Thursday, 20 December 2007

December Club Night - Part 3

Ten o'clock was the time set aside for the most eagerly awaited reunion since the Spice Girls - and what a reunion it was.

Marie and her old group the Sapphires were back on stage together for the first time in 42 years.

They started with a classy arrangement of the old Tina Turner number "I can't stand the Rain" followed by a stompin' rendition of "Mustang Sally" during which Marie was joined on stage by Emma and Joanne - who had been recruited only minutes before as backing singers following a quick rehearsal - IN THE LADIES!!

They finished their short set to enthusiastic applause with the classic "House of the Rising Sun" which left no-one in any doubt as to why Marie has had such a successful career in clubland and beyond.

Don't leave it another 42 years before you come back guys.

With such a hard act to follow it was no surprise that Catherine was more than a bit nervous. It was her first time EVER singing with a live backing. She was joined for her first number "Da Do Ron Ron" by our Paula - who never seems nervous about owt - and what a fantastic job they made of it. Then the tempo changed for her solo debut singing "Dream a little dream of me" with the beautifully sensitive backing supplied by the ever versatile Kenny, Colin W, BillyF and Mike.

As the cheers for Catherine died down her place was taken by AlanW. Alan can always be relied upon to choose a great track to perform and his great delivery of the Lovin' Spoonful's Daydream" fitted the bill perfectly.

Mike remained on stage to be joined by Brian Jones Alan Burnigill and Pete Lodge who had the floor rocking again with Alan's vocals on "I fought the Law" followed by a very seasonal choice of "Rudolph" and "Winter Wonderland" by Pete during which the stage was invaded by something which resembled a cross between Rudolph, Santa and Paula - complete with flashing nose, short Santa costume - AND SUSPENDERS!

Pete's face was a picture. He did not know whether to run or jump but, being the trooper he is, continued with the show regardless and soon recovered to rock the house with a couple of Chuck Berry favourites "Promised Land" and "C'est la Vie".

By now it was after 11pm and time to wind up three hours of top class non-stop entertainment. What could be better to end on than Kenny, Paula and AlanW's absolutely brilliant accapella - "After the Goldrush".

There were over 30 performers on stage tonight. Over the eighteen months since we started VSL many of them have become close friends. Heartfelt thanks to them and to the packed audience for their time and enthusiasm. Many thanks also to Tudhoe Victory Club management and staff.Between us we have proved that there is still a demand in clubland for quality entertainment. We are especially pleased that so many young(er) people have taken us to their hearts and entered into the spirit of the Sixties which we try to create.

It is often said these days that there is nowhere where a young performer can learn their craft in front of a live audience with live backing. There is - here at Vintage Sixties Live - and it won't cost them a penny.

See you all next year.

Monday, 17 December 2007

December Club Night - Part 2

After Jim and Don we had the first apppearance of the evening by Kenny following his recent guest appearance in Bishop Auckland General Hospital. He was accompanied on stage by Paula and AlanW and, as this talented trio have performed everything in the past from heavy rock to close harmony, it was no surprise when they pulled off an excellent version of the old classic "Reeling in the Years".

Next up was Regular Robin - a reference to his VSL appearances not his bowel movements. He, together with AlanL on harmony vocals, slowed the tempo down with the old Jim Reeves number "He'll Have to Go" then brought it back up again with the Monkees "I'm a Believer" followed by "Knock on Wood". Great stuff.

It was at this point that all hell broke loose when the stage was invaded by three "chavs"- who were anything but Middle of the Road - intent on causing irreparable damage to Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (see picture). Hmm...I'm sure I recognised their faces

Happily order was soon restored just in time for Colin Ibbertson's sensational versions of the little heard instrumentals Sandstorm and Because they're Young with Colin Woodland, on guitar synth, adding the "orchestra" and the rest of the accompaniment being provided AlanL, Mark and Brian on drums.

The same line-up then helped Emma and Joanne to really excel themselves this month with their little set of Jimmy Mack, Rockin' around the Xmas Tree and Dance to the Guitar Man which soon had the crowd shouting for more.

