Most UK football fans would be surprised to learn that one of the most instantly recognisable hand-clapping chants heard throughout England’s soccer grounds during the 60s was created by two brothers born on a small farm in ruralIllinois, Lanny and Robert Duncan. Having settled in Los Angeles, Lanny was signed by A&R man Joe Saraceno, who was looking for likely pop stars in the early 60s teen idol mould. Lanny was not only a pop star in waiting but, when paired with songwriting partner Robert, also a source of catchy instrumentals, such as the Routers’ ‘Let’s Go’ – an irresistibly infectious tune delivered by the twangy guitar of Tommy Tedesco, the rasping sax of Plas Johnson and the big beat of drummer Earl Palmer. Layered on top of everything was the most maddeningly contagious sequence of handclaps that virtually begged you to clap along. And the world did.
Joe Saraceno and his right-hand man, writer and musician Michael Z Gordon, had already scored a couple of instrumental hits with their independent productions released on Liberty under the name of the Marketts. The duo had everything at their fingertips to create more of the same; top arrangers Ernie Freeman and Rene Hall and the cream of LA session guys were on call. They had so many good commercial ideas that they created a second vehicle for their productions under the name of the Routers. Saraceno took the master for ‘Let’s Go’ to Joe Smith at Warner Bros and watched as the disc rose to #19 towards the end of 1962, and then make it up to #32 early the following year in the UK. Saraceno preferred his easygoing relationship with Smith and so transferred the Marketts’ future releases to Warner Bros (the best of which can be heard on their Ace CD “Outer Space, Hot Rods & Superheroes” CDLUX 006).
As well as providing ideas, helping with arrangements and production and writing some of the material, Michael Z Gordon also took charge of promotion by leading several line-ups of touring musicians (including Scott Walker at one time) out on the road as both the Marketts and the Routers. In the CD booklet Michael recalls some of his experiences on the road. He also very kindly provided several photos of the touring bands he led, several of which have not been seen before.
“A-Ooga!!! Stamp & Shake With The Routers” collects together the band’s best recordings, including the hits ‘Let’s Go’ and ‘Sting Ray’, all of the rare non-LP 45s and highlights from their four albums. Best of all, there are four unreleased tracks which we are delighted to present here for the first time anywhere. We confidently declare it the best Routers CD ever.