrate to the USA.

Alan Hatton is nowadays based in Canada while Colin Williams lives in Daventry.

Today Bob Jackson is still with Fortunes while Paul Hooper, although semi-retired and based in the north east, adds his percussion skills to the recently revitalised folk/rock band Prelude who are well worth checking out via respective websites: www.preludemusic.co.uk and www.thefortunes.co.uk


A third article by Pete Clemons on Indian Summer's New Album can be found here

From Coventry Evening Telegraph 1971

Trev Teasdel "Summer 1970, Indian summer played Pete Waterman's Walsgrave pub Progressive Music venue. I was doing the door for Pete and through bass player Malc Harker (who was soon to leave the band) booked them for the Coventry Arts Umbrella club. The Umbrella was only a small venue but the Friday night band sessions went on until about 2am. We were lucky to get them, the band were in big demand at that stage and not long afterwards made their first album for RCA Neon - still a classic on the Prog-rock scene after all this time."

The early version of Indian Summer with Paul Butterfield (far left) and Al Hatton 2nd left.

More on tracks on Youtube

The Complete List of Indian Summer Gigs from when Colin Williams Joined the Band in 1970 - Thanks Colin.

The list of Indian Summer gigs from when I joined the band.
1970. July.
11th, Colin Campbell, Coventry.
12th, Antelope Club. ~
17th, The Plough. ~
19th, Sportsmans Arms. ~
21st. Henry's Blues House, Birmingham.
7th, The Plough, Coventry.
16th, Antelope Club, ~
22nd, Colin Campbell, ~
23rd, Sportsmans Arms, ~
29th, Cathedral, Diggers Fest, ~
1st, Henry's Blues House, Birmingham
4th, The Woolpack, Rugby
5th, Kennedy house, Cathedral Gardens, Coventry.
11th, Umbrella Club, Coventry.
12th, The Woolpack, Rugby.
13th, Antelope Club, Coventry.
15th, The Walsgrave, ~
25th, Colin Campbell, ~
27th, Mothers, Birmingham.
2nd, Lanchester Poly, Coventry. ( support, "Free" ).
8th, U.M.I.S.T., Manchester. ( support, "Yes" ).
9th, The Plough, Coventry.
11th, Antelope Club, ~
13th, The Walsgrave, ~
14th, ? Brownhills.
17th, Breston Hall, Wakefield College, Wakefield.
22nd Bluecoates School, Coventry.
23rd, Dunsmore School, Rugby. ( With " Wandering John").
25th, Sportsmans Arms, Coventry.
3rd, Henry's Blues House, Birmingham.
10th The Walsgrave, Coventry.
18th, Foxford School, ~
27th, Aston University, Birmingham.
30th, The Swan, ~
3rd, The Mercers Arms, Coventry.
8th, The Swan, Birmingham.
12th, Tiffany's, Newcastle Under Lyme.
16th, Binley Park School, Coventry.
18th, T+G.W.U. Building. ~
22nd, The Walsgrave, ~
24th, The Mercers Arms, ~
1971. January.
3rd, Trident Studios, St. Anne's Court London. 10.00am - 9.00pm. Recording Album.
4th, ~ ~ ~ ~ 7.00pm - 10.00pm. ~ ~
6th, ~ ~ ~ ~ 6.00pm - 9.00pm. ~ ~
8th, ~ ~ ~ ~ 1.00am - 4.00am. ~ ~
8th, ~ ~ ~ ~ 4.00pm - 8.00pm. ~ ~
9th, ~ ~ ~ ~ Mixing and reduction process.
9th, Lanchester Poly, Coventry.
14th, Warwick University, ~
15th, Salford Tech', Manchester.
19th, Town Hall, West Brom'.
29th, Nicholas Chamberlain School, Bedworth.
3rd, Lanchester Poly, Arts Fest' Coventry.
9th, The Walsgrave, ~
11th, Bluecoats School, ~
17th, Imperial College, London. Launch of "Neon Label" and Press Reception.
18th, Kinetic Circus, Birmingham. (Support Johnny Winter)
25th, Town Hall, West Brom'.
28th, Lime- Light Club, Birmingham.
5th, Warwick University, Coventry.
8th, The Swan, Birmingham.
9th, The Walsgrave, Coventry.
10th, The New Inn, ~
11th Town Hall, Loughborough.
13th, Cheylesmore Community Centre, Coventry.
19th, Newport Institute, Newport.
20th, Social Centre, Macclesfield.
23rd, Big Bear Folly, Tamworth.
4th, The George, Burslem.
8th, Manor Park School, Nuneaton.
13th, Cosmo Ballroom, Carlisle.
16th, Plaza Ballroom, Cradley Heath.
18th, Henry's Blues House, Birmingham.
21st, Bumpers, London.
23rd, Town Hall, Penrith, Wales.
24th, Pagent Rooms, Penarth, Wales.
28th, Lanchester Poly', Coventry.
1st, Lady Mable College, Rotherham.
7th, Kinetic Circus, Birmingham.
8th, Festival, Lincoln Race Course.
16th, Kinetic Cellar, Chesford Grange, Nr' Kenilworth.
19th, Coppertops, Worcester.
23rd, U.M.I.S.T. Manchester.
29th, Tofts, Folkestone.
2nd, The Winning Post, Twickenham, Nr London.
2nd, The Guildhall, Portsmouth.
10th, Colin Campbell, Coventry.
1st, The Lyceum, London. Last gig in the U.K.

