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Hamilton Brown & The Great Expectations.
*New pics added February 2011
Roy-Thunder Foot-Davies: Drums. Colin Ashton: Lead vocal.
Garry 'Gazz' Hughes: Bass. Michael 'Mitch' Mitchinson: Lead Guitar.
'Pokie, ah! Fond memories for me..!'
Pokie was born out of the remnants of Hamilton Brown & The Great Expectations: An 8 piece band with a tremendous brass section. It was a part-time band just doing mid week gigs and at the weekend. Each member would go their separate ways as acts, club backings, session men and in my case, a duo, the Two Of Us with the brilliant front-man Colin Ashton.
I was getting cheesed-off with club backings as I was hankering playing for a band again. Thatís not to say that all of the club backings were bad, in fact I worked with some incredible musicians who help me a lot and got me into reading music which later led to some session work.
Sadly, a lot of them were really bad and after working with Gaz and Roy - The Great Expectations rhythm section - I was again hooked. Colin also fancied a band again so the idea of 'Pokie' was instigated. Eric Lawrenson was asked to join on rhythm guitar and vocals and 'Pokie' was finally off the starting blocks.
A lot of time was spent rehearsing, and new equipment was duly acquired - including a new lighting system - which I think we were one of the first groups to use - although 'Winston' may just have pipped us. In lot's of ways Pokie was similar to my old group 'Ipso Facto' in as much as we didnít play much chart material. Instead, we did medleys, album tracks, and quite unusual songs. Because of it -we did get a strong following.
'To sum up: Pokie was a serious group that never took itself seriously'.
We would spend hourís perfecting harmonies, only to have them ruined on stage by cracking-up laughing at something funny Colin did or said.
A great fun group of superb musicians, and I made life-long friends with them. I loved being in Pokie."
Michael Mitch Mitchinson: May 2010
"Mitch, Garry and Roy had earlier joined an eight-piece soul band called Hamilton Brown & The Great Expectations who didnít do a lot of work but it introduced the lads to each other as collective musicians.
Each were doing session playing with various artists and singers of the day. Mitch and Colin were still very active as the Two Of Us and were looking for a little something more. We all got together with a new recruit called Eric Lawrenson and formed Pokie.
A very light hearted band focusing on light pop music with a touch of comedy from Mr Ashton and playing all the local clubs in and around Wigan during the mid-seventies. Pokie opened the set with a music medley ending in ďDonít take away my musicĒ by Tavares. Pokie was a very punchy, clean-sounding group with good, clean comedy, quickly becoming popular around the county.
I remember one night as we returned from a gig in Rochdale, we called at the M62 Birch Services for a bite to eat. All but Roy went for the big breakfast at £2.95. Roy being shut-not-tight went for a sausage butty and found at the checkout that it didnít count for a set meal and was charged more. This didnít go down to well and he monkeyed like high-heaven, especially when Colin took a bite out of one of his sausages."
Roy-Thunder Foot-Davies: May 2010
EDWARD JOHN CONCERN
Tarus Bulba: Third Avenue: Pokie: Humbug
Edward John Concern at Wigan Casino: Circa 1969
Geoff Shepherd: Guitar. Alan Bamford: Sax. Dave Lawson: Drums.
George Monks: Vocal. Ian Hughes: Bass. Kevin Gough: Guitar.
Later: Tony Benfold: Bass:
Left: Drummer Dave Lawson.. and friends
"EJC got together in my parents club - The Matador in Pemberton, Wigan which at that time was closed because of a fire. There was Geoff with his 15 watt amp, George with a Shure mic' and myself with an alto sax borrowed from my brother. I later changed to a tenor. I think Dave Lawson must have been there but I'm not sure.
These lads must have started about 1966 with Ian Hughes on bass, probably all still at school and working the clubs and youth clubs of Wigan district playing mostly Tamla Motown and soul music. St John's Church Club and Comet Youth Club and the school halls were all all regular venues. Ian, the bass player resigned and went on to become an entertainment agent. Tony Benfold joined later as Bass player.
Memories were of St John's and Comet Youth Clubs and inspiration of 'I'll Always Love You" and 'This Old Heart of Mine' as Edward John Concern knew how to do these and many others well. Tony was replaced by Dave Keegan and it was then they formed Tarus Bulba about 1968. George Monks of Edward John Concern also finished with the band.
Alan Bamford the saxophone player went to London to study art and is now a well established painter living between London and the Dordogne in France. .
Tarus Bulba went on to play the heavier side and worked the student related venues but this didnít last long.
Garry Hughes was approached by the group in 1969 to join them as bass player as Dave Keegan had decided to leave, Edward John Concern was revived with George back on lead vocal. The new group became:
George Monks Vocals
Dave Lawson Drums
Geoff Shepherd Guitar
Kevin Gough Guitar
Garry Hughes Bass
EJC played some great venues of the day. Monoco Ballroom, The Beachcomer, Wigan Casinoand all the local clubs and pubs and carried on doing the very popular soul and Tamla music that the public wanted.
