The Cellar Club in South Shields is probably best remembered as the venue that on 1 February 1967 hosted one of Jim Hendrix’s few performances in the North East of England. This was the New Cellar Club. A purpose built three storey building on Thomas Street (without a cellar), which opened on 2 December 1966. The New Cellar was impressively advertised as a £50,000 disco club for 18 to 25 year olds. It bore no resemblance to the original Cellar Club which it replaced.

Ticket to see Hendrix - a sought after item in early '67

Ticket to see Hendrix – a sought after item in early ’67

2 cellar06cropped

Advert for the Hendrix gig

The old Cellar, otherwise known as the Cellar Jazz Club was situated not far from Thomas Street at 45 Beach Road. It was opened in 1956 by Gladys Hogg, a former dance teacher who had previously used the premises for her dance school. Gladys was the mother of Stan Bailey, one of the founder figures of the well known Bailey Organisation. The Cellar was housed in a terraced building, which from the outside looked like large family home. Although it did start its life as a jazz club and ran for many years as such, in later years the music changed over to R&B, soul or whatever was popular at the time with jazz still being played on a Monday evening.

The River City Jazzmen performing at the Cellar Jazz Club in the early sixties

The River City Jazzmen performing at the Cellar Jazz Club in the early sixties (photo by Jim Perry)

I first started playing at the old Cellar midway through 1966. At that time, the club was open seven days a week with a different local band every night. My memory of the premises is as follows: –

The hallway where Alf Hobson the doorman, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and bow tie, took your money and signed in guests had a small table not far from the front door. There was a bar in the one of the rooms to the right and the main rooms where the band played were downstairs in the basement. The basement had a stone floor and there was no stage and no dressing room.

The Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club) on Beach Road as it looks today

The Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club) on Beach Road as it looks today

The following photos of the old Cellar were kindly sent to me by Brian Short who used to be a member of the North East band, the Sect. Brian visited the building which housed the Old Cellar decades after the club had closed. The owners at the time were having some building work done but up to that point had left the original basement much the same as it had been in 1966: –

The stairs leading to the basement

The stairs leading to the basement

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

The basement where the bands played

THE NEW CELLAR CLUB

I was one of the first musicians to perform at the new Cellar Club on Thomas Street. Before the official opening on 2 December 1966, a party was held for the staff and the contractors who had built the club. The Jazzboard were booked to play at the party, which took place on 1 December 1966.

Advert for the New Cellar

Advert for the New Cellar

The main dance floor was on the top floor with raised seating areas on three sides. Unlike the old Cellar, there was a stage for the band and the DJ. In fact, musicians were well catered for with their own dressing room/relaxation area behind a revolving stage. The bar was on the raised area opposite the stage. From what I can recall, there was a bar and eating area on the first floor and the only places accessible to the public on the ground floor were the foyer and toilets. The place was well decorated and furnished.

I remember the round black tables which were specially made for the club. On the surface they had the names of the local bands that had played at the old Cellar club; Junco Partners, Jazzboard, Shady Kases, the Sect, Elcort etc.

During the first few years, a lot of well known acts played at the New Cellar. Some that come to mind are: Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, Alex Harvey, Family, Chicken Shack, Rory Gallagher, Tim Rose and, of course, Jimi Hendrix. Here is a link to a site about Jimi Hendrix gigs in the North East. There’s also a lot about the Cellar and some information about some north east bands that played there in the sixties.

 

 

View of the stage from just below the bar area

View of the stage from just below the bar area

More Cellar memorabilia: –

The following tickets from the New Cellar were kindly sent to me by Fred Kirkland who was one of the founding DJs at the club.

11 paul jones cellar

12 family cellar

13 Long John Baldry cellar

14 soft machine cellar

15 Alexis Korner cellar

16 Tim rose cellar

17 root jenny jackson cellar

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Here’s a black and white photo of Fred, which should back memories to anyone who was a regular at the New Cellar in the late 60s. In the colour photo, the DJ in the booth is Pete Edmondson:-

18 Fred bw

19 pete edmondson

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Membership card for the New Cellar

Membership card for the New Cellar

Jimi Hendrix at the Cellar on 1st February 1967

Jimi Hendrix at the Cellar on 1st February 1967

Membership application for the New Cellar

Membership application for the New Cellar

23 A cellar0223 cellar01

A fairly recent photo of the building which housed the New Cellar Club

A fairly recent photo of the building which housed the New Cellar Club

Adverts for the Cellar Jazz Club (the old Cellar Club on Beach Road): –

25 Cellar126 cellar

Adverts for New Cellar Club: –

28 new cellar2

27 new cellar129 chronicle3

Jazzboard performing at the New Cellar Club, Thomas Street in 1967

Jazzboard performing at the New Cellar Club, Thomas Street in 1967

31 jazzboard cellar

Jazz board with Les Gofton (far left)

33 family

34 the nice

More New Cellar tickets

The Cellar club eventually became the Chelsea Cat and continued under this name until the eighties when it closed down.

