From California And Montana With Lots 'N Between. Continued


A major local group, the Californians came together in May 1966 as a product of a change in the Black Diamonds (Sheila Deni left to go solo). The original Californians comprised the remaining members of the Black Diamonds, Roger Clark lead, Pete Abberley bass and Keith Evans on drums, with John O'Hara as lead vocalist. They were managed by Roger Allen. Later members included Mick Brookes (from the Cobras) who took Roger Clarke's place, Bob Trevis (from Choice) who replaced Keith Evans, Adrian Ingram (ex-Choice, Gilt Edge, Evolution) who became an extra guitarist and Geoff Parkes who became a second vocalist. Their intention was to produce close harmonies, reminiscent of the Beach Boys and the Four Seasons. Their success as a harmony group was very much down to the tuition they received from George Taylor, a pianist who had been a member of the Hedley Ward Trio. From the start the group was very popular in the local area because of its clean-cut image and because they made a very pleasing sound. They were to release quite a number of records from 1967 to 1969, mainly on Decca.

Californians. Just introducing themselves to the record-buying public. (Mel Brookes)
Their first release was called Golden Apples, other titles included Sunday Will Never Be The Same, Congratulations, You've Got Your Troubles. While they never reached the Top Twenty, their records sold well, they toured extensively and made a large number of radio appearances.

They appeared on one very major package tour in 1967 with Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Englebert Humperdink and the Walker Brothers.

Danny Cannon (& Ramrods)

Winners of the first Big Beat Contest at the Gaumont. The group had their origins in Bilston, having all attended Etheridge School. The original group comprised Danny Cannon on vocals, Len Beddow on lead, Pete Walton on bass, Ken Hooper rhythm and Alan Lacey on drums. Later changes saw Mick Taylor in place of Ken Hooper and Brendan Guest in place of Pete Walton. For many teenage Wulfrunians the Ramrods represented Rock 'n' Roll. Their original sound was very much modelled on Buddy Holly and the Crickets. They appeared at the Toc H Festival at the Royal Albert Hall in 1962 (almost certainly the first local group to play at such a famous venue). They were never part of the Astra set-up. They were managed by the song-writer Bill Bates who introduced them to Carter-Lewis. Their first record was released at the end of 1965, by which time they had changed their name to Herbie's People.

Cardboard Replica

The group emerged in 1969 and was very highly regarded. They performed in Europe and in Israel. The members of the group were Stan Phillips rhythm and vocals, Anthony Holyman lead, Anthony Brighton bass and David Yates on drums. They introduced three girl dancers to their act which probably helped to increase their popularity on the Continent.

Sue Carr

Her real name was Sue Carrier. She appeared on Up And Doing in 1963 with the Jaguars and with the Condors during the Midland Groups Galore show at the Grand Theatre.

Her repertoire included numbers like Shout, You're My World and Downtown. By 1966 she was performing with a backing group called the Second Thoughts.

She spent time in Germany and was a member of Pride & Passion.


Sue Carr. Sounded good and looked very good.


The main 'progressive' music venue in Wolverhampton. It was located in Temple Street and gained something of a cult status in the town with an 'upstairs cellar club' atmosphere. It reminded one of the Express & Star correspondents of the early days of the Cavern. Its proprietor was Stephen Dobson who managed to arrange visits by some of the leading underground artists of the period including Yes, Caravan, Edgar Broughton and Taste. At the end of August in 1969 the club had David Bowie performing there, just a matter of weeks before Space Oddity entered the charts (a real coup for the club and the town). Like the Lafayette it is remembered with deep affection by a whole generation of Wulfrunians.


A Bilston group which formed in 1965 and comprised Mick Brookes on lead guitar, Mel Brookes on rhythm, Barry Dunn on vocals, Nick Cox on bass and Terry Rhodes on drums. While they never achieved any major success they were regarded as a workmanlike outfit. Mick Brookes later became a member of the Californians. It was reported that at one time Mel Brookes continued playing with the group, despite breaking his leg. They were managed by Arthur Brookes, the father of Mick and Mel. Barry Dunn had previously sang with the Mountain Kings and later worked for the Nita Anderson Agency.

Derek Coppen

The person behind the original skiffle-playing 1956 version of the Black Diamonds. They had begun playing at the Finchfield Youth Club and he was one of the first young Wulfrunian musicians to own an electric Hofner guitar. When Rock on' Roll appeared on the scene, it seems that he left the Black Diamonds. His first love was jazz. He was a member of the Bachelor Four and won the Radio Luxembourg Make A Tape contest in 1962 which resulted in him visiting New York as part of the prize. He described his experiences in New York for the local newspapers.

