I have long held the view that our lives are governed by our DNA and that feelings of déjà vu and reincarnation are in fact memories of our ancestors deeply embedded within our DNA that sometimes resurface giving us the impression we have a recollection of something we have done before, or we somehow have a connection with a former life. This is often thought of as a reincarnated spirit’s experience, or in the case of synchronicity when a series of strange coincidences stretches the boundaries for logical answers, these coincidences may themselves also be linked to genetic memories. As always one revelation or theory begs another question, but I feel this explanation may offer a little more insight into the possibility that a memory gene working from within our own DNA is responsible for these things, and gives some further credence to this theory, rather than the claim of external paranormal connectivity, which cannot be totally discounted.
It was whilst I was sorting out of my late parents belongings in 1996 that I came across an old business appointment diary from 1954 that had belonged to my father which upon closer examination was devoid of any written entries apart from a list of ‘records’ which were old song titles, at the top of the list was “Memories Of You” and “Because Of You”. This was a pretty incredible coincidence for me to comprehend as both song titles I had used myself for two of my own musical compositions. This uncanny coincidence was further compounded as my “Memories Of You” was written especially for my mother and played at her funeral, whilst “Because of You” was also written with my parents in mind many years before and was one of the first songs that was signed up by a music publisher. I remember showing the diary song entry to the medium Paula Paradaema whose explanation of this strange coincidence was based upon a creative spirit plane that musicians & composers unknowingly draw inspiration from, which was a concept I could relate to, but I felt that in itself it did not provide a comprehensive rationale to the song title mystery. Paula Paradaema was quite a respected medium and was also an accomplished singer, she said she felt a close affinity with musicians hence her insight into of what I term the “musician’s collective sub consciousness”. Paula related to me a long story about the late Phil Ochs the American folk & protest singer of the 1960s who committed suicide in 1976 and her spiritual connection with him, having identified that he had used a coat hanger to hang himself, something she said that was never made public at the time of his sad demise.
Although I still ponder over the song title coincidence as to whether it was by genetic design or serendipity, the broader issue of the possibility of an ancestral memory gene influencing our lives has been a strong contender to understanding the unexplained, after all this subject has concentrated many eminent minds including Carl Jung who too once contemplated this theory of memories being passed down from generation to generation via DNA. This theory can be simplified as memory verses instinct especially when you consider the animal kingdom in particular how birds are able to build and weave complex nests without any parental tuition, are they doing this as an act of instinct, or is instinct drawing from an inherited memory gene? Birds are also sensitive to areas associated with large scale deaths such as battlefields which once again is an inherited memory rather than a sixth sense. This then opens another portal to the general theory of Psi or what is now termed morphic resonance as considered by Brian Inglis, Arthur Koestler & Tony Bloomfield under the auspices of the KIB Society (which became The Koestler Foundation) formed in the late 1970’s to investigate all things paranormal. Rupert Sheldrake is also one of the main proponents and guiding lights of the morphic resonance theory and how it affects both animal and human behaviour.
Instinct, intuition or shared genetic memory, which is the most likely answer to explaining some of life’s stranger anomalies? My money is still on genetic memory or at least that’s what my instinct tells me!
This “Six Five Special” is one of the cheapest made small all plywood body parlour guitars from the 1950s British skiffle era and can be dated to the years of the British BBC T.V. music show of which ran from 1957 until December 1958.
I suspect this was a budget priced Egmond guitar made in Holland and may have been assembled here in the U.K. There are also strong similarities between this guitar and some of the cheaper Framus ‘Broadway’ branded guitars made in Germany during this period.
John Grey & Sons were musical instrument dealers and distributors based in London being a subsidiary of Barnett Samuel & Sons whose beginnings can be traced back to Westminster, London in 1832. In 1932 John Grey & Sons was bought by Rose Morris a larger company who specialised in gramophones and also produced ‘Kruna’ guitars. The John Grey brand continued into the 1940s & 1950s using the sub brand name of ‘Broadway’ on drum kits, Guitars and banjos.
The repairs carried out on this guitar were as follows.
Soundboard top reinforced with extra struts and bracings to compensate for the usual sagging inward belly syndrome that most of these plywood guitars suffer after having been stored in damp locations.
The back panel also given two extra struts as the two existing ladder bracings are very thin low profile and were barely adequate.
