|L to R: Robin Box, Robin Shaw, Pete Nelson, Ricky Wolff and Roger Hills|
November 1970, photoshoot for TOTP
White Plains was born out of a studio project created by John Carter and Ken Lewis (formerly of The Ivy League) called The Flower Pot Men. By early 1969, one of four Flower Pot Men vocalists, Neil Landon, had left to join the band Fat Mattress and was replaced by backing band member Ricky Wolff. South African born Ricky, who played guitar, sax, flute and keyboards, was now a main vocalist. The group recorded another single that February under their new production team of Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. "In A Moment Of Madness" was released on 28 March 1969 to little fanfare. The band continued to tour and on 26 October 1969, The Flower Pot Men went into the studio and recorded four tracks. The tracks were "My Baby Loves Lovin'", "Today I Killed A Man I Didn't Know", "You've Got Your Troubles" and "Show Me Your Hand", all featuring Ricky Wolff on lead vocals. Soon after, the band was dissolved and the recorded tracks were shelved. Dick Rowe, A&R man at Decca, asked permission to release these tracks under a new name. He came up with the name White Plains (after the town in New York) and their first single "My Baby Loves Lovin'" was released on 2nd January 1970. It debuted on the UK chart on 7th February 1970 and stayed there for eleven weeks, peaking at #9. Due to Ricky Wolff being unavailable at the time, Producer Roger Greenaway took his place during the promotional period and appeared alongside Tony Burrows, Robin Shaw and Pete Nelson for tv appearances and early promo photos. Tony Burrows, an in-demand session vocalist, who was busy with other projects and was beginning to concentrate on a solo career, did not record with White Plains after the October 1969 session. However, a few tracks that Tony recorded with the group do appear on White Plains' self-titled LP, which was released in September of 1970 (Two of the tracks being previously released Flower Pot Men songs).
Due to the success of the first single and another, "I've Got You On My Mind" (released April 3rd, 1970), a touring band was assembled with Pete Nelson (vocals, rhythm guitar), Ricky Wolff (vocals, rhythm guitar), Robin Shaw (bass), drummer Julian Bailey (ex-Kytes), Scottish keyboard player Brian Johnston (ex-The Senate), and Flower Pot Men guitarist Robin Box. Drummer Roger Hills, who had also been a member of The Flower Pot Men backing band, would return in the summer of 1970 after his residency in Montreal had ended.
Over the next year, five more singles were released, all featuring vocalist Pete Nelson on lead, except for their third single "Lovin' You Baby", which featured Ricky Wolff. In early 1971, Ricky left the band and tenor sax players Tony Hall (ex-Peter's Faces, Flower Pot Men) and Brent Scott Carter were added to the lineup. Tony and Brent had previously worked together in both Simon K & The Meantimers and Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band. White Plains' 2nd and final LP, When You Are A King, was released in October of 1971, but failed to crack the charts.
Mid-1972 saw the departure of Tony Hall and Brent Scott Carter, who were then replaced by keyboardist Ron Reynolds (ex-Warren Davis Monday Band). Around mid-1973, drummer Roger Hills exited the band and was replaced by former Quiet Five drummer Tex Marsh. Later that year, bassist Robin Shaw also left the band and former Edison Lighthouse bassist, David Kerr-Clemenson, took his place. After thirteen singles and eight Top Of The Pops appearances, the band temporarily disbanded in late 1974. In 1976, the band name was loaned out and another single called "Summer Nights" was released. This version of the band included two former members of the band Angel (Mick Tucker and Andy Scott of Sweet's project): vocalist Brian Johnson (who went on to front Vanity Fare in the '80s) and drummer Steve Rickard.
In 1978 Robin Box and Pete Nelson reformed White Plains and released two last singles on PVK Records - "Dance With You" and "Wanna Fall In Love".
Some unfinished 1970's recordings, which were to be released on a third album entitled New Peaks, but never saw the light of day, became available on a digital-only EP released in August 2014, entitled My Baby Loves Lovin' (Through the Grapevine record label). The tracks included are "Superstar" (Carpenter's cover), "Shadows Of My Youth", "Let All The People Come Together", "Slow Slow Down", and "Nothing Else Comes Easy".
Pete Nelson - vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (1969-1974, 1978)
Ricky Wolff - vocals, rhythm guitar, sax, keyboards, flute (1969 - early 1971)
Tony Burrows - vocals (1969)
Robin Shaw - bass, vocals (1969 - late 1973), lead vocals on "The World Gets Better With Love"
Robin Box - lead guitar, vocals (1969-1974, 1978)
Roger Hills - drums (1969, mid 1970 - mid 1973)
Ron Reynolds - keyboards, vocals (mid 1972 - 1974), lead vocals on "Does Anybody Know Where My Baby Is?"
Tony Hall - tenor sax (mid 1971 - mid 1972)
Brent Scott Carter - tenor sax, flute (mid 1971 - mid 1972)
Brian Johnston - keyboards, vocals (Spring 1970 - Autumn 1970)
Julian Bailey - drums (Spring 1970 - mid 1970)
David Kerr-Clemenson - bass, vocals (late 1973 - 1974)
Roger "Tex" Marsh - drums (mid-1973 - 1974)
Roger Greenaway - producer, backing vocals, lead vocals on "I Need Your Everlasting Love"
Roger Cook - producer, lead vocals on "To Love You" and "I'll Go Blind"
Biography also posted at 45cat.com.This biography was written by me. If you have any corrections or information that can be added, please contact me (Kelly).
|The Flower Pot Men, April 1969|
L to R: Pete Nelson, Robin Shaw, Ricky Wolff and Tony Burrows
|© Photo by Chris Walter|
L to R: Pete Nelson, Robin Shaw, Robin Box, Brent Scott Carter, Roger Hills, and Tony Hall
posted by Kelly Kinsley
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