The Lomax Alliance: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — August 6, 2022

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

543) The Lomax Alliance — “Try As You May”

A-side of the Alliance’s only single (’67), which, per Steve Leggett, “combine[s] blue-eyed soul with a kind of British Invasion template.” Why wasn’t this a hit? Leggett also noted that:

Jackie Lomax . . . has always had a soulful voice, a bit like his contemporary Steve Winwood . . . (the two actually also look strikingly similar), but his considerable talent never translated . . . into international commercial success.

https://www.allmusic.com/album/lost-soul-lomax-alliance-solo-singles-demos-1966-1967-mw0002002690

This lack of success baffled the Beatles, who try as they may, couldn’t make Jackie Lomax (see #164, 425) a star, and it baffles me.m too. Brian Pendreigh writes that:

A lot of people thought Jackie Lomax should have been a big star. He had moody good looks, a great bluesy voice and a decent backing band that had considerable success in their own right under the name The Beatles. . . . Bill Harry, author of The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia, said his lack of chart success baffled The Beatles.

https://www.scotsman.com/news/obituaries/obituary-jackie-lomax-singer-1561004

And Bruce Eder writes that “Jackie Lomax should have been one of Liverpool’s homegrown rock & roll stars — that’s what the Beatles believed, and George Harrison and Paul McCartney both thought enough of his talent to back him variously as producers and record company executives at a critical juncture in all of their careers.” (https://www.allmusic.com/artist/jackie-lomax-mn0000130486/biography)

The Guardian gives some history:

Lomax had known the Beatles since their early days at the Cavern club and in Hamburg, when he was the singer and bass guitarist with the Undertakers, a popular Mersey Beat band noted for their energetic stage show, in which the musicians wore the frock coats, and sometimes top hats, appropriate to funeral directors in the wild west. . . . [T]he son of a millworker, the teenaged Lomax and his friend the drummer Warren “Bugs” Pemberton left their first band, Dee and the Dynamites, to join the Undertakers in January 1962. Like the Beatles, their stage act was developed during residencies at the clubs in and around Hamburg’s Reeperbahn . . . . [A] contract with Pye Records had produced four singles . . . but no hits [so] they tried to capitalise on the British invasion of the US charts by moving across the Atlantic. Left stranded and penniless in a motel in Canada, they disbanded and in 1967 Lomax and Pemberton formed their own group, the Lomax Alliance.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/sep/17/jackie-lomax

Anorak Thing takes up the story:

[When the] Undertakers went belly up. . . . Lomax and drummer Bugs Pemberton hooked up with some NYC locals and began playing as The Lost Souls . . . and in early ’66 Brian Epstein saw them play in Greenwich Village and convinced them to come back to England where under the name of The Lomax Alliance they cut several tracks, in fact nearly an album’s worth . . . .

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2013/11/jake-holmes-via-jackie-lomax.html

On this Day in Music wraps it up:

[Lomax recalled] “Epstein ended up in New York with the Beatles for the Shea Stadium concert, and we went to Shea with the Beatles, and hung out with them at the Warwick Hotel. Epstein wanted to take me back to London as a singer, but I told him to listen to the whole band, and the entire Lomax Alliance went back to London.”

They had recorded some tracks in New York before crossing the Atlantic and Brian Epstein arranged for them to record more titles to complete an album . . . . Epstein [brought them] to London’s Saville Theatre, and arranged for a single and an album to be recorded. . . . In Britain, the only Lomax Alliance single, “Try As You May” b/w “See The People,” proved no more successful than the Undertakers’ releases in spite of Brian Epstein’s backing. Unfortunately Epstein’s untimely death intervened and no further Lomax Alliance recordings were released. The band were ‘inherited’ by Robert Stigwood who was too preoccupied with the BeeGees to pay any attention to the Lomax Alliance. The group went back to America but disbanded soon afterwards . . . .

https://onthisdaymusic.com/2021/09/17/september-15-2013-jackie-lomax-died/

“You in your chair will judge without care. Search every word in your conscience. Open your mind and see that you’ll find a trace of the bind that once joined us. Take from the past things that will last. Think of the goodness that I gave you. You will try as you may but you won’t find a day. When you can say you regret it, you can’t change the fact that I did love you back. Say thanks for that and not for leaving. I don’t see a crime in changing my mind. Don’t you waste your time on grieving. You can try as you may but you won’t find a day when you can say you regret it.”

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