Bill Hart Alan Turner Malc Green Alan Bentham Dennis Berry
Drums Lead Guitar Rhythm Lead Vocal Bass
Billyshym Rocky Twig Benny Razz
Formed in 1964 all but Dennis sang harmony backing vocals with some added lead vocal work from Alan T, Bill & Malc.
This kind of versatility gave rise to a rich and varied play list which other cover bands of the day could never quite emulate. This gave them unprecidented popularity with a huge local following. Fans would pack out place's such as Wigan's Court Halland The Wigan Casino on a regular weekly basis.
Shyms songs included a twelve-minute Beatles Sgt Pepper LHCB medley which included 'Sgt Pepper', 'Little Help From My Friends', 'She's leaving Home', 'Penny Lane' & 'Sgt Pepper (Reprise)'. Other major hits included covers of Merseybeats classics like 'Sorrow', The Everley Bros 'Cathy's Clown' and the Hollies 'On A Carosel'
Shyms In A Van
Blue with a red grill was our Austin J2 12 seater 'van' VED 287. It carried the Shyms and their entourage around country for a couple of years about 1964-66. Note the white miners helmet perched on top at the front: What's it doing there? Don't ask!
Derek 'Degsy' Derbyshire RM was self-appointed Shyms'Road Manager'. The Shyms and friends went to Butlins Holiday Camp Minehead on Wigan Wakes Week holiday together. We stopped here to break the journey.
Below Degsy takes control of the Shyms 'newly refurbed', specially-adapted Morris 'Carrier'
12 Seater: 2459 XJ.
Dennis Berry: Bass Guitar - Degsy and Colin Bond: The reserve RM.
In Saddleback Road, Norley Hall, Wigan; where Malcolm Green: Rythmn Guitar lived.
"No.. The lamp post is not fitted to the van!"
In 1968 Bill left the Shyms to Join Preston band Mike Hurst & The Trekkers.Drummer Brian Webster joined as the band re-named themselves Tynfoil.
Alan Bentham & Malcom Green 1962.
"Wow! Just look at that 'plasma screen' in the background!"
The Shyms were my first band. We did our first paid gig in 1964 - a wedding upstairs in The Pack Horse pub in Wigan's Newtown area on Pemberton Road. There's an Aldi just opposite now and the pub's been demolished. We had a good night and then we told the audience, that we had to finish playing after this song as, "We have catch the last bus home." That we put our modest gear, drums, amps aboard a Wigan Corporation bus to do the gig is unthinkable nowadays - but for the love of rock 'n roll and 5 quid - we did.
The Manly Hotel in Lower Ince Wigan: 2010
Another Shyms early venue
Mersey Sound was by now well and truly established and we were just kids starting up. I suppose you could call us a second phase band/group (When did we stop using the word group?). We rode highly on the crest of the wave created by the guys & gals in Liverpool - at the time, they must have thought they'd all reached heaven on earth inside 10.5 minutes.
Plodding on we got better and better and soon we found we were really popular: "We were world famous in Wigan."
With that we started to break new geographical territory; Blackpool - Burnley - Bolton - Blackburn - Preston - NWales - Stoke - NEast - Cumbria - but never Liverpool (or Manchester). I suppose they didn't need us pie-eaters to entertain them, there must have been a million local bands to choose from by now. And so it was 1970 before we made our Liverpool debut at The Iron Door Club. It was a Sunday night and the place was dead - all of 20 people or so. Billy Butler was djaying inside a small room where he could see the stage through an opening no bigger than a serving hatch. Boy was he grumpy. We were thrilled to bits. He slagged us off... we don't know why. Was he constipated or something? He certainly was not a happy-bunny that night. Then we had The Cavern a year later. Mysteriously cancelled at the last minute... Are you beginning to catch my drift about me, my scouse hang-ups. Ah well - it's only taken me nearly half a century to get this far - but I am well sure it was worth the wait. I think?
We The Shyms had four good years from 1964 onwards.. us chasing the dream... as you do. We even had a fan club. We dashed up and down the new motorways to and from gigs (Whatever happened to the word 'booking'?) often calling for early morning snacks at Charnock Richard M6 services for steak and chips... with an egg on top.
Wigan Empress Hall 'The ‘Emp.’ soon to be the world famous Casino was host to all the top bands but The Beatles never made it there. The Rolling Stones, Zombies, Hollies, Lulu & The Lovers,Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, Hermans Hermits, Shirley Bassey… The Shyms
played there dozens of times. The Bill Blackledge Band was the resident orchestra and the pop groups filled in at the 'interval'. Then Bill was dropped in favour of two pop bands on one night - one on the stage and one at the back near the bar area.
Bands would load their gear at the side entrance. Other bands would sneekily drive past making sure they weren't the first to arrive so they would get the last of the 4 spots between the two bands. The first band to arrive got the 1st & 3rd spots whilst the second band got the 2nd and 4th spots. The last spot the 'star's' spot which gave them airs of superiority and granduer.
