Jimmy Cliff & the New Generation

Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement, clockwise from front: Ron Thomas, Mick Fletcher, Gary Hamilton, Tony Sinclair, Mel Wayne, Dave Mahoney and (sitting down) Phil WainmanAll except Gary Hamilton (and John Droy, not in photo) were in The New Generation (version 2) backing Jimmy Cliff.
Jamaican reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is best known to international audiences for the songs “Sitting in Limbo”, “You Can Get It If You Really Want” and “Many Rivers to Cross”, taken from the 1972 soundtrack album The Harder They Come. One of the first artists to introduce reggae to a wider audience, Cliff started performing in his native Jamaica during the early 1960s where he was spotted by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who brought him to England in October/November 1965.Over the next four years, Cliff worked the UK club scene with a series of backing groups – The New Generation, The Sound System, Dave Anthony’s Moods, The Soul System (aka The Attack), The Shakedown Sound (December 1966-February 1968) and The Wynder K Frog Band, playing a mixture of soul and R&B.Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation (November 1965-February 1966)

Jimmy Cliff – lead vocals
Dave Pegg – lead guitar
Graham Gallery – bass
Dave Brown – organ
Frank Devine – drums
Ayshea Brough – vocals
Pete Hodge(s) – vocals

Cliff’s first band, The New Generation, was a Birmingham group known as Roy Everett’s Blueshounds, whose most notable member was future Fairport Convention bass player Dave Pegg. The Blueshounds were good mates of The Spencer Davis Group, who put in a good word for the band when Chris Blackwell was looking for musicians to support Cliff on the road. In November 1965, Blackwell released The Spencer Davis Group’s “Keep on Running”, the band’s first number one single.

Around the same time, Blackwell signed The Blueshounds to the agency he co-ran, West End Promotions Ltd, which also represented The Steampacket, Hedgehoppers Anonymous, The Alex Harvey Go Soul Show, Millie Small, Ayshea Brough and the newly arrived Jimmy Cliff. With Pete Hodge(s) taking over from Roy Everett, The Blueshounds attended an “audition” recording session at Cecil Sharpe House in London on 23 November 1965 with promoter George Webb (The Spencer Davis Group’s agent) and DJ Alan Freeman. Also in attendance that day were Jimmy Cliff and Ayshea Brough, a young singer that George Webb was trying to launch on the scene, who’d been working with future Hedgehoppers Anonymous drummer Glenn Martin.

Passing the audition, The Blueshounds were renamed The New Generation and Cliff travelled up to Birmingham to stay with Dave Pegg’s family for about two weeks while rehearsals took place to ready the band for the road. Singers Ayshea Brough and Pete Hodge(s) were also added to the touring band and had their own vocal spots in the show.

The (incomplete) gig listing below, which is taken from Dave Pegg’s scrap book, shows that the band’s debut took place at the Ritz Ballroom in King’s Heath, West Midlands in mid-December. For most of these gigs, the band was billed as The New Generation, although the Marquee gigs list them as The Jimmy Cliff Big Sound. The only exception is a show at the Cue Club in Paddington, West London on 28 January where the band was billed as The Sound System, which may originally have been assigned for Cliff’s second support group (see below), although Dave Pegg’s version did honour this gig.

Notable gigs:

15 December 1965 – The Ritz Ballroom, King’s Heath, West Midlands
17 December 1965 – The Carlton Ballroom, Erdington, West Midlands with Steampacket and Graham Bond
17 December 1965 – Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham with Steampacket and Graham Bond
23 December 1965 – Marquee, London with Steampacket (billed as Jimmy Cliff Big Sound)
27 January 1966 – Marquee, London with The Steampacket
28 January 1966 – The Cue Club, Paddington (billed as Jimmy Cliff, Owen Gray, Ayshea and The Sound System)
29 January 1966 – The Ricky Tick, Windsor, Berkshire
4 February 1966 – Bluesville R&B Club, Manor House, Finsbury Park (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation featuring Ayesha and Pete Hodge)
5 February 1966 – Chelsea College, London with The Spencer Davis Group

It’s not entirely clear why Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation went their separate ways in early February 1966. Dave Pegg’s diary shows that a gig planned for 6 February was cancelled and on 13 February he was back in Birmingham working with a new band – The Uglys.

