Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

Jokers Wild

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David Gilmour - guitar / vocals / harmonica, Dick Parry - saxophone / trumpet, Dave Altham - guitar / vocals / keyboards, Tony Sainty - bass / vocals, Clive Welham - drums. Johnny Gordon - guitar

Formed in Cambridge in 1964, Jokers Wild are best-known for including future Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour in their line-up. David Gilmour had previously been in the Newcomers. The band was formed as the Four Posters and changed their name when David Gilmour joined. They played gigs around Cambridge such as the Dorothy Ballroom and the Victoria Ballroom as well as RAF and US Air Force bases in the area. Gilmour's brother Peter replaced Sainty on bass for some gigs.

The recordings made were self-financed with a limited-edition album of five tracks and a single. The songs chosen were regulars in the stage set at the time. Willie Wilson became a regular drummer from mid-1965 as Welham had a wrist problem. An early gig from around 1965 had Jokers Wild supported by Pink Floyd and a young Paul Simon. In 1966, Wilson became a full member of the band while Peter Gilmour replaced Sainty as the regular bass player. Two Stax tracks were recorded as a single but this was shelved when Sam & Dave's version of You Don't Know Like I Know hit the shops.

The band undertook a series of gigs in Spain and Holland in 1966 which meant that Johnny Gordon left as did Peter Gilmour. David Gilmour, Dave Altham and Willie Wilson recruited Rick Wills on bass guitar. Rick Wills was originally rhythm guitarist in a Cambridge band called the Vikings before switching to bass in 1961 after they changed their name to the Sundowners. After a second trip to Spain, Altham left the band which continued as a trio. Some dates in Paris were accompanied by playing sessions for Johnny Halliday "the French Elvis". On returning to the UK the music scene had changed in a major way. The band's set changed from Motown and Stax covers to Jimi Hendrix and Cream and they also started to write original material. After a brief name change to the Flowers, the band split.

David Gilmour had been friendly with Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett since Cambridge days. He filled in for Barrett from time to time and became a full-time member of the band following Barrett's departure in 1968. Wills also had a very successful career as a member of Foreigner, Bad Company and the reformed Small Faces in the mid-1970s. More recently he has been playing with Kenney Jones' The Jones Gang.

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