High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Got To Get You Onto My Turntable... Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers!

 They opened for the Beatles. 

 Their biggest hit was an exciting cover of 

 a Paul McCartney song from Revolver. 

 "Got to Get You Into My Life" 
 Ciff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers 
 (August 1966, highest chart position #6 UK) 

One of England's best kept secrets, Cliff Bennett
and the Rebel Rousers were a Brit Beat, R&B and
blue-eyed soul band that formed in the late 50s.
They took their name from the title of Duane Eddy's
1958 hit rockabilly instrumental "Rebel-'Rouser."

Like the Fab Four, the Rolling Stones, Animals,
Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and others English acts,
Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers were influenced
by American Rock 'N' Roll, Blues, R&B and Soul
artists and covered many of their recordings.

On their first single in 1961, Cliff and his mates
emulated the rockabilly style of Jerry Lee Lewis
and his pumping piano.

 "You've Got What I Like" (July 1961, uncharted) 

Like our blue-eyes soul brothers, the Magnificent Men,
Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers paid tribute to
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.

 "You Really Got a Hold On Me" 
 (November 1963, uncharted) 

Along with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames,
Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers were one
of the few British R&B bands to feature a
predominantly sax based sound. You will again
hear the throaty instrument on this next tune.

At the start of 1965, Cliff and the Rebs brushed
the UK top 40 with "I'll Take You Home," a song
from the Brill Building husband and wife song-
writing team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil
that was a minor hit for the Drifters in 1963.

 "I'll Take You Home" 
 (January 1965, highest chart position #42 UK) 

In 1965, nearly six years into their career,
Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers released
their first album. One of the standout songs
is the opening track, "I Can't Stand It," a cover
of an original by the R&B act The Soul Sisters.

 "I Can't Stand It" 
 (from 1965 album Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers

While many of Cliff Bennett's recordings are
high energy workouts, the intense slow blues
number "Steal Your Heart Away" is my
favorite song on that first album.

 "Steal Your Heart Away" 
 (from 1965 album Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers

On his 1968 album Cliff Bennett Branches Out
the blue-eyed soul meister serves a heapin' helpin'
of Sam and Dave. "I Take What I Want" is Cliff's
best performance covering the Dynamite Duo.

 "I Take What I Want" 
 (from 1968 album Cliff Bennett Branches Out

On that same album Cliff performs a wailin'
rendition of "Good Times," a song introduced
by Australian rock band the Easybeats and
later covered by another Aussie band, INXS
along with Jimmy Barnes as well as American
goth rocker Meat Loaf.

 "Good Times" 
 (from 1968 album Cliff Bennett Branches Out

Like many other artists I have featured. Cliff Bennett
and the Rebel Rousers were under appreciated.

Cliff had an amazing vocal range and the Rebel Rousers
were accomplished musicians. Together they performed
in a variety of styles and did so with enthusiasm and
authenticity. Perhaps the band's retro name held them
back by recalling the 50s at a time when the Beatles
and other British Invasion acts were perceived
as fresh and innovative.

Regardless, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers
deserved much more success and recognition than
than they got at the time. History has been kind.
Today they are lauded as one of the greatest bands
of the British rhythm and blues movement.

Have a Shady day!


  1. I had never heard of Cliff Bennett or The Rebel Rousers until this fine post, my friend. It will be interesting to see if our friend, thisisme, knows of them. Because of my phone, I am brief today, but it doesn't mean I'm enjoying it any less!

    1. Hi, Shelly! Your loyalty and reliability amaze me, dear friend.

      I must admit that I had never heard any of these great tracks by Cliff Bennett's Rebel Rousers until I stumbled upon the band on YouTube. The more I listened the more I liked them and was compelled to devote an entire post to them.

      I'll can't wait to find out if our friend Thisisme knows this band. Perhaps she bops to their tunes on her jukebox every day.

