Thursday, 20 December 2012

Richest Songs in the World

The BBC 4 Documentary: “The Richest Songs in the World” has been scheduled to broadcast on:

Friday 28th December 2012 9pm BBC 4.

It will feature James Burton, which was filmed during July on his last visit to Fort Perch Rock, New Brighton, Wirral.


'Plug Inn' the forgotten years volume one

From the aged of 16 Tony Bolland kept diaries and photographs of my everyday life working in a musical instrument shop in the suburbs of Liverpool called 'Plug Inn' owned by Frank Hessy. Plug Inn has hundreds of photographs and personal stories from musicians who were part of the music scenes in Liverpool and on Merseyside throughout the mid to late 60's and the 1970's plus the venues and clubs where the bands played.
 Plug Inn volume two continues with many more band stories some of who signed major deals and had success around the World with an insight to being a working musician on the Road and many of the Merseybeat bands reformed with new up and coming musicians and played corporate gigs and the Cabaret scene.
 Hessys the Iconic shop where the Beatles bought their first instruments from was situated in Liverpool town centre around the corner from the Cavern and many of the bands that played lunchtime sessions frequented the Iconic shop the book 'Hessys' the shop that launched a thousand bands and the Beatles tells the story of how it began in Manchester Street in the 1930's by the mouth of the Mersey Tunnel right through the Merseybeat days of the 1960's until the shop closed down in 1995 - the customers and staff also recall their experiences visiting and working in the shop, there are lots of photographs never before published including a photograph of John Lennon who was in the same class and school as the managing director of Hessys - Bernard Michaelson.

Monday, 17 December 2012


The December monthly Mersey Beat Story at Fort Perch Rock New Brighton took the form of a Christmas Party Jam afternoon with many different Liverpool musicians taking part.

Harry Prytherch & Mrs Chistmas
Hosted by HARRY PRYTHERCH (Drummer with The Remo 4), Guest appearance by Santa and Mrs Christmas

musicians taking part included:-

Paul Cross
PAUL CROSS; Youngest drummer to have played The Cavern club, recently returned from seasons in Switzerland and Ibiza.

GEOFF NUGENT: Lead singer with hit recording stars "The Undertakers". A great showman who's set included - "Sweet Little 16" "Matchbox" "I Can't Stop Loving You" "C'est La Vie" and ending the afternoon in Christmas spirit with "White Christmas" and "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".

Geoff Nugent

DAVE WILLIAMS: Guitarist with "Group 1" and "The Jaywalkers". Recently featured in the BBC documentary "Love Me Do". Great festive offering of Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody".

DEREK GREEN:  The Del Renas / The Motifs. His novelty party piece "Speedy Gonzalez" is always a crowd pleaser.
Derek & Terry

DAVE CHEVRON: Billy Fury tribute act and member of The Chevrons duo.

NICKY CROUCH: "The Mojos" gave us his renditions of "Kansas City" and "Bye Bye Johnny"

Dave Chevron
Derek Green & Nicky Crouch
TERRY FISHER: The Del Renas / The Motifs. Great versions of "Ready Willing & Able" and "Laydown Sally" among others.

COLIN MIDDLEBROUGH: Drummer with Kansas City 5

Other notable guests included - Phil Norman of "The Prowlers", Freda Kelly - Beatles Fan Club secretary recently seen in the BBC documentary "Love Me Do"; John Cross ("Rave On"), Alan Crowe from "Beats Working"; poster artist Tony Booth,  female vocaliste Shelly Gee and author music historian Tony Bolland promoting his books Plug Inn volumes 1 & 2. See seperate post entitled Plug Inn Books..

Wednesday, 5 December 2012


Always a busy person Jess Conrad shares some recent pictures with other notable names taken at recent engagements.

Tommy Steele obviously more than happy to see his old pal Jess at the opening of his hit Christmas show Scrooge at The London Palladium. They have been firm friends since both pioneering British Rock & Roll as teen idols in the late fifties.

Rula Lenska, the flame haired actress and star of numerous television and screen roles who was once married to television star Dennis Waterman was escorted by Jess Conrad to the autumn event at Buckingham Palace in aid of the Not Forgotten charity which provides help and support to the veterans of the Second World War. The glamorous pair were there by Royal invitation.

Jess was delighted to be invited to Marty Wilde`s Rock And Roll Party tour, a real extravaganza which Marty himself starred in and directed and which included Eden Kane (Well I Ask Ya, Boys Cry, Forget Me Not) now a resident of Beverly Hills where he lives with his lovely wife Charlene who by the way just happens to be the sister of actress Stephanie Powers, and Joe Meek protege Mike Berry (Tribute To Buddy Holly, The Sunshine Of Your Smile) ."One of the best shows of its kind I`ve ever seen" says Jess.

