Category Archives: Ealing

The James Royal Set’s gigs 1966-1968

Welcome to another posting of a series of gig listings for 1960s bands. None of these lists is exhaustive and my idea is to add to them in the comments section below over time. They are here for future researchers to draw on.  I have also added a few interesting bits of information and will add images in time.

I’d like to encourage band members to get in touch to share memories, or for anyone to send corrections/clarifications to my email: Warchive@aol.com 

Equally important, if you attended any of the gigs below or played in the support band, please do leave your memories below in the comments section for future historians to use. If you know of any missing gigs, please add them too, if possible, with the sources.

1966:

5 February 1966 – Royal Links Pavilion, Cromer, Norfolk with The Devil’s Coachmen (Julie Fielder book: What Flo Said Next)

 

9 April 1966 – Norwich venue, Norwich with The Amboy Dukes (Eastern Evening News)

11 April 1966 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

24 April 1966 – Harpenden Public Hall, Harpenden, Hertfordshire with Johnny Haven & The Just Five (Luton News)

29 April 1966 – Birdcage, Eastney, Hampshire (Dave Allen research)

 

5 July 1966 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Alan Price Set (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

8 July 1966 – Fiesta Hall, Andover, Hampshire with The Rumours (Andover Advertiser)

16 July 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with The Quiet Five and Dave & The Strollers (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

23 July 1966 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with Paul & Barry Ryan, The Action, Rob Storme & The Whispers and The Ferry Boys (Lincolnshire Standard)

29 July 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

 

8 August 1966 – Atlanta Ballroom, Woking, Surrey (Aldershot News)

10 August 1966 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London (Melody Maker)

15 August 1966 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

20 August 1966 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Soul Agents (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

 

3 September 1966 – Galaxy Club, Town Hall, Basingstoke, Hampshire (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

9 September 1966 – Flamingo, Soho, London with Fadin’ Colours (Melody Maker)

10 September 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (Windsor, Slough and Eton Express)

19 September 1966 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Alan Bown Set (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

 

2 October 1966 – Sunday Club, Addlestone, Surrey (Woking Herald)

7 October 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with Manchester’s Playboys (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

21 October 1966 – Flamingo, Soho, London (Melody Maker)

22 October 1966 – Bowes Lyon House, Stevenage with Associates (Welwyn Times)

 

5 November 1966 – Birdcage, Eastney, Hampshire (Dave Allen research)

11 November 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with Trendsetters Limited (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

12 November 1966 – Starlight Ballroom, Boston Gliderdrome, Boston, Lincolnshire with The Rockin Berries, The Bo Street Runners and The Charades (Lincolnshire Standard)

19 November 1966 – Shoreline, Bognor Regis, West Sussex and The Ultimate (Melody Maker)

 

10 December 1966 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with Brox & The Blues Train and The Tender Trap (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

27 December 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (Windsor, Slough and Eton Express)

1967:

27 January 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with The Army (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

 

8 February 1967 – Kingsway Theatre, Hadleigh, Essex with Spencer Davis Group, Sounds Incorporated, The Fourmost and The Human Instinct (Essex Chronicle/Southend Standard)

 

21 April 1967 – Tiger’s Head, Catford, Kent (South East London Mercury)

 

4 May 1967 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London with The Shell (Melody Maker)

 

23 July 1967 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London (Melody Maker)

 

31 August 1967 – Tiles, Oxford Street, London (Melody Maker)

1968:

1-6 April 1968 – Hatchetts, Piccadilly, London (Poster at Jonathan Marks’ website: https://imgur.com/a/sWtBd#0)

8-13 April 1968 – Hatchetts, Piccadilly, London (Poster at Jonathan Marks’ website: https://imgur.com/a/sWtBd#0)

According to Melody Maker, as soon as the Hatchetts gigs were done, James Royal flew to Italy on 16 April for TV shows

Mick Stewart joined on guitar around this time from Hamilton & The Hamilton Movement

13 May 1968 – Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham with Johnny Cash, June Carter and Carl Perkins & Tennessee 3 (Birmingham Evening Mail)

James Royal & The Hawks’ gigs 1964-1966

Welcome to another posting of a series of gig listings for 1960s bands. None of these lists is exhaustive and my idea is to add to them in the comments section below over time. They are here for future researchers to draw on.  I have also added a few interesting bits of information and will add images in time.