I had to go to Wigan Casino boss Mr Gerry Marshall's office - remember Mr M's night Club? - for our band fee, which was around £10-£12. Looking like Edward G. Robinson with his two heavies to his left and right, a fly on the wall would feel the overpowering intimidation. It was a dreaded experience. We drew lots between us as to which one of us it would be to get the short straw and enter the lions den tonight. Marshall made sure you felt terrified at being in his office and as for handing over the band fee - you felt like he was doing you a massive favour. He manipulated the whole encounter to assert his power and control over you. Why? I suppose only he will ever really know..
We played at places like Croston Village Hall. We were on with The Rocking Vicarsonce. Blackpool Tower's Ocean Room was a favourite. They even got a double-decker bus up for our fans to travel from Wigan. All was well until after we played. We were loading the old Transit van in the gloom at the back around when we were suddenly attacked by a small gang of around three or four lads. We chased them off only to discover that they'd run away and got aboard our fans bus and went casually skulking upstairs. Yes, we found out, they had come on the bus too - the Shyms fans bus!
But they didn't plan their attack too well - my biggest fan was on that bus too - my mother! I told her what they had done and in a vexed rage and rather fittingly, she threw then off the bus and told the driver to drive on. They were just gobsmacked. They were stranded on Blackpool prom in the middle of Saturday night, 40 miles from home. However, the bus stopped after a few yards. They soon caught up and me mam started-on at them and gave um what-the-hell-for, for the next ten minutes.. Finally humiliated, she allowed them back on the bus and slapped each one of them around the ears as they again skulked past her and back up the stairs. They never heard a peep from them all the way home. Non the worse for wear we happily called at the local chippy on Stanley Road where I had steak-pudding, chips and peas with gravy. Heaven. We got £15 and paid 10% commission to our agent William Leyland's LE Agency. Oh! - and the following morning I discovered I'd got a black eye.
I went on holiday to Austalia in the late 80s... to Fishermans Wharf, Gold Coast. It was mid-day and I'd just settled into a nice cold 'Vicky B' tinny and sitting lazily on the promanade overlooking a small stage in the distance. The panoramic view beyond and over the ocean was just stunning. I was wearing pair of heavy sunglasses... you know, the type that marks you out instantly to any Aussie - so that he automatically thinks - 'another bloody pommy tourist'.
My eyes settled on that tiny stage watching the two guys set up their gear for what was obviously going to be a performace of some sort. Then they were into it. Just two guys doing a 60's set. But there was more. One of the guys had a north of England accent. Are you all running ahead of me now....? Yes, yes, I had recognised the lead guitarist... and yes he said,'I played that night with The Rocking Vic's in Croston Village Hall,' so he later told me.
A small place is rock 'n roll y'all! What! You find them scattered all over the place.." Bill Hart Feb 2010.
My Beverley kit with Krut cymbals..
The early days rehearsals.
IMTAC Church Hall, Pemberton, Wigan 1963
Malc' gives the new Olympic tom toms a tap and a tickle..
"How long can it take to cook steak & chips for five people."
Shyms Business Card
The day England won the World Cup in 1966 we tossed a coin whether we rehearsed or watched the game: We rehearsed.
A rehearsal break in the sunshine after being below ground in the celler at
Mrs Hughes House - Ashton-in-Makerfield Wigan 1966.
Blackpool Tower Ocean Room
Blackpool Beach 1965..
Epiphone Bass Fender Telecaster Gretsch Tennesean
Morecambe Pier.. The bouncers out-numbered the audience that night.
We got paid early and went home!
No longer did rock bands pull-in huge crowds.
Times had changed and quickly too - end of an era?
Where did we go next?
The Shyms pose for first-ever 'Group' pic in Mesnes Park Wigan 1963.
Dennis 'Raz, Berry - Alan 'Big Al' Bentham - Alan 'Rocky' Turner
Malcom 'Twig' Green - Bill 'Billy Shym' Hart.
"Where is it Malc'?"
'It was up there somewhere!'
"How long do you have to wait for a cup
of tea 'round here?"
Who's on the other end of this see-saw?
"C'mon.. own up! Who dropped one?"
Alan Bentham and Alan Turner
Dennis - not really in the mood - as Degsy takes the strain on Morcambe Pier.
"Remember the sleepy, snoring early morning journeys home in the van, keeping awake singing Beatle songs, jumping on the rubbers to change the traffic lights in front of the then Gas Showrooms in Wigan - not sure if it made any difference though!"
Fred Moss: April 2011
Derek 'Degsy' Darbyshire - Alan Turner - John 'Jagger' Finch - Dennis Berry Jagger - Colin Bond - Alan Turner - Bill Hart
Degsy, Colin Bond and Jagger were great pals and Shyms roadies..
Bill Hart - Dennis Berry
Butlins Holiday Camp - Bognor Regis
Dennis Berry: May 2014
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