X-Factor`s Ella Henderson pictured here with her sister Rose and sixties icon Jess Conrad who was asked to ecort them to the opening of the jukebox musical Dreamboats And Petticoats which is enjoying a return to London`s West End at the Wyndhams Theatre. Why would a young pop singer be accompanied by a star of an entirely different generation you may well ask? It appears the Miss Henderson is a keen enthusiast of the music and style of that great decade. And who knows more about those wonderful times than Jess?
Check out my website for Concerts/Shows and Media Information

Friday, 23 November 2012


Although this show is not touring until April & May 2013 one date has already sold out with another having to be added.

"Made In Brum" features Jasper Carrott, Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton (The Move), Geoff Turton (Rockin' Berries), Joy Strachan- Brain (Quill) & Danny King (Birmingham's 1st ever pop star) plus the Bev Bevan band.

Jasper Carrott will guide us down memory lane in his own inimitable style delivering a nostalgic look at the faces, places and music of Birmingham's Brum Beat. Accompanied by musicians and singers that have entertained not only Brummies but the world over with their music, this show promises laughter and the opportunity to see and hear great legendary artistes belt out a night of fantastic songs!!


Wednesday, 21 November 2012


BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETERS at Theatre Severn  Shrewsbury on Tuesday 20th November 2012.

As the name of the band suggested this was to be a night of classic rock n roll. The mood was sent by endless rock n roll tracks being played as as the audience took to their seats and awaited for the show to commence.

As the houselights dimmed and the stage lit up the compere warmed up the audience with a bit of patter and announced that Shrewsbury had been voted the Rock n Roll Capital of the World, I phrase he uses every night of the tour but with the town changed, but it worked, it got the audience on his side. Fighting his way through the curtain he took up his place as the band's bass player.

Opening the set with some classic Holly tunes - "That'll Be The Day" "Rock Around With Ollie Vee" "It's So Easy" and the first song Buddy wrote "Down The Line". The show was billed as a Rock n Roll Jukebox and so followed numbers made famous by other stars - "Heartbreak Hotel" (Elvis), "Wake Up Little Susie" (Everly Brothers) this saw the vocals move from Buddy to the guitarist & Bass guitarist. Return to the Holly hits with "Peggy Sue" with which the audience were encouraged to click their fingers along with the band, this was followed by "Everyday" in which the drummer kept the beat not using his drum kit but by slapping his thighs, "Blue Days Black Nights" followed.

The next series of hits came as part of the "Sun" sessions paying homage to Sam Phillips' legendary recording studios. Firstly rhythmn guitarist gave us Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" followed by Johnny Cash's "Got Rhythmn" sung by the bass player before moving to the keyboard player doing "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" and the drummer singing Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin'". "Doesn't Matter Anymore" took us back to the Holly hit catalogue followed by "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (penned by Chuck Berry but a hit for Buddy) "Heartbeat" "Not Fade Away" and closing the first half "Peggy Sue" which saw the drummer play standing up throughout the song and the bass player stand on his double bass on one leg.

The second half saw the band minus Buddy open with "Come On Everybody" with Buddy rejoining the stage on "Maybe Baby". Asking if anyone in the audience was celebrating an anniversary, which one couple was plus it was the man's birthday the next song was dedicated to them "Peggy Sue Got Married" before moving onto the Roy Orbison classic "Pretty Woman".

Taking the radio mic the bass player to control getting people to gaze into each others eyes, put an arm around each other then asking for couples that were in love to stand up as the band went into their "love section" with "Raining In My Heart" and "True Love Ways" during which the bass player had left the stage made his way into the stalls to gee up more people to be upstanding and swaying along before doing the same moving amongst those on the balcony.

Time for the drummer to take the lead vocal again this time on the Beatles' "Saw Her Standing There" which got members of the audience dancing on the feet. More classics followed - "No Particular Place To Go" with Buddy having a go at Chuck Berry's infamous Duck Walk, "La Bamba" and "Twist n Shout" closing the set with Holly favourites "Oh Boy" and "Think It Over".

Returning for an encore with a medley of numbers including "Rave On" "Tutti Frutti" "At The Hop" "Great Balls Of Fire" ending with the timeless classic "Johnny Be Goode" which featured intrumental solos from each of the musicians with Buddy playing the guitar behind his kneck.

If I am honest he is not the best and certainly not the worst Buddy Holly that I have seen, but he is full of confidence and along with the band certainly knows how to work an audience. AC

Monday, 19 November 2012


The November Mersey Beat story at Fort Perch Rock New Brighton featured one of the oldest bands in Liverpool - The Dominoes, currently celebrating 55 years.