The group folded up in about 1973 just as things were changing around Wigan, The Casino was now starting the all-nighters with disco being the main theme. Most of the members Of EJC joined other acts. Humbug, Grass Roots, Hamilton Brown & The Great Expectations, Pokie and Third Avenue.
Many of the members of the groups later joined up again to form Ramsammy and along with many other groups and artists they performed at open air venues around Wigan raising monies for the charity 'Rock for Kids' in the mid-eighties. George Monks was in a duo called The Prize Guys and latterly pursued a successful solo career until retiring just a few years ago."
Garry Hughes: June 2010
"I joined Edward John Concern just before we changed to Tarus Bulba. Jeff Shepherd, Kev Gough, Dave Lawson and me. Then George Monks returned until I left and Gary Hughes joined. You can't beat live music!"
Crocket: 2008 Wigan World:
Edward John Concern changed their name to Humbug. George Monks went to 'Prize Guys Duo'. Memphis Slim - A Joe Cocker look-alike - went to 'Reason Why' and then to Freddies 'Beano'. Always remember Freddie Philips doing Princess Anne impersonation at The Riverside - Wigan Rugby League Club.
Gordon Knowles: Drums. Joe Moss: Bass Guitar-Vocal. Frank Whittle: Lead Vocal.
Glen Grady: R-I-P Lead Guitar. Brian Reddy: drummed for a while.
"Jerimiah was a bull-frog' by American band Three Dog Nights.
Crikey, could Frank hit the volume on that song!"
*The earliest form of Voice.
Joe Moss: Joe Heyes: Ray Laughton: Gordon Knowles.
"I was an original and founding member of 'Voice'. Myself and a guy called Joe Heyes had been trying to geta band going in various forms for a couple of years from 1967 and eventually in 1969 we were able to put together a line-up that featured Gordon Knowles on drums, myself on bass guitar, Ray Laughton on lead guitar and Joe Heyes on guitar.
At some point soon after, Joe Heyes went his own way and Frank Whittle a.k.a David Franks came in as vocalist. This line-up remained stable for a couple of years till Ray Laughton got married and decided to leave. His place was taken by Glenn Grady for about six months following which Cliff Reeves was recruited. Frank Whittle himself left sometime in 1971-72 and his place was taken by Dennis Partington who was with us for a short time.
*The same Voice line-up except that Frank Whittle - Vocals, has now replaced Joe Heyes.
By this time this version of the band was running out of steam and gradually came to a halt during 1972. Myself, Cliff and Brian Reddy, who had taken over the drummers seat in the latter stages of the Voice era remained in contact and in early 1973 we hooked up with a singer by the name of Allen Jones and we reformed the band under the name of 'Funnybone' - see below.
*The late Glen Hughes on guitar in place of Ray and Brian Reddy - hidden -
has replaced Gordon Knowles. 1973.
Despite the odd choice of name, we were never a funny band and for the next two or so years until mid 1975 we performed around Lancashire, North Wales, Cumberland and sometimes the north-east of England with first the line-up named above, and then shortly after Cliff Reeves got married he left and was replaced by Malc Mather and then in early 1975 by Derek Higham.
By the middle of 1975 internal difficulties began to take their toll and the various members went their own ways.
After a short break from bands I began to work with 'Rainbow Cottage' at a time when P.A systems were beginning to become bigger and more complex and mixing boards were coming into use by bands such as Rainbow Cottage. I became Sound Engineer and 'roady' and later when we acquired a light show I was also Lighting Engineer. I remained with 'Cottage until their demise in 1987.
After this I was approached by 'Winston' to do the same job for them, which I did until early 1989 when they decided to call it a day.
From then until March 1990 I worked on a freelance basis in the corporate field until I was asked by a band called 'Magic' to become their sound engineer. I worked with them until 2002 during which time they developed a show dedicated to the music of glam rockers 'Queen' and took this into the major concert hall's and theatre's in the British Isles and abroad. This gave me the chance to work in venues like the London Palladium and also took us to the continent, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Russia."
Joe Moss: November 2010
Later: Voice morphed into Funnybone and their next line-up was:-
Cliff Reeves: Lead Guitar. Joe Moss: Bass. Brian Reddy: Drums: Alan Jones: Lead Vocal.
Brian Reddy bottom left, Joe Moss Above, Dennis Partington in the middle
and Cliff Reeves to the right.
"We often rehearsed at The Colours Club in Aspull near Wigan run by William Leyland of the L.E. Agency. Originally 'Colours' was called The Pink Elephant Club. Sometimes we would help ourselves to a beer or two from the shed at the back. One day William L turned up unexpectedly with a beer bill for £50."
Malc Mather: Lead Guitar. Alan Jones: Vocal. Brian Reddy: Drums. Joe Moss: Bass.
