Finders Keepers

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Finders Keepers may not be the best-known group ever to work England's Midlands, around Birmingham, but they surely hold the record for longevity -- some version of the group was still working 40 years…
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Finders Keepers may not be the best-known group ever to work England's Midlands, around Birmingham, but they surely hold the record for longevity -- some version of the group was still working 40 years on; and on top of that, they provided the means by which the hard rock band Trapeze first got together. The band's origins go back to 1965, when three key members of the Dudley-based band the Strangers -- singer Roy "Dripper" Kent, lead guitarist Alan Clee, and bassist Jake Elcock -- teamed up with rhythm guitarist Ralph Oakley (late of the Montanas) and drummer Dave Williams. Kent was a formidable singer and Clee a talented guitarist, and they soon built up a major following in the area around Birmingham, and also in Germany, all of which led to a recording contract with Pye Records. For their single "Light," they were produced by none other than Scott Walker, which resulted in a bit of extra publicity at the time, and their other singles included "Friday Kind of Monday" and "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)." These records were enormous hits but at least one of their singles reached the lower part of the Top 50. Personnel changes began to affect them in their second year, as Elcock left in 1967 to join the Montanas, while Finder Keepers picked up Phil Overfield, late of the Staffords.

In late 1967, Ian Lees came aboard as a singer, Kent choosing to jump ship and join Light Fantastic, while Mel Galley took over on lead guitar, though Alan Clee stayed on as well. In 1968, another series of personnel changes took place, as bassist Glenn Hughes and drummer Dave Holland joined, and guitarist/keyboard player Terry Rowley and vocalist and trumpet man John Jones came over from the Montanas. It had dawned on more than one of the members that the Finders Keepers name and sound were probably outmoded, and more of a liability than anything else by late 1968 -- the band regrouped soon after with a much harder sound under the name Trapeze. Ironically, sometime after the latter group was established, some of the older members of Finders Keepers got back together and reactivated the name and the group, and have been working ever since on the oldies and pop music circuits, right into the 21st century.