      Dear Shelly, you are one of those people who has learned along the way that a minute of your time and a few kind words are all it takes to make someone's day. Thank you for making mine!

  2. I'm constantly being educated when I visit your blog! I never heard of this group and knowing you didn't either makes me feel better. However, 2 of the songs were familiar so maybe a grade of C in this class will move me to the next lesson! For now it's back to yard work... not nearly as much fun!

    1. Hello, dear YaYa! Good news, my friend. "C" is a passing grade in this class, although you'll feel a little ashamed when you learn that Eddy was here ahead of you and got an A! :)

      When you say you're in the midst of doing yard work, do you mean snow blowing? :)

      Thank you very much for sampling some songs, dear friend YaYa. Have a happy Friday and a safe holiday weekend!

  3. Well hallo there Shadykins! How the devil are you today my dear friend. I couldn't believe my little peepers! You've dedicated a post to a group from this side of the pond! Of course thisisme knows all about Cliff Bennett and the R.R's ! They were always one of my favourites and this brought back happy memories of sitting in a coffee bar trying to make a bottle of Coke last all night and listening to Cliff on the jukebox. This was two weeks ago. LOL! Sorry I jest! Bouncing BArb mentioned you in her comment on my latest post. Thank you as Always, for your detailed comment over at my place today. You really must be everyone's number one Follower. Smooches coming your way.

    1. Hallo, dear Thisisme! Yessum, I noticed that Bouncin' Barb noticed what I wrote on your blog. Glad you noticed. Notice how much I like the word notice? :)

      I am dumbfounded, dear friend! Shelly mentioned you in her comment and I was mentally prepared for you to tell me you never heard of Cliff Bennett. I'm delighted to find out that you know the band and consider them bopworthy. Don't they do a nice rendition of "Got To Get You Into My Life"? I love all of the songs posted here and I'm so glad they resonate with you as well.

      Isn't it fun to let your memory drift back to that simpler, happier, more innocent time - two weeks ago? (LOL) I swear, dear friend, Shady's style of humor is definitely rubbing off on you. I love it!

      Happy Friday to you, dear friend Thisisme. SMOOCHES SMOOCHES SMOOCHES and have a super weekend!

  4. Hi Shady, I think I made it in a timely manner this time. Thursday nite, and rarin' to get to Friday! Got an extra day off work next week. Yeah, we've had Scooter a lot this month, and, still may see him again this weekend. But, you know, the day will come when Grandma and Pawpaw aren't so cool anymore. We hope he keeps coming around when he's older (well, unless he's an unruly teenager, lol!)

    Hope you and Mrs. Shady are doing well. Yes, it's still hot and gummy in the Lone Star state. Prayin' for rain, or, at least a cool breeze.

    You know, I remember the song 'Got To Get You Into My Life'. It was really pretty popular, I like it, tho, I didn't know who Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers were, You put some pretty good stuff of theirs on tonite. You're right, he really had quite a vocal range. One minute they sound like a soul group, then they're acidly upbeat! A good rock sound! Their sound doesn't make me think British at all! I did like 'Good Times' and 'You really Got a Hold on Me'. I agree with you Shady, these guys did some really great stuff, and should have been more recognized...too much competition you think? Their band/instrumental sound is even really good.

    This was a surprise-it is fun to learn of a group that you've heard, but really didn't know anything about. Thanks a lot Shady...have a good evening and I'll see you soon! ♫

    1. Hello, dear Suzanne! Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers performed a number of different styles of music in their career and they were flawless in their execution. I agree that they don't remind you of a typical British band. With their prominent saxophone they were more like the horn bands that gained popularity here in the states during those same years.

      I think the name Rebel Rousers might have held them back a little because it implies that they were an oldies act at a time when audiences were craving new and innovative sounds offered by the Beatles, Stones, Manfred Mann, Zeppelin, etc.

      If you have Scootie this weekend, I hope he has a nice visit with you. If you are Scootieless, then I hope you and Karo still have a wonderful holiday weekend. Thanks so much for coning over, dear Suzanne!

