The Wild Oats The Wild Oats


60s Rock
Big Beat
Catalogue Id:

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The Wild Oats (MP3), MP3 (£7.11)

One of the classics of British Beat collecting. Now in perfect sound, with five extra tracks from the sessions.

In the swinging 60s, the very small town of Leiston in Suffolk was home to its own beat group: the Wild Oats. In 1963 budding producer David Nicolson put an ad for new bands in the NME and the Oats were the first to reply. The following year they were in R.G. Jones’ studios in Morden, south London, recording five rousing R&B numbers. They were issued on a custom-pressed EP on the Oak label, the catch-all imprint run by the studio. The run was only 100 discs. David went back into the studios, this time with Harry Stoneham added on piano, to cut ‘I’m Coming Home’ and ‘So Long’. The latter song was written by Crispian St Peters, who added harmonies to it. A final session was recorded at Tony Pike’s studios in Putney but only two tracks recorded there survived.

The glossy EP was quickly forgotten until beat group record collecting began seriously in the 70s and the Oak label became one of the ultimate objects of desire. Oak boasted EPs from the Bo Street Runners and the Five Of Diamonds and singles from the A-Jaes, the Thyrds, Pneumonia and the Factory. All are highly collectible and would cost between £500-£1000 each if sold today. Let’s say £750 for the Wild Oats EP, if you can find a copy for sale.

Moving on 50 years, Ace Records were put into contact with producer David Nicolson, a fascinating 60s music business character who went on to produce Crispian St Peters on his big hits ‘You Were On My Mind’ (music by Harry Stoneham) and ‘The Pied Piper’ as well as records by the Mark Leeman Five, the Truth, Patsy Fuller and many more; the young Jimmy Page features on several of his recordings. David not only had all the master tapes of the Wild Oats EP but also the three extra R.G. Jones tracks and the two from the Tony Pike session. He had the original photos from the shoot on the Suffolk coast and even a couple of copies of the EP.

With the extra tracks sounding at least the equal of the issued numbers, Ace felt a 10-inch deluxe vinyl LP would be most appropriate; the inner bag giving a chance to display the artefacts. Even better, most of the group are still performing around their home town and will enjoy this historic appreciation of their musical talents.

Ady Croasdell


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