Bo Street Runners

Known mostly for the brief presence of a young Mick Fleetwood as a member, the Bo Street Runners were one of many London-area R&B-based rock bands during the British Invasion. Though they didn't come close to a hit, they did manage to release about an album's worth of material between 1964-1966 on four singles for Decca and Columbia, and a rare limited-edition EP. While their sound was fairly derivative and unremarkable compared to the top R&B-leaning British Invasion bands, much of their limited output was at least respectable, with a couple above-average songs that will be of interest to British Invasion collectors.

The Bo Street Runners got on the map with a residency at the Railway Hotel, the same venue at which the early Who played numerous gigs and built their following. In spring 1964, they entered a competition of the British pop music TV show Ready Steady Go for which they had to make a demo. This ended up being a four-song, self-titled EP, pressed in a quantity of only about a hundred copies, and sold to fans at gigs. Though largely standard-issue R&B, it did include a good track, "Bo Street Runner," that was very much in the early Rolling Stones/Pretty Things style. The band actually won the competition in October 1964, the prize including, among other things, a contract with Decca Records. But they managed just one Decca single, a slightly tamer version of "Bo Street Runner," before moving on to Columbia, for whom they recorded three 45s in 1965 and 1966. Moving into a somewhat more soul-jazz-influenced sound on these, the best of the tracks by far was "Baby Never Gonna Say Goodbye," which a choked organ sound and bossa nova beat that made it sound a bit like a more tense Georgie Fame. The song was written by Tommy Moeller of Unit Four Plus Two (who shared management with the Bo Street Runners), who'd also penned that group's hit "Concrete and Clay"; drumming on the single was Mick Fleetwood, who'd previously been in the Cheynes. But the single didn't get anywhere, and after Fleetwood moved on to Peter B's Looners, the Bo Street Runners made one last stab with a soul-oriented arrangement of the Beatles' "Drive My Car," backed by the odd, minor jazzy waltz "So Very Woman" and featuring new singer Mike Patto. The Bo Street Runners broke up shortly afterward, Patto going on to a brief solo career before doing spells in the Chicago Line Blues Band, Timebox, Patto, and Spooky Tooth. ~ Richie Unterberger

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