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In the beginning - 1978 - 1980.

Being brought up on The Beatles, I could often be found in my bedroom banging a couple of lengths of dowel on my bed in rhythm to Lucy in the Sky with diamonds or Good morning, Good morning off the Sgt Peppers lonely hearts club band LP. Cissy tracks such as Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby or She's leaving home, which only contained string quartets were banished - sacrilege I thought - no drums. I now realise these tracks for the marvels they truly are.

Pretty soon, the little gang of lads who were my closest friends were getting guitar pangs. Brian Connor, no doubt influenced by hippy Harry, our Science teacher's lab assistant who practiced his acoustic to the thick Beatles songbook in his little back room, bought a striking jet black Colombus six string. Paul (Paddy) Muscatelli and his cousin Carl Poland started coming down to where I lived for prackies. Ever supportive, my dad got me a second hand kit out of the echo, the bloke brought it down from Billinge and showed me a couple of beats including Fleetwood Mac's 'Albatros' with a couple of ball ended sticks on the cymbals.

Our house, the caretakers flat actually to the Blackburn Assurance building on Dale Street was ideal as we had no neighbours to complain about the racket and we had a big empty basement room (which was actually at ground floor level - because we lived on the 1st floor and upwards) - this was used for rehearsals. I remember us doing the Animals 'House of the rising sun' primarily because Carl knew it and played it well.

Eventually Chris Baccino got a guitar too before eventually buying Brian's Columbus - Hessy's and Curly Music on Stanley Street must have got fed up of seeing us as we broke more strings and sticks than learnt songs.

Well things happen, people move on, you know how it is. Brian was now a dad and living with his girlfriend Maureen in Ronald St, Old Swan. Chris was courting Marie from Jenkinson Street, Carl's visits from Wavertree got less and less as our ideas of grandure and appearances on top of the pops lessened - and too with it Paul's interest.   Another line-up was around the corner - take two. Perspective - A diary account -   1980 - 1982. Robbie Moorcroft and Colin Mansfield had been in my year at secondary school, in fact Colin and I had shared a class for the first two years. They were now attending Mable Fletcher music college in Wavertree together with a lad who would become our singer - John Dean. Robbie, playing Lead guitar and Colin on Bass meant that at least there was now a structure forming - not just 3 or 4 lads wanting to strum rhythm. During the summer of 1980 we were to get together at Ged's shed - our name for the ground level basement i'd previously mentioned. On Sunday 9th November we let ourselves loose on the world - well William Henry Street to be exact - and the Windsor Castle public house, known to one and all as the Bents.

This was to be the start of an intense 142 gig - 14 month lifespan. Colin had a Wem bass amp, Robbie a Vox, (just like the Beatles), as well as a fuzzbox and wah wah pedals, my dad took out a loan with the HFC bank in St. John's precinct and a real deal blue glittery 'Olympic' kit was mine - the P.A. system which enabled John to reach the high notes on the Police's Roxanne was a 'Flame' - red in colour too.

Some of the songs we were to cover over the following year were:
My Sharona by The Knack. 2-4-6-8 Motorway – The Tom Robinson band. I got you – Split Enz. Three by The Police: Roxanne, Message in a bottle and Dee do do do Dee da da da. The Beatles   I feel fine, Come Together, Get Back and Got to get you into my life. Just what I needed by The Cars. Another brick in the wall – Pink Floyd. Down the dustpipe - Status Quo. Don’t believe a word – Thin Lizzy. Dancing in the moonlight – Thin Lizzy. Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry. Different for girls – Joe Jackson. Is She really going out with him – Joe Jackson. And even a few originals written by Colin and Robbie: I’m Down, New Wave blues,The clap song (before the clap meant v.d. thank you), Keep it to yourself (this could have been about v.d. though) and More than a woman.

Beggars can't be choosers and as John was the only one of us capable of driving but wheel-less, we relied upon the good faith of Eddie Gilday and Tony Wright who owned the obligatory white van rust bucket though we did sometimes cadge a lift in Riley's white and yellow sunblest 7.5 tonner wagon. Riley being friends of ours and the fore-runner of well known local group 'Groundpig'.

By the end of the year we now had three regular gigs. The Windsor Castle, The Red Star (commie club) in Shaw Street and The Henglers Circus on Everton Road. We ended the year by playing at a new, fourth venue, the Clock on Salisbury street, a 100 yard walk from Robbie’s in Field Street, the gig being on new years eve and notable as it became our biggest pay packet to date @ £50 and the first time we were ever photographed. In contrast I was earning £16.55 in my 9-5 Shipping job in Dale Street on one of Maggie Thatcher’s new Work Experience Programmes.

When we weren’t playing we were nearly always practising to get the set repertoire tight and up to the late twenties in number. Colin and Robbie announced another two venues respectively, the Mitre which was just around the corner from the ‘shed’ where our debut of 3 sets taking in a bumper 34 songs went down a storm and the Throstles Nest, a well known rough house at the time on Scottie Road. It raised eyebrows amongst us, particularly when it was reported that the reason for the vacancy was because the last group on there were ‘bottled’ because they were shite.

Robbie assured us that his brother Mark and mates Tony Vaughan, Ben Allen and Kevin Wharton (who used to come down to the shed to watch us rehearse) knew all the ‘heads’ along the road including the manager, 'Knock', and with them in tow supporting us, we’d be alright – after all we were doing 'joint' favourites Floyd and Genesis (if you know what I mean) we were, going down great, to the backdrop of the local Errol Flynn lookalike glass collector 'Charlie' shouting ‘Hollywood’ at regular intervals

Perspective at The Clock - Salisbury St L5 - New years eve 80  and (right and below) at the Throstles Nest.

The following month was eventful as it was announced that Les O’Connell, brother of Riley’s Johnny was joining us. This added another string to our bow as he was a pianist - yes, a pianist I said. New songs were rehearsed and added to the set from Mon 9th March, these being.

In the air tonight – Phil Collins. Breakfast in America – Supertramp. It’s still Rock N’ Roll to me – Billy Joel. Lady Madonna – The Beatles. Let it be – The Beatles. Easy – Lionel Richie. And, we also worked on and introduced a Genesis instrumental medley consisting of Dukes Travels, The Musical Box and Los Endos which went down a storm with the local pot heads.

On Mon 9th, we also invested in a small Vauxhall Viva van. Deany was the only one who could drive so more work was lumped onto his shoulders, being quite handy he also made a roofrack out of an old pallet. I swear that sometimes the stuff on that rack increased the van height by double – we were once stopped by the Police for overloading and some of us, there were the 5 group members and half the equipment in the back, had to get a taxi. The first driving job was to take our new posters we’d had made up to the Throstles to advertise our forthcoming appearances. New venues were now coming thick and fast and in the month of April we added a private party gig in the Deysbrook Hall off Deysbrook Lane, the Dovecot, Gatsby’s, The Almond Tree, Our Lady’s, Crawfords Club and the Thatcher.

Things were happening, Steve McMullen, a local well known ‘head’ whose family ran the Westmoreland on Scottie road, better known as the Honky Tonk aka Dolly Hickies decided he’d become our manager, he’d heard us somewhere and who were we to argue as he muscled in on our rehearsal sessions with his meatheads.

To be fair, whilst they didn’t really get us many gigs or further money, they didn’t want anything out of it either, probably just to be connected to a bunch of misfits who could help them pass their time away whilst sharing a joint or two, and I don’t mean Sunday roast.

Our gigs were now moving a little further afield. The Dovecot and the Thatcher were in Dovecot and Cantril Farm respectively, or should that be ‘Perspectively’ and Gatsby’s actually advertised their forthcoming attractions in the Liverpool Echo so our name was nearly in lights, definitely in print. Gatsby’s was somewhere that I frequented with my mates Chris, Ditty, and Walshy every weekend anyway and it was always packed. They put us on Thursdays though to try and generate some extra bodies in the place, we always brought our own little crew so we more than paid for ourselves. The Almond Tree was way out in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire – a true distant gig across the moss, thirty or so minutes away, why, we were nearly booking an overnight stay so we could thrash the hotel room like real rock stars – no, only kidding.

Crawfords was a one off where we played at the biscuit factory’s club in Binns Road with our friends Riley and top comedian Davy Royal was also on the bill. Another gig on Thursday 23rd April was to celebrate the Throstles Nest centenary week as it was open 100 years. There was a beer drinking contest as local boxer Joey Frost downed three pints in 23 seconds and promptly returned them just as fast. It was the occasion of our 2nd photograph session too. (as seen above)

One night after rehearsals, we all piled into the van having been invited to a party in a house somewhere in Toxteth, one of those big high ceiling Georgian gaffs. One or two of the lads knew of a newly formed, up and coming band who were making a name for themselves locally. Apparently they had a tour of Scotland coming up and were looking for a warm up band to go on before them. We were touted, it was discussed and my mind wandered to the Beatles Larry Parnes auditions where they backed him up in Scotland before they were famous, then reality set it.

I remarked that I’d already had two weeks holiday out of my four weeks allowance in work. That was that then because this was a two month tour lined up. They argued that this could be our big break, but I never thought that doing cover versions would ever make us it big on top of the pops or anything, everything being released was new, not like these days. The band turned out to be a new romantic outfit, famed as much for their bizarre hair as their music – A flock of seagulls, who went on to have two chart hits with ‘I ran’ and ‘Wishing’ as well as making it massive in America. Oh well.

By the end of the month we’d added a 14th venue – The Pembroke club in Pembroke place. Known as the Dorchester it was a far cry from a posh sounding hotel as it was a cellar dive in the Cavern mould with cheap ale and was very dark and atmospheric with a little nook and cranny stage area – it was great actually. In fact our first date there was a Sunday afternoon on 26th April and we had to do a quick set down and get off afterwards as we were playing the Mitre the very same night. A Kirkby Labour Club gig reaping in £60 became our biggest earner to date in that, another eventful week which also saw us play Brady’s which was formerly the world famous Eric’s in Mathew Street. This was a sort of gigathon with other groups on the bill, the best of which were probably the Front Room who were actually selling their new single there called Joe Public.

At this point, I was outgrowing my drum kit and after subtlety mentioning it to my dad, he, as ever, came up trumps when he said we could trade my old one in and get a bigger and better Premier kit from the Acme drum shop in Cheapside, it was like all my Christmas’s came at once and I’m still eternally grateful. It was a glazed, cream set with triple toms which were open bottomed and had a great sound to them.  

