John Ozoroff Professional UK Musician with John Lennon's Quarry Men and Sixties Band The Four Pennies
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News and information on musician and songwriter John Ozoroff

Links to information on this page:
Stop Press | New Album IPSO FACTO | The Beatles as Guitarists | 'Ready For Engagements - The Rehearsal Tapes
The Rehearsal Tapes - Track by Track Preview by Ian Forsyth | Open For Engagements CD Review
Open For Engagements Diary
| Listen to the Music Article by Paul Easton | Your E-mails
Charles Hart ' Quarry Men Memories
| A Tribute to Tony 'Black Jake' Jackson | Recent Events

WHAT'S NEW John Ozoroff

Article Submitted by Paul Easton

I first met Lionel Morton of 'The Four Pennies' in 1967 when he was asked to produce some acetates for us in Apple Music. We were signed to the Beatles label, I was with a band called Focal Point and Lionel eventually became our manager along with Terry Doran who used to be MD at Apple. We would be recording in the studio on the top floor late into the night and John Lennon would pop in now and then, we used to take the mickey out of him and he loved it as we were all from Liverpool as well. We used to also have a great rapport with Lionel's wife, the actress Julie Foster, but between you and me Lionel has more kids than the old lady who lived in the shoe! (That's true, but with different wives! - J.O.) I have known Lionel on and off ever since. You are right about me not being exactly in the Four Pennies, not on stage anyway, just in the studio with Lionel, but hey all's fair in love and war as they say! Lionel also used to come up to Liverpool and record with us when we were signed to State Records in the seventies, good times.

When we were signed to Apple we used to record at the studio in Baker Street. We were always short of equipment and one day we decided we needed a different sound on the demos, so Terry Doran said we could go over to Abbey Road and borrow some of the Beatles stuff. Well…we went over there and they led us into a room that was just held for all their gear. It was full of everything; anyway we took a Vox Continental Organ and an Epiphone guitar. When we got back to Baker Street we realised on opening the case that it was strung left-handed. Yes you guessed it; it was Paul's. Well my mate Dave said not to worry and started to take the strings off and restring it right handed.
We started recording and then the inevitable happened a phone call from an irate Paul McCartney ''Where the **** is my guitar?'' ''Don't worry," says Dave, "it's on its way back!''

Well we all jumped in a taxi and we were restringing it as we sped across London, just managing to finish it as we pulled up at Abbey Road.

Paul was none the wiser. I believe he was recording 'Fool on the Hill' that day. Great story. We used to borrow John and George's Gibson Jumbos regularly, the action was so low, they were awful to play, but the sound when recorded was pretty fantastic!

Paul

New Message from Paul Easton

John

Just a few lines to let you know about the release of a great CD. This has been put together by RPM and features my old Apple band Focal Point, Grapefruit, The Iveys (who went on to become Badfinger, produced by Paul McCartney) and a host of other acts. All the bands were signed to Apple. The title is 94 Baker Street, The Pop Psych Sounds of Apple Publishing. It has been selling pretty good all over the world and getting some great publicity. The success of this album has led to the planned release of a full Focal Point album in the autumn this year, featuring about 20 tracks, 15 of them never heard before
Take care,

Paul (If you get a chance put your hand in your pocket, get on to Amazon.co.uk and order it, you won't be disappointed. It has a great sleeve!)
John

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Your Emails

From Serge Gribushin, Beatles publicist, Russia
Dear John,
Can you please provide me with some information for a magazine article concerning your involvement in the Quarry Men project with Duff Lowe? The question is: what was the personal staff of the Quarry Men at the time of that American venture with Cynthia Lennon and Denny Lane in 1996? Were all the musicians in America who had recorded 'Open For Engagements' two years before (except you and Duff, Rod Davis, Charles Hart and Richie Gould)? As you know, there is a nice photo on your site from that time, but the names of not all touring team members are given.

Yours, Serge Gribushin
Beatles publicist, Russia

Hi Serge,
Thank you for your email regarding the Quarry Men project with me and John Duff Lowe, it's great to know there are people still interested and amazing how worldwide the interest is! I was delighted to note you are from Russia as this has a special meaning for me since my ancestors were of Russian origin a few generations back, hence my surname of Ozoroff.

