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Billy Arnell - Tough Girl


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Judging by the newspaper clipping, I'd say this would date "Tough Girl" at either 1965 or 1966.  Anyone have precise details on this?

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Thought I'd share this, some might find it interesting ?   Years ago I was fortunate enough to end up with Billy Arnells copy of Tough Girl. This was via a third party so unfortunately I d

There are always interesting back stories to these 45s ….. Billy Smith changed his surname to Arnell for the 45 release as he thought it sounded more showbiz ! … he was actually only 14 at the time bu

It might be a pop record, and I'm all for maintaining the soul content, but accepting that the Northern scene hasn't always concerned itself too much with that I have always thought of this record as

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Some great info and intrigue going on here. Is he black ? is he white?, but the fact is he sounds white ! which coupled with that fanfare backing track is the reason why most SOUL FANS can't stand it. Perhaps folks should be asking what it would have sounded like if Womack had been singing the damn thing , not the normal yawn trivia of who played it first.:sleep3: 

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I had rejected the record when I first heard it on a cd years ago. I wasn't on the scene when it was played.

However, I recently had the original in my possession, and when played on a good system the instrumental is a great dance track, and the production is superb.

I would dance to it, but never heard it played in all the years I was going out. Too rare, or out of favour?

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Posted (edited)

 I wasn't on the scene when it was played.

However, I recently had the original in my possession, and when played on a good system the instrumental is a great dance track, and the production is superb.

I would dance to it, but never heard it played in all the years I was going out. Too rare, or out of favour?

The instrumental was massive in Wigan Casino.   One of the top records for a short while! till it got booted.

Nobody played the vocal then, as it's not got the atmosphere and spoils a great Northern Soul record!

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According to a Youtube posting, Richard Tee played on this and Holly, as in the label, was the daughter of the producer.

Wonder whether or not this was the label owner rather than the producer as per Andy Rix, George Kerr was the drafted in producer

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  • 8 months later...
Guest Jay Martin
Posted (edited)

Hello, I am Jay Martin. My father is Joe Martin the executive producer of Tough Girl 1965 on Holly Records. Holly is my sister's name. My dad had so much fun making this record back in 65. They recorded the version you hear today based on a demo. Some of the musicians on the 45 version were Bernard Purdee on drums, Richard Tee organ (I maybe wrong about Richard on organ) and Eric Gale guitar. WoW! The demo version with the original is available as I found the lathe in 2014. Also in 2014 I found a box of original unplayed 45 RPM records with sleeves. Thank you.

Edited by Jay Martin
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27 minutes ago, Jay Martin said:

Hello, I am Jay Martin. My father is Joe Martin the executive producer of Tough Girl 1965 on Holly Records. Holly is my sister's name. My dad had so much fun making this record back in 65. They recorded the version you hear today based on a demo. Some of the musicians on the 45 version were Bernard Purdee on drums, Richard Tee organ (I maybe wrong about Richard on organ) and Eric Gale guitar. WoW! The demo version with the original is available as I found the lathe in 2014. Thank you.

Hi Jay, do you have any photos of the group at the time?

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Hiya, I think dave rimmer printed details some years ago in skm with a photo of the group, press release sheet from shifty if I remember correctly ? Cheers

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Guest Jay Martin
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Here is the demo version ..... 

 

 

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It's always been a top want for me .I love the instrumental .i first heard it on the east coast and thought it was a soul Sam play before it came to Wigan but I am sure someone will wade in with the facts on that one .I loved Derek and Ray interplay as well but we all have our personal issues .Thanks to Jay Martin for the info re the label and the artists performing on it .I still need one if anyone has a nice original lurking in the depths of their box but too embarrassed to play it 

 

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46 minutes ago, FRANKIE CROCKER said:

Hi Kirsty. Have you been watching too many Masterchef programmes? Says Sparkles on the label... sounds a bit like Sprinkles.