Later on we got a band together called Full Circle but that didn't work out for us.
Cliff Reeves: May 2010
*Pics by Joe Moss: January 2011
JULIAN & THE TROLLS
Wince: Lead Vocal. Barry Hammond: Bass Guitar. Rod: Drums.
Featuring: A Night at The Room At The Top
"Wince was the first in Wigan with 'caveman' style hair. Well down and onto his broad shoulders it came. His stocky frame might well have had the coat hanger still tucked in place inside his jacket. He cut a threatening figure as he lept two or three-at-a-time up the formidable staircase which took you onwards and upwards and into the Room at the Top.
The RATT was in fact two rooms and previously well-known a the Tom Moss School of Dancing.. that's if I recall correctly. Now it was blacked-out laberinth of narrow landings of many stairs and steps up to who-knows-heaven-above. The 'two' rooms were located one above the other and switching between the two - via an even narrower set of stairs - was earliest form of people promanading I had ever seen. Squeezing slowly past heavily scented female bodies became quite a pleasure all of its very own I can tell you!
Both rooms had band stages and the were lit only by ultra-violet tubes which were totally brand-new to me and very science-fiction, cutting-edge and incredibly facinating. The 'lights' were placed seemingly everywhere throughout each room and the action from it, on the eyes, was totally weird, but not uncomfortable and indeed it was great fun. The effects these days are now very well known to the experience clubber, but back then, they would show up any clothing which was white as a dazzling purple radiant glow. Much to the distress though, of innocent new-comers who happened to be wearing white underwear beneath thin cotton tops, but to the huge delight of the young men stood oggling there.
Seated behind a shaky fold-up table at pavement level to the right of the stairs was man-monster who's name I think was *Les Farrimond? He was the owner and former wrestler who you would hope never to cross. He would snarlingly take your entrance money and sharply dab a blob of red ink(?) on the back of your hand to indicate that you'd paid-up or it would act as a 'pass-out' for later.
Wince was Julian. The group was The Trolls. They blasted their way through dozens of indeciferrable rhythm and blues songs, not one of which I had ever heard before and I thought this was really cool. The sweat, the smell, the light and the volume steadly combined to create powerful cocktails of small individual sensory explosions which, when collectively shared by two-hundred or so other rock 'n roll thrill-seekers - was just amazing. The band on the upper floor was also in full flag. Somewhere, half-way between these uppermost floors of Central Chambers facing Wigan Market Square and Bus station was a heaven and hell situation. On these stairs the combined volume of both bands playing full tilt was almost unbearable - but we just loved it- fab!"
Bill Hart: July 2010
"Rod, The Trolls drummer played with ĎFrame of Mind' from late 1966 to about September 1967. He left to move to London, where we heard he had a horrific accident. He was known to indulge 'things'. He fell in front of a tube train and lost both his legs, donít know any more? Pity.. Oggie might have been able to help.
Ken Eden: July 2010
*"The chap who ran Room At The Top was Ken Baldwin not Les Farrimond. He was a former wrestler who fought under the name of Tony Zale and lived in Southport. After the Room closed he opened another club in Southport."
Norman Eastham: October 2010
* "Just read the entry for Julian & The Trolls, and your description of 'the Room', which brought back memories. I don't know if my memory is failing me badly but I don't quite remember the same set-up - maybe we are thinking of different time periods.
My memory is that we went up that first flight of stairs and to the left on the landing was a tiny booth where you got your hand stamped. Ken's not insignificant bulk often blocked the booth however, and I remember the essential ordeal of squeezing past him - I can still see his brown ribbed sweater at very close quarters. In the room to the left - a snack bar, table football, pool table (?), and the cloakroom. I don't remember a band stage or anyone playing in there.
I do remember working behind the cloakroom with my friend Betty for the first of the all-nighters - an endless procession of people asking could they have their parka or their airline (BOAC) bag back. Betty and I looked despairingly into a tiny space heaving with.. parkas and airline bags, all looking exactly the same! Not funny by about 5 am! As the club closed we all moved on to Wigan Baths for the morning, and then Mesnes Park cafe for the afternoon. This became a familiar routine in later days, with the casino all-nighters - but the Room and Bluesville in Scholes were way ahead of the game.
So many band memories, stimulated by your site - The Trolls of course, The Wheels,
Lincoln Bond with 'Little Jimmy' Birchall as lead singer - sadly to commit suicide before the 1960's were over. Too many to mention.
Marilyn Taylor: November 2010
The Salvation Airforce
Stuart Maconie: Rhythm Guitar - Vocal - Worsley Mesnes
Nigel Power: on Bass Guitar - Shevington
James 'Jem' Bretherton: Drums - Beechhill
"'Les Flirts' , which is French for 'The Flirtations', was a band containing three members. All three members of the band were living in the Wigan area, before, and around the time of the band's existance. The band's set, which reflected on light new wave of the late seventies,
contained both cover versions and original songs.