I’d like to encourage band members to get in touch to share memories, or for anyone to send corrections/clarifications to my email: Warchive@aol.com 

Equally important, if you attended any of the gigs below or played in the support band, please do leave your memories below in the comments section for future historians to use. If you know of any missing gigs, please add them too, if possible, with the sources.

1964:

30 January 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

 

14 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

21 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

28 May 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

The 24 September 1964 issue of the Greenford Weekly Post, page 29 has a photo of band

25-26 September 1964 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex (Melody Maker)

 

2-3 October 1964 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex (Melody Maker)

30 October 1964 – Glenlyn Club, Forest Hill, London (Melody Maker)

 

12 November 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

19 November 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

26 November 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

 

3 December 1964 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

1965:

4 February 1965 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex with Rockin’ Eccentrics (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette) Possible but not confirmed

 

9 July 1965 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with The In Crowd and The Symbols (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

13 August 1965 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

15 August 1965 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (Windsor, Slough and Eton Express)

20 August 1965 – Ealing Club, Ealing, Middlesex (Middlesex County Times & West Middlesex Gazette)

28 August 1965 – Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury, Bucks with The Reasons (website: http://aylesburymusictown.co.uk/)

 

31 October 1965 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (Windsor, Slough and Eton Express)

 

11 December 1965 – Union Rowing Club, Trent Bridge, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

1966:

21 January 1966 – Birdcage, Eastney, Hampshire (Dave Allen research)

31 January 1966 – Carousel Club, 1 Camp Road, Farnborough, Hampshire (Aldershot News)

 

14 February 1966 – Adelphi Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire (Windsor, Slough and Eton Express)

 

1 April 1966 – Haymarket Lounge, Basingstoke, Hampshire (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

The group had already started to use the name The James Royal Set for some shows but took on the name more permanently around now

Frankie Reid and the Casuals


First lineup, circa early 1961, from left: Roger Bluck, Frankie Reid, John Donald, Pete Stretch and Danny McCulloch
Originally published November, 2010, revised June 2012

From Ealing in West London, R&B band Frankie Reid & The Casuals were notable for containing several musicians that went on to fame and fortune in later years.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #1 (Late 1960)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Mick Cosgrave – lead guitar (replaced before first gig)
John Donald – rhythm guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Mick Revelle – drums (replaced by Peter Stretch early on)

Born in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Frankie Reid and his brother Ralph started performing in 1957 as the Reid Brothers. In February 1960, they moved to London and in their first week in the capital entered and won a talent contest, held at the Shepherd’s Bush Hotel.

In September, Frankie Reid was introduced to the manager of the Kew Boathouse in Kew, Middlesex, who hired him to sing at the club with the three resident bands – Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, Pat Creswell & The Crescents and Ray & The Riversiders. Signed up for six months, he performed six songs a night, split between each band.

Turning down an offer to play another six months at the Kew Boathouse, Reid chose instead to form his own group. Hearing about The Casuals who needed a new singer after Tony Craven had left; Reid met the musicians – John Donald, Mick Cosgrave, Danny McCullough and Mick Revelle – at a rehearsal hall in Askew Road, Shepherd’s Bush.

Originally known as The Avro Boys, who had won a talent contest at the Gaumont in Shepherd’s Bush, the group appeared in a BBC documentary on how the guitar had taken over from the piano in the home. Produced by Ken Russell, “Guitar Craze – From Spain to Streatham” was screened on BBC TV’s “Monitor”, presented by Huw Weldon. Soon afterwards, the group linked up with singer Tony Craven and became Tony Craven & The Casuals.

Not long after Frankie Reid had joined forces with The Casuals, the band took on Bill Dunton as their manager. Dunton sold his Ford Zodiac/Zephyr to buy a van, which was painted with the band’s name and the individual group members’ names on the side.

