Long-Obscured Legends ROYCE Uncover Long-Lost Tapes

Once upon a long ago, there was a glam-rock ensemble in London called MERLIN – comprising such now-known musicians as keyboardist Robert Webb and guitarist Jamie Moses – whose sole album, released in 1974, was produced by Roger Greenaway and engineered by Geoff Emerick, which means they had a bright future… only they had not. And in the spring of the following year Moses and Webb joined forces with three players from Southend-on-Sea, one of those being singer Nigel Benjamin, and named this outfit ROYCE.

The Royce Tapes

The newly formed quintet laid down a few songs and set to perform around the capital, haunting “Speakeasy” among other venues… only to see their vocalist soon leave to front MOTT and a chance for a record contract evaporate when another candidate for a warbler couldn’t be found. Which was why the group broke up, freeing Robert and Jamie to become ENGLAND, and the rhythm section of Phil Mitchell and Kevin Morris to eventually land the jobs with DR. FEELGOOD. As a result, ROYCE were all but forgotten, with no vestiges of their short existence preserved – until recently, as Webb uncovered several pieces in his archive and made “The Royce Tapes” available on Bandcamp. Well worth hearing, it’s a precious document.

1. You Wind Me Up
2. We Were Rollin’
3. I’ve Had Enough
4. Can Go the Tango

February 20, 2023

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