LINE UP

Christopher Robin (vocals / guitar) (1) (2) (3)
Tony Clarkson (bass) (1) (2) (3)
David 'Kubie' Kubinec (guitar / organ) (1)
David Reay (drums) (1) (2)
Geoff Nicholls (organ) (2) (3)
Rob Moore (drums) (3)

SINGLES

05/68 The Muffin Man / Peter's Birthday Deram DM 187
08/68 King Croesus / Jack Deram DM 205
02/69 Willow's Harp / Like A Tear Deram DM 233

ALBUM

World Of Oz World Of Oz (Deram SML 1034)
Released : 03/69

TRACK LISTINGS

The Muffin Man All Seen The Queen
Bring The Ring King Croesus
Jackie Mandy-Ann
Beside The Fire Jack
The Hum-Gum Tree Like A Tear
With A Little Help Willow's Harp

Not much is known about the World of Oz, we all know that the group were signed up to Deram, recorded three singles and an album and appeared on TV shows 'Beat Club' and 'Colour Me Pop'. Recent contacts with David 'Kubie' Kubinec and second drummer, Rob Moore can at last give some insight about those days in the late sixties. First, 'Kubie' talks about his days with the World of Oz.....

Tell us about the beginning?
I played with "The Pieces of Mind" in Germany, Hambourg, Star Club, Top Ten, Crazy Horse etc. on the Reeperbahn. R&B,& Soul etc. 1966/1967 and all over the place. The World of Oz were formed in January 1968 and the founding members were me, Chris Evans, Tony Clarkson and David Reay. Our manager was Barry Class who was also the manager of the Foundations. We signed to Sparta Florida Music on February 13th. 1968.    

Tell us about the time in the studio?
We recorded in Decca studios West Hampstead. I remember The Moody Blues recording in the studio underneath. When I became a front-man later in life, the organ player (Patrick Moraz) of my 1st. group, "Mainhorse" went on to play for them too.    

How was it recording for Deram? (I've always been fascinated by that label!)
Exciting. The first thing I ever heard was a 33 piece orchestra playing the Muffin Man as we walked through the door. It was The Muffin Man that clinched all the deals. The powers that were, were convinced it was going to be a hit as of course it was all over the world except U.K and U.S.A. The reason being the week after it was released, our manager Barry Class went to America with his other band The Foundations and left us in the hands of Michael Levi whose first action was to cut our publicity budget (backhanders to D.J's) in half with the result that instead of us getting on Top of the Pops, Marmalade did and the rest is history. The album was over half recorded when I left.    

How did you get an album out with little 45 success? Did Deram guarantee you an album?
I don't know about little 45 success. Everybody knows "The Muffin Man", and "King Croesus" and "Willow's Harp" were hits in Holland at least.    

How much of the album do you appear on?
I wrote "The Muffin Man", "The Humgum Tree" and "Beside The Fire". We took the organ intro for "King Croesus" from my song, "The Laughing Man" and I threw in the organ intro on "Peter's Birthday" just for a laugh. Otherwise I'm on "Mandy Ann" and "Jack". You'll be interested to know that the "Muffin Man" sold over 25,000 (yes thousand) copies in Holland in 2000 and as sole author and composer I received 40.18p (i.e. 5 for 1p) and no recording royalties. But then, I've never seen a penny from Decca and only pennies from Sparta. I was walking down the main street in Amsterdam that day and I remember seeing the front cover magazine publicity screaming at us from the news stands in glorious colour but I didn't buy one because I couldn't read the Lingo. Thick or what?
We sold more than Jon Otway did last year and he jumped in at no. nine while we sold over 30,000 units in 2000 in Holland and got nowhere. Why is that then? Where did the money go this time round? Pose the question. Call me predjudiced, but I think we should be told!
 

The art-work is pretty interesting, any idea who designed this?
I dug out my copy of the album and I see it doesn't give a credit to the artist, so I have to assume it was Decca Records art dept. production in house. In silloette, from left to right it's Chris Evans, Jeff Nichols, Tony Clarkson and Rob Moore. The guy in the green velvet hat is Jonathan King; The Wizard looking through the rainbow is Barry Class the manager. On the back, that's Wayne Bickerton with the wavey mop of hair who went on to boss P.R.S; behind him to his left is Mike Vickers who scored the songs while I was with the band.

Tell us about the TV shows you recorded in Holland and Germany?
I remember we flew out to Holland and did a TV show and an interview for Radio Veronica. 1968. I know we flew to Amsterdam because the lead singer of Golden Earings bodyguarded me around the town. I think the rest of the band went back to the Hotel. That means we have had to have done something, but God knows what. I've an idea that we recorded "The Muffin Man" for Beatclub the next day in Bremann driving in a Limo from Amsterdam and then the band went straight back to England. Me being me, I went to Hamburg for the weekend and I actually saw the group broadcast "live" as it came on German T.V on the Thursday Or Friday, round a young ladies flat. Who'd Have thought it would be possible to buy a recording of it. I don't know why it should be on the Best of 69 DVD when it was definitely 68 we did it. But never mind.    

So what happened then, the group's line-up changed?
David Reay engineered a group split and I left in the middle of recording the album, Jeff Nichols took my place. Ironically, I rejoined The Pieces and we stood in for Oz in 1969 in the Star Club in Hambourg. Nobody minded! The Pieces were hugely popular in North Germany. Unfortunately we never made a record. We were just teenagers out for a good time and I remember rejecting offers of recording contracts with an unemployed Ritchie Blackmore coming round to watch us regularly.      