During the course of the evening I couldn't help but notice the popularity of backing singers this month. I had probably started it by asking AlanW to help me out on Brown Eyed Girl.

Leo went one better by having AlanW AND Alan Burnigill for Juliet.

BrianM - also had two - Emma & Joanne - but they were much better looking.

Robin had THREE - Kenny, Paula and AlanL.

It was now time for a couple of vocals from Gentleman Jim . Would he use backing singers? Would anybody dare get up with him?

As usual Big Jim did not disappoint - HE HAD SIX!! (He would have had more but we couldn't get them on the stage.) What a star!

Jim never fails to delight and his renderings of Sha La Lee and Bits and Pieces, interspersed with his usual banter, soon had the audience stamping and singing along.

Still more to come ...

Friday, 14 December 2007

December Club Night .......

.... What a way to end a fabulous year of Vintage Sixties Live.

It was a bitterly cold night but the club was absolutely packed by 7:30pm and there was a definite "buzz" in the room (and not from Paula's handbag either)

Kenny was back after his short stay in hospital and as enthusiastic as ever.

Marie St Claire and her old group The Sapphires would be reunited later on stage after an unbelievable 42 YEARS. I've heard of having a "rest" between bookings but that is ridiculous.

Several other surprises had also been planned - most of which AlanL and myself did not even know about.

A quick look down the running order revealed a total of 30 performers doing 34 songs between them - so off we went with me drawing the short straw as usual followed by Leo, who can always be relied upon to come up with something a bit different.

AlanL was joined on stage by BillyB, Colin Ibbertson and Mark next for a couple of instrumental "crackers" for Xmas. Wonderful Land - but the Mike Oldfield version this time for a change - followed by the ever popular Theme from Local Hero.

Next up was Brian who had managed to recruit Emma and Joanne as backing singers for Suspicious Minds and Do you Love Me, followed by a very ambitious arrangement of the malcolm Roberts classic "Love is All" which they all managed to pull off brilliantly. It was hard to believe that this was a scratch band who had no rehearsal whatsover before the performance.

Brian was followed onstage by the inimitable James Tait along with sidekick, and Chet style guitarist extraordinaire, Don Boot for a couple of finger style gems.
Contrary to what Jim would have had us believe - Don did play all the difficult bits.

More to follow shortly........

In the meantime who can suggest a caption for the pic?
(I'm not sure why Pete is holding a tissue.)

First one from Kelly: This is Paula on her way to collecting her Xmas ASBO :>)

I have uploaded the first pics of the night here
More to come.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Nov Club Night: Pre-Xmas lull ??.......

..... you've got to be joking.

During my pre-match chat with SuperSam, our long suffering Club Steward, we decided that the November Club Night would probably be quiet in the run up to Christmas.


I got to the club at about 7:05pm to find about twenty people already there - mainly performers. By 8 o'clock we had hastily rearranged the stage (about 500 times) to accomodate everyone, the room was by now full, and we were ready to roll.

By some strange coincidence, I had drawn the short straw again and was on first but only after having to announce that, sadly, the club night this month would be short of a "legend".

Kenny Potts was admitted to hospital last Friday with a suspected recurrence of an old heart problem. Despite his insistence that he be released to attend the club night the medical authorities refused so, much to Kenny's annoyance, we would have to manage without him.

What made matters worse was that he was especially looking forward to this one, which was to feature Kenny with his old band mates, Keith Aston, Billy Baker and Barry Waller, together on stage for the first time in many years. Barry had even travelled up from London, where he now lives, especially for the evening. Barry paid tribute to Kenny saying that, when he first learnt to play guitar, his driving ambition was to be able to play like Kenny.

This was a fitting tribute, and linked nicely to the comment Dave Hodges made earlier in the evening. Dave. who has demonstrated his virtuousity on the axe many times at VSL, confessed that his early aspirations were to be able to play like Barry.

(Alan Leightell has said many times that his ambition was always to play like me - but he couldn't 'cos HE kept on improving.)

Eventually, we got the show under way amidst an assembled mass of equipment, the like of which has not been seen since the last Status Quo tour.