Despite rehearsing about 60 songs, Mick Cosgrave left before a single gig and Roger Black (aka Bluck) took over on lead guitar. Soon after, Peter Stretch came in for Mick Revelle.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #2 (Late 1960-late 1961)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Roger Bluck – lead guitar
John Donald – rhythm guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Peter Stretch – drums

One of the group’s earliest gigs was at the Pitts Hangar Lane Youth Club. The second line up also played at Battersea Town Hall and was regulars at the Brixton Maccabi Jewish club, St Mary’s Hall in Putney, the White Hart in Southall, Middlesex and the Clay Pigeon in Eastcote, Middlesex.

Sometime in late 1961, Peter Stretch left and a very young Mitch Mitchell took over. Originally from Ealing, Mitchell had taken drum lessons at Jim Marshall’s shop and was recommended to Reid by Marshall. Mitchell had briefly worked with The Crescents before joining The Casuals.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #3 (Late 1961-spring 1962)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Roger Bluck – lead guitar
John Donald – rhythm guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Mitch Mitchell – drums

In early 1962, Roger Bluck, who worked at EMI as a record cover designer, got the opportunity to do some session work backing a pianist on an instrumental single and called the other Casuals to see if they could participate. Unfortunately, only Donald could make it and subsequently the session was cancelled.

A few months later both Donald and Bluck departed. While Donald would join Brian Connell & The Countdowns for about six months in 1963, Bluck would go on to become a member of David Bowie’s early group Davie Jones & The King Bees in November 1963. From there, he went on to play with The Spectrum from 1964-1968. Ian Holland came in on lead guitar and the band continued as a four-piece.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #4 (spring 1962)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Mitch Mitchell – drums

The new line up played gigs at St Mary’s Hall, Putney, the Ealing Club, Acton Town Hall, Ealing Town Hall, Wembley Town Hall, the White Hart in Southall, Middlesex and Southall Community Centre.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #5 (May-circa July 1962)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Brian Mansell – rhythm guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Mitch Mitchell – drums

Brian Mansell, a rhythm guitarist from Whitton, Middlesex had been playing with Mike Dee & The Jaywalkers, who changed name to The Condors in April 1962 for one tour. When the band’s guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left to join Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages, The Condors split and Mansell got a job with Frankie Reid & The Casuals. Soon after he joined, Mansell lobbied for his former band mate, Terry Mabey, to take over from Mitch Mitchell.

Mitchell was given his marching orders and joined Peter Nelson & The Travellers with lead singer Pete Nelson, bass player Tony Ross, rhythm guitarist Tony Hall and lead guitarist Vic Briggs (who years later joined Eric Burdon & The New Animals). In subsequent years, Mitchell played with Johnny Harris & The Shades, The Riot Squad, Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames, The Soul Messengers and The Next 5 before ultimately finding fame and fortune with The Jimi Hendrix Experience in September 1966.

Notable gigs:
26 May 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
27 May 1962 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
31 May 1962 – Gifford School (Northolt, Middlesex?)
2 June 1962 – St Mary’s Hall, Putney, Surrey
9 June 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
11 June 1962 – Boathouse, Kew, Surrey
14 June 1962 – Hatfield College (Hatfield, Hertfordshire?)
15 June 1962 – Poplar Town Hall, Poplar, London
16 June 1962 – St Mary’s Hall, Putney, Surrey
17 June 1962 – Invicta Ballroom, Chatham, Kent
18 June 1962 – Howard Hall, Ponders End, Enfield
22 June 1962 – Poplar Town Hall, Poplar, London
23 June 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
25 June 1962 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
26 June 1962 – Roxeth School, South Harrow, Middlesex
29 June 1962 – Wimbledon Palais, Wimbledon
30 June 1962 – St Mary’s Hall, Putney, Surrey
2 July 1962 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
6 July 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
7 July 1962 – Atheneon, Muswell Hill, London
8 July 1962 – Irish club, Cricklewood, Middlesex
13 July 1962 – Woking (Atlanta Ballroom?), Surrey
14 July 1962 – Royal Oak, Dagenham, Essex

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #6 (Circa July-September 1962)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Brian Mansell – rhythm guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Terry Mabey – drums

Having only joined the band a few months earlier, Brian Mansell handed in his notice at the end of September and dropped out of the music scene for several years, returning in 1966 with Sunbury, Middlesex band, The Missing Links. The following year, he joined The All Night Workers and stuck with this group until 1969. When Mabey wasn’t well enough to perform, Derek Sirmon, who had attended Kneller school in Twickenham, Middlesex with Brian Mansell and Terry Mabey, filled in on drums.

