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My first acquisition was in 1964. Our group, The Ivan D. Juniors, was on the bill at Mr Smith’s Club in Whitworth Street, Manchester. Top of the bill was George Melly (RIP). A few years earlier I had seen him cavorting about the stage at the University Union with Mick Mulligan’s band and occasionally singing with that unforgettable rich, fruity, bawdy voice. Now I was sitting in the dressing room listening to him trading jokes with our singer, Ivan Dixon. Ivan had an extensive repertoire of sick and obscene jokes but Melly’s favourite joke of that time for me won the contest. WARNING - sick joke in very poor taste.


Man sitting in a train opposite a pregnant woman who is knitting. Every ten minutes or so she takes out a bottle of pills and swallows a handful. After some time the man, consumed with curiosity says,

“I hope you don’t mind my asking but I can see your condition and I’m just wondering why you’re taking those pills.”

“They’re thalidomide,” she answered. “I never could knit sleeves.”

The glass I was drinking from was so unusual it had to be a souvenir of a great night, so was packed away with my kit. I remember that we played Mr. Smith’s more than once .We had  a few “comedy” numbers mixed in with Mersey sound stuff which made us suitable for the night club circuit.

Rocky sang I’m ‘Enery The Eighth and Yakety Yak with Ivan doing the King Curtis bit on kazoo.

The group was near the end of an attempt to be famous. Our agency, Paddy McKiernan had done well for us with gigs from Birmingham to Dumfries in Scotland.

Inspector’s # 301 Yorkshire W. Riding
I remember Rory Storm announcing in the dressing room at Stockport Town Hall that Ringo had left to join The Beatles. We played The Cavern, we were very big in Dewsbury, and though we called ourselves a group I remember one night in 1964 in The Bodega in Cross Street, Manchester, England a guy shouted up to me on the bandstand, “You’ve got a good band there”,  that was the first time I heard the word band used. Oriole released our single in 1964. I can’t remember its name and it sank without trace!  

I’ve been in touch with Ivan recently. He sings the blues now and reminded me of our guitarist’s name John Harmon Robertshaw but I just remember him as Rocky. He was a versatile player with his cherry red Gibson. Bernie Calvert was a solid bass player and not long after the Mr Smith’s gig was rescued by his pals, Tony and Bobby, and joined the Hollies. He should have been with them from their beginning.

So that was the end of us.

1964 - Clayton Lodge, Burslem, Staffs.