35 chelsea cat card

  1. Fred Kirkland

    April 7, 2015 •

    The second pic above is of Pete Edmondson - who went on to open several wine bars in the town

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  2. DAVID PARK

    April 17, 2015 •

    I started as a DJ at the New Cellar, got the job because Christine Perfect, then of Chicken Shack failed to turn up for a gig due the a car breakdown.

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  3. Doreen Purvis

    June 1, 2015 •

    I went to the old Cellar Jazz Club from 1958. At the time it was just known as ' Baileys'. The music was just records. No live bands until much later in the early sixties. Stan Henry used to ensure the latest records and many American imports were played. No alcohol only soft drinks .It had a bit of a reputation as there were generally fights at closing time which was ten thirty. Some of my happiest teenage years spent here. Entrance ranged from two shillings on week nights to two and six on Friday and Saturday.mrs Hogg took the money on the door. We were such good customers she would let us in on tick.

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  4. Peter french

    August 9, 2015 •

    Hi
    My name is Peter French. I have just taken over the nostalgia page for the shields gazette.
    Really enjoyed reading the stories about the club and the people who played there.
    I am planning a series of articles in the gazette about music and clubs from this era and would really appreciate it if as many people as possible would get in touch with their memories. I'd love the hear from the likes of David, Doreen and Fred who have posted here, along with anyone else who would like to contribute to my upcoming articles.
    If you went to the club (especially if you were there when Hendrix played) I would really value your input.
    Any other ideas about the clubs, the bands and the people who went there would also be of great assistance.
    Please get in touch with me at Peter.french@jpress.co.uk or ring me on my direct line (0191) 5017476.
    Cheers,
    Peter

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  5. Dr Les Gofton

    August 12, 2015 •

    I was in a few bands which played at the Cellar., from 1966 to 1970, including the Bond (when Hendrix was top of the bill), jazz board and Brave New World. Saw most of the bands advertised, along with those not mentioned....Rory Gallagher, the Nice, Family, Yes, Arthur Brown amongst others. Wonderful period in which to be young, and able to see these bands. When we were playing at the old Cellar, Alf asked us who he should book for the opening night. We told him to get a new band called The Cream. And he did......

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  6. Dr Les Gofton

    August 12, 2015 •

    I remember the knopfler brothers playing at the new cellar too.

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  7. Peter french

    August 23, 2015 •

    Hi Dr Gofton thanks for your input. Please give me a riing, I'd love to hear more.
    Cheers,
    Peter French
    0191 5017476
    Peter.french@jpress.co.uk

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  8. JOHN ROSS

    August 30, 2015 •

    I have happy memories of playing at the old Cellar Jazz Club with Chris Warren and The Strangers in the early Sixties.
    We won the Top Rank Talent of Tomorrow competition and Television All Winners Trophy in March 1964 in Brighton followed by a recording at Abbey Road and a number of television appearances there-after.We were re-united on Surprise Surprise in 1989. Chris went on to join Pickettywitch and Bob Marshall joined The John Miles Set.Great days !

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  9. Dave

    November 23, 2015 •

    I was a pretty regular visitor to the old Cellar Club in the 60's and remember Alf and Gladys very well. My mates from the Grammar School used to see the Alan Price Set on many Tuesday nights until one night we were told they wouldn't be on that night because they'd gone to London to make a record(House of the Rising Sun)! A lot of these visits were made possible when Alf gave us free tickets.I think Sunday nights were given over to Trad Jazz bands.
    What a friendly,homely place it was.I couldn't get away with the New club and didn't go a lot.We then spent most of our nights out at the Latino or occasionally the Dolci or Wetheralls in Sunderland.

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  10. Bryan Cooper

    April 29, 2016 •

    I used to go to the old cellar club in 1962/63. If you went on Saturday you could get a free pass for Monday night. The band was the Alan price modern jazz band, who became the animals.
    They did happy birthday for me on my,18th!