Notable gigs:
19 July 1962 – Hatfield College, (Hatfield, Hertfordshire?)
20 July 1962 – Hendon, Middlesex
21 July 1962 – Stanwell, Middlesex (afternoon)
21 July 1962 – Atheneon, Muswell Hill (afternoon)
22 July 1962 – Irish club, Cricklewood, Middlesex
24 July 1962 – Park Ballroom, Southampton
25 July 1962 – Hillingdon, Middlesex
27 July 1962 – Crayford Town Hall, Crayford, Kent
28 July 1962 – Tiptree, Essex
29 July 1962 – Invicta Ballroom, Chatham, Kent
1 August 1962 – Hillingdon, Middlesex
3 August 1962 – Hendon, Middlesex
4 August 1962 – Botwell Club, Hayes, Middlesex
9 August 1962 – Hatfield (Hatfield, Hertfordshire?)
10 August 1962 – Woking (Atlanta Ballroom?), Surrey
11 August 1962 – St Mary’s Hall, Putney, Surrey
15 August 1962 – Hillingdon, Middlesex
17 August 1962 – Winchester, Hampshire
18 August 1962 – St Mary’s Ballroom, Putney
19 August 1962 – Southall Community Centre, Southall, Middlesex
22 August 1962 – Clay Pigeon, Eastcote, Middlesex
24 August 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
25 August 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
31 August 1962 – Park Ballroom, Middlesex
1 September 1962 – Botwell Club, Hayes, Middlesex
5 September 1962 – Hillingdon, Middlesex
7 September 1962 – Finchley, Middlesex
9 September 1962 – Carlton Ballroom, Slough, Berkshire
14 September 1962 – Dormers Pioneer Club, Southall, Middlesex
15 September 1962 – St Mary’s Ballroom, Putney, Surrey
16 September 1962 – Invicta Ballroom, Chatham, Kent
22 September 1962 – White Hart, Southall, Middlesex
28 September 1962 – Crayford Town Hall, Crayford, Kent

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #7 (October 1962)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Danny McCulloch – bass
Terry Mabey or Derek Sirmon – drums

Reduced to a four-piece, this was another short-lived line up of Frankie Reid & The Casuals. In October 1962, Derek Sirmon and Danny McCulloch left to join Screaming Lord Sutch & The Savages.

Frankie Reid & The Casuals #8 (October 1962-circa February 1963)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Steve Hargreaves – bass
Terry Mabey – drums

This was yet another short-lived line up of the band. In early 1963, Terry Mabey left to join Ealing band, James Royal & The Hawks.

Notable gigs:
2-3 February 1963 – Plaza, Guildford, Surrey


Ealing Town Hall, early 1963, from left: Ian Holland, Frankie Reid and Steve Hargreaves with John Kerrison at back
Frankie Reid & The Casuals #9 (Circa February-April 1963)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Ian Holland – lead guitar
Chris Jackson – rhythm guitar
Steve Hargreaves – bass
John Kerrison – drums

John Kerrison attended Mellow Lane in Hayes in Middlesex where Keith Grant of The Downliners Sect also went to school. At the age of 14, Kerrison played with The Cossacks from Greenford, Middlesex. The group’s line up also included Keith Lewis (lead guitar/vocals) and Merv Lewis (bass).

From there, he hooked up with Paul & The Alpines, featuring Paul Lonergan (vocals); Ray Kirkham (lead guitar); Dave Dove (bass) and Alf Fripp (rhythm guitar). Managed by Sid Foreman, the band worked quite a bit for the Roy Tempest Agency. It was while he was drumming with this band that Kerrison got the call to audition for Frankie Reid & The Casuals at the Viaduct Pub in Hanwell, Middlesex. Soon after he joined, the band reverted to a five-piece by adding Chris Jackson on rhythm guitar.

