Gary Farr and the T-Bones

Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1  (1964-65)

- Gary Farr (RIP 1984) -- vocals, harmonica

- Andy McKechnie -- rhythm guitar 

- Stuart Parks -- bass 

- Rotston 'Andy' Steele -- drums

- Winston Vince Whetherall -- lead guitar


  line up 2  (1965)

- Gary Farr (RIP 1984) -- vocals, harmonica 

- Andy McKechnie -- rhythm guitar 

- Stuart Parks -- bass 

- NEW Brian 'Legs' Walkeley -- drums

- Winston Vince Whetherall -- lead guitar 


  line up 3 (1965-66)

NEW Keith Emmerson -- keyboards (replaced Andy McKenchnie) 

- Gary Farr (RIP 1984) -- vocals, harmonica

- NEW Lee Jackson -- bass (replaced Stuart Parks)

- NEW David Langston -- lead guitar (replaced 

  Winston Vince Whetherall)

- NEW Alan Turner -- drums (replaced Brian Walkeley)




- John Brown's Body (Keith Emerson)

- The Syd Dean Band (Brian 'Legs' Walkeley)

- Doggerell Bank (Andy Steele)

- Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Keith Emerson)

- Keith Emerson (solo efforts)

- Gary Farr (solo efforts)

- The Fox (Vince Whetherall)

- The Giants (Andy McKechnie)

- Hedgehoppers Anonymous (Lee Jackson)

- The Herd (Andy Steele)

- Lion (Gary Farr)

- The Nice (Keith Emerson and Lee Jackson)

- Shelley (Vince Whetherall)

- The Urchins (Stuart Parks)

- The V.I.P's (Keith Emerson)





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  London 1964-1965

Company: Charly

Catalog: CR 300015

Country/State: Worthing, Sussex, UK

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5668

Price: $25.00


Gary Farr and the T-Birds are another one of those mid-1960s R&B-inspired British bands that's been criminally overlooked.  Led by the late Gary Farr, this Sussex-based outfit didn't have an extensive recording catalog - one EP and a handful of 45s, but their small catalog's quite impressive, as is their list of alumnist.



Born and raised in Worthing, Sussex, Gary Farr was the son of British boxing champion Tommy Farr.  He had little interest in boxing, but a job working in his sisters' London jazz club helped him decide on a musical career. Like half of England, Farr decided his future lay in forming an R&B band.  As The T-Bones, that band came together in early 1964 showcasing the talents of former Giants rhythm guitarist Andy McKechnie, bassist Stuart Parks, drummer Andy Steele, and lead guitarist Winston 'Vince' Whetherall.


Band manger Robin Beste helped the group attract the attention of London-based promoter/Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky.  After seeing one of their club performances Gomelsky signed them to open for The Yardbirds at the Crawdaddy Club.  Over the next year the band became staples on England's southern coast club circuit.  Following The Yardbirds, in 1964 they got a shot playing at London's Marquee Club.  Originally billed as The T-Bones Invasion, they were offered an extended club residence.  That led to national touring exposure, include serving as the backing band for American R&B acts such as Moses Allison, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Howlin' Wolf) who were touring the UK.  Next came  television appearances, and a slot on the 1964 National Jazz and Blues Festival.


The resulting publicity saw Gomelsky help the band score a contract with EMI/Columbia and the release of a roaring Howling Wolf cover as their debut 45:


- 1964's 'How Many More Times' b/w 'I'm a Lover, Not a Fight' (Columbia catalog number DB 7401)


Their sophomore 45 featured new drummer Brian 'Legs' Walkeley.


- 1965's 'Won't You Give Him Another Chance' b/w 'Hamish's Express Relief' (Columbia catalog number  DB 7489).




That was followed by the four track EP "Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem T-Bones" (Columbia catalog number SEG 8414).  


"Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem T-Bones" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Indeed I Do   (Roby - Scott) - 2:12

2.) I'm a Lover Not a Fighter  (J. Miller) - 2:26


(side 2)

1.) Louisiana Red   (Willie Dixon) - 3:47

2.) Jumpback




Released by the Riveria label (catalog 231 075 M), there's also a rare four track French EP "T-Bones".


"T-Bones" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) I Am Louisiana Red   (Willie Dixon) - 3:47

2.) I'm a Lover Not a Fighter   (J. Miller) - 2:26


(side 2)

1.) Indeed I Do   (Roby - Scott) - 2:12

2.) Won't You Give Him Another Chance   (Martin - Scott) - 2:28


The summer of 1965 saw a third single credited to Gary Farr and the T-Bones and another personnel change with original keyboard player McKechnie replaced by former John Brown's Body keyboardist Keith Emerson.


- 1965's 'Give All She's Got' b/w 'Don't Stop and Stare' (Columbia catalog number DB 7608). 


The 45 also saw an American release on Epic Records:


- 1965's 'Give All She's Got' b/w 'Don't Stop and Stare' (Epic catalog number 9832).


