Ray Owen - Juicy Lucy Fame
Ray Owen, the original frontman of cult rock pioneers Juicy Lucy, is one of the unsung heroes of British rock history. A black boy, born in the UK in 1947 and adopted by white parents, overcame a handicap after operations to separate his conjoined fingers, and embarked on his musical adventure by becoming the bass player for the legendary Misunderstood. Following an encounter with German police and machine guns, a jam session with Eric Clapton and Dick Heckstall Smith at the Staines Supershow and a solo single (a cover of Bob Dylan's Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You released on Fontana), the Misunderstood became Juicy Lucy with Ray on Vocals.
As the only band to ever have a hit with Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love (VO1 launching the Vertigo label, home to Dire Straits, Metallica & the likes of Chris Rea) and with one of the most vulgar album covers to date, they secured their importance in the rise of British blues rock. The band's founder, steel player Glenn Fernando Campbell had a unique and unrivalled approach to the instrument, which led John peel to state, "Glenn is Jimmy Page & Jeff Beck rolled into one". The band stomped through the year playing venues such as the Middle Earth, The UFO, The Roundhouse, The Albert Hall (alongside Chuck Berry, Johnny Winter, Traffic, T-Rex, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac), The Speakeasy, Klooks Kleek, Reading University and the Brighton Dome, reaching their peak with an appearance on Top Of The pops in March 1970 performing Who Do You Love, which incidentally was used for a Burger King advert around 1999.
In 1971 Polydor released Ray Owen's Moon, an album that would spawn a number 1 in the Belgian singles chart and was reviewed in November 2010 Classic Rock magazine as a lost nugget. Ray Owen's Moon had appearances at The Isle Of Wight Festival as well as The Festival Of The Midnight Sun in Scandinavia. During the flight Ray was seated next to Chuck Berry and upon arrival they shared a chillum under the stage!
The obscure talent that is Ray Owen also happened to be the first person to play at The Hard Rock Cafe in June 1971 on the opening day, was let into Bath Festival for free with his entourage as it was assumed he was Jimi Hendrix, hung out with Tommy Vance on the banks of the River Thames drinking Jack, jammed with Marc Bolan at his home studio, gave singing lessons to Chrissie Hynde ("in bed!"), and was taken for a ride by Jeff Beck in his Ferrari. Having owned a Cobra AC30 during his late teens whilst working at Charing Cross Hospital as an Orderly, which he saved up to buy before his transition to rock star, how could he resist?
Ray also fronted the late Vincent Crane's Atomic Rooster in the years up until his death, and had a brief spell with Killing Floor, who were poached from Ray to become Rory Gallagher's backing band.
Ray is now fronting his own incarnation of Juicy Lucy, having previously revived the band in 1995, recording an album and playing the Malvern Fringe Festival and the Bulldog Rally. Ray Owen's Juicy Lucy perform tracks from the recently remastered first album, the Moon album, as well as new material and unreleased compositions from the last 40 years.
To see Ray Owen live, the self-proclaimed native of planet Venusia, is to be teleported back to the innocence of the '60s British rock star, preserved intact, as if released from a time capsule.
Lead Guitarist Mike Raphone of Led Zeppelin Tribute Band now joins Ray on Tour