The afternoon began with the usual music quiz and a raffle was held in aid of the Cae Dai Trust.

Domino - Sam Hardy
Founder member of the group Sam Hardy was interviewed by Mersey Beat historian Dave "the rave" along with his infamous phone, and the assembled crowd listened to how the band came about, tales of playing both the "Star Club" and "Top Ten Club" in Hamburg, how slimming pills "Pirellies" were used as a stimulant to keep the bands going, how the band along with another evolved into being King Size Taylor & The Dominoes, and what happened to the different band members over the years. As always Dave added that something extra to the interview by playing some Domino tracks that he had discovered and downloaded them onto his phone.

Dave the Rave presents Sam with certificate.
 As the interview came to a close Dave surprised the band by presenting them with a signed certificate inducting them into the Mersey Beat Story Hall of Fame.

The Dominoes
Following a short interval the band performed a real rocking set that featured such numbers as - "Maybe Baby" "Flip Flop & Fly" "Singing The Blues" "Rocking My Life Away" "Domino Twist" "Watching Raindrops" "Woolly Bully" "Kansas City" "Keep On Knocking" "Rock Around The Clock" "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Old Black Joe" among many others.

The currently line up of the band features Keyboards, Drums, Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar and Saxaphone and all members have been Dominoes for a great number of years, the youngest being Gaz Gaskell (Gaz & The Groovers) on saxaphone. The lead vocals throughout the set were spread out among the group which is always good to see.

The band had a new CD on sale during the afternoon, which were snapped up.

Whilst the Dominoes didn't have any success in the music charts they were extremely popular in Germany and rated as one of the top groups in Liverpool. They still visit Germany to play gigs with former front man Ted "Kingsize" Taylor who lives out there. The band are also mentioned in the Chuck Berry biography "Long Distance Information" as they used to support Chuck on his UK tours.

The next Mersey Beat Story session will take place on Sunday 16th December which will feature a jam session by a number of mersey beat musicians, promises to be another great afternoon at The Fort.

Photo left owner of Fort Perch Rock and promoter Doug Darroch.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


 December 1st 2012
Wolverton Central Top Club

The Top Club Wolverton has like many other music venues is fighting for survival.

Listed building and opened to members 106 years ago.One of the last bastion dance halls in orginal settings.

The Beatles...Rolling Stones all performed there.

We have recruited The New Dreamers Fred's former guys who now perform and tour all major holiday venues through - out the UK

If you can support this event all would be most grateful.There is a local train station not more than quarter of a mile away and transport can be arranged free of charge to and from the venue.

 The New Dreamers
Back in the 1960s Freddie and the Dreamers wooed the public with Freddy Garrity's wild stage antics and classic numbers like "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody", "You Were Made for Me", "I'm Telling You Now", etc.

The Legacy continues.....The New Dreamers are led by
Eamonn Carr who was with the Dreamers in the 1970s returning into  the 90s, when Freddie was still fronting them,and he is joined by Paul De Vincent from Argent & the Russ Ballard Band  drummer Woody Woods.

They are constantly either touring or doing one-nighters,performing all the hits songs plus much much much more.60's to recent chart material.Party night cabaret band.

check Eamonn Carr Face book

Kindest regards to all for your support

Wolverton Central Working Mens Club - Milton Keynes MK12 5BG

Monday, 12 November 2012

Jess Conrad The Boys re-release‏

Fans of Jess Conrad will be thrilled to know that one of his feature films, The Boys, has been re-released by Renown on Amazon.  The film is a thriller shot in Soho in the 60s with an array of guest stars, including Richard Todd, the late Wilfrid Bramble and Roy Kinnear, directed by the celebrated Sidney Furie and theme music written and played by The Shadows.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


A recent visit to North Wales found me searching for a 1950s Museum that I had heard about some few years ago but never come across. So I made it a mission to see it, however, asking locals and information centres I was informed it had been burnt down. But what no one bothered to tell me was that it was still in operation.

The museum can be found in the beautiful setting of a working farm in the Vale of Clwyd, 1 mile outside of Denbigh in North Wales, on the Nantglyn Road or for those directed by satnavs postcode LL16 4SU.

"T he 50’s museum  in Denbigh is one of those little hidden gems you will hear talked about a fair bit!  Having seen fire’s destroy one of the main buildings last year due to an arson attack, like a Phoenix from the Ashes Cae Dai 50’s museum is hoped to be back to its full glory again.  You are able able to enjoy looking around such vehicles as the original  lorry that was used in the real ‘Great Train Robbery’ also featured at the museum is the car that belonged to ‘Christine Keeler’ the 50’s & 60’s model that sparked the whole ‘Profumo’ scandal that rocked the then conservative government.  Plus many more treasures from the 50’s era. So whether you’re a 50’s enthusiast or just somebody who appreciates the past, do not overlook this amazing little museum."

after the fire
Despite the fire which claimed many classic vehicles, artefacts and memorabilia there is still plenty to see in the way of 50s /60s related items - pop memorabilia, furniture, household appliances, books, magazines and vehicles.

