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Applejacks, The

The Applejacks hailed from Solihull in the West Midlands where, in 1960, guitarists Martin Baggott and Philip Cash were in a church youth club skiffle group called The Crestas.

Drummer Gerry Freeman persuaded Megan Davies, a fellow Sunday School teacher (and later his wife) to come in on bass. Adding organist Don Gould in 1962 the band went forth as The Jaguars, specialising in instrumentals.

The following year, with singer Al Jackson onboard they started walking in the ways of Chuck BerryRay Charles and Little Richard.

On the look-out around Birmingham, Decca A&R man Mike Smith visualised The Applejacks in their bright red smocks as harbingers of a ‘Solihull Sound’. Hunting around publishers’ offices, a commercial vehicle was found to launch this plan – Tell Me When.


Not possessing the vocal arsenal of The Ivy League, The Applejack’s unison harmonies came and went behind Al’s thick Birmingham vocal, while the lively instrumental backing revolved largely around Gould’s Noddy organ riffing.

For the next A-side, Decca blew the dust off McCartney‘s Like Dreamers Do from The Beatles‘ failed Decca audition tape. Despite this distinguished antecedent, it wasn’t up to Tell Me When standard and slumped at #20. After

After Three Little Words also stalled at #23 it became clear that the ‘Solihull Sound’ was not going to eventuate.

Before signing off with the appropriately titled I’m Through in 1965, the band had two noteworthy releases – Chim Chim Cheree (which had an edge over Dick Van Dyke’s Illinois Mockney original from Mary Poppins) and Ray Davies‘ I Go To Sleep, which generated some interest in the US.

By 1966 The Applejacks were back on the Birmingham/Solihull circuit, enjoying their reputation as a solid local group.


Al Jackson
Martin Baggott
Phil Cash
Megan Davies
Don Gould
Gerry Freeman