Jason Cord

His real name was Derek Gibbs and he was the lead singer of Jason Cord and the First Chapter, previously known as Intent 'n' Purpose. The rest of the original First Chapter was Phil Williams, Phil Bird and Steve Rideout on guitars and Keith Tulley on drums. Later members of the group were Paul Robbins, Pete Bickley and Mac Bailey. They used to rehearse at the Station Hotel in Bloxwich. They recorded for Chapter One records in 1969, issuing two singles; I've Got My Eyes On You and Why Shouldn’t I? The group was managed by the former Rock 'n' Roll singer, Dixie Dean. The group played many of the leading London clubs like, Speakeasy, Blaises and Bag O' Nails. Paul McCartney apparently heard them at the Pheasantry club in Chelsea. Several times the First Chapter did sessions before Jason Cord appeared on stage, playing a lot of the music of Cream and Fairport Convention which was far removed from the music of Jason Cord. It was this combination of the First Chapter that formed the basis of Fable, a relatively successful local 70s group which later included people like Anna Terrana, Pete Mackie and Pete Goalby.


One of the early groups in the town (pre-Beatles) which featured Bill Hayward and Terry Rowley who were to become two of the stalwart members of the Montanas. Other members of the group included Arthur Tye and Ricky Shakespeare. They played the usual mix of Cliff and other popular numbers from the charts. They changed their name to the Connoisseurs.

Cross-Cut Saw

A group which grew out of the Soul Seekers, which itself had grown out of Dane Tempest & Atoms. They first appeared at the end of 1967. Their intention was to get back to their original blues roots which created some problems since the majority of teenagers were more interested in dance music than superb blues musicianship. As a result the venues available to the group, like the Blue Horizon Club, decreased in number. Similar to their experiences with the Soul Seekers, offers of recording contracts were 'in the air' but never came to fruition. This was a further disappointment to the group. In 1969 most of the group (Roger Bromley on lead, Rob Lovack on organ and drummer Chris Lloyd) formed Straitlace with new bass player James Hickman providing the vocals.

Terry Rowley. The genius behind much of the good music which came out of a number of groups, including the Crossfires, Mountain Kings, Montanas and the original Trapeze. (Trevor Westwood)

Tanya Day

One of the first 'schoolgirl singers' to appear on the local scene. She sang with the Mark Dean Combo in 1962 and by 1964 she had been over to Hamburg and performed in Israel.

She was intent on finding a backing group with the Tremors being her preference. Little was heard of her after1964.

Dixie Dean

Roy 'Dixie' Dean was one of the original Rock 'n' Roll performers in the area. His Combo regularly performed at the Scala and the other early dance halls in the town.

He turned to management later, having responsibility for Jason Cord and Johnny Washington and the Congressmen, amongst others.


Sheila Deni

Possibly the most successful of the local girl singers. Her real name was Sheila Boddicott. She began as a solo singer, appearing at many of the local venues of the early 60s (she appeared with Dickie Pride at the Staffordshire Volunteer in 1962). She was regarded as the "local Helen Shapiro' in those early days. She came from Bushbury and was originally managed by Ms. Terry Matthews from Walsall. In 1963 she went over to Spain with the Vikings and in 1965 she went to Germany with the Black Diamonds. While in Germany she was apparently very successful, sharing an album with Neil Landon and appearing in a number of German cities. She and the group stayed over in Germany somewhat longer than anticipated because of their success. In 1966 she decided to go solo and as a result, the Black Diamonds changed their style and became the Californians. She worked on the cabaret circuit, especially in the North of England and was one of the first singers to appear at Roger Allen's club, the Oasis.

Dictionary Of Soul

One of the first local groups to possess a 'heavy' soul sound. It was a large combination which received many rave reviews, including one from Wilson Pickett, after he saw them at the Bag O' Nails in London in 1969. They were managed by Roy Kent and set out to satisfy as many tastes as possible, although their main interest was in re-arranging soul standards. They included Dave Leask, Rod Arnold, Dave Millington, Dave Richards, Phil Nadin, Trevor Sharples and Dave Dauncey. At one time the group had three girl dancers.

Sue Downes

Another of the young girl singers who were very popular in the early 60s. She had a backing group called the Sprites. When she left St. Peter's School in 1965 it meant that she was able to start performing more regularly since she had been prevented from performing in many venues because of her age. The group comprised Alan Healey on bass, Maurice Taylor organ, Dave Kingston lead, Geoff Tonry rhythm and Ken Morris on drums. Very little was heard of her after she left school.

Dual Purpose

They began as a singing duo that included the former drummer with the Montanas, Graham Crewe and Jim Millard. They played in Casablanca and the Isle Of Wight in 1967. They became Savage Rose in 1968 and then became the backing group for Lesley Whitehouse which took the name of Louisa Jane (White) & Symphony.


