Johnny Devlin and the Detours

Johnny Devlin & the Detours, 1962 or 1963, from left: Arthur Biggs, Bob Pettit, Bernie Smith, Johnny Devlin, Bryan Stevens, Mick Ketley, and Chuck Fryers
1962 or 1963, from left: Arthur Biggs, Bob Pettit, Bernie Smith, Johnny Devlin, Bryan Stevens, Mick Ketley, and Chuck Fryers

Mick Pye sent in these great photos of Johnny Devlin & the Detours, who later evolved into the Noblemen. Mick tells me these are from glass negatives, which I would think was an antiquated format for 1962 or 1963.

Notice retouching to remove the background on the promo shot, above.

Bryan Stevens wrote in a comment below with identifying info for the photos. He gives the lineup above as:

Arthur Biggs – rhythm guitar – Burns Black Bison 3 pick up 6 string guitar
Bob Pettit – alto/tenor/baritone sax
Bernie Smith – drums (replaced Roger Yardley)
Johny Devlin – vocals
Bryan Stevens – Burns Black Bison bass guitar
Mick Ketley – Vox Continental keyboard
Chuck Fryers – Lead guitar – Burns Black Bison 4 pick up 6 string guitar

Thank you to Bryan for identifying all the musicians and for sending in the poster below for their upcoming reunion show.

 1961 or 1962, clockwise from top left: Roger Yardley, Mick Ketley, Bob Pettit, Johnny Devlin, Bryan Stevens, Arthur Biggs and Chuck Fryers.
1961 or 1962, clockwise from top left: Roger Yardley, Mick Ketley, Bob Pettit, Johnny Devlin, Bryan Stevens, Arthur Biggs and Chuck Fryers.

Back to the 60’s – Revival
Featuring The Detours, Johnny Devlin, The Diamonds, Dave Hooper, The Southbeats, Roy Haines of the Fenmen, The Concords, Colin Madeley and Cosy.
Riverside, February 18, 2012
Johnny Devlin & the Detours, The Post, January 25, 1964
Johnny Devlin & the Detours, The Post, January 25, 1964, submitted by Nick Warburton

18 thoughts on “Johnny Devlin and the Detours”

  1. Hi, I can help on the photos of JD & The Detours as I was there!

    Photo 1 (without the van)

    Left to right

    Arthur Biggs – rhythm guitar – Burns Black Bison 3 pick up 6 string guitar
    Bob Pettit – alto/tenor/baritone sax
    Bernie Smith – drums
    Johny Devlin – vocals
    Bryan Stevens – Burns Black Bison bass guitar
    Mick Ketley – Vox Continental keyboard
    Chuck Fryers – Lead guitar – Burns Black Bison 4 pick up 6 string guitar

    Photo taken 1962/63

    Photo 2 (with Van)

    On top of ban – left to right

    Roger Yardley (drummer before Bernie Smith took over)
    Mick Ketley
    On ground – left to right
    Chuck Fryers, Arthur Biggs, Bryan Stevens, Johnny Devlin, – Bob Pettit on van bonnet

    Photo taken 1961/62

    The van – gig hopper?

    Austin Sheerline – ex St John’s Ambulance – we bought it for £35.

    Straight 6 cylinder.

    We had the van resprayed maroon and cream. We built a rear compartment for the amps/guitars etc. Traveled for miles in leather upholstered luxury. Van had hydraulic jacks on all 4 corners operated by a switch under the drivers seat, an electric motor jacked up the van completely so it was easy to change a wheel if we had a puncture. Only trouble was you had to be careful not to park on soft asphalt in hot weather otherwise the jacks wouldn’t retract and we couldn’t move off! One time a wheel sheared and went flying past us through a hedge into a field of cows. Still got to the gig!

    Before the ambulance we had a Wolsey hearse – bought it for £15! Not very fast and all the gear on show in the middle and only a bench seat at the front and 2 single seats either side at the rear. Surprised the neighbours when we unloaded first time late at night though!

