Please was an English pop-psych band that recorded two albums worth of material during 1968 and 1969. They emerged from Neon Pearl and underwent three iterations over a two-year period. Their constant was drummer Pete Dunton, who moonlighted in The Flies and Gun.
Bassist Bernard Jinks formed Bulldog Breed, which cut the 1969 Deram album Made in England. He and Dunton reteamed in the power trio T2 for the 1970 Decca release It’ll All Work Out in Boomland.
Long-vaulted Please recordings finally surfaced on CD in the 2000s.
Members: Pete Dunton (vocals, keyboards, drums), Bernie Jinks (bass), Jürgen Ermisch (organ, 1967-68), Adrian Gurvitz (guitar, 1967-68), Rod Harrison (guitar, 1968-69), Robin Hunt (vocals, flute, 1968-69), Nick Spenser (guitar, 1968-69)
Please started as Neon Pearl, formed in June 1967 in Germany by three visiting English musicians: singer/drummer Pete Dunton, bassist Bernard Jinks, and guitarist Rod Harrison. They teamed with American singer and keyboardist Pete Bender for a summer residency at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg.
Each night, after Bender left the stage, the remaining trio would play a second set comprised of loosely arranged Dunton originals. For German clubgoers, this was an early glimpse of the psychedelic sounds just now emanating from English musicians.
That fall, Jinks returned to England. Duntan and Harrison teamed with two locals, organist Jürgen Ermisch and bassist Holger. This lineup roomed in a haunted village in Kassel, where they experimented with tape loops and echo chambers. After a series of shows for the townsfolk, Dunton returned to England in November 1967.
Dunton reconnected with Jinks in London, where they were joined by guitarist Nick Spenser. With several days of studio time booked and paid by an enthused music publisher, Neon Pearl cut an album’s worth or originals. Though no deal came forth, eight songs appeared decades later on 1967 Recordings, released in 2001 on Acme.
The songs show a refined West Coast influence. On the seven-minute “Out of Sight,” a jangly two-chord structure underlies a piercing, staccato guitar break (middle) and reed-like organ solo (outro). “Forever” sways on a jolly, laidback 5/4 pattern with twin leads and spiraling wordless refrains.
Each side ends with a home demo: the plaintive, twin-acoustic “Just Another Day” and the sparse “Going Back,” where crisp strumming overlays a faint, nonstop drone. The vocals and arrangements on both songs are comparable to Gerry Rafferty‘s work in the Humblebums.
Please Mk I
Shortly after sessions wrapped, Spenser cleared out for guitarist Adrian Gurvitz, the 18-year old brother of Knack bassist Paul Gurvitz. Suddenly, Ermisch dropped in from Germany as a fourth member. Pleased with the new chemistry, they picked a new band name: Please.
Despite the positive moniker, the original Please lineup never made it to record.
Before long, Gurvitz joined his brother’s band, which renamed itself Gun and scored a hit with “Race With the Devil.”
Flee to The Flies
In May 1968, Dunton fled Please for The Flies, a veteran London beat act that released two 1966 singles on Decca, both comprised of covers.
The Flies originally formed in 1964 as The Rebs. In 1965, they made an album of beat and surf covers for RCA Camden as The In-Sect. They secured an in-house songwriter in Dunton, who helped them rebrand as a pop-psych outfit in the vein of Fire and The End. His presence allowed the band’s sitting drummer, singer Robin Hunt, to concentrate on vocals.
Dunton composed both sides of The Flies’ 1968 single “The Magic Train” (b/w “Gently As You Feel”), released in October 1968 on RCA Victor. “The Magic Train” is an uptempo Rubble-style cut with a jolly singalong chorus and circling organ riff, all contrasted with a pensive, roaring bridge built on a plunging sequence of half-steps. “Gently” is a mid-tempo harmony ballad with ornamental brass and a thematic trumpet refrain, as heard on select parts of Between the Buttons.
The Flies recorded five additional Dunton songs: “Turning Back the Page,” “Sincerely Yours,” “Where,” and “Winter Afternoon.” These songs, along with the rest of The Flies recordings, were released in 2000 on the Acme comp Complete Collection 1965-1968.
Please Mk II
When The Flies dispersed at the end of 1968, Dunton retained Hunt and called back Harrison and Jinks for a new incarnation of Please. They cut a test acetate of Dunton’s “We Aim to Please,” a slow harmony number with deep bass and churchy Procol-like organ.
During the winter/spring of 1969, Please recorded eleven more songs, including “No More White Horses,” “Seaweed,” “Break the Spell,” “Strange Ways,” “Man With No Name,” and “Folder Man.”
Before they could land a deal, Dunton left Please once again, this time for Gun, where he replaced drummer Louie Farrell. In turn, the remaining members of Please hired Farrell.
The lineup of Farrell, Harrison, Hunt, and Jinks picked a new name, Bulldog Breed, and released the album Made in England in late 1969 on Deram. By the time of its release, Farrell reclaimed his spot in Gun for their 1969 album Gun Sight.
Recordings of the second Please formation surfaced on 1968/69, a 12-track compilation CD issued in 1996 on Acme.
Please Mk III
In the fall of 1969, Dunton summoned Neon Pearl guitarist Nick Spenser. They formed a third edition of Please with Jinks, who’d left Bulldog Breed. With backing secured by Impact Productions, Please recorded a new album that they intended to license to a major label. Since they couldn’t find a suitable keyboardist, Dunton assumed the honor.
Please recorded their album at Marquee Studios between September and October 1969. It features 10 Dunton originals, including “Seeing Stars,” “Time Goes By,” “Rise & Shine,” “Still Dreaming,” and “Secrets.”
Still without a keyboardist for their organ-laden songs, Please were unable to play their material live before record company execs. When no offers came forth, Spenser quit the band. The fall 1969 Please sessions were ultimately released on the 2000 Acme CD Seeing Stars.
Jinks rejoined Bulldog Breed, where Harrison made way for a new guitarist, 17-year-old Keith Cross. (Harrison later surfaced in Asgærd.)
In December 1969, Dunton joined Jinks and Cross in a new trio, Morning. Within weeks, they changed their name to T2 and released the hard-rock album It’ll All Work Out in Boomland on Decca in 1970. That album contains a revamped eight-minute version of the Please Mk II track “No More White Horses.”
- 1968/69 [1996, recorded 1968–69)
- Seeing Stars [2000, recorded 1969)
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