By Nick Warburton
Barney J Barnes & The Intro came from the Hounslow area of West London and produced a great northern soul/mod single for Decca in September 1967 entitled “It Must Be Love” c/w “Can’t Stand The Pain”.
According to the 9 October 1964 edition of the Middlesex Chronicle (Hounslow Edition) singer Barney J Barnes (born June 1941) first started out in the skiffle group, The Alleykats but soon progressed on to the original line up of The Valkeries alongside lead guitarist Alan Wakenell, rhythm guitarist Dave Caralambous (a former member of The Smoke-stacks), bass player Dennis Goling (aka Golding) and drummer Ken Fisher.
The group’s line up, however, refused to settle, and by mid-1965 only Wakenell remained from the first incarnation. While Caralambous would ultimately move on to join The Drovers and then become a member of The Kool (possibly joining them while they were still known as Jeff Curtis & The Flames), Barnes would graduate on to The Trendbender Band, which formed the nucleus of Barney J Barnes & The Intro.
It’s not entirely clear when this band was put together, although according to Vernon Joynson’s excellent book Tapestry of Delights, they were profiled in a 1966 issue of Valentine magazine.
The Middlesex Chronicle (Hounslow Edition) profiled The Trendbender Band in its 14 April 1967 issue and lists the line up as Barney J Barnes (lead vocals); Barry Brewery (lead guitar); Glen Curran (bass); Peter Wood (organ); Peter Davis (sax); Don Hunter (sax) and Michael Clark (drums).
I’ve found a number of live gigs for this band and they were regulars at the Feltham R&B Club in Feltham, Middlesex throughout the latter half of 1966 – two dates, one on 10 September and the other on 15 October are listed.
The same newspaper ran a spread on Barney J Barnes & The Intro in its 27 October 1967 issue to promote the release of the Decca single. It notes that the band were formerly known as The Short Stop Band (and before that The Trendbender Band), which suggests that the first name change took place sometime in early 1967 and the move to Barney J Barnes and The Intro happened around the late summer/early autumn.
According to Vernon Joynson’s book, The Intro featured a slightly modified line up with new guitarist Brian Shepherd taking over from Barry Brewery and drummer Frank Hodges succeeding Michael Clark.
Little is known about Barnes’s subsequent singing career but an online memorial states that he was fronting a band called Midnight in the mid-1980s.
Barney J Barnes sadly died in December 1999 but the whereabouts of his former band members is unknown. The Strange Brew Podcast would be interested to hear from anyone in its comments box to update this article.
Comment – Nick Warburton
The Hounslow, Brentford and Chiswick Post has some more information on this band. According to the 19 July 1968 issue, lead guitarist Brian Shepherd had just left the group, not long after organist Peter Wood. The 29 November 1968 notes that lead guitarist Ronnie Hunt had joined from Magic Roundabout and the group was gathering material for a release.