Oggie, Baz' Houghton and
Ken Eden on bass..
Pics By Frankie Chean: January 2011
The Day The Music Died.
A lonely guitar in the corner stands
No more to be played by it's owners hand
Speakers so silent take over the floor
Questions unanswered, where did it all go?
Scribbling’s of music littered around
CD's un-played not making a sound
A whole life's story held in this room
A legend to be told amongst the gloom
And so for music he lived and breathed
Not for much else did he feel the need
The final sleep behind closed doors
Now his music will be heard no more
Dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Alan Hodson:
Better known as Oggie.
"Sadly Oggie passed away on Friday 16 July 2010 to that well known
rock 'n roll gig-in-the-sky.. The 'Room At The Top'."
OGGIE & The MEMBRANES
Oggie & The Heartbeats: Ned Pringe: The Shaades: Parr Four:
Hocus Pocus: The Negatives: Lincoln Bond
"O&TM Originated at the end of 1963 in Ashton-in-Makerfied. Me: Ken Eden; I was fourteen. We bought three matching 15 watt Wem amps which looked nice and were okay for rehearsing but not very good for gigs. We used to practice in the attic at the ‘Old Vic’ - St. Thomas Vicarage, which had a youth club downstairs. The Vicar let us use the attic on the understanding that we would play for the youth club when we were any good - I think he‘s still waiting!.
Our first ‘booking’ was at Garswood Parochial Hall, in April 1964 and it went remarkably well. We were convinced that we were on the way to stardom. After that we regularly played on the same bill as The Vaqueros and The Long & The Shortas we had the same agent, William Leyland's L.E. Agency. We used to use their amps’ (‘cos ours were so bad!), we were very much the new kids on this block. The Vaqueros were great guys, each one a character, very like the earlyBeatles, bursting with zany humour and scouse wit, L&S were good lads too.
We played all the usual places around Wigan; The Wigan Emp' - Casino, Court Ballroom, Wigan, Ashton-in-Makerfield Baths, Room At The Top, Wigan - you haven’t lived until you’ve carried a Selmer Goliath up three flights of stairs. At the end of 1964 The Long & The Short split and The Membranes reformed with Stuart Kilshaw R-I-P on drums and Gerry Watt on keyboards. Gerry was former piano player with The Long & The Short who had seen some success with a top forty hit, 'The Letter', written by Sonny Bono. Gerry was a true rock ’n’ roller, he had one of the first electric pianos, a Hohner, which sounded nothing like a piano. When we played a gig that had a piano available he would mic’ that up rather than use his Hohner. Gerry influenced the band a great deal and in 1965 I think we were the only band in the country still playing traditional rock and roll, very unfashionable at that time - we preceded Showaddywaddy by ten years. Then Gerry got himself an organ, a Vox Continental (the orange one). We could now do numbers by The Animals, Manfred Mann and The Dave Clark Five!
Hazards of being a Drummer
Stuart’s dad got a brand new Bedfordvan, which Stuart borrowed to take us to gigs. After playing one Sunday night at The Room At The Top we came down to find it covered in lipstick graffiti, it took him till after 3:00am to clean it off, then he had to go to work at 5.30, not a happy bunny. I remember playing the Ocean Room in Blackpool Tower with The Barron Knights when Stuart’s drum stool collapsed, all that could be seen of him were two little arms sticking out from behind the bass drum, it looked like the drums were playing themselves (the first drum machine?). On another occasion, I think it was the Co-op Ballroom in Farnworth, the stage had a podium on which Stuart set up his drums, during the last spot there was a terrific crash as his whole kit slid off the podium, then off the stage - snare drum and tom-tom were sent rolling across the dance floor. Keith Moon must have heard about this because shortly afterwards he incorporated something similar into The Who’s act. Stuart left at the end of 1965 for a residency at Abram Workingmen’s Club.
The band reformed again as a five piece, Dave Whalley from Haydock joined as lead singer and when The Vaqueros split their drummer Johnny Kearns joined us - boy could he drink? We did a week at the Seven Stars Pub in Rochdale, on the first night Johnny made a bee-line for the bar, returning with four pints on a tray. “Oh.. have you got a round in?” I asked. “No!” he replied. “These are for me!” Was he joking? Absolutely not! This was even before we’d finished setting up. No matter how much he drank he was still a phenomenal drummer. At the beginning of this particular line-up Oggie and I called at Johnny’s house in Whiston one night, he was with another ex Vaquero, John 'Wokky' Watkins. We all went for a pint at the Green Dragon Pub and ended up ‘doing a turn’. Johnny got on the drums (brushes), Wokky got his acoustic from the car and I found a double bass at the back of the stage! Wokky was a good ballad singer, his speciality was “The Great Pretender” Oggie & me did the Woo-Woos.