The decision to find a second band to back Cliff on the road was probably made in mid-late January and Chris Blackwell already knew who he wanted for the job.

Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System/New Generation (February-July 1966)

Jimmy Cliff – lead vocals
Tony Sinclair – lead guitar
Ron Thomas – bass
Mick Fletcher – organ
John Droy – trumpet
Mel Wayne – sax
Dave Mahoney – sax
Pete Hodges – vocals
Ayshea Brough – vocals
Phil Wainman – drums

The next group to back Jimmy Cliff on the road was also, somewhat confusingly, initially billed as The New Generation, although they also used the name The Sound System. Promoters added to the confusion by sometimes billing the band as The Jimmy Cliff Big Sound and The Jimmy Cliff Sound.

The Sound System, as they became around early January, had originally been called The Phil Wainman Band/Set. Phil Wainman, who years later found fame as a noted producer among other things, had first started out as a drummer in the early 1960s, working with The Hi Grades in Sweden and The Paramounts before linking up with the remnants of West London band, The All-Nite Workers around October 1965.

Ron Thomas, Mel Wayne and Dave Mahoney had all been members of this group, which had morphed out of Mike Dee & The Prophets in early-mid 1965. Mick Fletcher joined when it became The Phil Wainman Band/Set around October 1965 after playing in The Herd while Tony Sinclair and John Droy came in soon after, the former from Johnny Halliday’s band in France.

According to David Katz’s excellent book, “Jimmy Cliff – An Unauthorised Biography”, The Phil Wainman Band/Set secured a residency at Dolly’s Club in Jermyn Street in central London around November of that year. One night Chris Blackwell dropped in and introduced himself. After be-friending Wainman, he kept the musicians in mind as a support band for the Jamaican acts on Island Records’ roster, including Jackie Edwards, Millie Small and Owen Gray. Changing name to The Sound System, Wainman’s band started rehearsing with these acts in late January and one early gig, backing Owen Gray, took place at the New All Star Club in Artillery Passage near Liverpool Street station, London on 5 February 1966.

Around this time, it became clear that Cliff and the original New Generation would be separating so Wainman’s band started rehearsing with the singer when he wasn’t gigging with Dave Pegg’s group. After a few weeks’ rehearsals, Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System/New Generation debuted at the Marquee on 10 February, billed as The Jimmy Cliff Big Sound.

Over the next four and half months, Wainman’s band backed Cliff on the road, which included a package tour with The Who and The Spencer Davis Group in April 1966. It was during this time that Keith Moon spotted Wainman’s Red Sparkle Premier drum kit with two bass drums and decided to switch to the same set up two months later.

According to Wainman, Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System/New Generation were particularly popular in Grimsby and played there at least once a month. They also played four nights at the Penthouse. However, shortly after the California Ballroom gig in Dunstable on 1 July, Jimmy Cliff and The Sound System/New Generation went their separate ways.

It’s not clear who backed Jimmy Cliff for a series of gigs that took place at London’s Whisky A Go Go on 9, 16 and 23 August as no support band is listed in Melody Maker, but he was joined by Dave Anthony’s Moods and The Soul System (aka The Attack) at some point during this period. In December 1966, Jimmy Cliff hooked up with his next group, The Shakedown Sound with whom he worked with until February 1968. He then joined forces with Wynder K Frog.

As for The Sound System, the musicians joined forces with singer Gary Hamilton who was putting together a new version of Hamilton & The Movement (see future entry).

Notable gigs:

10 February 1966 – Marquee with Steampacket (billed as Jimmy Cliff Big Sound)
13 February 1966 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation)
19 February 1966 – Klooks Kleek, London (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation, with Ayshea and Pete Hodge)
24 February 1966 – Marquee with Steampacket (billed as Jimmy Cliff Big Sound)
8 March 1966 – Marquee with Spencer Davis Group (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation)
26 March 1966 – Klooks Kleek, London (billed as Jimmy Ciff & The New Generation and Pete Hodge)
14-30 April 1966 – Package tour with The Who, Spencer Davis Group, Paul Dean & The Soul Savages and others
1 May 1966 – Twisted Wheel, Manchester (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System)
10 May 1966 – Marquee with Spencer Davis Group (billed as Jimmy Cliff Sound)
14 June 1966 – Marquee with Spencer Davis Group (billed as Jimmy Cliff Sound)
1 July 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System) with Him & The Others

Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2012. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without prior permission from the author.

