Week of February 13, 2000



Ray Cane - vocals, guitar, keyboards
Pete Dello - vocals
Colin Hare - guitar, vocals, bass
Peter Kircher - drums
Jim Kelly - guitar, vocals


Story (Deram SML 1056) 1970 R1

NB: There's also a compilation, “At Their Best” (See For Miles SEE 264, 1989), which is also available on CD (SEE CD 264). This is a comprehensive set, which includes their 1969 album “Story” in full and showcases the superb and well-crafted material they produced.


Delighted To See You/The Breaking Up Scene (Deram DM 131) 1967
(Do I Figure) In Your Life?/Throw My Love Away (Deram DM 152) 1967
I Can't Let Maggie Go/Tender Are The Ashes (Deram DM 182) 1968
Girl Of Independent Means/How Long (Deram DM 207) 1968
She Sold Blackpool Rock/Would You Believe (Deram DM 254) 1969
Story/The Right To Choose (Deram DM 289) 1970
She Is The Female To My Soul/For Where Have You Been (Bell BLL 1205) 1971


I Can't Let Maggie Go/Julie In My Heart (Decca F 13631) 1976
I Can't Let Maggie Go/Tender Are The Ashes (Decca F 13915) 1982
I Can't Let Maggie Go/(Flip by different artist.) (Old Gold OG 9347) 1983

A classic one-hit wonder act this band will always be associated with the classic pop song “I Can't Let Maggie Go”.

The band formed in London in 1967. Pete Dello (real name Peter Blumsom) and Ray Cane (real name Raymond Byart) formed it as a vehicle for their songwriting aspirations. The other two original members were Colin Hare and drummer Peter Kircher, who'd previously played for the Folkstone-based Loving Kind. Signed to Decca's progressive Deram label, their debut 45 sunk without a trace but is worth checking out. The A-side was something of a novelty with a kazoo and birdwarbler, the flip - a good slice of psychedelic pop with some fine fuzztone guitar and fast, upfront drumming. The follow-up, “(Do I Figure) In Your Life?”, was a rather wistful folksy ballad with intricate harmonies and a string accompaniment. Despite considerable airplay, chart action inexplicably eluded it, although several artists, including Dave Berry, Joe Cocker and Dana subsequently covered it. Certainly it was one of the classics that got away. The flip was another strong electric composition with some fine guitar work.

It was a case of ‘third time lucky’ for the band when Dello's “I Can't Let Maggie Go” became their one and only Top 10 hit in April 1968. Another superb arrangement of strings and woodwind, it echoed all the freshness and optimism of Springtime and its reputation was further assured when it was adopted as the theme tune by Nimble's TV bread advert. With the band on the brink of stardom, Dello quit, disillusioned with the music business - initially to study musical theory and to learn to play the violin. The band replaced him with Jim Kelly, a Scottish guitarist who they'd met whilst playing out in Germany.

Ray Cane now became their principal songwriter and his first A-side, “Girl Of Independent Means”, was quite catchy and the Cane, Hare and Kircher composition on the flip boasted fine harmonies. Sadly, the punters just weren't interested and over six months elapsed until their next 45, “She Sold Blackpool Rock”. Coming with a lush string arrangement, it lacked the magic of their second and third A-sides but was a fair attempt to emulate them. When it failed to make any impact, the band split in the Summer of 1969 on the advice of their manager Terry Noon.

Deram released the “Story” album posthumously in 1970 and aside from an earlier B-side, “How Long”, it consisted of entirely new material. Much of it, like the title track, “She's Out There” and “He Was Columbus”, was accomplished pop with their by now characteristic string quartet arrangement but their harder side was well represented by “Under The Silent Tree”.

Deram also released the title cut as a 45, backed with a previously unreleased cut. Colin Hare and Pete Dello both embarked on solo careers after the band's demise. Encouraged by the critical acclaim his solo album had received, Dello reformed Honeybus in late 1971 with the original line-up. They recorded some tracks for the Bell label and one 45 resulted. In 1973, they recorded an album's worth of material for Warner Brothers but then vetoed its release. Just one 45 emerged and the A-side featured the band's classic string arrangement plus a mandolin. Their final reunion came in 1976 and Decca put a product of it, “Julie's In My Heart”, on the flip to “I Can't Let Maggie Go”, the same year. Only Pete Kircher has remained active in the music business since then, initially as a member of R&B revivalists Shanghai, then in Original Mirrors and from 1983-86 in Status Quo.

“I Can't Let Maggie Go” inevitably went on to feature on several hits compilations including Decca's “The World Of Hits, Vol. 2” and “Do I Figure In Your Life?” resurfaced on Decca's “Hard-Up Heroes” compilation. There seems a good chance that, but for Dello's untimely departure, the band would have been destined for greater things.

The See For Miles compilation includes almost all of their “Story” album, nearly all their Deram singles; “The Right To Choose”, a non-album B-side from 1970 and “Julie In My Heart”, which was put on the flip of “I Can't Let Maggie Go” when it was reissued in 1976. All in all a good purchase for fans of sixties pop. There's also a CD version which includes their remaining Deram singles.

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson
ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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