Les Flirts members later felt, as a three-piece, the sound was limited. Therefore, two more musicians, friends of Jem, were persuaded to join the band, making the band a five-piece. As a five-piece, the name of the band was changed to 'The Salvation Airforce'. Obviously, as a five-piece band, the sound was greatly expanded and the music began to change.
The line-up of 'The Salvation Airforce' was:
- Stuart Maconie on rhythm guitar and vocals
- Nigel Power on bass guitar
- James 'Jem' Bretherton on drums
- Mark Connelly on lead guitar
- Ian Poulson on keyboards - electric organ, string synthesizer, electric piano).
The band 'The Salvation Airforce' split due to an argument between James 'Jem' Bretherton and Nigel Power, which occured late one evening in 1981, at Edge Hill College. That evening, four members of the band were together; James 'Jem' Bretherton, Nigel Power, Mark Connelly, Ian Poulson. The only other person present during that evening was Nigel's girlfriend, and she was only present for an early part of the evening. Stuart Maconie was not, at anytime at all, present during that particular evening.
Stuart Maconie, in his book 'Cider with Roadies' states that the break-up of the band 'The Salvation Airforce' happens because of the suicide of James 'Jem' Bretherton. This statement is totally untrue. James 'Jem Bretherton's suicide occurs much later.
Post 'The Salvation Airforce' and an early line-up of 'The Clockwork Lounge' was:
- James 'Jem' Bretherton on drums
- Mark Connelly on guitar and vocals
- Ian Poulson on keyboards, guitar and vocals."
Ian Poulson: November 2010
Ian Poulson: Bass Guitar. Mark Connelly: Guitar Vocal. Peter West: Drums.
"The group was 'The Clockwork Lounge'. I saw them quite a few times and one evening made the mistake of dropping 'The'. I was quickly and sharply corrected by the bass player, who pointed out with a strong emphasis on 'The', 'It is 'The Beatles','The Rolling Stones','The Who','The Yardbirds' 'The Sex Pistols'.. So it is! 'The Clockwork Lounge', exactly what is written on the poster.. or can you not read?
Name from a painting!..
Later that evening, I had the chance to talk and have a beer with the guy, who was not only a damn good bass player but a really nice guy as well. He apologised for biting my head off and explained that he sometimes gets a bit fed-up with people trying to ridicule the group in some way, because of jealousy or to try and give themselves a sense of superiority. He also told me, 'Loads of people think it is really funny to refer to the group as 'Clockwork Orange or summat like that', which goes to prove they are only interested in winding you up. If you can remember 'The Rolling Stones','Manfred Mann's Earth Band', or 'Depeche Mode', it isn't difficult to remember 'The Clockwork Lounge'.'He went on to explain that he had chosen the name and it had come from a painting and not from the film.
I spoke to him a few times after that evening and he was always friendly,courteous, and a really interesting guy, if a little strange. He told me which groups would be big and which would not, and how the style of music would change.He also said to me, 'If musicians aren't careful the whole industry will end up back in the hands of businessmen,who will be selling us cheap and nasty products that all look and sound the same.' He virtually was 100% correct
Excellent Song Writers.
I remember being told, Ian and Mark wrote, as a songwriting partnership, all the group's songs. I know, they were often compared to Lennon and McCartney. I once asked them how many songs they had written and they told me that they had lost count, but they tended to write about one song a week,plus a few ideas. They were always introducing a handful of new songs into their set and they didn't seem to like playing other people's songs, nor a similar set to the last one they had played. They were and are the most prolific songwriters I have ever known. Ian, who seemed to be the spokesman and leader of the group, told me that both he and Mark could play a few instruments and they would use different instruments to write songs; sometimes guitars, sometimes the piano, sometimes the bass, sometimes just a word or a phrase, whichever was the most spontaneous, appropriate or comfortable.
I decided to name 'The Clockwork Lounge' as the best Wigan band, because of the many positives the group had: their melodic music,very good songwriting ability,very good musicianship, versatility, conceptual, individuality, image, creativity, performance, personality, style... also,because the group contained the two best songwriters Wigan will ever see. To have one good songwriter in a band is fantastic and probably essential. But! To have two good songwriters in one band is incredible."
Melodyman: March 2010
L-R: Colin Ashton: Lead Vocal. John Bass: Drums. Malcolm Peoples: Bass.
Brian 'Spud' Rudd: Lead Guitar. Mike 'Mitch' Michinson: Guitar.
"It's the very first Ipso Facto van the famous 'OCKLE COCKLE'. That's me Mitch - in Pete Townsend pose with John 'Gossy' Gostelow original of The Tremors, Faces Tickets and Ipso Facto drummer. He did a mighty fine Bo Diddley did Gossy! The world was way cooler in black and white!"
