Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gene Latter

In Welsh musical history Gene Latter is the nearly man. During the Sixties and early Seventies he released numerous singles but never managed to attain that elusive hit record. His career encompassed beat, r'n'b, soul, freakbeat, psychedelia and even disco.

Latter's real name was Arthur Ford and he came from South William Street, Butetown (Tiger Bay), Cardiff. In Cardiff he had been a member of a local band called The Alley Cats before leaving to seek out his fortune in London. In the Smoke he hooked up with a Rhodesian outfit called The Shake Spears who were quite popular in Belgium (see pic: Gene is the one wearing shades). He stayed with the band from 1965 to early 1966 before deciding to pursue a solo career.

Amongst his many solo singles are his version of the Rolling Stones' Mother's Little Helper (1966); the self-explanatory A Tribute to Otis (1968); the storming northern soul classic Sign on the Dotted Line (1969); a song about his childhood Tiger Bay (1969); freakbeat rarity The Old Iron Bell (1969); and a cover of Marvin Gaye's Too Busy Thinking About My Baby (1971). Latter also found time to front The Detours who released My Life Ain't Easy (1968) and Pieces of You (1968).

That wasn’t all. In 1978 he put out a single spectacularly entitled, John Travolta, You are a Superstar. Basically, my life will not be complete until I’ve heard this record. Any more info on Gene Latter would be much appreciated.

*Also check out another northern soul favourite, Gene Latter's Funny Face Girl, on YouTube