Happy Days is the name of this new page. Life is not always happy but this page is dedicated to past members of the Tigers and, by not forgetting them, we are sure that readers will recall the joy of witnessing some of their many outstanding performances.
Tragically, the end of 2013 was marked by the untimely loss of Goff Matthews. It seems very appropriate to head this new page with a short tribute to him. Thank you,Goff, for some brilliant and very memorable work on your keyboard we all miss you greatly.
Godfrey started his career on piano as a semi-
pro with The Bumblies, a five piece vocal
harmony band in the style of the Moody Blues
back in 1963.
Jonathan King joined the band in 1964
renamed Terry Ward and The Bumblies. He
wrote the song Gotta Tell for the band and this
was released in 1965. Many hours were then
spent recording with Joe Meek, well-known for
his production of such favourites as Telstar
only for the project to come to an abrupt halt
following Meek’s sudden death.
Godfrey, nicknamed ‘Goff’ moved on and
joined Phil Goodhand-Tait and the Stormsville
Shakers. This was a hectic time with a very full
programme of gigs around the London clubs such as the Pink Flamingo, Blazes, and the famous Cromwellian. Distances travelled grew in line with the Shakers’ reputation and very soon the band was performing at key venues stretching ever further north on and beyond the Midlands.
In 1966, Goff joined the reformed Bumblies and toured France. It was a great success and included many leading venues including Paris’s St Hilaire Club. Within six short months, Goff was approached to join a top French band called the Les Sunlights, a then three-strong harmonising group. More successes followed as every record released reached No.1 in the French and the Belgian charts.
Some two and a half years later, Goff’s singing and composing abilities were even more fully recognised with his promotion not only to perform as a solo singer but also to record his own songs. Now a regular songwriter as well as performer, Goff’s work was also published and performed by three other French artists. His last single to be released reached number fifteen when the hectic schedule and growing family responsibilities brought Goff back to these shores.
Touring has always been a very demanding occupation and Goff has had more than his share with such artists as Sacha Distel, Johnny Halliday, Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc.
In 1985, he started again with a covers band called Down to Earth. Changes in the original line-up developed new musical relationships and led in the course of time to joining The Tamla Tigers. The piano went many years ago and Goff's performances most recently used some some very expensive electronic ivory in the form of a Hammond organ, a Viscount DB3 organ and an Alesis QS6 synthesizer.
It's true that the Tigers do use the very best of equipment but,
so endearingly, Goff provided us all with amusement with his total
commitment to his beloved microphone stand. Hardly surprising
none of the Tigers' afficionado fans ever correctly managed to
identify it - as a modified Victorian budgerigar stand! Yes, Goff
Matthews was one of a kind.
Here's a group picture from late 2006. In relaxed mood, The Tamla Tigers before they prepare for yet another great performance. Looks like mischievious Sarah is about to give Pat a pair of bunny ears
Left to right: Martin Dunsford, Graham Gumm, Goff Matthews, Pat Martin, Mike Paice, Sarah Geary, Alan Townsend and John Sandford,
Alan, pictured above, has now moved to Wales and we all have such fond memories of his versatility and his rich sense of humour. Alan has been a professional musician and songwriter for around 40 years since turning down a scholarship to Neller Hall and leaving school at 15 to travel abroad with boy-band “Jo Jo Gunne,” finalists in a Melody Maker competition.
As a professional trumpeter, Alan has worked as support to Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Cream. During his late-twenties, Alan enhanced his skills to offer lead and bass guitar and also vocal harmony. Latterly he has added the flugle horn to the range of instruments under his mastery. All this led him into composing and he has written many songs for performance by the bands he appears in. And, yes, that's Alan you can hear playing on Resurrection Shuffle by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke.
Such a talented performer and composer, Alan wrote several songs for the musical 'Vivat!' and is currently working on the finishing touches for his own musical 'Henry, the life and loves of a King' about popular King Henry VIII. ( I must try and catch up with Alan and find out how that project is progressing - Webmaster).
Graham is one of those reticent fellows who never has to shout about his own performances because everyone else is more than delighted to do it for him.
It's hardly surprising - Graham's exceptional musical ability became first evident
more than thirty years ago and the breadth of his drumming experience is legion.
Graham loves music drawn from so many genres and he has a record of
distinguished performance embracing Soul, Jazz, Latin, Folk, Funk, Fusion and
Pop. He even enjoys playing the trumpet too when he can make enough time.
Just occasionally, you might get Graham to talk about a favourite gig and then you
might hear about venues such as London's Orange Club, the Fairfield Halls in
Croydon or the Cambridge Festivals.
These days, Graham performances with a jazz quintet or the Tigers are very limited such is Graham's passion for tutoring new percussionists. Graham seems to have built a magnificant reputation for having that special ability for passing on his expereince and skills to newcomers. So, perhaps one day one of his stars of the future will be drumming for the Tigers, that will be something for us all to look forward to.