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Written by Robert Phipps   

So where does it all begin?  According to recent CD releases Stan was born in London on February 3 1946, and then at an early age moved to Blakedown in Worcestershire, and eventually became based in nearby Kidderminster. In fact Stan's first instrument was the old favourite of the time - the tea-chest bass, an essential item for any skiffle band.  It was not until he heard Barney Kessel playing guitar on an Oscar Peterson record that he decided to take up the guitar.Whatever, it was in Kidderminster that Stan put together his first group - the Blue Four.

Pete Frame's Family Tree describes how his first real band was Sounds of Blue formed in 1964, a Stourbridge-based r n' b band.It included Christine Perfect, Andy Silvester and Chris Wood (later to join Traffic) amongst others in their line up.  On  a personal note, I was actually living in Stourbridge at the time,  but I must admit I don't recall seeing Sounds of Blue although the lead singer's name (Dave Yeats) does ring a bell from my schooldays. 

Anyway, moving on from Sounds of Blue, in early 1965 Stan put together the first incarnation of Chicken Shack with Andy from Sounds of Blue plus Alan Morley, and then Al Sykes and then Hughie Flint and finally Dave Bidwell on drums. 
This line-up paid their almost obligatory rock dues in Hamburg (five hour sets at the Star Club) for a couple of years before returning to the Midlands in 1967. It was then that Christine Perfect joined them and they recorded their first album for Blue Horizon. (They had sent Mike Vernon a tape, but because the quality wasn't brilliant he came up to the Midlands to see them...and I suppose the rest is history.)You can read an account of their set at the 8th National   & Jazz Blues Festival at this time here.                        

However after the first two albums, Christine Perfect left in August 1969, ironically just as Chicken Shack achieved chart success with the single 'I'd Rather Go Blind'.  Christine was replaced by Paul Raymond, ex-Plastic Penny.  This line up recorded two further albums for Blue Horizon. However by the recording of the last Blue Horizon album (Accept) there were clear musical differences between Stan and Mike Vernon, and in many ways the split was inevitable, although Chicken Shack moved labels anyway.

 

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