The Hy-Tones


Brian GriffithsThen, after a while playing around the Merseyside area, a guy called Howie Casey (who had just come out of the Army) joined the group. Howie played the sax and he was good, very good! What a difference he made to the group. We used to do a lot of Bill Haley numbers, but with Howie on sax, what a feature it made. Then, not long after Howie joined, a young guy called Derry Wilkie joined us. We already had two singers, but Derry was so good and by far out-sang the other two, so he stayed with us. I think he was about 18 and used to live around the Princess Road area of Liverpool.

The group was really sounding good by now. I can't really remember how Griff joined us, maybe Howie or Derry introduced him to the group. Anyway, his name was Brian Griffiths and he played lead guitar and when we heard Griff play both lead and rhythm, he was asked if he wanted to join the group and agreed to join us. He was so good; in a way he made the other guitarist feel a bit envious. He was just brilliant. I think that Griff lived somewhere in the Old Swan or Edge Lane area but only stayed with the group for a few months due to an accident at work involving his fingers: he used to work at the Lybro making overalls, but had to leave the group. Howie Casey lived in Longview, which was a few minutes walk from where I lived.

The name of the band was a play on words. It started in the Huyton district, so the chosen name was the Hy-tones. This was an approximation of one of the original mediaeval names for the village of Huyton. Most of the bands of that era had three or four members: the original line-up of the Hy-tones was eight members. This was about three too many and was not financially viable. Simple economics dictated that the more members in the band - the further the financial rewards had to be distributed.

We did mostly early Eddie Cochran, Elvis, Bobby Vee, Carl Perkins, some Gene Vincent numbers, Bobby Darin and, of course, Lonnie Donegan's 'Midnight Special', also our own version of the Vipers 'No Other Baby.'

The Cavern Wall which names the Hy-tonesDuring the years that the Hy-tones were together, the band played at many well-known and exciting places all over the Merseyside area. The following is a list of the venues that can be remembered. There were more but, sadly, time dims even the sharpest memory and gaps have appeared over the forty or so years since the band first played. The English Electric Club on the East Lancs Road; Blair Hall in Walton Road; the Pavilion, Lodge Lane; the Moss Bank Labour Club, St. Helens; Wilson Hall, Garston; the Locarno, West Derby Road; Litherland Town Hall, Litherland; Samson & Barlow's, London Road; St. Luke's Hall, Crosby; Knotty Ash Village Hall, Knotty Ash; the Orrell Park Ballroom; Cadwa Hall, Rocky Lane; the Cavern, Mathew Street; Holyoake Hall, Smithdown Road; the Automatic Telephone Club, Roby Road; the Tent, Huyton Quarry; Sutton Manor Miner's Club, Sutton Manor, St. Helens and the Rialto, Upper Parliament Street..

We got the bookings by going to the various clubs, finding out who the guy in charge was, did an audition and then we were booked. We did have a few rejections, because rock 'n' roll hadn't really taken off at that time, but we got most of them. Our very first booking where we got paid was at the English Electric Club on the East Lancs Road. I think we got thirty bob each.

The five original Hy-tones played the Cavern in 1959 and, yes, it was mostly jazz and skiffle. The first time we were there there was an all-nighter and among the numbers we played were 'C'mon Everybody' and 'That's Alright, Mama.'

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