Legay, from Leicester, were one of countless bands who evolved from a dandy mod soul combo to punchy psychedelic voyagers in the second half of the 1960s. They came up through the ranks, got a brief crack at the big time, before regrouping to find greater success as Gypsy.
Formed in 1965 they were named after original drummer, Legay Rogers, who had the foresight/ego to pre-emptively emblazon his name across his bass drum. Musically talented – containing two songwriters, lead singer Rod Read and guitarist Robin Pizer - and stylishly attired they were a big attraction, especially locally, and were as pleasing on the eye as the ear. One witness enviously commenting on YouTube that “they had some real hot chicks”. Their peak came in 1968 with the release of their sole 45 for Fontana, the incessant freakbeat brain pounder “No One”.
Never ones to turn down an excavation project, the intrepid researchers at Circle Records have dug up four additional recordings the band made between 1967 and 1969 and have issued them with their customary care and attention as a new 7 inch EP.
The main track “High Flying Around” might be familiar to the hardcore psych crowd as it’s received a few club plays via acetate but here it gets a first official release, restored and remastered to give improved sound quality. From 1968 it was probably earmarked as a follow-up to “No One” and retains elements of that track – most notably the use of John Knapp’s Selmer Pianotron electric piano - but benefits from the pace being taken down a notch allowing the vocals and harmonies to breath more easily. That it fleetingly (on the “til tomorrow” part of the main hook) brings The Action’s Rolled Gold to mind is nothing but a good thing indeed.
The additional three tracks are “Minstrel Boy”, a demo from March 1969; Robin Pizer’s “You’re On My Mind” and Rod Read’s “Impartial Judge”, both demos from 1967. Although none as impressive as the main track and the sound quality is far from perfect, “You’re On My Mind” in particular, (not the song done by the Birds) gives an indication of the excitement the band must’ve generated.
The release comes as a limited edition 60 gram vinyl 45 designed like a demo/acetate and is housed in a brown paper sleeve embossed with Circle Records detail plus a colour postcard including the band’s history. Those buying direct from Circle receive a Legay badge.
High Flying Around EP by Legay is released tomorrow on Circle Records. Available here.