Billed as “The Liverpool Yardbirds“, The Mojos had in Stu James (real name Stuart Slater) a rich stockpile of original songs into which other acts, such as Faron’s Flamingos, dipped. Stu was also an exceptional lead vocalist, and good-looking too. The band were also blessed with the superb barrelhouse piano of Terence O’Toole.
A group collaboration, Everything’s All Right hit the Top 10 in the UK and did well on the Continent, with The Mojos even making a promotional film for the new video juke boxes.
But their next single, James and O’Toole’s Why Not Tonight? only reached a disappointing #25. The song was perhaps too obviously derived from Everything’s All Right – the intro was simply transposed with the hi-hat fill copied exactly and the “no no no no no” catch phrase was irritating, although they had subtracted the piano solo for a guitar break . . .
Then came a change of style with a revival of Lonnie Donegan‘s trudging Seven Daffodils, which was humiliatingly out-performed by The Cherokees – a hitherto unknown Yorkshire group whose less fussy version was produced by one Mickie Most.
In their defence, The Mojos did suffer at the hands of Decca, who tended to let all but their most reliable sources of profit fend for themselves.
The Mojos were robbed of their inheritance by a botched plan for a tour of America where they had been seen in a cameo role alongside John Leyton and Freddie & The Dreamers in the movie Every Day’s A Holiday (1965) – known as Seaside Swingers in the USA.
Another more insidious factor was the gaunt, bespectacled appearance of bass player Keith Alcock.
Undoubtedly a lovely bloke, his ruminant, unsmiling stare pervaded otherwise cheery publicity shots – at a time when groups had to be liked for their appearance as well as their music.
When the group split up, Nicky Crouch and Stu James kept the name, and Lewis Collins – the son of their road manager – joined the group as bass guitarist.
Collins ultimately became the best-known ex-Mojo, as TV tough guy Bodie in The Professionals (1977 – 1983).
Stu James (Stu Slater)