The end of that week saw us playing publicly for exactly 6 months having completed 80 gigs.On Saturday 16th May we played at C.F. Mott College of Higher Education at Liverpool Road, Prescot on behalf of the students union who contracted us to play having seen us two months earlier in the Dovecot. This for me was possibly our finest hour and as luck would have it we taped it on a cassette recorder carefully placed so that it got a real mix of all the different instruments. In fact the Philips C120 tape was so good that it was lent out, passed from pillar to post and eventually all track was lost of it so unfortunately it was never returned. Maybe someone was keeping it for when we made it big, I’d like to think so but it's more likely that it found its way into a landfill via the binmen actually.

It was a vibrant gig, witnessed by a load of head banging beer swilling students on an end of term drinking spree. They could have been hard to please but we went down so well that we were invited back for their September end of year event.

The next new venue was a freebie of sorts on behalf of our manager, Ste, who the previous week had invited us all up to his big house off Sheil Road for a nights drinking whilst watching Rocky on his, as yet then unheard of, big screen tv’s. The Variety Club on Norton Street had a very steep staircase leading from the street up to the bar level on the first floor. I remember being at the bottom end of Les’s electric piano, it seemed like a ton weight. As I set up my drums I looked behind me and was amazed to find that the wall and floor were coming away from each other and I could clearly see daylight below. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the building was condemned and demolished, the new coach station stands nearby now.

Our posters went up in each of these 3 pubs as well as on derelict warehouses around Mathew St where we were competing with the likes of the far flashier posters of 'Afraid of mice', 'Pete Burns',   'Deja Vu', Mojo Filter and 'Blue Vein' In all we played the Throstles on 32 occassions, The Henglers Circus on 20, The Red Star club 15 and the Mitre - 11.

Some of the Echo advertisements put in by the pubs in question, others included Daley's Dandelion and 'The She' club. I'm also seen here in 'the shed' practising. Our only contract coincided with our best performance (imho) also be taped on a cassette at the C.F. Mott college where we had to please the 1981 end of term students and we did. The tape was subsequently lent out and lost - or is it?

May 81 was our most productive month as a touring group with 19 shows, even working on 7 consecutive nights from the 12th through to the 18th but we were only to perform six more gigs in this present guise as family commitments meant that Deany, becoming ever more unreliable went on his merry way and was promptly replaced by Robbie’s sister, Anita. These new set of circumstances meant that we had to quickly learn a new set and get back out there to keep the continuity going, suiting Anita's dulcet tones, this would become more of a Social Club type repertoire. The new set would consist of:

I’m coming out – Diana Ross. Southern Freeze – Southern Freeze. I want your Love – Chic. Good Times – Chic. I will survive – Gloria Gaynor. Stay With me till dawn – Judy Tzuke. River deep mountain high – Ike & Tina Turner. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac. Because the night – The Patti Smith group. Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders. Shakin' all over – Johnny Kidd & The Pirates. The Logical Song – Supertramp, and again, a few more written by ourselves, Take my time, Who knows the answers, Don’t try and stop me, Sections and Jazz Rock.

Exactly one month later on Sunday 20th July, Anita made her singing debut for us knocking out 13 numbers on one straight set to a lively audience at her local – The Clock. We were back there just over a week later, this time with 20 numbers, we still kept the Genesis Instrumental medley in and a couple of other instrumentals which previously gave Deany’s voice a well earned rest at regular intervals.

The first few weeks of August saw us debut at three new venues on the trot. The Mayflower in Fazakerley Street, Daley’s Dandelion in nearby Dale Street and the Prince Alfred on Rice Lane, Walton. I remember in the last place a group of lads were about to get off when Les started practising the Genesis medley during a sound check shortly after setting up, one of them came over and said ‘Do you do that song, do you do Genesis’, we said yes, so they stayed. They had to wait until the very end to hear it mind you.

It was around this time that we got with an agency in Anfield, the idea being they could get us into the social club circuit and increase our earnings too. Gig number 100 was at the Kensington Fields social club on Hall Lane on Sunday 30th August. We also played the next night on this bank holiday weekend at the Clock, taking our earnings for the weekend to nearly £100.

Childwall Social Club was next up followed by Speke Rugby club and then our return visit to C.F. Mott College. I felt we weren’t received quite as well as the previous outing in May but that was a lot to live up to anyway. I felt the change to a girl singer with a much changed set was the reason for this, however, it was a slightly larger fee than last time so figure that one out. Yes, they were expecting the same as before.

Seaforth Social club, St. Domingo’s Club, The 174 Club, Walton Hospital S.C. and Whispers wine bar in Bold Street were all new additions during the month of October. Sandwiched in between these were the ever faithful Throstles Nest and Clock and we’d soon clocked up (pardon the pun) the first 25 performances with Anita as singer.

Around this time, a bloke called Terry, who the lads knew from Mabel Fletcher college started to pop down the shed to rehearse a few songs with us. Known to them as ‘The room upstairs’ – a private joke I think, this Charles Manson lookalike, a beefy bloke with a full beard and beady eyes, would get up and do a rousing rendition of Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven followed by the Kinks, You really got me and Alright Now by Free. He was either well into it or stoned off his head, at least he didn’t try to strip off on stage like he did whilst rehearsing it, he'd show up at the Throstles and get up on stage with us belting them out.

The Henglers Circus came back on board on Monday 2nd November, our first performance there in 6 months. Another newy, courtesy of our agent was the United Services Club off Park Road in the Dingle. Local youth club, Shrewsbury House (the Shewsy) off Roscommon Street which is attched to St. Peter's church and hall became the penultimate gig of the month, we were well and truly used to playing on the big stages now, set high up, above and apart from the audience.

The Hillside, facing C.F. Mott on the Huyton to Prescot road was somewhere where we’d called in on our travels up there to tout for business and it was to become our last ever new venue in mid December of 81. The Christmas and new year period turned out to be fruitful with a flurry of 5 performances in 12 days including Christmas night in the Throstles and the new years eve show at Childwall Social club earned us a clear £150.

Sadly, only four more gigs were to take place, all in January 82 ending at the ‘Shewsy’ on the 15th which was Anita’s 49 performance and the bands 142nd. Anita was leaving and whilst we rehearsed some new songs with Deany who was thinking of coming back, songs such as Abacab by Genesis, Wishing Well by Free, Bloody well right by Supertramp and Have a cigar by Pink Floyd, what could have turned out to be one of our best sets was thwarted when both Deany and myself decided to call it a day.

My work meant that I was sometimes rising from my pit just hours after returning to the ‘shed’ after mid-week and Sunday night performances, what people don’t see in this amateur game where roadies are not afforded, is all the setting up and setting down, then getting back to base etc. The other lads on the other hand were not in full time work, this was their work as well as their hobby. It just felt the right time to call it quits. The 2nd coming - Fast forward 25 years on - The Story of The Gardens. Whilst Perspective were wearing out pub carpets throughout Liverpool, Paul Muscatelli, you’ll remember from the Ged’s shed sessions had teamed up with a fellow neighbour from Gerard Crescent, Liverpool 3, Paul Sudbury. Subbo, on guitar, along with friends John Colfar keyboards) and Peter Clarke (drums) – both from nearby Cazneau Street, Clarkey being the son of the Denbigh Castle landlady had formed a band called Media. Lillian Allen (no, not that one), from Comus Street completed the line up as lead singer. After rehearsals at St. Joeys club, the line up eventually changed to Mark on drums and Simon on guitar and following an application to the Outlandus Trust, run by Sting, John Colfar managed to secure the band a Fender Rhodes keyboard. Sadly, only one gig was to follow at the Christian Street community centre which was formerly the children's lending library. (see pic at the bottom of the page)

The set performed around June 1983 included 'Picture This' by Blondie, 'Back on the chain gang' by The Pretenders and 'Because the night' by Patti Smith. This wasn't Paul's first attempt at stardom though. Sovex, named after his workplaces internal mailing system in the National Giro had been formed back in 1981 with John on drums and Martin McGhee on bass guitar. On 11th Feb 1981 they performed 4 Beatles numbers, namely - 'Do you want to know a secret', 'Things we said today', 'Ask me why' and 'From me to you' at the Giro talent competition.

Paul and I had already reacquainted ourselves with one another by 2005 through his film 'Gardens of Stone' and my books 'In a city living' which covered the same subject matter. Franny, Paul’s eldest brother, who along with his other brothers and their wives had always lent support at the screenings was with the love of his life, Ann Green. Sadly, Ann was suffering from Ovarian cancer and we were all devastated when we learned that she’d lost her long battle at the beginning of June 06. Franny wanted to put on a celebration of Ann’s life, a night out for all her family and friends which would be a charity event, all ticket, a raffle, song and dance with all proceeds going to fight ovarian cancer. There was something else though, he wanted a live band.

One of Paul’s pastimes was golf. At his golf do’s, he and his Alliance & Leicester workmate Ron Bennion would bring along their guitars to serenade the listening hoardes at the 19th hole. They knew more than a handful of songs off by heart and who was I to resist an invite to be the drummer in a newly formed get together for this truly worthy cause. John Colfar, still living a stones throw from Cazneau Street and still Paul’s friend was the obvious pianist having been an original part of Media, Paul’s son John, aged just 15, and so bringing the average age back down from the hundreds completed the line up as luckily he was just getting into the bass guitar – talk about fate again. Paul came up with the name ‘The Gardens’ in commemoration of Gerard Gardens.

John Colfar helped set up The Everton Development Trust which is housed on Great Homer Street in the old premises which was the Lamplighter pub. We could use the ground floor offices as a rehearsal room, snatching three hour sessions most tuesday or thursday nights and perhaps the odd saturday lunchtime until the big gig. With tickets selling fast in excess of 300, Franny had to change the venue from the Seaforth & Litherland Constitutional club in Field Lane, Litherland to the Silvestrian on Silvester Street.The gig saw us complete in matching tee shirts of the Bruce Springsteen E Street band tour dates ilk but our wording said 'The Gardens on tour - The Silvestrian: Friday 13th October 2006. Future dates cancelled due to popular demand'. The full songlist set consisted of:

Stuck in the middle with you/Long Tall glasses – medley. Stealers Wheel/Leo Sayer. Dance the night away – The Mavericks. Daydream Believer – The Monkees. Dancing in the moonlight – Toploader. Dancing in the dark – Bruce Springsteen. The Ballad of John & Yoko – The Beatles. Brown eyed girl – Van Morrison. 500 Miles – The Proclaimers.Twisting the night away/Please Mr Postman medley – Sam cooke/Beatles Take your mama/Benny & the Jets/Saturday night’s alright (for fighting) medley – Scissor Sisters/Elton John. Altogether Now/Movie star medley – The Farm/Harpo, and an encore number: Don’t look back in anger – Oasis.

