The Steampacket

Steampacket/First R&B Festival

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The Roadrunners' earliest recorded output, You Can Make It If You Try and Mary Ann, comes from the First Annual R&B Festival at Birmingham Town Hall on February 28th, 1964. Organized by Georgio Gomelsky, this one-night festival featured Sonny Boy Williamson backed by the Yardbirds and supported by Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Blues Band, the Spencer Davis Rhythm & Blues Quartet, and, of course, the Roadrunners. The gig was recorded by Gomelsky, and this somewhat low-fidelity album has subsequently been released by Charly Records and on CD by Repertoire (Steampacket/First R&B Festival). Incidentally, Rod Stewart (then roadie for the Hoochie Coochie Men) also makes an early appearance on the album and the Roadrunners also appear as part of the "All Star" jam through "Got My Mojo Working" which closes the album. Around this time, the band were offered a deal by a major record label. However, Mike Hart seemed reluctant to get involved with "all this commercialism," and it fell through. The band returned to Liverpool and added the two sax players Nick Carver and Johnny Phillips, becoming a James Brown-style soul outfit. Following the second Star Club album, the band returned from Hamburg and appeared on one more disc, the Pantomania EP, which was made to raise money for the University rag week in 1965. It includes their version of the Bobby Bland classic "Cry, Cry, Cry" and a version of "The Leaving of Liverpool." Mike Hart left shortly afterwards to pursue a solo career, and the Roadrunners carried on for a while under the leadership of Pete Mackey.

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