See examples of sporting equipment including a punch ball owned by John Lennon.
Since the fire an extensive rebuild programme has been undertaken along with a continuous fundraising campaign to finance the building to house a new museum, community hall and so forth. Anyone who has any artefacts that they would like to donate to the museum should contact them direct on 01745 817004 or 812107. Financial donations should be sent to 50s Museum Dept BW, Cae Dai, Denbigh North Wales LL16 4SU cheques payable to The Cae Dai Trust. Please make a donation however large or small and help return the museum to its former glory.

As the existence of the museum is hardly known in the big wide world, Beats Working and the people involved in this webpage have made it their mission to inform as many people as possible about it. Check out the museum's page on Facebook - Cae Dai Trust. However, you decide to support the museum, facebook message, donation, visit please tell them that you heard of them from Beats Working.  AC

Monday, 5 November 2012



Only a 60% capacity audience for this show, probably due to the many firework festivities happening.

As the lights dimmed from behind the curtain came the show's signature tune and as the curtain raised the band strike up with "At The Hop" with the four cast members taking to the front of the stage with bundles of energy. The second song had them sat on coffee bar stools acting out "Lipstick On Your Collar", then "Shake Rattle & Roll" before the two girls covered the Shirelles "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow". The first touch of humour came as Rachel (who could easily be mistaken for Billie Piper) was pulled and dragged about the stage as she played the female part in "Come Outside". Bass player & show produce Bob Newman took lead vocal on "Great Balls of Fire" before Carole Gordon gave us "Sweet Nuthins" more top 50s tunes followed including "It's Late" and "High School Hop" before Bob took to centre stage to perform the show's title song which I felt could have been a key higher. A number of popular instrumentals from the era followed including the "Match of the Day" theme. Roy Orbison's "You've Got It" was a joint offering from Bob & Carole before the cast went into a Motown medley that included - "Want You Back" "Can't Help Myself" "Stop In The Name Of Love" "Reach Out" "Walk Away Renee" "You Can't Hurry Love" and "My Guy/Girl".

A solo version of "My Prayer" from Jamie Steen took the band into "C'mon Everybody" before the cast rejoined the stage in yet another costume change of orange & black mini dresses, orange shirts & black trousers ( One could have easily mistaken them for "EasyJet" staff) taking us into a medley of 60s hits that included "Twist & Shout" "Hippy Hippy Shake" "These Boots Are Made For Walking" "My Generation" "Shout" "Do Wah Diddy" and closing the first half "I'm A Believer".

With the cast dressed in jeans, checked shirts and wearing straw hats the second half kicked off in country / hillbilly style with "Hillbilly Rock" "Cotton Eye Joe" and "5678" before exiting the stage leaving the band perform The Tremeloes' "Here Come My Baby".

Returning to the stage Carole performed a selection of Carpenters hits (I must point out that with the band she also tours a Carpenters show "Voices of the Heart"). Whilst her voice had held out in the first half a cold / sore throat had taken hold in the interval and she had trouble on the vocals of "Close To You" "Yesterday Once More" "Please Mr Postman" and "Jambalaya".

With lead guitarist Andy Saphire and bass player Bob joining male cast members Jamie and Alistair it was time for some 70s rock n roll Showaddywaddy style featuring "Dancin' Party" "Hey Rock n Roll" "3 Steps To Heaven" "Under The Moon Of Love" and "Pretty Little Angel Eyes". What dissapointed me with this part was that only the 2 cast members wore draped jackets. It wouldn't have taken much for the 4 musicians to don a drape and make the set look more authentic.

Following another number a voice over announced a celebration of the music of Burt Bacharach. This included "what The World Needs Now" "San Jose" "This Guy Is In Love With You" "Say A Little Prayer" and "Trains & Boats & Planes".

More popular tunes followed including "Always Something There To Remind Me" "Anyone Who Had A Heart" "What's New Pussycat" and "You Raise Me Up" before Andy on lead guitar took to lead vocal on "Country Boy At Heart" with some instrumental solo from the keyboard this lifted the tempo again as the cast returned wearing silver & purple outfits to close the evening with a medley of Abba hits - "Gimme Gimme" "SOS" "Money Money" Take A Chance" "Dancing Queen" "Mama Mia" before ending with "Thanks For The Music".  Not sure about the boys costumes, thought they had fallen off a couple of Christmas Trees, and did Jamie really need to camp it up? Informing the audience that the show was on You Tube, follow them on Facebook and on Twitter it felt to me like the finale of a pantomime.