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  11. Rob phillips

    June 14, 2016 •

    Great venue and good times. Saw Chicken Shack, Rory Gallagher in Taste and Spooky Tooth amongst others as well as many of the local bands around at the time!

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  12. Benway

    August 7, 2016 •

    Was it at the cellar club that jimi hendrix got hoyed out because he was too off his face on drugs to play? I heard the bouncers chucked him down the stairs as everybody was well upset at not being able to see him at his best.

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  13. Bam Place

    June 20, 2017 •

    Hello, I played at the New Cellar club in the 90s in a band called Stoned. Rolling Stones tribute band, someone told me that Jimmi Hendricks stuck his guitar in the ceiling when he played there, is the story true? Bam.

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  14. Dougie Vickers

    July 1, 2017 •

    Used to play there in 60's with a blues band called, Vermen, featuring Pongo Waring on lead and harmonica, Malcolm of the Kylastrones on lead Me, Dougie Vickers ex Invaders on drums, Les Proud singer and forget name of bass player. Great venue.

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  15. Trevor hedley

    July 12, 2017 •

    Jimi hendrix did indeed stick his guitar through the roof of the revolving stage, he then looked at Mitch Mitchell and they both laughed. I also remember that the stage would not revolve and the band members had to push it round manually. Jimi was not best pleased.
    When I entered the club as was going up the stairs there was a sudden flurry at the top of the stairs and suddenly jimi came rushing down the stairs followed by someone else (I'm assuming chas chandler but can't swear by that) because I was blocking the stairs they had to stop right in front of me at which point they started having an argument because Jimi didn't, for some reason, want to play. Eventually jimi was talked into it and the rest is, as they say, history.
    I seem to remember mitch Mitchell making, in a documentary some reference to a fall out of some kind when doing the shields gig which could explain why the set was only about 40 minutes long and possibly the guitar through the roof.
    I also seem to remember Stan telling me that they had cost £400 for the night.
    I believe Jerry Dorset Aka Engelbert Humperdinck was in the audience having time out from the Latino.

    Good days

    By the way was always happy to see The Bond was playing locally, one of my favourite local bands. Did you also play the Golden Slipper? Or is that a false memory.

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  16. Dougie Vickers. Drummer with the Invaders and latterly with the blues band Vermen

    July 12, 2017 •

    We only played at the Old Cellar Club (Baileys) with Mrs Smith on the door when I played with a blues band called Vermen and with the Invaders at The Crown Ballroom South Shields Monday nights.

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  17. Peter higginson

    October 9, 2017 •

    I was to young for this place but my older bro Stevie went and told me of the nite Arthur Brown was on and almost set fire ???? to the place with his flaming hat

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  18. Ron Metcalfe

    May 24, 2019 •

    I remember this starting up in Beach Road as I lived at number 57. My dad help renovate the cellar as he was a builder

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  19. Dougie Vickers

    May 25, 2019 •

    Used to play at the Old Cellar club as drummer in Vermen blues band with Mrs Smith on the door early sixties !

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  20. Dougie Vickers

    May 25, 2019 •

    Correction,Mrs Hogg on the door

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  21. john anderson

    May 25, 2019 •

    Hi,my name is John Anderson - played the cellar club when I was 16 with a band from Hexham called 5th Column, my dad had just bought me one of the new PARK 200 watt amp heads on top of 2.412 cabs, when we finished the set the stage turned and the amp hit the ceiling the stack fell over and knocked me clean out, brought the house down, John

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  22. M. Summerville

    January 29, 2020 •

    Remember the old Cellar club, lots of good groups in that small cellar. Remember seeing Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart was just starting out with him and thought at the time that he had a great voice and would go far!