Prog Rock comes to Rivington
Later in 1966 Johnny left and Oggie and me formed a new group “Frame of Mind” with Geoff Parr - Lead guitar/organ and Rod* from Julian & The Trolls on drums. Thehigh point in this band was supporting Pink Floyd at Rivington Hall Barn in 1967. That night left a big impression on us, the loudest thing ever heard, not by today’s standards but unbelievable then, nothing like this had been heard before, certainly not in Rivi'. - I‘d never seen so many speaker cabs, it was like Selmer’s warehouse. At that time Floyd used Selmer blue amps, my Goliath blended in perfectly. They had just charted with ‘Arnold Layne’ but they were a long way off the mega-stardom that was to follow.
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now!
Later in 1967 we reformed again with Brian Webster - drums - Tynfoil and reverted to the original name Oggie & The Membranes. We got a resident three nights a week at The Old Hall Hotel in Ince - The Vaqueros had held the residency there in ‘65. Brian left later that year and was replaced by Barry 'Baz' Houghton. It was summer ‘68 when Johnny Kearns turned up there to see if I would be interested in joining a band with him and Lally Stott, another ex Vaquero. I expressed my interest and for the next few weekends we rehearsed in Johnny’s house in Whiston. Johnny and Lally could pass for brothers, they were both dark with similar features and long hair but Johnny was taller with a remarkable resemblence to P J Proby
Lally organised a tour of American military bases in Germany, he had been before with Denny Seyton. I had a big decision to make, at the age of 18, I had just started a new day job and I was still playing three nights a week with Oggie at The Old Hall'. So I pulled out, I still don’t know if that was the right decision, I always think what might have been. I never saw Lally or Johnny again, but they got a group together and went ahead with the tour. Stories filtered back, I heard that it was a disaster - bad management. They didn’t get paid what they were supposed to, their van had broken down somewhere in the Alpine foothills leaving them stranded and broke, then they had to sell their equipment for their fare home, except Lally, who went on to Italy, where he achieved fame with Chirpy-Chirpy-Cheep-Cheep - but that’s another story.Dover Lock at Abram. Before this band got off the ground Oggie’s Membranes split and I was asked by Geoff Parr and Baz Houghton to form ‘Parr Four’ with Vince Littler - rhythm guitar- harmonica - Vince was a teacher, later Head at Edmond Arrowsmith High, Ashton- in Makerfield. The idea was to play the golf clubs - Parr 4 - geddit!. We rehearsed at Hindley Golf Club, Geoff and Vince were members.
I left The Membranes in late 1968 and flirted with Pete Haydock - keyboards and Roy Gaskell - drums - Copper Kettle and a lead guitarist called Frank*, who had a red Fender Stratocaster. We rehearsed a few Sunday afternoons in The
In early 1969 we got the residency at The I.M.I. Imperial Club in Knowsley. As resident band we had to back the guest artistes, quite a few big names, Marty Wilde, Emile Ford, Ken Dodd -really - that was a late night! Geoff left Parr Four In 1970 - but we kept the name and Gary Roberts of the The Vaqueros helped out with a keyboard player he knew called Sam* from St Helens - he lived behind The Plaza Club, until we finally settled on Pete Haydock as Geoff’s replacement. After three years at The Imperial Club I left Parr Four and got married. The others - Parr Three? got a twelve month residency at Tiffany’s in Liverpool, with Vince switching to bass.
Old Rockers Never Die - They Just Fade Away.
I did play with Gerry Watt again briefly with Bob McKinley’s Band - early 1970’s before they both moved to London. Oggie went on to pursue his solo career via Ned Pringe & Shades, although he stood in with Parr Four when Vince was on holiday. At the beginning of 1973 Pete and Baz asked me to go back with them as a trio and return to The Imperial Club. I didn’t need much persuading but I had sold my gear and had to buy new - great! I treated myself to an eight-string Hagstrom bass, the most fun a bass player can have. I played there until 1975 when I finally packed in for good.
Pete Haydock sadly died from cancer at the age of 29. Lally Stott was killed in a road accident in 1977, the circumstances of which vary depending who you talk to. He returned from Italy to his family home in Prescot. Some say he was riding a Harley Davison, others say it was a moped. I’d like to think it was a Harley - so much more rock‘n’roll, god bless him.