The first half flowed well with good pace but I felt that the second was a bit disjointed and didn't flow as well. Also the advertising offered "Side-Splitting" comedy, apart from a couple of minor comical moments there was a sheer lack of comedy from this production. Having seen the show when it had comedy it lived up to its billing, but not tonight. As the last night of the current tour perhaps the show had run out of steam.

However, if you like a show that takes you on a musical journey from the 50s through to the 70s then check it out, when in your area.

Cast members:  Carole Gordon, Rachel Cantrell, Jamie Steen, & Alistair Willmot.

Band Members:- Bob Newman (Bass. Producer), Chris Burgess (Drums / Musical Director), Richard Luck (Keyboards), and Andy Saphir (Lead Guitar).

For more information visit the website Forever in Blue Jeans UK .Com

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Joe Brown in Concert at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury, Monday 29th October 2012.

I hadn't seen Joe live for a number of years and was looking forward to tonight's concert.

As the lights went down, with his trademark haircut and chirpy cockney manner, Joe walked out onto the stage to great applause, and welcomed everyone to what was going to be his "Living Room" set for the first half of the show. Normally the band would take to the stage first and the star of the show would be introduced, not in this case. Joe proceeded to introduce each member onto the stage individually.

The first song - "Ballad of John Hurt" was a tribute to the great 1930s guitarist, before Joe's son Peter took the lead on the mandolin with "Cloverleaf Rag". Next up was a Roger Cook (remember Cook & Greenaway the songwriting partnership?) composition composed for the ukele entitled "Tickle My Heart". This was followed by the band's version of the ELO classic "Mr Blue Sky".

A selection of Hawaiain styled pieces followed, then Eric Clapton's "Lay Down Sally" with drummer Phil Capaldi taken lead vocal on "Return To Sender" which had him in fine banter with Joe on borrowing his teeth and hair!

10CC's "I'm Not In Love" was followed by the Travelling Willbury's "Where Were You?". This featured some excellent lead guitar work by Peter. Returning to another Roger Cook number which Joe reminded everyone was the first hit that Roger had written - The Fortunes "You've Got Your Troubles", the first half was brought to a close by one of Joe's early hits "That's What Love Will Do" which received great applause.

If the first half was the living room set which was very laid back then the second half was to be much more up tempo. Opening with another Joe Brown hit "Darktown Strutters Ball" and the another "Picture Of You". With Joe playing fiddle the next offering was a  U2 number. "Whilst I've got my ukele in my hand I thought we would do some heavy metal" chirped Joe as the band went into Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" closely followed by The Who's "Pinball Wizzard".

Remembering his close friend - George Harrison, Joe sang George's composition "That's The Way It Goes" which he performed at  George's memorial concert in 2002. This again featured some excellent lead guitar playing. After "Killing The Blues" guitarist Ben Lee took to do lead vocals on "I've Got A Woman".

Soon it was time for drummer, Phil to make his way to the front of the stage, being replaced on drums by Peter, whilst Phil sang "Stood Up", an appropriate song for someone who spends the majority of the time sat behind a drum kit and only seen from the waist up. Finishing the song to great applause, Phil milked the warmth shown by the audience to the full showing his boss that he too can get the crowds going.

The next batch of musical offerings included "Sea Of Heartbreak" and the Italian waltz "Suni Devito" then Joe's instrumental hit "Hava Nagila".

Announcing the last two songs were now upon us Joe announced that Peter would sing the first which was to be "Lover's Jamboree" and that he would do the next , "Henry 8th" which had the audience in fine voice on the parts "I am" and "No Sam".

The final song was "I Will See You In My Dreams"

The lighting for the show was simplictic, creating the right mood needed for each song without being too dramatic. The audience looked to be at 90% of the venue's capacity, made up of older and younger fans that were treated to an evening of some excellent musicianship, 5 part vocal singing, multi instruments played, plus some of that chirpy cockney banter that Joe has become renowned for, which included him talking about his "dad" - Marty Wilde.

The Band: Pete Brown, Phil Capaldi, Ben Lee, Mike Nicholls.


Monday, 29 October 2012


Every last Friday of the month Brumbeat favourite Mike Sheridan hosts an evening of pure 50s & 60s nostalgia at Walmely Social Club, Fox Hollies Road, Walmely, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.

This features Mike & Suzi Sheridan as a duo, and the Mike Sheridan Rock n Roll Band.

Admission is £4.50 on the door. Food available, late bar!

Monday, 22 October 2012



I went along to see what I thought was going to be another in a long line of tribute bands, how wrong could I have been. This was no tribute band but a full, well produced show that happened to feature a number of excellent performers who paid homage to their chosen idols - Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.

