The Mark Leeman Five — “The Boy Who Walks All Alone”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — October 25, 2022

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

618) The Mark Leeman Five — “The Boy Who Walks All Alone”

The group’s first demo, circa ‘62, is a haunting and unforgettable mod/northern soul number. The Five had conquered the London clubs and were readying an assault on the realm when their leader was killed in a crash following a gig. Not a plane crash, just an everyday car.

Vernon Joynson says that:

A popular mid-sixties act around the London clubs, they played a mixture of R&B and jazz and secured a deal with EMI’s Columbia label. After their debut disc, Portland Town, which had been produced by Manfred Mann, Leeman was tragically killed in a car crash in June 1965. . . . [A] tape of exciting R&B songs recorded back in 1963 . . . show what a major force this band would have become had Leeman survived.

The Tapestry of Delights Revisited

Brian Hogg’s notes note that:

[T]hey were persistently tipped by audiences, writers and rival groups as the act “most likely to succeed”. . . . [Their] first demo tape, probably recorded in 1962 . . . combined “The Boy Who Walks All Alone” with “Chasing Shadows”. . . . The break the Five sought materialised when they supported Manfred Mann on a one night stand . . . . The headliners were so impressed that they suggested Mark contact their manager, Ken Pitt, and confirmed their interest with an enthusiastic telephone call . . . . In January 1964 Pitt duly added the quintet to his growing roster . . . . The[y] supported Manfred Mann throughout their residency at the famed Marquee Club, and they were quickly established as favourites at many other venues. The group became the toast of London’s in-crowd, all of the Beatles were in attendance when they played at the Cromwellian and reverential notices began to appear in the pop press. . . . “Portland Town” c/w “Gotta Get Myself Together” became the Five’s debut release. Issued in January 1965 . . . . although the single did not chart, it did confirm the unit’s special talent.

Liner notes to The Mark Leeman Memorial Album

Anorak Thing adds:

The . . . Five were one of those 60’s jazzy British r&b bands who were always gigging with bigger named acts at all the London haunts like The Marquee, The Flamingo or Klook’s Kleek (they actually held a regular Monday night residency at the Marquee club in 1965 which flip flopped with The Moody Blues and Manfred Mann while The Who were packing them in every Tuesday night).

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2011/03/mark-leeman-five.html?m=1

Finally, Len tells us:

The Mark Leeman Five chose to enhance their R’n’B with a smattering of funky jazz via the likes of Booker T, Ray Charles and Nina Simone, mostly courtesy of their trump card, the splendid acoustic/electric pianist and occasional organ player Terry Goldberg. Along with the spiky guitar of Alan Roskams . . . came the aggressive, punky pipes of Mark Leeman. The Five assembled at school in Woolwich in 1961, and their initial influence was clearly Joe Meek judging by their first demo single. The second covered Barrett Strong’s Money “well before the Fabs got hold of it” and indicates their change of direction. Sometime in 1963 they cut an eleven-track demo album which was two years ahead of its time and didn’t find a sponsor. Undaunted, Leeman and the lads built up a formidable live following around the capital . . . .

http://therisingstorm.net/mark-leeman-five-memorial-album/

“The Boy Who Walks All Alone” had been released in ‘62 as the B-side of the last of Jerry Angelo’s five singles. It was written by Lee Lenrow and Paul De Schoeder. (https://www.45cat.com/record/pg9034). SecondHand songs tells us that Jerey was born Wally Shackell in London in 1933. “He became a member of the Five Dallas Boys in 1957. From 1959 through 1962 he recorded as Jerry Angelo. Later he moved to Australia.” (https://secondhandsongs.com/artist/135880)

Here is Jerry Angelo:

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