Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Number 529 - Ray Columbus


Number 529

Ray Columbus & The Invaders

"She's A Mod"

(1964)
.
Genre:Pop
print available @ madhatter-lady
Before Colour TV in New Zealand and who knows, maybe even before we had colour even in the picture theaters (wouldn't surprise me) and i even betcha someone else's left one ..... stereo on 33 & a third with albums. We lovely colonials peasants of the British Empire had Ray Columbus & The Invaders who put us Kiwi's on the Oceanic (world?) map/charts first. Now Xmephistox, (what on earth does that mean??) also known simply as =M= (come in, 007) from fuzzy.com & Rock Gems will enjoy this, as i know she loves the history of NZ music and especially Australia's early music. Lastly there is a personal connection between me and Ray Columbus, but he doesn't know that and to be honest i ain't saying and it's got nothing to do with the fact i was born 9 months after this hit at all (also to be known, the Beatles were here 9 months before i was born too).
I was this young once
Ray Columbus tried putting together his first band around 1959 when he was aged 17. On drums was his friend Peter Ward, along with Billy Karaitiana (also known as Billy Kristian) on bass. Someone else played guitar, until they found a more competent guitarist in Andy Joines. As a quartet they tried playing to anyone who would listen around the Christchurch area. They didn't last long as a group and shortly afterwards, Billy and Peter left to join Saki and the Jive Five. They began playing around Christchurch and became stiff opposition for Max Merritt and the Meteors, who had the local scene well to their liking. Max checked them out and soon after Billy moved into a permanent position with Max Merritt and the Meteors. At that point Peter Ward left and secured a position with the Downbeats.
Dave Clarke who??
The Downbeats were an old-style dance band headed by Doc Foster. Members Doc Foster, Tony Athfield and Ross Clancy, had all played with the Saints. One night in 1960, Ray attended an engagement by the band and found that the lead vocalist, Jack Lark, wasn't there. Ray was given an opportunity to sing and was so successful he remained in that lead vocalist spot. Ray took the opportunity to introduce more rock'n'roll numbers into the bands repertoire. When someone left the band, Ray always organised a replacement. He introduced a bass player named Mac Jamieson, also from the Saints, and previously Bobby Davis and the Dazzlers. When Doc called it a day and guitarist Tony Athfield left, a 15 year old schoolboy, Dave Russell was recruited as lead guitarist. When the last of the Downbeats, Ross Clancy, left, he was replaced by a second guitarist Brian Ringrose.
you play it ... i sing it lad
This new line-up of Ray Columbus (Vocals), Dave Russell and Brian Ringrose (Guitars), Mac Jamieson (Bass) and Peter Ward (Drums) renamed themselves Ray and the Drifters. They began to make a name for themselves around Christchurch by late 1961. They performed mainly instrumental tunes with Columbus providing the vocals when necessary. The clubs in Christchurch at that time played host to numerous American servicemen stationed at Operation Deep Freeze. Their style and music interests had a major influence on Ray and his group.
remember ... look @ the camera
In February 1962, because they were very popular in their hometown, they received a boost in their career by appearances on TV in a local Christchurch production called "Club Columbus". The four programmes were screened nationally, bringing greater exposure to a wider audience. Thanks to these TV performances they were invited to do a months work in Auckland. Lead guitarist Brian Ringrose was still at school so could not go. He was replaced by Wally Scott. Mac Jamieson also left and his place was taken by bassist Puni Solomon. This is the line-up that left for Auckland, changing their name on the way to Ray Columbus and the Invaders. They took Auckland by storm. With their Fender gear, fancy routines, matching outfits, Auckland audiences just stared in disbelief. Expecting to come to the big smoke and pick up a few tricks from the pros, they found that they were way ahead of the field. The Auckland groups sounded dated and were ignorant of American R&B and all lacked a lead singer as energetic and extroverted as Ray Columbus. In January 1963 they returned to Christchurch with almost every Auckland promoter dangling contracts.