The most successful black group in the area during the decade. They became the virtual residents at the Stage & Sportsmen's Club in 1964, until they were replaced by the Stringbeats from West Bromwich when they went to play in Germany. They spent much of the next two years on the Continent, especially in Denmark where they became particularly popular. By 1968 the group comprised Del Davies vocals, Cecil Reid lead, Lloyd Shaw bass, Stanford Lindsay rhythm, Jeff Miller drums and Percy Davies (ex-Bossmen) organ. The group released its first record in February 1968. They had to return to this country from Denmark where they almost froze to death in one of the century's worst snow storms. The record was called Never Gonna Break Your Heart Again. It was very poorly plugged and so failed to get the number of sales it deserved, although many people felt that Shoeshine Boy, the B side written by Percy Davies was a better song. In 1969 they released Man On A Cross which had a much funkier sound. They deserved more success than they actually achieved.


When the 'N Betweens had their major changes in personnel, the original lead singer Johnny Howells joined a Birmingham-based blues group called Blue Ensemble. This group was also known as Ensemble. They were held in very high regard by many informed individuals on the local scene and further afield, often achieving as many rave notices as the new line-up of the 'N Betweens. They often played the same London venues, like Tiles, the Flamingo or Ram Jam Club. Their set included a lot of Georgie Fame and Wilson Pickett-style material. Their line-up included Charlie Grimma on drums, John Burnette on trumpet, Frank Rudge (also of Giorgio & Marco's Men) on tenor sax, John Barry on baritone sax, Barry Lunn (ex-Misphits) on organ, Bill Clarke on bass and Vernon Pierra on rhythm guitar. They were later known as Wellington Kitch and the Cedar Set.


A group that emerged in late 1968 and had an immediate impact. The members of the group were Adrian Ingram (ex-Choice/Gilt Edge) on lead, Dave Hale on vocals, Roger Hudson bass and Tom Hanna on drums. Their style was blues-oriented, with hints of groups like Family or Fairport Convention. They spent four months in Morocco in 1969. During their time in Morocco their lead singer was the Express & Star columnist, John Ogden. He had played with Jug but wanted to really experience life as a fully fledged group member. Two members of the group had to undergo quite severe hair-cuts before they could enter Morocco. While in the country they played at a number of quite high-profile events (Miss Europe Finals and King's Birthday celebrations). Adrian Ingram later became a member of the Californians.

Fanny Flickers Rock on' Roll Band

A group which attempted to bring back some authentic sounding Rock 'n' Roll to the local scene. The name caused some problems for them in terms of advertising. One member was John Fox who played with Varsity Rag. In 1969 the name was changed to Frazer Nash.

Morgan Fayne Soul Band

Originally called the Spinning Wheels, they changed their name because too many people thought they were a folk group. The group included Roger Craggs on lead, Trevor Woodall on bass, David Hunt on piano, Graham Hollis on drums and Morgan Fayne (Roy Slater) on vocals. Graham Hollis played with the Montanas and Trevor Woodall played with the Richelles and the Tommy Burton Combo.

Finders Keepers

Possibly the most enduring of all local groups (they are still performing!). They first came together as FK in 1965 with Roy 'Dripper' Kent as vocalist, Alan Clee on lead, Jake Elcock on bass (all former members of the Strangers/ Martells), Ralph Oakley (ex-Montanas) on rhythm and Dave Williams on drums. Within a very short time they had established themselves as one of the most popular of the local groups. They were managed by Roger Allen. They played in Germany, more than once, and recorded on Pye. Their records included Light, Friday Kind Of Monday and Sadie (The Cleaning Lady). They gained some notoriety by being produced by Scott Walker on their Light recording and becoming the first local group to make the lower reaches of the Top 50. In early 1967 Jake Elcock left the group and joined the Montanas, while Phil Overfield joined the group from the Staffords.

Later in the same year Ian Lees joined as a vocalist. He had been with Walker's Walkers and Mel Galley became the new lead guitar. Alan Clee remained with the group.

Roy Kent joined Light Fantastic. In 1968 Glenn Hughes and Dave Holland joined. It was at the end of that year that the group ceased to function with Mel Galley, Glenn Hughes and Dave Holland joining the newly formed Trapeze. Alan Clee also worked with Trapeze. Some time later the group re-emerged and are still to be found performing their brand of comedy and pop on the circuit.

Finders Keepers. A publicity photograph for a later version of the group with Glenn Hughes, Dave Holland and Ian Lees (in shades).

