Jason Crest

Jason Crest was an English pop-psych band that released five 1968–69 singles on Philips, later collected with six additional tracks on a retrospective disc by archivists Wooden Hill. They briefly morphed into High Broom for a 1970 standalone single on Island.

Singer Terry Clarke released an album apiece with hard-rockers Orang-Utan and rustic-rockers Holy Mackerel, the latter with Crest guitarist Derek Smallcombe and drummer Roger Siggery. Smallcombe also played on the 1971 self-titled album by Samuel Prody.

Members: Terry Clarke (vocals), Terry Dobson (organ), Derek Smallcombe (guitar), Roger Siggery (drums), Ron Fowler (bass, 1967-68), John Selley (bass, 1968-69)


Background

Jason Crest sprung from The Good Thing Brigade, an unsigned beat act from Tonbridge, Kent, composed of singer Terry Clarke, organist Terry Dobson, guitarist Derek Smallcombe, bassist Ron Fowler, and (ex-Tony’s Defenders) drummer Roger Siggery. In this first iteration, they cut a later-comped 1967 acetate: “My House Is Burning,” a medium-slow singalong with boyish vocals, carnival organ, and traffic sounds.

In late 1967, they caught the attention of Fritz Fryer, the onetime guitarist of Blackburn beatsters The Four Pennies and the spinoff folk trio Fritz, Mike and Mo. He raced ahead of an interested EMI and secured them a deal Philips, which signed them for five singles and a possible album. They renamed their act Jason Crest, culled from their unrecorded song “The Collected Works of Justin Crest.”


First Three Singles

On January 5, 1968, Jason Crest released their first single: “Turquoise Tandem Cycle” backed with “Good Life,” both originals co-written by Clark and Terry Dobson.

A. “Turquoise Tandem Cycle” (3:43)
B:. “Good Life” (2:47)

On April 5, 1968, Jason Crest released their first single: “Juliano the Bull” backed with “Two By the Sea,” both Clark–Dobson originals.

A. “Juliano the Bull” (2:28)
B. “Two By the Sea” (2:57)

Radio One banned “Juliano the Bull” over its perceived glorification of blood sports. For their next single, Philips insisted on outside material.

On August 23, 1968, Jason Crest released “(Here We Go Round The) Lemon Tree,” a Move cover backed with “Patricia’s Dream,” which Fryer co-wrote with Philips staffer David Sandison.

A. “(Here We Go Round The) Lemon Tree” (3:04)
B. “Patricia’s Dream” (2:43)

On the brink of an upcoming German tour, Fowler cleared for bassist John Selley. 


1969 Singles

On February 28, 1969, Jason Crest released their fourth single: “Waterloo Road” backed with the Clark–Dobson original “Education.”

A. “Waterloo Road” (3:13) was co-written by ex-Four Pennies bassist Mike Wilshaw and Fritz, Mike and Mo songwriter Mike Deighan. French chanson singer Joe Dassin adopted this song as “Les Champs-Élysées” for a 1969 single.
B. “Education” ()

On August 22, 1969, Jason Crest released their fifth and final single: the Clark–Dobson originals “A Place In the Sun” and “Black Mass,” a song Philips once deemed unsuitable.

A. “A Place In the Sun” (3:24)
B. “Black Mass” (4:46)


Later Activity

With the expiration of their Philips contract, Terry Clarke left Jason Crest and Fryer turned his attention to Philips latest psychedelic act, The Open Mind.

Clarke joined Orang Utan, a London hard-rock combo that released a 1970 self-titled album on Bell Records. They remaining members of Jason Crest (Dobson, Smallcombe, Siggery, Selley) hired two of Siggery’s bandmates from Tony’s Defenders: singer Brian Prebble (ex-Riot Squad) and guitarist Brian Bennett, who since cut four singles with the Mike Stuart Span, which made a vaulted album for Elektra as Leviathan.

With the two Brians, Jason Crest changed its name to High Broom and cut the 1970 Island single “Dancing In the Moonlight,” a cover of the recent Boffalongo single (later made famous by King Harvest) backed with “Percy’s On the Run,” a Prebble original with sharp organ, strident guitar fills, and harmonized refrains. High Broom recorded a full album that went unreleased.

In 1972, Clarke reunited with Smallcombe and Siggery in Holy Mackerel, which made a self-titled album of rustic rock for CBS and cut a second that went unreleased for twenty years.

In 1998, archivists Wooden Hill released The Collected Works of Jason Crest, a fourteen song that collects four singles (everything but “Waterloo Road”) and gathers their acetates and material for a planned 1969 album.

“My House Is Burning” (3:23)
“The Collected Works of Justin Crest” (3:38)
“King of the Castle” (2:58)
“Teagarden Lane” (4:07)
“Charge of the Light Brigade” (3:03)
“You Really Got A Hold On Me” (4:04)


Discography:

  • “Turquoise Tandem Cycle” / “Good Life” (1968)
  • “Juliano the Bull” / “Two by the Sea” (1968)
  • “(Here We Go Round The) Lemon Tree” / “Patricia’s Dream” (1968)
  • “Waterloo Road” / “Education” (1969)
  • “A Place in the Sun” / “Black Mass” (1969)
  • Collected Works of Jason Crest (1998)

Sources:

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