Just Us

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Glenys Haig-McIvor Collection


Just Us  —  circa 1968
Paul Talbot, Ian Smillie, Murray Wright, Bevis Thompson and Peter Talbot


Bevis Thompson, Ian Smillie, Peter Talbot,
Murray Wright and Paul Talbot

The group recorded and released a single on the Master label in 1969 — We're Still Alone // Hippy Hippy Shake, but their main chance had already come in 1968, when they had turned professional.  Christchurch hotspots such as The Plainsman and The Mecca Nitespot were operating, and the group built its own club - The 1480 Village named after Radio Hauraki.  The village was plush and it boasted a revolving stage that brought a second group on as the first group disappeared playing their signature tune.  Because of management difficulties and lack of attendance, the club folded.  In 1970 Ian and Bevis spent 18 months travelling around England, Europe and Canada.  Peter set out as a solo singer, Paul formed his own trio and Just Us went into recess, but they reformed shortly after Ian and Bevis returned from their holiday.  The group were ardent Goons fans and they shared the same sense of humour, believing this to be the reason they stayed together so long.  They played chart material mainly, and tried to add two new numbers per week to their repertoire.  They would always start their pub nights with the style of The Fortunes or Gallery - the easy listening style - but as the evening progressed they moved into a slightly heavier domain with Raspberries and Doobie Brothers numbers.  They admired groups with good harmonies like the Hollies - but Murray always hated quiet music.  They were runners-up to The Next Move in the 1969 Christchurch Battle Of The Bands held in the Caledonian Hall, Kilmore Street, Christchurch.

Battle of the Bands 1969
Caledonian Hall, Christchurch


Just Us in practice  —  (from left) Bevis Thompson, Dave Olson, Paul Talbot, Ian Smillie and Peter Talbot


Just Us at The Pride Of Place, Cathedral Square, Christchurch  —  (from left) Bevis Thompson, Paul Talbot, Ian Smillie, Peter Talbot and Dave Olson


Dave Olson on drums


Just Us  —  at the Cave Rock Hotel, Sumner, Christchurch circa 1975
Kevin Powell (Bass), Paul Humphries (Drums), Paul Talbot (Rhythm Guitar), Dixon McIvor (Vocals), Paul Muggleston (Lead Guitar) and Jon Campbell (Keyboards)


In 1973, coinciding with his engagement by Radio Avon as a DJ, Paul Muggleston joined up with Just Us which at that time consisted of the line-up shown above, however line-up changes would occur, with Kevin Powell replacing Bevis Thompson on bass guitar and Paul Muggleston having already assumed lead guitar and vocal duties, taking the opportunity to join the group after Ian Smillie left.  Paul had previously played with the Dynamics, the Measles and the Secrets, and had been to Europe with Me and The Others - a group which included bassist Gary Thain (who would go on to fame with Uriah Heep), and Peter Dawkins (who became a leading EMI records producer).  On drums, Dave Olson replaced Murray Wright for short while, before he was replaced by Paul Humphries.  This combination continued for a couple of years until Dixon McIvor was invited to join the group as lead vocalist, along with another Radio Avon DJ, Jon Campbell on keyboards, and the group remained stable until Paul Muggleston departed for Sydney, Australia in the mid-late 1970s.  The group played regularly at Shirley Lodge Motor Hotel, The Cave Rock, Imperial and Aranui Hotels - with occasional jaunts, by special arrangement, to do out-of-town shows at the likes of Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook.  Sadly, no live recordings from this period of the groups activities are known to exist.