5 is alive
An offer from Phil Warren was accepted and as they were preparing to return to Auckland, Peter Ward decided to get married and leave the Invaders. A replacement was soon found in Jimmy Hill. He came from Mataura, Wally Scott's hometown, where together they had played with the Flares in Invercargill. In Auckland, they took up residency at the newly opened Monaco where they proved to be hugely popular. A recording contract was accepted with Zodiac and they soon recorded their first single. It was a double-sided original Columbus/Russell composition "Money Lover"/"So In Love". Released in April 1963, it went absolutely nowhere. Ray wrote the lyrics to "Money Lover" when he was 16 and two years later he completed the music with Dave Russell. The group was discouraged from recording their own material until they were established. Their second single was an obscure Danish instrumental called "Kupow" backed with another instrumental "Autumn Leaves". It sold reasonably well, thanks to radio airplay, but surprisingly sold even better in Sydney Australia after receiving even greater airplay.
Who's the bride again?
Ray pursued Billy Kristian, who was still playing with the Meteors, and he accepted the role with the Invaders. So armed with their new album and new single they set off for Sydney in November 1963. They debuted at Surf City, Sydney's top teenage venue. Ray constantly did the rounds of talking to promoters, press agents, DJ's, journalists and television personalities. As a result "I Wanna Be Your Man" started receiving extensive radio play. Also in January 1964 they appeared on TV with appearances on Bandstand and Sing Sing Sing. The Invaders returned to New Zealand in February 1964 with "I Wanna Be Your Man" outselling both the Beatles and Rolling Stones versions, sitting in the lower half of the Australian Top 40, the first time a New Zealand recording had charted overseas. Another single with two songs from the album, "On My Mind"/"Theme From Dr No" was also released. "She's A Mod"/"Poison Ivy" was recorded in May 1964 and released in June. It didn't attract much interest in New Zealand at the time as the Beatles were still visiting. It could have faded completely if the Invaders hadn't returned to Sydney. Billy Kristian was ill, so John 'Yuk' Harrison filled in for him Following an appearance at the 2UW Radio Theatre, Sydney went mod crazy. "She's A Mod" went to number one on the Sydney charts and began to climb up the national charts. With this, expatriate Kiwi promoter Harry M Miller stepped in an began to organise a national tour. Billy wanted to be a part of this, so he rejoined them on the eve of the tour. The tour was very successful with audiences everywhere going wild. By the end of the tour, "She's A Mod" was at number one on the Australian National Chart, staying there for eight weeks. By now New Zealand had caught on and the song started topping regional charts throughout the country.
pic by DeKrooked
At the end of the tour the group stopped in at Phillips Studio in Sydney to record a follow up single. The group was determined to show they could write and record their own songs, so another Columbus/Russell composition was chosen. The song was "Yo-Yo" backed with "She's Gone". Recorded after ten weeks on the road, the song reflects a husky vocal from Ray. The song went to number one in New Zealand and was as popular with fans as "She's A Mod", but the R&B departure was not as well received in Australia especially in commercial radio. It hung around the top 40 there, but that was all. ~ [Source:http://www.sergent.com.au/columbusinv.html]
For the Beatles see Number 947, 894 & 587
For Rolling Stones see Number 767 & Number 689
Artist Fact File
Name:Ray Columbus & the Invaders..Related to³:Saints
Yrs Active:1960 to 1966...........Site:none
Best Song¹:Till we Kissed ........#1fan:www.sergent.com.au
Best Album²:Original Numbers......Grammy Awards:0
Albums Sold:40 Thousand +.........Next best thing:Max Merritt & Meteors
¹Number of downloads WINMX ²Artistdirect choice ³Associated acts or collaborations
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (New Zealanders???) and the Album ranked at Number (What State of Australia is that??)
This song has a crowbarred rating of 74.3 out of 108pts
Lyrics to the song
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z
By The Year 1955 to 2005:

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