30 Nov 1974 – Series Three (11)

Comedian Kenny Bee. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

The judging panel for heat eleven were Mickie Most, Clifford Davis, Arthur Askey and Tony Hatch and the show was once again hosted by Derek Hobson.

Competing for a place in the next All Winners show were;

  • Blooblo (six-piece soul showband) from London
  • Soft Parade (four-piece group) from Ilford
  • Peter Crane (vocalist) from Bromley
  • Kenny Bee (comedian) from Derby
  • Sarah Grant (vocalist) from Liverpool
  • Maximillion (escapologist)
  • Jim Cleary & Davies (boy and girlfriend duo) from Birmingham

This heat saw joint winners with the judges unable to split vocal duo Jim Cleary & Davies, who sang an original song, and comedian Kenny Bee so both progressed to the second All Winners show on 4 January 1975.

Vocalist Peter Crane won the viewer’s vote and would appear again in a Viewer’s Winners show on 1 February 1975.

29 year-old Derby comedian Kenny Bee was a familiar sight in the clubs around the Derbyshire, Nottingham and North of England areas having started in the show business world as a singer and guitarist with the Ray McVay Orchestra at the Derby Locarno.  In 1972 he had a very successful season as a compere at Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Minehead.  In the late 1970s Kenny also served on the committee of the East Midlands Branch of Equity.

Soul Soulband from Hackney, Blooblo. Image © The Stage Media Company Limited

Blooblo were one of London’s East End top soul showbands. The band, from Hackney, were formed in 1972 from a combination of a Wast Indian Reggae Band and an Anglo/Australian Jazz Rock band.

Their appearance on New Faces was a career highlight which included two LP’s (the first selling 35,000 copies) and a tour of duty as support group for the Detroit Emeralds. The band’s singer. Augustus Benjamin described their music as, “All Styles. We’ve rolled a little rock with a touch of Reggae. A bit of Afro with a pinch of jazz and called it “stikki.”  Joining  Augustus Benjamin, better known as Benny, were Danny Richard on drums, Seth Prokop playing trumpet, Ray Tickle on saxophone, Norman Todman on guitar and Mike “Oblass” Woods on bass.

In June 1975 Blooblo beat over 1,000 hopeful acts to reach the finals of the National Rock/Folk Contest where they competed against twelve other finalists in front of a judging panel that included Queen’s Brian May, disc jockey Bob Harris and Melody Maker editor Ray Coleman.

Four-piece group Soft Parade confirmed as appearing on this show. Image: Kelvin Roberts (Dorothy Nettleship via Old Clubland Acts on Facebook)

Four-piece group Soft Parade were incorrectly introduced as Soft Machine by host Derek Hobson but as retakes were few and far between it was left in for the aired broadcast.  Soft Parade’s members were Marie Caulfield (née Dooley) on lead vocals, Kelvin Roberts on keyboards, Stew Mills on bass and drummer Malcolm Tobias.

Marie Caulfield was a former member of family group The Dooleys, with brothers Jim, John and Frank and sisters Anne and Kathy, but left the group in the early 1970s to have her first child with husband David Caulfield who also appeared on New Faces on series four show 23 with his group Flashmac.

Bass player Stew Mills was previously in the band Hackensack who supported big names like Status Quo, Mott the Hoople and The Kinks and were once themselves supported by Judas Priest. The band folded in 1974 after poor reviews of their Polydor Album Up the Hardway.

Kelvin Roberts started his music career in 1971 playing in various groups, where he met Marie, the in The Dooleys, and they later formed Soft Parade. Kelvin has supported many sixties bands including The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, and Marty Wilde.

After leaving the group drummer Mal Tobias set up a music production and publishing company and was the musical director for the 1982 comedy movie P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang. He now has a Production company STF Productions where he is a producer and cameraman based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Kelvin, Stew and Marie were all still performing into 2020 with their own individual acts.

After their appearance on the show Soft Parade secured a residency at the Traveller’s Rest, Kenton, Harrow where they supported featured shows from Frank Carson, Joe Baker, Marty Wilde and The Searchers.

Maximillion performed the metamorphosis trick,  where he starts standing on a wooden chest, lifts up a sheet and when he let it down his assistant appeared on the trunk. During the recording of the trick he broke his finger but managed to battle on and complete the act, as the show was recorded as live.

Credits: Huge thanks to Kelvin Roberts (Soft Parade) for the background information on their act, the Maximillion act and also providing the names of the two judges I was missing.

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