THE KIRKLEVINGTON COUNTRY CLUB

 

The decor inside the Kirklevington Country Club.

The Real McCoy, with John McCoy as lead vocalist, were resident band at The Kirk. They are Ottie McLoughlin, Alan Fearnley, Ron Asprey, Ken Thwaites, Terry Sidgwick, John McCoy and Ray Dales.

Traffic appeared at The Kirk in the mid 1960's with Steve Winwood on guitar. This photograph is signed by him wth the name 'Evergreen' underneath. It was the name he affectionately gave to his Gibson Firebird pale green finish "favourite all time instrument" subsequently stolen on tour. He  received a replica in 2006 at a Madison Square Garden concert with Eric Clapton.

Steve Winwood and that famous Gibson Firebird again!

Rod Stewart was a guitarist with Buddy Guy's backing band The Soul Agents in March 1965.

Rod Stewart and The Soul Agents featured Rod on lead vocals, Tony Good on lead guitar, Don Shinn on the organ, Roger Pope on drums with Jim Sach on bass.

Rod Stewart and The Soul Agents on stage with John McCoy and Rod singing "Dancing In The Street".

The Graham Bond Organisation visited in 1964. John McCoy says: "Ginger Baker was out of sight as per usual and Jack Bruce even further out of sight!"

Other Kirk visitors over the years included Zoot Money & his Big Roll Band, Brian Auger and the Trinity, Alexis Korner, Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Sugar Pie De Santo, Gary Farr and the T-Birds, Heads, Hands and Feet with Chas Hodges on bass and Albert Lee on lead guitar - the list is endless.

Eric Clapton with John Mayall on stage about 1964/65 time.

The Spencer Davis Group with Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood.

Steve Winwood, Spencer Davis and Muff Winwood.

Zoot Money's Big Roll Band were popular visitors to The Kirk on January 29th, 1967.

Albert Lee appeared at The Kirk with Hogan's Heroes in later years. He was also the lead guitarist with Heads, Hands and Feet when they played there. Chas Hodges, later of Chas and Dave, was the bass player.

Jazz at its best here with Diz Disley, Stephane Grappelli, the bass player unknown, and Denny Wright. John McCoy can just be seen on the extreme left.

George Melly visited The Kirk a few times. He is seen here during a concert in 1973.

George Melly with John McCoy.

George Melly, on the left, was a regular visitor to The Kirk and, on the right, The Joe Walker Band on stage in 1984.

Blues 'n' Trouble enjoy a drink with Jack Bruce and Graham Bond on stage in the 1960's.

John McCoy always had an eye for talent and was booking the stars before they were really famous. The contract on the left was for the appearance of The Cream - Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker - on Sunday, October 2nd, 1966 for the sum of £75.00 to be paid in cash on the night. The Jimi Hendrix Experience appeared at The Kirk on Sunday, January 15th, 1967 and were paid £50.00. You will notice that the Jimi Hendrix contract was signed by a B.J. Chandler on behalf of the artist. Mr Chandler was 'Chas' Chandler, the bass player with The Animals who managed Hendrix at the time.

After the show with Jimi Hendrix, Chas Chandler was involved in a fight with a bouncer who insulted Jimi. During the fracas Jimi ripped his jacket which he left with John McCoy to be repaired. He later gave it to him as a 'thank you' for his hospitality and was displayed in "Martha's Bar" along with Chris Rea's guitar, and other memorabilia, until John sold the premises in 1989. The 'hospitality' Jimi Hendrix referred to was legendary amongst visiting artistes who always got a free supper and bar tab on the house!

An early photograph showing the outside the Kirklevington Country Club sometime in the 1980s. That BMW 316 belonged to interior designer and architect Chris Bailey. He says the car is standing outside Martha's Vineyard bar to the ground floor (under the balcony) which had obviously just recently been completed by John McCoy, his partner Ken Crawford and myself.

Inside The Kirk before Martha's Vineyard.....

Martha's Vineyard - a beautiful stylish restaurant inside The Kirk in later years.

Celebrity diners at Martha's Vineyard included Frank Allen, bass player with The Searchers, who is on the right of the photograph on the left, with the former Middlesbrough Football Club manager, Malcolm Allison, pictured above right, in 1984.

Supporters of The Kirk, with DJ Tony Hargan, pictured from about 1977.

DJ Tony Hargan surrounded by thousands of albums and singles at The Kirk.

I'm a member of the Kirklevington Country Club. DJ Tony Hargan's card from December 1966. The Kirk cards were designed by a young Chris Bailey at the tender age of 18 when he was still at art college!

Yet another fun photograph of a staff fancy dress party at the Kirklevington Country Club during the 1970s.

How nice to see this article in the Evening Gazette on August 24th, 2013 on some fond Kirk memories by former Middlesbrough resident Gillian Walker-Samples who now lives in California. Click on the image to view it in a larger size.

End of the line - The Kirklevington Country Club in the late 1990s before its demolition.

The Kirk - a little background: The club's premises were a filling station and garage, situated on the old A19. During the 1950s a local dance band leader, Tommy Reay, converted a large first floor room, and built extensions to form an out-of-town dance hall which also catered as a pre-motorway service station for early car-borne travellers, and as a regular stop-off venue for revellers driving home northwards up the A19 from race-meetings down the road at York, Wetherby and Doncaster.

Around 1964/65 the Kirklevington County Club was bought by a young local musician and promoter John Benedict McCoy - whose band The Crawdaddies already had a regular following at The Kirk - and his partner Ken Crawford. John McCoy had already proved himself well enough in touch with bands on 'the up' as early as 1963 by booking the Rolling Stones for £65 and The Hollies at a his previous club The Outlook, in Middlesbrough.

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