There was the usual mix of old friends and new faces and it was obvious from the start that
we were in for another great night. Apart from Barry Waller and Keith Aston, other VSL "virgins" were Andrew and Tony on Keyboards, Catherine on vocals, and zany entertainer Carlos who maintained the international tradition of the club nights by coming all the way from Austria to perform for us.

Our main problem was whether we would be able to fit everyone in and with every number, except two, of the three and a half hour non-stop programme requiring live backing, it meant that our backing musicians were in for a hard night. Fortunately, we had TWO keyboard players this month to supplement the usual conscripts - posh eh?

It would be unfair to choose. As usual there were so many. The standard of musicianship was at times awesome. The programme encompassed everything from the highly technical instrumentals like Sylvia, Nutcracker, Pipeline, El Cumbancheros and Red River Rock to Paula and Catherine's unbelievable "Andrews Sisters" treatment of Johnny B Goode, We had old favourites such as Halfway to Paradise, Wonder of You, Unchained Mammaries,Move It, Stand by Me,I can't stop loving you, Downtown. We had Pete and Jim's country and western selection. We had daft songs like like Theses boots were made for walkin', I'm feeling Gladys all Over and Running Bear. We even had songs which weren't recorded in the Sixties at all Let's get Together, Living next door to Alice - naughty :>). We had audience participation with Big Jim and we had blues rock with Barry, Keith and BillyB, and of course our Angie and the StrayDogs Band.

All in the same evening? - you better believe it - see you next month December 13th

"B there or B Square"

See this months pics here

Friday, 12 October 2007

October Club Night - The best laid plans ........

...... of mice ..... and men.

Well, where do I start?
It was Club Night with the clock just approaching 7.30 p.m.

The guest group's equipment had been delivered in good time by Jos, their bass guitarist, the stage was set, the concert room was full, Have Mersey were at Heathrow Airport...... errr pardon?? .... HAVE MERSEY WERE AT HEATHROW AIRPORT?? .. OH S..H..I..T!!

The day started early for the lads with the bad news that all flights from Amsterdam were facing substantial delays due to fog.The revised time for their flight meant they would arrive at Newcastle Airport at about 10 pm.

In desperation they ran around trying to make alternative arrangements and eventually discovered that, if they got the bus from Maastricht to Amsterdam, and a train from Amsterdam to Paris, they could get a flight from Paris to Teesside, arriving at about 6pm., where we could collect them and bring them straight to the club. It meant paying for another set of air tickets but the guys were prepared to do that so that no-one would be disappointed.

So far so good - except that, due to further delays, they arrived in Heathrow too late to catch the link to Teesside and were obliged to transfer to the link to Newcastle. The irony of it all was that they eventually got to Newcastle at - you guessed it - 10pm. - meaning that all the extra trouble and expense they had gone to had achieved achieved bugger all.

As the saying goes ...some you win, some you lose.
We do, however, appreciate the effort the guys made to attend and we look forward to welcoming them next year when we plan to hijack an Arriva bus and get Kenny and Alan to drive to Holland and pick them up.

So there we had it.
Half an hour to Showtime, a room packed to capacity, and no entertainment.

What do we do now?
If all the world is a stage, where does the audience sit?
What hair colour does Colin the Orchestra put on his driving licence?
Why does sour cream have an expiry date?

Find the answer to these and many other questions in the next thrilling installment which will follow shortly ..........

Part 2 - The Saga continues ......

....So there we were - 30 mins to curtain up and, Have Mersey, our guest group were still stuck in Heathrow Airport.

Now if there is one thing I have learned to appreciate since Alan L and I started Vintage Sixties Live, it is the depth and variety of talent from the Sixties who are still around and are still "up for it".Occasionally, we do have to resort to threats of violence, or infusion of artificial substances (nothing stronger than Phyllosan or Sanatogen) but, at the end of the day as the saying goes - "once a turn always a turn".

