LANKY BEAT - LANKYKATS - HOSPITAL RADIO WRIGHTINGTON
In 2010, whilst building the historic Lancastrian archive rock 'n roll website called Lanky Beat, I could never have imagined what was going to happen next. As it turned out it was to be a set of delightful consequences. From uploading my own 60's band pics, I was soon to be deluged with other like minded musicians sending me their coveted contributions to the amazing 50s, 60s and 70's rock music era, and the parts that they themselves played in it.
In constructing the website, I wanted to fill the huge gap in the history of rock music in the north west of England and in particular - Lancashire. Manchester and Liverpool were of course well documented and underpinned by the unique phenomenon and legacy left behind by world famous bands like The Beatles and The Hollies. However, I wanted to put forward the notion that 'we too' played our small but collective part in these proceedings. In short, I set out to put Lancashire on the world's rock 'n roll map, hence my Lanky Beat archive with well over 300 bands now uploaded, with Lanky Beat being the parody title of the existing household and world renowned name - Mersey Beat.
It didn't take long thereafter, before another idea kicked in. Such was the massive interest in the nostalgia of Lanky Beat’s popularity, suppressed and dormant musical feelings were being stirred. Old guitars where being carefully dusted down and drum kits began to be finely re-tuned. These guys needed to play their live music again. Lankykats was formed in September 2011 as a rock 'n roll charity collective. Located in the heart of Lancashire with good transport links and based in a venue of agreeable ambience; the Standish Unity Club was ideal. The first meeting was held with an attendance of 22 volunteers, most of whom were musicians. We were off...
Twists and turns were aplenty. We put together two shows a month enabling musicians to play a 30 minute set, and then relax and watch the others do their bit. Soon the word was out and we were being contacted by existing, reformed and never-went-away bands - all eager to play, leave their own heavy gear at home and bring along just guitars and drumsticks. We charged (and still do) £1 for all, on-the-door admissions - which included the musicians.
We began building a sound system with quality back-line amplifiers and a professional drum kit but progress was slow, however our popularity was growing fast. Chance and fate are a funny things. Lanky Beat and Lankykats websites together with Facebook were making new friends all the time; enter Diane Herring, Chair of Hospital Radio Wrightington. Making contact and attending her first Lankykats show night, she knew - as a vastly experienced sound engineer of some 30 years and BBC Radio Lancashire producer - that Lankykats had problems with their sound system. If Lankykats were going to attract musicians to give of their services free for charitable causes, they would have to play through a top quality state-of-the-art sound system - controlled by a quality sound engineer. She was in... However, just as we thought we had got the the bees knees in Diane, another surprise was heading our way. Enter Dave Cavey. Top musician, bass player, lead vocalist and wait for it... master sound engineer. How lucky are Lankykats to have all this volunteer talent?, working hand-in-hand with Diane, they are a formidable duo.
Diane began her work with Lankykats which continues successfully to this very day. The proof of which is easily evidenced by recently celebrating over 100 shows over the last four years, with over £10,000 being raised for local charities. Not content with these wonderful achievements, Lankykats and Diane's Hospital Radio Wrightington's professional relationship was also flourishing and joint projects were developing. The Lanky Beat Show was born, hosted by myself with Diane producing a suitable product for broadcasts on Youtube, and our related websites. In addition, live outside broadcasts are planned for Lankykats shows and a pilot show has already been undertaken, done and dusted. Hospital Radio Wrightington are also charity recipients of Lankykats; as one of their named charities. To date they have received funds of over £2000 and stand to acquire even more in the near future.
Of course, it requires passion, dedication and shear hard graft to put together a successful volunteer organisation and keep them going. Both WHR and Lankykats with their amazing volunteer members continue to grow stronger by working closely together. Both have emerged simultaneously from very recent, resembling and similar circumstances where Lankykats didn't exist at all and WHR almost went out of existence. Look at both organisations now. Collaboration, cooperation and collusion. Each thriving in its own right and becoming stronger by working together. Without me seemingly getting carried away... It's just like a musical marriage made in rock 'n roll heaven!
Bill Hart: July 2015.
Lanky Beat - Lankykats - Lanky Beat 'Live'
What's the difference?
In 2010 I created Lanky Beat the website. 'Lanky' is a nickname for Lancashre and the 'Beat' remembers the rock 'n roll musical era between 1955 -1975. For many musicians in Lancashire, we never got any recognition of our endeavours compared to the spotlights shining brightly on Liverpool and Manchester. I thought, 'this needs to be put... to rights' for the sake of the heritage of the musical history of Lancashire.
LANKY BEAT IS A LANCASHIRE BAND'S HISTORICAL ARCHIVE www.lankybeat.com
My first task was to put old pictures of my 60's band the Shyms from Wigan. In no time at all the website was spotted by other Lancastrian 'band' men, as they too wanted their old bands to be included. In the next two years I had listed over 300 bands, now getting onto 350. I had no idea how popular Lanky Beat would be... The website had brought together much interest and nostalgia from which I have produced three Lank Beat books which can be purchased on-line at Blurb www.blurb.co.uk
LANKYKATS IS A LIVE BANDS CHARITY VENUE www.lankykats.com
The spin-off from all this Lanky Beat activity then spawned Lankykats into being in 2011; Live Music. Many of the contributors the Lanky Beat were waking up to dusting off their guitars and drum kits and just simply wanted to get up and about playing again. Some went on to reform their old bands whilst others didn't want the formality of regular gigs for payment... but just wanted the occasional 'knock' so to speak. I too was of this same mind-set having finished with my reformed band some two years earlier. I found the perfect venue for it: The Standish Unity Club. Located in the heart of Lancashire, small, intimate and welcoming, there was never any other place ever considered.
I called an open meeting and 23 people showed up; we had lift-off. Now with 160 shows under our belt, over the last 6 years, including an annual pilgrimage of Lankykat bands to Liverpool's World Famous Cavern Club. Currently raising funds for 8 local charities including Hospital Radio Wrightington, all our bands play for free and our volunteers give up their time and energy to ensure that we all have a load fun every time we meet, which is the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month.
LANKY BEAT 'LIVE' IS A RADIO PROGRAMME
Another spin-off also run my very own Lanky Beat 'Live' radio programme on Hospital Radio Wrightington. I'll be playing past and present music from mainly Lancastrian musicians and bands and featuring live interviews with band members and other personalities too.https://www.facebook.com/BillBillyshym/So, I do hope I have helped you find your way through the Lanky 'maze' of Kats, 'Live' and Beats.
Bye for now and many beat wishes.
Bill Hart: July 2017