From there got an apprenticeship at the local Colliery and trained for three more years as an Underground Electrician finally qualifying around summer 1980. Between leaving school in 1976 and becoming a qualified Electrician in 1980 formed first band with "best mate" Mick 'Robbo' Robinson, Kev O Donnel and William 'Sully' O Sullivan called "Hoss Cartwright" and later "Moonshadow". Played first ever "Gig" without Kev (who had not yet bought a drum kit) at "The Tom Hill Y.C." Denaby Main.This would have been sometime around '76 or '77. First set list included "Caroline" and "Paper Plane"by Status Quo, "Let's Stick Together" by Brian Ferry, "I Love To Boogie" by Marc Bolan and "The Jean Genie" by David Bowie. Decided to play Bass seing as no one else wanted to plus both Robbo and Sully had better guitars.
Also, for some unknown reason became the main vocalist, although Robbo also did quite a bit of singing. By 1979 the band became know as The Gents with the line-up being, Martin Burton - Bass, Mick Robinson - Guitar, Steve Kendell - Keyboards and Glyn Davies - Drums. The latter part of 1979 saw a falling out between some band members resulting in Robbo leaving and new guitarist (until recently a bassist) Steve "Chambo" Chambers completing the now more familliar line up of The Gents. Lots of things happened with The Gents between 1980 and 1989 including winning a "Supergroup" competition, turning down a Recording contract with EMI, recording two Albums and eight or nine singles, picking up quite a few Radio1 plays, BBC1 Leeds and ITV Yorkshire TV appearances, Radio1 sessions, Radio1 Roadshow, and probably other stuff that has faded from memory through the mists of time. Also during this time managed to find time to get married to Julie in January 1985 and also to make a living touring the country with The Gents playing a crazy mixture of venues from The 100 Club London, Reading University and Castle Donnington at one end of the scale to Moorthorpe Empire wmc,Hatfield Miners Welfare and Millom Bingo Club at the other. By the end of 1989 The Gents decided to split and another band was formed called Lip Service. This band consisted of Martin Burton – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and just about anything else that could make a tune, Julie Burton – Vocals and occasional Keyboards, Jill Madin (Julie’s sister) – Vocals and occasional Bass and Nicola Martin – Vocals and occasional Drums (very occasional actually). The other interseting fact about Lip Service is that it was one of the first bands to use pre-recorded backing tracks (by Martin of course) in a live situation (frowned upon at the time but now used by everyone from Joe Bloggs down the pub to Kylie at the O2 arena).
The main purpose of Lip Service was to work the Social Clubs and Cabaret circuit in order to make a living and pay the mortgage instead of having to get a “propper” job. This worked fine for about six or seven years until the need to be more creative re-appeared, at which time the beginnings of a “Home Studio” set up was instigated. The six or seven year life span of Lip Service saw quite a few personell changes most notably “Sexy” Simon Rew, Neil Bottomley and Ian (probably the best drummer in the world) West. By the latter part of the 90’s Lip Service inexplicably morphed into The New Gents which, as it turned out was to prove a huge mistake. After a couple of years and about ten or fifteen personell changes The New Gents self-destructed, which looked like the end of the road as far as live work was concerned.
The song writing and recording was still alive and well though and the following twelve to eighteen months proved to be the most productive time since the early days of The Gents. The end of the Century was looming and the need to just get out there and sing was becoming overwhelming so as the year 2000 approached the idea of a new gigging band began to form. The new band was to be a five piece all male vocal act using backing tracks – produced again by Martin – and covering all things Soul. The decision to keep it as a complete covers band (no originals at all) was a very deliberate one. It was thought best to keep the two areas separate and see how things worked out.
Pretty soon into it’s life span The Soul Men (as the new band was named) went down from a five piece to a four piece and has remained so to this day. People have come and gone but the nucleus of the band has stayed constant for going on nine years now. The line-up of The Soul Men started out as follows; Martin Burton, Mick Barnes, Simon Rew (Lip Service) and Chris Brown. People who have come and gone include; Chris Brown, Dave McKenzie, Neil Bottomley (Lip Service) and Simon although Simon still comes back from time to time to cover when people are sick or on holiday. Rob Northmore and Tony (Anton-Tony-Zoom) Dunn make up the current line-up as of April 2009. As mentioned earlier the song writing and recording has continued throughout, some times sporadic, some times prolific but always enthusiastic.
Things are a lot easier now-a-days to record music to a good standard with computer technology as it is today the only problem is that time seems to much less available than it used to be. If you’ve read this far I sincerely hope that you’ve not been bored to tears and I also hope you’ve had a listen to some of the songs. Some songs are probably nearly thirty years old by now although I have recently re-recorded them (just for fun), and some songs are as recent as just a couple of months old. Anyway, that’s enouogh from me – have a listen and let me know what you think. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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