Travellin' Man: Life as a session musician on the road

After his spell on the R&B club scene Carlo then drummed with various bands that were made up of musicians who were joined together from various roots of the, now rapidly expanding, British rock family tree. On the road often involved sacrificing the luxuries of home, but it sure was worth it in terms of fun... 
Click here to see all the gigs listed

Buddy Britten & The Regents: Aug 1964
Buddy Britten & The Regents were a Merseybeat group. Like Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages his groups were a real breeding ground for many great young musicians such as bass players Johnny Vance (Vince Taylor & The Playboys) and Nick Simper of Deep Purple. From 1962 to 1966, Buddy and his various backing bands released ten singles but none of them made a mark in Britain.

Buddy Britten

Carlo was with them for three months, with bass player John Lawson from one of the later line-ups of The Savages. He didn't do that many gigs, they were mostly in and around London. One of the funnier times Carlo remembered with this band was during a gig at The Rink Ballroom, Swaddlingcoat. "After the gig, we didn't have anywhere to stay so the promoter said we could sleep in the ballroom for the night. He locked us in and we tried to get comfy on the floor. It was so uncomfortable that someone got up, found a bingo machine and we had a great laugh playing bingo at three in the morning!"


Buddy Britten & The Regents 
'Since You've Gone' 1965


The Echoes: Oct 1964 - May 1965
This band had just come back from South Africa backing Dusty Springfield. Carlo: "All I can remember from this period is that the van was breaking down all the time, so there wasn't much fun to be had here."

Neil Christian & Crusaders: Jun - Oct 1965
Neil Christian & The Crusaders had been a big club draw since 1960 (one of the earliest members was Jimmy Page). Similar in nature to that of The Savages, they played and packed-out dance halls up and down the country. Carlo: "By the time I joined them they were mainly doing weekend gigs, as work had temporarily dwindled for The Crusaders at this point". But Neil Christian's hit single 'That's Nice' was just around the corner. The song charted around Europe and made him a minor star. (Neil Christian and his wife Sandra later became Godparents to Carlo's youngest daughter Emma).

Line up: June - October 1965
- Chris Tidmarsh (Lead Vocals)
- Mick Abrahams (Lead Guitar)
- Alex Dmchowski (Bass)
- Graham Waller (Keyboards)
- Bernie Hetherington (Baritone Sax)
- Carlo Little (Drums)


Neil Christian, 'That's Nice' 1966


 


Neil Christian and The Crusaders

It was during this time that Carlo performed some sessions for Jimmy Page, who was now producing for other artists. The tracks also featured Jeff Beck and Nicky Hopkins, who had just been given the all clear after his hospitalisation which had forced him to quit Cyril Davies' All Stars. (Read more here or see The Carlo Little Discography of the Immediate Records/Jimmy Page Session


'Chuckles', 1965
All Stars featuring Jeff Beck


'Down In The Boots', 1965
All Stars featuring Jimmy Page


'Piano Shuffle', 1965
All Stars featuring Nicky Hopkins


Chris Lamb & The Universals: Nov 1965 - Jun 1966

Chris Lamb & The Universals were a 7-piece Showband fronted by trumpeter Chris Lamb, playing US bases and Irish clubs around Kilburn from 1963 to 1968.
Bill Parkinson: "After I left P.J.Proby I auditioned with 30 other guitarists and got the with job with top Irish show band Chris Lamb and The Universals, this was a very good tight band with excellent musicians, On drums was Carlo Little, ex Rolling Stones, on vocals and Trombone was Brian Keith lead singer with Plastic Penny, on keyboards was Paul Raymond who played with many bands and on Bass, John Lawson. The sax player was Mort Sullivan, the leader Chris Lamb played trumpet, We played everything from the top 20 to themes like Laurence of Arabia and Tijuana Brass, and of course an array of Irish music."
Line up: Nov 1965 - July 1966
- Chris Lamb (Trumpet)
- Mort Sullivan (Tenor Sax)
- Brian Keith (Vocals/Trombone)
- Bill Parkinson (Lead Guitar)
- Ged Peck (Lead Guitar)
- John Lawson (Bass)
- Paul Raymond (Keyboards)
- Carlo Little (Drums
Line up: July - Sept 1966
- Chris Lamb (Trumpet)
- Mort Sullivan (Tenor Sax)
- Brian Keith (Vocals/Trombone)
- Bill Parkinson (Lead Guitar)
- Tony Dangerfield (Bass)
- Paul Raymond (Keyboards)
- Carlo Little (Drums)

Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages: Jul-Dec 1966
Line up: Aug - Sept 1966
- Dave Sutch (Vocals)
- Bill Parkinson (Lead Guitar)
- Tony Dangerfield (Bass)
- Paul Raymond (Keyboards)
- Brian Keith (Vocals/Trombone)
- John Lawson (Bass)
- Carlo Little (Drums
Line up: Oct - Dec 1966 
-
Dave Sutch (Lead Vocals)
-
John Bedder (Lead Guitar)
-
Tony Dangerfield (Bass)
-
Tony Marsh (Keyboards)
-
Peter Green (Tenor Sax)
- Carlo Little (Drums)

The Circles: Aug - Nov 1966
This line-up spent half their time backing Sutch and Chris Lamb, but also worked as The Circles. They cut a record called Take Your Time (see Discography). Member Bill Parkinson went on the write the 1971 British hit single 'Mother of Mine'.
Line up: 
- Brian Keith aka Brian O'Shea (Vocals)
- Bill Parkinson (Lead Guitar)
- John Lawson (Bass)
- Paul Raymond (Keyboards)
- Carlo Little (Drums)

Lord  Caesar Sutch & The Roman Empire: Dec 1966 - Apr 1967

A temporary aberration had Sutch calling himself 'Lord Caesar Sutch' and, for publicity, the band were required to dress as Roman Gladiators! The first gig they did was a benefit for the wife of the late Johnny 'Shakin All Over' Kidd, who had died in October 1966. The line-up included Richie Blackmore, and Matthew Fisher on keyboards who had recorded 'Whiter Shade Of Pale' with Procol Harum during his spell here. He stayed with the Empire for financial security until the record took off!

Back: The roadie, Carlo, Sutch, Tony Dangerfield. Front: Joel James, Ritchie Blackmore

Line up: Dec 1966 - Apr 1967
- Dave Sutch (Vocals)
- Ritchie Blackmore (Lead Guitar)
- Tony Dangerfield (Bass)
- Matthew Fisher (Keyboards)
- Joel James (Tenor Sax)
- Carlo Little (Drums
The band also toured Sweden during this time. Carlo: "It was thick snow when I went there with the Roman Empire. We were driven around in a big American 4-wheel drive with a little trailer for the equipment to go in towed behind. The promoter had sent a roadie to drive it. It had snow chains on the wheels, that's how deep the snow was. We did abut 10 days of gigs, and always went down well with the crowds, who were really excited. We met and talked to the 'Hep Stars' in one of the dressing rooms, who later turned out to be members of Abba."


Poster advertising Roman Empire gig 
Jaguar Club, Scala Herford, Germany 
Jan 1967


The Roman Empire
Tony Dangerfield, David Sutch and Carlo



Neil Christian & The Crusaders: April - May 1967

Neil Christian
Neil Christian

Carlo went back to this group again just for a short tour of Germany, where Christian had scored a big hit with 'That's Nice'. During this period the band also included guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, bassist Tony Dangerfield and pianist Matt Smith. Before they set off for the continent in Carlo's un-trusty old Bedford van, Christian said, "here's ten quid - I'll see you in Berlin...and that was to cover everything for the band to get from Wembley to Germany! He went off in his new Mustang, of course!" So off they went on £10 expenses. 

Carlo in Germany

On the way Carlo had a fist fight with Tony while driving at 70 MPH, and by the time they got there they were so exhausted they fell asleep on a petrol station forecourt. After the tour they finished in Hamburg and went to the Star Club and Top Ten. The rest of the band decided to stay for a few days (they had busty women to keep them occupied!) and Carlo went home, complete with their instruments in the back of the van. He didn't see them for YEARS after, and had sold their instruments! It was while in Hamburg, not long after these events, that Ritchie formed Deep Purple.