Stop Press: I now have it on good authority that Lally Stott had a Ducati, not a Harley Davidson.
PS: Yes, I too was at the Rolling Stones gig at Wigan ABC Ritz in 1964. At the end Jagger threw his maracas into the audience, a Membranes fan caught one and gave it to Oggie, we used it in the band after that. Wonder where it is now?
PPS: *Sorry - Can’t remember their surnames.
Ken Eden: July 2010
"Did Colin Edwardson play with the Shaades - Oggie and The Membranes - at all. if its the same person, I used to know him very well. He did an overhaul of my bass guitar, great job too. Is he a carpenter?"
^ericturner1: Wigan World: May 2010
"The Shades were Oggie - Alan Hodson, Geoff Davies, Colin Edwardson and I think Baz - with the 'little tash' on the drums. The Vaqueros and Foot Tappers were a little before my time but I remember people talking about them with envy. Geoff sadly left us last year."
Garry Hughes: July 2010
"Colin Edwardson did play with The Shaades and The Vaquero's as well as the Foot-Tappers."
More from Ken Eden..
"I’m so glad that I recently put in written word the memories that I have of Oggie - above. How timely as it turned out. My biggest regret is not contacting him, I had every intention of doing so but didn’t get round to it, I was really looking forward to jamming with him again one day.
Oggie The Rocker..
So, Oggie’s gone - R.I.P. - Rock In Peace. Anyone who knew him will know he’ll be blowin’ thosepearly gates off their hinges with his Telecaster turned up to No.11. - 'I can hear him nowplaying ‘Wipeout’'. Oggie had a voice like freshly chipped gravel, somewhere in between John Lennon and Brian Johnson. When The Membranes started out in 1964 one of the most requested songs was ‘Twist and shout’. Oggie would knacker his voice for days ripping through it. Like John Lennon he soon learned to leave songs like that until the end of the last spot. He would get through vast quantities of throat lozenges, always suffering with his vocal chords.
Oggie The Socialist..
Not everybody got along with Oggie, that’s probably why there were so many personnel changes in the band - but from first meeting him we hit it off - we were definitely on the same wavelength. I looked up to Oggie, he was three years older than me and became my mentor in many ways, musically and otherwise. In 1965 I was ill with bronchitis and unable to play a couple of gigs, the Membranes managed without me - God knows how - but Oggie came round with my cut of the fee. I said I wasn’t entitled to it, as I hadn’t played - but Oggie - and the others insisted I have it. I was very proud to be in that band, salt of the earth, all of ‘em.
Tonight Matthew, I’m Going To Be..
On our free days some of the band would venture to Liverpool, Manchester, Blackpool or Southport. Oggie had shoulder length red hair (this was about ‘65 - ‘66, before long hair was commonplace) and he did bear a resemblence to John Walker - Mears - of The Walker Brothers fame. He attracted a lot of attention, just by his appearance and sometimes wore sunglasses to pass himself off as the star. Many young ladies were taken in by this subterfuge, particularly as we all backed him up, with Jimmy, our 'self-appointed' road manager, introducing him convincingly as such. It was hilarious but we usually managed to keep a straight face and had a lot of fun. The first time we did it was in Southport with some Liverpool girls, they fell for it so easily. There must be a lot of fake Walker Brothers autographs around the North West, I suppose its easy to confuse a Wigan accent with someone from Los Angeles, everyone was much more naïve in those days. Having said that, The Walker Brothers had only just become famous and most people wouldn’t know where they came from.
Oggie The Hustler..
One day we went to Manchester, as usual we checked out the music shops on Oxford Road, then went to Granada Studios to see if we could get on the local T.V.(sic.) We got as far as Reception, where we were thanked for our interest and politely asked to leave. Oggie, being the way he is, was having none of it, he spent the afternoon outside the front door accosting every person that went in with the line - ‘Hey Mister, can you get me on Telly?’ - as I said, we were much more naïve in those days.
When The Membranes reformed In 1966 we needed somewhere to rehearse. Oggie lived opposite a farm on Golborne Road, Stubshaw Cross - Stubshie, he asked the owner if we could use his barn. There were bales of hay and free range chickens all around us. Johnny Kearns went nuts, the chickens kept perching on his drum kit and they took a fancy to Oggie’s Fender amp, I think it was the glittery front. You might describe amps as ‘road worn’ but not usually hen-pecked! I can still picture Johnny chasing the chickens with his drumsticks - ironic - it was pure comedy, if only it had been caught on film, definitely one for YouTube."