Having said that, providing three hours of live entertainment at 30mins notice is a bit of a tall order, even for our lot.We need not have worried though. A quick look around the assembled throng told us all we needed to know. Scattered around the audience were some of the top acts from Clubland's hey day, and when we asked "Is there a turn in the house?" we were delighted at the response.

What followed was one of the most spectacular and, for me, most satisfying evenings of entertainment I think I have ever seen.
This one night totally justified our reasons for starting the project in the first place, and illustrated exactly why it has been, and continues to be, so successful.

Thanks everyone. We really do appreciate your support.

Thanks to Have Mersey for trying their best to beat both the weather and the EU transport system.We hope you enjoy the rest of your visit.

Thanks to the audience for being so patient and understanding.

Thanks to guys who provided the musical support - some of them playing for three hours with hardly a break. Mark, Bill F, Colin the Orchestra, Billy Baker, Brian Luke.

Thanks to all of the featured acts who performed so willingly and so brilliantly.
Big Jim, Alan L, Kenny, Paula, Alan W, Pete "Van der Volk" Lodge, Robin, Alan Burnigill, Brian Jones, Mike Gutteridge, Marie, Billy Barr, "Awesome" Angie, Jackie Carey, Leo, Colin Ibbertson,and of course me.

A big thank you also to Tudhoe Victory Club Management and bar staff for being so co-operative and also for being so beautiful - (that's the bar maids not the management).

We had a blast - Let's do it all again next month - Vintage Sixties Live - November 8th - Tudhoe Victory Club - "B there or B square"

Friday, 21 September 2007

More News from the September Club Night

I must give Eric Whitehouse a mention as he kindly brought me a present - a Vintage sixties Live T-Shirt no less which I wore with pride all night much to the envy of the assembled crowd.

Eric also brought along Stan Laundon who is well known in the area for his "Country Time" programme on BBC Radio Cleveland which he presented for 21 years. What I did not know until the other night was that Stan also worked with the inimitable Joe Brown for several years.
Have a look at Stan's web site - - for a wealth of interesting Sixties related information.

All in all we were treated to over three hours of top quality non-stop live Sixties entertainment none of which would be possible without the considerable number of extremely talented backing musicians who come along month after month and give their time, energy and enthusiasm.
Thanks guys - you all know who you are.

Next month - Thursday October 11th - features a guest spot from top Dutch Sixties tribute band Have Mersey plus our usual array of local talent.

Admission to the public must be on a first come - first served basis so get there early to avoid disappointment.

See ya there!!

Rumours Rife at September Club Night

The September Club Night opened amidst widespread rumours that Vintage Sixties Live were about to move to another venue and also that a cover charge was to be introduced.Both of these fabrications were quickly and firmly refuted by Big Jim, who we were delighted to welcome back as compere for the evening.

Organisers, the Two Alans, paid tribute to the Management and Staff of Tudhoe Victory Club, who have, along with the many performers and musicians over the last 15 months , done everything in their power to make Vintage Sixties Live the success it is. They assured everyone that there are no plans to move anywhere.They also confirmed that the club nights would remain free of charge, although due to Health and Safety requirements at the Club, it was necessary to strictly enforce a "first come - first served" policy for the audience meaning possible disappointment for late-comers.

As usual guests and supporters had travelled from a wide area including this month - Dunfermline, Yarm and Richmond.The formalities over with, the evening proper got under way with a couple of gags from Jim, which had them rolling in the aisles, followed by three hours of non-stop entertainment encompassing everything from instrumentals to harmony vocals, and even featuring Kenny "the Legend" Potts' new voice box which he used on his version of the Peter Frampton hit "Show me the Way" and had to heard to be believed. It is a guitar processor which has a tube attached enabling you to control the guitar's sound with your mouth."Isn't it amazing?" gushed Our Paula, "If you put that tube-shaped thing in your mouth and blow down it whilst Kenny is playing the guitar, you can make sweet, sweet music.""Errr .... right, Paula"

Alan Leightell proudly showed off his new red guitar watched by Alan Brason himself - the amazingly talented local luthier (guitar maker to the uninitiated) who made it.On the subject of instrumentals, the lead and bass guitarists of the Shadowcasters, a well-known Shadows tribute band from Tyneside , delivered a couple of impeccable instrumentals supplemented by some of our regular musicians.