Mini Tour in Switzerland comprising of just 6 bookings. Left U.K. 25th August and returned 7th September.

From Rex Brough -
" A keyboard-driven progressive band. Formed in the summer of 1969, they toured the local

universities and colleges in their native Midlands before being spotted by manager Jim Simpsonwho also looked after Black Sabbath and Bakerloo amongst others. Olav Wyper signed the band after witnessing them go down a storm at Henry's Blues House in Birmingham. Teaming them with producer Rodger Bain, who'd produced Black Sabbath's self titled debut album, he put them into London's legendary Trident Studios to record their debut album. "Indian Summer" was released in early 1971 (NE3) though a proposed single "Walking On Water" failed to see the light of day. Immediately after the album's release, Harker left to take over his father's engineering firm (he currently lives in America). His replacement was Wez Price, ex-The Sorrows, who undertook the promotional duties required of the band, including dates in Switzerland. However, in early 1972 the band felt things weren't working and decided to call it a day.

Colin Williams retired totally from the music industry to take up employment in the motor industry.


From Indian Summer My Space
Indian Summer were formed in the summer of 1969 by keyboardist Bob Jackson,

guitarist/vocalist Colin Williams, drummer
Paul Hooper and bassist Malcolm Harker. Based in Coventry they toured the local universities and colleges in their native Midlands before being spotted by manager Jim Simpson who also looked after Black Sabbath and Bakerloo amongst others. In fact, they often filled in for Sabbath when they were too poor to be able to afford to get to the gigs they were booked to play! Ex-Vertigo Records manager Olav Wyper had been employed by RCA to head its progressive Neon Records label and, after a recommendation from Simpson, he signed the band after witnessing them go down a storm at Henry's Blues House in Birmingham. Teaming them with producer Rodger Bain, who'd produced Black Sabbath's self titled debut album, he put them into London's legendary Trident Studios to record their debut album.Indian Summerwas released in early 1971 (NE3) though a proposed single "Walking On Water" failed to see the light of day.

Immediately after the album's release, Harker left to take over his father's engineering firm (he currently lives in America). His replacement was Wez Price, ex-The Sorrows, who undertook the promotional duties required of the band, including dates in Switzerland. However, on returning from a gig in early 1972 with no money (and a bag of chips between them!) the band felt that something was wrong and decided to call it a day.
Colin Williams retired totally from the music industry to take up employment in the motor industry. Paul Hooper played in various Midlands based bands before teaming up with Bob Jackson in The Dodgers for 1978's Love On The Rebound album, and is currently a member of The Fortunes. After extracting himself from his contract with Jim Simpson, Bob Jackson teamed up with ex-John Entwhistle vocalist Alan Ross for two LPs and numerous tours. He then joined Moon on their Too Close For Comfort LP of 1976 before passing an audition for Badfinger who he stayed with for nearly three years. He then formed the Dodgers with Paul Hooper before joining ex-Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron for theOn The RocksLP. Since then he's played with the likes of The Motors, The Searchers, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown and still plays in local bands as well as teaching music.

Mark Brennan - Special thanks to Bob Jackson

Taken from the Repertoire reissue of Indian Summer, 1993, REP 4357-WP

Earlier Version of Indian Summer with Al Hatton and Roy Butterfield


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