Hitting the road again 25 years on. A bit greyer, ok - a lot greyer but with 3 teenage girls who wouldn't be? With nappy changing well and truly out of the way (they only keep us up in the early hours with the partying now), it was time to twirl those sticks again. A hastily assembled Hohner drum kit from the window of Youngs on Stanley Road and it was off we go, just like we'd never been away.


 Buoyed by our performance and the audience reaction at the charity gig for Ann the previous October, we decided to have a go at the prestigious Mathew Street festival which is part of the Beatles weekend on the August bank holiday, an event enjoyed en masse by locals and many from overseas who make the annual pilgrimage.

For this, a special Beatles set would be arranged but the first snag to overcome was that John Colfar, our keyboard extraordinaire was still changing his underpants from stage fright after his nervous yet almost note perfect performance last year and so decided to opt out of any future gigs, having found his fame and fortune in property management – lucky sod.

This also meant that a new rehearsals room had to be sought including consideration of rooms in London Road and the dock road. Eventually, Ron was able to acquire the use of his brother-in-law’s warehouse in Widnes which was used for fork lift truck training during the day.

The place was large and hollow which led to good acoustics. Paul worked on laying down some trumpet solos via his Yamaha Keyboard so we could have an adventurous go at the likes of Penny Lane, When I’m 64 and Abbey Road tracks. The timings against our ‘live’ performance didn’t work so we settled for tried and tested 3 guitars and drums tracks instead. It was spring going on summer by the time we got going seriously so the warehouse wasn’t too bad and we got a lot done before there were enforced absences due to each of us having family holidays in July and August.

I was the last to get back, just a few days before the big gig which left us just one day for a final rehearsal on the very eve of the gig itself but we needn't have worried. At this session it was decided we would drop some of the weaker numbers, these being ‘I’ve got a feeling’, ‘Can’t buy me love’, ‘Don’t let me down’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’.

We’d secured the Head of Steam in Lime Street some weeks before which gave us a goal to aim for. A couple of lads ran an operation called Piecake Promotions who were responsible for the entertainments there and we were in. We’d be using their equipment as the whole day would see a number of groups take to the stage on a rolling basis. The format would see us doing an afternoon and an evening session, the audience ever changing throughout the day except for our long suffering – err I mean loyal following of family and friends.

The build up to the Mathew Street festival had been fraught politically. This was our Capital of Culture year 08 but the city’s big dig around the L1 Grosvenor development on Paradise Street and the Pier Head canal link had meant that the city council had scrapped all the outdoor venues on the specially erected stages they’d constructed in past years.

There was a huge outcry but we thought that this would mean more people having to cram into the indoor venues such as where we were playing. The uptake was slow on the day, perhaps the scheduled 1pm start was a bit optimistic, people would shop first then turn up laden with bags and make a day – and night of it. The running order was put back a couple of hours then Ashey, one of the organisers got up to do a little acoustic set.

Before we knew it, we were on. Starting with tight, tried and tested standards we’d been practicing till we knew them backwards, the idea being to get off to a good confident start with nothing too demanding. ‘Things we said today’ fitted the bill perfectly and is a lively number too, followed by ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ – the only song we’d done previously at our debut gig. Paul introduced this song by telling the ever increasing crowd that we’d now be doing a Beatles song, the only one of their singles that didn’t contain the title of the song in its lyrics and did anyone know it? ‘A hard days night’ came a shout from the audience – we knew right then we had nothing to fear.  

After ‘The ballad’ came ‘All my loving’ – our own re-worked version which saw Paul almost talk the first verse to a single guitar strum per passage as in the ‘A taste of honey’ intro off the Beatles first album. Then we all entered straight into the ‘I’ll pretend that I’m kissing, the lips I am missing….’   Given this was the first time ‘proper’ we’d performed this just how we’d arranged it, it was going well. ‘No reply’ came next, a song not often covered, this was a ploy by us, dig out some of the more obscure album tracks, we knew the Beatles festival party goers, the ones really into them would know these and they did – even a couple of the other band members seated near the stage were heartily singing along.

‘This Boy’ slowed down the set a bit, we included this as although it drones on a bit early on, it picks up in the chorus ‘oh and this boy, would be happy…’ ‘You’ve got to hide your love away’ saw harmonies between Ron and Paul, done acoustically, my role being strictly tambourine. ‘Ob la di – ob la da’ lifted the tempo again and then another little known track we threw in was the ‘B’ side to the Beatles debut single, a lively little number which uplifted the set again in ‘P.S. I love you’. Paul did an instrument change to mandolin at this point as Paul pointed out to the audience we were going from the Beatles first single, right up to date with McCartney’s new offering ‘Dance Tonight’ complete with mandolin solo. An edited version of both the afternoon and evening sessions of this song is available to see on youtube by clicking the link below by the photographs.

Paul stayed on this instrument, acquired in the USA just a month or so before, for the next song which was another album track called ‘I’ve just seen a face’ – a fast, fit as many words into a single verse as you can sort of song – very uplifting. ‘Revolution’ came next, not the slow white album version and not really resembling the single version either but more of a ‘Revolution’ – the Gardens way. Possibly the weakest and least worked on of the set but that’s just my take on it, the watching and listening public would never have noticed – mind you – that’s my take on it too. After that song, with all its changes and all, a simple one next – ‘One after 909’. This was written by John Lennon back in the 1950s but only saw the light of day more than a decade later during the ‘Let it be’ sessions. Paul ad libbed some lyrics to include ‘packed my bags – at lime street station’ which after all was where we were playing.

We carried on the ‘rooftop’ theme next with ‘Get back’ which we also somehow managed to morph into ‘The End’ off Abbey Road which gave me the chance to try and emulate Ringo’s only ever real drum solo – nothing too challenging there then, Lennon had already stated that Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles – no pressure there then. Just like on the Abbey Road album, ‘The end’ wasn’t really the end as there was actually the singalong finale still to come. McCartney had given us this idea from all of his ever frequent but welcoming world tours when year on year ‘Hey Jude’ complete with audience participation would end the show. Ours was no exception and went down just as well, well it seemed so after six bottles of Magners, particularly the evening session’s version which included an impromptu special guest appearance by a friend of Ron’s and Paul’s in John Cummins belting out for all it was worth on tambourine as the audience danced and swayed before us and sang from the rear – Naaa – na na na na na naaaaaa. The show was over, a gig well worth repeating maybe – watch this space.

A few pictures taken at both sessions. Paul even managed to edit together the daytime and evening versions of our take on McCartney's then newest offering 'Dance Tonight' complete with note for note Mandolin solo which can be seen and heard on youtube here.


With Paul's film 'Gardens of Stone' being integral to the 'Little Italy' area upon which Gerard Gardens was eventually built, Ron Formby of the Scottie Press soon had Liverpolitalia contact him. The outcome was Paul's film would be shown, my model exhibited and as somewhat of an afterthought, it was disclosed that these two geezers were part of a music group too.

Sunday 3rd February was the gig date, the event would start at 1pm with talks, buffet, more talks, the film show and then musical entertainment. It was decided amongst us that Paul, or perhaps I should say Liz, his wife, would endure the sounds of our rehearsals at their abode in Croxteth Park to save trundling down to Widnes all the time.

New equipment was being added along the way now with a more powerful P.A. system in the form of Peavey speakers and a proper mixing desk. We knew we had the tried and tested lively songs such as 'Stuck in the middle', 'Brown eyed girl', 'The Ballad' and 'Dance Tonight' so it was just a case of adding a few more. John had acquired a new electric guitar for Christmas so the idea was they would mix and match depending on the song. A few new electric guitar based songs, giving us more a feel of an electric group would be rehearsed. We practised 'The last time', a Rolling stones rock standard as well as ‘Proud Mary’ made famous by Tina Turner, 'The one I love' - a repetitive little ditty by R.E.M. and to bring us right up to date 'Valerie' which had just made the charts originally by the Zutons but also new female sensation Amy Winehouse. Valerie would have to wait until the next gig though, deemed unfit just now.  

Also dismissed after a couple of tries were ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by the Deep Blue something and Simon and Garfunkels ‘The Boxer’ – well it was a gig in tribute to a boxer wasn’t it? A sprinkling of Irish favourites were to be included though which would make it all the more worthwhile in Paul utilizing his mandolin, instead of only on 'Dance Tonight'. These were 'Whisky in a jar', 'The Irish Rover' and 'Dirty old town' - probably the best known versions of these were covered by Thin Lizzy, The Pogues and The Spinners respectively. We’d also give ‘Squeezebox’ by the Who the Gardens treatment too, minus the squeezebox of course.

The basis of our rehearsals would now take the form of an informal gathering in Paul's garage which became a home cinema come snooker room but was now in its 4th guise as a mini recording studio. When tight enough and sure of our arrangement of the music, we would move on to the lock up in Widnes for a real bash at full pelt. This we did on one of the coldest days of the year, so with coats left on, we sorted out the arrangements and this accomplished, we were ready for the gig.

Although not going on stage until 6pm to bring proceedings to a close, we had to be there from around 11am for Paul to sort out his film, set up the dvd, sound levels etc and for me to erect the model and resident listings board. With that done, the equipment was set up and we ran through 3 numbers to get a feel for the size of the hall and the sound levels. This done, it was a case of enjoying the day as family, friends and a full house audience arrived to listen to tales about Dom Volante from boxing association big wigs and his associates and family.

One of these, local historian and personality Frank Carlyle, himself ex Gerard Crescent like Paul and I exhibited a piece of Gianelli’s chippy memorabilia in the form of the glazed dish which had took pride of place in their window display from way back when. Frank, having had a few bevies by now with family and friends placed the said item very gingerly on a precariously balanced makeshift stand hastily erected just before the speeches, thankfully it remained in situ for the endurance or it could have been a disaster.

