Portsmouth Music Scene


The Portsmouth Music Scene
Simon Dupree and the Big Sound


The Shulman Family

Simon Dupree and the Big Sound

The Shulmans were three brothers, Derek Shulman, born 1947 (vocals), Phil Shulman, born 1937 (vocals, saxophone, trumpet), and Ray Shulman, born 1949 (guitar, violin, trumpet, vocals).
Making up the rest of the group were Peter O'Flaherty (bass guitar) (born 8.5.1944, in Gosport, Hampshire), Eric Hine (keyboards) (born Eric Raymond Lewis Hines, 4.9.1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire), and Tony Ransley (drums) (born Anthony John Ransley, 17.5.1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire).
They started as The Howling Wolves, and then became The Road Runners, playing R&B around the Portsmouth area.
Their father Jock Shulman played trumpet in the Benny Freedman Band at the Savoy Ballroom.

Three posters of Road Runners gigs

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Simon Dupree and the Big Sound

A British pop band formed by three brothers, Derek Shulman, born 1947 (vocals), Phil Shulman, born 1937 (vocals, saxophone, trumpet), and Ray Shulman, born 1949 (guitar, violin, trumpet, vocals).

They started as The Howling Wolves, and then became The Road Runners, playing R&B around the Portsmouth area, home of the Shulman brothers.  Making up the rest of the group were Peter O'Flaherty (bass guitar) (born 8.5.1944, in Gosport, Hampshire), Eric Hine (keyboards) (born Eric Raymond Lewis Hines, 4.9.1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire), and Tony Ransley (drums) (born Anthony John Ransley, 17.5.1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire).  Those early group names aside, their repertory was focused a lot more on the songs of Wilson Pickett, Don Covay, and Otis Redding, than on the Howlin' Wolf or Bo Diddley.  'Simon Dupree and the Big Sound' came about in the course of their search for a flashy name.

The group were signed to EMI's Parlophone label, under producer Dave Paramor.  Their first few singles, notably "I See The Light" (1966), failed to chart, then in October 1967, the group's management and their record label decided to try moving Simon Dupree and the Big Sound in the direction of psychedelia.

They only broke through at the end of 1967 with the psychedelic "Kites", a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart. Regarding themselves as blue-eyed soul brothers, they hated it as it was so unrepresentative of their usual style.[1] The follow-up, "For Whom The Bell Tolls", was only a minor hit, and a subsequent single "Broken Hearted Pirates", featuring an uncredited Dudley Moore on piano, made no headway at all.[citation needed]


A then unknown keyboard player by the name of Reginald Dwight was hired to fill in for an ill Eric Hine and he joined them on a 1967 tour in Scotland. They were asked to allow him to stay on, and he was almost recruited as a permanent member. They politely rejected the chance to record any of his compositions (although they did ultimately record "I'm Going Home" as the B-side of their final (contractually obligated) single,) and laughed when he told them he was adopting the stage name of Elton John.  On 5 April 1968, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound appeared alongside Amen Corner, Gene Pitney, Don Partridge and Status Quo at The Odeon Theatre, Lewisham, London, on the first night as part of a twice nightly UK tour.

The group released one studio album; Without Reservation, on Parlophone Records (1967), and a compilation Amen (1980). A more recent set, Part Of My Past (2004), includes all their singles, album tracks and previously unreleased material prepared for their second album, release of which was cancelled at the time.

Late 1968, they released a single We Are The Moles (part 1)/(part 2) under the moniker The Moles. Released on the Parlophone label, the single did not give any hint towards the identity of the artists, claiming that both songs were written, performed and produced by The Moles. Rumours began to spread that it was an obscure output by The Beatles, who also were under contract at Parlophone, with Ringo Starr on lead vocals. When interest began to rise concerning the release, Syd Barrett stated that Simon Dupree & The Big Sound were the faces behind The Moles. Confronted with this, the band admitted.

Frustrated as being seen as one-hit wonders being pushed by their record label as a pop group rather than the soul band they had always intended to be, they disbanded in 1969 and the Shulman brothers went on to form the successful progressive rock group Gentle Giant.

Agent John Bedford says that it was he who came up with the name for them.

Derek Shulman, born 1947 (vocals), Phil Shulman, born 1937 (vocals, saxophone, trumpet), and Ray Shulman, born 1949 (guitar, violin, trumpet, vocals).



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A Geoff Roberts pic of the lads settling an argument

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Simon Dupree & the BS

Simon Dupree and the Big Sound later became Gentle Giant.

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Gentle Giant


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