Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band / Dantalian’s Chariot

Dantalian’s Chariot was a short-lived English band that released the 1967 pop-psych single “Madman Running Through the Fields” on Columbia (EMI). The band evolved out of Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and featured guitarist Andy Summers, who shuffled through numerous acts before finding fame with The Police during the 1980s.

Members: Andy Summers (guitar), Pat Donaldson (bass), Colin Allen (drums), Zoot Money (keyboards, vocals)


Formation

The Big Roll Band formed in autumn 1961 when singer George Bruno “Zoot” Money (b. July 17, 1942) assembled four Bournemouth musicians, including (subsequent Trendsetters Limited) pianist Al Kirtley, who soon resigned the keyboard slot to Money.

After a revolving sequence of guitar, brass, and rhythm players, the lineup settled in the winter of 1963–64 with guitarist Andy Somers, bassist–singer Paul Williams, drummer Colin Allen, and saxophonists Clive Burrows and Nick Newall. Williams and Burrows both hailed from the Colosseum-precursor the Wes Minster Five. Money named them the “big roll band” after a misheard phrase (actually “big old band”) in the Chuck Berry classic “Johnny B. Goode.”


Early Singles

In 1964, the Big Roll Band became a resident act at Soho’s Flamingo Club, where Zoot roused audiences with his flamboyant stage antics. In August, they made their vinyl debut with the Decca single “The Uncle Willie” (b/w “Zoot’s Suit”).

A. “The Uncle Willie”
B. “Zoot’s Suite”

In November, Zoot and the Roll Band signed to Columbia and released their second single as ‘Paul Williams & the Big Roll Band.”

A. “Gin House”
B. “Rockin’ Chair”

Between March and September 1965, Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band released three standalone singles, each at three-month intervals.

A. “Good”
B. “Bring It Home to Me”

A. “Please Stay”
B. “You Know You’ll Cry”

A. “Something Is Worrying Me”
B. “Stubborn Kind of Fellow”

Zoot declined an invite by Eric Burdon to replace keyboardist Alan Price in The Animals.


It Should’ve Been Me

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band released their debut album, It Should’ve Been Me, in October 1965 on Columbia. It features covers of songs by James Brown (“I’ll Go Crazy”), Chuck Berry (“Sweet Little Rock and Roller”), Jimmy Reed (“Bright Lights, Big City”), and Eddie ‘Tex’ Curtis (“It Should Have Been Me”). Bassist Paul Williams sings “Rags and Old Iron” and the Rufus Thomas cover “Jump Back.”

1. “I’ll Go Crazy” (3:44) James Brown
2. “Jump Back” (2:19) Rufus Thomas
3. “Along Came John” (4:56) John Patton
4. “Back Door Blues” (6:14) Robert Brown
5. “It Should Have Been Me” (2:56) Eddie Curtis
6. “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” (2:59) Chuck Berry
7. “My Wife Can’t Cook” (4:53) Gerald L Russ
8. “Rags and Old Iron” (3:35) Norman Curtis and Oscar Brown Jr.
9. “The Cat” (3:35) Lalo Schifrin
10. “Feelin’ Sad” (6:22) Eddie Guitar Slim Jones
11. “Bright Lights, Big City” (5:00) Jimmy Reed
12. “Fina” (2:50) Stuart?

Columbia placed “Jump Back” as the b-side of “The Many Faces of Love,” the second Paul Williams solo single with Big Roll backing.

A. “The Many Faces of Love” is a song by American writers Mort Shuman and Doc Pomus.

In late 1965, Clive Burrows jumped ship to Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band. Zoot hired saxophonist Johnny Almond (then nineteen).


Later Singles and Live Album

March 1966

A. “Let’s Run For Cover”
B. “Self-Discipline”

July 1966

A. “Big Time Operator”
B. “Zoot’s Sermon”

“Big Time Operator” reached No. 25 on the UK Singles Chart.

In October 1966, Money and the Big Roll Band released Zoot!, a live album taped at Klooks Kleek in West Hampstead.

1. “Chauffeur”
2. “One and Only Man”
3. “I’ve Been Trying”
4. “Florence of Arabia”
5. “Let the Good Times Roll”
6. “James Brown Medley”
7. “Mashed Potatoes U.S.A.”
8. “Nothing Can Change This Love”
9. “Barefooting”

Zoot! reached No. 23 on the UK Albums Chart.

December 1966

A. “Star of the Show”
B. “Mound Moves”

Williams broke off and formed the Paul Williams Set with Almond and Happy Magazine drummer Alan White. Zoot hired Scottish bassist Pat Donaldson.


Dantalian’s Chariot

In July 1967, Zoot Money transformed the Big Roll Band into Dantalian’s Chariot, a psychedelic act named after the witchcraft demon Duke Dantalion. Chariot contained Somers, Donaldson, and drummer Colin Allen.

Dantalian’s Chariot played their first show at the Windsor National Blues Festival, a three-day event (August 11–13) with sets by the Alan Bown Set, Amen Corner, Aynsley Dunbar, Blossom Toes, Chicken Shack, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Cream, Donovan, Jeff Beck Group, The Move, The Nice, Paul Jones, Pentangle, Small Faces, Tomorrow, Ten Years After, and (in their live debut) Peter Green‘s Fleetwood Mac.

Dantalian’s Chariot gigged Swinging London’s psychedelic haunts with an elaborate light show imported from San Francisco.


“Madman Running Through the Fields”

In September 1967, Dantalian’s Chariot released “Madman Running Through the Fields,” a Money–Somers original backed with “Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud.”

A. “Madman Running Through the Fields” (4:12)
B. “Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” (3:00) is a song by the writing team of (ex-Crawdaddies) Tony Colton and Ray Smith, who also co-wrote the Merseybeats’ side “I Stand Accused” (later covered by Elvis Costello).

Columbia issued “Madman” but ultimately balked at Zoot’s change of sound. Dantalian’s Chariot recorded an album for CBS-subsidiary Direction Records. Meanwhile, they appeared alongside The Idle Race and Blossom Toes in the music film Popdown.

Direction rejected the new material and instead issued Transition, a 1968 collection of late-period Big Roll Band recordings under Zoot Money’s name.

Dantalian’s Chariot broke up in April 1968 when Money joined Eric Burdon’s new Animals, where Somers soon joined them (after a brief unrecorded stint with Soft Machine). The December 1968 ‘New’ Animals release Love Is contains a cover of “Madman Running Through the Fields.”

Somers did subsequent work behind Kevin Ayers and (as Andy Summers) resurfaced in mid-1977 in The Police, a London punk combo that rose to global fame. Colin Allen did stints with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Stone The Crows, and Focus. Pat Donaldson joined the Colton–Smith project Poet and the One Man Band and teamed with Sandy Denny in Fotheringay.


Chariot Rising

In 1996, archivist Wooden Hill issued Chariot Rising, which gathers the 1967 single and eight tracks from the long-vaulted album.

1. “Madman Running Through the Fields” (4:12)
2. “Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” (3:00)
3. “Fourpenny Bus Ride” (3:39)
4. “Soma Part One” (4:35)
5. “Coffee Song” (2:46)
6. “World War Three” (3:49)
7. “Recapture the Thrill” (3:49)
8. “Four Firemen” (3:29)
9. “Soma Part Two” (1:45)
10. “High Flying Bird” (3:43)


Discography:

  • “Madman Running Through the Fields” / “Sun Came Bursting Through My Cloud” (1967)
  • Chariot Rising (1996, recorded 1967–68)

Sources:

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