One of the most joyous sounds to permeate the radio airwaves in the 70's and 80's came from central Europe courtesy of The Les Humphries Singers. Led by the enigmatic, Les Humphries, who now resides in his british homeland. Les is an enigmatic fellow and very little is documented about the group in the Music history books. We do know and remember the wonderful music that he has made however, with his inspirational, multi racial, choral group for three decades. A musical style which become synonymous with german culture of the 70's and early 80's.
The Les Humphries singers first appeared on the international stage as an 11 piece spiritual choir. Signing to Decca Records, in the late 60's, releasing their first single 'To My Fathers House'/'Gospel Train' at the end of 1970. It received a considerable amount of radio airplay throughout Europe but narrowly failed to chart, as did their second single 'This Ole House'/'We'll Fly You To The Promised Land' (March '71), their third single `Soolaimon'/Sloop John B', a double headed reworking of two 60's classics (previously hits for Neil Diamond and The Beach Boys), brought them a lot more listeners and into the European charts for the first time. The Les Humphries Singers appealed to fans of all ages, sold incredible quantities of albums, packed concert halls and 'headlined' at open air festivals around the world. With their terrific renditions of standards and Les's own material.
They really reached 'Super Stardom' in 1972, The Les Humphries Group appeared on TV with their latest single '01' Man Mose'/'Going Down Jordan' (March), both sides became enormous hits. The group swiftly followed up their first chart topper with 'Take Care Of Me'/'Mary Turn The Lamp Down Low' (May), another hit and another great sing-a-long song. What Harry Belafonte had done with his caribbean style in the 60's, The Les Humphries Singers were successfully repeating, in their own way, a decade later. No european summer party would have been complete in the 70's without their music, their adoring fans continued to grow in number. In 1973 they released the party classic `Mama Loo', a great Les Humphries composition, a showstopper at their concerts and one of the most loved singles they have ever recorded. The next release from The Les Humphries Singers was 'UniformI Kentucky Dew' (October `73), a favourite with their legions of fans. In 1975 The Les Humphries Singers signed a new recording contract (with Antic Records in the UK) in the hope of spreading their wonderful, uplifting music, beyond the boundries which had held them so close and loyally for the first half of the 70's (mainland Europe).
There were four more singles released in Britain 'She's Really Something' and `Spanish Discotheque' both in 1975. 'Indian War' and 'Sing Sang Song' in 1976. Single releases like 'Kansas City' (another Les Humphries song) and 'New Orleans' were huge selling hits in Europe in the mid 70's and remain amongst their most remembered and loved today. No group before or since has ever managed to pack so much vocal joy into one 7" slice of vinyl. The Les Humphries 'Sound' was a guaranteed tonic. Maybe they should have been available on prescription ("listen to these albums 3 times daily after meals. . ."). In 1989 a terrific 'Mega Mix' including their biggest hits 'Mama Loo' and 'Mexico', was released and took them to 'chart-land' once again, the Maxi single/12" still packs the floors in discotheques today. In the 90's Les Humphries returned to Britain and recently revisited those wonderful days bringing his unique arrangements to the hits and a number of newly recorded songs, including the classics 'The Clapping Song' and 'Oh Happy Day'. To thrill a new generation of fans and if, like me, you are a long time fan, rekindle some wonderful memories of those golden days. I know you will enjoy listening to this 'Very Best Of'. .. it's just what the good doctor ordered. Kevin James