Pic by Colin Ashton. Mitch Mitchinson: October 2010
A five-piece band to drool over - By Bill Hart.
"'Ipso' played a grittier style of pop which didn't follow the rules of the day of the 'how-it-should-be-done' brigade. Popular to a fault and highly individual, they gave superb and consistant performances in which-ever venues they played. From the Comet Youthy to Orrell Rugby Club, the Court Hall to Ince Public Hall, they pulled-in and delighted the crowds big style.
One of two abiding and lasting memories of mine was a superb cover version of Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. The plastic-made hot-off-the-press 45rpm disc hadn't even set properly yet and they had nailed it! I'd seen The Kinks play 'Sunset' on TV and it struck me right away as being something of an extra-special song. (In which musical history has proven it to be). Ipso' got the backing vocals spot on and Colin delivered the lead vocal as if he had sung the song a million times. It was the first time they had performed it in public but you would never have known, as it sent an amazing tingling sensation right down the full length of my spine. "Brrrrrrr."
Chips and chat..
The other enjoyable memory was randomly meeting up after a booking at The Wallgate Chippy, Wigan on regular Saturday nights. The nights 'work' over, a few quid in the pocket and the adrenalin still a-pumping, we would stand out on the pavement eating steak-pud, chips and mushy peas whilst chatting and joking with each other well into the morning; until that is the tiredness and full stomach's kicked in.
There was a keen friendly rivalry between all the bands of the day but some of us hit it off personally with each other as well. The Shyms had lots of other bands who sort of 'pinched'
material from us... Ispo Facto never did... they found their own particular 'individual' niche of pop music material and so did the Shyms.
All Together Now..
On the better nights whilst on the road we often found each other playing on the same venue's bill. At the time most venus put on two bands to fill the night. Bands would regularly meet this way which was fairly often at first - but as each band grew more and more popular in their own way, they were very rarely seen playing the same venue together. Which I would say, was a fair measure of each bands mid 1960's popularity and success...
..Ipso' spilt in the 1970's when Colin & Mitch went on to form the 'Two Of Us' musical duo. Delighting social club audiences for the next three decades with superb songs and dead-pan comedy featuring... 'My Mate Tommy'. They too have now retired from the music scene."
Bill Hart March/April 2010.
'Ipso' play to a huge audience at the ABC Ritz Cinema, Wigan in 1965.
"I remember th'Ipso's first appearance at the Comet Youth Club with the Shyms in November 1965. We had been rehearsing three nights a week for four months but I was still nervous as hell that night. I remember the Shyms coming over after saying, 'good 'arrers lads'. A night I'll never forget.
'Ipso' were originally going to be a three-piece backing group with myself on bass, but we then decided two guitar players would be more suitable for the harmony stuff, and we needed a bass player. Harry Ipso (Malc - dont ask?) auditioned at the Star Pub in Wallgate Wigan: Not the smartest in Wigan. He played about four notes when a greyhound came in the room, casually looked at him and peed on his leg; priceless!!! Another 'Ipso' was signed up!'
Mitch Mitchinson: April 2010
'Spud's' Ipso Recollections..
<> See updated below
"The original Ipso Facto line-up got together in 1965. Myself - Brian Rudd aka: Spud - and Michael Mitchinson - Mitch. We had been hanging around together and dreaming for some time. Mitch popped off occasionally doing his thing with one or two bands who didnít stay together for too long.
During this hanging around, listening and learning period, we met Colin Ashton, who was doing a little singing around pubs etc, I think we first became aware of Colin one night at St. Andrews Youth Club. Colin was singing with some guys, canít really recall who they were to tell the truth. Myself and Mitch thought he was worth approaching to sell our dream to. He also had a PA system, which obviously made him more interesting.
Great we had guitar, bass and a singer, how about recruiting a drummer? Along came John Gostellow, good guy, still is a good guy. Got our first real gig at St. Andrews School playing with a band called 'The Sting'. The gig went okay but we were not happy. John decided he wasnít into what we were doing.
'The Sting' had a stand-in drummer that night who was pretty good, in fact we thought he was 'red-hot', solid as a rock. This caused me, Mitch and Colin to think, maybe we should recruit this guy, if we can sell him the dream. We eventually went see him at his house, talked through what we had in mind, taking the world over, or at least Wigan. He went for it. Hello John Bass.
It really was the right move and proved to be in the forthcoming years, John Bass was as solid as a rock drummer as you can get.
Then we were four, but we still needed something else. Mike Mitchinson was really too good to be playing bass - letís get him on guitar; right, where do we find a bass player?
Just a point on Michael Mitchinson - Mitch. I have met and worked with some good musicians over the years, but I have always rated Mitch as being special, from the first days I met him, when we used to handball his keyboard down to my house for rehearsing. Good guy, who has had his problems health-wise over the years.