The project you speak of in your email was around 1996 I think, and the show was to feature The Merseybeats, Denny Laine, Twinkle, Cynthia Lennon, The Silver Beatles (a Tribute band) and The Quarry Men comprising John Duff Lowe, Rod Davis, myself, Charles Hart and Richie Gould. In the website picture John Duff Lowe is to the left of Denny Laine and Rod Davis is to the left of Billy Kinsley. This picture was the result of a photo shoot to publicise the tour which was primarily organised between an American promoter and John Duff Lowe. The show did play a few venues in the UK I seem to remember, but did not happen in the US due to a disagreement over fees for the show between Duff and the promoter. It was naturally a huge disappointment for all concerned, especially The Quarry Men as we had the 'Open For Engagements' album to promote, but that's Rock 'n' Roll for you! However, we did enjoy our time together and who knows, perhaps it may happen again in the future if a suitable promoter can be found? Early original Quarry Men members Rod Davis, Len Garry, Colin Hanton, Pete Shotton and Eric Griffiths eventually went to the US later in the year but not as a band. Incidentally, I have a poster of the show which will be posted on my website (please visit the photos page where you can now see the poster) shortly thanks to you reminding me! The Quarry Men members at the time of the 'Open For Engagements' album were John Duff Lowe, Rod Davis - with me, Charles Hart and Richie Gould on Lead guitar, drums and bass respectively. I wrote the original songs and shared the copyright with Duff. Len Garry was to feature on the album but despitebeing heavily involved in rehearsals and photo shoots was unable to attend the recording session, leaving me to reluctantly sing the lead vocals! I do have the long lost recorded rehearsal tapes however, and Len Garry sings lead vocals on a number of songs, sounding remarkably like John Lennon! Rod Davis sings 'That'll Be The Day' and I sing on a few tracks too! There are a few very interesting tracks indeed but I cannot say more than that at this stage!

This tape, as mentioned on my website, will be remastered shortly and hopefully a CD will be available sometime in the new year. It features a few original compositions and songs from the early Quarry Men set list. I trust you find all this of interest and thank you once again for
contacting me.

Kind regards,
John Ozoroff

Dear John.
Thank you very much for your kind answer. The information provided by you was very useful. The same kind of spiritual connection you feel with Russia we Russians have with Britain. The reason for it is that in the past the British music, especially the Beatles music, appeared for us as a real window to freedom. It probably may seem of interest for you, that Rod Davis who used to be playing with you, personally was taking trips to Russia between 1968 and 1970 when he was employed as a driver for an expedition company. The plans to remaster the tracks left off from the early stage of the project later having turned into 'Open For Engagements' (the so called Len Garry tapes) and to release they on a CD were a great news. Nobody including Len Garry himself considered it for coming ever real. He says: "... unfortunately the tapes from this session were never published." As you know, I get an article ready for a special Russian Beatle publication, a co-author of which I am. I got a problem with some illustrations for this article since downloaded images as a rule don't show a suitable quality for print. If you could help me with the following images of suitable quality I'd be very grateful (you'll receive a copy or some copies of the magazine of course). The images I need are:
1) 'Open For Engagements' on Kewbank (first version);
2) 'Open For Engagements' on Griffin (second version);
3) The Quarry Men with Cynthia Lennon and Denny Laine;
4) probably - The Quarrymen book by Hunter Davies.
Thank you once again, and all the best!
Yours, Serge Gribushin
Beatles publicist, Russia

Web Cam Photo Sent by Reinal Do Sanchez R of HerselfReinal Do Sanchez R, University Professor, Venezuela

Hello John,
I would like to know if you can send me (via air mail) several CD audio recordings by John Ozoroff. I am a female musicologist and researcher, Ph.d., M.Sc. I am professor of rock & pop music history at university. I am requesting you for these items because I promote a pedagogical project in order to get better my classes. This project will produce teaching materials for up-to-date beginning-to-advanced level courses in rock & pop music. The project will make available exercises that guide all of my students in their tasks. Unfortunately, this music isn't available here in my city.


Hi Reinaldo,
Thank you for your kind interest in my music - I am honoured that you would like it for study purposes and will copy some titles to CD for you and post it by airmail shortly.

Kind regards,
John Ozoroff

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Charles Hart 'Quarry Men' Memories

The year was 1991 I was a member of 'The Four Pennies'. Lionel Morton had just left the band so we needed a replacement, I'd heard of John 'Duff' Lowe who had played piano with the Quarry Men and also new he was living just outside Bristol. I managed to track him down and arrange a meeting with the three remaining members of the Four Pennies. The meeting went very well, Duff was delighted and accepted the invitation to join, so intense rehearsals commenced.