The neck and what appears to be a multi-layered plywood fret board were surprisingly reasonably straight and only required some minor fret levelling. I found an old bakelite floating bridge which suited the guitar better than the old wooden one that came with the instrument. The original metal tailpiece cleaned up but some slight corrosion remains visible, as is the case with the tuners which are original. The sound is almost exactly what you would expect from this type of guitar which projects that old basic blues box folksy sound ideal for the young skiffler of that time.
These types of cheaply made imported guitars are often ignored by guitar collectors and purveyors of musical instruments but in my opinion they offer a unique microcosm of that early era when even beginner instruments were not that plentiful. Perhaps a little more kudos and appreciation of these relics may be forthcoming in the future before they disappear completely into house clearance skips and eventually the giant dustbin of time.
Another example of a quaint German parlour guitar that had suffered years of neglect and was about to pass the point of resurrection with so many damages with serious neck and sound board problems which would be deemed by most repairers as too labour intensive for such a cheaply made plywood guitar.
However I viewed this guitar as an interesting historical project as the indications of the guitar’s origin point towards East German production during the Soviet occupation after WW2 which would date the guitar between 1946 and 1952 indicated by the shape & design of the tailpiece which is peculiar to this era of post war German guitar making, as are the tuners which are also typical German design which ran throughout the 1950’s as well.
Further to the guitar’s history “The Michigan” brand headstock logo which also states “B.& S. L. Sole Agents” was the musical instrument moniker for Beare & Son Limited of London who were the first musical instrument wholesalers in England using the ‘cat & fiddle’ trade mark. Beare & Son were established in 1865 by John Beare and his son Arthur who were known foremost as violin dealers also running a music publishers business having published some Edward Elgars early compositions, but it was their involvement in the post war guitar boom of the 1940s & 1950’s that Beare’s ‘The Michigan’ brand came to the fore being found on many mainly East German & Czech instruments including mandolins and ukuleles, they also rebadged U.S. made guitars with this logo and opened a dealership in Toronto retailing in Gibson guitars. John & Arthur Beare are still in existence today as a company dealing in high quality violins.
I had to remove the soundboard of the guitar which was bellied inwards and badly warped which I reinforced with extra bracings and supports especially around the sound hole area after having also detached the neck for heat straightening with clamps which was apartial success. I made a bridge and saddle from some spares which does the job but it will be fitted with a bone saddle to match the nut next time I restring it, having used electric 9’s this time to keep the tension low on the neck. This little guitar now plays reasonably well in spite of its hard life and it has a great bluesy tone as you would expect from a parlour guitar from this era, but the true grit vintage blues tone of it via a Schaller Vintage Pickup 10/43 is really outstanding for such a small guitar connected to a practice amp.
All things considered this was a very worthwhile renovation project taking into account that this was an all ply student budget price parlour produced in that immediate post war period in East Germany when materials for musical instruments would have been scarce. It really is an absolute gem worthy of just a little extra work to re level the neck sometime in the future.
1940s East German Tailpiece style ladder braced small parlour guitar.
All plywood build (possibly maple 3 ply top)
Total guitar length 37 ins. (94cms)
Neck (possibly maple) ‘C’ shape profile
Fretboard (pearwood or maple) zero fret, 18 brass frets.
I bought this old and now somewhat rare Italian gypsy style guitar for parts a few years back as it appeared to be beyond repair having so many serious neck problems after many years of neglect by previous owners. It was without doubt one of the worst examples of guitar vandalism with so many strange circular impact marks on the back of the neck. Upon close examination those faults were as follows. 1. Neck bowed and forward leaning. 2. The dreaded neck twist to the right. 3. Fret board surface rot (8th to 13th fret area) 4. Broken neck heel, with an old rusted large metal screw repair.
The mahogany neck is a three section build around a central strip section and what was originally a nice rosewood fret board which had become divot ridden after a sustained period of what may been dampness exposure. I releveled the neck with several files, the top layer of rosewood almost disintegrated after I removed frets 8 to 16 which I later replaced. Removing the large screw with the aid of a hacksaw from the heel which was supporting an old repair went someway to rectifying the bulge at the 12th fret, as the screw itself was adding to theproblem of the uneven neck. In the process of renovating the neck I removed the obligatory green felt dampener behind the nut found on so many Italian instruments from this period which I may replace at some point. I also removed all the back varnish and paint that remained at the rear of the neck and on the headstock The neck is now much improved although the twist is still evident which is compensated through the bridge angle repositioning. The guitar plays well after being trial fitted with electric strings 10s for lower neck tension which still generate good volume and projection. An excellent vintage guitar for chording and finger picking, yet another wooden six stringer back in action prised from the grip of the grim guitar reaper.