We had a whisper that a bass player from a band I think they were called 'The Lynx' was floating around, we also got told he had good equipment, which again made him more interesting. We popped up to his house, he came outside covered in plaster; we sold him the dream. Hello Malcolm Peoples. Later to become the famous 'Harry Ipso'.
Donít ask me where the name 'Harry' came from, maybe someone, somewhere knows, but I donít. But Harry became legendary around Wigan. Myself and Mitch spent quite a bit of time with Harry on Bass parts and musical arranging etc and slowly but surely Malc' came on in leaps and bounds. He really fitted the part and in my opinion became the best bass player around the band's in Wigan at that time.
About the name Ipso facto, where did that name come from? Myself and Colin used to work in Engineering at the same factory. Having a little chat every day about plans and ideas, songs etc. Obviously we also wanted a name for the group. We ended up with a considerable list of names which seemed to be getting longer, so we decided enough was enough and we had to choose from what we had. I had added some names from a Latin phrase book that was lying around. We eventually narrowed everything down to two names side by side and chose from those, so we had Ipso Facto. What was the other name, I recall it quite clearly, Status Quo. Quo' released 'Pictures of Matchstick Men' shortly after that and the rest they say is history. Glad we didnít get into litigation with them, too much hassle.
After a lengthy stint with this line-up Harry Ipso left.. Ah well - we started with four - here we go again.
Owen Hughes - later of Owen Hughes Agency - managed us and was the other member of the band in reality, but didnít perform on stage with us. He handled all the gigs and money etc. Owen had us gigging most nights from what I can remember. Oh to have that energy now. We all held down day-jobs at the same time as performing at night. Myself, Colin and Owen all worked in engineering, Malc was a plasterer - I think, Mitch was an electrician, and John was a tailor.
When Malc left we carried on as a four piece for some time. I remember one night while rehearsing at the All Saints Pub - a notorious drinking den in Wigan. Owen had been out to get us a gig at the All Saints Youth Club. He came back raving about a band he had just seen perform -The Answers. We all trooped down to see them and were blown away. They caused us to have a major rethink about ourselves, mainly around the equipment we were using at the time.
After this we invested in new equipment and a new van. I got a Vox Supreme lead amp, with 4x12 and tweeters, Mitch got a Vox Supreme Bass amp with Tweeters, all picked up from the Vox factory in Erith Kent, care of L E Agency William Leyland - the well known NW agent - influence with the factory. John got a new kit of Premier drums which cut through like a knife, we were on our way again. Or were we?
The following is my recalling of the times, which really are well etched in my mind, becaus e the Ipso's were so important to me.
I recall a difficult spell over a period of months where the material we were looking to perform was causing problems for us vocally, mainly in pitching. Highlighted when Bill Blackledge who ran the resident band at Wigan Casino recorded us one night without telling us and then asked if we wanted to hear ourselves after the show. This highlighted the problem.
At this time Colin and Mitch, were beginning to talk about the economics of a band compared to a duo, the writing was on the wall really. Hello 'Two of Us' - a superb Duo who worked the clubs for many years after splitting from The Ipso's.
I moved on to work with John Lewis - Copper Kettle eventually, Eric Pepperil resident at The Sportsmans Club in Wigan, then in a duo myself for a while until Phil Stokes - ex Rainbow Cottage got me to join Winston, a three piece harmony band, they wanted a fourth guitarist and singer. Enter the band 'Winston' - which needs a story telling of its very own."
Brian 'Spud' Rudd: September 2010: Updated: October 2010
"A couple of bands before our time were The Madmen with Mike Gannon bass player - who later played in The Vaqueros and laterly in the Jess Greenhough Band at The Monaco in Hindley and Tim Tyrone & The Fabulous Crusaders - a great name. Also, check-out the Magic Lanterns on Wikipedia -'Ipso' played with them at the 'Emp' Wigan Casino when they were The Hammers - good band - and made some good records as The Lanterns. I joined them for a short while - good guys!"
Mitch Michinson April 2010
"I played a short stint for The Jess Greenhough Band as a stand-in for his drummer who went on holiday for two weeks. It was a nightmare. I hadn't a clue about playing fox trots and walzes and at one stage Mick Gannon, who played a really good bass guitar, was yelling the correct rythmns at me whilst we were playing. Not one of my happier 1960's memories.
billyshym: May 2010.
"We went to Rose Bridge Youth Club and Ince Central Youth Fellowship. We had a band on called Ipso Facto; they played there regularly."
Gozzer: Wigan World. May 2010.
TWO OF US
Colin Ashton & Mitch Mitchinson in smart garb and all ready to hit the social
club cabaret scene from the early 1970s right up and into the noughty's..
"The Two Of Us came after the demise of Ipso Facto and lasted 39 years - with Pokie in between.
We started after a night out at Wigan Rugby RL Club and 'performing again' after the bands finished, never crossed either mine or Colin's mind's; that is, until we saw The Kierons.