Ken Eden: July 2010
Oggie presenting a cheque to the Hospice for a concert that The Beat Boys did for them. Oggie compered it for me, so I asked him along to present the cheque.
Ronnie Carr: August 2010
Ken Eden: Bass. Barry 'Baz' Houghton: Drums. Oggie: Lead Guitar
"Oggie rang me up one day in the mid-eighties (date not temperature).
He said, "what are you doing tonight?" I said, "nowt - why?" The last time I saw Oggie was at the Room At The Top 20 years ago in the 1960's
"I'll pick you up. You're playing a booking with me tonight!"
"I'll bring me guitar and amp then." I said.
"No need. Av geet one for thi."
"Oggie. I'll just bring me guitar then.?"
"No, tha' playing bass."
"I don't play bass."
"Tha' does toneet," he said.
We went down to The Wilderpool Centre in Warrington. They were all wearing dicky bows - it was a posh black tie do. We were just a bunch of scruffs. I said, "What are doing Oggie. What songs are we playing?
"Tell me what tha' knows. Here, neh mind wi' all that. let's start off with Long Tall Sally."
I'd not a clue what were coming next but it turned out to be a great night and we blew them away.. That's Oggie for you!'
Michael 'Mitch' Mitchinson: August 2010
"On hearing the very sad news about Oggie and not having seen him for a couple of years we are now very glad that we collected him and brought him to the house for a couple of beers and a chinwag. This was just a few months ago.
Goodnight God bless Oggie."
^Dave and Julie
"I worked with Oggie for many years in various bands and groups, mainly in the Fox Tavern in Ince, Wigan in the 1980's where we played every week to an often packed-to-the-seams pub with an abundance of guest artists. I suppose we were doing the forerunner to Karaoke but with live music and a laugh. Oggie was an absolute crackpot with loads of talent, and he would always provide great backing to these superb club acts who would turn up and do a spot simply because the place was buzzing.
I first remember meeting Oggie in the Swan & Railway pub in Wigan where 'Ned Pringe' used to practice. I can still recall thinking who’s that singing?; before I met him on the stairs, a nutter with long flaming red hair.
Oggie was an integral part in the creation of 'Ramsammy' raising monies for charities in the Wigan area usually for kids and providing tremendous entertainment at its best.
I have had the privilege to work on many occasions with Geoff and Oggie -The Shaades, along with Baz Houghton on the kit. Wonderful crazy days with great musicians.. two of which have now left us!
Oggie was a true friend who will be missed very much. We will all have wonderful memories of Oggie and I don’t believe Ince will ever be the same again."
With friends and happy.
Oggie - left.
"Below, I attach a pic of the first “Rock For Kids“ Concert. It was held on a trailer in the car park at the back of The Fox Tavern, Higher Ince, Wigan, 27 July 1986.
A few of your contributors and subjects regarding Oggie and other local - Wigan group's are on stage in this black and white picture taken at the end of the day by a local rag. We had a brilliant day though it was a lot of hard work for myself, Gaz & Danny, setting up the power supply and PA system etc. I hardly found time for a beer!.
I won’t list all the groups these guy’s were members of as they were obviously in multiple groups over the years, but some are..
Edward John Concern - Oggie And The Membranes - The Negatives - The Beat Boys
Lanky Beat visitors can checkout the monikers on this photo after reading some of your other pages?"
"I heard last Friday 19th July 2010 from Gaz Hughes that Oggie had passed away, earlier this week he also pointed me to this site regarding tributes/comments about Oggie, and I must say I am touched (but not surprised) at the sentiment expressed by his friends and all the people who knew and remember him, and I would like to say in particular that I agree wholeheartedly with everything they have said, especially 'Oggie the Gentleman'.
Though infamous as a madman Oggie has saved me from many a scrape in the past, in particular once when I naively insulted the local Mafia! he stepped in and put a spin on it that saved my bacon - he knew every scally in Ince - though never one himself and his cred as an 'artiste' and as a genuine person rescued me from an early bath!.
In another vain, I was starting out as a guitarist when I met Oggie and Gaz and although never in his league as a performer, even when I improved he never failed to carry me if necessary and always gave me support on stage, he was also invariably generous with his praise to encourage me - God love him for this alone. More importantly he cared and would not let me die on my a***, that was Oggie.
