The Downliners Sect originally rode to fame in the early 60's as one of the top UK's pioneering rhythm ‘n’ blues outfits. Purveying their own band of blues mainstream, citing influences from Muddy Waters, to Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. This is well documented in the history of rock music. The Downliner's Sect rode in on a later wave of stardom. This time riding in on their influencing of others, is a lesser known rock parentage fact. By the later 1960's the rhythm ‘n’ blues scene had given over to soul.
This modern black music inspired the UK's music scene to find it's own Stax ‘n’ Motown souls. Whilst the soul club and discotheque scene developed, more was going on elsewhere too. Psychedelia. Flower Power, avant garde jazz, - all this music each with it's own identity. Amongst this myriad musical world, rhythm ‘n’ blues perhaps seemed 'history'. After dallying with folk rock and commercial driven pop the 'Sect' called it a day. Lurking under all these musical world stages, new roots were developing, a vibrant rock, rhythm and blues scene giving birth to what todays music history books call 'Canvey Island R’n’B,', verging pub rock and pre punk.
The underground music press were well latched on to the scene, and by the time the major music mags were doing the rounds, interviewing bands, regularly the 'Downliners Sect' were being cited as a major influence and inspiration. Listening to The Feelgoods. The Kursal Flyers and Ace this new worlds stage beckoned these early practitioners to reform. Now were talking 1976. Don Craine with ex 'Black Cat Bones' Paul Tiller were established doing the rounds as 'Loose Ends' a duo on the folk blues acoustic scene. Keith Grant had spent time in 'Magnet' after his earlier 70's band 'Punchin'Judy' a Transatlantic signed group which included drummer Alan Brooks. Alan became the 'Sects' drummer in their 1989 line up and today still holds down their drum stool. Terry Gibson's rock ‘n’ roll revival band "The Hellraisers" were coming to a natural conclusion.
Terry's agent had picked up the buzz on the interest in the Downliners whilst Don to was pretty wised up with what was going on. He'd met Keith at a 'Loose Ends" gig, and by then Terry had made contact. Rounding up John Sutton their original drummer, the five met for rehearsals. Studios somewhere in Chelsea. Terry's agent soon had them, working The Hope ‘n’ Anchor, Dingwalls, The Nashville Rooms in Fulham and other familiar pub rock joints where their original aggressive approach to R’n’B had dwelled with their aspirant followers. John Sutton became their first casualty. He realized not long before reforming he decided to remain with Jazz. Paul Holm auditioned in 1977. He'd worked with the 'Syndicates' and 'Bluegology. Soon on the horizon a new single and album deal loomed. A UK single launched their new recording era. "Showbiz" and "Killing Me" hit the shops in November 1977 showing up in the underground charts.
Double publicity came their way in the underground press. The same year their original 1964 album just re-released also chartered. Before John left the band, they had laid a few selections of their songs together in demo form. Within their new album they included reworkings of these earlier demo songs. "Showbiz" originally released in 1979 it is now available with extra tracks on Indigo CD IGOCD 2084. With new drummer Paul Holm, the band toured Germany, but by the release of "Showbiz" Paul had left. Keith was touring in France before the Sect reformed, he'd met 'Killing Floor' drummer Rod De'Ath. Eventually Rod went on to join Rory Gallagher's band with Killing Floor's keyboard player Lou Martin. Terry knew Rod as well, he became the bands choice to join.
With 'Showbiz' available, the Sect toured Germany, promoting the album. Returning to the UK, they signed with Ronnie Scotts agency, touring the UK club and college circuit then into 1980 touring Norway. Over the tours the band built a tape collection of their concerts. Titled "Live in the 1980" the tour performances were eventually issued becoming their 'new' 2nd album. On returning to England, they recorded four tracks at Rod De'Ath’s own studios at Pebble Beach in Hastings. All were penned by the band. Don Craine recalls: "We spent a great time doing the four tracks, sensibly to get a record deal.
The record companies were interested in us, but interested in doing with us our old rhythm ‘n’ blues stuff from the sixties! We never did, we tried to get a deal like we did with "Showbiz" for new material! Two of the tracks were issued in the States on a special limited edition single". 'Sect appeal' relives the 1980's concert album of the band's hard driving R’n’B classics and shows why the record moguls in 1980's wanted more of this for their record buying clientele. The four studio tracks issued here together for their first time show why the band's decision was right in 'sticking to their- guns' for their own idea for a deal for their newly written compositions.
All the songs on 'Showbiz' had brought together all the groups writing talents. Most written by Keith, some co-written with Don. Keith collaborated with Terry on two here from the Pebble Beach sessions. Of their song writing, Terry today recalls: "Keith's a great song writer. I'll always say that. I think if somebody had put their time and money into our band in our early days we could have been as big as The Kinks or whatever. Keith over the years has written some good songs". The Downliners Sect influence on rock music continues. Today Terry (Gibson) Clemson leads his own TT's rock ‘n’ roll trio, whilst Keith, Don ‘n’ Paul's Downliners continue to excite the forever hungry R’n’B audiences around the world.
by Peter Moody
1. You Ain't Done Me Right (Take 2) (Gibson, Grant) - 3.22
2. Blue Night (Tiller) - 4.19
3. Colour Coded Red (O'Donnell) - 2.22
4. Rhythm 'N' Booze (Unknown) - 2.57
5. Got My Mojo Working (Foster) - 2.52
6. Bloodhound (Bright) - 1.41
7. Sect Appeal (Collier) - 2.10
8. Baby What's On Your Mind (Reed) - 2.00
9. Love Potion No.9 (Leiber, Stoller) - 2.32
10. Loose End (Tiller) - 3.10
11. Back In The USA (Berry) - 2.53
12. Wee Wee Baby (Turner, Johnson) - 3.51
13. Sweet Little Sixteen (Berry)- 3.05
14. Hoochie Coochie Man (Dixon) - 4.03
15. Nursery Rhymes (McDaniel) - 4.54
16. Bright Lights Big City (Derward, Russell) - 2.25
17. Shake Your Money Maker (Williamson) - 3.23
18. Route 66 (Troup) - 2.45
Tracks 1-4 recorded at Rod De'Ath's Studios, Pebble Beach, Hastings: May 1980
Tracks 5-18 recorded live concerts in London and Norway; Spring 1980
*Don Craine - Vocals, Guitar
*Terry Gibson - Guitar, Vocals
*Keith Grant - Vocals, Bass
*Paul Tiller - Vocals, Harp, Percussion
*Rod De'Ath - Drums
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