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  23. Dougie Vickers ex drummer Invaders

    January 30, 2020 •

    Played there regularly with Vermen. Always remember Mrs Smith! Dougie Vickers

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  24. Iain Hart

    February 21, 2020 •

    I was one of the original djs at the new cellar. My dad who had a decorators shop on FOWLER Street had supplied Stan Henry with the paint and materials for the old cellar. Looking through the list of old tickets and posters for artistes appearing Iam amazed at how many groups I have forgetten appeared there. I was in the dj booth on the nights Jimi Hendrix and crazy world of Arthur brown appeared both causing consternation with management, Jimi setting fire to his guitar Arthur with a flaming crown. Stan Henry had me go to the opening of a new club in Sunderland and appearrd with Simon Dee. I am still playing music, now on Hospital Radio Valley Park Radio which streams their output. Hart and soul and all that jazz Saturday morning at Ten am. Regards to Fred, haven't seen since moved to London in 1969. .In VPR's new magazine I've done a long article about my time in South Shields. Iain Hart

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  25. Michael Haines

    March 19, 2020 •

    I think Iain is suffering from False Memory Syndrome. I was the dj the night Jimi Hendrix appeared . I recall being in the booth and getting the news from Alf the manager that a fuse had blown and Hendrix's appearance would be late. I met Jimi during the interval. He was very friendly and polite. Mitch Mitchell...he wanted my cool Harvard University sweater! ..Noel Redding...cold and aloof.

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  26. Iain Hart

    March 23, 2020 •

    Hello Michael. I must be wrong about being in the booth. I was definitely there, I went back stage before the jimi hendrix experience came on and had a brief chat. It was so gloomy the only one I could see clearly was mitch Mitchell - shorter hair! I was at the club most nights so it all blends into the dim past. Looking through the list of artistes I had forgotten how many I had seen there memories of whether I was in the dj booth or not on some nights have probably been blurred by the amount of free pints I was bought. I moved to London January 1969 so anything after that I definitely wasn't there apart from a few visits after moving away. Apologies for getting it wrong. Do you still live in shields? Regards iain

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  27. Bryan Jeffrey

    April 15, 2020 •

    Can't understand why the band called Vermen or Verman has never been mentioned - Pongo (Keith Waring), Bernie and Quintin Watson, Brian Burbridge. Great blues band who played the old Cellar Club.

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  28. Dougie Vickers ex drummer Invaders

    April 16, 2020 •

    I played drums with Keith, Brian, Les Proud singer and then Malcolm of Kylastrones joined us. I did 2 years with them. Great musicians and band to play with and I only played with them at the Old Cellar Club.

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  29. Barry Alton (Ex Guitarist with Brass Alley)

    July 2, 2020 •

    Can someone tell me the name of the fabulous guitarist that played in The Invaders? I seen them many times at the Crown in South Shields around 1964. They were the best band in the North East at that time, no question.

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  30. Dougie Vickers ex drummer Invaders

    July 3, 2020 •

    Hi Barry, many thanks for your kind comment. One of my favourite gigs in the day, seems such a long time ago. Our guitarist was Iain McCallum and I have a recording we did which I can send you if you give me your email if you are interested and remind you of Iain.
    Sadly Iain died when he was 37 of throat cancer,n ever even smoked.
    When I left Invaders joined a pure blues band called Vermen for a couple of years with Keith (Pongo) Waring on white fender and harmonica, Malcolm from Kylastrones another lead, Les proud singer, and Brian Burrbridge on bass. Regards, Dougie

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  31. Johnny A

    August 17, 2020 •

    In the nineties now! There is a bootleg of Leslie West playing there in 1997 but I am sure I took my son, who was about 14, to see him before that. Was it 1994? Leslie was really cranky, kept complaining about the sound and left after about fifty minutes. I remember his Leslie West Live cd being on sale, an extra fiver for a signed copy!

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  32. michael Haines

    September 30, 2020 •

    Hi Iain. Good to hear from you after all these years. I now live in Sleaford where I taught in the local grammar school for 23 years. I recall you patent leather shoes!. . And also you and Jim Frazer winding me up by asking me to play Zig Zag by Ohio Express. It cleared the floor!

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  33. Michael Haines

    October 29, 2020 •

    Hi Iain. Is your old pal Chris still about? I recall he was very knowledgeable about blues music.And what do you do these days? I remember you saying you had ambitions to be a journalist.Did you have a career a journalism?

