MONTY LITTLE & THE SELECTION SOUL BAND

 

Monty Little and The Selection Soul Band, who hit the local scene about 1967, are Lionel (Mac) McLennon on saxophone, Trevor Davis on bass, Paul Barker on drums, the young man dressed in black and standing at the back is singer was Monty Little - better known as Colin Bilton - Lenny Smith, keyboards, is on the floor at the front and Bob Raper is the guitarist on the right.

Monty Little (Colin Bilton), Trevor Davis, Paul Barker, Bob Raper, Lionel (Mac) McLennon and Lenny Smith.

This photograph of the band shows, on the top row, Trevor Davis bassist, Lionel McLennon on sax and Bob Raper lead guitarist. In the centre are Lenny Smith on keyboards, Colin Bilton on vocals and drummer Paul Barker. On the floor, with his eyes closed, is trumpeter Vic Hall.

Posing in the studio for this photograph are Lionel 'Mac' McLennon, Trevor Davis, sitting is Paul Barker on drums - sadly deceased - and Lenny Smith on keyboards, Bob Raper is on lead guitar and getting the wax blown out of his ears by Vic Hall on trumpet and in the background is Colin Bilton.

Sax player Lionel 'Mac' McLennon lost his life at the tender age of 67 in Jamaica. On the right is the Selection Soul Band lead singer Colin Bilton who was, of course, known also as Monty Little.

Monty Little and The Selection Soul Band were a big hit in the 60s along with bands like Rivers Invitation, The Steve Brown Soul Set and The Denmen. They were all the rage and brass instruments were starting to feature in bands. Monty Little's Selection were among the first bands to have Sax and Trumpet players. As soul music was just taking hold, they were in the right place for once.  They played in all the 'posh' places like the Caribbean and the Bongo Club 'over the border' in Middlesbrough. They would be in Hartlepool at the Red Admiral - 8pm till 10.30 - then dash to the Caribbean, going over the Transporter Bridge from Port Clarence just making it time to catch the last crossing of the night, then on stage at the club until 4.00am. Bass player Trevor Davis says: "I think we only got about £2.50 each as I remember."

The band members were Lionel (Mac) McLennon on saxophone (he died in Jamaica); Trevor Davis on bass, now living in France and still playing. Paul Barker on drums, the singer was Monty Little, better known as Colin Bilton and Lenny Smith keyboards. Trevor says it was always a big thanks to his Mum and Dad for letting them practice in their place and for financing the band for the kit and a new Transit Van. Bob Raper last heard was playing at Redcar Workmans' Club and the trumpet player, Vic Hall, was last known playing the cruise ships.

Trevor says "We all had a ball and would we do it again? "I think I could speak for us all with a definite YES!" When the band split Trevor Davis went on to play for the Blue Caps and The Johnny Taylor Five and then on to play in the residential band at the Starlite Club, in Redcar. He retired for a while then put together the Soul Survivors a 15-piece soul band with three female backing singers and a male front man, plus a 5- piece brass section. They are all still rocking in sunny Saltburn-by-the-Sea.

Thanks to Trevor Davis for the photographic content and background information on this page.

Trevor is in touch Vic and Colin but would like to hear from Bob and Lenny and, also, from anyone who remembers him. He can be reached at trevor.davis@orange.fr

This page is dedicated to the memory of Vic Creed, Lionel (Mac) McLennon and Paul Barker always remembered and never forgotten.

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