So what has happened since?
I've had a few albums out since then. I typed David Kubinec into Google and was amazed at the thousands of hits I got back. I bought a 45 on A&M I didn't even know I'd released and in a wonderful shade of blue too!
In the 80's I lived in Yugoslavia and had a lot of luck over there. Unfortunately some bastard blew it up. Some things never change.

 

Notes from Rob Moore on his days in the World of Oz :

The line-up of Oz when I joined was Geoff Nichols, Tony Clarkson and Chris Evans. David Reay was the original drummer but he left to move into group management. I replaced him and started to practise with Oz at the Kingstanding Settlement in Birmingham. I played with the band on 'Colour Me Pop', 'Like Now' in Ireland plus a TV show in Paris with the band, Grapefruit.
We played a fair amount of gigs on the college and Uni scene and supported the Moody Blues, Bonzo Dogs etc. One of the songs I remember in our set was "Eight Miles High", the old Byrds number. Our version was played half time and this song stands out in my mind. We also played our version of the Beatles, "Revolution".
After Oz split, I worked with Chris Evans in "Kansas Hook", we recorded two singles, "Echo Park" on the MCA Uni label and "Nervous Shakin'" on the Decca label.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID

The World of Oz is the group that got such a lot of publicity, when their manager fed and clothed them in a luxury Park Lane flat for several months before their debut disc, "Muffin Man" was well recieved, but unfortunately could not live up to the publicity. However, a fine group with great songwriting potential, they are able to write up to forty-five songs in one month! Their history is that Christopher Robin (lead) and David Reay (drums) played with a group, The Mayfair in Germany for a year. On returning home the disbanded. Dave and Chris put an ad in a record paper and Kubie Kubinec (organ) and Tony Clarkson (bass) were selected at the audition.

WILLOWS HARP : A track from the group's self-penned Lp, "World of Oz". Very difficult to decribe because it's a disc of so many different facets. A thought provoking lyric, a cantering beat and a magnificently scored orchestral backing (with wowing guitar prominent) are the main features. But it's a record you can hear over and over, and still find something new on it.

THE WORLD OF OZ are becoming something of a cult themselves. Although they haven't yet toppled the charts, they have a huge following both here and in the States. Listen to "Willow's Harp" and you'll understand why. It's on Deram, DM 223, Very weird and wonderful.

WILLOWS HARP : Some time ago I said watch out for this group and for once I was right. Their records have got progressively better until this - which really proves that they are a group who have something new to offer. This odd pretty song is from their new LP. And if this is a sample of what's to come then I wait with eager anticipation. Doomy strings, weird guitar, peculiar lyrics, bongoes and very nice vocal. A very sharp clean-cut record that deserves attention.

Is that what it's called - "Willow's Harp"? I couldn't begin to tell you who it is. I quite like the words - to see your maker's face is a very good idea. It's refined rubbish, really. I'm crazy about the song and it won't be a hit in my humble opinion.

WILLOWS HARP : Good, but hard to see in the charts as it is from a new album. But a Record of the week nevertheless. Can't understand to this day why "Muffin Man" didn't make it. This is excitingly performed with off-beat sounds.

WORLD OF OZ have had several changes in the past few months - and an interesting excursion into the LP market with "The World of Oz" (Deram). A foretaste of the album will be in the shops on Friday on a single trailer, "Willow's Harp".

The World of Oz whose new single, "Willow's Harp" and album were released last week, have been approached to work on the follow-up film to "The Rope and the Cult" which Scott Walker did the soundtrack for. Director Robert Hussein has also asked Christopher Robin to take a major acting role in the film but it is felt that this would disrupt the group's activities too much. The group's first major TV appearance, in BBC 2's "Colour Me Pop" is transmitted on March 1.

....World of Oz have been approached by a French film company to play on a film soundtrack. Lead singer, Christopher Robin may have a part in the film....

WORLD OF OZ get their first ever major TV booking on BBC-2's "Colour Me Pop" on March 1. They'll play all their own material. Listen out also for their current album. It's a gas!

The biggest earners of all, by their own admission - the Jimi Hendrix Experience. "After us come the Cream, although of course they have now disbanded," says Experience's Noel Redding. "Then the Who and even Deep Purple, who haven't made it in their own country, must come pretty soon. World of Oz, for example, mean much in Britain, but their two singles - "Muffin Man" and "King Croesus" - flops here, were enormus overseas sellers, right across the Continent into Spain, down to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, across to America. Even a cover version of "Muffin Man" topped the Irish charts for four weeks.

10,000 BOOST : World of Oz have already had over 10,000 pumped into their promotion, make another bid for the charts with "Beside the Fire". They have had some cause for celebration for their single, "Muffin Man" released here last May, was a hit in Holland, Germany, Spain, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and "King Croesus" got into the American Top 100. It just seems to be Britain where they are still waiting for a hit. Everyone at Luxy loves the record, I'm sure you will. Keep tuned into 208 and listen out for it. The boys will have an LP out soon. They were thinking of calling it Fluid Oz.

The World of Oz is a lovely group. Their sound is not particularly original - they tend to be rather Bee Gee - like in sound - but they get our full marks for a pretty, medlodic effect, and real originality in their songwriting. On no account should you miss hearing their first album, "The World of Oz" (Deram), a super showcase for all their talents. Good singing, especially.

 

Check out the group's Beat-Club appearance on Marmalade Skies : Click HERE
Special thanks to Kubie, Rob Moore and Chris, much appreciated!

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