Frazer Nash

From May 1969 it was the new name for Fanny Flickers. The group was managed by Nita Anderson. They concentrated on a somewhat way-out brand of stage presentation, playing popular numbers but with a 'progressive' sound. The group had Steve Griffin on organ, Chris Jones on lead, Roy Davies on bass, Phil Brittle on drums and Reg James as lead vocalist.

Raymond Froggatt

Another local stalwart of the 60s scene who is still performing. He became the un-crowned king of the Ship & Rainbow where he appeared very regularly. He was to gain quite an international reputation. His origins lay in Kidderminster but he was probably more popular in Wolverhampton than anywhere else. He recorded on Polydor and his singles included Red Balloon and Roly. He had little chart success but he was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding live artists of the period. He was responsible for one of the region's biggest concerts of the late 60s when he fronted a 50-piece orchestra at the Belfry. He still appears at the Civic and it is invariably to a sell-out audience.

Gilt Edge

Formed in 1968 with Adrian Ingram and Graham Nock ( ex-Choice), Fred Griffiths (ex-Lady Jayne & Royalty) and Roger Hudson. They quickly gained great popularity in the area (flags were flown from the Prince Albert Statue in Queen Square, advertising their fan club). It was reported that both Carl Wayne and Roy Wood from the Move were very impressed with their sound and act. They planned to change their name to Lafayette, but by the end of the year they had split up. Adrian and Roger later joined Evolution and Adrian also had some time with the Californians.

Giorgio & Marco's Men

Another of the town's most outstanding bands. They were never linked to Astra or Roger Allen or Nita Anderson! The group grew out of St. Mary's and John's Church on Snow Hill and was very much the brain-child of Marco Ucellini. He was the lead guitarist (previously playing with the Vampires) and his brother Giorgio was the vocalist. Other members of the group were Mike O'Dowd, Pete Byrne, Frank Rudge and Rex Warton. A later member of the group was Alan King. Their manager was the parish priest, Mike Crook.

Giorgio & Marco's Men. Seen here in a publicity shot at the railway station. A group with a very distinctive and pleasing sound.
The group was signed by ADSEL, a Birmingham agency, and so they got to play a lot more away from the town than many of the other local groups and played at more varied venues (Silver Blades Ice Rinks). They played in Germany (including the Star Club in Hamburg) and recorded two singles called Run, Run and Maureen (this record led to a competition run by the group's Fan Club to find the Maureen). It was during one lengthy spell in Germany that Marco had a whole series of mishaps that taught him the perils of playing abroad and led to the group being absent from the scene for some months. In 1968 they were back and as good as ever. In 1969 Marco formed a group called Sad.

Martin Hall

On the fringe of the local scene for much of the 60s, an accomplished performer and writer. He was highly regarded far beyond the Midlands but seemed uncertain of his own ability (turning down the opportunity to play at the Marquee in 1968 because of this uncertainty). He recorded with Denny Cordell, Joe Cocker and the Rolling Stones. He was partially responsible for the first record by John Ford after he left the Ides Of March (Two s Company, Three’s A Crowd). He was a significant part of the Willenhall organisation FP Enterprises (producing and writing the first record by the group Monday Morning Glory Band's Play That Thing). He also produced Breakthru's Ice Cream Tree.

Hari Kari

A group from Stoke who became extremely popular around Wolverhampton and the West Midlands. They signed with Roger Allen in 1967. Their vocalist, Hutch, had one of the most outstanding voices of all local frontmen. In 1968 the group comprised Hutch Hutchinson, Rob Lloyd on lead, Barry Sergeant on drums and a new organist, Bill Bonham Jr. Early in 1969 they were auditioned by the man responsible for 'christening' Ambrose Slade, Fontana's Jack Baverstock.

Herbie's People

The name taken by Danny Cannon & Ramrods in 1965. It had been the name of Len Beddow's (lead guitarist with the group) brother Norman's group before they became the Bossmen. Other members of the group included Dan Robinson on vocals, Alan Lacey on drums, Pete Walton, Mike Taylor and Brendan Guest. They recorded for CBS, releasing three singles - You Thrill Me To Pieces, You Never Know, Humming Bird. They appeared on many TV and radio programmes and played in Germany. They were one of the more successful of the local groups, although they spent quite a lot of time away from the immediate area.

Their most successful record would probably have been Semi-Detached Suburban Mr. Jones, but they were caught out by the release of the same song by Manfred Mann with Mr. James as the subject of their version. Herbie's version was released in America. One of their B sides Residential Area appeared on the score of the film Poor Cow. They even had a Fan Club in Poland. The group added an organist named Brian Downey. At the end of 1968 they became Just William.
Herbie's People. The group are seen here striking that very distinctive 60s pose. (Len Beddow)

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