The Peddlers first brushed the British charts early in 1965 with their bluesy version of the Teddy Randazzo
song "Let the Sunshine In," released on Philips Records. This led to a pair of LPs for the label but no further chart success over the next few years, just lots of gigs at locales ranging from upscale London night spots to working men's clubs in the north of England -- their fans included the Rolling Stones
, Princess Margaret, and Eric Sykes. The group shifted to CBS Records, the U.K. arm of Columbia Records, in 1967, and came roaring back, this time onto the LP chart with their album Freewheelers early the following year. That release was produced and arranged by Keith Mansfield
, who would mastermind most of their recordings for the next few years. Two more albums, Three in a Cell and Birthday, carried them into the end of the 1960s, the latter moving in both folk and progressive directions. In 1969, they had the biggest hit of their career with the Top 10 single "Birth," a group original that elevated the Peddlers to major U.K. stardom and propelled them to six years of profitable and successful live gigs. During the late '60s and early '70s, in addition to extensive work in cabaret, the trio's music was also heard on television as accompaniment for the introductory and exit segments on various programs. In 1971, Philips Records issued Georgia on My Mind, followed a year later by Suite London.
Morais left the lineup in 1972, though the group continued through 1976, recording for Philips and for EMI. Roy Phillips later left music and has reportedly resided in New Zealand for more than two decades, while Martin worked as a session musician before moving to Portugal, and Morais has been a session player on records by Bryan Ferry
and others, and runs El Cortijo Studio in Malaga. In 2002, British CBS released the double-CD Peddlers anthology How Cool Is Cool...The Complete CBS Recordings, which contained the songs from their three LPs, their singles and B-sides, and a pair of previously unissued tracks. They retain a major fandom in England at the outset of the 21st century, 25 years after their last sides were recorded. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi