From California And Montana With Lots 'N Between. Continued

Len Rowe

One of the founder members of the Astra Agency, along with Stan and Peter Fielding. He was a former accordion player who had begun by playing in local dance bands. In 1963 he helped establish Astra and he became the foremost booking agent in the area. He probably heard more of the early beat groups from this area than anyone else since he arranged many auditions for them. When the Agency set up the R&B Club at the Ship & Rainbow late in 1964 he was one of the main instigators, as he was in 1968 when the Lafayette was opened and the Agency moved its offices to the club. He is very fondly remembered by all former group players who had links with the Astra Agency.

From the Astra Agency's rubber stamp.

Savage Rose

The name that was taken by Dual Purpose in 1968. They became the support for Louisa Jane White (Lesley Whitehouse) and became known as Symphony.

Savoy Truffle

Definitely the youngest group to establish themselves on the local group scene. They had an average age of 11! They began in 1969 and turned professional in 1970.

Scarlet Religion

The name chosen by the Sedgley group Shamed in 1967. They apparently got permission from the Pope and the Archbishop of Birmingham to make the change. The group comprised Bob and Ray Spitari, Nick Cox and Ray Haines. The group was managed by Nita Anderson. One minor claim to fame was that the group needed a police escort to get out of Worksop! During 1967 they appeared at the same venues as Chris Farlowe on six separate occasions. In 1968 the group became the backing group for Jimmy Powell (the Dimensions) and played on his recording of Sugar Babe, a hit in Germany.


A group which came into being in 1968 with Dave Winn who had been with Stop, Look, Listen, Kevin Bray who had been with Lady Jayne & Royaltee, Steve Woodall and John Jordan. In 1969 the group played alongside Bonzo Dog at the Lyceum in London.

Sight and Sound

A very popular group in the local area throughout much of the 60s. They originated from Birmingham in 1963 as the Sombreros but changed the name in 1964. They recorded on Fontana (Alley Alley/Little Jack Monday) and included some outstanding players in their ranks at various times including Geoff Turton and Mike Sheridan. In 1969 the group had Joe Valentine, Dave Pritchard, Pete Smith and Bob Doyle (later members included Nev Chamberlain (ex-Peasants) and John Davies). They started playing on the P&O cruise liners and were managed by Mike Carroll.

Johnny Dark & the Silhouettes. Here seen in 'team' pose with Johnny Dark (Gosnell) in the distinctive outfit of the lead singer. He was another of the Elvis move-alikes. (Mick Deeming)

Silhouettes (Johnny Dark)

One of the area's original beat groups with a lead singer, Johnny Gosnell, who was known as Johnny Dark.

The Silhouettes were Trevor Townsend, Ken Lunt, Maurice Gallier and Mick Deeming.

When Johnny Gosnell left the group they continued as the Silhouettes with Alan Baker as vocalist.

The group played on the same bill at the Plaza as the Beatles. Ken Lunt later joined the Tremors and Maurice Gallier and Mick Deeming played with the Rinky Dinks.

Sonnets (Vince Knight)

Originated from Wednesbury and played very regularly at the Pipe Hall Hotel in Bilston in 1963. They specialised in the 'typical' beat repertoire of Mersey numbers (Some Other Guy/Talkin' About You etc.), although later their sound became very reminiscent of the Hollies. They were one of the many groups who recorded demo discs at Domino Studios in Albrighton with Andy Maclachlan. The group's bus was 'bumblebee' painted which made them quite distinctive in the local area. It was badly damaged by vandals in 1965. Their original manager was Maurice Jones. They successfully auditioned for Germany alongside other leading local groups (Steve Brett/Black Diamonds/ Montanas) at the end of 1964. They continued to perform until 1966.

Soul Seekers

Another excellent local group who did not achieve the success that their talents so richly deserved. The group grew out of Dane Tempest & Atoms, one of the area's original line-ups. They became the Soul Seekers in 1964, having discounted the Crawdaddies as their new name. The original Soul Seekers line-up was Graham Gomery on vocals, Roger Bromley on lead guitar, Keith Tabner on bass, Roger Stafford on drums and Terry Underhill on piano and trumpet. The group featured regularly at the Ship & Rainbow on Sunday evenings, alternating with the 'N Betweens. Their style of music was very much geared to the R&B and Blues scene and they had the opportunity to play alongside some of the country's top R&B acts like Alexis Komer, Pretty Things and Graham Bond. When Terry Underhill joined Tommy Burton, his place was taken by Rob Lovack from the Reverbs.

Rick Waldron left the Matchmakers and took Keith Tabner's place on bass and Clive Davies became the new drummer.

A whole series of accidents and unfortunate circumstances prevented the group from recording, a great loss to the local record buying public and must have had a debilitating effect on the group. At the end of 1967 they decided to change their name to Cross-Cut Saw and return to their Blues origins.

Soul Seekers. This was the group which became the Soul Seekers, even if they seem to have retained the Atoms drum kit for a little while longer than the Atoms name. (Graham Gomery)

Sounds Of Three

A trio of top class musicians who were managed by Roger Allen. The members were Mac Bailey and Phil Harris who came out of the Tommy Burton Combo and Clive Simmonds who played with the Richelles. They sought a bigger vocal sound to compensate for the lack of instrumentation. They could have been likened to the Big Three from Liverpool in terms of their make-up, I fnot their actual sound. In 1966 they were lined up to support a singer named Tony Barry but the arrangement did not work out and they changed their name to the Answer.


A Sedgley group who were managed by George Maddocks. Their original line-up was Hugh Stirling on vocals, Phil Overfield on lead, Malcolm Dean on bass and Ron James on drums. They had a very harmonious sound and were very highly regarded by local punters. In 1967 Phil Overfield left the group and joined Finders Keepers. The group continued to play into 1969 when they even appeared at the home of Robert Stigwood and played in front of a celebrity audience. Later members of the group were Dave Marsh, Trevor Evans and Nev Chamberlain.

Staffords. Seen here in an atmospheric pose for publicity purposes. It was to be this photograph that would launch the new Lincoln Black group. (Hugh Stirling)
The group actually recorded as Lincoln Black on Penny Farthing in 1970 with a number called Famous Last Words which was written by Ben Findon and Pete Shelley. It may very well have been a hit. However, dissension between the recording company and the Astra Agency resulted in the group actually ceasing to exist and leaving the business.

Ron Jones and John Stane were members of the group who made the record, along with the original members Hugh Stirling and Malcolm Dean. It was a very sad ending for one of the area's most reliable and liked groups.


The group grew out of the Marauders with Roy Kent, Alan Clee, Jake Elcock, Mick Aston and Tony Dalloway.

The group were one of the local groups chosen to play on the Brumbeat album, their numbers being What A Way, It s Not Too Late, Bye Bye Johnny, Return To Mary. The group had two outstanding vocalists at one time with Roy Kent and Johnny O'Hara both performing with them.

It was reported in 1964 that they were very popular in Malaysia and had been asked for signed photographs by their Malaysian fans! For a short time in 1965 the group became the Martells before becoming the basis for Finders Keepers.

Strangers. The Beatle-style jackets determine the vintage of this photograph. Lead singer Roy Kent is seen in the centre of the group portrait.


The group grew out of Cross-Cut Saw including the former members of CCS, Chris Lloyd, Roger Bromley and Rob Lovack. Another member of the group was the bass player James Hickman who wrote a lot of their original material.


A black group who had origins in West Bromwich. They replaced the Ebonies as residents at the Stage & Sportsmen's Club in Temple Street.


Another of the area's earliest groups. They came together in 1961 and featured George Maddocks on drums, Don Maddocks on lead, Curly Davies rhythm and vocals and Bren Richardson on bass. Later Tony Perry joined as the sax player. The group had their origins at Boulton & Paul's. They were probably the first group to be managed by Roger Allen. They supported Paul Raven (Gary Glitter) in the summer of 1962 during a short tour of the West Country. They became a support group to Big O sound-alike Roy Grant who came down to the area from Stoke. This combination was one of the most popular local acts during 1963, specialising not surprisingly in Roy Orbison numbers.

Strollers. On the wagon! (Tony Perry)

The group played in Liverpool at the height of the beat boom and performed very well in that most musically critical of cities. A later member of the group was Martin de Vries.

When Roy Grant left the group it was decided that it was probably best if the group split up.

Don Maddocks joined Tommy Burton, while George Maddocks and Tony Perry concentrated on promotion, forming PMA with Roger Allen and later joining Astra.


The name of the group who later became Jam Sandwich and then Aaron's Rod. They were another of the local groups who performed in Germany.

The System. Second from the left is John Waterfall.

Tangerine Flake

A name which could only have come out of the 1967/68 scene. The group was as well-known for its 'individual' mode of transport, an ambulance, as for its musical prowess. They went to Germany (not by ambulance) and were quite highly regarded in the area.

Dane Tempest & Atoms

One more of the 'originals'. The group won the Gaumont Big Beat Contest on December 15th 1962, previous winners were Danny Cannon & Ramrods and Steve Brett & Mavericks. They began life at Goldthorn YC and concentrated on American Rock 'n' Roll or R&B numbers, especially Chuck Berry. The original line-up was Graham Gomery (Dane Tempest), Roger Bromley (Johnny St. Anthony) on lead guitar, Colin Cribb on drums (later replaced by Roger Stafford who was known as D.G Ricardo), Keith Tabner and Mick Kingston. The group later introduced a girl singer named Barbara Gale (Kendrick). One of the group's earliest residencies was at the Monday Night Club at the Castlecroft Hotel. By the summer of 1964 the group decided that changes had to occur, starting with the group's name. They became the Soul Seekers and decided to concentrate on R&B and Blues.


The group began life at Brewood Grammar School with a number of young pupils deciding to get together and form a group. The original members were Pete Watkins, Mo Foster, Richard Hallchurch, Roger Swaab, Patrick Davies, Peter Gallen and Dave Left.

The group remained together in some form for the majority of the 60s, although at no time did they actually turn professional.

The group underwent a whole host of personnel changes. Some of the new recruits included Rob Haynes, Greg Hancox, Neil Jackson, Ronnie Ellam, Pete Brassington, Chris Sparkes, Pete Mackie and Dave Jordan (who had played with the Crossfires, amongst other groups in the early days).

The Tradewinds disbanded in 1967 and former members became mainstays of groups like Greenwich Village, Walker's Walkers and Fable.

Tradewinds. One of the longest lasting of the early local groups. They may not have achieved great success but obviously enjoyed playing together and spawned some outstanding players, like Mo Foster (second left). (Pete Watkins)


Formed in 1969 as a local 'super-group' with Johnny Jones and Terry Rowley from the Montanas and Glen Hughes, Mel Galley and Dave Holland from Finders Keepers. The group made its debut at the Lafayette at the beginning of April and immediately showed that they were truly outstanding and one of the most important groups to come out of the area in the 60s. Their music from the word go was more advanced and experimental than the usual group's repertoire and had its origins in a wide range of genres.

Trapeze. Perhaps a sign of things to come with the two members who would leave the group (Terry Rowley, Johnny Jones) being seen in the foreground. It was to be Dave Holland, Glenn Hughes and Mel Galley who were to continue together. (Mel Brookes)
Within a very short time the group was receiving a number of recording offers. In July the group appeared on Colour Me Pop from the Lafayette and it must still rank as one of the most outstanding pop music broadcasts of the period. During the transmission the group played Send Me No More Letters which became their first single on the Threshold label which was owned by the Moody Blues.

They were the first group to sign to the new label. In November the single was launched at Ronnie Scott's Club in London. It failed to register as a hit but it showed, as did the first album, that Trapeze was an exceptionally talented group.

They toured with the Moodies but it was not long before both former Montanas left the new group (to return to their former combination) and Trapeze continued as a three-piece.


Grew out of an Albrighton skiffle group called the Red Rebels with Clive Mountford, Mick Blythe, Mick Mercer, Lawrence Smith and Martin Lowden.

By the late 1950s the Tremors was in existence playing Rock 'n' Roll around the villages of the area. They won the BMG Group Contest at St. Pancras Town Hall in London.

Later members of the group included Bobby Corral, Alan Baker and Johnny O'Hara as vocalists, Ken Lunt from the Silhouettes and Les Parker from the Black Diamonds, Andy MacLachlan who ran Domino Studios, Martin de Vries from the Strollers, Roy Jeavons who had won Opportunity Knocks as an organist and Mac Bailey. Mick Blythe joined the Redcaps after leaving the Tremors.

The group was reasonably successful as the Tremors but even more successful when they became Zyder Zee in 1965.

Tremors. Up On The Roof was not one of the groups' numbers but here they are seen on the roof of Andy MacLachlan's shop and recording studio in Albrighton. (Les Parker)


Another of the early local groups. It included Marco Ucellini (later of Giorgio & Marco's Men), Roger Stafford (later of the Soul Seekers), Trevor Pedley, Roy Silver and Dave Towers. There was a later group who called themselves the Vampires who originated from Lanesfield and included Tricia Hughes on vocals.

Varsity Rag. Once again the group can be seen stressing their college links with the text books. (Brian Nicholls)

Varsity Rag

Another of Roger Allen's groups, They came on to the scene in July 1967 with former group musicians from Birmingham. The group had Brian Nicholls on lead (ex-Shanes, Little People and Capitals), John Fox (ex-Starliners, Few and D'Fenders), Mick Lawson on vocals (ex-Shanes, D'Fenders) and Ken Horden on drums. The group played the University circuit (not surprisingly) and were quite successful. John Fox left in 1968 and joined Fanny Flickers.


The original name for the group which would become the 'N Betweens, Ambrose Slade and Slade. The original members were Johnny Howells on vocals and lead, Mick Marson rhythm and Don Powell on drums. They came from Bilston, having attended Etheridge Secondary School together. A later member of the group for a short time was Johnny Shane (of the Cadillacs) but it was when Dave Hill joined from the Young Ones that the group started to sound good. They cut a demo at the Domino Studios which included the four numbers Don't Leave Me Now, Twilight, Time Take Your Time and Peace Pipe. By the end of 1964 they had become the 'N Betweens with the addition of Dave 'Cass' Jones on bass.

Johnny Washington (& Congressmen)

While he originated from London it was in the West Midlands that he settled and became very successful with his backing group, the Congressmen. The group was managed by Dixie Dean. For a short time in 1964 he sang with Doug Pirie and had a residency at the Stage Door Club in Dudley which was run by Vie Kendrick. The Atlantics spent some time supporting the duo. By the end of the year he had re-formed the Congressmen (from the Misphits) and was known as George E. Washington. He released a record on Fontana titled Spare A Thought.

Louisa Jane White

Her real name was Lesley Whitehouse and she originated from Tipton. She teamed up with the former Savage Rose as her backing group and they became known as Symphony. Her two singles for Philips were as a solo artist and were called When The Battle Is Over and How Does It Feel? She split from the Symphony in April 1969. She was managed by Tommy Sanderson (the man who had supposedly discovered Lulu).


Became the Wolves after having been the Big Beats. The original group included Frank Littleford on vocals, Darryl Smith on bass, John Eades on lead, John Taylor on drums and Wim Feder on rhythm. Their manager, Geoff Jacobs, managed to get the group a contract with Pye. In May 1964 they changed their name to the Wolves, having got permission from Wolverhampton Wanderers. They released three records on Pye, the A sides being Journey Into Dreams, Now and At The Club and one record for Parlophone entitled Lust For Life. They were the first local group to appear on Thank Your Lucky Stars. The manager flew to America in an attempt to get the group some coverage. Clive Nicholls joined the group as drummer in 1965. They joined the Kennedy Street Agency and began to do more cabaret work in the North of England. Little was heard from the Wolves after they joined Parlophone at the end of 1965, except for the release of their only record on the label in 1966.


The town's only 'Dutch' group. They grew out of the Tremors in 1965. It was supposedly a product of the one member of the group who was actually Dutch, Martin de Vries, discussing the formation of a new group with Stan Fielding from Astra. It was apparently felt that a group that dressed in Dutch costume with clogs, patched trousers and buttoned jackets would go down well with the punters. They proved very successful in certain parts of the country. Eddie Trevett, a successful local businessman who was determined to make them equally successful, managed them. He organised a recording contract with CBS and the group released two records in 1966. The titles were (You're My) Soul And Inspiration and Peace Of Mind. Other members of the group included Ken Lunt on lead guitar and Clive Mountford on drums. Their act included a fair amount of comedy. One vocalist who joined the group was the former Matchmakers lead singer, Ray Hopkins. Another of the group's vocalists was Bobby Corrall who later joined the D'Fenders. The first record by the group was also recorded by the Righteous Brothers.

And Also

While the above is a fairly exhaustive list of the more successful of local groups and performers, it is not a complete list of those young men and women who provided such a wealth of entertainment to a whole generation of Wulfrunians. There were others and the following alphabetical list is a slight attempt to give passing reference to some of them (including some whose origins lay in Birmingham or even further afield but still played regularly around the town and even some who gained national acclaim):

Mark Allen Group

  Morning Dew
Animated Lime   Mother Earth
Arcade   Motions
Astonaires   Move
Bachdenkall Purists   Music Shop
Barons   'NDex


Birds 'n' Bees   Nom de Plume
Bobcats   Obs Tweedle
Bostons   Ochre Daydream
Breakthru'   O'Hara's Playboys
Canterbury Glass Shoppe   Opaque
Carl & Cheetahs   Outer Limits
Carlite Browning   Paper Cups
Carlson's Society   Paradox
Johnny Carr & Cadillacs   Parchment People


  Passion Forest
Chequers   Peasant Sect
Colours Of Love   Penthouse Suite
Colour Supplement   Peppermint Circus
Copper Kettle   Perfumed Garden
Craig   Poverty Incorporated
Crestas   Purple Innocence
Dante's Inferno   Quo Vadis
Dawn breakers   Rainy Days
Mark Dean Combo   Rave Ons

Dees 'n' Bees

Diary   Reform
Erik & Escorts   Reverbs
Vince Everett & Black Orchids   Alan Roc Five
Explosive Magazine   Derry Ryan Formation
Extreme   Derry Ryan & Ravens


  Phil Ryan & Scorpions
Few   Sacawally
Flower Garden   Samantha's Moods
Fluff   Scarabs
Freckles   Second City Sounds
Freeways   Johnny Shane & Subjects
Funkle Trumpet   Mike Sheridan & Nightriders


Dale Gibson & Detours   Silverons
Good Egg   Sinners
Delroy Good Good Band   Sirius & Planets
Roy Grant & Kingpins   Sombreros
Great Aunt   Sons & Lovers
Greenwich Village   Soul Vibrations


  Soul Syndicate
Guild   South Sea Bubble
Brian Gulliver & Travellers   Spartans
Harum Scarum   Sprites
Hobson's Choice   Stop Look Listen
Ice Cream Tree   Sundowners
Idle Race   Sun Trolley
Indigo Set   Sweet Sounds
Infinity   Telstars
In-Pack   Tennesseans
Inspiration   Times Square
Interns   Toast
Invaders   Tonebeats
Jigsaw   Tornadoes

Jigsaw Puzzle


Touch Wood

Jokers   Toy Shop
Kensington Mews   Tranquility
Danny King & Mayfair Set   Trendsetters
Knaves   Triffids
Konkraves   Ugly's
Denny Laine & Diplomats   UK Bonds
Late Arrival   Upper Class
Les Jondors   Vibras
Les Renards   Vigilantes
Likely Lads   Vikings
Liquorice Wood   Vogues
Louisiana Red   Volcanoes
Loving Kind   Walker's Walkers
Luggage   Carl Wayne & Vikings
Magic Box   Wellington Kitch
Magic Roundabout   Ike Wilma Jump Band
Mail   Witnesses


  Scotti Wood Combo
Marble Arch   Mike Young & Beat Squad
Misphits   Zephyrs
Modernaires   Zero Five
Moods Of Midas    

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