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The Skifflettes


Compiling 'Lanky Bands' onto a single listing on this website has been a hugely rewarding  and pleasent task for me. In fact in doing so, I now endeavor to look for ways to make the reader experience a most enjoyable one whilst you're happening to be browsing here.


  I have been toying recently with a 'significance' which often crop's-up when I'm researching material for Lanky Beat - that of, UK Musical Phases.


  So here and now, I will attempt to clarify clearly what is generally known as 1st Phase Bands - 2nd Phase Bands - 3rd and so on. It might be that this information it is only useful to me, so I can't wait to get my own head around it after I have written it all down!. 


  In attempting so, I intended just to cover the 1960's era, which of course mainly concerns here, the phases 1 - 2 & 3 of the UK's Fab musical evolvements over the last fifty years:  And so doing, it is what the Lanky Beat web site is really all about. But alas I seems, I got carried away somewhat, and it also seems that I fell into the authors trap of going into writer's free-fall..


  For what it is, the list - and I just love list's - featured below, is purely an opinion and personal observation of the steady evolvement of musical development or phases during the last fifty years or so in the United Kingdom. So here goes.. and do please bear with me. 





                           Teachest bass                                         1956

"The original Dominoes skiffle group from Leigh.


I Met Lonnie Donegan in 1954 when he was with The Chris Barber Band at Ashton-in-Makerfield bath's. He impressed me very much. He played the banjo then.."

Ronnie Carr: September 2010 




To qualify as a first-phase band, I will regard the guys and gals who joined-in and formed the early skiffle craze of the mid 1950's Lonnie Donegan era. The most famous band in the world - The Beatles were formally known as The Quarrymen Skiffle Group - tea-chest bass and all.. 





The Beat Boys break the attendance record at the Bolton Palais.


Emerging from the skiffle craze were the pioneering beat groups of the early 1960's. This was probably the most important phase of all in that it was the first of a new musical genre which made it on a world-wide scale to an eventual audience of millions. These were the groups or bands - who to begin with - as young men and women - played in the youth clubs and grubby inner city cellars of little known club's where the music mattered most to the youth of the day.



The Trakkers.





A small number groups found national and international fame but many others were falling by the wayside. They quickly formed, re-formed and reformed again in an attempt to find a magic for formula for their own success. New bands too set up overnight who'd had various and sensuous encounters with the recent Fab musical phenomena - either seeing groups playing live, listening to the radio and watching TV or films featuring mainly second phase bands who were dumping their old repertoires for the new grittier sound of rhythm & blues.



Ipso Facto play the ABC Ritz Cinema, Wigan.





The Trekkershow launch their new image and new

drummer Bill Hart by playing at The Pink Elephant Club Aspull, Wigan


 Mid to late 1960's saw the beat group era gradually decline and their replacements were required to 'entertain' as well as provide listening and dance music. The onset was a eclectic

mix which saw short soirée’s by so called 'show bands' featuring prominent 'brass sections' 

with the classic format of front-man-with-backing-group band, with up to and around, eight band members.



The New City Showband


Cabaret, mainly featuring comedy act like The Black Abbott’s and The Grumbleweeds took the bands forward into the early seventies and beyond, finally closing the door to the most incredible decade in popular musical history. 



Copper Kettle




A plethora of musicians formed into duos and solos from the late 1970s and many continue performing to this day. Backed by resident musicians mainly in Social Clubs by drums and Hammond organ - the 'group effect' was poorly obtained in many sub-standard performances. This was largely due the visiting musicians being 'busked' by the resident backing duo. A tacit remedy was to supply specially written musical scores or dot's - for the backing duo to read and play. This improved matter's a little but was hardly noticeable to the many club customers but grindingly difficult to endure for the purist few - like me.



The Two Of Us: Duo.

Formerly Ipso facto and Pokie.


  In addition some bands took the 'Heavy Metal' rock 'n roll path to world fame and bands like The Rocking Vicars, originally from Blackpool - and in particular 'Lemmy' their lead singer, found international fame with Motorhead. Over in east Lankyland however, The Warriors lead vocalist Ian Anderson went on to morph with the superb world-acclaimed band 'Yes'.




Taking melodious rock to a new level.


'Northern Soul' was to emerge and decamp famously in a what-was-to-become a national musical institution founded at The Wigan Casino. This time the music was based on rare recordings of black Soul music as performed by obscure bands and artistes emanating mainly from the United States. In the form of vinyl 45 single's played at considerable volume the all-night sessions. They were attended by hundreds of young fans who delighted in performing their manic gymnastic bouts of energy zapping movements for hours at a time. An important side-event of each session was the open-trading of 'records by collectors - et al, in barter exchanging 45 single's rarities for considerable amounts of ready cash.