The time soon came for us to take to the stage in our ‘band’ Capacity. We always ensure the first few numbers get the audience in the mood so ‘lively’ is the order of the day, starting with our usual repertoire which went down well before keeping them on the dancefloor by entering straight into the three new Irish offerings. Such was the success of the day that an unexpected bonus for us was an extra dropsy at the end of it all. Yes, we were enjoying this all over again.

The Gardens take to the stage at 6pm. Earlier in the day, a packed hall including ex Little Italy residents had recounted memories of the Gerard Gardens area, taking a look at the model and resident listings. Peter Wilson and Gerry Murphy of liverpolitalia held a raffle including a signed, framed picture of Dom Volante for whom this event was held.


Ron Formby of the Scottie Press, the longest running community newspaper still in circulation decided that based upon the success of the Scottie Road reunion some 5 years back, it was time to bring the old community back together again in this year of Liverpool's capital of culture. Last time, he reports that he could have sold the tickets four times over, with bands, comedians and dance acts wowing the crowds who were spread over two concert rooms from noon till midnight.

Sunday 8th June was the next deadline we had to aim for and a few new songs were to be rehearsed in the meantime. As with our last practise sessions, we would do the bulk of the laying down and arrangements over at Paul's house with the full blast at the Widnes lock up to follow when the weather got a bit warmer. We knew the usual songs so well now that four or five of them could be put on the back burner to concentrate on the new additions.

‘The Last time’, ‘The one I love’ and ‘Valerie’ and other additions such as Del Shannon's ‘Runaway’ – complete with lead solo, ‘Proud Mary’, as practiced earlier, ‘Crackling Rosie’ by Neil Diamond and our very own version of Elvis’ ‘Suspicious Minds’. To commemorate the Scottie Press in some small way, Paul established that Rod Stewart’s ‘Maggie May’ was No1 in 1971 as the first Scottie Press rolled off the err – press, and as if by magic, the song was also in Paul and Ron’s 101 Guitarioke songbook so what other criteria was required – it was a goer.   Another REM song, ‘Man on the moon’ was tried but binned and Wings’ ‘Mull of Kintyre was also mooted but we’d left it a bit late to pracky with a piper though there would be one or two scheduled to play.

May saw us with a number of midweek ‘home’ prackys, followed with a sunny Sunday afternoon at Widnes, that was until the mixer gave out again, bang on cue before a note was even played. It wasn’t the only thing smoking as Paul fumed at the prospect of another trip to Dawsons – they’d hate us, but wait a mo, this was brand new stuff, it shouldn’t be giving out like this on only half pelt. Paul decided to upgrade to a Yamaha, the difference was immense, you could hear now that there was definitely something up with that last crap.  

The morning of the gig itself went well with a quick run through half a dozen of the songs to get the sound levels sorted. We mixed it up a bit as there were acoustic based songs, mandolin and lecky guitar for the last few. The Lord Mayor opened proceedings at noon to the accompaniment of a lone piper, fresh from his parade through the city centre on the previous day. Various styled bands including pipes, drums, flutes, the James Larking band and solo acts strutted their stuff and soon after Stevie Faye, the comedian had been on, it was our turn.

Overhearing remarks such as 'They were the best band of the day' makes it all worthwhile - oh and that pay packet too but this is fun really, we'd given up on the millionaire/top of the pops route long ago. The night ended with the resident DJ playing some classics in between some karaoke stints by the ample sized audience that stayed until the doors closed.

Our friend and ex band member, John Colfar took these pictures at our Widnes rehearsal warehouse. We value his honest opinion to get the sound levels right and he also attended the Silvestrian soundcheck and performance.

The gig itself. Scotland Road, famous the world over and this event was via beamed via satellite to 600 million people in 200 countries. Well ok, maybe not but we enjoyed it just the same and took our curtain call an hour and a half later.



MEDIA - 1983. The band members seen here from left to right are Mark, John, Lilian, Paul and Simon

Mabel Fletcher College, Sandown Road, Wavertree as pictured on 7th Feb 1972, quite a few years before Colin, Robbie and John of 'Perspective' would be perfecting their trade - did I say perfecting?

The Stage at C.F. Mott College where arguably our finest moment took place. The chairs were replaced by cheers as we wowed the hoarding masses with covers of The Police, The Cars, Floyd and Genesis.

C.F. Mott was addressed as 'The Hazels' - Prescot but was only a little higher up from the Bluebell in Huyton. Whilst taking a break, we nipped opposite to the Hillside pub and arranged a date there for a few weeks later.

The Throstles Nest became a regular gig during 1981 with 32 appearances. The entrance we used was in Chapel Gardens as the small stage was almost facing. Many a time our little Vauxhall Viva MK1 van would pull up outside casting a shadow as the roofrack was piled high with amps, how we were never on police, camera, action - I don't know.

The Mitre which is now the Ship & Mitre was a venue we got when the lads called in one night en route to the rehearsal room which was just around the corner. The debut gig a short while later was a mammoth 3 sets with 34 songs, some of which i'm sure we must've done twice on the sly.

The Mayflower, Fazakerley Street and The Prince Alfred, Rice Lane. Both of these we first played in whilst with Anita, debuting in August 81. The Mayflower advertised us in the Echo whilst the Alfred was the place where a gang of lads were getting off until they heard Les rehearsing the Genesis medley during the soundcheck.

The Bents house on William Henry Street where it all started. Eddie Gilday's van just about started but it got us there on time until we forgot a lead and had to rush back down to the shed. We got back to Robbie's wrath as he said the manager had been giving him daggers as we weren't on yet. - Oh happy days, I bet Ozzie Osbourne never had this trouble.

The Almond Tree was so far out in West Lancashire that we considered an internal flight before realising that Skelmersdale didn't have an airport. No overnight stay either, just a trek back down the M58 and another late night unpacking the van into the early hours.

Fri 5th Dec 08

As previously mentioned, Paul and Ron work for the Alliance and Leicester bank, formerly the National Giro. Their designated charity for 2008 was Zoe's Place, indeed Paul had created a book of his Gardens of Stone film documentary and screened the film at their premises with all proceeds to the charity.

It was learnt in the autumn that other A&L workers including Lawrence Critchley were hiring part of the world famous Cavern club in Mathew Street on Friday 5th December 08 to play there in their group Xplorer. When this news got to Paul, he offered the services of 'The Gardens' as the support act and our next, and biggest gig was confirmed.

The get the opportunity to play at the same venue that the Beatles graced on over 200 occasions and in particular on the same stage that Paul McCartney adorned on 14th December 1999 with the likes of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour and Deep Purple's drummer Ian Paice was another dream come true after playing the Mathew Street festival the previous year.

Paul soon learnt that another co-worker, Siobhan McMahon was going to guest on vocals with Xplorer and made a joking sideswipe that she was snubbing the Gardens for them :o) Explaining with shock that she didn't know Paul was in a group, she agreed to guest with us too, only so good was she that it turned into nearly half the set with a very credible 8 songs and it was Xplorer who were snubbed.

Before rehearsals could begin, Ron informed us that the warehouse in Widnes we had previously used was now out of bounds but it didn't take him long to organise a replacement with his friend John. This would be a lock up/unit in St. Helens which was handy for us all.

The practicing took the form of midweek jaunts to Pauls music room in West Derby which was altogether a more intimate affair as we packed closely into his room organising the structure of each song and indeed the running order of the set.

We would start with the tried and tested 'Ballad of John & Yoko', 'Stuck in the middle with you' (minus the Leo Sayer, Long tall glasses medley) and being the Cavern, straight into another Beatles track which we'd done at the Head of Steam, 'Things we said today'.

Siobhan would then make her bow with Amy McDonald's 'Mr Rock and Roll'. With the nerves settled Siobhan would then alternate on every other song or two, and typically, as a woman would combine this by multi tasking on the tambourine as well ;o)

The only new songs we would be adding to the set from previous gigs concerned Siobhan due to the new range of songs it allowed us to perform. We would gather at St. Helens at 11.30am every sunday, myself coming straight from football at Burscough. We would practice until around 2/2.30pm repeatedly going through new numbers such as 'Be my baby' by Phil Spector's Ronettes, Roberta Flack's 'Killing me softly', 'Big Yellow Taxi' - made famous by Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith's 'Because the night' which i'd done previously in 1981 with Persepctive and Paul had done the same year with Media.   

We switched vocals on 'Proud Mary' over to Siobhan too, so now, in effect we were doing the Tina Turner version rather than the Creedence Clearwater Revival take on it. Getting right up to date, Duffy's 'Mercy' came next with a little twist to it. As it's in the same key as the Beatles' 'She loves you', and it was the Cavern after all, we started it with the 'She loves you, yeah yeah yeah intro before going into Mercy itself and then finishing with She loves you. The last track, the final encore would be another that's been performed by both male and female vocalists, the Zutons 'Valerie' but done by us in the style of Amy Winehouse. 

Ticket sales were going brilliantly, so much so that upon an evening visit to the Cavern to discuss the gig with the management, it was decided to cancel their resident band in the other room and give over the whole cellar venue to us for the night. Sold only within the confines of the A&L, the staff there soon took up the mantle to support both the chosen charity and their songsmith workmates. In fact, as each ticket was individually numbered and as it reached 500, concerns were raised as to whether some of the revellers would be outcast to the other room, only viewing us by an audio and visual link and so sales were halted.

The day itself involved a one hour soundcheck as we would be using the Cavern's own equipment, including the drums which were miked up to a central mixing desk which also controlled the lighting system and static camera. On top of this the gig would also be recorded to a cd and dvd via the same mixer and there would be official roving photographers and video footage.

We arrived at 3pm, running through songs that involved changing over instruments and foot pedals so that we had the correct levels and everyone, including the Cavern's own sound engineers were happy. Upon arrival for the gig itself, there were upwards of 150 there by 8pm, many coming straight from work that evening. We made straight for the 'out of bounds' private dressing room area which had a full length mirror and a cream leather 3 piece suite that was adorned with felt tipped pen graffiti of previous acts to appear there. The walls too were scraped with band names to the point of no spare space.

Although scheduled to appear at 9.30pm, it was in fact nearer 10pm when after a short film clip of Zoe's place, which the night was all about, we took to the stage. We organised the set so that the first 9 songs featured Paul on his red Ovation guitar, whilst John played Hofner Violin bass. Paul took up Mandolin for the next 4 songs as John continued on bass and the last 7 songs entered the louder electric phase with John on his Ibanez as Paul took over the Hofner. Ron stayed with his U.S. imported Takamine guitar throughout.