  5. Only a couple of these were familiar to me, but all of them were fun to listen to (some a couple of times). "You Really Got A Hold On Me" really brought back some memories. I think I'll go listen again.
    Have a great evening, Shady.

    1. Howdy, dear Jeanie! It's a very good sign when you crave repeat listens. I'm glad you mentioned "You Really Got a Hold On Me" because I agree that it's a wonderful interpretation of Smokey Robinson's early 60s hit song. I suppose it's true that Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers were primarily a cover band but they were versatile, performing several different music styles, and they did so with vitality and authenticity. I admire them for it.

      Thank you very much for your visit and kind comments, dear Jeanie, and good night to you in Colorado!

  6. Hi Tom, like Shelly, I had never heard of Cliff Bennett before this post!I hope you're having a lovely week Tom, I'm so excited that tomorrow is Friday, I have some fun plans for this weekend! Did I tell you my mam is visiting Florida in October? She is going over to see her sisters and celebrate her 50th birthday too!

    Talk to you soon Tom!

    Emma x

    1. Hi, Emma! Good Golly, it's the middle of the night in Ireland, dear friend. Either you're up very late or up very early! :) Whatever the case, I'm very happy to see you.

      No, you didn't tell me that your mam is coming to Florida in October. Disney World? The Space Center? Miami Beach? Daytona? I hope she likes summery weather because it's typically still quite hot through the month of October. Wherever she's going and whatever she's doing I wish her a pleasant stay here in the Sunshine State.

      As for you I hope you have a marvelous weekend and give us the highlights on your blog sometime next week. Good night and good morning to you, dear friend Emma!

  7. I'd never heard of them either but there version isn't all that bad although I must admit the beatles have a certain slightly better version. btw meant to ask if you are on facebook?

    1. Hi, Amy! I agree that it would be hard to top the original version by the Fab Four but the recording crafted by Cliff and his mates is a worthy cover. I'm happy you came over to check them out.

      There are one or two Shady Dell pages on Facebook but they are operated by other people. I find that I'm too busy maintaining my presence on Blogger to branch out at this time.

      Thank you very much for popping in to say hello, dear friend Amy. Good night to you in New Zealand and have a delightful weekend!

  8. Hi Tom - this was all new to me! Great fun to learn about a group that I'd heard nothing about until today. I was a wide eyed pupil.

    1. Why hello, dear karen! I'm so happy to see you, my friend. Seems like Thisisme is the only one of my followers who actually knew about Cliff Bennett in advance. I had never heard of them until I found them on YouTube. Thank you very much for spinning records with me this evening, dear karen. I always appreciate your visits. Have a wonderful holiday weekend, dear friend!

  9. Thank you for the post, Mr Shady! I really enjoyed reading more about Cliff Bennett, especially the tracked linked with Joe Meek which is the man who inspired me to dive into obscure sounds! I also wanted to leave you a track. I wanted to send you a while ago but got quite busy as you know. It's called Pappa Do by Barry Green and here's the link:
    Have a great week!

    1. Hello, dear Ana! I'm very pleased to see you, dear friend, and to know that you adore the obscure as much as I do.

      Hey, thank you for the link! I didn't know about Barry Green (Blue) until now and I really appreciated the inventive production and hooks throughout "Papa Do." I was compelled to listen to other Barry Blue glam rock recordings and to read about him. In doing so, I learned about his collaboration with Lynsey de Paul and watched her perform her hit "Sugar Me," co-written by Barry. I also read that Blue/Green produced for Heatwave, the British soul/funk band that achieved three major international dance hits. I remember grooving to them in clubs during my bachelor years.

      I found a video for you, dear friend. A few months ago I became fascinated with and watched a documentary about Pans People, the popular all female dance troupe on Top of the Pops. Here they are closing an episode of TOTP performing a dance routine to another of Barry Green/Blue's early 70s hits, "Do You Wanna Dance."