Ian Holland and Steve Hargreaves both left in spring 1963, although Hargreaves would re-join Frankie Reid in later years in his group, The Powerhouse.

Notable gigs:
25 March 1963 – King George’s Hall, Esher, Surrey


Botwell House, Hayes, Middlesex (late 1963), from left: Chris Jackson, Reg Bodman, Frankie Reid, John Kerrison and Mick Liber
Frankie Reid & The Casuals #10 (Circa April 1963-December 1964)

Frankie Reid – vocals
Mick Liber – lead guitar
Reg Bodman – bass
Chris Jackson – rhythm guitar
John Kerrison – drums

Scots-born lead guitarist Mick Liber’s first notable band was Ealing group Clay Alison & The Searchers led by guitarist and future lawyer, Andre de Moller. Liber was also friends with Pete Townsend, who had rented a flat off Liber’s dad in Sunnyside Road in Ealing during his time at Ealing Art College, and taught Liber how to play feedback.

Originally from Peckham in south London, Reg Bodman had started out in 1960 with local band, The Talismen, which included drummer Al Alison from Emile Ford & The Checkmates for a while.

When Frankie Reid & The Casuals broke up in the December 1964, John Kerrison joined The Rocking Eccentrics and then went on to work with The Horizons, The Dae-b-Four, The New Pirates, Episode Six and The Beachcombers.

Reg Bodman filled in for a number of bands around the Ealing area, including The Ealing Red Caps, The Pirates and Morgan James before joining a soul band in Southeast London called The Sassenachs, who played top Soho clubs like the Flamingo and the Marquee. After playing with this band for over 10 years, Bodman relocated to Kent and worked with the blues band TwoSixNine. He then went on to work with a soul band in Dorset (where he currently lives) called Soul Intention.

Mick Liber joined Ealing group, The Unit 4 led by his friend Frank Kennington and the pair subsequently formed the original Python Lee Jackson in Australia in late 1965. Liber returned to the UK with a new version of Python Lee Jackson in late 1968 and reunited with Frankie Reid (see below).

Frankie Reid dropped out of the music scene briefly before returning in 1968 with a new band, The Powerhouse, which he led until 1974.

Notable gigs:
30 July 1963 – Top Twenty Nite Club, Swindon, Wiltshire
30 June 1964 – Jolly Gardeners, Isleworth, Middlesex with Mark Leemen Five (billed Frankie Reed & The Casuals)


The original Powerhouse in 1968/1969
from left: Steve Hargreaves, Peter Abbot and Frankie Reid

The original Powerhouse in 1968/1969
from left: Steve Hargreaves (obscured, on bass), Peter Abbot, Frankie Reid and Mick Liber
Frankie Reid & The Powerhouse (1968-1969)

Frankie Reid – lead vocals
Mick Liber – lead guitar
Steve Hargreaves – bass
Peter Abbot – drums

Frankie Reid returned to the West London live scene with The Powerhouse, featuring former Casuals bass player Steve Hargreaves. After arriving back in England from Australia in late 1968, Liber reunited with his old band leader. In 1969, the latest version of Python Lee Jackson, which included drummer David Montgomery, recorded the classic “In A Broken Dream” with Rod Stewart. In 1970, Liber introduced Montgomery, keyboard player David Bentley and former Easybeats drummer Tony Cahill, who was now playing bass, all current members of the UK-based Python Lee Jackson, to the latest line up of Frankie Reid’s Powerhouse. The second incarnation recorded some material that remains unreleased.


The 1970 Powerhouse, photo courtesy of Frankie Reid
From left: Tony Cahill, Dave Montgomery (on drums, obscured), Frankie Reid and Mick Liber

From left: Frankie Reid, Tony Cahill, Dave Montgomery and Mick Liber
photo courtesy of Frankie Reid
Frankie Reid & The Powerhouse (1970)

Frankie Reid – lead vocals
Mick Liber – lead guitar
David Bentley – organ
Tony Cahill – bass
David Montgomery – drums

(Early-mid 1970s)
John Hawken – piano
Neil Korner – bass

While working with The Powerhouse, Liber also toured and recorded with Ashton, Gardner & Dyke. Together with Bentley, Cahill and Montgomery, he continued to record with Python Lee Jackson, and later did studio work with Third World War and live work with Thunderclap Newman. In 1973, Liber returned to Australia and continued to perform with a number of artists, most notably Dana Gillespie and Blerta.

