Ritz – Black Horse Music Festival – 26th to 29th May 1995




photos & poster supplied by Pete Prescott

RITZ, with John Laidlaw, Neil Cartwright, Martin Stringer,  Andy Knight(Drums) &  Paul Dengate.

John Laidlaw….Eeek!

Paul Dengate… Just thinking, Neil and Andy and I played with two bands that weekend – Chaser and Ritz. Then realised that Garry Blakeley probably played with nearly everyone on the Saturday!

John Beeching… I don’t think he left the stage all day, should have been sponsored for the marathon.

Gilly Johnson… What a great festival it was!

Martin Stringer R.I.P.

Martins son has just posted this on Martins facebook page … Dear Friends and Family, As you may know Martin was recently diagnosed with cancer. It is with huge sadness that Vicki and Jonathan are sharing with you that Martin passed away peacefully this morning after a short but brave fight. So proud of him and all the fun he created! Martin will be hugely missed by us all and we will keep you posted on how we will celebrate his life of music, magic and laughter. Sleep tight. x

Huggy Leaver… So sad one of the good guys, RIP x

Alan Esdaile… Very sad news. I probably knew Martin from when I was 16 and our paths would cross over the years. I would bump into him at the NEC in Birmingham, Earls Court, Business Design Centre and all sorts of places. He did come to the SMART meeting awhile ago and did some amazing tricks from his magic show. He always seemed to have a happy smile on his face.  One of the good guys. R.I.P. Martin x

Dave Nattress… Oh my God.  What shocking news! RIP Martin.

Reg Wood… What a shock. So sorry to hear this.

Colin Bell… RIP Martin, God bless

Andy Qunta… Very sad! Lovely guy!

Bernard Goffredo… Sad news! a lovely man

Andrew Clifton… Very sad news. RIP Martin.

John Wilde… Extremely sad news, soar high good Soul.

Margaret Trowell… RIP

Yvonne Cleland… Oh Martin. A sad goodbye my dear xxx

Marilyn Spence… RIP Martin

Ritz – early 80’s Chatsworth Hotel. photo Paul Dengate.

539997_449847485031077_683981152_nphoto Paul Dengate 

Ritz playing a Christmas gig at the Chatsworth Hotel.  Paul Dengate, bass guitarist Martyn Baker is to the right, out of picture, Judith vocals and Martin Stringer and Andy Knight.

John Wilde…..That woman forgot to get dressed. Its Xmas for Christ sake, where is her skirt?

Chris Pook…..Looks like Judith singing. Post Beez Neez!

Diane Knight…..where’s Paul Dengates razor blade ????

Martin Stringer… Oh yes, I remember it well.

Peter Bridger… Brilliant band – used to go see them all the time

Mick O’Dowd…. Good old Judy!

Pete Shaw… Why has Andy upturned his bass drum front skin? Had he been to Australia? Doh!!

Andy Knight… Judith (Clark) if you see this can you get in touch plse, Tx Andy Knight

Stuart Moir… Did you turn your kick head upside down for a reason Andy ??

Andy Knight… I hadn’t noticed that Stuart, how strange



Stallion – introducing the band 1974 & Stallion poster 6th November 1973.

supplied by Mick Mepham


supplied by Phil Thornton

Alan Esdaile… Great find Phil.  Stringer Jones, was a duo with Martin Stringer and Malcolm Jones.

Martyn Baker… Malcolm Jones was the other half of Stringer-Jones with Martin Stringer in Hastings (1975-6). I kind of re-met Malcolm again when we both worked for Capital Radio in the 80’s. Martin now lives in the west of Ireland. Both top geezers.

Harry Randall… RIP Vic/Tony and Steve gone to young! Sadly missed I’m sure by all who new them!

Leigh Wieland-Boys… My that takes me back. Fond memories of Steve D, rest in peace dear friend.

Martin Stringer… Crikey.

Phil Thornton… wow ! Great pic. Don’t think I’ve seen the one above before. SSV&T !!!

Linda McDuffie… Cottage! Blast from the past!


Rude Knot To – Beach Concert – late 1990’s

rkt 5  rkt 6 rkt 3

rkt 2  rkt 4 rkt 1

rkt 9 rkt 7 rkt 8 rkt 10

photos © Eddie Hazell Estate .

Jeff Davis,  Andy Leaney,  Martin Stringer,  John Laidlaw.

John Laidlaw (photo 6) Yup, that’s me. Playing with Rude Knot To, could be 99, 00 or 01 (although I suspect it really is 2001) – difficult to remember when you’re in a band with Jeff Davis and Martin Stringer.