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  34. iain hart

    October 30, 2020 •

    Michael. Never did journalism but spent dozen years in the media, Daily Mail and IPC magazines, then did sales in the furniture industry, Interior Design etc until early retirement Then did part time work for Mercedes delivering tasty cars.! Still play at DJ ing.Sat am on valleyparkeradio.org.uk , you can listen in if you wish online. Been doing that since the 1980's.'Hart and Soul and all that Jazz.' Still doing jazz and blues. Lost touch with Chris mid 1970's. Moved to London Jan 1969!!. .I am not great at keeping in touch, even family .We were due to go up to Durham, now, but cancelled when things went pear shaped again a month or so back. My wife's father came from Durham even though she is a Kent lady, She was born at Ightham Mote near Sevenoaks, now a National Trust place. Done some article for the station magazine about the 60's but I think I blur facts as I was there most nights so never sure if I was in the booth or just in the bar watching. Great days and saw a lot of acts.
    Hope you are Ok
    Iain

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  35. iain hart

    October 30, 2020 •

    Thanks for your earlier comment about my shoes. Still like them. Got two tone brogues in several colours, but no proper patent leather at present.
    Iain

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  36. Michael Richard Haines

    May 10, 2021 •

    Hi Iain, hope all is well with you. Lots of bands mentioned here. No one recalls Shades of Blue who eventually god a recording contract as Toby Twirl. Their vocal harmonies were terrific. They were as good -if not better than many top 10 acts. Sadly they never made the big time.

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  37. Roger

    May 10, 2021 •

    Hi Michael - you may not have seen the blog I wrote some time ago entitled "In Memoriam" (accessible from the Home Page). This article includes a piece about Shades of Blue and Toby Twirl.

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  38. John Fair

    May 11, 2021 •

    I was drummer in the Fireflies, Revolutionary Spirit and the Idiom, all Sunderland based bands. Loved the club scene and remember the Cellar fondly. Played the Workmen’s Club circuit, el Cubana etc. Remember Quent and Bernie Watson were looking to open their own cellar club in their basement. It never happened. After the Fireflies I tried an audition with Vermen, but was deemed too young! A fabulous time to be young and into music. Mick Grabham, Nigel Olssen, Dave Stewart and many others made it out of the NE. Lived and played in Canada since mid seventies. Solo and duo performing, writing and recording original material. Still sing and play drums with blues project the BluesTones!

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  39. Dougie Vickers ex drummer The Invaders and Vermen.

    May 11, 2021 •

    Hi John, I was interested to read you had an audition with Vermen. I was there drummer for a couple of years. Pongo Waring was a fantastic lead guitarist and harmonica player (White fender) Malcolm ex Kylastrons, sadly Keith and Malcolm are no longer with us and Brian on bass was excellent. I used to love playing at the Old Cellar Club in South Shields with Mrs Smith on the door. Great days.

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  40. Brian Curry

    July 5, 2021 •

    Does anybody remember the police raid in November 69? My mate Bob Giles (Giler) and I had been to the Brigantine and The New Crown, then went to see Yes at the Cellar Club. After 10/15 mins in came the police and that was the end of the Cellar Club. A jumped up little Hitler standing on stage with all his police regalia on and a baton, He stood by the mic and said "I am a police officer". He brought the house down. Never laughed so much in a long time. Names and addresses taken. Three months later a knock on the door and there was a policewoman" Does Brian Curry live here?" "Yes" Is he 18" "Yes" "Thank you very much" and off she went.
    Still got my Beach Road membership card (joined when i was 14) Thanks Alf and Frank. Also still got the Cellar 1969 Club card.
    i remember you Michael as we went to the tech together doing an O level for something. But i moved to London in 1971 and never took the test. You went on to teach my brother at Brinky And reintroduced yourself to me at a parents Induction meeting in 1973?

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  41. callum

    July 7, 2021 •

    I've just bought the New Cellar building and currently renovating it. I love reading all the stuff that went on there - it seems to have been quite the spot in its time! Any more stories or even better, any old photos around??

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  42. Barry Alton

    July 21, 2021 •

    This is for Dougie Vickers.
    He has asked me to give him my email address regarding a recording of The Invaders. See below.
    By the way, I was the lead guitarist that played in the 'Plectrians' (what a crap name) in the 60s on a Friday night at Baileys old Cellar for almost 2 years! Singer Brian Spence. We played regularly at The Majestic, South Shields on Saturdays, 3 bands, them were the days!
    I went on to be a founder member of 'Brass Alley'.

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  43. Douglas Vickers

    July 22, 2021 •

    Hi Barry,
    Nice to hear from a voice from the past. I do have a copy of the only recordings made with The Invaders when I was playing with them. We used to play on Monday nights at The Crown Ballroom, South Shields.
    I joined Vermen(Blues Band) for a couple of years and we too played at the Old Cellar Club, Mrs Smith on the door! Also played the Strada with Invaders. I have been living in Gibraltar for last 10 years where I played in an irish/and rock band. Now retired aged 77! Regards.Dougie

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