The stage setting included banners promoting the show either side a giant screen along the back of the stage and as the lights dimmed up on the screen came "Bill & Ben the flower pot men" followed by an advert for Shell petrol with Bing Crosby singing the jingle, these put the audience in the right time frame as the opening credits rolled onto the screen as the band took to there places.

The host of the show Roy Orbison (Barry Steele) took to the stage performing a number of classic Orbison hits before introducing the first of his special guests for the night - Johnny Cash (Peter John Jackson). An excellent performer who certainly knew how to use his guitar not only as an instrument but as a prop with great effect, also brilliantly playing two harmonicas on "Orange Blossom Special". Time for the next guest, the king himself - Elvis Presley (Paul Molloy) before Roy Orbison returned to close the first half of the show.

Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison
The second half opened with "Thunderbirds Are Go" on the screen with Orbison opening with some more hits from the Orbison catalogue before bringing back Johnny Cash with more great numbers. The band then played The Shadows "Apache" musically excellent but personally I would have liked to have seen the three guitarists take centre stage and perform as The Shadows. Keyboard player Barney Williams returned to his post as Jerry Lee Lewis belting out "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lotta Shakin". Enter Elvis for his second spot of the night, only this time in GI mode more great numbers from this fine performer before Orbison closes the show with several numbers from the Travelling Willburys and of course "Pretty Woman" with both Cash and Elvis joining him for the finale.

Throughout the show camersa caught the performers live and put them up onto the screen along with archive film footage of the original stars.

With costume changes, stage settings, excellent lighting & effects, first class musicians, well rehearsed performers, plus unforgettable songs this show has it all, I look forward to seeing it time and time again, hopefully so will you the reader.

As I said in the beginning this was not just a tribute act but a fully, well produced show and credit to its producer Lynne Steele.



Looking around the almost capacity middle aged to elderly audience before the commence of the show I wondered how many of them had come to see four guys of senior age, not youngsters. In the foyer during the interval I overheard a woman telling her friend that she thought that the big guy (Michael Williams) must be an original member as the other three looked too young. However, when you go to see a Drifters concert you expect to hear good tunes performed in four part harmony, and slick choreagraphed dance moves, the audience tonight were not to be dissapointed.

For me the show got off to a false start with lead singer Michael Williams coming out to perform a couple of solo numbers which could have only been to showcase his solo album on sale in the foyer. Leaving the stage, a voice over then announces that as with Treadwell's policy and legacy of The Drifters and introducing new, younger members into the line up the Drifters walked on stage to thunderous applause opening with the theme tune to the tour's title "Masquerade" which again to me was a false start - better to open with a hit record that everyone knows, get them onside and then perform a lesser known number. This was followed by " Hello Happiness" "At The Club", "Dance With Me" "Down At The Beach" "Under The Boardwalk" "There Goes My First Love" "More Than A Number In My Little Red Book" interspersed with some lesser known songs before "Sweets For My Sweet" brought the first half to a close.

The second half began with more hits - "Like Sister & Brother" "On Broadway" and "When My Little Girl is Smiling" before treating the audience to a forthcoming new release "The Whole World" followed by "Do You Dream Of Me" which was released in 2011 and was the first release by The Drifters in 35 years. Back to more from the catalogue of hits - "Up On The Roof" "Come On Over To My Place" "Save The Last Dance" "Stand By Me" "Kissin' In The Back Row" and "Saturday Night At The Movies" to name a few.

The second half saw almost the entire audience to a man / woman on their feet - dancing, swaying, clapping and singing along with the hits

The group were backed by an excellent 5 piece band made up of Saxaphone, Guitar, Drums, Bass, and Keyboards which to me were a little loud on some of the softer numbers but overall produced a great sound.

Going back to my opening comments about whether the audience were expecting to see the original Drifters as they left the building in a joyous mood I don't think they could care or have given it a second thought they had been to a soul party with four lads calling themselves The Drifters providing the cabaret. So if they went away happy does it matter or should the group be billed as being The Drifters 2012 or whatever year the line up changes?

For further details of the current tour visit


Saturday, 20 October 2012


Looking for a DJ / Presenter for your next function? Whether it be a club night, dinner, village hall bop or a family party then ALA CRA is the DJ for you. Regarded as being one of the country's top revivalist DJs he specialises in 1960s, 1970s & 1980s Nights. As well as being part of a special 1940s show.

Among the many names that he has worked alongside over the years reads like a who's who of British pop from 1950s through to 1980s including -

Ricky Valance, John Leyton, Jess Conrad, Wee Willie Harris, Jet Harris, Tommy Bruce, Billie Davies, Chas McDevitt, Johnny Caesar (The Caesars), Shel Macrae (The Fortunes).

