Monday, 10 September 2012

Featured artist: Geno Washington

Geno Washington
Born December 1943
Washington was stationed in England with the United States Air Force during the early 1960s. While stationed in East Anglia, Washington became known as a frequent stand-in at gigs around London. When guitarist Pete Gage saw him at a nightclub in 1965, he asked Washington to join his new group, that was to become Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
They had two of the biggest selling UK albums of the 1960s, both of which were live albums. Their most commercially successful album, Hand Clappin, Foot Stompin, Funky-Butt ... Live! was in the UK Albums Chart for 38 weeks in 1966. The other album was Hipster Flipsters Finger Poppin' Daddies.
They had a number of moderate UK Singles Chart hits during 1966-1967 on the Pye label: "Water" (which reached no.39), "Hi Hi Hazel" (no.45), “Que Sera Sera” (no.43) and "Michael (The Lover)" (no.39). They managed to build up a strong following with the crowds due to their touring and energetic performances. Like their Pye label mates and rivals, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, they became popular with the mod scene. The band broke up in the autumn of 1969 and the band members went their own ways while Geno Washington continued as a solo artist.
In the 1970's Washington left the UK to return to the United States and disappeared from the music industry for a length of time. He studied hypnosis and meditation, made acquaintance with the Beach Boys and recorded some music with them that was never released. He later recorded three albums for the DJM label, Geno's Back (1976), Live (1976), That's Why Hollywood Loves Me (1979).
He was encouraged to make a comeback in 1980 due to the rekindled interest in him resulting from the Dexys Midnight Runners hit single “Geno”, but he initially declined, as he was completing his degree in hypnotism. But soon he was back in the UK touring extensively and playing many gigs particularly in South East London.
Washington has been active on stage, recording and releasing new music on various labels, with titles such as "Change Your Thoughts You Change Your Life", "Live Sideways", "Loose Lips", "Put Out the Cat", "The Return of the G", "Take This Job and Stuff It" and "What's In the Pot?".
As of 2007, Washington and his band could be regularly seen touring in the UK.
In January 2009 he released a single "I'm Doing 99 Years" and the proceeds from the single's sales will go to the victims of gun crime and child abuse.
In July 2009 he headlined the Kelvedon Free Music Festival.
At the time of this posting he can still be seen touring with his blues band.

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