These Perretti & Figli parlour guitars were imported into the U.K. from the 1930s until the mid 1950s by John Edward Dallas & Sons of London with the label inside these guitars bearing their J.E.D.S. trade symbol. Perretti & Figli as musical instrument makers were founded as far back as 1840 in Napoli and are perhaps better known as mandolin makers. It’s really surprising how little these Italian guitars sell for in the vintage guitar market as they are really bright but mellow sounding instruments designed with steel strings in mind. Perretti & Figli guitars are in a similar league to Manuel Segura (Silvestri), Elbozzini, Albertini and Fratelli instruments which crop up on online auction sites and salerooms every so often. I can only hope that there will be more appreciation for these makers in the future, after all it was the Italian school of luthiers like Maccaferri, Di Mauro, Busato and Olivieri who were the innovators of the Gypsy Jazz guitar.
An interesting photograph I took of Chingle Hall in May 1980 with what appears to be a large skull like apparition at one of the bedroom windows. The photo was taken on one of my last visits to the old manor house when it was closed to visitors on that day due to the owner Mrs Howarth being unwell. There was definitely nothing visable through the window when I took the photo, with the face only becoming evident when it was developed.
It would be pointless to do a retread of the history of the Hall and the ghosts which have previously been very well documented in numerous articles and books, suffice to say that this ancient house in Goosnargh near Preston has seen more than its fair share of paranormal events over the years. Chingle Hall often quoted as being “the most haunted house in England” by renowned historian and author Peter Underwood who visited the hall, as well as the famous occult expert Dennis Wheatley who was also intrigued by its ghostly reputation.
Chingle Hall formerly known as Singleton Hall dates from 1260 and was the home of the de Singleton family who owned the hall until the end of the 16th century when it passed into the ownership of the Wall family. The last in line of the de Singletons was Eleanor de Singleton born in 1567, both of her parents were deceased before she reached the age of six. Eleanor was then reputedly imprisoned in the hall by her guardians two uncles who repeatedly sexually abused her which led to the birth of at least four living babies whose lives were taken. It’s a very harrowing and tragic story regarding Eleanor who died giving birth to a hydrocephaletic baby with a giant head, although it is thought by some researchers she may have survived the final birth only to be murdered at the age of no more than eighteen. Such a traumatic and wretched existence with so much suffering must make Eleanor a prime case for an earthbound spirit whose presence has been felt by so many visitors to the hall. This same story was also recounted by Mrs Howarth herself to visitors to Chingle in the 1970’s, but it is difficult to substantiate this story or legend as fact unless there has been further definitive research that proves Eleanor was subjected to such treacherous and inhumane treatment by her guardians?
I’m inclined to believe the story is true, as I think the giant skull face in the window is Eleanor’s last child with the enormous head and may well be the skull-like face that has been seen many times over the years in the St John Wall Room window.
It would appear that the spirits have become much quieter in more recent times as the hall is now closed to visitors with the disposition of Chingle’s more recent owners reportedly some what indifferent to its paranormal pedigree, and as such current paranormal activity levels in Chingle are now very much an unknown quantity. However as long as the hall still stands the spirits of Eleanor de Singleton, her doomed offspring and those dark deeds will remain forever entombed within the fabric of the building.
After buying an old 1950’s B&M “Jose Ferra” Soloist parlour guitar for restoration some years ago only to discover it was a Sgroi Silvestri label underneath the Barnes & Mullins label, it prompted me to investigate further if there was any supporting evidence that it was a ‘rebadging’ exercise on Silvestri guitars by Barnes & Mullins who are music instrument importers here in the U.K. and sometimes relabeled guitars with their own ‘B&M’ brand label.
