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St. Louis Union

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This Manchester-based sextet -- Tony Cassidy on vocals, Alex Kirby playing tenor sax, Keith Millar on guitar, David Tomlinson at the organ, John Nichols on bass, and Dave Webb at the drum kit -- made a major splash by winning the 1965 Melody Maker Beat Group Contest, and won a contract from English Decca. Their debut single, a cover of the Beatles' "Girl," made No. 11 on the charts in England, but they were unable to duplicate this feat in two more tries that year. The band was gone by 1967, but did last long enough to appear in the 1966 feature film The Ghost Goes Gear, starring the Spencer Davis Group, in which St. Louis Union mimed reasonably convincingly to their versions of "I Got My Pride" and "Show Me Your English Teeth." Their records are valued today, as are those of dozens of similar forgotten British bands of the period, as quintessential examples of psychedelia and English freakbeat. ~ Bruce Eder