The Fleerekkers

The Flee-Rekkers (also sometimes spelled Flee-Rakkers) were an instrumental outfit formed in England at the end of the 1950s. According to most accounts, they were originally known as the Ramblers or the Statesiders before taking their more familiar name, which came from their leader, Dutch-descended tenor saxophonist Peter Fleerackers. The group was originally a semi-pro outfit that, in addition to Fleerakkers, included Dave Cameron on lead guitar, Alan Monger (rhythm guitar, baritone sax), Elmy Durrant on tenor sax, Derek Skinner on bass, and Mickey Waller on the drums. Their major influences going in were Duane Eddy and Johnny & the Hurricanes. It was an early 1960 engagement at a West London ballroom called the Hive of Jive that marked a turning point, persuading them to become a full-time outfit. The Flee-Rekkers were lucky enough to fall into the orbit of aspiring producer Joe Meek in the late winter of 1960 and recorded their debut single, "Green Jeans" b/w "You Are My Sunshine" for his own Triumph label. The latter record attracted enough attention, but Meek's perpetual state of being under-capitalized meant that he couldn't fulfill the orders -- the record was picked up by EMI's Top Rank imprint in the summer of 1960. The following month, they issued a second record, "Sunday Date" b/w "Shiftless Sam" on the Pye label. The latter became their home for the remainder of their existence.

The Flee-Rekkers issued five more singles plus an album, The Fabulous Flee-Rekkers, on Pye, but never had a chart breakthrough. The general perception of fans was that their two best records were "Green Jeans," their debut single, and their final single, "Fireball," the latter an instrumental cover of Barry Gray's theme from the marionette-based series Fireball XL5. The members went their separate ways in 1963, Peter Fleerakkers remained in music until 1970, but never had as potentially wide a showcase as this band. Dave Cameron, Alan Monger, and Elmy Durrant became the core of a new outfit, the Giants, who spent most of their time playing in Germany, where there was still an audience for their brand of music well into the '60s. Meanwhile, Dave Skinner became a member of the Spotnicks. And Mickey Waller went on to do session work as a drummer for decades, and to work with many of the top artists of the '60s, '70s, and beyond, starting with Jeff Beck. ~ Bruce Eder

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