Colin Ibbertson and the guys even performed the little heard but excellent Dakotas instrumental the Cruel Sea for us.

Colin also brought along Emma and Joanne again. They were wrongly reported on here last month as sisters - which I got told off for. Neither are they Colin's daughters which I also got told off for. To confuse the situation even further this month they brought Alice along - who is not their sister either.Anyway, supported by Colin, Mark, AlanL and Brian Luke the three of them performed a short set including Aretha Franklin's "Think" and I'll tell you what we think Girls - we think you should come back soon.

More to come ....

August 2007 Club Night

Well. We did not really know what to expect as we prepared for this month's club night.We were in the height of the holiday season, the weather was absolutely beautiful and we knew in advance that several of our regulars would be replacing their love of Sixties Music with a more than healthy indulgence in at least one of the other famous S's - Sun, Sand and Sanatogen!I was still out of action with a bad back so we were delighted when Big Jim kindly offered to MC again. Thanks a lot Jim - it is really appreciated.

In the event we need not have worried as it proved to be an evening of treats and surprises for the near capacity audience.Have you ever noticed how most of the best female vocal group names start with an S - the Scissor Sisters, the Spice Girls and Sister Sledge - well we had the angelic Spenny Sisters, Paula and Annie, appearing together for the first time since being asked to leave the convent.And there was more. We also had Emma and Joanne, brought along by old mate and regular performer Colin Ibbertson, together with Brian Luke on drums. The two girls weren't even born in the Sixties but they seemed very happy to sing our songs and become a welcome addition to our ever increasing array of young talent on display.

Not content with introducing the girls, Colin then proceeded to introduce us to his new group, "the Surfriders" (some of whom looked distinctly familiar) and then surprised us further with a couple of cracking surf instrumentals Surf Rider and Ram-Buk-Shush.If you closed your eyes you could almost hear the coal tubs emptying on the beach at Blackhall Rocks.It was quite a night for instrumentals.In addition to Colin, we had AlanL's usual impeccable performance on the Shadows' hits Wonderful Land and The Savage, and Dave Hodges, Stray Dogs lead guitarist, gave such a brilliant version of Santana's Samba Pa Ti that we have had no alternative but to withdraw his membership until further notice.Hmphh!! We'll teach him - Young Upstart.

Another welcome new face was Sheena. She came along with Mel (he, of the two beautiful daughters from last month fame) and they introduced a bit of class into the evening with a unique vocal rendition of "Besame Mucho" - probably better known in the early Sixties as a Jet Harris instrumental - followed by Clapton's Wonderful Tonight.Alan Wakes and the guys version of the Honeybus hit " I Can't let Maggie Go" even boasted an oboe solo brilliantly supplied by the synth of Colin the Orchestra.We even had a birthday girl present.
It was Kay's birthday and she said she would like to sing with a live group, so Jim and the lads put one together for her. Not only did she get her wish but she did a cracking job to boot. Well done Kay.
In a brief report such as this, I have concentrated on introducing our new friends, but grateful thanks must also go to all of our regular band (pun intended) of backing and featured artists who turn up month after month to make the evening the success it is.I won't mention everyone by name but you all know who you are and how much your efforts are appreciated.

Pics of the night will be added hereand Video clips here as time permits.

Thanks again guys and gals - I'm already looking forward to next month.and don't forget "B there or B Square"

July 2007 Club Night

The July Club night was packed again, with a lot of new faces present.

Big Jim kindly offered to stand in as compere as I was still having severe back problems.

The entertainment kicked off at about 8:15pm and went right through to about 11:20pm -without a break.It featured about 30 entertainers performing 40 songs/ instrumentalsWe had the usual mixture of styles, ages and personalities which we have come to expect.

One of the most gratifying things about this project is the way it increasingly attracts many "youngsters", who were not even born in the Sixties, yet are quite happy to watch or perform Sixties material.
I have posted the usual photos with captions at and some more new videos here