Following another UK tour original bassist Parks and lead guitarist Whetherall gave notice leaving Farr as the only remaining original member.  Parks briefly played with the Brighton-based The Urchins, while Whetherall joined the band Shelley.   Farr quickly recruited replacements in the form of bassist Lee Jackson, lead guitarist David Langston, and drummer Alan Turner.  The revamped T-Birds stayed together through the end of 1966 at which point Farr dove into a sporadic solo career.



Released in 1977, "London 1964-65" served as an 11 track career retrospective.  Produced by Gomelsky (who also furnished the liner notes), the compilation pulled together the first single and miscellaneous studio material, some apparently not previously released.   So here are Gomelsky's comments:


"Gary Farr, son of ex-heavyweight champion of the British Empire Tommy Farr, and brother of Isle of Wight Festival co-promoter Rikki Farr, was discovered by one Hamish Grimes, who shall be nameless, playing some interesting folk-rock guitar outside a pub in Brighton, Sussex.  Soon Gary got himself a band together and was appearing at the Crawdaddy in Richmond playing a very 'muscular' out-of-town sort of R&B.  Little by little his band The T-Bones replaced The Yardbirds' residencies when the latter moved on to bigger and better things.  The big-time eluded the T-Bones only by a hair, however, in fact, their second single, a thing appropriately enough entitled 'Give Him One More Chance' bubbled under the Top Fifty for months on end and is even today one of the most 'revived 45s' on English radio.  Still, the lack of 'commercial' success did not dampen Gary's spirit ad the T-Bones became one of the most sought after club-bands in the land.  Over the years it counted amongst its distinguished members such people as Andy Steele, later of The Heard, Lee Jackson and Keith Emerson (not appearing here but long-time members of the group) later of The Nice, and now of Jackson Heights, and of course Emerson, Lake & Palmer.  'How Many More Times' and ;Louisiana Red' are good examples of the heavy 'riff format' of the group, later to become the 'pattern' for heavy rock-bands like Zeppelin, etc."


To be perfectly honest, most 1960s-era English blues bands don't do a great deal for me.  It's probably not very fashionable to say this, but why would I want to hear a bunch of British guys (even the likes of Burden, Jagger, Mayall, Plant, Price, Relf, or Winwood) trying to mimic an American genre when I could hear the originals?  Well, let me tell you that Farr and company were one of the rare exceptions.  These guys were about as close to the real thing as you could get.  While most of these eleven tracks were straightforward covers of R&B chestnuts, virtually every one was performed with considerable energy.  Farr had a great voice and The T-Bones were a fantastic back outfit (check out the instrumental 'Get the Money').  Easy to see why the got picked to back Howlin Wolf and other American R&B artists.  Highlights included 'How Many More Times', 'Dearest Darling' and a kickass 'Louisiana Red'.  Sure, it wasn't perfect.  No originals, the country-flavored 'Yes I Do' was a mistake and some of the slower bluesy numbers were kind of dull.  Also, in the interest of full disclosure let me mention that the sound quality on some of the tracks was a bit rough.  As an example, on 'Louisiana Red' Farr's vocals are limited to the right channel.  All told minor considerations.  Well worth looking for, especially since you can still find the album on the cheap.


"London 1964-1965" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) How Many More Times

2.) I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter

3.) Dearest Darling

4.) You Don't Love Me

5.) Quit Teasing My Baby

6.) Louisiana Red


(side 2)
1.) Oh Baby, Baby

2.) C.C. Rider   (Rainy) - 

3.) Get the Money (instrumental)

4.) Yes I Do

5.) I Feel Alright


In the early-1980s Farr moved to Southern California were he reappeared as a member of Lion. The band managed to release one instantly obscure album before calling it quits (see separate entry). Farr subsequently largely dropped out of the music business. He got married and raised a family while paying his bills as a photographer. Sadly, in 1984 he suffered a fatal heart attack in his sleep.





I'm not sure if it's a legitimate release or not, but in 1984 the French Eva label released a sixteen track compilation entitled "Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem T-Bones" (Eva catalog number EVA-12041).  The most comprehensive posthumous collection, it pulled together the singles, the four track EP and various odds and ends.


"Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem T-Bones" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) How Many More Times

2.) I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter

3.) Get the Money

4.) Give All She's Got

5.) Don't Stop and Stare

6.) Dearest Darling

7.) Quit Teasing My Baby

8.) I Feel Alright


(side 2)

1.) Louisiana Red

2.) Jumpback

3.) Indeed I Do

4.) Hamish's Express Relief (instrumental)

5.) How Many More Times

6.) Oh Baby, Baby

7.) C.C. Rider

8.) You Don't Love Me




I've never heard it, but Farr and company are also featured on a weird 1971  compilation album - "Rock Generation, Vol. VII".  Released by the British Byg label (catalog number 529 707) the album featured Farr & the T-Bones on side one and four tracks by The Soft Machine on side two.