My B&M Jose Ferra ‘Soloist’ showing the original S. Sgroi Silvestri label underneath
Having trawled the internet and vintage guitar sites I can find no other examples of Silvestri guitars being labeled or relabeled as a B&M ‘Soloist’ apart from the famous Yairi guitars made in Japan in the 1960’s which carried both the maker and importers ‘Soloist’ model name on the labels, which leads me to speculate this may have been a case of a dubious label changing by a previous owner of the guitar or the importer over labeling, but it still begs the question did Barnes & Mullins import Silvestri guitars in the 1950’s using the “Jose Ferra” name to imply a Spanish connection? As is usually the case with affordable imported guitars of this period the names of makers of the instruments themselves often remain obscured by the importers and there are virtually no written histories of the makers or reference points for the guitar time detective.
A B&M Soloist label made by Yairi in 1965 and a B&M Jose Ferra Soloist label which judging from the shape of the scalloped fretboard end may also be a Yairi.
A Manuel Segura “Spagnola” model with the standard Silvestri rosette
There may still be some ‘food for thought’ on the possible B&M and Silvestri guitar connection but I can now say with some confidence that the “Manuel Segura” branded guitars often seen on Ebay and sometimes in charity shops are really Silvestri guitars relabeled by the U.K. importer John Edward Dallas & Sons (J.E.D.& S.Ltd.) in the 1950’s. Dallas probably chose a Spanish sounding name to make an Italian made guitar appear more impressive to prospective buyers. Dallas also imported ‘Francesco Peretti & Figli’ guitars from Italy which were similar in style and build.
My Silvestri guitar on the left and a Manuel Segura on the left, almost identical headstocks with the rosewood/mahogany strip down the centre with the standard Italian green felt material dampener behind the nut not found on Spanish guitars.
One of the main reasons for importing acoustic steel strung guitars into Britain in the 1950’s was the demand for louder instruments as the lighter nylon strung Spanish made classicals failed to deliver a cutting edge sound in the folk, skiffle and rock & roll boom of that era. There was also still a U.K. import embargo on U.S.A. instruments until June 1959 which meant nearly all the guitars that were shipped into the U.K. came from Europe, produced mainly in Germany, The Netherlands and some from Italy. The Italian luthiers and instrument makers who were originally best known for mandolins and violins had also developed an expertise in producing high quality Gypsy-Jazz guitars in the 1930’s -40s and were ideally placed to produce lower to medium priced steel strung acoustic parlour styled guitars that were in demand in the 1950’s. The Catania instrument makers of Sicily were the prominent producers of these guitars ‘Catania Carmelo’ and ‘Ermelinda Silvestri’ were the biggest volume producers of that period. The Silvestri company was established in 1891 and changed its name to ‘S. Sgroi Silvestri’ in the early 1950’s manufacturing instruments into the 1960s.
The Silvestri/Manuel Segura guitars are reasonably good instruments of their time and are worthy additions to any guitar collectors wall display and play well with light gauge steel strings or a good set of classical strings. One professional film soundtrack composer has used a Manual Segura to compose and record a film score!
How many thousands of holiday makers visiting Blackpool have walked past this building over the years and have gazed upwards at the once magnificent façade of Feldman’s Arcade without realizing its importance as a musical monument from a bygone era.
Situated in a prime location directly adjacent to the iconic Clifton Hotel on the promenade Feldman’s Arcade was an early 1920’s live music emporium with vibrant music parlors and song booths where musicians and singers would demonstrate songs and musical compositions to a captive audience who thronged the promenade in those heady days when song sheet hits of the day could be purchased for at least sixpence. Encouraged by “shills” who were ‘planted’ in the audience by the Arcade’s management they persuaded the crowds to sing along and then buy the songs by waving ‘dummy purchases’ in the air. It was a tried and tested slightly underhanded practice but it worked well in large crowds and increased the sales turnover on sheet music.
Feldman’s Arcade Café on the upper floors offered a more sedate musical rendezvous with light classical music recitals, bar mitzvahs and private society functions. Fred Ash’s photographic studio was also located within the Arcade.
“Happy Days In Blackpool” 1926 at Feldmans on Central Pier. The song they are dancing along to is “Brown Eyes Why Are You Blue” also recorded in 1925 by Nick Lucas. “Happy Days In Blackpool” You Tube link www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT00YvCEhXs
Feldman’s Arcade was once described as Blackpool’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’ by my father who remembered it as it was in the 1920’s, when he first visited Blackpool as a representative for Cramer’s Music. The Arcade was the headquarters and lynchpin of the resort’s operations for London music publisher and impresario Bert Feldman who operated song booths and retail outlets on “the golden mile” and the piers.
