The following text was supplied by Geoff Baker and Ken Starks. Adapted by Greg Smith:
Circle Plantagenet originated from Southampton circa 1965.
In 1965 drummer Glenn Lee and bassist Geoff Baker (from local band, The Abdo-Men) responded to an ad in the local paper to team up with singer/songwriter/guitarist, Ken Starks and guitarist Colin Allaway (from the defunct Blythe Spirits) to form the Tartan Quarter.
They soon moved from R&B and other covers to playing mainly original material, though losing Colin Allaway along the way. Allaway was replaced initially by Rob Lipscombe on lead guitar, though Rob in turn moved from direct musical input to operating as the sound engineer for the various recordings that now form a part of the band’s musical heritage. The initial recordings included a session in summer 1967 at Rob Lipscombe’s house and `You’ve Bin’ Told Before’ and `Lost Lonely Minstrel’ featured.
In 1967, Rob Lipscombe was succeeded as lead guitarist by Chris Godden and for a while the band was augmented by Ken Wheeler on keyboards. The name change to Circle Plantagenet happened circa 1968 by which time the band was effectively playing only their own self-penned material. The `Circle’ visited London a number of times to audition their songs and left demo recordings at studios including Decca, Island and CBS.
In this online archive, the songs Mink Drape and I Will Not Be Moved were recorded at a studio in Abbots Ann near Andover (Hampshire) in 1968. NB. This studio was set up by songwriters Terry King and John Claydon. Claydon and King wrote songs for an Andover band called Ten Feet Five who would include future members of the Troggs. This recording studio (a converted barn owned by John Claydon) was used by Avenue Artists Agency (see The Embers and Nite People entries).
The next recording session produced Rebecca and In The Morning, which were recorded by Rob Lipscombe on an Akai M8 machine using a Watkins Copycat reverb machine. In early 1970 the band auditioned for Opportunity Knocks (an early televised talent show featuring Hughie Green); although as with the sessions in London they were well received, but not given the breakthrough they sought at that time. Soon after, they decided to call a halt to their collaboration as other priorities in life took over.
However it can now be said that the collaboration was merely in suspension rather than actually terminated and Circle Plantagenet reformed in 2010 and are again recording their own original material. New recordings are available from their website.
Ken Starks (guitar, vocs), Geoff Baker (bass guitar), Glenn Lee (drums, vocals), Chris Godden (lead guitar), Rob Lipscombe (lead guitar), Ken Wheeler (keyboards).
1967 - 1969.
All recorded and photographic material copyright Circle Plantagenet. 2012.
Very special thanks to: Geoff Baker, Ken Starks, Rob Lipscombe, David St. John.
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