Irish émigré Barry Richardson was playing bass in one of the part-time jazz combos which regularly appeared at the Tally Ho pub in Kentish Town (London) when he first saw pub rock godfathers Eggs Over Easy.
A veteran of the Irish country showband circuit – now with a very good ‘straight’ job in marketing – Richardson realised he could put together a band to match the Eggs musically and immediately recruited fellow former Alpine Seven and Ian Whitcomb’s Bluesville members Ruan O’Lochlainn, Deke O’Brien and Mick Molloy from back home.
For the first few weeks, the new band didn’t have a name until O’Lochlainn’s wife, Jackie, suggested ‘Bees Make Honey’ early in 1972. Like their signature tune, the Bees were Red Hot.
Applying all the crowd-pleasing techniques learned in the big barns of rural Ireland to the London pubs, they swung where others merely rocked.
Soon signed to EMI, their debut single – a 1950s-inflected knee trembler which slyly name-checked Charlie Gillett’s Sunday morning Honky Tonk radio show – was released in 1973. But neither it nor the album which followed (Music Every Night) provided the band with their ticket to the top, and it all began to fall apart.
Dropped by EMI, Richardson and Molloy kept the Bees going through various lineups right up until 1977 when they finally called it a day, squeezed out of the pubs by the new-look punk bands.
Drummer Bob “Cee” Benberg ended up in Supertramp.
Bass, sax, vocals
Bob ‘Cee’ Benberg (Siebenberg)
Guitar, bass, vocals