It's the second time Ronnie Carr has influenced me in this life-time. Firstly, with The Beat Boys and now The Kierons. The Kierons were Ronnie Carr and Keith Wright of The Sportsmen who had worked together in the New City Showband. They were excellent and a far cry fom beat groups - yes folks.. this was CABARET!. It was a great night and the duo was superb. There was a comedian also on the bill; bill - ouch again - it was a young Jim Bowen.
The compere was good as was the organist and drummer. Again it was for me; 'a-we-can-do-this-too' time. So I purposely wrote down the Keirons set list -not to copy it; the opposite in fact. If we were going to it, then we are doing our own stuff!
Our first audition was at the old Poolstock Labour Club in Wigan and latterly The Beer Engine. I didn't have a clue about music - reading-wise and in the dressing room the other act's were talking about coda's and three-tag ending's.. ..and what the hell is Sine to Sine? I felt very belittled as we had just bought sheet music never thinking that it wouldn't be remotely like the stuff put down on a record.
We struggled through the audition and the backing musicians actually did us proud and busked the wrong bits for us. It turned out that we had done okay and picked up quite a few booking's from that and.. they were paying us the same for Two Of Us as we got for our five piece group!
We realised early-doors that the new act would have to concentrate more on entertainment than anything we had ever done before. So we ordred new suits and bought two new Shaftersbury guitars. Mine was a beautiful twelve-string and I just loved it. It broke my heart when I got it stolen in St Helens Plaza Night Club.
Soon comedy was introduced firstly by myself with gag's and impressions then that department was soon to be taken over by Colin. It was immediatly apparent that Colin was far funnier than me and a born-to-be front man. The 'dots' were sorted out by lessons from Snowy who played organ at the King Of Clubs, Wigan when we did a week's cabaret there. I learned a lot from him.
'My mate Tommy'
In 1971 we played at the Mellieha Bay Hotel in Malta which is I suppose birthplace of the act that followed. The 'My mate Tommy' thing started around the same time as Cannon & Ball were doing the same thing. I still get people I meet saying 'Ow do Tom'.
Looking back at those times now, the Two Of Us was the best thing that could have happened to me. The dance halls had gone, the groups were struggling for work, so the work was in the Workingmens Clubs. So Workingmens clubs in the North West it was and we could work a regular five nights a week!
I had the honour of meeting and playing with hundreds of really talented people playing the club scene. Its so sad that hardly any are left now but a small few. Still, I have the memories.
Mitch Mitchinson: August 2010
Rod Gerrard: Lead Guitar
Rod Gerrard: Lead Guitar
By the way, i have remembered two excellent RATT groups who played regularly at the
Room At The Top - Hells Angels and The Outrage. H A came from Salford and The Outrage from Bolton.
Being a fellow guitarist i got on well with Rod Gerrard who was the lead player in both groups. The Outrage were a favourite of mine, sounding very close to The Who. I believe they recorded quite a few singles that sadly failed to chart,
Rod never used mainstream guitars either. I have seen him use a Harmony H77, Framus Nachville, and a gorgeous Gibson Firebird in Pelham blue with gold fittings. A great player is Rod. When I last spoke to him he was moving to America. So if he ever finds Lanky Beat, tell him Mitch says Hello!
Mitch Mitchinson: Sept 2010
A Magoos Brick in the Cavern Wall of Fame - Liverpool
"I remember them being a Julian & The Trolls (below) type group when they played Room At The Top Wigan doing stuff from The Kinks first album. My memory is a bit foggy but I think they had a Farfisa Compact Duo organ in the line-up which made them stand out.
They were popular a the RATT, but when Ipso Facto kicked off and hit the scene. We never met up with them. I believe they moved from R 'n B to soul to make themselves more danceable at the Hindley Monaco and The Wigan Casino."
Mitch Mitchinson: Sept 2010
John Gostelow: Drums ex Tremours. Kenny Heyes: Lead Vocal.
Dave Green: Bass Guitar ex Senators. Mitch Michinson: Lead Guitar.
"Faces Tickets were a short lived rhythm and blues group from my formative years. Songs were mainly general beat group stuff of the day, Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones etc. What we lacked in musical expertise we gained in exuberance,.
I remember Dave green had made his own bass which looked the part even if it didn't sound it. With frets placed at even intervals - well you wouldn't know would you? - tuning was this side of intolerable. But hey! - we were more concerned with making a noise and enjoying ourselves than having perfect pitch.
And talking of making a noise. We were practicing in a terraced house in Rylands Street,
Wigan one Saturday afternoon when I had a brainwave. We had got a message that Dave green couldn't make it so we made a brew and were trying a few songs without him. I had seen The Kinks at a show at Wigan ABC Ritz Cinema when I noticed that Dave Davies was plugged into a little green Elpico amp', and then he ran a lead out of that into his Vox AC 30. So while Dave wasn't there I had the opportunity to try it out for myself. I took a lead from the speaker of Daves amp' and then into my Watkins amp'. I cranked my amp' full-up, turned Daves up full and hit an open E chord. The resulting sound was ear shattering!. The cat shot up the curtains, ornaments were spinning around on the mantelpiece, Tea shot out of cups, I looked around and John was already heading for the back door.
