LIONEL MORTON FOUR
The Four Pennies
David Roderick Carney 'Fritz' Fryer: Lead Guitar. Lionel 'Morton' Walmersley: Rythmn Guitar - Lead Vocal. Alan Buck: Drums.Mike Wilsh - Bass Guitar - keyboards - vocal
From April 1965 to early 1966, when Fritz Fryer left the band he was replaced by David Graham, a guitarist from Reading, Berkshire. Graham left when Fritz Fryer returned back to the line-up. Ray Monk also deputised on rare occasions.
"In 1963, a young man went into the instrument department in Reidy’s record shop on Penny Street, Blackburn. As he was trying out one of the guitars he began to sing and the owner Marie Reidy noticed that he had a lovely voice. She began talking to the man and mentioned making a demo tape to send to a good friend of hers who was a record producer. He said that his name was Lionel Morton and that he sang with a group called 'The Lionel Morton Four', toured the clubs around Lancashire and had won talent contests - notably a 'big' one at Blackpool’s North Pier.
Marie told Lionel to make a demo tape of the group which she then sent to her friend and record producer Johnny Franz. Upon hearing it, he contacted Mrs Reidy to tell her that a contract was on it’s way in the post. Mr Franz said, 'the tape was so good they were immediately signed to a recording contract'. Not long after signing, the group were playing with The Beatles in the legendary Cavern Club, Liverpool.
The Lionel Morton Four changed their name to The Four Pennies after the Blackburn's Penny Street where Mrs Reidy and Lionel met - they won their recording contract in the Frankie Vaughan Talent Competition. The went on to a No1 hit with the song 'Juliette'.
We still played as The Falcons and we beat them in the Preston heat of the competition at Worsleys Ballroom, Preston and they entered again in Blackburn, winning their heat there.
We went to the semi-finals with them on the North Pier in Blackpool - compere William Roach - Ken Barlow from Coronation Street - and unfortunately.. they beat us. We played in separate shows in the semi finals. We played in the first house and lost out to an ageing balladeer because the audience we mostly elderly. They won the second show as they were the only group with an audience consisting mostly of teenagers. They used a 'clapometer' to decide. 'Does it sound like sour grapes on my part?' The Lionel Morton Four got a record deal and changed their name to The Four Pennies."
Peter Illingworth: September 2011
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