Wings drummer sells kit

Geoff Britton with his drum kit © 2021 Omega Auctions

In the ongoing The Beatles Collection auction by Omega Auctions ending 23rd March 2021, former Wings drummer Geoff Britton departs with some items relating to his short time with the group. The items in question are his drum kit and a few acetates.

The drum kit (Lot 100) was used on the One Hand Clapping sessions and also the early recording sessions for the Venus and Mars album. It’s currently located in Spain, so you’ll have to cover the transport costs to wherever you want to have it.

Geoff was hired in the wake of the success of “Band on the run”, because drummer Denny Seiwell had left before the Nigeria sessions for that album. Guitarist Henry McCullough had also left, so Paul hired Geoff Britton and Jimmy McCulloch to replace them. Britton joined Wings for some 1974 sessions in Nashville, Tennessee, drumming on the single, “Junior’s Farm” among others. In August that year, a film of the band rehearsing in Abbey Road Studios in London, “One Hand Clapping” was made,  and a section of that film featured Paul sitting on a chair in a garden, singing five songs to his own upside-down acoustic guitar accompaniment. That section was later filed as “The Backyard” and forgotten about until the soundtrack appeared on a bootleg. Wings began recording sessions for their next album in London in November 1974, then moved to New Orleans to complete Venus and Mars, where Britton quit the group and was replaced by Joe English.

46 years ago, March 8, 1975, music paper NME announced the departure of Wings drummer, Geoff Britton.

Now, Geoff is parting with some acetates from the “One Hand Clapping” and “The Backyard” projects.

One Hand Clapping acetates © 2021 Omega Auctions

Here’s the description of the lot (Lot 99): Unbelievable piece of Paul McCartney & Wings history with this set of 4 x single sided EMI Studios acetate LP recordings of the One Hand Clapping sessions. The tracks contained on each record are:

From Reel A
1 One Hand Clapping
2 Jet
3 Soily
4 Little Woman Love/C. Moon
5 Let Me Roll It

From Reel B
1 Junior’s Farm
2 Hi-Hi-Hi
3 Go Now
4 Maybe I’m Amazed
5 Bluebird

From Reel C
1 Blue Moon Of Kentucky
2 My Love
3 Nineteen Eighty Five
4 Live And Let Die
5 Band On The Run

Untitled
1 Junior’s Farm
2 Jet
3 Soily

Record ‘1’ is in VG condition with some surface/storage marks though no heavier scratches, handwritten timing of 21’00 and ‘Reel A Wings’. Record ‘2’ is in glossy VG+ condition with some light hairline marks, nothing heavier. Handwritten timing of 21’04 and ‘Reel B Wings’. Record ‘3’ is in similar VG+ condition – again nice and glossy with a few light hairline marks. Handwritten timing of 22’14 and ‘Reel C Wings’. Record ‘4’ is in similar VG+ condition with a few light hairline marks, nothing ever heavier in nature. No timing indicated but handwritten ‘Juniors Farm, Just, Soily, Wings’.

A series of EPs were planned to be released in conjunction with the film (directed by Dave Lichfield) with the aim of capturing the band playing live in informal recording sessions. The band went into Abbey Road studios on Sunday 25th August 1974 and over the next few days they recorded the tracks which made up the final recording. The filming took place in studio 2 but the repeat recordings were done in studio 1.  Geoff Britton has been in touch with the director of the film who stated he wasn’t given any copies of the acetates leading us to believe that only these and Paul McCartney’s copies are in existence.

Accompanying the lot are 2 printed photos of Wings and their road crew/management at Abbey Road studios on Sunday 25th August enjoying a Chinese takeaway, which are signed by Geoff Britton. These live recordings have never been officially commercially released with these original versions unheard.

Accompanying photo rendered in black and white © 2021 Omega Auctions

The Backyard acetate is Lot 98, and is described like this: PAUL McCARTNEY – EMI STUDIOS ACETATE LP ‘THE BACK YARD TAPE’. A fascinating commercially unreleased single sided acetate LP featuring Paul McCartney performing Beatles, solo works and covers which is commonly known as ‘The Back Yard Tape’. Generously consigned to us by Wings member Geoff Britton, McCartney can be heard at various points chatting to Geoff, often with humourous quips such as ‘well you wanted to to it informal!’ and putting on an American accent.

The record (printed EMI Studios label with handwritten date 18-10-74, the timing 25.46 and ‘Reel I Paul McCartney’) is in VG+ condition with some light surface/scuff marks, these not heavier in nature with the record encountering no real problems on playback. The record starts with a brief introduction, then Paul performing several takes of ‘Blackbird’ with him tuning up and improvising around in between takes. He then does a versions of ‘Blackpool’, ‘Country Dreamer’, ‘Twenty Flight Rock’, ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘I’m Gonna Love You Too’ (in between these tracks Paul can be heard saying ‘the late great Buddy Holly ladies and gentlemen, nobody like him…”), ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, Paul then takes ‘requests’ from the small number of ‘passers-by’ that were there at the time before performing ‘Loving You’ and ‘We’re Gonna Move’.

The label says Reel 1 © 2021 Omega Auctions

The full tape can be heard here (from a bootleg).

The Beatles Collection auction also contains, of course, lots of other interesting items and records, so check it out!

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2 Responses

  1. Blakey says:

    Geoff left Wings because he didn’t get on with either Denny or Jimmy. In the ‘Man On The Run’ book, Geoff refers to Laine as a bastard and McCulloch as a c*nt. Paul later said Geoff ‘didn’t fit in’.Something Pete Best knows all about too.

    Steve Holley of the last Wings line-up also viewed Denny as a piece of work. Steve alleged that Laine took the ‘Old Siam Sir’ riff created by Steve, and he told Paul he (Laine) thought of it himself. Out of loyalty Paul sided with Denny and this left Steve understandably disillusioned.

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