I never told Dave, he would have killed me , he was a handy lad. It blew my speaker to bits , but looking back it was worth it for the memory, We didn't do many gigs, but Faces Tickets was a good fun-time for me.
Mitch Mitchinson: August 2010
Crimson Soul - Enuf Sed
Lead guitar - Phil Forrest: Drums - Les Pitts: Bass Guitar - Bernard Ainscough:
Eddie Marshall rhythm guitar and keyboard: (One time) Singer, Alex Keyrie,
"I was in a group in the sixties but you, and I suspect nobody else, will remember us. We started off as, "The Crimson," later changed to, "Crimson Soul," and finally ended up as, "Enuf Sed." The last name was very appropriate!
We had William Leyland of L.E. Agency as an agent after doing an audition at a club in New Springs, Rev. Black and the Rocking Vicars were headlining that night so you can imagine just how nervous we were! We also had another agent in Manchester but I can't remember his name. We very rarely got bookings in the Wigan area, rather we'd end up in places like New Brighton, Manchester and the worst of all, a youth club in Barrow in Furness! That required an afternoon off work so the whole deal cost us money! We were never really brilliant but for a time we had a lot of fun. Eventually girlfriends and jobs became more important and the dream of stardom, never a real possibility, faded.
I've just been on LANKY BEAT and was reading your article about your old band, 'The Shyms.' You mention the Wigan Casino boss, Gerry Marshall, well he was my cousin.
I was brought up believing that Gerry Marshall was my uncle, at least that was how he was described to me. It turned out that he was actually my cousin, although many years my senior. He was a strange bloke, I remember being taken to visit him at his home on Ormskirk Road when I was a small child. He had a couple of German Shepherds that frightened me to death, a fact that he thought was terribly funny. I wasn't impressed.
When I was in my teens my dad went working for him at The Casino Club, during the day he was a janitor/handyman and at night helped out backstage and called himself a stage manager, my mum also worked in the cloakroom for a while. He used to bring home the packs of used playing cards from the Casino and my sister and I would sell them off cheap as they were still in good nick! As an aside he fitted a new toilet for the visit of Shirley Bassey, now that is a class act! We also used to get signed photos of the artists but they're long gone unfortunately.
Anyway, when I turned 18, "Uncle" Gerry sent me a complimentary ticket for the Casino as a birthday present. Later the same year my sister got married and held her reception in the Casino. We had the meal etc. in the club during the afternoon and most of the guests stayed for the entertainment during the evening. Gerry came up to me late on during the night and told me that I'd have to leave, the reason? I wasn't 18! I had to hurriedly get my dad to convince him that I was. I didn't see him much after that and my dad left his employ some time later, I don't know whether it was by mutual consent or not. In fact I only saw Gerry once more before he died and that was at my dad's funeral in 1976."
Eddie Marshall: March 2010
Shirley Bassey's Toilet!
Wigan Casino late 1970s
Pic courtesy of the_gwim_weaper
& THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Also see: Pokie.
"My life from the age of thirteen has been with a kit of drums, playing in groups, clubs, session work, etc. From working in social clubs I got involved with Hamilton Brown & the Great Expectations. The line-up was Michael (Mitch) Mitchinson on lead guitar, Gary (Gaz) Hughes on bass guitar - two great musicians.
Having met Mitch and Colin - the Two Of Us duo- in the local social club scene - I knew they were a top act - so when I was asked to join them with Gaz - plus Eric Lawrenson - ex-Grass Roots - and form a band. I jumped at the chance: The best decision I have ever made -musically speaking.
On to Pokie..
My memories of my time in Pokie was just fun and enjoyment - although taking the music seriously - we had a great time. This easily transferred from the stage to the audience with
Colin Ashton being a terrific front man - he could work his true magic. This, together with a solid, tight musical backing and a good light show; it was a complete show. I am proud and privileged to have been part of Pokie and we all still remain good friends to this day.
Roy 'Thunder Foot' Davies: May 2010
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<>DISCLAIMER ( if needed )
The following brief history of the Ipso Facto group from formation to breakup, is from my memory. Which is still pretty good. I have intended all along to be truthful and factual. If any readers have conflicting information, I am only too willing to sit down , discuss and clarify any points of dispute. I have and always will have the highest regards for all the members of the band, Michael Mitchinson ( Mitch ), Colin Ashton ( Col ), John Bass ( Bassy ) and Malcolm Peoples ( Harry Ipso ). I wish them all the best in life. Maybe their stories vary from mine, but if they do, letís talk about it.