Rockin' Berries, Cupids Inspiration, Mike Penders Searchers, Paper Lace, Ivy League, Fourmost to name but a few.

See also page on this site.

Friday, 19 October 2012


Leading revivalist DJ, Presenter and Promoter Alan Crowe has published his autobiography "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck" with Authorhouse publishers.

Containing over 51,000 words, numerous images the book chronicles Alan's life to date from childhood to the present.

Many people in the business have written endorsements included in the book including - Jess Conrad, Ricky Valance, Wee Willie Harris, Dave Lodge (Manager to Tommy Bruce), The Bachelors, Shel Macrae (The Fortunes), John Allison (The Allisons), Craig Douglas, Mike Sheridan, Johnny Caesar (The Caesars)

Each of the above is pictured in the book with Alan as is - Vernon Girls, Billie Davis, Dave Dee, The Jets, Tommy Allsup, Frank Ifield, PJ Proby, The Crickets, Brian Poole, Dave Berry, Robin Gibb, John Leyton, Jean Wycherley (Billy Fury's mum), Jack Goode (TV Producer) plus many actors, actresses and sports personalities that he has worked with in a career spanning over 30 years.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Rock Family Trees

I got in last night after watching an excellent Eagles tribute band - "Talon" at Theatre Severn Shrewsbury and turning on the television came across what turned out to be an excellent programme Rock Family Trees.

The programme on BBC 4  presented by Music journalist Pete Frame looked at how a number of Midlands groups - Moody Blues, Idle Race, The Move, ELO, Wizzard evolved from other groups and the dramas behind them.

Among those that were interviewed were - Bev Bevan, Roy Wood, Trevor Burton, Denny Laine, Justin Haywood, and Jeff Lynne.

Such a shame I missed the first half of it. The next two programmes were about Jeff Lynne.

A great night for Brum Beat.

Alan Crowe

Telstar 50

Whilst the media is hyping the 50th anniversary of The Beatles making the charts with "Love Me Do" and are perceived as being the ones that changed the worlld of popular music, lets not forget that the music and fashion culture changed in the 1950s with the birth of Rock n Roll.

It should also be pointed out that "Telstar" by The Tornadoes and produced by Joe Meek is also celebrating its 50th anniversary of not only making the UK charts but also the American charts..

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Big Jim Sullivan R I P.

British session guitarist Jim Sullivan has passed away after a long period of poor health. He was 71 years old. He played on over 1,000 chart hits — including 55 No. 1 singles — during his vibrant career, in addition to working with a who’s who of classic rock royalty.
While Sullivan was hardly a household name, you’ve certainly heard his work. A myriad of U.K. hit makers called on his talents, including everyone from Donovan and Dusty Springfield to the Walker Brothers, Tom Jones and Thunderclap Newman.
Born James Tomkins, Sullivan began his musical career in 1959 as a member of Marty Wilde’s band (Wilde was a U.K. rocker in the Gene Vincent mode). He was a teacher and mentor to both Yes guitarist Steve Howe and Deep Purple‘s Ritchie Blackmore.
According to Classic Rock Magazine, Blackmore labeled “big” Jim “a big influence. He’d only been playing about two years, but he was just about the best guitarist in England, straight away. I thought I was alright and learning pretty well. I couldn’t even understand what he was doing.”
In addition to the stacks of records he lent a hand to, Sullivan was the house guitarist on the legendary British music television shows Top of the Pops and Ready Steady Go, and also is credited with pioneering the use of the fuzzbox and talkbox, later made famous by Joe Walsh and Peter Frampton.
Along the way, he toured with Eddie Cochran, befriended Elvis Presley, and also found time to work with George Harrison, Frank Zappa, the Who, Long John Baldry and producer Joe Meek. In 1968, Sullivan made a record under the name Lord Sitar which, as you guessed, featured him playing the sitar.
If all that wasn’t enough, according to legend, Jimmy Page borrowed one of Sullivan’s guitars while he was recording the first Led Zeppelin album.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Roller Returns

Former member of the Bay City Rollers Eric Faulkner makes a return visit to Fort Perch Rock New Brighton, Wirral CH13 2JI on Sunday 21st October 1.30pm.

An afternoon of acoustic spills and thrills as Roller Eric muses on the trip from Bay City to a gig near you.

Special guests will include The Paul Hayes Collection.

For more details contact 07976 282120.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Hailed as the King of Liverpool, Rory Storm was the focus of the monthly Mersey Beat event at Fort Perch Rock New Brighton on Sunday 23rd September.