One manifestation of Oggie in terms of groups I have not seen on here yet, but is predominant in my mind was the 'Negatives'. The members in my time were Oggie - Guitar Vocals, Geoff Davies - Vocals, Colin Holcroft (Huffy) Bass Guitar-Vocals and Willy Halliwell - Drums. Sadly all are now gone. I have a video of practically a full show of them at Stubshaw Cross that I hope to upload here or UTube?
Oggie and Geoff Davies were particularly close, and as I seem to remember they were The Shaades Duo?. Geoff tragically died last September, his brother Kenny Davies was also always close to Oggie and used to go for a pint with him up to as recently as the week before he passed on, lost track of the times Oggie backed Kenny singing 'The Answer'!
Anyway I could go on for ages with tales of Oggie and the memories of times I had with him and a lot of his many other friends, but for now I echo what everyone has said and would like to add my personal message to Oggie (just in case !).
Oggie, I hope you got through the pearlies’ and - if you choose - that you RIP, because if YOU don’t - nobody will…., god love you, your friend Mick."
Mick Sexton: July 2010
'Just to say that I second Ronnies tribute to Oggie. Its easy to forget that because of his wildcat antics what a great gentleman he was. As a peformer he could rock like no-one else. We go back a hell of a long time to 1965 in fact when i saw OATM a the Room At The Top. They were superb. They opened with Chuck Berry's 'Rock and Roll Music' and Oggie was in fine voice.
I remember him playing a cherry Hofner Verithin through a little Fender piggy-back amp'. sounded great. I can also remember going out wetting our babbys yed's when his son and my daughter were born within a couple of days of each other.
Like all his friends, we all have tons of Oggie stories, so he will live in our hearts for some time to come. He was my mate, and I shall miss him.'
Mitch Mitchinson: July 2010
'Just seen the Oggie pics you put on Lanky Beat - very good. I am sure that the fans will enjoy the memory and remember the contribution he put into the music scene all these years. Not one charity he would not do, big heart, great man and friend.'
Ronnie Carr: July 2010
'I'm sad to hear of the passing of Oggie. I used to watch them practice years ago and became good frends. He did a spot at the Blue Bell Pub a few years ago, sadly that was the last time I spoke to him. Mad has a hatter but a gentleman.'
^brianjgreen: Wigan World: July 2010
'In the mid/late 60's Oggie rocked the Old Hall Hotel in Lower Ince , Wigan. Great nights with a great fella.'
^davep: Wigan World: July 2010
'I remember Alan Hodson - Oggie from the early sixties when he used to come and watch the Tropics practising at The Harrow Pub in Edge Green, he was still at school I think. I met up with him again when he was playing at The Platt Bridge Inn in Platt Bridge, Wigan in the 1990's. When he was young he told me he always wanted a 'Hofner Verithin' guitar. I wonder if he ever got one? R.I.P. Oggy, always a rocker.'
^Phil: Wigan World: July 2010
'I remember Oggie in the early days coming to watch us practice. He was mad as an hatter even then and he was only sixteen. I played lead in The Tropics - left handed Watkins Rapier) and went on to play professionally with The Kaytones.
I also played with good old stomper Bob McKinley in his early days and became friendly cum rival groups in the sixties. Oggie at sixteen enjoyed a few pints in those days which reminded me of The Who's Keith Moon only madder.
I got back in touch two years ago by phone when I was playing in the Old Dog Pub in Upholland and had a good old chat and laugh with him. Sadly I never got to meet up with him again but I'll never forget the guy from 'Stubshee' (Stubshaw Cross, Leigh).
It's only today I found out about his demise, but will pass on this sad news to Keith Wright Beat Boys, Sportsmen ect John Lewis - Copper Kettle, Richie Thomas -who is still going strong with fab sound: Bargain Blues - ex Crocodile Joe. All of us get together in 'Thowd Dog' regularly. I'll see if I can arrange to get us all to come over for the funeral.
All I can say is: "Rock-on Oggie you was a one-off, rest in peace and peal-it to um' up yonder if tha' con' get thru't gates."'
^Keith Pennington: Wigan World: July 2010
'Oggie was as daft as a brush but he weren't a bad player.. RIP Oggie.'
^bassman: Wigan World: July 2010
'He was a nice fella! RIP Oggie.'
^fossil: Wigan World: July 2010
'Oggie was a lovely fella. We used to go watch him at The 77 Club. He also played at my daughters wedding when he was in Hocus Pokus. He lived next door to my son. RIP Oggie.'
^ellenheaton: Wigan World: July 2010
BAND NEWS ALWAYS WANTED..
Then get in touch right away!