In the beginning...
James Warren and Andy Davis were the principal songwriters in the quintessentially British rock band Stackridge. They developed the band's quirky, progressive repertoire and Stackridge played the very first Glastonbury Festival as the opening act.
In 1971 the band signed to MCA Records. Three albums followed including their best known work 'The Man in the Bowler Hat', recorded with legendary Beatles producer George Martin. Stackridge gained a huge following from their live shows but were simply too eclectic and progressive for commercial recognition. It wasn't long before cracks appeared within the now large lineup, with members wanting to follow their own paths. Even though the band had a brush with stardom by performing at Wembley stadium with Elton John and The Eagles in 1974, they failed to tour and two years later disillusionment had set in and Stackridge officially threw in the towel.
KIM BEACON AND THE SERENADERS 1977-1978
Kim Beacon and the Serenaders had a sound and feel not unlike Little Feat. Andy had quickly discovered the advantages of writing with a truly outstanding singer, which Kim undoubtedly was, and they wrote several memorable songs together. The band were tipped for great things but somehow never quite fulfilled their promise. The breakthrough should have been when Andy Newmark (Sly and the Family Stone) and Willy Weeks flew over from the States to produce them, but after a few days in the studio it was obvious that things were not going to work out.
Notably a song called 'If I Had You' was among the band's reportoire, but performed in a reggae! style!
Kim went on to record 2 albums for Rialto which included several songs written with Andy. Kim passed away in 2001
Then surprisingly in 1978, Warren and Davis entered mainstream music as The Korgis. Their highly melodic tunes, thoughtful lyrics, strong vocal harmonies amd uber-catchy hooks eventually resulted in commercial success with the Andy Davis penned 'If I Had You' from their debut LP, 'The Korgis' in 1979.
Originally The Korgis were to be a 3-piece, and the very first demo was penned by the 3rd member Steve Lindsey. The song was called 'Lines' and Steve decided to form his own band The Planets, who had a hit in 1979 with their own version.
Finally - the big hit!
The Dumb Waiters album was a big success largely owing to the runaway hit 'Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime'.The single charted in the UK, the USA, Australia, Spain, and it hit the No 1 spot in France and Belgium.
Dumb Waiters was a masterpiece and totally in sync with the onset of 80's synth pop.
'If It's Alright With You Baby' was also a chart success with the title track 'Dumb Waiters'. 'Young and Russian was also a radio hit.
Andy departed before the release of 'Sticky George' in 1981 although some co-writes were carried forward to the recording.
Around this time, star producer Trevor Horn produced the single 'Don't Look Back'. Unfortunately the single failed to chart. James looking back at the sessions said, 'We didn't really hit it off'.
Other singles were 'All The Love In The World', and the exquisite 'That Was my Big Mistake'.
Music had of course radically changed in the '80s, and James Warren released an uncharacteristically hi-tech album called 'Burning Questions'
Once again the team were reunited as Andy brought his production knowledge to the recordings. The song boasted some excellent tracks, and some influence can be heard from Bath friends Tears For Fears.
The publicity seemed to be interchangeable, some listing singles as The Korgis and some as James Warren.
this world's for everyone
With fresh ideas, and a new decade dawning, the Korgis reformed to record the amazing 'This World's for Everyone' album in 1992. Added to the lineup was ace vocalist John Baker. John had previously been in a band called The Graduate with Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith from Tears for Fears. He also had a transatlantic voice - something that suited the style of the big anthem songs.
The compositions were still pure Davis and Warren, and showed that The Korgis sound could adapt, but maintain its integrity.
Some promotional dates were scheduled, but Andy felt they were too hastily arranged and cut out. Although the gigs were massively well received they failed to generate interest and once again The Korgis were put on the back burner.