Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
WEDNESDAY 25TH JUNE 2014
*subject to licence
Geno Washington and The Ram Jam Band had two of the biggest selling UK albums of the sixties. Amazingly both of these were live albums. Hand Clappin, Foot Stompin, Funky Butt Live was in the album charts for 48 weeks of the year 1966 and was only out-sold by The Sound of Music and Bridge over Troubled Water.
US soul acts rarely visited the UK and, having come over as a part of the USAir force and stayed, Geno was our soul man. His level of touring and the high energy of his gigs was, and still is (as immortalized by Dexy's Midnight Runners in the 80's hit Geno) the stuff of legends. During his sets, the beat was continuous and the hits were incessant. It was really Geno who pioneered this Go, Go style of performing and the audiences simply could not get enough. With the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and Pink Floyd in support Geno could never relax.
Eventually, having made Pye records and numerous managers millions of pounds, Geno decided a break might be a good idea. Rock and Roll had taken its toll and being on the road with every sixties act you care to think of, had finally drained the mighty Washington batteries.
Geno did do some recordings in the States in the seventies, some never released stuff with the Beach Boys for example, but he largely retreated from the world of show biz and studied hypnosis and meditation.
These spiritual meanderings were abruptly halted when, in 1980 Blighty beckoned once more. A call came from old friends in the UK that a tribute called Geno (mentioned above) had gone to number one in the charts. In interviews, the singer, Kevin Roland, was speaking of this legendary soul man, whose name they used to chant up and down the land and public interest in Geno was growing for a new generation. Soon, Anglophile Geno, was back in the UK and back on the road.
The arrival of the nineties saw Geno go back to his roots (he was a Blues singer originally in his home, town of Evansville, Indiana) doing a show he called Cut Loose and Singing the Blues. This was a great success and spawned the band The Purple Aces. He then took this band to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, had a great reaction and a three week sell-out run. This in turn resulted in a collaboration with Ray Fenwick (The Spencer Davies Band) and an album called Change Your Thoughts You Change Your Life.