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Lieutenant Pigeon

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lieutenantpigeon4Stavely Makepeace was formed by three school boys in Coventry. They released a number of unsuccessful singles and decided a side-line novelty band may help their careers.

They plumped for the name Lieutenant Pigeon and recorded Mouldy Old Dough – dominated by a heavy honky tonk piano which was played by frontman Rob Woodward’s piano teacher mother, Hilda – in a front room.

The single took eight months to reach the top of the charts (it reached #1 in 1972) and had almost no vocals, except for the words “mouldy old dough” repeated over and over again.

Their next single, Desperate Dan, featured more of the same and peaked at #17 in 1973.

Lieutenant Pigeon scored a further hit, in the autumn of 1974, when they reached #3 in the Australian charts with a cover version of I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.

They broke up in 1978, although bassist Stephen Johnson re-formed the band in the 1980s, touring to notable success in Scandinavia.

Drummer Nigel Fletcher explained their recording process in an interview with NME in 1972: “Hilda’s front room in her semi in Coventry was the scene of the crime. We didn’t use the best equipment – it was recorded on a domestic machine. We find we get a better sound using the front room.”

Hilda Woodward died, aged 85, on 22 February 1999.

Rob Woodward
Piano, guitar, tin whistle
Stephen Johnson
Bass, tin whistle
Nigel Fletcher
Drums
Hilda Woodward
Piano

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