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Letter: Batting for a 'lost' band.

Byline: MARTIN ROBERTSON

Dear Editor, -Harking on the Reputations theme that you recently launched, does anyone remember Charles Twistleton-Wyckett? He was a drummer in various pop outfits around the Midlands in the early to mid-Sixties, and I want to stake a claim for the band he ended up leading, The Stumps.

No one around Birmingham at the time knew the full story, but it seems he had a blue-blooded background, but in those days it was best not to talk about that in pop or rock circles, when to be 'in' you had to be definitely working class.

But the fact is that Charles -a name he seldom acknowledged -left his public school and went on to Oxbridge (no one is sure whether it was dark or light blue) bearing the nickname, not surprisingly, of Sticky. Hence the name of the band he ended up leading -itself a rarity in those days, when it was usually the lead singer who called the shots.

The Stumps were an extraordinary band, an outfit whose reputation is ripe for revival.

They were years ahead of their time, predating in style not only the shuffle rock of Status Quo but the craziness of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band and the English wistfulness of mid-period Kinks.

No one who ever saw them is likely to forget the anthem with which they closed every gig -'owzat! The sight of Sticky in full wicket keeper gear bashing his way round the kit with the three cricket stumps (having thrown the bails into the crowd) is never to be forgotten.

It's a shame the band were so ahead of their time that their recording career never worked out as it should have. The ranchy cover of their debut album, Legs Before Wyckett, was said to be the inspiration for Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland artwork and certainly had been seen by ZZ Top before they did their famously non-PC videos.

The rarest of cult albums, Sticky's final effort, with its prophetic title All Out, is worth amazing sums to collectors these days. If you ever find it at a car boot sale, grab it quick.

Those of us who remember those heady days will have fond memories of the band declaring a 'tea interval' but what they consumed had nothing whatsoever to do with cucmber sandwiches!

Roy Harper's brilliant When An Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease is said to owe its inspiration to the career of Sticky.

Does anyone know what happened to him? Is he still alive? Rumour has it that he simply retired to his family's country estate somewhere in deepest East Anglia (the town of Bungay has been mentioned), but no one seems to know for sure.

Does anyone have any memories of Sticky and The Stumps? I'd love to hear what happened to them and to find out if other people share my memories of them as the greatest band that never made it.

MARTIN ROBERTSON Acocks Green

CAPTION(S):

This is believed to be Sticky in action before he formed The Stumps
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 7, 2004
Words:509
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