Outside the Flamingo

Zoot Money Band
  I first became interested in music from an early age, my father being a musician - a wonderful piano player touring with bands like The Stanley Black Orchestra and Harry Roy's Band. He was also Vera Lynn's piano player. Every Sunday he would play a baby grand with invited friends and family into the small hours. When he passed away at a young age I was left to my own devices, having no idea that I could be good enough to follow in his footsteps. I had tried a few different careers - jewelry maker, window dresser and other assorted jobs, but nothing really stuck. I used to go out with friends and we all had to do different things to enjoy ourselves and others; mine was singing and playing Ray Charles songs. It was fun and it wasn't until my friend Graham told me about a band that played in the Flamingo Club in Wardour Street that I became totally obsessed with the music of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. I would go and listen to the band as much as I could, learning some of his songs and thinking I could sing that. I finally plucked up the courage to ask if I could sing a song, I was introduced and off I went. It seemed to go okay as I regularly went and sang with the band. After a while Mick Eves the sax player came up to me and asked if I was interested in joining a band that he knew. It was called the Wes Minster Five - a five piece band with Wes as the leader; also in the band were Dave Greenslade and Jon Hiseman. I auditioned and got the job, playing around London at a lot blues and rock venues.

When I was in the Wes Minster Five, Jon Hiseman had a big band and on occasions they played in Blackheath. I did some gigs with them and Dick Heckstall-Smith recommended me for the Alexis Korner Blues Band. At that time Phil Seaman was the drummer. For some strange reason Alexis said he couldn't pronounce my name so I should be called Paul Williams. I never knew there were a lot of Paul Williams's in the music business - "Oh Well". I learned a lot in a short space of time about life - it was about that time I had a memory lapse trying to tie up the dots.

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