Feldman who had other sites in holiday resorts around England and the Isle of Man purchased ‘The Borough Theatre’ in Bank Hey Street, Blackpool in 1928 giving him a further foothold in the entertainment business. The Borough was renamed as “Feldman’s Theatre” but it was demolished in 1972, which may account for the confusion by those who have recently speculated mistakenly that Feldman’s Arcade was also once a theatre.
Feldman & Co Music Publishers were in the ascendancy in the 1920’s as a burgeoning Shaftsbury Avenue music publishing house and an entertainment organization which produced ‘Felmandism’ it’s own monthly music trade magazine to promote new songs to band leaders and record companies. B. Feldman & Co also purchased publishing rights from Herman Derewski who was a light orchestral composer and bandleader who performed many times in Blackpool in the 1920’s & 30’s with his Melody Band.
Herman Derewski was better known for his musical score for the stage play “The Better Ole”, a light hearted story by Bruce Bairnsfather & Arthur Eliot about the exploits of the immortal “Old Bill” in the trenches of The First World War. My uncle, actor Sydney King made his debut in one of the early stage productions having joined up for army service at the outbreak of the war aged only fourteen!
A song sheet from Charles Cochran’s stage production and “Better ‘Ole” sheet music by Composer Herman Darewski inset with actor Sydney King in army uniform who appeared in an early stage production of “The Better ‘Ole”
It was the entrepreneurial spirit within Bert Feldman which guided him to become the first ‘song plugger’ and ‘hands on’ music seller in Britain, helping to rejuvenate an antiquated music business totally dependent on music halls for song exposure. Feldman’s aggressive marketing techniques ‘broke the mold’ and forged the foundations of a commercial music industry in Britain.
The West End of London was the centre of the music publishing world in Britain with each publisher employing ‘in house’ songwriters & composers, but it was Blackpool that had its ‘finger on the pulse’ becoming the stamping ground for so many new songs with its numerous song booths, music arcades and theatres. It must be remembered that this was the pre multi broadcast era where new songs had no mass media outlets and songwriters and publishers were entirely reliant upon live performances to promote their music. Music publishing was a highly competitive business, with big financial rewards for the publishers as song contracts in those days were drawn up heavily in the favour of the Publisher, whose return was very often twenty five times more than the writer.
Feldman was the first British music publisher to visit New York’s “Tin Pan Alley” in 1907 before the First World War and was shrewd enough to have obtained sub publishing rights for American hit songs in Britain, also proving himself to be a ‘new music pioneer’ by promoting American Ragtime music in England, much to the displeasure of the conventional music establishment. Feldman visited New York again on business in 1912 sailing on the RMS Olympic just one month after the Titanic disaster. Feldman brought million selling songs to Britain including “A Bird In A Gilded Cage”, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “The Teddy Bears Picnic” which he updated by employing lyricist Jimmy Kennedy to write a story line for the song. This was one of Feldman’s great strengths to take an instrumental tune and reinforce the melody with lyrics.
The most important song signing was “It’s A Long Long Way To Tipperary” written by Jack Judge & Harry Williams, It was a sentimental song which was adapted into a marching theme by Feldman and became the most successful song in Feldman’s music publisher’s portfolio, after having been rejected by all the other major London publishers, It went on to sell eight million copies and became the most famous marching song of the First World War.
Feldman himself reflected that inducing music hall entertainer Florrie Forde to perform it in the Isle of Man 1913 was the turning point, saying that “to my mind this was the ‘ psychological moment’ in it’s career, for its success was electrical and thousands of visitors took it and made it their own”.
This memorable song offers an intangible portal to the emotions of the past and connects us to the nostalgia that period. The forthcoming First World War Centenary commemorations will no doubt inspire historians to re appraise the feelings and sentiments of that time and no one could have encapsulated it more perfectly, as the spirit of the soldier is immortalised within this marching anthem. Feldman had the foresight to see the full potential of this song, but it was only through his astute marketing skills that the song achieved international recognition. Feldman’s ambition and tenacity enabled him to expand his publishing empire from its more humble beginnings when he first arrived in London in 1895 with just three pounds to start his music business. The Yorkshire born music publisher broke with convention and official regulations in 1912 by using his own image on Feldman’s mechanical copyright stamps which were also used on 78 rpm records.
