I missed out on the early side of the bands chart success because Mike was with them then and they had changed their name to ‘The Fourmost’ but I would still see the lads when they were playing locally, or sometimes my wife and I would jump on the train and see the band in another part of the country.
I have to be honest and say I did wish it was me playing up there when I went to see the band, but that’s me I wanted to do everything.
Sadly Mike died and the band tried a few other musicians George Peckham, Ian Edwards a guy named Giorgio and a few others I cannot remember, so when they ran out of candidates they asked me would I go back.
It was great for me to be on the road and doing theatres and stuff like that, and we used to travel abroad quite a lot, we were virtually resident in the casino in Estoril Portugal (playing not gambling).
We were also doing a lot of pantomimes because we had developed the comedy side of the band and it seemed to appeal to the agents who booked the pantomimes.
The football side was also looking rosier, because I was back with the band I got friendly with the Liverpool footballers and used to meet socially, the band were asked to do ‘This Is Your Life’ for Kevin Keegan, and I was also asked to play for the ex Liverpool and Everton team (I thought I’d died and gone to heaven).
I also played against the ex Liverpool and Everton team for the Billy Butler Eleven.
But playing for or against people like Ian St John, Ian Callaghan, Jan Molby, Howard Kendal, Mike Lyons and numerous others is a feeling I cannot describe when you are a football nut like me.
We actually stayed on too long as a band, cabaret clubs which were our bread and butter were closing all over the country and instead of being in a town for a week at a club we were now doing one-nighters which we all hated, I remember one week where we were in Birmingham, Monte Carlo, Glasgow and Sheffield for consecutive gigs all done in a transit van and very few motorways then, how we never had an accident in all those years I’ll never know.
In 1978 Dave Lovelady, Billy Hatton and myself decided to call it a day, and formed a local band with my wife on keyboards just so we could still play music, the band was called Clouds.
We have had offers recently to reform the Fourmost to do some tours so it’s a case of ‘Watch this space.’
Editor’s Notes: I wrote a piece on the Four Jays in Issue No. 7 dated October 5 1961:
“There haven’t been any changes in the personnel of the Four Jays since they started up two years ago. Nineteen-years-old drummer Brian Redman can be heard singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ every New Year’s Eve and also sends his pet crocodile crazy with the last line of ‘And The Heaven’s Cried.’ A keen jazz fan, Brian’s personal favourites are Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball.
“Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Joe Bower, the eldest member of the group at 21, is a painter and decorator who will soon be singing “I’m getting married in the morning.”
“Vocalist and bass guitarist Billy Hatton is an apprentice fitter with the Atomic Energy Authority and has a liking for the music of Chet Atkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
“Vocalist and lead guitarist Brian O’ Hara hopes to become a chartered accountant one day, and is a firm favourite with his mum. Particular favourites of his include Gypsy Rose Lee, Jim Gretty and the Remo Four.
“Their act is made up of mixtures of rock, jazz and comedy. Much of the comedy is impromptu and the audience can never be sure of seeing the same rendering of a number twice. The group also like playing several jazz numbers, which provide a change from rock, and all have refused professional offers because of their jobs: Joe with Jan Ralfini’s Band at the Locarno; Billy backing his friend Billy Fury; drummer Brian with a television quartet and Brian O’ Hara with Nat Allen’s Band at the Locarno.
The Four Jays wish to thank Bobby Thompson, a member of the Dominoes for taking Joe’s placed at Douglas Holiday Camp this year. They have just been asked to return to the camp next season and have a letter of appreciation from the manager.”