"Don Craine (real name Don O'Donnell) and Sutton had previously been in a Twickenham band called the Downliners. The name came from a Jerry Lee Lewis b-side that had been written by Roy Orbison. Following the end of this band, Grant (real name Keith Evans) and Gibson were recruited and the band renamed the Downliners Sect. The band soon gained a following at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham and made an EP called A Nite In Newport Street. The R&B direction of the band had been decided after seeing the Rolling Stones at the Station hotel in Richmond. Previously, the group played more rock & roll classics. The EP was recorded live and featured four R&B classics including Booker T's Green Onions. This EP is available on the See for Miles collection called The Definitive Downliners Sect Singles As and Bs. This contained the band's interpretations of R&B classics such as Green Onions and helped the Downliners Sect to secure a recording deal with EMI.
The group had initial success in Sweden where they toured and had a number one record. However, this may have meant that they neglected the UK.
Ray Sone joined the group on harmonica, apparently beating Rod Stewart and Steve Marriott for the role. The group signed to Colombia Records and, shortly after this, the first single, Baby What's Wrong was released. This failed to make the chart but did receive some attention in Europe. The group also toured with the writer of the single, Jimmy Reed. The follow-up single was a cover version of the Coasters' Little Egypt. This showed the humorous, irreverent side of the Downliners. This was also captured on the debut album which was released in 1963. The Sect is a superb collection of British R&B which, nevertheless, did not endear the band to many fans of the music as it was seen to deviate from the pure R&B. The album consisted mostly of covers but with a few original tracks written by members of the Sect. Don Craine had become quite distinctive with his trademark deerstalker hat. He had worn the hat at a gig at Studio 51 and it subsequently become part of his and the band's image."
Discover more about the Downliners Sect and other beat groups of the 60's HERE.