Lawrence Wright aka Horatio Nicholls music publisher, impresario and founder of music newspaper ‘Melody Maker’ was Feldman’s main competitor in Blackpool and also had song booths around the resort in Bank Hey Street next to RHO Hills Department Store and a large arcade on the ‘Golden Mile’ near Tussauds Waxworks. He employed singers like Roberta Dexter and backing musicians using the same format as Feldman to demonstrate his songs, many of which he had composed himself under the name of Horatio Nicholls and other ‘nom de plumes’. It is remarkable to think that Blackpool was considered so important to both publishers that they based themselves in the town, and both died there. Lawrence Wright died in 1964 and Bert Feldman much earlier in 1945.
According to ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’ friends of Bert Feldman declared he had left a personal fortune of £2,000,000, whilst other newspapers quoted a more conservative figure of £488.000.
After the demise of its former owner Feldman’s Arcade was under the ownership of the Lyons family from the late 1940’s and throughout the 1950’s with an exclusive ladies outfitters and gown shop replacing the song booths in the arcade. In the 1960’s the building was purchased by Israelite Marks who opened up in the arcade with the ‘Dianna Warren’ menswear outlet consisting of ‘The Powder Bowl’ and ‘The Young Generation Boutique’. No obvious structural alterations were made within the arcade with the exception of the mosaic floor with the Feldman’s name at the entrance which was removed.
Dianna Warren had more than its fair share of show business luminaries within a clientele which included The Beverley Sisters, Kathie Kay, Val Doonican and actress Mollie Sugden who based her “Are You Being Served” character “Mrs Slocombe” on Betty Wansker who was the manageress at Dianna Warrens.
With the death of Mr Marks in 1980 Diana Warrens ceased to trade in The Arcade and in more recent years the building has been used as the ‘Cahoots’ Night Club and is now currently in use as ‘Yates’s’ main Blackpool venue.
Feldman’s Arcade still stands proud as an epitaph to the achievements of its original owner and is symbolic of a defining era within the evolution of popular music in post First World War Britain. Even with it’s sadly neglected promenade frontage, it is certainly the last surviving music arcade which remains in Blackpool today and must surely qualify for preservation and listed status.
“For each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth”
‘The Missfits’ circa late 1964 sporting their Framus brand guitars! Left to right Andrea Hine, Pauline Moran, Janet Baily, Liz Hall and Carola Daish. A very young group with an average age of 16 with Carola being the youngest at just 14!
‘The Missfits’ were one of the first all girl bands in Blackpool in the 1960’s forming late in 1963 as a trio with Janet Baily on drums, Pauline Moran bass & Andrea Hine guitar/vocals, they were joined shortly afterwards by my ‘sister in law’ Carola Daish on rhythm guitar and Liz Hall, who by all accounts was a gifted lead guitarist. As with many local bands from this era they have no official biography or written history hence the reason I wanted to write a small article albeit with somewhat limited information from what I could piece together from the recollections of several former ‘Missfits’ to whom I’m grateful.
The original ‘Missfits’ trio in March 1964, now immortalized in ceramics from an iconic Blackpool photo onto a mug available via Media Storehouse on Amazon U.K!
According to Carola the early band rehearsals took place at Pauline’s home in Bispham Blackpool and then moved to Janet’s home in St. Annes. ‘The Missfits’ who did a mixture of mainly cover songs and one or two originals had a least two gigs a week took their name from a remark made by a lorry driver who said they looked like a ‘bunch of misfits’ which coined the bands name but using a double ‘S’ to emphasise it was an all female ensemble.
The band were fortunate enough to record a demo for Decca Records in London in 1964, Carola said it was a very exciting and fun time for her and the band. The song they recorded was their own version of Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover” written by Willie Dixon and was ironically the same song recorded as an early demo by The Rolling Stones in 1962 before they signed for Decca. There was no recording contract forthcoming for The Missfits and sadly the demo and the band’s own copy tape appears to have been lost. Carola and Pauline were the first to depart the from the original Missfits line-up which may have been sometime in 1965.
The second version of ‘The Missfits’ comprised of original drummer Janet Baily, Pat Allsopp on bass, Carol Chapman on rhythm guitar with Liz Hall still handling the lead guitar role. Pat Allsopp had been the bassist and founder member for Blackpool’s other all girl group ‘The Lucky Charms’ before replacing Pauline Moran.
