Pete Oakman, Stan Laundon and Ray Ennis in Darlington.
How good it was to meet up with one of Joe Brown's original 'Bruvvers' Pete Oakman at Darlington Civic Theatre. Pete, of course, was the co-writer of Joe's No.1 hit in 1962 "A Picture Of You." We've been friends for many years but not seen each other for about 35 of them. Pete is bass player with The Swinging Blue Jeans - and the Blue Jeans' original member and lead singer, Ray Ennis, joined us for the reunion photograph.
Backstage at the Forum Theatre, Billingham with Joe Brown. This was just after a I had returned from living in Spain for almost 14 years. Joe and I hadn't seen each other for about 20 years at this time.
Joe Brown celebrated his 50th year in the music business recently and I was fortunate to visit him back stage at the Forum Theatre, in Billingham on April 19th, 2009. Joe and I go back many years and I'll never forget the happy times we shared together in the 1960's. It was nice to see our meeting being covered by Hartlepool Mail in their "Together Again" column. Photograph © Rainbow Photography.
Alan Lindridge, Stan Laundon and singer/songwriter, Reg Presley of The Troggs, in Darlington 2010. I have to say that Reg is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Photograph © Peter Oakman. Sadly, Reg died on February 4th, 2013, following a succession of recent strokes and a losing battle with cancer.
During May, 2008, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Ireland with Mervyn Dempsey - former lead guitarist with Cliff Ledger and the Country Boys. It's been quite a few years since Mervyn returned to Ireland but was always asking me to fly over and pay him a visit - so I did. For those who might be interested, this is the father of Mervyn Dempsey - the young man who used to work for the Force India Formula One Racing Team and Team Lotus which is now known as the Caterham F1 team. I spent some leisure time in Maghera, Magherafelt, Coleraine, Londonderry, Portrush, Portstewart and even popped over the border to Donegal to spend some left over Euros. During my time in Northern Ireland it was so nice to meet up again with George Brendan Quinn, the uncle of Irish country music star, Brendan Quinn. For many years Mr Quinn was a resident in Middlesbrough.
Tom Parker at Jackson's Wharf Restaurant in Hartlepool.
Music producer, arranger and composer Tom Parker, paid a flying visit to Hartlepool during late March 2008, and enjoyed a meal at Jackson's Wharf. Although born in Scotland, he has a strong attachment to the town as his family lived in Mulgrave Road for many years. Tom has been in the music business for years and started his musical career at the age of 16 when he became the pianist in a jazz-group. Between the ages of 18 to 22 he was a member of pop-groups such as The New Animals, the Groundhogs, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and David Bowie, and toured as keyboard player with blues legends John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed.
At 22 he started working intensively in the London recording studios, playing with Paul Anka and Status Quo, among others, and from the age of 25 arranged a number of hit records by such artists as Mac & Katie Kissoon, Don Fardon, The Nolan Sisters and The Dooleys. In 1972 he scored a world-wide hit as artist/arranger with "Joy" from Apollo 100. The record was number 1 in the USA and several other countries. In 1979 Tom had the idea of making a "rock-opera" version of Handel's Messiah - which was backed enthusiastically by RCA records, who financed the project. The group was christened "The New London Chorale" and Tom recruited Vicki Brown, Madeline Bell, George Chandler and Steve Jerome. The Young Messiah was followed by many more hits, notably "The Young Amadeus" and "The Young Verdi" and to date the album series has sold more than 2 million copies. His current project is "Live In Concert" a DVD/CD by the New London Chorale which was recorded in Holland. Tom's visit was covered by Hartlepool Mail.
Former BBC Radio 2 Country Music broadcaster, the late Wally Whyton; singer & songwriter Raymond Froggatt; former Metro Radio broadcaster and Northern Echo photographer, Brian Clough and yours truly. This was taken on a rainy day at Great Aycliffe Show as part of a BBC Radio Cleveland outside broadcast.
Cliff Ledger & The Country Boys receiving their Gold Disc for achieving sales of more than a million copies for their album "Kentucky in the Morning." It shows Stan Laundon presenting the award to Mervyn Dempsey, Cliff Ledger and Shay Brogan at Consett in County Durham.
"The Gants Hillbillies" a bluegrass trio I played with during the 1960's with John Cowling, in centre, on mandolin and Lynn Lewis on dobro. Lynn is still very active on the folk music scene and has a fine website at Tzorafolk. Someone did ask me once where the name of the Gants Hillbillies came from. John Cowling lived in Ilford, Essex and quite close to his house was an area known as Gant's Hill. There was a huge roundabout nearby on the dual carriageway which went down to Southend. I took the name from that! Photograph © Janet Kerr.
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