Phillip Goodhand-Tait is one of those people whose name crops up in the gig ads that are found in early 1970s copies of the Melody Maker, where he can be found playing at clubs in and around the London area. He came originally from Yorkshire, but moved to Guildford in Surrey in 1957, which is where he started out playing in a band called, Phill Tone and the Vibrants that was later renamed in 1961 to Phill and the Stormsville Shakers.
By 1966, Phillip had a deal with Parlophone and recorded three long forgotten singles. These came out under the name of the Stormsville Shakers and then in 1969 they changed the name of the band to Circus and recorded a self titled album for Transatlantic, but by this time Goodhand-Tait had left; Mel Collins who was later in King Crimson was in Circus
And after having written some singles for Love Affair in 1969, Goodhand-Tait managed to get a recording contract with Decca, but it only lasted for one single release…it was a song that went nowhere. In 1971 he signed to DJM Records and recorded an album entitled, I Think I’ll Write A Song – there were high hopes for this singer-songwriter, but as one rather harsh critic described him, “He was the poor man’s Elton John”.
Meanwhile guitarist, Andrew Latimer, drummer, Andy Ward and bass player Doug Ferguson were calling themselves The Brew and gigging around the Guildford area. On 20 February 1971, they auditioned to become Phillip Goodhand-Tait’s backing band and having got the gig it was them that played on I Think I’ll Write a Song.
It was their first and last album with Goodhand-Tait, as shortly after it came out in August 1971 they recruited Peter Bardens and after an initial gig to fulfill a Bardens’s commitment in Belfast, Northern Ireland on 8 October 1971 they changed their name to Camel. As Camel, their first gig was at Waltham Forest Technical College, as the support band for Wishbone Ash in December 1971. And the rest is history…
Listen to the best of Camel on Spotify.