    Great times…. Bryan Stevens

  2. Wonderful to see these pictures. Arthur Biggs is my Dad. Is there are music around to buy/download of the band anywhere does anyone know?? I’d love to hear some tracks.

    1. Hiya Aly,

      We did record a 45 on PYE in 1964 (PYE 7N15598) as Johnny Devlin and The Detours. We appeared on Thank Your Lucky Stars, a popular TV Pop show at the time, on the same show as Manfred Man, Adam Faith, Jackie Trent and others. By the way, some of The Who members happened to be watching that show that night and decided as they were called The Detours at the time, that, as we had appeared on TV, they should change their name to stop any confusion between the two groups – hence their name change to The Who.

    2. Hiya Aly, yep as Johnny Devlin and The Detours we recorded “Sometimes” on the Pye label – I see it’s possible to download it these days!

  3. Played with the Detours on a couple of occasions. I was in a Midhurst based group The Jaguars drums /vocals. Did Arthur work in an Off Licence near the Cross in chichester?

    1. yep, Arthur did indeed work in Chichester for a wine merchants – he also then went to work in a similar wine store on Bognor Regis. We used to drop in to see him at his shop to tell him of the next gig etc.

  4. I’ve just been checking out your website (since 5:30 am!) and taking a trip down memory lane. It was great to see the ambulance, which I remember so well. Saturday evening at the Riverside was wonderful, and JD and the Detours were just the greatest! It was really good to see Chuck with you all, and amazing that he and his wife drove all the way from Milan to be with us. I hope they’ll come again. Do you have a date for next Feb yet? My cousin in NZ is having a party for a ‘big’ birthday and wants relatives in England to go over – I’m really hoping it won’t clash with Bognor’s event of the year!
    Love and light to you all – Linda x

    1. Hiya Linda,

      really glad you enjoyed the Back to the 60’s night at the Bognor Riverside – we have February 15th 2014 booked for the next year’s BTT60’s night. Hope you can make it.

  5. Fantastic evening again on Saturday. For me the Detours, Cosy and The Diamonds were amazing. My cousin and I didn’t make our NZ trip – for various reasons – which we didn’t mind to much because we didn’t want to miss this event! We’re planning it for next Feb instead. We can’t possibly go until after the evening at the Riverside, so I’d appreciate knowing the date asap!

    Question: In what year did the Detours form?

    Love to you all — I hope the event raised big money for the two charities. We are so lucky you are all so committed to this fundraising, and Bognor Regis is so lucky to have such a brilliant event each year – long may it continue.

    1. Hiya Aly, yep as Johnny Devlin and The Detours we recorded “Sometimes” on the Pye label – I see it’s possible to download it these days!

    2. Hiya Linda, I’m sorry I’ve only just seen your message re our Back to the 60’s (BTT60’s) night in Feb 2014. The date for our BTT60’s night this year is Saturday February 14th. Tickets on sale now!!

      Vince Hastwell and I formed The Detours in February 1960, the original members were Jeff Malone (vocals), John Howard (rhythm guitar), Vince Hastwell (lead guitar), John Richards (drums) and myself (bass guitar). The name “The Detours” was from Duane Eddy’s hit instrumental “Detour” which was always our opening number….

  6. Hi Bryan remember me my mum used to work for your mum&dad when they had the shop in Rose Green & we have been meeting up with my wife Barbara @ the Riverside 60s Revivel over the past few years did u receive the book I sent u about Bognor during the war if u did I hope u found it interesting anyway take care hope to see u feb 2016
    All the best Les & Barbara Walkey

  7. Hi Bryan did you ever receive the book I sent you (Bognor During The War) I Did Send You A Msg But May Not Have Done It Right As Still Learning About Modern Tecnolagy ha ha please Reply if you can Les & Barbara Walkey

  8. Hiya Les,
    Well, I’m only about 2 years late in replying to you – I am really sorry for the delay, although as we have now met up each year at The Riverside, Bognor for our Back to the 60’s night (BTT60’s), maybe I can be forgiven. Thank you and your wife Barbara for your continuing support, it’s always great to see you both at our annual BTT60’s night. Cheers.

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