July

July was an English psych-rock band that released a 1968 album and two singles on Major Minor. They evolved from beatsters The Tomcats, which cut four 1965–66 singles for the Spanish market. Guitarist Tony Duhig and keyboardist Jon Field formed Jade Warrior and recorded multiple seventies albums for Vertigo and Island. Singer Tom Newman made sporadic solo albums and engineered titles by Mike Oldfield, Riff Raff, Hatfield and the North, Paul Brett, and The Adverts.

Members: Tony Duhig (guitar), Jon Field (flute, keyboards), Chris Jackson (drums), Alan James (bass), Tom Newman (vocals)


Background

July has its roots in The Tomcats, an Ealing beat group composed of singer Tom Newman, guitarist Tony Duhig, keyboardist Jon Field, bassist Alan James, and drummer Chris Jackson.

Duhig and Field met around 1960 when both worked as factory forklift drivers. They held jam sessions on assorted instruments, inspired by Asian, African, and Latin music.


The Second Thoughts

In January 1963, Duhig joined The Second Thoughts, an R&B–beat group formed by Irish transplant Patrick Campbell-Lyons. On March 2, they opened the final Ealing Club show of rising stars The Rolling Stones. Field, who worked as Second Thoughts’ roadie, joined in mid-1964 along with (later Thunderclap Newman) drummer John “Speedy” Keen.

On the Ealing circuit, The Second Thoughts rubbed shoulders with Newman’s band, which first called themselves The Dreamers until the international rise of Manchester beatsters Freddie & The Dreamers. The early Tomcats lineup featured James, Jackson, and guitarist Pete Cook.

The Second Thoughts covered the Western swing traditional “Cocaine Blues” and recorded four originals: “Seventh Son,” “Walking,” “You Gotta Help (Help Me),” and “Looking For My Baby.” In late 1964, they played to Oxfordshire-stationed US servicemen along with Percy Sledge and John Lee Hooker. They broke up when French singer Teddy Raye poached Duhig and the rhythm section for his continental touring band The Savage Cats.


The Tomcats

Meanwhile, The Tomcats hired Field. When Duhig returned from France, he took the place of Cook, who maintained a songwriting partnership with Newman. The Tomcats spent a year in Spain, where they cut four EPs (one in Spanish, three in English) for the local branch of Philips.

The three English EPs (twelve songs in all) contains a total of four Stones covers (“Get Off of My Cloud,” “Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No Satisfaction),” “19th Nervous Breakdown,” “Paint It Black”) and three Newman originals (“Running at Shadows,” “It Ain’t Right,” “Don’t Ask for Me”), plus covers of The Beatles (“Yesterday”), Yardbirds (“For Your Love”), Spencer Davis Group (“Keep On Running”), The Mamas and the Papas (“Monday Monday”), and Bo Diddly (“Roadrunner”). On the second English EP (cat# 436 826 PE), they’re billed as ‘Los Tomcats.’

(Elsewhere, Campbell-Lyons announced a new Second Thoughts with bassist Chris Thomas and future Stones guitarist Mick Taylor. After tours of Germany and Sweden, he cut two singles with Thomas as Hat & Tie. Thomas moved into the production and Campbell-Lyons formed Nirvana with Greek keyboardist Alex Spyropoulos.)


1968

When Newman returned to London, he and Cook co-wrote a batch of songs that signaled The Tomcat’s embrace of psychedelia. In 1968, they changed their name to July and signed with Major Minor Records.

On June 7, 1968, July debuted with the single “My Clown” backed with “Dandelion Seeds,” both Newman originals produced by Major Minor staffer Tommy Scott, a former Decca soundman (Them, Twinkle, The Gonks).

A. “My Clown”
B. “Dandelion Seeds”


July

July released their self-titled album in July 1968 on Major Minor. It features eleven Tom Newman originals, including both sides of the pre-released single and “Too Be Free,” “A Bird Lived,” and “The Way.” Side Two contains “Crying Is For Writers,” a Chris Jackson number.

A1. “My Clown” (3:21)
A2. “Dandelion Seeds” (4:29)
A3. “Jolly Mary” (3:20)
A4. “Hallo To Me” (2:56)
A5. “You Missed It All” (2:48)
A6. “The Way” (3:20)
B1. “To Be Free” (2:46)
B2. “Move On Sweet Flower” (3:23)
B3. “Crying Is for Writers” (2:34)
B4. “I See” (2:59)
B5. “Friendly Man” (3:09)
B6. “A Bird Lived” (2:38)

On October 25, 1968, July released the standalone a-side “Hello, Who’s There?” (b/w “The Way”).

A. “Hello, Who’s There?”


Post-July

July split in 1969 when Duhig joined a late-period lineup of Unit 4 + 2, which featured bassist–singer Glyn Havard. The two spent time in Persia for unspecified reasons and, on their return, linked with Field in Jade Warrior, an experimental jam band that pioneered strains of new age and world beat music. Between 1971 and 1978, they released three albums on Vertigo (five recorded) and four on Island.

Newman went into production and served as Mike Oldfield‘s chief soundman. As a solo artist, he made the 1975–77 albums Fine Old Tom and Faerie Symphony.


Discography:

  • July (1968)

Sources:

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