Big Dee Irwin – Hastings Pier – 11th July 1964 by Andre Martin and info required on The Marauders

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.

Anyone help?

 

The Hollies & The Strangers Five – Hastings Pier 7th March 1964

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hollies

Andre Palfrey-martin collection. Ticket supplied by Pete Millington

Andre Martin….Here is something from 50 years ago – The Hollies playing the Happy Ballroom on 7th March 1964 + The Strangers Five, all for 6/-

Andy Qunta…. Would have loved to see that! Big Hollies fan, then & now!

Terry Pack….I played with Bobby Sansom’s band at The Top Rank Club in Brighton for six months in 1982/3. He was a great singer

and from Top Of The Pops – Just One Look

Margaret Cullingworth… Along with friends I went to see The Hollies on Hastings Pier that night. There I met for the first time the nice young man I was destined to marry. ‘Just One Look’ is definitely on the play list for our Golden Wedding anniversary party next month as that is all it took!

Peter Millington… I was there, the sound of Eric Haydock’s Fender VI through a Fender Bassman 2×12 Piggy Back Amp was stunning, never got over that and the harmonies. The drummer for that visit was Don Rathbone who left shortly after this gig and was repalced by Bobby Elliott.

Margaret Cullingworth…My husband and I go to Hollies concerts whenever they are in our area. We went to Eastbourne and Brighton on the last tour. I was pleased to know the name of the support group, The Strangers Five. I wonder if any of them went on to find fame!

Andre Martin…. The Strangers Five, were from Southampton and appeared regularly on the Pier over the years – here is a quote from their website Sometime after that, we formed the “Five Strangers”. The band comprised of me, ‘Fred Funnel’, Brian Fisher, Roy Bridle and Bill Yaldren. We did some great gigs at that time. I remember ‘The Candlelight Club’ at Woolston, and the ‘Empire Hall’ at Totton. One of the best was the Saturday morning “Gaumont Show”. Quite a few of the local bands did the show and it was just fantastic…To be 17 years old and playing on a big, real theatre stage with an audience of several hundreds screaming for more at the end of each song did make us ‘Feel Good’. Sometimes there would be 2 groups on and sometimes they might have us, plus a guest singer, such as ‘Tex Roberg’. Well….. It was just wonderful.  This group later changed their name to Wishful Thinking.

Peter Millington…Saw The Hollies twice – life was never the same after that….Yes it was 1964 although The Hollies came to Hastings Pier on 24th August 1963. Seeing them for the second time in 1964 made me appreciate just how good they were. The first time I just glazed over in amazement at the precision high harmonies. They seemed to be better than their records although live performances give you a “feel” particularly with Eric Haydock pounding out his speedy bass lines with a Fender VI through a Fender amp. There was a time in 1963/4 where all the big names were using kit that we could only see on TV or in brochures. Getting any gear locally was impossible. Eventually we (The Confederates) managed to get a full line-up of Vox gear and a shiny set of Premier drums by going up to the Vox factory and Musicland in Bexleyheath. We came back with the mother of all HP debts. Well you got to haven’t you. To quote a local musician who shall remain nameless “Well that’s showbusiness Dad”

Jon McCallion… I still print the Hollies progs every year when they are on tour. Still a good band, saw them two years ago, fantastic. They are still big in New Zealand.

Andy Qunta… Big on my iPod too!

Mick Knights… At the Crosby and Nash concert at the Albert Hall a couple of years ago, Alan Clark made a guest appearance and sang ‘Bus Stop’ to probably the loudest applause of the whole evening.

Gerry Forsch… Is this the night that the Hollies had a crash in Robertsbridge?