Johnny Kenson New Motif Band
we introduced our sub-label DIAL
in 1976, we decided to introduce a new sound as well. The first
LP (Dial LP 001) is called NEW SOUND IN ROCK AND ROLL and the musicians
are JOHNNY KENSON & THE NEW MOTIF BAND.
Born March 12th 1940, Johnny Kenson (Ken
Johnston) was introduced to Rock/Country music in the mid fifties
when he played double-bass and sang with 'The Lincoln Four', a locally
well known rock/country band of the fifties.
very fond of Rock and Roll with a blues influence the music of artists
like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, The Inkspots and Bing
Crosby played a great part in the direction of Johnny Kenson and
the style of music he writes and sings today (1976). During the
late fifties Johnny Kenson, then performing under his real name,
Ken Johnston, was friendly with and performed with some well known
singers including Jimmy Justice and Ricky Vallance.
the old days many happy evenings were spent in Ken's parents house
in Surrey (UK) where Jimmy Justice, the Jimmy Little, and Pete Heathersay,
a succesful pianist would sing and play old traditional songs such
as 'Love Is A Many Splendid Thing' and 'Cool Water' and also work
out harmonies and melodies for new compositions not knowing then
how succesful some of their songs would become.
frustrating time musically in the early seventies, Johnny Kenson
was introduced by his brother Mick to the 'New Motif' band. A great
chance had now arisen to get things moving again.
New Motif band already very succesful on the Club circuit were keen
to record, particularly music with the fifties sound. Using their
own technique and mostly their own material Johnny Kenson and the
New Motif band recorded some of the songs on this LP.
New Motif members are Mike Wordingham, lead/rhythm guitar, a friendly
easy going chap having a liking for Country music but can play a
good guitar to most kinds of popular music. Then there is John Leonard,
rhythm/lead guitar, lives and loves to play music and co-writer
of 'Ever In Doubt' and 'I'm On My Own'. Mick Johnston, Ken's brother,
singer and good all rounder who can mix comedy with an acceptable
singing style, likes to sing slow ballads and enjoys being with
people. Paul Pergande, bass player, has good musical ability and
a natural feel for bass arrangements, has a liking for heavy music.
John Bowdry, drummer, youngest and biggest in the group, a happy
go lucky guy who loves beat music and he tells me he'll play rock
and roll drums forever, or as long he can lift the sticks any way.
Johnny Kenson (Ken Johnston)
JOHNNY: “I am pleased to have helped create the record.
Most of the tracks you hear on this LP were recorded in my front
room at home in Croydon, the remaining tracks were recorded in a
small Church Hall.
Using quite unusual techniques we tried
to create original yet fifties sounding material. In fact many songs
were written and recorded between 1957 and 1961, such as 'Tell Me,
Tell Me' and 'Boo Hoo Baby'. Other tracks were written soon after.
The guitarists John and Mike along with my brother Michael
played an important part in capturing the primitive fifties rock
and roll sound we aimed for with this record. Since my early years
I have had a strong attachment for Nashville style Rock and Blues
music and I hope some of my feelings come over to you in the songs
I have written and sung on this LP.”
The New Motif Band
© Jason Leonard
The picture was taken in 1976 at the Conservative
Club in Mitcham (south part of London) in the UK.
(from left to right) are as follows:
Paul Pergande -
John Bowdry - Drums
Mick Johnston - Vocals
John Leonard - Guitar and Vocals
Mike Wordingham -
putting the Diwa Records Catalogue on the internet, we got in touch
with Jason Leonard from Canada. JASON: “I'm familiar
with the Johnny Kenson album since my dad (John Leonard) was the
guitar player / lead singer on a few numbers on the album. I do
have a copy of this album (which my grandmother gave me a couple
of years ago), but it is heavily scratched from years of playing
by my grandmother (she got her copy in 1976 when the album was released).
This is currently the only copy that we have in the family.
I will give you a quick overview in regards to my father and
the New Motif Band. Unfortunately, the story is a sad one...
From what I understand my father was still doing the club circuit
in the UK with the band in 1975 / 1976 (I was only 6 years old at
the time, so this information is mostly from what my grandmother
has passed on to me). Towards the end of 1976, my mother passed
away, and (from what I can recollect), my father stopped playing
for a short while after that. Early in 1978, my father wrote and
recorded a couple of original songs ('Dreams and Memories' and 'Sad,
Sad Day' (I have these on tape)) which he shopped around to various
record companies in the UK, in the hope of getting a 45 released.
A record deal didn't materialize, and unbeknownst to me at the time,
my father was diagnosed with cancer.
In early 1979, my
two grandparents (on my dad's side), my father and my brother, immigrated
to Canada. In late 1979, the illness spread, and my father died
in December that year. My brother and I stayed in Canada and lived
with my aunt and uncle.
As far as the other members of
the Motif band go, the only one I have a recollection of is Mick
Johnson. I do remember him hanging around our house in the UK. I'm
not sure what he is doing now, but I do know that he is still living
in Morden in the UK. Also, I'm really not sure what happened to
the band after my father left. I think that the band broke up after
his departure, and I don't think that they recorded any more albums.”
Reelin' and a' rockin' (C. Berry)
You mean a lot to me, take 1
Don't you say no
I'm on my own
Rockin' Robin (J. Thomas)
Ever in doubt
Memphis (C. Berry)
mean a lot to me, take 2
Tell me, tell me
Born to lose
It can't be wrong
I've been waiting
Boo hoo baby
All songs written by Johnny Kenson except 1, 6, 1