No I know it says the Sparkles on the label but it was originally covered up as the Sprinkles don't ask me why

Kirsty

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8 hours ago, Gold Band said:

No I know it says the Sparkles on the label but it was originally covered up as the Sprinkles don't ask me why

Kirsty

These fiendish cover-uppers don't fool us for long eh? They then spend their evenings scratching sellotape off torn labels. Should really be banned...

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  • 6 months later...
Posted
On 31/10/2014 at 19:45, Andy Rix said:

There are always interesting back stories to these 45s ….. Billy Smith changed his surname to Arnell for the 45 release as he thought it sounded more showbiz ! … he was actually only 14 at the time but as the band were gigging in bars he had to pretend he was much older

 

Billy and Lou started the group together .. they lived less than a block apart in Fair Lawn NJ.  Later they added friends: Eddie Hoffman (organ) and Jack Gullone (drums).

 

Eddie became a teacher somewhere in Long Island. Jack ended up living in Northern NJ. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Massachusetts.

 

The group played all over locally and by chance, meet Joe Martin of Apex-Martin Distributors in Newark, NJ. That meeting  led to the "Tough Girl" recording session.  

 

When they did the first version of Tough Girl, the producer (the original one) wasn't happy - nor was Joe Martin.  So he fired that producer and brought in George Kerr.   George didn't like the band, so they redid the entire thing without the Sparkels, only with Billy singing and Lou on guitar. George brought in Eric Gale on guitar, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums, Bobbie Banks on Organ, and a forgotten bass player. In addition they used the studio horn section that Lou arranged for plus two trumpets, two saxes and two vibes players.

 

Billy ended up starting a record company and a recording studio in NY with a partner named Steve Loeb

 

Lou went on to have a very impressive career in the music industry which you can see here  http://www.louhemsey.com/About_Lou_Hemsey.html

 

Andy

Thanks for the info Andy, Great stuff. 

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1st played st Ives instrumental only - Brian Rae put it on the decks in the small oldies room theatre, Kev Day had it on an emi disk ( I brought one for £4 one sided inst) about 76, Aldershot lot (Derick Mead ran the coaches) filled the floor - the rest as they say is history.

 

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Always had a soft spot for Tough Girl as it was one of my first buys in the late 1970's, I appreciate it's not the most Soulful of songs, but still a good spin.  

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  • 1 year later...
Posted

ZoomSoulBlue not heard Kev Day mentioned I a long while last bumped into him at the 100 club in the early 80s top bloke .What a great record Tough Girl is .Total atmosphere record

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  • 2 years later...
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There is a photo of this group available on a subscription database from Newspapers.com [Extra database] printed in "The Record" (Hackensack NJ) June 21, 1965 page 49.  The URL is: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/491313720/

Attached is a blurry snip from the free preview of this newspaper story (which has errors compared to the other newspaper story at the beginning of this topic).

A 1973 photo of Billy Arnell appeared in Cash Box October 27 1973 page 10 with Lee David - also attached.  Arnell has credits on the final two of Lee David's three 45s.  Has anyone ever figured out the real name of Lee David?  

 

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 1.28.26 PM.png

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 1.34.39 PM.png

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 02/08/2020 at 18:42, jukeboxgeorge said:

There is a photo of this group available on a subscription database from Newspapers.com [Extra database] printed in "The Record" (Hackensack NJ) June 21, 1965 page 49.  The URL is: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/491313720/

Attached is a blurry snip from the free preview of this newspaper story (which has errors compared to the other newspaper story at the beginning of this topic).

A 1973 photo of Billy Arnell appeared in Cash Box October 27 1973 page 10 with Lee David - also attached.  Arnell has credits on the final two of Lee David's three 45s.  Has anyone ever figured out the real name of Lee David?  

 

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 1.28.26 PM.png

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 1.34.39 PM.png

Confirmed then, Billy is a white guy.

Lee David is the 'Temptation Is Calling My Name' guy? Now, I always thought he was white!!! 

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