Billie Davies: Jun - Aug 1967
L-R: bassist Nick Simper,  singer Billie Davies, guitarist Ged Peck,  drummer Carlo Little in Frankfurt on tour


Videos of Billie in her heyday

 


Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages: Aug 1967

Line up: 
- Dave Sutch (Vocals)
- Ged Peck (Lead Guitar)
- Nick Simper (Bass)
- Freddie Fingers Lee (Keyboards/Vocals)
- Art Regis (Keyboards)
- Carlo Little (Drums

Left to Right: bassist Nick Simper, Screaming Lord Sutch, guitarist Ged Peck, drummer Carlo Little



The great Freddie 'Fingers' Lee, 
Britain's answer to Jerry Lee Lewis


The Flowerpot Men: Oct 1967 - Sept 1969
The Flowerpot Men had just had a huge hit in the British charts with 'Let's Go To San Francsico' when Carlo joined them. It was while with this band that Carlo met the legend Jimi Hendrix - in The Blue Boar cafe on the M1. "All the bands would congregate there on their way back and forwards from gigs," recalls Carlo. "It was just before The Experience hit the big time and they must have been touring to get themselves known. Well, Mitch Mitchell the drummer, who used to come and watch me in the early days, recognised me. He came over with Jimi and introduced me as 'the guy who started it all off for me'. "

The Flowerpot Men. Back: Neil Landon, Peter Nelson, Tony Burrows. Front: Robin Shaw.

The Bride and GroomDoing the usual rounds of gigs up and down the country, the touring took them to the Latino Nightclub in South Shields, a small town just outside Newcastle in the north-east of England. It was here that 19 year-old Iris King worked as a croupier. Struck by her beauty, Carlo asked her out, and they were married within 6 months! The wedding, in Wembley on 20 July 1968, made the national papers, due to the number of stars that turned up. Noel Redding from the Hendrix Experience was there. Jon Lord played the organ for them (the church organ had broken down, so he plugged in his!), and Flowerpot singer Tony Burrows (who later had hits with song Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes and the group Brotherhood Of Man) gave the bride away!

Carlo marries Iris King, July 20th 1968

review of a Flowerpot Men gig, 1967

 



 The Flowerpot Men on Tour 
Carlo on drums, Nick Simper on bass, Ged Peck on guitar

 

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     Links         

Carlo Little

Early Gigs List | Discography with Neil Christian & The Crusaders | Interview about Immediate Records/Jimmy Page session | Discography of Immediate Records/Jimmy Page Session | Discography with The Circles
 
Buddy Britten & The Regents
Obscure Bands of the 60s | Reg Calvert site
 
Neil Christian & The Crusaders
All Music Guide | Wikipedia | Forgotten Bands of the 60s
 
The Echoes
Dusty Springfield site | All Music Guide | Wikipedia
 
Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages
The Original, Outrageous Inspirators 
 
The Circles
The Circles
 
The Flowerpot Men
Wikipedia | All Music Guide | White Plains | Discography | 45-rpm.org.uk | White Plains | German info
 
Tony Burrows
All Music Guide | Wikipedia | Interview | Fan Page | White Plains
 
Ged Peck
Confessions of a Sixties Guitarist | Wikipedia | Musicians Olympus | rock.wh3.net | Rock Festivals Archive | All Music Guide | Deep Purple Family Tree | Warhorse Family Tree | Warhorse All Music Guide

 

 
  Matthew Fisher
  Procol Harum.com | His Web Site | All Music Guide | Wikipedia
   
  Ritchie Blackmore
  Official Site | Deep Purple.com | Wikipedia | All Music Guide | Fan Site
   
  Jimmy Page
  jimmypageonline.com | All Music Guide | Led Zeppelin | Wikipedia
   
  Tony Dangerfield
  Official Site | All Music Guide | Guardian Obituary
   
  Nick Simper
  Official Site | Biography | Deep Purple Family Tree | All Music Guide | deep-purple.net | Warhorse All Music Guide | Johnny Kidd & The Pirates |Warhorse Family Tree | Wikipedia
   
  Billie Davies
  Official Site | All Music Guide | Wikipedia
   
  Related / More Info
  Immediate Records | Obscure Bands of the 60s | Deep Purple Family Tree | Star Club, Hamburg | The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Jon Lord | Tex Makins | Noel Redding | Mitch Mitchell | Marmalade Skies | Nostaglia Central | sixtiescity.com | 45-rpm.org.uk | The Musicians Olympus | Ugly Things Magazine | spectropop.com | British Record Labels of the 60s | Brumbeat | Manchesterbeat | Merseybeat | my-generation.org.uk | Charts | Tamworth Bands | Bradford Music Timeline | 60s Semi-Pro Bands in NE England | Cumbrian Bands Of The Sixties | Rocking Scots
 

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