Transformates Anthem – Baroque Disco with Digital Dorris on Vocals

I have to admit the Transformates Anthem was an idea I had about 40 years ago when, as a teenager, I spent most of my nights playing in the clubs around the Midlands and the north of England to get money for beer and books.

I actually auditioned with the band SAHARA as a guitarist but during the audition they noticed a keyboard in the corner of the room and asked whether I could play. I went over and gave them a rendition of Roxy Music’s (then) latest single ‘Street Life’. They suggested I throw away the guitar and join them on keyboards and vocals (yes my guitar playing was THAT bad!).

1974 Publicity from the UK Band Sahara featuring 16 year old Chris Duggleby on Keyboards  (Hi to Mick, Phil, Bob and Dave!)

1974 Publicity from the UK Band Sahara featuring 16 year old Chris Duggleby on Keyboards (Hi to Mick, Phil, Bob and Dave!)

Interestingly as I was only sixteen years old they had to ‘smuggle’ me into the nightclubs and bars since under the UK law at that time I was under-age. However this gave me a first hand view of life on the road and on the stage. We normally played 3 or 4 gigs a week receiving an average of about £5 each per night. At a time when beer cost about 15 pence a pint that was enough money to introduce a school boy to the evils of alcoholic consumption (it also meant I could pay the instalments on some decent equipment).

To satisfy the clientèle in the Working Men’s Clubs and Miners Social Clubs most of our set comprised of covers of classics and music from the charts. In the few numbers written by the band I was allowed to slip in some fiddly keyboard solos (oh and yes I also had a cape – eat your heart out Rick Wakeman!). These songs went down very well but I suspect this was because they were always our last numbers and the audience know that the longer they could keep us playing the longer the bar would stay open.

At that time I had this vision of trying to recreate some typical baroque twiddly bits using a modern beat and electonic instumentation. The only problem was that as a schoolboy I couldn’t afford a synthesizer – which at the time cost about the same as a small house (this was a fairly poor part of the UK). Likewise I didn’t have the facilities for multi-track recording.

Roll forward to 2014, and with a career in the oil industry behind me I can at last afford a couple of synthesizers and some digital recording equipment. This has provided me with the opportunity to experiment with my schoolboy dreams and the video below will allow you to sample the end-result. There is a distinctly baroque flavour to the music, it is not copied from the manuscripts of Bach or Vivaldi because I play everything by ear – but I suspect it comes rather close. In memory of my original appearances in the night clubs I have set it to a disco beat. I even managed to synthesize my schoolboy groupie Dorris to sing the vocal parts for me (I understand that using her experiences with her teenage apprentice rockstar Dorris later went on to a very successful medical career in psychiatry). Here is the video:


You can already download this single from iTunes using the link here. My distributors will be making it available through other record stores over the course of the next few weeks. Other tracks from my TRANSFORMATES 變 music project can also be downloaded from iTunes using the link here.

If you have any comments about this or other music from the TRANSFORMATES 變 project or suggestions for other musical subjects that we might consider in future work just drop me a line using the comments box below (if you do not wish your comments to be published just add ‘confidential’ to the top of the box – if you are selling Viagra, inflatable toys or search engine optimisers the website’s filter will automatically send you to spam heaven).

I would like to dedicated this page to Dorris in memory of our many fun hypnosis sessions together (I wonder if my little post-hypnotic suggestion trick still works?).

Chris Duggleby


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