Dawn Leaney….My late husband Andy Leaney (photo 2) with his beloved Ovation guitar playing at Hastings Beach concert.

Andy Walker…Is that the same John Laidlaw that was in The Tony Ashton Trio with Pete Shelton?

John Laidlaw… I don’t recall either the Tony Ashton Trio, or Pete Shelton – sorry!

Dawn Leaney… Anymore photos of Andy Leaney on that day? … I remember being in the audience! 🙂 xx

Alan Esdaile…. If anymore crop up I will send to you Dawn, anyone else got any?

Jeff Davis… The only time John and Andy played together with Rude Knot To, was on tour in America. Andy joined the band when John moved to USA. Rude Knot To Toured the USA on five occasions. Aided by the Twang Dragons who we brought over to play in England.

Jeff Davis… I have attached a Rude Knot To track from the album Distance Lands an epic John Laidlaw solo. gives you some context of what this trio was about.



The Abysmal Sisters – 1980


supplied by Martin Stringer

Phil Thornton, Kevin Hoad, Tony Bird and Martin Stringer.

Phil Thornton… Well thanks for digging this out Martin ! (I don’t remember ever seeing this before) didn’t we have a bass player ?

Alan Esdaile… It would be interesting to know the story behind the props.

Tony May… A definite touch of The Bonzo’s by the look of this pic! (lol)

Martin Stringer… Hi Phil, hope all well with you and yours.  Can’t remember a bass player.

Tony Bird… the fifth member of the band was Mick Ingram and the photo was taken at my studio called Wing at Ninfield circa 1980 and the props what part of the studio decoration. Now that’s recycling.

Julian Richards… cannot forget the Abysmal Sisters , great music , lots of humour ! I went back to Bexhill in September 2014 for 3 weeks , live in Perth , Australia , my best mate Richard Crawley took me in to see Tony Bird , he even gave me a copy of the A/sisters on CD , what a great surprise , still sounds bloody good even after such a long time . Great to see Tony is still in business , you bloody Legend !!
regards , Julian Richards ( Formerly of Bexhill )

You can hear Tony talking about The Abysmal Sisters on my recent radio show… https://www.mixcloud.com/alan-esdaile-johnny-mason/johnny-mason-60s-and-70s-show-on-chr-with-special-guest-tony-bird-180719/

Forerunner to Ritz – 1976/1978? in Rye. Anyone remember the name of the band?

img301 img300

img302 img303

supplied by Martin Stringer

Martin Stringer, Andy Caine, Lurgi, Andy Knight and Paul Gambo.

Mitch Mitchell…Remember seeing Ritz at Ore Community Centre…and a song that. Stuck in my mind was all about My Car Won’t Go.

Andy Caine… Wow!! Did we play anywhere? Have a name?

Martin Richter… blimey – what ever happened to Gambo?

Terry Pack… Lurg = Rob Edworthy

Roy Penfold… I remember being dragged into a Cunning Stunts open mic gig with him at the Crypt many years ago. Haven’t seen or heard of him since!

Will Cornell… Judging by the bottom photo, I’d say the name of this band was….wait a minute are we in mixed company?

Andy Knight… 1978 I think, post Steppin Out, remember rehearsing in The Box.

Stringer Jones – Early 70’s

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photos supplied by Martin Stringer

Martin Stringer & Malcolm Jones

Clive Jones… Thats Martin Stringer and Malcolm Jones.

Joanne Hunter… These guys are on my Whatever Happened To…? list.

Alan Esdaile… Sadly Malcolm is no longer with us but Martin now lives in Ireland  and making a name for himself as Mairtin The Magician and Mentalist.

Clive Jones… Joanne, I wish you had posted this three years ago. I’m sure Malcolm would have happily told you himself about his interesting life as a singer song writer,multi instrumentalist,poet and all round entertainer. Unfortunately he passed away suddenly in 2013. However if you do wish to follow it up I will gladly put you in touch with people who he knew in Stony Stratford, where a was very much a celebrity for the last 25 years of his life – Clive Jones(brother)


RITZ various & The Crown review.

Martin Stringer, Marytn Baker, Paul Guimbeau, Paul Dengate, Judith Clarke & Andy Knight.


Paul Dengate photo



1996 review  -supplied by Phil Little. Music Files.

Phil Gill… I sort of vaguely remember this gig.

John Laidlaw… You stood in for me, Phil? I thought I’d remember that… if only because I’d have been worried they wouldn’t want me back after.

Phil Gill… You’re very kind, but you needn’t have worried. I have a low mandolin threshold.

Peter Bridger… I was at that gig. Still have the cassette I bought – but nothing to play it on!