One hour and 15 minutes later and we were buzzing after playing a set including an encore, which we held back and the crowd were going to get whether they asked for it or not, luckily they did. So another success, indeed so much so that discussions with Xplorer in the cream room which was heaving after their brilliant set means there might well be a repeat in 09 so watch this space. The Set of 20 songs:

Ballad of John & Yoko, Stuck in the middle, Things we said today, Mr Rock and Roll, Brown eyed girl, Be my baby, All my loving, Killing me softly, Big yellow taxi, Dance tonight, Wild Rover, Squeezebox, Dirty old town, Because the night, The one I love, The last time, One after 909, Proud Mary, Mercy, Valerie.

The Cavern gig poster. The ticket sales went so well within the confines of the A&L that this poster didn't see the light of day elsewhere. Just as well, since Mathew Street was spelt incorrectly. Perhaps a rare item when we make it big? Ticket No. 148 and the letter given to each reveller on their entry to the club.

PIC 1: Paul and I warm up backstage. The 'green room' was buzzing with musicians, sound engineers, photographers and well wishers. PIC 2: Paul launches into the vocal to the accompaniment of his famous 'McCartney' Hofner violin bass. PIC 3: Forget me - look at that 'Cavern' backdrop. Proud as punch to play on there. PICS 4 & 5: Ron and John make their guitars sing in this very all black affair. Ron's ever faithful Takamine as John alternates between bass and lead. PIC 6: Siobhan is intense as she's Killing us softly with her song PIC 7: How about this for a back four as the dancing girls in the audience get in the mood PICS 8 & 9: These colourful montages give you the feel of the vibrant night.

Paul concentrates on his 'Dance Tonight' mandolin solo as the stage backdrop changes to green. Ron, John and Siobahn are lost deep in the moment as we near the end of the set.

Next up - the Giro club - Friday 6th February 2009

Events during the winter with large American banks going to the wall had an unfortunate knock-on effect throughout Europe and especially the big players like Germany and here in the UK. Spanish conglomorates like Santander had already swallowed up the Abbey National and now, the Alliance & Leicester (who had previously bought out the National Giro some time back) This had unfortunately resulted in some workers leaving their beloved Giro after many years service and this was epitomised no more than for our next gig which was for long time servant, Sheila.

Paul changed some of the lyrics of Simon & Garfunkels 'Cecilia' to read 'Sheila' and the Giro members of the band knew of Sheila's love for Cliff Richard and so 'Congratulations' was a must to be performed on the night, ''congratulations on getting out of the Giro'' many said and so these two songs opened the performance at 10pm. We had also learnt Delilah which a member of the audience was going to sing but she backed out at the last minute when reality finally hit home that she'd be there under those big bright lights with all eyes on her.

The rest of the set sat loosly around what we'd already performed a thousand times before in rehearsals and on the road, Giro lad 'Whitey' again getting up as he had in the Cavern to lend his vocal skills to 'Wild Rover'. The only other two additions to the tried and tested set were the Bellamy Brothers 'Let your love flow' which incidentally had just been resurrected from the memory via a current t.v. advert and we finished the night with arguably the best song of the night, as the lady revellers formed a circle around Sheila as we blasted out another new one for us, Tina Turner's 'Simply the best'. Next......

With other personal commitments out of the way and deep into the summer of 09 with a few gigs lined up, it was back to Paul's on the last thursday of July to lay down a few new tracks. We loosly ran through 'Stay with me' by Rod Stewart and the Faces as well as 'Torn' by Natalie Imbruglia, 'The Whole of the moon' by the Waterboys, 'One way or another' by Blondie, 'Real gone kid' by Deacon Blue and 'Under the moon of love' by Showaddywaddy though my voice could never be as deep as Romeo Challengers - Come on little darling take my haaaand.

With the loss of our usual 'full band' rehearsal room at St. Helens, we had sounded out Vulcan Studios on the dock road and so it was to there and Room 'M' in particular that we next met on Sunday 2nd August. Here, we spent 4 hours as we tidied up the above songs, getting the right key and structures as well as adding a run through of 'Chasing cars' by Snow patrol.

Apart from the new editions we also ran through a few of the usual suspects such as The Ballad of John & Yoko, the One after 909, Mercy and Valerie just to keep our hand in and it was like we'd never been away.

Thursday 6th August at Paul's saw the introduction of a new band member in the form of Gary Hackett. Although more than capable on keyboards and acoustic guitar, Gary will be our new bassist and having done the circuit since the 1970s, he seemed to know the bass line to every song we threw at him, thus cutting down learning time and fitting in like he'd been there all the time. Being an Evertonian with an ice blue Yamaha bass, it was also time to redress the balance a bit too.

We quickly ran through near perfect one offs of our long standing repertoire such as The Ballad of John & Yoko, Stuck in the middle with you, Brown Eyed Girl and The One after 909 whilst awaiting the arrival of Siobahn from her wedding rehearsals before we tidied up our working versions of Torn, One way or another, Real gone kid and Whole of the moon. We finished the session with Proud Mary, Mercy and Valerie, Gary now being fully integrated and eagerly awaiting our next meet up. Diary entry for Sun 9.8.09: With Gary already committed to something this weekend and Siobahn finalising the most important day of her life, no not the Cavern gig, but her wedding, it was down to Paul, Ron and I to fly the flag and go through a number of songs that we'd be doing at the next gig which will be male vocal orientated. With Vulcan booked from noon until 4, and Paul having brought his Yamaha keyboard for this session, the proposed set list went like this.

Acoustic/Guitar set: The ballad of John & Yoko, Stuck in the middle with you, Brown Eyed girl, Just wanna dance the night away, One after 909, (Medley) - Twisting the night away-Stand by me-Please Mr. Postman.

Mandolin set: Dance tonight, Squeezebox, Dirty old town, Wild Rover.

Keyboard Set: Benny and the jets, Whole of the moon, Real gone kid, My girl, Sweet Caroline, Chasing cars, Suspicious minds, Daydream believer, You're 16 and a T-Rex medley of Ride a white swan/Hot love.

Thursday 13th August: Our first real band sesh all together down at Vulcan booked in yet a different room from 7pm until 11pm and what a great pracky it turned out to be with a full sound and our tails up for the gig a week saturday Saturday - no margin for error now as we ran through all the probables like we'd been doing them for years - well some we had. 

The Gig itself was for my cousin, Vinny McGreal's 50th birthday party and it turned out to be our best yet. The day started off with glorious sunshine as we set up from 11am at the bottom of his garden and after our soundcheck, were away by 1pm. The night was warm and mild, the ale was cold and lager. Staring off at 9pm with confidence fillers for ourselves and lively dance tunes for the revellers we ran through old faves 'Ballad', 'Stuck in the middle', 'Brown eyed girl', 'Dance the night away' 'one after 909', 'Things we said today' and the 'Twistin' medley before moving onto the Mandolin set before moving into the rest of the old favourites with the keyboard including Vinny on vocals for Daydream Believer and Your 16 (changed to you're 50 for the occassion). After it was all over, Paul and I were back up backing Vinny's lads on Suspicious minds, 500 miles and a rousing rendition of Hey Jude to close the live performance for the night gone midnight - a job well done. Did I say job, we loved it.

Oh what a night.................


From when Christine Hanratty and Bobby Parry set about organising a Gerard Gardens Reunion event, a full 22 years after the demolition of our old blocks, it was all systems go throughout the month of October to be ready for the night. Christine and Bobby had set up a facebook group entitled 'old pics of Gerard Gardens, Gerard Crescent and Holy Cross' which within weeks was 400 strong. The 300 tickets for the event, to be held in the Silvestrian club, Vauxhall, selling a week ahead of the event. We knew this was going to be a good, good night - and so it was. With our format now set as informal, but very constructive practice sessions in Paul's of a thursday then the full, more time consuming set up down at Vulcan studios, we tightened up the usual set to the highest standard yet whilst adding a new number for Siobahn and resurrecting our medley from our very first gig with a complete new ending of a song from our last gig. We also ran through Lulu's 'Shout' - dropping it almost as quickly as we included it.

We introduced the proper guitar start and bass middle to Stuck in the middle and started the set with that, demoting The ballad of John and yoko to second fiddle. After 'The Ballad' was Siobahn's first number 'Proud Mary' followed with 'Just wanna dance the night away', 'Valerie', 'things we said today', 'Dance Tonight', 'Brown eyed girl' and 'Squeezebox'. The first new one of the night was the old Dusty Springfield classic 'I only want to be with you' but done in the 'Tourists' style of the 1980s with a prominent drumbeat. After 'One after 909' we went into the Creedence Clearwater revival classic recently rejuvenated for a tv advert 'Bad moon rising'. We dropped the 'She loves you' start and ending on 'Mercy' treated it as a song in its own right which it was well deserving of, the ladies of the crowd now well and truly dancing. We ended the set with 'Whole of the moon' with it's 'Crescent' lines pertanent to 'Gerards Crescent' on the night, the encore being a rousing rendition of our 'Twistin' medley featuring 'Twistin the night away - Stand by me - Please Mr Postman and Hot Love with it's never ending finish 'Na na na na na na naaa'. Old friend and Crescent resident Nicky Shea got up to blast out a hastily rehearsed version of U2's   'I still haven't found what i'm looking for'   - Look a little

A much sought after ticket and where could you spend a better £10 anytime, anywhere. It got you entrance to an event where you were seeing old friendly faces. 

It got you a free drink, hot chinese buffet and cold buffet, two groups and a 70s disco until 3am.  Right. Gerard Fleming, Christine Hanratty and Bobby Parry are engrossed in some of the old photos on show as the Liverpool Echo records the evening.

And so it was, a 45 minute set, over in a flash it seemed, a tight scheduled slot as instructed by Bobby Parry due to the strict timings with other things going on. No time for relaxing though and it was straight down to Paul's the following week to rehearse for our follow up Cavern gig on 4th Dec. For this, Dance Tonight and Squeezebox would be dropped from the Mandolin set and Brown Eyed Girl would revert to a guitar.

