There has long been a tradition for sports personalities to make records. Such luminaries as Muhammad Ali, Vinnie Jones and Paul Gasgoine have put voice to vinyl, and some even made the charts. However occasionally a lesser-known name world cut a disc, which were always heading straight for the bargain bins. One such name was English speedway rider Reg Luckhurst. He came to fame in London in the mid-1960s as a team member of the Wimbledon Speedway team (The 'Dons'). Somehow he got the chance to make a couple of singles in 1971. I confess know very little about Speedway but I'm a sucker for celebrity records, no matter how obscure the celebrity, and these are pure magic.
The first of these singles was for major label Decca and is a cover of the Hank Williams classic backed with the lesser known song Was It Rain (a big hit for Frances Langford in the 1950s). Needless to say this bombed but was swiftly followed by a second single for the smaller label Crystal, this time a cover of the more recent country ballad In The Misty Moonlight (a hit for Dean Martin and previously Jerry Wallace).
The music is provided by respected jazz session pianist Ronnie Price and his band and is faultless. The problem here is with Reg's limited vocal abilities. When I first found these singles, before I knew anything about who Reg was, I assumed that he was much older than his true age (he was about 30) because his choice of material is very old fashioned and he sings like a veteran cabaret crooner. It also doesn't help that he has been double tracked and has a slight labiodental speech impediment leading to his curious singing style. This is especially bad on my favourite Was It Rain where Reg mispronounces some of the words, so that "I noticed when you kissed me, that both your cheeks were wet" sounds surreally like "both your cheeks were wed."
On this song he has also changed some of the words so it looses its meaning. The actual lyrics read: "We parted in the lane, was it tears that fell or was it rain?". But in Reg's world it comes out as: "We parted in the rain, was it tears that fell or was it rain?" thus answering his own question! But his style is strangely infectious. Play 'em a few times and I guarantee you'll be singing like Reg by bedtime...
- Contributed by: David Noades
Your Cheating Heart / Was It Rain
Credits: Musical director Ronnie Price
In The Misty Moonlight / Home
Credits: With Ronnie Price and his Music