Archived Press Reports - 1960s


Most groups would give their amplifiers just for a chance to play to a multi-million transistor-side audience. Now Newbury’s best-progressed Country and Western gang Johnny and the Hayriders have been accoladed with an invite to transmit in the BBC’s stereophonic schedule.


“Doesn’t this make you feel homesick?” This comment, passed between two Americans at a performance by Johnny and the Hayriders is probably the greatest tribute any Country and Western group could be given about its authenticity and ability. Now recognised among those who appreciate good C & W as one of the best exponents of the modern Nashville sound playing outside Tennessee, this Newbury group always aims to give the public music pure in form and unaffected by current, temporary trends in style.


Heading a new trend towards Country and Western music are Newbury’s Johnny and the Hayriders. Each week they may be seen playing in Hammersmith where they have a large following as one of the top C & W bands.


‘Newbury group’s bid for the charts’


Jon Derek (The Flintlocks) eyed his first record release (What Goes On), poured himself a lager and said, “I bet the critics knock hell out of it.”


The A-side of the first record by The Flintlocks is ‘What Goes On’ by the grand old team of Lennon and McCartney. But the B-side of this Decca release is ‘I Walked Right Into Heaven’ which was originally written by Jon Derek (who sings and plays rhythm guitar with The Flintlocks) and offered to his idol Jim Reeves. Unfortunately, Jim died before the possibility of recording it came up.

They trooped into my office the other morning and deposited themselves in various positions of rest on the staff furniture. They call themselves Jamie, Jon & Jerry, a country music trio, but there is also Jed the drummer. "We like to have Jed mentioned," said Jon. Surprisingly there were five of them in the office, but the odd man out turned out to be their road manager, Gary Roberts.


I wrote about these boys several months ago when they were making a name for themselves around Andover. Since then they have been on a British tour with Hank Locklin and in the near future will be off on tour to Sweeden and Germany. "We earn a fair enough living," said Jon modestly. Jon is the one who does the talking and the rest just agree with what he says. They all dress rather modestly exept for Jed who looks more like a 'pop' group member than a drummer for a country music group.


Actually they have just made their second record, 'A Place In My Heart' which is due for release on the Decca label. "This is the best we have done," said Jon. "It's commercially good. We spent three hours on a Sunday morning in a studio with a 30-piece orchestra to get this sound."


Don Arden, their manager, has spent about £1000 on promoting this record and already the radio stations are plugging it.


Jon was very keen to emphasise the difference between country music and country and western. "The western bit makes people think of cowboy boots and stetsons," he said. "We do not do numbers that Roy Rodgers used to sing and so country and western would not really describe our style."


Starting on Saturday the group take up the resident spot in a new programme on the radio called 'Country and Folk'.



‘Local group is on the way up’


The Newbury group, Jamie, Jon & Jerry gambled that the public wants a return to sweet, soft and sometimes sad music, and that gamble looks like paying off with big dividends. Next Friday their first disc, ‘A Place In My Heart’ is cut and released by Decca Records. The group’s producer, Dick Rowe is the man who has introduced a string of star-studded names to the public – among them Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.




‘Progressive country music'


Jamie, Jon & Jerry are one of the few British groups who have entered the Record Mirror Country Music charts and are pretty proud of their achievement.