According to Pat the second line up was also unique and quite prolific on the local gig scene playing at venues like The Casino and The Cherry Tree on the same circuit as The Rocking Vicars with Lemmy, The Atlantics and The Spiders who were some of Blackpool’s top bands in the mid 1960’s. According to Pat the 1960’s was an amazing time for groups in Blackpool but by 1966 The ‘Missfits’ had gone their separate ways with Janet joining Pauline Moran in ‘She Trinity’ and Pat herself left to join another Blackpool band ‘The Pebbles’ who toured Turkey playing the American military bases.
‘She Trinity’ who were originally a Canadian all female band founded by band leader Robyn Yorke were based in the U.K. from 1965 becoming an established international recording & touring band of their time. The Trinity in 1966/67 had the original ‘Missfits’ rhythm section of Janet Baily drums and Pauline Moran on bass amongst the shifting sands of various line-ups and other female band members including Barbara Thompson on sax and Eileen Woodman keyboards plus the Liverpool singer Beryl Marsden.
‘She Trinity’ released a number of singles, the most successful was their rendition of the Sony Curtis song “I fought The Law” made famous by ‘The Bobby Fuller Four’ .The Trinity’s version was entitled “He Fought The Law” produced by Mickie Most which was a minor hit for them in the U.K. in 1966, Pauline Moran plays bass on this recording and their other singles too. The band also performed and recorded under the names of ‘Gilded Cage’ & ‘British Maid’ in Europe. The single “Long Long Road” released under their pseudonym of ‘Guided Cage’ also made it into the German charts in 1968. Janet Baily had left the Trinity by 1968, Pauline Moran stayed on with the band until they called it a day in 1970.
Pauline Moran who was also a drama student became a famous actress in her own write culminating with her role as ‘Miss Lemon’ in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ a British TV series in which she appeared in 32 episodes as the secretary to the Belgian detective ‘Hercule Poirot’ played by David Suchet from 1989 until 2013. Pauline Moran also became an astrologer in more recent times, I don’t think even she could have foretold her own extraordinary success from a teenage ‘Missfit’ to a very prim and proper ‘Miss Felicity Lemon’!
A special thanks to former ‘Missfits’ Carola Daish Parker who has lived in the U.S.A. since 1968 and Pat Allsopp for their memories and input on this article. Pat who now lives in Australia is still infused with the musical nostalgia of those times and organised a ‘Missfits’ band reunion in 2011!
Yet another impressive album release by the kingpins of the Blackpool & Fylde coast rock scene who have made the transition from their early punk leanings into the hard rock and metal arena.
The ‘Outsiders’ opening title track sets the scene as the band throws down their gauntlet with a locked and loaded killer guitar riff underscored with the song’s battle cry chorus ‘Outsiders Ain’t Comin In’ from the distinctive vocal chords of front man & bassist Joey Class.
The ‘Outsiders’ opening salvo makes a serious statement of intent by the band that they don’t fit in and they inhabit the margins of society, something that will resonate strongly with all rockers and lovers of this music who share these same sentiments. It somehow reminds me of when Jim Morrison mentions about being “Out here in the perimeter”.
There is almost a gladiatorial element that defines this heavy guitar driven rock music as all the combatants endeavour to make the crowd give the biggest roar in appreciation also with the hope of surviving the performance for a return booking at their local rock coliseum. Hopefully no blood was spilt making this album and putting comparisons with ancient Rome aside The ‘Outsiders’ video and album’s Western influenced imagery seems to cast the band into gunslinger terrain confirming my suspicions that there are hidden strains of ‘outlaw country’ lurking within the soft underbelly of this band.
“Who We Are” is classic Senton Bombs full tilt ‘rock me like my back ain’t got no bone’ rock & roll, a skull crushing experience guaranteed to wake the dead with strident bass & drum combination that sounds like an express train about to crash through the gates of hell, whilst “Violet Black” which follows continues at break neck speed into the bowels of hades with some fret sizzling lead guitar breaks, and just when you thought it couldn’t be any faster or more intense “I Am Ablaze” (and who wouldn’t be as this point) simply explodes into a total fireball crescendo which concludes a trio of supersonic head bangers heaven songs which few of us could survive without high quality neck braces and painkillers currently unavailable over the counter.