Six new songs were rehearsed including the Eurythmics 'Thorn in my side' and the Pretenders 'Brass in Pocket' for Siobahn to get her teeth into. Jeff Beck's 'Hi Ho Silver Lining' as well as a choiristic, yet vamped up 'Eleanor Rigby and the resurrection of 'Get Back' into 'The End' not done since The Head of Steam gig which seemed way back when. The last one, Deacon Blue's 'Real Gone Kid' will be a lively show stopper if we can pull it off.


The month of November was interspersed with Thursdays at Paul's, Sundays at Vulcan. With each session the set was getting tighter. Dave Gerrard, a sax player who had guested with 'Explorer' on 'Mustang Sally' at our joint Cavern gig last year was drafted in to add his brass sounds to the last 5 songs of our new set, John was re-established to finish off the last 7 songs of the set on Electric lead guitar. This was to become the most adventurous, yet tightest and therefore best set to date. The Irish songs were by now consigned to the bin, the Mandolin set was still dropped and instead the Keyboard introduced to add a fuller sound, there would indeed be 7 of us on stage for the finale. 

The soundcheck on the day went off from 5pm for approximately an hour and a half, a lot of the time spent as the engineer miked everything up. We soundchecked a couple of songs that would use the different instruments.

On the night, with 300 tickets sold and a captive audience guaranteed, the other act, 'Eleven' went on at 9pm until 10.15pm and after the charity raffle for Jospice, 'The Gardens' took to the stage with the following set which was recorded to dvd.

'Stucking the middle with you', 'Proud Mary', 'Dance the night away', 'Brown eyed girl', 'I only want to be with you', 'Bad moon rising', 'Brass in pocket', 'Things we said today', One after 909', 'Ballad of John & Yoko', 'Get Back - 'The End', 'Thorn in my side', 'Whole of the moon', 'Mercy' and 'Valerie' with the first encore being 'Real gone kid' followed by a medley made up of 'Twistin the night away' - 'Stand by me' - 'Please Mr. Postman' - 'Hot love'.

And so we retired to the dressing room for a champagne after party as the cameras and videos clicked away, all on a high from a very good, the best yet, performance as the full group and the Jospice £2000 better off.


The Zanzibar - Sun 27.12.09

Only one practice session was required between the Cavern gig and this one, Christmas week had got in the way anyhow.   Co-organiser of the Gerard Gardens re-union gig, Bobby Parry was so impressed with us we were invited to be one of four groups performing in this, the final weekend of the old year at the Zanzibar venue in Seel Street.

Due to the running order we were limited to about 40 minute so dropped the Beatles quintet of songs. Starting with our trusty set including Stuck in the middle, Proud Mary, Brown eyed girl and Dance the night away we also included new additions Brass in pocket and Bad moon rising before taking full advantage of Dave's presence to finish with the sax blowin' Thorn in my side, Whole of the moon, Mercy, Valerie and Real gone kid.

Billed as the 'Fridaynight People' reunion, anyone will tell you that the Zanzibar is a moody, dimly lit venue for up and coming artists with original material, we didn't think it'd be our scene at all. 

Anyway, moved up the bill to second and sandwiched between two fine bands, our covers set presented the audience with something different and songs they were familiar with resulting in a good show all round.


This was the gig where we finally got our sound right thanks to Paul bringing along yet another Girobank contact, sound technician Mike Moran. We should be called The Giro instead of The Gardens.

With levels at their best ever, we took the stage of our very first gig, way back in 2006, for this private 18th party. Jack knew what to expect having seen our Cavern dvd and so we launched into............

Stuck in the middle, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Perfect, Squeezebox, Brass in pocket (followed by the 'The Chain' by Fleetwood Mac - but only the instrumental part of the song at the end synonomous with the F1 theme tune) Next came Bad moon rising before songs of a more recent era to keep them on the dancefloor, Mercy, Valerie, Brown eyed girl, Mustang Sally (new - to the point of still being rehearsed during the tea time sound check), Whole of the moon and finishing with Real gone kid.


In the 4 weeks since the last gig, a few new songs were added to the repertoire including Nilson's 'Everybody's Talkin' from Midnight Cowboy, 'Son of a preacher man' by Dusty Springfield, 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' by Deep Blue Something, 'I still haven't found what i'm looking for' by U2, 'You know i'm no good' by Amy Winehouse, Reward, by Liverpool group 'The teardrop explodes' and 'You never can tell' by Chuck Berry which featured in the cult film 'Pulp Fiction' - my we had been busy with 7 new songs and a couple resurrected to make up the 2 x 45 minute sets we were now expected to do on the pub circuit.

It was a 7.30 start and getting ever more efficient we were set up and raring to go after our sound check piece 'Mustang Sally' and we had two sets with great opening and finishing material for both.

Performed in this order were:

SET ONE: Mustang Sally, Stuck in the middle, Big yellow taxi, Squeezebox, Everybody's talkin', Bad Moon rising, Son of a preacher man', Breakfast at Tiffany's, I still haven't found what i'm looking for, The Chain letter' (Medley of The Letter and The Chain - (instrumental part), You know i'm no good, Reward.

SET TWO: Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Perfect, Ballad of John & Yoko, I only want to be with you, Brown Eyed Girl, Brass in pocket, Whole of the moon, Mercy, You never can tell, Valerie, Real gone kid.


Well advertised - or what???...............................

The 'Stage' area didn't allow for much room for a sextet and so Gary stayed seated, making it two of us. Gary, Ron, Siobahn and Paul created a 4 strong front line. The set was a repeat of the picture house material. We went on at 9.30pm until 10.15 and then 10.45 until 11.30.

50th Birthday party for Steve & Jospice charity night at the Highfield - 8th May 2010

Gigs in May took off and were coming thick and fast with 3 this month, all on a saturday night. The first was for Steve Halligan's 50th, Fellow Yoer and old workmate Martin Jones securing us this gig. A 45 minute pre buffet mellow set followed by a 50 minute dance floor filler was the order for the night and we went down well. SET ONE: You know i'm no good, Ballad of John & Yoko, Big yellow taxi, Squeezebox, Brass in pocket, Reward, Son of a preacher man, Whole of the moon, Perfect, The chain letter.
SET TWO: Mustang Sally, Stuck in the middle, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Brown Eyed girl, Bad moon rising, Mercy, I should have known better, Valerie, You never can tell, Real gone kid, Rock n roll medley.

Leasowe Castle - Saturday 15th May 2010 - The Wedding on Jen and Colin

Jen, the daughter of a friend of Paul's father-in-law, they had been to see us in the Picture House and snapped us up for their big day. The setting was beautiful and the day was fantastic weather rolling on into the night when we arrived at 7am to set up. They had especially requested we learn 'Iris' by the Goo goo dolls as their opening dance song and play a few more Beatles songs so this we did. With two rejigged sets including a seque of 3 Beatles songs into each other, they wouldn't let us off the stage as Hot Love went onto almost as many Na na na's as the original song and we did Iris again at the end with a large circle forming with an ever changing central dancer. We finished the night as we started it with Mustang Sally. The full set list was:

1) Iris, Mustang Sally, Squeeze Box, Brass in pocket, Reward, Big Yellow Taxi, Bad moon rising, Son of a preacher man, Whole of the moon, You know i'm no good, The Chain Letter.

2) Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Stuck in the middle, Perfect, Brown eyed girl, Mercy, Can't buy me love, Get Back, Ballad of John & Yoko, Valerie, You 

never can tell, Real gone kid, Medley - Twistin the night away/Stand by me/Please Mr Postman/Hot Love, Iris, Mustang Sally.

The setting couldn't have been better and here is just some of it. Bottom left, the sound check to an empty room in between the wedding breakfast/speeches and the staff getting it ready for the night. Bottom middle and right: The guests packed dance floor from the first song to the last.


For this ticket only gig organised by Ron including a mid session raffle and a pop quiz put on by Paul, we dropped the wedding song Iris but put in 3 newly rehearsed efforts. The room was snug and intimate, we thought our levels would have to be lowered but it was just right on the night. Johnny O'Connell of Groundpig fame had played there the previous week with a 7 piece set up doing a Dylan set so our 6 just squeezed on the small stage. After setting up and sound checking at 4pm, it was back for 8.30 and on at 9 prompt. The second set saw plenty of dancers take to the floor and with calls for 'More' we ended with the tried and trusted Medley which went down a storm.

1) You know i'm no good, Ballad of John & Yoko, Big Yellow Taxi, Squeezebox, I still haven't found what i'm looking for, Son of a preacher man, Whole of the moon, Brass in pocket, Stuck in the middle, Mustang Sally, The Chain/Letter.

2) Proud Mary, Dance the Night away, Perfect, Brown eyed girl, These boots are made for walking, Bad moon rising, Mercy, Reward, Valerie, You never can tell, Rock n roll music, Real gone kid, - The Medley.

The club on Stanley Road is deceptive, it goes far back with a room containing snooker tables. The lounge where we played and pictured above is a mirror image either side of the bar. You couldn't help but get the feeling that the captive audience was attentive to the playing.

The mini dressing room which we didn't use but contained posters of previous acts and might have just been big enough for a female soloist to get herself ready.


We performed in the 'Brittanic Function Room' which is designed and decked out just like an ocean liner with staircases, balconies, rails, port holes and funnels. Formerly the Crest Hotel, the liner was certainly a plush venue for us.


With people still arriving at 9.45pm, the first set was put back until 9.15.

Set 1: You know i'm no good, Ballad of John & Yoko, Big yellow taxi, Squeezebox, I still haven't found what i'm looking for, Son of a preacher man, Whole of the moon, Brass in pocket, Reward (Perfect, The Chain Letter and Upside down - a new one by Paloma Faith were not done due to us having to cut the set short due to the buffet being opened at 10pm)

Set 2: (At 10.45pm) Mustang Sally, Dance the night away, Proud Mary, Brown eyed girl, These boots are made for walking, Stuck in the middle with you, Mercy, Dancing in the dark, (The Bruce Springsteen classic resurrected from our very first gig - the audience were well and truly up and dancing by these last few) Valerie, You never can tell, Rock N' Roll music, Real gone kid, The Medley and after screams for more, egged on by the DJ, we finished with an unusual encore for us 'Perfect' missed off from the first set.

By now it was past 11.30 and time to relax at the free bar.