The 1980's are rock 'n roll-black-hole for me. Perhaps where Michael Jackson peaked, Madonna writhed, and Irish band U2 planted down it's international roots as the biggest stadium-rocker's of all-time. 


  Pre-recorded backing track's dominated the 1990's taking live music out of the equation save for mainly lead vocal's. These too weren't sacrocanct and often pre-recorded backings and frontings were used by most of the top artiste's themselves to in live performances by miming to them. In most cases all the other strata's of the music business had some form of backing tracks too. I985 also gave us Live Aid and all it managed to do was resurrect quite a few sagging careers.




Many bands either reformed or are often found playing reunion dates or both. Sixty’s musicians and their followers proliferated searching for the buzz of their lost youth whilst literally hundreds of young bands filled the pubs with live indie-type music. 



The Shyms

..Are the reformed

Something Catchy Party Band


As myriad Sixty’s Children matured however, Stadium Rock filled gap in their dormant musical lives. Paying big money to 'sit' comfortably with their families in vast arena's, football grounds - and uncomfortably in countryside farmers fields too - they would take their pleasure by listening to distorted 'live' music (you could never be sure if it was live or not!) and its odd sounding echoes swirling round and about and above their heads. Allegedly this was emanating from a sound system placed many hundreds of miles away on far distant stage located on a small Caribbean Island in the Atlantic Ocean. Joke!    


  It also needs to be mentioned here that whilst the catalogue of phases of live music were panning-out, varieties of Disco music, Trance and Rap flourished in subsequent generations and youth movements. Disco has dominated this scene since the early 1970's and is based purely on pre-recorded music and music mixing or merging of recorded music but performed live by 'minor celebrity DJ's' at the gatherings of live audiences or Rave's - which might be legal or not - often it was not. Legal Raves like Creamfields in Liverpool have annual performances and attract thousands of participants each year.


  An overload of live musical performance's by so-called tribute bands like Queen,ABBA and The Beatles are the recreating former glories of these pop music legends. Also becoming a huge money spinner, Stage Shows like 'We Will Rock You' and Mama Mia are filling west-end London Theatre's and elsewhere worldwide, and have a proven, universal and longevital populous-mandate to do so. 





Participation and quick-fix stardom found on popular TV Shows proliferate in every country in the world whilst true live music struggles to survive and is nowhere near its previous self of dominating mainstream entertainment


  UK TV's 'X' Factor dominates the main stream musical era by wanna-be-celebrities being drawn from all sections of the community to initially perform a two minute set in front of 'live' TV audiences. Votes cast by a panel of 'experts' from the music industry seal their individual and collective fate in almost the same time it takes to make a decent cup of tea.. This is not new.. ask the late Hughie Greene RIP - if only I could? It is relatively cheap television where the so called stars are ordinary people who are often delusional, over-reaching souls using self -aggrandisement as the driving force in obtaining a often instant, paper thin and shallow celebrity status - oh; and to get at the easy money too!


 Major traditional musical gatherings like Glastonbury attracts thousands of people every year and shows little signs of wearing thin. In Liverpool - the home of Mersey Sound - Europe's biggest and free Mathew Street Festival is in it's eighteenth year. Smaller but equally important ones are scattered over many E. U. countries.




Downloaded music and t'internet.. 


 Everyone living in the western world has been touched in some way by it. Books on the subject proliferate with over 300+ published featuring one band alone: The Beatles. The Fab Four however, did not lead the Mersey Sound as is the popular notion of today; It was in fact Mersey Sound which led them on and upwards from musical obscurity - along with - over three hundred and more bands from Merseyside alone. At this awesome, given time, the figure had reached in excess of 600 by 1964.



Bye-bye The Beat Boys? I don't think so..


 Being historically recorded for posterity right now, are these most significant of past musical decades. In western-world terms, the most popular and enduring music is the 1960's era. It outshines all other's in being the brightest jewel in a most fabulous musical crown. 


  By building website archives such as this one and with computers becoming increasingly easy to use, we are ensuring the longevity of a cherished musical legacy that will never demise.


  It exists all around and about us whether we play it or just listen to it. It has taught us and we have learned. It has shown us and we have seen. We have heard it and we have listened. We have had fun with it and now we offer it to future generations. Two main reasons for this are first and foremost; Lest we forget. And for the second reason - and I will put it to you this way: 


"Here it is; now it's your's.

Now go on - have a crack at it yourself!

It is a precious gift to us all - from us all..

Please take good care of it and..

Use it well."




I'll leave that one with you to ponder my dear reader..


Bill Hart: September 2010









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