“Reckless Youth” is a medium pace rocker followed by the anthemic “Bury The Hatchet” which has a great late 1950’s early 1960’s guitar sound, a theme that is reflected again the more mellow almost sentimental “Remind Me Of The Moon” which is one of the albums outstanding tracks and showcases a different dimension to Joey Class’s vocal talents.
“Dead Revoltion” finds the band at warp factor five with another slice of take no prisoners rock & roll that is the Senton Bombs hallmark. “Video” has a charm all of it’s own and appears to recount the nostalgia of video games and is perhaps one of the most radio friendly commercial tracks.
“Under Offer” breaks the mold again as the band moves into new territory with a moody bluesy retro rocker that even Elvis could have once wailed. A nice mention in the song for Ricky Nelson too, old rock & rollers can never die if they get a name check in a Senton Bombs song!
“Wake The Maker” is another smash and grab rock till you drop opus with an infectious riff and chorus and is the album’s final rip roaring offering bringing to a final climax another fine album of well crafted songs superbly produced by Ronnie Bomb the bands long-time producer and associate.
The drum work by skin thumper Scott Mason is rock solid and creates the mainframe for the bass and six stringers Damien Kage & Johnny Gibbons to weave their magic strings around. Joey’s vocals are as strong as ever and further plaudits are due as he bravely steps away from his usual vocal timbre in several songs and delivers some slightly more mellow tones, which for me personally are some of the albums highlights.
To quote a line from the opening song ‘Outsiders’ “Freedom for the few who can’t conform” is exactly what can be found in the music on this album, which is why it is such compulsive listening!
P.C. George Gutteridge brutally murdered by Frederick Browne and William Kennedy on the Romford to Ongar road in Essex.
“The Camera Don’t Lie” is a song I wrote many years ago which I have just recently recorded as a revamped version of the original song which was based upon an interesting old gypsy superstition and almost necromantic concept that the eyes retain the last corporeal image in the retina at the moment of death, hence the original title of the song which was “Human Camera Eyes” which I wrote in 1974.
Childhood memories of overhearing my father & uncle discussing an infamous murder dating back to 1927 of P.C. George Gutteridge (who was shot in both eyes) was indeed responsible for providing the inspiration for my song. The Gutteridge murder was of particular interest to my father as he worked for the North Western Optical Company and knew several of his client opticians also subscribed to the optogram final death image theory.
The idea of the retina capturing the final image before death goes back to at least the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the concept gathered momentum in Germany as research by Professor Wilhelm Kühne gave more credence to the theory that Optography was almost a proven science as his initial experiments appeared to show some promising results in this field. Several victims in The Whitechapel Murders reputedly had their eyes photographed by the Police in the hope that Jack The Ripper’s identity would be revealed. The mass murderer Fritz Angerstein was convicted in 1924 (only three years before the murder of PC George Gutteridge) partially on optogram forensic evidence. This must have weighed heavily in the mind of Frederick Guy Browne who shot PC Gutteridge at very close range and then discharged two further bullets from his Webley revolver into the eyes of the policeman on the roadside near Stapleford Abbot in Essex. It was a horrific crime which shocked the British public and resulted in the death penalty for Browne and his accomplice William ‘Pat’ Kennedy who was arrested in Liverpool on St Andrews Street. Browne and Kennedy were eventually executed by hanging for their heinous crime in 1928. In latter years the finger of suspicion has tended to point more towards Kennedy as the man who fired the gun which would certainly be more consistent with Kennedy’s Gypsy background of ingrained superstitions.
The song “Human Camera Eyes” was incorporated into the repertoire of ‘Ideal Types’ a rock band which I formed in 1978 in Blackpool with the late vocalist & front man Mike Salem. The story of the song took on an unexpected twist when I saw another band ‘Against the Grain’ perform a plagiarised version of the song which I think they called “Angel in Disguise” sometime in 1979. I remember feeling aggrieved at the time but upon reflection I looked upon it as a positive endorsement of the song, after all I was a songwriter who wanted to write memorable songs.
The original song was never recorded, apart from an old rehearsal demo tape so I have recently updated the song by adding an extra bridge section and renamed the song as “The Camera Don’t Lie” which is now part of the chorus line. The main verse lyrics are unchanged and the theme of the song remains true to the original concept, although ‘the jury may still be out’ on the real truth behind optograms, the eye is still the all seeing pervasive camera lens.