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November 19, 2004

True descendants of the Drifters

IC Liverpool (UK):

Among all the great American singing groups, The Drifters have had the most confusing history. There have been constantly changing personnel, at one time the entire line-up was fired and their places taken by a different group and different Drifters groups have sprung up.

But The Drifters appearing at the Liverpool Empire on Sunday, November 28, may have the strongest claim to the name. Group member Peter Lamarr tells me: "We are all direct descendants of The Drifters. We may not be blood related but we worked with many of the early guys like Ben E. King and Johnny Moore." It was Moore - whose distinctive lead voice is heard on the group's original recording of Under The Boardwalk - who in 1972 relocated to England with a new Drifters lineup.

Moore died in 1988 but The Drifters have continued to this day with changing personnel as usual. "We are keeping The Drift-ers tradition alive," says Brooklyn-born Lamarr. But he admits to being irked by the number of Drifters groups spread across the world. "There are Drifters in Majorca, Canada, the USA, everywhere," he says.. "Many have just used the name to make money."

There has been a court case instituted by Lamarr's Drift-ers to secure the right to the name. "It has been on-going for years," he says.. "But we hope it might all be resolved sometime in the New Year." In the meantime, he and his fellow Drifters - Patrick Alan from Los Angeles and Brits Rohan Delano Turney and Victor Bynoe - continue their non-stop tour of one night stands across the UK.

The act consists mostly of the classic Drifters songs from the early 1950s to the 1970s, Lamarr says, such as Saturday Night At The Movies, Kissin' In The Back Row and Up On The Roof. There are also original Drifters songs which people did not know they recorded like Memories Are Made Of This and Oh What a Night! Lamarr's personal favourite is Under The Boardwalk. With musician parents - mum was a backing singer for Aretha Franklin, dad played sax with Junior Walker - he heard a lot of music but he was just five when he heard Under The Boardwalk. "I had never heard anything quite like it and it proved very influential to me."

Posted by acapnews at November 19, 2004 1:10 AM