Kris Ife and the Quiet Five – A Little Morning Sun

14 Feb

The Quiet Five...uh...I mean Six

Let’s set the scene. Mid 1960s, London. When you think of music during that time, genres like Merseybeat, Pop/Rock, and Blue-Eyed soul all come to mind. We’re thinking The Beatles, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Freddie and the Dreamers, and The Hollies. Genres quietly fuse, and when Beat music slowly died out, it was replaced quickly with edgier R&B bands like the Animals. It was easy to get lost in this fog of famous musicians. Enter the Quiet Five.

The Quiet Five was not always the Quiet Five. They formed as the Vikings in the early 60s, a group of musicians from Paddington. The original line-up was Kris Ife – Rhythm Guitar, John Howell – Clavioline & Guitar, Ray Hailey – Drums, Roger Mckew – Lead Guitar and Len Hooker – Bass. Len Hooker left soon after the band’s founding and was replaced by  Phil Leavesley. The Vikings worked mainly as back-up musicians for various artists, even supporting the Beatles at Romford Odeon in 1963. In 1964, the Vikings were combined with a South London band called the Quiet Five, adopting their name in the process. Leavesley was replaced by Richard Barnes (bass guitar/vocals) and the band added saxophonist John “Satch” Goswell. This line-up of six individuals, despite their name, went on to record the band’s most known hit of their short career.

Ron Richards, the Hollies’ producer and the producer of “Love me Do”, heard Kris Ife’s composition, “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew,” and thought he could turn it into a hit. The year was 1965, and the song did find its way into the top 50, one of two top 50 hits the band would have. It lacked staying power though and did not reach a larger audience. After a few failures and a record-label switch, the group ended its recording career.

It’s a shame that “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew” has fallen into obscurity because the song is actually pretty good. It features an opening guitar riff, slow and intimate, almost like a slowed down Peter and Gordon riff (which you can say is a Lennon/McCartney riff). The song is different from a lot of the music being released in 1965. It’s sensitive melodies, airy acoustic riffs, sincere harmonies, and strung-out keys, make it sound a few years before its time. The song could have very well been released in 1968 and hit more popularity. The reason I say this is because it is certainly not R&B or Merseybeat – it simply lacks the speed of the time. It’s a wonderful piece and I hope that more people begin to recognize it as such.

I want to continue this exploration with the man in the photo above, Kris Ife. Ife, who wrote  “When the Morning Sun Dries the Dew,” went on to have solo career that included a recording of a cover of “Hush,” originally by by Joe South. “Hush,” of course, became a big hit for Deep Purple, but, apparently, Deep Purple was inspired to play the song after hearing Ife’s version.

And listen to that. While each preceding version is fast-paced and explosive, Ife adds harmony, which is one of the reasons why Deep Purple’s version is so great. The version is obviously not Hard Rock, but it definitely inspired Deep Purple’s heavy use of bass, tremendous soloing, and gritty performance.

Various members of the Quiet Five do still perform today. You can follow Kris Ife on his website and the band’s great tribute Facebook page

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8 Responses to “Kris Ife and the Quiet Five – A Little Morning Sun”

  1. Kris Ife February 15, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Thank you Matthew for your kind words about my early career.
    If it’s OK with you – I’d like to put the article on to my website.
    Kris

    • Matthew Coleman February 15, 2012 at 8:53 am #

      That would be excellent Kris. Thank you for getting back to me. Really happy you enjoyed the post.

      All the best,

      Matt

  2. Gill Babbs February 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Kris Ife was a musician who had he been born just a few years later would have acquired more notoriety and fame for the music he wrote and performed He was and is a great song writer and musician as far as I am concerned and have known of him for over 50 years .

    • Matthew Coleman February 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

      I definitely agree. I believe his music would have fit so well in the late 60’s, early 70’s. I’m just glad it is out there for consumption and enjoyment and listeners enjoy it.

  3. positivegreenford May 19, 2012 at 8:05 am #

    Thank you so much for this blog post and your blog which I just love. It has filled in some gaps in my knowledge of bands and artists of the 1960s which I’m trying to fill in an attempt to save the Starlite Ballroom in Greenford which is in west London and at risk of demolition. The Quiet Five played there along with the Who, the Small Faces, Cream and many others. As a consequence of my research I have come to admire those who collate and put out this sort of information online. It really is a labour of love. Where would I be without your efforts?!

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