The Four Pennies went from strength to strength when Duff had this idea of reforming the 'Quarry Men' with as many originals as possible including members of the Pennies. The net was cast and we brought in Rod Davis, and Len Garry, these were the guys that Duff had more contact with, the line-up was John 'Duff' Lowe (Vocals/Keyboards), Rod Davis (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar and Fiddle), Len Garry (Lead Vocals/Guitar), John Ozoroff (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Richie Gould (Bass Guitar/ Vocals) and myself Charles Hart (Drums/Vocals), Richie was a session player who we brought in as Four Pennies' Mike Wilshaw had other commitments.

The line-up was set so off to the rehearsal rooms we went with Rod travelling from London and Len from Liverpool to our Bristol location. It wasn't long before we had a show together performing skiffle, rock and roll and some new songs penned by Ozoroff and Lowe. The shows were well received the word got around to various promoters, we contacted Paul McCartney with regards to him helping us, seeing he was an original member, he made a surprise phone call to Len Garry asking us for a tape, Len sent a rough Demo and Paul responded by letter saying he would try to help but no promises and gave us his blessing with the project. It wasn't long before had an invitation to play the infamous Liverpool Cavern.

Letter from Paul McCartney
Please click to see larger, clearer version
Letter from Paul McCartney

The next episode was the most exciting of all, a promoter Mike Neal of Rock Solid Management approached us with a show format that would include Cynthia Lennon, Denny Laine, ex Moody Blues/Wings, the Merseybeats, Twinkle, and The Silver Beatles tribute band. The shows went ahead at major theatres around the UK. The darlings of the line-up had to be Cynthia Lennon a lovely unassuming lady who was just a pleasure to work with, and our very good friend (Hi Gang!!) Twinkle.

John Ozoroff and John 'Duff' Lowe had been busy writing material so it was time to take the songs to the recording studio, the Coach House recording studios in Clifton, Bristol. One month later we had the finished article ready to be mastered, "where are we going to do this?" asked Duff I said well there is only one place it should be mastered......you guessed it, Abbey Road studios London....."Great!!!" We all cried, the studio time was booked and off we went to this amazing place, it looked so small from the outside but massive once inside. All we could think about was how many times The Beatles had walked up these steps to the entrance. The Mastering session took place in the Penthouse Suite at the top of the building and the engineer was Nick Webb who had worked on Yellow Submarine and various other Beatles albums. We felt so strange being in this building with all its history, we could hardly concentrate on the job in hand. Whilst having lunch in the canteen we bumped into Roger Taylor from Queen who had just popped in for a bite.

The album was now complete and named 'Open For Engagements', it is still selling today all over the world.

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A Tribute to Tony 'Black Jake' Jackson

Monday 18th August 2003 saw the passing over of one of the great 'voices' of the sixties Tony 'Black Jake' Jackson. His distinctive nasal vocal delivery was the original sound of The Searchers with hits such as 'Sweets for My Sweet' and 'Sugar and Spice' both hugely successful hits in 1963 and the launch pad for the band's continuing success. His stage presence was something to behold as he hitched his bass guitar unusually high for those days and wore his jet-black hair swept back (hence Black Jake). He was featured on early pop TV programmes as the front man and had a huge following of female fans. It was my pleasure to have met Tony on a number of occasions, having backed him as a solo singer and always found him to be modest, self-effacing and with a tremendous sense of humour. On stage he was a true professional and his voice was exactly as it was in the sixties - unmistakably Tony Jackson and unmistakably the original voice of The Searchers. Thank you Tony for the memories and God bless.

John Ozoroff

 

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Events:

Weymouth Pavilion, Saturday 26th July featuring The Four Pennies & The Searchers:

The weather wasn't good but the sun shone in The Weymouth Pavilion as audiences were treated to another great show at Weymouth Pavilion, UK on Saturday 26th July featuring The Four Pennies and The Searchers. The Pennies took to the stage first playing a great set and including the No1 hit 'Juliet' and a terrific new version of their hit 'Black Girl'. They finished up with a couple of stompin' James Brown soul songs, 'Mustang Sally' and 'I Feel Good' - which definitely made the audience feel good! The crowd were well impressed and gave the Pennies tumultuous applause after their set. Staying on stage they then proceeded to back the legendary Linda Gail Lewis, sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. Combining with The Pennies, Linda set about her piano with great gusto and she belted out a thumping set of Jerry's classic Rock 'n' Roll hits, including a great rendition of 'Great Balls of Fire' - even doing the famous heel thudding on the piano keys! The highlight for me though, was the duelling solos between Linda's rockin' piano and John Ozoroff's mean guitar in 'Johnny B Goode'. In the second half, The Searchers produced another masterful performance and thankfully always play a good selection of their hits which had the crowd singing along and shouting for more. We need more shows like this, then the 60's will never die!

Your 60's reporter,

Mopp Topp.

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