BANDS - FROM HARTLEPOOL & TEESSIDE IN THE 60'S

How nice it was to meet up with Graham Pearson, a former Teesside man, who now lives in Fredericksburg, Texas. Originally from the Oxbridge area of Stockton, he played with The Zombeats around the area about 1964/65, and is still going strong after all these years as lead vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player with a band in Texas called The Power Section. Graham, who is on the right above, studied classical piano and the theory of music from the age of 5, resulting in a BA from the Royal Schools of Music in London at 18. At 12, he started learning acoustic guitar and by 16 he was touring as a solo act playing in the popular folk clubs of the time. On a brief visit to the area he visited his hometown before popping down to Hartlepool - having a meal in the Traveller's Rest - before heading for Tyneside and then on to Scotland. Many years ago he moved to the United States to live and is now the Deputy Mayor of Fredericksburg, Texas.

Frankie Miller's Full House are, left to right, Dave 'Boycie' Boyce, Dave 'Bucket' Colwell, Ray Minhinnett, Terry Slesser & Clive Edwards. Click on the image to view it larger.

Frankie Miller's Full House - with two north east musicians - are all set to help celebrate their 40th Anniversary. On lead guitar is Ray Minhinnett from Horden (formerly of The Kavemen) with lead vocalist Terry Slesser who is from South Shields. Frankie Miller's Full House was formed in late 1975 by Frankie Miller and Ray Minhinnett - the original guitarist. Ray pulled into the fledgling band keyboard man James Hall and ex-Judas Jump and Poco bassist Charlie Harrison while he and Frankie were auditioning drummers. They eventually settled on Graham Deakin (Blue Jays, John Entwhistle Ox).

The Frankie Miller Duets album - including tracks featuring Full House - has finally been signed off with Universal Records. Ray Minhinnett informs us that a release is now scheduled around September time and he also tells us that they have just added Danny Peyronel (formerly of The Heavy Metal Kids 'n' UFO) on keyboards to Full House making them a six piece. Other band members include Dave Bucket Colwell (formerly of Bad Company, Humble Pie and The Jones Gang), Terry Wilson Slesser, who was with Beckett and also vocalist with Paul Kossoff's Post Free Band Backstreet Crawler. 'Sless' continued singing, touring and writing with the band after Kossoff's untimely death, when the band became simply Crawler. On bass is Dave Boyce (formerly of Samson, Airrace and The Quireboys) and completing the line up on drums is Clive Edwards (UFO, Pat Travers, Uli John Roth & Wild Horses).

They will be out on the road the first week in August for dates including The Half Moon, Putney and The Cambridge Rock Festival playing all Frankie Miller’s classic songs from the Fullhouse era together with material featured on the new duets album. Click on the image above to view it larger.

Ray has consistantly continued to work with Frankie since Frankie's illness although, obviously not live, demo-ing his songs, helping with business helping, and procuring song covers with Frankies wife Annette, as well as acting as Musical Director on various recordings and concert projects here and in the States. In 2006 Ray reformed Full House to celebrate their 30th anniversary with ex-Grease Band and Wings guitarist Henry McCullogh headlining the Cambridge Rock and Great British Blues Festivals.

Bruce Thomas, from Eaglescliffe, and a former member of the Teesside band The Road Runners, who went on to play bass with Elvis Costello and The Attractions, has a new book just published and it's certainly a must for all music lovers - because he's been there and done it, believe me!

Bruce was prompted to write "Rough Notes" when a friend told him: "There’s only one history of rock ...and pop and you were there!" It follows his career from the paper-round he did to buy his first guitar and see The Beatles - all the way through to his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 - and beyond.

He recalls his time as bass player with Elvis Costello and The Attractions - setting the record straight on the so-called feud between him and the singer - and includes accounts of working with Paul McCartney, touring on Elton John’s private jet, a day at Johnny Cash’s ranch and dinner with Yoko Ono as well as encounters with Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Abba, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, The Who, Freddie Mercury, Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, John Belushi, Michael Hutchence - and a certain Jimmy Savile.

Yet "Rough Notes" is far more than a personal memoir or catalogue of trivia. It traces the entire story of rock and pop from its beginnings in the 1950s, right through to the present day - despite the fact it’s been said that …’writing about music is like dancing about architecture’. You can buy it direct from Amazon UK or Amazon US. Rough Notes is now available, worldwide, on Kindle.

How it all started: For almost fourteen years I lived on the Costa Blanca in Spain. Following a visit I made to my hometown of Hartlepool in June 2004, it was suggested to me to start a web page featuring some of the old bands, or groups, that graced the pubs and clubs of the area back in the 1960's. The idea started after Billy Crallan, George Hart and Ed Saul all joined forces to play some of the old songs to help celebrate Ron Blair's 60th birthday. Billy Crallan, Ron and I played together in The Trakkers and George, of course, was the original lead guitarist of The Hartbeats.

The photograph above shows George, Billy, me and Ron at Hartlepool Cricket Club. So, what started as an idea has now expanded into many pages - and is dedicated to the great bands of that era and the friendship we all enjoyed. Photograph © Marion Crallan.

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