all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection
The next instalment of the History of the Happy Ballroom, takes us to Saturday 11 July 1964, which turns out to be quite different, we have starts from the US A and The Midlands appearing. The attractions tonight on the Pier will include Big Dee Irwin and The Strangers Five.
Big Dee joined the United States Air Force, and in 1954 was based at Narsarssuak Air Base in Greenland. While there, he formed a singing group, The Pastels. The groups all left the USAF at the same time and the group continued, toured widely and appeared on concert bills. In March 1958 they featured as part of Alan Freed’s touring Big Beat Show, which also included Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Frankie Lymon, Larry Williams, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. They performed at the famous New York Apollo Theatre later in 1958, but split up early the following year. Ervin then started a solo career as Dee Erwin, before signing for Dimension Records as Big Dee Irwin, and releasing a version of the 1944 Bing Crosby song “Swinging On A Star” which also featured Little Eva (unaccredited on the UK issue). In 1963 it became a bigger hit in the UK where it rose to 7, and Irwin then took part in a nine month tour of Britain. Of which the Happy Ballroom was one of those dates. He also worked as a songwriter for Ray Charles, Bobby Womack, and others – the Hollies included his “What Kind of Boy” on their 1964 album In The Hollies Style. The Strangers originated from a local rock ‘n’ roll band called The Marauders, initially known as “Rob Roy and The Rockin’ Marauders” who formed about 1960 while pupils at Dudley Grammar School. The Strangers were very active on Joe and Mary Regan’s famous “Regan Circuit” of dance halls in the West Midlands which included The Plazas at Old Hill and Handsworth, The Adelphi (West Bromwich) and The Ritz at King’s Heath.
The band won a coveted spot on Decca’s “Brum Beat” LP compilation of West Midlands groups in 1964. The opening track on the album was an original composition by Roy “Dripper” Kent entitled “What A Way” and was certainly good enough to have been released as a single in its own right.
Other things that were happening that week included – Ready Steady Go for Friday 10 July – included guests appearing – Manfred Mann – “Do Wah Diddy Diddy.”The Searchers – “Someday We’re Gonna Love Again.”Dusty Springfield – “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.”The Four Pennies – “I Found Out The Hard Way.”The Pete Best Four. The Leroys
BBC TV: Top of the Pops The Applejacks (“Like Dreamers Do”); The Animals (“House of the Rising Sun”). Videos: The Rolling Stones (“It’s All Over Now”); The Beatles (“A Hard Day’s Night” & “Long Tall Sally.
And for those that will recall the recent visit of the Kinks – I discovered this fact the other day – 12 July 1964 – IBC Studios, Portland Place, London : The Kinks record “ You Really Got Me” with Bobby Graham on drums and Arthur Greenslade on Piano. Andre Martin
John Maskell… Sometime ago you were instigators in finding an Ad for the pier as my group The Beat Syndicate appeared with Patrick Dane & the Quiet Five. You now have a fantastic site reminding all who were there of our time. Having read your articles I noted the comments on the Marauders. I had the pleasure of playing on the same bill as them at the Noreik club South Tottenham in 1964. I thought they were a great group and the drummer exceptional but like a lot of us never got the big break. Are you able to put a name to the drummer as I never did find out who he was. Keep up the good work.