A rain drenched July had us wondering if our Gardens in the Garden gig for Paul's birthday would go ahead but with the stage set and the weather holding off it was all systems go for an hours set consisting of:

You know i'm no good, Mustang Sally, Proud Mary, Stuck in the middle with you, These boots are made for walking, Squeezbox, Brown Eyed Girl, Mercy, Valerie, Perfect, You never can tell, Rock n' roll music, The Ballad of John and Yoko, Whole of the moon and Real gone kid.

The party started at 8pm and went on until 4am - the neighbours getting a free outdoor concert from 9.30 for an hour.


The first and last gig using the electric drum kit usually used for rehearsals. Road tested to see if we could control everything through the speakers via the P.A. it wasn't as good as using the acoustic set live. However, the pub was packed and two sets consisting of our tried and tested classics went down well.

Flanagans, Mathew Street - Sunday, October 10th. 3 x 45 min sets

Three sets from 9pm-9.45 then 10.20-11pm finishing with 11.30 till midnight called on almost everything we had in our armoury. 'You know i'm no good' is again established as the show starter and 'Son of a preacherman' is another that goes down well. The Chain letter finishes the opening set as Mustang Sally opens the dancier set. With Flanagans being an Irish bar, tenuous links are made to The Commitments version of Mustang as well as other songs we cover being by Irish artists, not least U2 and Van Morrison. Paloma Faiths 'Upside Down' is again a show stopper and old faves 'Mercy' and 'Valerie' are regulars. 'Crocodile Rock' made its debut as did a surprise (even to us) inclusion of Lyrnard Skynards 'Sweet Home Alabama' which had only ever being practised in a jam session. Irish revellers Roxy and Linzy got up to do our second helping of 'Proud Mary' as a 30 song bonanza was dished out.

Hear 'Upside down' here


A retirement 'do' from the police force for Karl. 9 songs in the 1st set, 12 in the 2nd interspersed with a speech from Karl and his frien recalling their first meeting nearly 30 years ago at a little gathering 'the Toxteth riots'. I remember it well, July 1981 as the Specials 'Ghost Town' was No.1. We didn't have that song in our repertoire but Paul did make mention that 'Stuck in the middle' might be just as appropriate. Again 'Upside Down' was a belter and 'Son of a Preacherman' and 'these boots are made for walking' had the ladies up dancing. As always we ended with the strong and tight 'Real gone kid'.


Back to back gigs in the Mount Pleasant, Southport either side of Christmas were brilliant performances, even if I say so myself.

The repertoire for Saturday 19th February consisted of 3 debut offerings and the resurrection of a couple of others including 4 encore requests.

You know i'm no good, Sorrow, Son of a Preacher man, Stuck in the middle with you, I still haven't found what i'm looking for, Squeezebox, Mustang Sally, Human, Be my baby, The Letter, Perfect, Whole of the moon and Upside Down.

Proud Mary, Dance the night away, These boots are made for walking, Brown eyed girl, Mercy, Dancing in the dark, Gypsies tramps and thieves, You never can tell, Rock N' Roll music, Dakota, The one I love, Valerie, Real Gone kid.

Encores: Rockin' Robin, Never can tell, Mustang Sally, Upside Down.


Hot on the heels of the Southport gig above, 6 days later, Friday 25th March saw us play to a packed out Village Pub in Crosby centre including a number of people who came especially to see us, as they did the previous week.

There was a slight change around in the order with Gypsies swapping sets with Mustang Sally. These boots were dropped (unimaginable) but replaced with a debut for Lady Gaga's Bad Romance which was powerfully received. Not surprisingly we were invited back but due to other gigs and band member away days, 24th June is our next gig here though we may be able to fit in the Crosby Festival, even though we're at the Mount Pleasant again over the May bank holiday weekend.


As ever, a mixture of family and friends made this a fantastic and cosy atmosphere, paying the £4 entry fee which went to a worthy cause.

We set up at 2pm and soundchecked before wandering off into the afternoon to sort our various chores which for me and Dave was watching Everton who kicked off at 5.30pm against Fulham. A 2-1 home win for Moyes 9th anniversary, the same opposition and scoreline as when he took over managing the club.

It was back there for 8.30pm, the 2 sets sandwiching a pop intro quiz and raffle.

Set one: You know i'm no good, Stuck in the middle, Son of a preacherman, The Letter, I still haven't found what i'm looking for, Human, Be my baby, Squeezebox, Whole of the moon, Gypsies tramps and thieves, Sorrow, Dakota, The one I love, Upside Down.

Set two: Perfect, Brown eyed girl, Mercy, Dance the night away, Proud Mary, Dancing in the dark, These boots are made for walking, You never can tell, Rock n' roll music, Mustang Sally, Valerie, Real gone kid, Bad Romance, Rockin Robin, I want to break free.

St. Paschals Club, Childwall - Friday 25th March 2011

This was a 70th Birthday bash for local girl Doreen. Part of our act was to learn her fave song 'Blanket on the ground' by Billie Jo Spears which opened the 2nd set to a full dance floor. The songs this night consisted of 30 previously aired tunes including 3 encores.


The gigs were coming thick and fast now with only a blank weekend between venues. Back again at the Mount Pleasant for Grand National night. That's alright Mama - an old Elvis favourite debuted and such is the repertoire now that some tried and tested tunes had to be left out due to time.


One week later and back into it again. Following the usual midweek practice in Paul's we put together 2 sets especially for an older audience and older they were. Terry, a friend of the Giro crew in the band had secured us the gig, he being the Giro's entertainments man, this event being the annual party for the Legion after payment of year long subs by its members. A comedian called Andy was also on in between our sets.

Polite applause followed each song in our first set before we had them on the dancefloor for the 2nd set. We opened with 'I only want to be with you' making a rare appearance and as an even rarer opener. Paul introduced us over the drum intro. 'Stuck in the middle' followed and next were 'You know i'm no good', 'Sorrow' and 'Be my baby'. 'Human' was a popular choice having actually been unusually requested. 'Son of a preacherman', 'Squeezebox', 'Mercy', 'The Letter' and 'Whole of the moon' followed before 'I want to break free' closed the first set.

'Mustang Sally' opened the 2nd set with old standards 'Brown Eyed Girl', 'Proud Mary' and 'Dance the night away' keeping the dancers on their feet. 'These boots were made for walking' was next followed by 'Dancing in the dark' Now on a roll, we moved into the fast flowing Rock and Roll section with 'You never can tell', 'Rock N' Roll music', 'Rockin Robin' and 'That's alright mama' (with new stop/starts) taking pride of place. 'Crocodile Rock' and 'Valerie' officially closed the set before the MC gave into the extended applause by asking if trhe audience wanted any more. They did and 'Real gone kid' was the show stopping finale.

Laura's and Paul's Wedding reception - The Silvestrian - Sat 14th May 2011

Having been wed nearly two weeks earlier in Las Vegas, this was a chance to party for 300 other guests including family and friends. Laura had requested we perform Paul Weller's 'You do something to me' as the first dance song for the newly weds so it was learned in double quick time, Paul adding electric piano to the set up. After that it was one x one hour set of favourite standard dance numbers to the packed dance floor culminating in another new song 'One step beyond' as made famous by Madness where Dave's sax takes pride of place if not the fez that was passed around on the dance floor. Cries of more resulted in an encore number 'Human' by the Killers.


Another new venue for us, helped by a good word put in by Johnny Blue of the glam rock outfit 'Wig Wam Glam' who play there about 4 times a year. The setting is a plush upstairs 'Blundell Room' where diners eat from about 8pm until 10 and then the pub goers from below are allowed up to see the band. So it was an early set up and sound check from 6.30 coming straight from work and having to master their mixing desk which we were using.

Two 45 minute sets comprised firstly of 13 songs starting with 'I only want to ber with you' and finishing with 'I want to break free'. The captive audience, consisting of a hen night and 40th birthday amongst others took to the dance floor from the off and didn't relent with our final act which was from 11.15 until midnight. 'Mustang Sally' got them underway 13 songs later the finale announcement of Deacon Blue led to the dance floor being filled as we finished with perennial favourite 'Real gone kid'.


Family commitments meant Siobhan could not make the next gig so it was all hands to the pump at the rehearsal preceding it with more than a few oldies dug out from the archives to bolster the set.

The gig itself coincided with the Champions League final at Wembley between Manchester United and Barcelona which meant that we couldn't go on until 10pm as the instructions here are not to finish before 12 midnight. With the result going Barcelona's way, the packed pub emptied out quite a bit but with enough of an audience to appreciate the 2 x 45 minute sets which were as follows:

Stuck in the middle with you, Sorrow, The Chain Letter (extended version), Human, Ballad of John & Yoko, Things we said today, One after 909, Squeezebox and Whole of the moon, One step beyond. This took us nicely up to 10.45pm with a 25 minute break.

Brown eyed girl, Bad moon rising, Dancing in the dark, Dance the night away, That's alright Mama, You never can tell, Crocodile Rock, The one I love, King of the road (NEW)and Real Gone kid.


Another couple of sets of well established songs with a strong finish which saw the dance floor filled.

You know i'm no good, Stuck in the middle, Brass in pocket, Human, Preacherman, Squeezebox, Upside Down, Whole of the moon, Perfect, Sorrow, Be my baby and I want to break free got us started.

Mustang Sally, Brown Eyed girl, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, These boots, Dancing in the dark, Rockin Robin, You never can tell, Mercy, The one I love, Dakota, Valerie, Rockin all over the world (A Quo stormer which went down well), Real gone kid and One Step Beyond for a mega finish.


A new venue for us which provided a great sound. The event was obviously for a sad occasion but you would never have guessed it as Sue herself attended what turned out to be a cracking night. Put on and compared by old Gerard Gardens resident Bobby Parry, the night also included a dancing troupe, raffles and football memorabilia auctions.

We switched the set around so the opener was Stuck in the middle including a few extra opening bars so that Ron could provide the band introduction then straight into brass in pocket, The letter, Preacherman, Whole of the moon, Be my baby, Squeezebox, Human, Perfect, Ballad of John & Yoko, I want to break free and The One I love. We then done a special rendition of a song written by Bobby for Sue called 'Because we love you' which finished the first set.

Set 2 which had the patrons up dancing started with Mustang Sally then continued with Brown Eyed girl, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Upside Down, That's alright Mama, Mercy, You never can tell, Rockin Robin, Valerie, Rockin all over the world, Real gone kid and One step beyond.


Sore throats saw practice cancelled in this week but it was no worries as we sailed through the set from the Village a few weeks before - see above.


