Heroes of The Trees Part Two: Toe Fat

Has there ever been a band with an uglier name than Toe Fat? The only uglier things I’ve come across lately are their two album covers, as depicted on these YouTube videos.

The music – well judge for yourself. Its from that moment in the late sixties when British Blues abandoned soul and decided it was all about a thumping beat and power riffs. This track from Toe Fat One above – The Wherefors and the Whys – still has the groove, while the Toe Fat Two number, Midnight Sun, points to where they would evolve next: Uriah Heep.

But where did they come from? Lead singer was Cliff Bennett, from the Rebel Rousers, most famous for their fabulous version of ‘Got to Get You Into My Life

And why are they heroes of the trees? Because they provide a link between different worlds. You can find them in:

Pirates Tornados And Rebel Rousers
Uriah Heep Colosseum Thin Lizzy
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Black Sabbath TV Tree

Uriah Heep 1, Holland 0

Congratulations to Spain, not so much for winning, but for fielding a player last seen in Uriah Heep, circa 1970. The Heep not only have their own tree in Rock Family Trees but feature in the Asia tree there as well, and both the Black Sabbath Tree and the Prog-Rock Years Tree in More Rock Family Trees.


Our thanks to family member Eugene Manzi for pointing out this bizarre episode in time travel.


Currently away from her job as Mail On Sunday columnist Founding Family Member, Mothership Connector Superstar in her own right Suzanne Moore certainly needs no introduction.

So here without further ado is her account of a showdown with the band that would become the subject of Pete Frame’s biggest ever Tree when he drew their (his)tory

They say you are meant to remember the first time but I don’t properly.  The first gig of my own choosing.  When I was little my gay “uncle” had taken me to the Beatles and the Stones in the Ipswich Gaumont. He wasn’t my actual uncle. His name was Peter and he was a hairdresser in the place where  my Mum was the receptionist . Anyway my Mum used to go to Majorca on holiday with him and always come back brown and happy.  They broke the bed in one hotel laughing so much she used to say.  She drew the line at him “interfering with young boys. You can go to Morocco for that” but Peter never treated me as child.  Of course I must see these bands. He would arrange it .Which was pretty fabulous really. I do remember those gigs as I was mostly frightened by the screaming. I was maybe about 6.

In those days they just used to hit the girls off stage with brooms . I kept changing in my head which Beatle I wanted to be though the bigger kids would ask it constantly in the play ground. But I do recall writing a very long letter when Ringo had his tonsils  out asking if I could have them.

Anyhow as a teenager I did go and see bands that I had never heard of or knew boys who played in bands no one would ever hear of. But my friend Julie was way more sophisticated . She said we must go to London to see Black Sabbath . This was in 73 . I had just turned 15. I recently found out that Julie has died of cancer.  Julie  Newman  became huge in the rave scene with bands like  Signs of Chaos and many others.   But then for us Black Sabbath well… they were just it . And thank you Julie for taking me there.   Thumping , howling , sweary ,possibly involving ritualistic magic. And sex.  We weren’t sure actually. But they were all we wanted from music. Your Mum would tell you to turn it down. “Warpig.”  I would yell  that right back at her  as you do.

We would hitch up to London to somewhere  called Ally Pally. Julie knew about these things in a way I didn’t though I was to become  all too familiar  with the Gants Hill Roundabout. I guess I should talk about music? Give you a set list?   But that was not what it was about for me then. It was alot about what was I going to wear and Christ now when I think about what I wore,it was really fucking horrible. Some kind of green and yellow kaftan type thing with huge silver platforms. .At least  my hair was big.

We got there and lots of other bands were playing.  Stray, The Groundhogs? People were sitting on the floor. I objected to this.  Smoking dope was boring I thought.  Sitting on the floor was  surely not the point of music.

Music was for dancing . At that time  I was also listening  to lots of reggae and funk.  Boys were always trying to educate to me into the sort of music you had to sit around to . But I loved Sly Stone . And I guess I loved Sabbath for the bass . The sheer funk of them.

So yes Ozzy was on stage in fringes and how did this gormless guy howl like that?  I don’t know now and I didn’t then but I liked  it. Though I spent most of the time snogging the guy who just happened to be standing next to me. Did they play Paranoid?  Possibly? This may be why I am not a music journalist?

Cos  gigs aren’t  just about music are they?  Only the boring ones.  How we got home in the middle of the night  I have no idea.  We were just freezing cold  as coats were for boring people  but we agreed it was the best thing we had  ever seen.

Because really it was the only thing we had ever seen.

My Mum who I had lied to about where I was going opened the front door. “Oh my god! You look like you’ve been eaten alive “ she screamed . I was apparently covered in huge lovebites.  As I had never had a love bite before or looked in the mirror I had no idea what  they were really. Why didn’t Julie tell me?

“What the hell have you been doing?”

“Black Sabbath” I replied nonchalantly as I headed up to the bathroom to inspect the damage.


These are exciting times for The Family Of Rock, there’s no point trying to hide it.

Wednesday 18th November now THAT is a date for the diary.

The final of The Rock Family Trees Quiz at The Elgin, Ladbroke Grove, W11.

Where its all happening, Rockers. And Rollers too, baby.
Where its all happening, Rockers. And Rollers too, baby.

The Final, ladies and gentlemen,The Final of the ONLY quiz based on Pete Frame’s Rock Family Trees.

Winning teams from the 3 heats held last week at Geronimo Pubs in NW5 (Lord Palmerston) E3 (The Crown) and W12 (The Eagle) will meet to compete against local teams including The Elgin Eggheads (a conclave of the music industry’s most knowledgeable brains AND Eddie Floyd’s recent guitarist)

There’ll  be other teams there too – get one together yourself. Join in the fun.

Anyone, in fact, who can rustle a team together and  fancies their chances of being among the first ever people to win the ultimate passport to Rock N Roll Heaven – A Rock Family Tree Art Print – is URGED to attend.

Nominally valued at £250 plus VAT – but, in reality, priceless – the limited edition print is just a part of the prize for the winning team – it also includes a £250 Bar Tab .

For runners up there’s similarly lovely money incentives and goodies from FRock Geronimo Fun House that will have your eyes a-poppin’. And watering.

The quiz is free to enter the questions, compiled from Pete Frames’s Family Trees, are being written by the unbribable Gavin Martin and fearsome Eugene Manzi. There’ll be great food and drink too though neither food or drink will be free, unless you can sweet talk we.

Live music will also be heard from bands including The Wutars, Country Dirt and GaleLee.

Cuntree Dirt maybe that should be?  Cuntree Dirt featuring Marianne Hyatt.

Marianne being just ONE of the marvellous contributors waiting in the wings with their piece  primed and ready to hit the FRock blog once the Quiz is over.

In Texan Marianne’s blog we’ll hear about a Motown education she had to come to London to receive.

In  70s Suffolk gal and 21st century legend Suzanne Moore’s blog we’ll hear about showdown with Black Sabbath on a hill overlooking London in 1972.

IN Drummer John Sussewell’s Questionnaire describes a musical odyssey from Brooklyn to Billy Cobham. From 60s dreams to a lifetime of reality of making the music he dreamed of.

It was John’s turning up in the Facebook Group Do You Know Who Pete Frame Is? that inspired the family of rock questionnaire many more of which will feature   on the website in the months ahead. And there’ll be contributions and observations from  Dylan Howe, The Rotten Hill Gang and Maria Gallagher, Chris Salewicz, Suggs, Bono, Jon Tiven, David Hood and a host of the genii, the atoms and chromosomes that make up this Family of Rock.

Excitement reigns.

See you at The Elgin.