Former members of Rory's band The Hurricanes turned out, with some reliving stories of their times with him; including Vince Earl, and Jimmy Tushingham. Also recalling memories along with a slide show was Rory's sister and former Mrs Shane Fenton, Iris Caldwell. She also brought along copies of a new CD featuring previously un released material recorded by Rory and the band and found in a cellar. For further information on Rory Storm click on his name.

Rory's guitarist Johnny Guitar was posthumously inducted into the Mersey Beat Hall of Fame, with a certificate accepted by his widow.

Also receiving a presentation on the afternoon was singer David Garrick "Dear Mrs Applebee" who received a framed collage created by artist Tony Booth  of his photos and other memorabilia to mark his birthday. In the photo L-R Joe Flannery, David Garrick, Tony Booth.

Live music was provided by Vince Earl and the Attraction. Vince is probably best remembered nationally as a comedian & actor finding fame on Channel 4s TV soap "Brookside" as Ron Dickson. The Attraction features a number of stalwart merseyside musicians including drummer Dave Lovelady from "The Fourmost"

The afternoon was compered by Harry Prytherch formerly drummer with the Remo 4, other notable mersey beat and 60s faces in attendance were promoter Joe Flannery (brother to Lee Curtis), Dave Williams (Dale Roberts & The JayWalkers, Group One), Geoff Nugent (The Undertakers), promoter and revivalist Alan Crowe, David Garrick (Dear Mrs Applebee), Tony Booth (poster artist who painted many of the original Beatles and other concert posters) and Tony Davis (The Spinners),

The BBC had a film crew in attendance interviewing the different musicians, filming the audience for a feature on BBC Look North.

These afternoons are held on the 3rd Sunday of every month and include interviews, a quiz, memorabilia stalls, and live bands. Fort Perch Rock also houses an extensive display of Elvis, Billy Fury, Beatles and other memorabilia.

Photos courtesy of John Bailey.

Monday, 24 September 2012


For fans of 1950s style Rock n Roll then a new weekender is on the calendar for 14th - 17th June 2013. To be held at Brymbo Sports & Social Club at Wrexham North Wales. Promoted by Rock and Roll Promotions the weekend will feature hit recording stars "Matchbox" "The Stargazers" plus many other bands. Keep revisiting this site for further details.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


Chas McDevitt & Owen Clayton receive their induction certificates from Dave Williams
Inducted into the Mersey Beat Hall of Fame over the bank holiday weekend was skiffle king Chas McDevitt, and Owen Clayton who has played slap bass in a number of bands over the years. On Bank Holiday Monday another veteran of the mersey beat scene notching up 50 years in the business was Cliff Roberts and The Rockers.

Photo courtesy of John Bailey

Friday, 10 August 2012


Rock n Roll Royalty LINDA GAIL LEWIS sister to Jerry Lee Lewis will be appearing at Fort Perch Rock New Brighton on Bank Holiday Monday 27th August 2012.

Also appearing will be Mersey Beat legends Cliff Roberts & The Rockers plus Cornish singer/songwriter Emma


King of Skiffle Chas McDevitt will be appearing at Fort Perch Rock, which can be found on the promenade at New Brighton, on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th August 2012.

Also appearing will be Tony Davis of The Spinners.

Plus full supporting line up.

Admission only £4.00


The Queen of Rock n Roll Linda Gail Lewis will be be appearing on Bank Holiday Sunday 26th August at Gresford Collery Club Wrexham along with her band and supporting acts.

If her big brother Jerry Lee Lewis is "The Killer" then Linda Gail is definately "The Thriller".

Linda & band at Gresford Colliery Club.
Admission only £8.00

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

50 years of Jess Conrad!

60s Icon Jess Conrad: Up Close & Personal-celebrating 50 Years In Showbusiness
New release on the Paladium label:
"Sixties icon Jess Conrad brings you this exclusive, never before seen DVD Special containing rare footage and up-close and personal interviews. Included on this DVD; Jess Conrad; Britain's Most Eligible Bachelor 1961-Cameras follow Jess behind the scenes of his showbiz life. Jess talks about his rise to fame, his career in music, theatre, film and TV. For the first time ever, see Jess's home movies including film from the wedding that shocked his fans. Some of Jess's showbiz friends featured include Dave Dee, Mike Sarne, Tommy Bruce, Leapy Lee, Tony Blackburn, David Hamilton, Tom O'Connor, Billie Davis, Aimi MacDonald, Clem Cattini from The Tornados, Kenny Lynch, Shirley Ann Field and his good friend Sir Norman Wisdom OBE. A must for any fan."
Available in all good stores:

Monday, 23 July 2012


BEATS WORKING is back, this time on line. Now you can keep up to date with whats going on in the music world of the 50s - 70s.

IF you have any comments to make on any of the articles please feel free to do so, also reviews of concerts, welcome. Operator reserves the right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, harmful.