Jeff Bannister

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Jeff Bannister was a keyboard player and sometimes singer who, for a short time, bidded fair to become a star on London's booming mid-1960's soul scene. Bannister's first major gig was with the John Barry…
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Jeff Bannister was a keyboard player and sometimes singer who, for a short time, bidded fair to become a star on London's booming mid-1960's soul scene. Bannister's first major gig was with the John Barry Seven, at the very tail-end of their existence -- he was recruited by Alan Bown, a longtime friend who'd taken over the leadership of the group (Barry being otherwise engaged in his booming film music career) to replace organist Mike O'Neil, in a line-up that also included reedman Dave Green and bassist Stan Haldane. At the time, in addition to generating their own hits, the Barry group was one of the top support bands on England's rock 'n' roll scene, playing behind visiting Americans such as Brenda Lee when they toured the UK and continental Europe. When Barry disbanded the group in 1965, Bown decided to take advantage of the sudden availability of some top personnel with whom he enjoyed working -- he had previously fronted various short-lived line-ups, but now he set up a permanent version of what became known as the Alan Bown Set, bringing in three Barry group bandmates, with Bannister as vocalist as well as playing organ and piano. To hear the first two single sides cut by the group, one of them a brilliant cover of Curtis Mayfield's "I'm The One Who Loves You" (issued as "I'm The One"), Bannister could have become established as one of the great white soul singers working in mid-1960's London. Unfortunately, Pye Records overruled producer Tony Hatch and put that song on the flip-side of the less impressive "Can't Let Her Go", which never charted. It was a year before another single was forthcoming from the group, by which time he was supplanted in center stage in the band by singer Jess Roden (who beat out Robert Plant for the vocalist spot during a shuffle of the band's personnel). Bannister concentrated on keyboards and backing vocals for the next three years, while also writing songs for the band. In 1970, following the Bown group's split, he joined Roden's Bronco, and he later played, sang, and composed songs as a member of the mid-1970's disco outfit A Band Called "O". He also played on Joan Jett's Bad Reputation, and on saxophone veteran Raphael Ravenscroft solo album Her Father Didn't Like Me Anyway.