After The Powerhouse split up in 1974, Frankie Reid formed The Frankie Reid Band. In 1978, he formed Flying Fox with drum legend Carlo Little and bass player Nick Simper, best known for being an original member of Deep Purple. In November 1979, however, he emigrated to Australia and currently lives in Perth.

Many people helped piece this story together. Thanks to Frankie Reid, particularly for the use of photos/images. Thanks to Brian Mansell for the list of concert dates from May-September 1962, which were taken from his diary. I’d also like to credit John Kerrison, Mick Liber, John Donald, Colin Reece, Nick Simper, Reg Bodman and Terry Mabey for their invaluable input. Concert dates were also taken from the Surrey Comet and the Middlesex Chronicle (Hounslow Edition) newspapers. Thanks also to the Swindon Music Scene website.

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.

I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections.

Email: Warchive@aol.com

The Unit 4


The Unit Four, from left: Ian Gomm, Martin Davis and Frank Kennington
Frank Kennington – lead vocals
Ian Gomm – rhythm guitar/lead guitar and vocals
Martin Davis – bass
Simon Behar – drums
+ Mick Liber – lead guitar

The band started around 1962/1963 and was formed by Ian Gomm, Martin Davis and Simon Behar, who were all pupils at Ealing County School for Boys (another student was Lee Brilleaux who later formed Dr Feelgood). Soon after forming, Frank Kennington, who was older than the others, joined as lead singer and they became Unit 4 (not to be confused with the Unit 4 + 2).

One of the bands Unit 4 opened for around 1963 was Del Angelo & The Detours, which included singer Del Angelo, lead guitarist Roger Daltry, rhythm guitarist Pete Townsend and bass player/horn player John Entwistle. The latter three went on to become The High Numbers and more famously, The Who.

Kennington became a close friend of The Who and would work with that band in later years. Mick Liber, who was playing with Frankie Reid & The Casuals and Clay Alison & The Searchers (and been taught feedback by Pete Townsend), guested with Unit 4 from the summer of 1964.


Ian Gomm

Simon Behar and Frank Kennington
Around October 1964, Kennington left and moved to Sydney, Australia, and Unit 4 broke up. Liber subsequently re-joined Kennington down under on 28 January 1965. The pair reformed Unit 4, which included Australians Lloyd Hardy (bass) and Roger Homan (rhythm guitar) and British expat, Shane Duckham (harmonica). However, the revived band was short-lived.

By mid-1965, Kennington had briefly joined Sydney group, The Missing Links and then reunited with Liber in The Denvermen. They then left to form the original version of Python Lee Jackson in December 1965, named by Liber’s former band leader from Clay Alison & The Searchers – Andre de Moller, who was living in Sydney at the time. Kennington was subsequently deported and returned to the UK, where he roadied for The Who and eventually moved into rock management. He was Motorhead’s first road manager and moved out to California in the 1970s. He died in the 2000s.

Liber kept Python Lee Jackson going with various different line ups and recorded a string of singles for CBS. After working with Australian rock legend, Billy Thorpe, he reformed Python Lee Jackson and returned to the UK around October 1968.

After Unit 4 broke up in late 1964, Ian Gomm and Martin Davis went on to work with local band, The Unknowns. Gomm subsequently played with West London bands The Triangle, The Generation and The Daisy Showband before joining Brinsley Schwarz in September 1970. He co-wrote Nick Lowe’s worldwide hit “Cruel to Be Kind” with Lowe when they were both members of Brinsley Schwarz. He also had his own US top twenty hit “Hold On” in 1979 when the Ian Gomm Band supported Dire Straits on their epic “Sultans of Swing” US tour. “Hold On” was Stiff Records’ only US chart success.

Great thanks to Ian Gomm for supplying the photos and background information. Also, thanks to Mick Liber for his contributions and putting me in touch with Ian.

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

To contact the author email Warchive@aol.com


Frank Kennington

The Unit Four

Frank Kennington