Thursday, July 01, 2010

#201: Mystery Title

Who were Soul Factory? If you know the answer to that then you’re a better man than I am Gunga Din. Until these documents fell into my lap I had no idea that this bend ever existed, and frankly I’m still nowhere near knowing who they were or what they really sounded like. The only information I can track down is contained in these three clippings, that the band contained members from other, better known bands and acts such as George Harrison, Billy Preston, Little Richard, Tower Of Power and others, and that they were big in New Zealand, supposedly. Beats me.

Formed in 1974, according to the clippings they didn’t play ‘namby-pamby disco’, they played ‘hot funk’. Yes, Virginia, there is a distinction between the two, but I’ll leave that for you to work out. What amazes me about this band was that they managed to land a contract with Lion/Nathan Brewery in New Zealand to play a six month stint in the north island, before moving down to the south island. From there they looked to cross the Tasman and land a residency in Australia, consisting of at least six months. The letter shown here, from manager/drummer Ed Horton, indicates a desire for the band to have a permanent residency, offers amounts of that they’re prepared to accept and shows willingness for the band to play 2 hours a night, six nights a week. That’s some heavy work.

Even more interesting is that the band’s proper name, according to the letter, is actually Sound Factory, not Soul Factory. The agent, in New Zealand, changed the name, frankly for the better as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and they liked Mother Goose, for what that was worth. They probably thought that Mother Goose were the New Zealand equivalent of the Village People.

Now I’m trying to work out the quotes here. It appears that the band were willing to work for $3,500 per week, if they had to do the work themselves, which I presume means bookings etc etc, or $1,800 per week if the promoter here did all of the leg work. Not sure which one was accepted, but as can be seen from the third, and final, clipping, they did manage to get a six week residency at the Pooraka Hotel at some point in time, but as the clipping isn’t dated it’s hard to work out when – I’m guessing at some point in either late 1977 or 1978. Despite the protestations of the name change they still managed to play here as Soul Factory, not Sound Factory.

After they played here they appear to have fallen off the face of the world. Google their name, you’ll find nothing. I can’t find a single reference to them anywhere, or the individual band members, which really does surprise me as you’d think that they’d have gone onto other things. Even bands who never had a hit single, or did anything – such as Neal Sadistic – have a mention somewhere. Not Soul/Sound Factory. Nothing. Nada. Nary a mention anywhere. I have no idea what they sounded like, or indeed what they looked like, other than these grainy images. I wonder what kind of a stage presence they had, but then there’s no videos around to show me.

Such a shame that you can find audio and video for the likes of Craig McLaughlin, but a band that clearly worked as hard as Soul Factory did are now forgotten to time. If anyone knows anything about them then leave a comment – did you see them? Hear them? ARE them? C’mon, bring it on!  Until then, here's a photo of Mother Goose.

The catch phrase, 'An experience you won't forget' is kind of ironic, because it appears that everyone has...RIGHT ON BABY!


Anonymous said...

Oh yes! I know them all :) and they did have a very faithful following around the country. They did a couple of Telethons, and toured extensively from one end of the country - Whakatane to Invercargill and many places in between. Regular spots at their promoters' clubs in Wellington. Toured NZ several times. You won't read about them as an entity elsewhere as they were all session musicians that joined up to tour down under. Not everyone has forgotten :)

Anonymous said...

Godfrey 'Angel' Smith (vocals), Harold Sledge (guitar), Ed Holten (drums), Phil Wesley (keyboards), Cornell Wesley (bass)