Guide to British Music of the 1960s

January 2018

CD Review: Zoot Money's Big Roll Band - Big Time Operator


There was a booming music club scene in the 1960s and Zoot Money's Big Roll Band were right at the heart of it. The band originated in Bournemouth but started to become more popular when they started playing the London clubs such as the Flamingo, where they had a residency, and Klooks Kleek in West Hampstead. The band went through several personnel changes but always with Zoot Money on keyboards and vocals.

This 4CD compilation of the band's output contains a mix of live concerts, BBC sessions, singles, b-sides and demos. This must surely cover all of the band's recorded output during the 1960s. There is something for everyone as the band changes from soul to jazz to R&B and more poppier sounds. Ray Charles is clearly an influence and an instrumental version of Hallelujah I Love Her So from the Live at the Flamingo set is a perfect showcase for the instrumental talents of the different band members.

It is the live tracks at the Flamingo and Klooks Kleek that are the real jewels in this set. The atmosphere of a small club comes over really well and the closeness with the audience is evident. You can almost imagine the place being hot, smoky and alive. The band's repertoire consisted primarily of covers of US soul standards such as Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Sam Cooke and these came over really well in the club atmosphere. There was always plenty of humour from Money as shown by his self-penned track Self Discipline, a b-side that also appears as part of the Flamingo set. The sets are high quality R&B and soul with continuous driving sounds from the organ and horns, almost a British Stax sound. Actually, Stax artists are well-represented amongst the cover versions including Otis Redding and Sam & Dave.

The late Brian Matthew turns up on Disc Three interviewing Money and playing "live" tracks. Again, these show just how good the band were in a "live" context even if they lack the atmosphere of the club gigs.

The compilation also includes studio recordings from 1965-1968 all but completing the band's output from those years before they went psychedelic as Dantelion's Chariot.

Zoot Money's Big Roll Band did include original numbers but the fact they were more known as a covers band, albeit very good, may have prevented them making a chart breakthrough. The Action were in a similar position with an incredible live act but less successful commercially. This is a wonderful set of discs with a plethora of live and studio tracks showing not only how prolific the band was but also why they could be viewed as one of the top club acts of the 1960s.

The box set includes 4 CDs as well as a 54 page book with photos, an essay by Chris Welch and forwards by Zoot Money and Andy Summers.

Repertoire REP 5343

CD Release: 26 January 2018

Essential Tracks

  • Big Time Operator
  • Hallelujah I Love Her So
  • I Can't Turn You Loose

Track Listing

Disc One: Live at Klook's Kleek
  1. Chauffeur
  2. The One and Only Man
  3. I've Been Trying
  4. Florence of Arabia
  5. Let the Good Times Roll
  6. James Brown Medley: I'll Go Crazy / Papa's Got  Brand New Bag / Out of Sight / I Feel Good
  7. Mashed Potatoes USA
  8. Nothing Can Change This Love
  9. Barefootin'

Bonus Tracks: 1965 Studio Singles

  1. Good
  2. Bring it One Home To Me
  3. Please Stay
  4. You Know I'll Cry
  5. Something is Worrying Me
  6. Stubborn Kind of Fellow
  7. The Many Faces of Love

Disc Two: Live at The Flamingo

  1. I Got You (I Feel Good)
  2. Smack Dab in the Middle
  3. Boot-Leg
  4. Train Train
  5. Ain't That Peculiar
  6. People Gonna Talk
  7. It Should've Been Me
  8. Hallelujah I Love Her So
  9. Self-Discipline
  10. Rock Me Baby
  11. Stormy Monday Blues
  12. Oh Mom (Teach Me How To Uncle Willie)
  13. When I Meet My Baby
  14. Blues March
  15. You Don't Know Like I Don't Know
  16. Big Time Operator
  17. Hide Nor Hair
  18. Haunted House
  19. La La La La La / The In Crowd

Bonus Tracks: 1966 Studio Singles

  1. Let's Run for Cover
  2. Self-Discipline
  3. Big Time Operator
  4. Zoot's Sermon


Disc Three: Live at the BBC
  1. Cool Jerk
  2. Interview
  3. Big Time Operator
  4. Barefootin'
  5. BBC Announcement
  6. I Can't Turn You Loose
  7. Interview
  8. Chauffeur
  9. Picture Me Gone
  10. Interview
  11. Star of the Show
  12. Let The Good Times Roll
  13. Interview
  14. Something's Worrying Me
  15. Ain't That Love
  16. You Don't Know Like I Don't Know
  17. Interview
  18. Let's Run for Cover
  19. People Gonna Talk
  20. Think
  21. The Morning After
  22. It's Been Such a Long Way Home
  23. You Can't Sit Down
  24. What'Cha Gonna Do?

Bonus Tracks: 1964 In the Studio

  1. The Uncle Willie
  2. Zoot's Suit(e)
  3. Gin House
  4. Rockin' Chair
  5. Get on the Right Track Baby
  6. Walking the Dog

Disc Four: Live in the Studio - It Should've Been Me Plus

  1. I'll Go Crazy
  2. Jump Back
  3. Along Came John
  4. Back Door Blues
  5. It Should've Been Me
  6. Sweet Little Rock and Roller
  7. My Wife Can't Cook
  8. Rags and Old Iron
  9. The Cat
  10. Feelin' Sad
  11. Bright Lights, Big City
  12. Fina

Bonus Tracks: 1966/1967/1968 In the Studio

  1. The Star of the Show
  2. The Mound Moves
  3. It Should've Been Me
  4. Nick Knack
  5. I Really Learn How to Cry
  6. Stop the Wedding
  7. Just a Passing Phase
  8. What'cha Gonna Do About It
  9. Coffee Song


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