Let There Be Drums
Alfie left the band to join Billy Burgess’s new band the Blue Prints - they were cousins! But we had Mike then to go up front, Mike brought a more rhythm and blues feel to the group with songs like, ‘Long Tall Shorty’ and ‘Beautiful Delilah’. The best one was when he got both songs mixed up and started singing “They call me Beautiful Delilah.” We just fell about laughing and the audience in the Flying Saucer pub in Speke was also laughing. Our fees them days were about £4 and upwards. My dad took over as manager; he was out every night looking for bookings for the band, and never took a cut of the fee. He did so well the Blue Prints came and asked him would he manage them to, but he declined. The only agent dad used I am sure was Mike Hughes, otherwise he would get the bookings himself, we never questioned about that side.
The group finally recruited a bass player from Huyton called Paul Lewis, and then a second singer in John Pendleton, brother of Alfie. I still see John sometimes; he has an electrical store in Widnes market.
A funny story: I took the group back to my old school to play at a school reunion, and Mr Cox my old teacher couldn't believe I was on stage performing; he said "This is not the Arthur Davies that we couldn't put on the stage in school plays because he would faint. He always had to work behind the scenes.”
Another story while I was with this band: We were playing a youth club dance (I can't remember the venue), and as usual I was right at the back, just in front of the back curtains, and my stool was drifting back, then I suddenly vanished through the curtains. It was a six foot drop behind the curtains, (but as I had trouble them days with my legs being weak, I had to strap my foot to the bass pedal, you know the kind of thing, those straps you get on the pedals of learning bikes.) So as my foot was connected to the bass drum and I fell down the back, the drums decided to follow me. I was lying there with my drums on top of me; pity there wasn’t a camera there that day.
The band lasted for about under two years and then we all went our ways after a massive row outside the Metal Box Club in Speke, Mike had run away with his girlfriend to Gretna Green to get married.
I tried in vain to get into a band but I never got as far as the audition, it was the same story
After that I became very bitter and disillusioned and couldn't get into another group. So I put the drums away and basically wasted the next two years, the heart had gone out of me in so many ways.
Then one day two old school friends turned up and asked did I fancy playing wheelchair basketball. I had never heard of it and didn’t want to know at that time. I said ‘no’ but a couple of weeks later they came back to ask me again, so I did them the courtesy of going to have a look at the game. They were training in Quarry Bank School (John Lennon’s old school) and that was that.
I went into wheelchair basketball, joining Liverpool. At least I thought I would be more accepted at this new interest as I was still bitter about my music and not being accepted,
Some years later I joined a band called Red Fire with Jimmy Major who was in my basketball team and also confined to a wheelchair. Pete Jones was the lead guitarist. But the act didn’t last long, and then Pete asked me did I fancy joining Faron’s Flamingos. They one of my favourite groups of the 60s, I did one gig with them and Faron, ‘the panda footed prince of prance’ sacked me.
So I went back to my basketball. Over the years I have played with a few bands that had reformed: The Four Just Men, Lee Curtis and the All Stars, and for the last seven years with Faron’s Flamingo’s. I’ve also played a number of gigs as drummer for Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes.
I haven’t made money out of this business, but who cares. I am a fan on the inside, and have had the pleasure of backing people who I considered gods in the 60s: Faron, Nicky Crouch (Mojos) Kingsize Taylor, Chris Curtis (Searchers) Earl Preston, Brian ‘Griff’ Griffiths (Big 3) Jackie Lomax, Brian Jones, Geoff Nugent (the Undertakers) so many more. Memories are worth more than money. I learned drums by watching in the Cavern, I would sit at the side of the stage in view of the drummers and watch, John Banks (Merseybeats) Pete Clark (Escorts) Bugs Pemberton (Undertakers). Another influence, for his showmanship, although he said he didn’t believe me when I told him, was Freddie Marsden (Pacemakers).