      You are so very sweet for sharing your music and knowledge with me, Ana. Thank you! This is how we learn from each other. I wish you a splendid week ahead, my dear friend!

  10. Great post Shady! I listen to a digital radio station called Gold in the evenings sometimes and they often play Cliff Bennett tracks. I didn't know anything about them though. Hope you have a lovely week!

    1. Hello, dear Sarah! That's fantastic! I'm happy to learn that Cliff Bennett's many fine recordings are in play on at least one vintage radio channel. Today Mrs. Shady and I had lunch at a restaurant that played oldies while people dined. Unfortunately, the play list was restricted to the same old million sellers we've all heard just as many times - entirely too predictable. If I owned an eatery I'd make sure to play the obscure because seldom heard nuggets are much more fun.

      Thank you very much for coming by for a visit, dear friend Sarah. Good night to you there in the London suburbs and enjoy the rest of your week!

  11. It's no wonder this band was popular in England. They are just great! 'Got to Get You Into My Life' was terrific.
    So, they opened for the Beatles! Wow. I remember the Beatles also recorded 'You've Really Got A Hold on Me.' Love both these songs. 'You've Got What I Like' is fun too. By the end of this post, I was very impressed with the Rebel Rousers singing and music.

    1. Good evening, dear Belle, and thank you for coming to the Cliff Bennett concert! I'm pleased to know that you liked the sound of this band. They were quite versatile, weren't they? They effectively covered the Beatles, Smokey, Sam & Dave, Drifters, Soul Sisters, Easybeats and others.

      Thanks for mentioning that early recording of theirs, the Jerry Lee Lewis styled "You've Got What I Like," waxed during the band's recording session with Joe Meek, the meteoric English songwriter and producer. In his brief lifespan, Meek produced 45 hit records including "Have I The Right" by the Honeycombs.

      Thank you again, dear Belle, for sampling some sounds with Shady. Enjoy the rest of your week and please try to swing by Thursday when Kathleen Mae Schneider will present another chapter of In-Dell-ible Memories! Blessings to you, dear friend!

  12. Kathleen Mae SchneiderSeptember 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    You know, I think I missed hearing some of these songs because they came out when I was knee-deep in my studies at college. Many all-nighters and preparing for student teaching unfortunately didn't let a whole lot of time for anything else.

    Now I can enjoy "You Really Got a Hold on Me" and Steal Your Heart Away" without the distraction of studying for finals or writing lesson plans.

    I like Cliff Bennett's voice, and the backup harmony and brass really compliments it. The guitar in "Steal Your Heart Away" almost sounds like a human voice singing in some parts.

    I'd almost forgotten what go-go dancers looked like until I watched "I Take What I Want". That was fun!

    Thanks for this catch up spotlight on a talent I would have missed otherwise!

    1. Hi, Kathleen! I hope you and your family had an excellent Labor Day weekend.

      Thank you for making some time to check out Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. This was a sax-driven band, an unusual configuration in the UK at the time, and they produced a full bodied sound. I too am impressed with their musicianship along with Cliff's vocals.

      I don't remember ever hearing Rebel Rousers' records at the Dell. I came to know the band only a few weeks ago while playing a game of "Six Degrees" on YouTube. It's the method I use to discover many of the artists presented on SDMM. I start out playing videos by an artist I like, then explore the many related artists and videos listed in the right column.

      Some people might wonder why it was necessary to have that go-go girl out in front of the Rebel Rousers in that Sam & Dave number. That's how it was done in those days. I still cringe when I recall the jiggling harem surrounding the dignified Rick Nelson in a scene from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. They were definitely an unwelcome distraction and the words "poor taste" come to mind. :)

      Thank you very much for coming to the party, Kathleen. I'll be seeing you back here Thursday when you take over as host and present the next installment of your delightful series. Until then, take good care of yourself and Mother, dear friend!


You talkin' to me?