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From Dusty till Dawn

Douggie Reece & Dusty Springfield When JenS, who may well have been the person who introduced Ig to Syd Barrett, told the Church that they both went to a Dusty Springfield party the Reverend was absolutely certain that he had found a solid path to unravel more about Ig’s past (see: When Syd met Iggy (Pt. 1)).

Ig was a bit older than the Cantabrigian underground gang and had already been active in the London club scene for a couple of years.

DJ Jeff Dexter had already noticed Ig in 1963 in The Orchid at Purley, where she used to go clubbing until 1967. Kathy McGowan and her RSG!-team raided the place to ‘spot for dancers to appear in her show’ (see: Where did she go?).

In 1966 Ig was spotted on a party at The Cromwellian that was (partly) organised by the main choreographer of the RSG!-show. We will not go further into that as this story has already been told on this blog before (see: Bend It!).

Dusty Springfield started her solo career in 1963 and was voted the Top British Female Artist in the New Musical Express reader's poll in 1964, 1965, and 1968. She appeared a couple of times at the RSG!-show as presenter and would, in total, appear 24 times on the show. In 1965 Springfield hosted a special Motown edition of the RSG!-show and some while later she had her own Dusty show at the BBC.

The Church found it relevant to investigate if there really had been an Ig – Dusty – RSG! connection somewhere and if some witnesses still remembered her.

The first person to get in touch with the Church was Douggie Reece, bass player (and singer) of The Echoes, Dusty Springfield’s backing band (watch him singing Mockingbird with Dusty). It was Reece who contacted the Reverend after the Church had asked amongst fan-circles if anyone could remember Ig being in and around the Dusty Springfield scene.

I don't remember her at all.
Or the Dusty Springfield scene.
I spent most of the 60's with Dusty maybe I went out to get some cigarettes or something and missed the whole occasion!!!
Douggie xx

Although it was suggested that it would be a nice name for a tribute band there has apparently never been a Dusty Springfield scene to begin with as far as Douggie Reece remembers, if Ig did ever meet Dusty it may have been purely coincidental.

Another Dusty connoisseur advised the Church to contact Vicki Wickham. Vicki and Dusty had been friends since 1962 and even shared a flat at London's Westbourne Grove. After a brief stint on the radio (as a secretary) Vicki was hired by Ready Steady Go! as talent manager and producer. When Dusty told her friend she had heard a nice Italian song at the SanRemo festival Wickham (co-)translated the tune into English and named it You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me. It would become Dusty’s first number one hit (1966) and was covered quite a few times by other artists, including Elvis Presley (1970, #1 at Billboard Country & Western and #11 at Billboard Top 100) and Guys’n Dolls (#5, UK, 1976). In total more than 80 million copies of the song have been sold worldwide.

After her RSG!-days Wickham moved to America and although she didn’t have a clue how to do it she successfully managed Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendrix, Marc Almond, Morrissey, Holly Johnson and of course, her long-life-friend Dusty Springfield.

It took the Church quite a while to trace Vicki Wickham, and after a trail of bounced faxes and mails, the Reverend wrote a letter in the good old-fashioned way. It pleases the Church a great deal that Vicki Wickham cared to reply:

I am the last person to ask about anything from the 60s 'cos mostly I don't remember!
But definitely do not remember this girl.
Can't help.
Vicki Wickham

At least we can now say with a certain certitude that Ig did not belong to the inner circle of Ready Steady Go! but this does not mean that she never has been at the show. The crew of RSG! visited dance halls to recruit good looking youngsters for the audience and organised dance and singing contests where the participants could win ‘passports’ to the show. In the few years that the show existed thousands of people passed through the temple of the mods and Ig may well have been one of them.

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Posted by Felix Atagong at 6:28 PM CEST
Edited on: 2009-12-29 11:27 PM CET
Categories: Bio-Bits