To contact the author, email: Warchive@aol.com

I’d like to thank the following for their help in piecing this story together: Dave Pegg, David Katz, Laurie Hornsby, Andy Neill, Ron Thomas, Phil Wainman, Mel Wayne and Brian Hosking.

Most of the live gigs above are taken from Melody Maker’s listing. The California Ballroom, Dunstable website also proved useful as did the Nottingham Evening Post. Thanks also to the Manchester Soul site for the Twisted Wheel gig.


19 thoughts on “Jimmy Cliff & the New Generation”

  1. Found some more Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation gigs.

    This is from the Birmingham Evening Mail:

    Adelphi Ballroom, West Bromwich, West Midlands on 4 March with The Uglys and The Craig

    (Interesting because Dave Pegg was the bass player in The Uglys and had played with the first version of Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation only a month or so previously!)

    These two are from the Hants & Berkshire Gazette:

    The Galaxy, Basingstoke on 18 April 1966
    The Galaxy, Basingstoke on 9 May 1966

    This final one was billed as The Jimmy Cliff Show and is from the Birmingham Evening Mail:

    The Penthouse, Birmingham on 8-11 June (four nights). Says the band was direct from Tiles in London

  2. I saw the show at Club A Go Go in Newcastle, I also remember Aysha Brough(wasn’t she Peter Brough’s daughter). I didn’t realise she sang with The New Generation. I don’t know what the exact date was.


    21 May 1966 – Marcam Hall, March, Cambridgeshire (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation. Straight from the Flamingo, London)

    26 June 1966 – Le Metro Club, Birmingham (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The Sound System with Pete Hodges)
    22 July 1966 – Royal Oak, Hockley Heath, West Midlands

  4. I can shed a tiny amount of light in one area of the jigsaw.
    The band billed as ‘Jimmy Cliff Big Sound’ in 1966, was actually “Dave Anthony’s Moods”. They backed various artists apart from Jimmy Cliff … (eg Goldie Zelkowitz) .
    My father, Pete Sweet played sax with them throughout 1966.

  5. Pete Watt, who is compiling a list of artists that played at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham, has very kindly provided these gigs, all billed as The Jimmy Cliff Show:

    10 April 1966
    22 May 1966
    19 June 1966

    1. Nick,

      Couple of others at Eel Pie Island:

      14 August 1966
      18 September 1966
      15 March 1967 (this was billed as Jimmy Cliff and The Shakedown Sound)

  6. Found another gig in Melody Maker for the original New Generation (Dave Pegg’s version)

    16 January 1966 – Black Prince Hotel, Bexley, Kent (billed as Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation with Ayshea and Pete Hodges)

  7. Another gig at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester:

    16 July 1966.

    The gig on 3 September 1966 at the same venue would have been with another support band

  8. Found one more in Melody Maker. I suspect this is one of the final ones that the Phil Wainman version did with Jimmy Cliff as they would have joined forces with Gary Hamilton immediately afterwards:

    23 July 1966 – Klook’s Kleek, West Hampstead, London

  9. Found this gig in the South East London Mercury:

    27 March 1966 (Sunday) – Shakespeare Hotel, Woolwich, Kent

    8 April 1966 – El Partido, Lewisham, Kent (with The Raisons)

  10. ref jimmy cliffe band does anyone out there know the where abouts of jimmys trumpet player JOHN DROY .many thanks ex musican

  11. Found the following gigs for Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation with Ayshea Brough and Pete Hodges in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph. These appear to be gigs by the Dave Pegg line up (January 1966) and the Phil Wainman version from February-July 1966.

    These all took place at the Village in Cleethorpes

    6 January 1966
    8 January 1966 (back by demand)
    30 January 1966

    4 April 1966
    2 July 1966 (minus Ayshea Brough)

  12. Another one from the Dave Pegg period – Cooks Ferry Inn, Edmonton, Middlesex from 3 January 1966 (Tottenham Weekly Herald)

  13. The Sheffield Star lists the following gig with the Phil Wainman version.

    20 March 1966 – billed as Jimmy Cliff and Aysha with The New Generation

  14. The Nottingham Evening Post lists one missing gig from the Dave Pegg line-up. Jimmy Cliff & The New Generation with Ayshea and Pete Hodges played the Dungeon in Nottingham on 31 December 1965

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