Matt Thomas… WOW!! Great seeing the old picture of Roger Dennett in the b&w pic.
all cuttings Andre Palfrey-martin collection
The month of June 1964 continues to be fairly warm if not a little wet, and here we are again on Hastings Pier eager to make our trip to the Happy Ballroom, for tonight on the bill be have the ever popular Barron Knights and support comes from a Eastbourne group who we have seen many times before The Sabres.
Hailing from Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire when they started in 1959, they were a straight pop group, and spent a couple of years touring and playing in UK dance halls, before the obligatory trip and time in Hamburg, West Germany. In 1963, at the invitation of Brian Epstein, they were one of the support acts on The Beatles’ Christmas shows at the Finsbury Park Astoria in London, and later became one of the few acts to tour with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. They first came to fame in 1964 with the number “Call Up the Groups” (Parts 1 and 2). It overcame copyright restrictions and parodied a number of the leading pop groups of the time including the Searchers, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Dave Clark Five, the Bachelors, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. The song imagined the various artists singing about being conscripted, or “called up” into the British Army, although actual conscription had ended in 1960. The single released in the summer of 1963 entered the charts in July that year climbed to number 3 and remained in the charts for 13 weeks. As an example, the song “Bits and Pieces” by The Dave Clark Five was parodied as “Boots and Blisters”. It is quite on the cards that this number could have been introduced to the audience in The Happy Ballroom on this appearance, and as such we could have been some of the first to see the new format of Comedy from the Boys.
Back in the last 1970s, I worked many times with the group when they appeared in Cabaret in various clubs and service bases in this country, and their act by then included a lot of sketches and one liners that had been part of their Television Shows in the UK.
As with so many groups at this time, there were alway changes, and sometimes tracking down their histories is difficult, because, people at the time never kept details, photographs, datesheets etc. The Sabres, who for several years had entertained us in the south-east were about to reinvent themselves and become The Shelley and it was from mid 1964 that these changes would take place, and we would see this happen ……. But more about later in the year.