Almost 5 years to the day of our 2nd coming, we topped the bill at the world famous, well ok, Bootle famous Giro Club, now of course Santander. A number of new songs had been in the planning, namely Pinball Wizard (The Who), One way or another (Blondie), Back to Black (Amy Winehouse) and Price Tag (Jesse J) to name but a few.

Rachael Ellis, an up and coming young solo artist opened the evening with 3 brilliantly sang songs before Jemma Moon, fresh back from the X Factor with the all girl group Estella took to the stage accompanied by her brother on guitar. She too wowed the audience before the main raffle and then our slot which lasted from 10.30pm until just before midnight including 3 encores.

Only 'Price Tag' out of the newly rehearsed songs made the final set, in fact as the opener of the lengthy single set. This was followed by 'Upside Down' then 'Be my baby'. We then moved the tempo up a notch with 'Stuck in the middle', 'Proud Mary' and straight into 'Dance the night away'. 'Mercy' followed as did 'Dancing in the dark', 'Brown eyed girl' and 'Rockin Robin'. 'You never can tell' came next then 'Crocodile Rock', 'Dakota', 'Valerie', 'Real gone kid' and a rousing rendition of 'One step beyond' complete with Giroman Whitey dancing around in a 'Gardens' supplied Fez.

Fellow Giro colleague John Cummins was once again our compere for the night and he ensured a rousing round of applause for us, inciting the audience to ask for more. We duly obliged with 'Rocking all over the world' before being persuaded to back one of the female revellers on 'Mustang Sally'. The final encore was 'Human' and we'd nailed another performance.


Definitely the best sound levels we've had in here, to the point of being told to turn it down a bit, which we did, temporarily.

A change around of a now much established set saw us start with 'Be my baby' before launching into the safe tried and tested 'Stuck in the middle' before 'son of a preacherman' which was pretty much resurrected after it not featuring for a while. 'Human' followed by 'Upside Down' and 'Sorrow' went down well too but the earlier finishing time of 11pm meant we had to cut short of 'That's alright Mama' and 'The one I love' and finish with 'Whole of the moon', 'Price Tag', You know i'm no good' and 'These boots are made for walking'.

After a short break, the last 45 minute set was played out to a posse of ladies taken to dancing wherever they stood so we gave them 'Proud Mary', Dance the night away', 'Mercy' and 'Dancing in the dark' for openers. We ditched 'One way or another' as possibly too loud (will we ever get to perform this song) and brought forward 'Rockin Robin'. 'Brown eyed girl' was next then 'Dakota' (which was loud) but the Beatles medley of 'Get Back'/'Ballad of John & Yoko'/'Twist & Shout' - so lovingly rehearsed was also dropped because of time. 'You never can tell' had the Pulp Fiction fans doing the 'eyes' dance before a trio of floor fillers ending with 'Valerie', 'Real gone kid' and 'Rockin all over the world'.

Another gig another dollar and onwards and upwards till the next time.


John would be having a lot of Uni friends attending including some of various different Nationalities. Therefore we translated the last 6 chorus's of 'Rockin' all over the wall' to incorporate Japanese, French, Italian, Chinese, German and Spanish with accompanying flags from those nations to make them feel at home. We didn't let the disappointment of our monitor packing up during the sound check and the audience would not have known the difference though there was some to us up there on stage.

We opened with a hastily arranged version of Happy Birthday before entering into are old trusty standards such as 'Be my baby', 'Stuck in the middle with you', 'Proud Mary', 'Dance the night away' and 'Mercy'. Next up were 'Dancing in the dark', 'Rockin' Robin', 'You never can tell' and our new Beatles medley of 'Get Back - Ballad of John & Yoko and Twist and Shout'. Keeping the hordes on the dance floor, we then finished our straight hour set with 'Valerie', 'Real gone kid', 'One step beyond' and 'Rockin' all over the world'.

Numbers we had lined up such as 'One way or another', 'Brown eyed girl', 'Crockodile Rock' and 'Dakota' were ditched for the night but we'd done enough to earn the plaudits of another succesful gig.

THE CASBAH - SAT 31/4/12

This was a 4 group continual musical gigathon, using the Casbah clubs own equipment. A prestigious venue if ever there was one, once the family home to the Best family ala Pete Best, the original Beatles drummer, Roag Best plays in the Casbah house band who also played this night and it was his drums I would use for the gig. The Beatles actually played here before the Cavern as Mrs Best, Pete's mum, Mona had pawned her jewellery to wager a bet on Lester Piggott's first Derby outing which won, enabling her to buy 8 Hayman's Green. The cellar was soon turned into a coffee bar with live music, Paul McCartney and John Lennon even helping to decorate the place, painting the ceilings with silver stars on a black background and rainbow stripes in another room. The nights groups were The Beaudelaires, the Affrodissiax and the Casbah house band.

We were to be the 3rd group on at 9.45pm which was put back about half an hour due to the other bands over running but it meant we had to cut short our spot by 3 songs but our set went down very well with our own family and friends there in force in support of us. With some feedback which the in-house sound engineer was trying to overcome, we launched into 'You know i'm no good' followed by 'Be my baby' and 'Dancing in the dark'. 'Son of a preacherman' was next followed by Ron's first of the night 'Sorrow'. We were lapping it up by now and 'Mercy' and 'Human' quickly followed, then 'Upside Down', giving the audience a glimpse of our diverse set list. We ended with a flurry of uptempo tracks including 'C'est Le Vie', 'Proud Mary' and making its live debut at last, Blondies 'One way or another'. Unfortunately show stoppers 'Real gone kid', 'Valerie' and 'Rocking all over the world' had to take a back seat as time was catching up with us with still a band to go on, and being the Casbah we just had to finish on our 3 part Beatles medley consisting of 'Get Back', The Ballad of John & Yoko'and 'Twist and Shout'.

Overall, we were proud to have overcome technical problems that were of no fault of ours to give what even neutrals in the audience called the best performance of the night.

Sat 6/10/12 - The Seaforth & Litherland Constitutional Club

Aside from a summer graduation informal back garden gig for ex Gardens bassist and Paul's son, John Sudbury, this was our first club gig since the end of April, and what was to be the first of a trilogy within 14 days.

The plan was to set up and sound check at 1pm so Dave and I at least could catch Everton on a big screen somewhere try to overcome Wigan at the DW Stadium. It would have helped if i'd got the name of the venue right as we sat outside the locked British Legion for an hour before Billy at the S&LCC rang me back realising we were not at his venue despite my protests we were all outside and it was locked. Luckily enough, it was only a short drive from the British Legion in Orrell Road to Field Lane and soon we had done what we had to in what was another new venue for us.

A higgeldy piggelgy hotch potch of rooms in this old large house and connecting outbuildings was strange at first but we soon got to know the lay out and what a refreshing change that it was such a friendly and community spirited place, like the old social clubs of old, with an obvious regular and appreciative clientel.

In fact, musically, soundwise and professionally, we all agreed that this was our best gig ever, helped along by comperes Billy and John who kept the introductions, calls for an encore and night in general, moving along nicely. Incidentally, it was also our highest earner to date.

The sets consisted of: Perfect, Sorrow, Brass in Pocket, Son of a preacherman, Human, You know i'm no good, Squeezebox, Be my baby, These boots are made for walking and Upside Down.

Second set: Mercy, Stuck in the middle, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Rockin Robin (acapello start), Dancing in the dark, One way or another, Brown Eyed Girl, Cest la vie, Beatles Medley, Rocking all over the world, Valerie and newcomer, Sweet Caroline.

Despite a request for a second go at Human, we didn't get time to do it again and likewise we had to cut our first set short by one (Whole of the moon) and the 2nd set short by one (Real gone kid) due to over running on the strict time allowance. We were encouraged by the comperes insisting to the audience, in response to their cheers, that they'd definitely be asking for us back.

Fri 12/10/12 - Elavon Doo - The Giro Club

The second of our October trilogy started with Paul and Ron setting up the sound equipment during the day, this being their works club with afternoon access. I popped along at 6.30 pm to set up the drums and then we were all back and present for 9pm to take in the closing stages of the 'Deal or no deal' game that was being run awarding a prize of 2 weeks holiday to the winner. Unfortunately, Paul had been hit by a sudden bug which would lead us to have to change the 2nd set around a little as he rushed off to the toilet to be sick. Most of the audience were known to our Giro working band members, so the girls were filling the dance floor from the off which is always a good thing. It was a single dance set lasting from 9.45 to 10.45pm:

Perfect, Stuck in the middle, Mercy, Be my baby, Dancing in the dark, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, Rockin Robin (Acapello start with drum accompaniment)Brown Eyed Girl, One way or another then Cest La Vie. Cue Paul having to leave the stage so we made a quickfire decision to keep playing with the songs that Paul would be least missed on so went into an elongated version of Mustang Sally hoping that by stringing it out a little, unbeknownst to our dancing, appreciative audience, Paul might be back in time for the next song. He wasn't and to keep them dancing, we went straight into Valerie and then Sweet Caroline which was meant to close the show. Happily, Paul had now made it back and like a trojan, picked up his guit as we belted into Rocking all over the world. That was it but screams of more meant we had a few in reserve so gave the Real gone kid and finished off with the shop stopping Beatles Medley.


Commemorating Terry's 50th Birthday and we were 6 years and 1 week into our bands being. 

Set 1 started with Perfect before going into Sorrow. Be my baby, Human, Son of a preacherman, You know i'm no good, Brown eyed girl, These boots were made for walking, Whole of the moon finishing with Upside Down.

The 2nd set, twice as long rocked. Starting with a Happy Birthday ditty, we launched straight into Squeezebox complete with changed lyrics for Terry and Libby before continuing with Mercy, Stuck in the middle, Proud Mary, Dance the night away, One way or another, C'est La Vie, Valerie, Rockin Robin, Mustang Sally, Rocking all over the World, Real gone kid, Sweet Caroline and then a number of Encores including the original medley of Twistin the night away, Stand by me, Please Mr Postman and Hot Love followed by a rousing rendition of One step beyond before ending the night with the Beatles medley of Get Back, The Ballad of John and Yoko and Twist and Shout. That's 32 songs in all and a full 2 hours overall.

See and hear our studio version of Amy Winehouse --> You know I'm no good

See and hear our 
Live at the Casbah version of Blondie ---->  One way or another