A while ago I received some great photos and stories all the way from Athens. Before I go into details about the subject and source of this memorabilia, let’s rewind just over four decades to the point where the swinging sixties had just swung past the half way mark.

In 1965 and 1966 it seemed a certainty that one or more of three popular Newcastle bands would achieve national success. These bands had a huge following in the north east and all three had the musical ability and charisma to make it to the next level. First of all there was the Junco Partners, the resident band at the Club a’Gogo. Not only did the Juncos have a recording contract but they were also managed by the successful London promoter, Robert Stigwood. The second potentially up-and-coming Newcastle band was the Sect and last but not least was the Elcort who probably came nearer to becoming a successful chart band than either of the other two.

The memorabilia mentioned above was sent to me by the Elcort’s vocalist, Glyn Sadler who will be known to everyone who was connected to the north east music scene of the sixties and also many people who frequented the popular north east venues where the Elcort performed. Places such as the Club a’Gogo, Mayfair, Locarno, Majestic, Quay Club, the el Cubana and the Cellar Club.

2 HEATWAVES bw

The Heatwaves – (l to r) Kenny Craddock, Mick Shephardson, John Watson, Glyn Sadler, Brian Craddock

Glyn started his musical career as a singer with a Newcastle band called the Bright Lights in 1964. He left the Bright Light and joined the Heatwaves with Kenny Craddock. The Bright Light’s drummer was Brian Short who ditched his drums to become the vocalist after Glyn had left. Brian was later to become the front man with the Sect.

Kenny Craddock went on to form the Elcort under the management of Derek Balmer and later asked Glyn to join the band which became known as the New Elcort. After a relatively short time the band signed with Parlophone records and in 1966 released a single called Tammy; a song originally recorded in 1957 by the American film star Debbie Reynolds for her movie of the same name. The band decided to record this song after hearing the Graham Bond Organisation cover it in the Jazz Lounge of the Club a’Gogo. For the B side they recorded Searching, which was chosen at short notice on the day they recorded Tammy.

Glyn remembers what happened after the single was released: –

“When we came back from London Elcort was the flavour of the time and Tammy did well in the charts. Only the NME (New Musical Express) did not print the charts over the weeks when it was doing well due to a strike.3 Tammy disc We were getting a lot of fan mail and I remember the postman coming to my house with a sack full of post and my mum going crazy. We were mobbed in Northumberland Street and everything was going well. We had a contract for a second record with Parlophone but we couldn’t write anything that was any good. We were sent reel to reel tapes of demos played by people on the piano or acoustic guitars so that we could pick a second single. After hours of listening we found nothing but apparently we let a few songs go that eventually made the charts including Everlasting Love (subsequently a hit for the Love Affair).”

Listen to Tammy by the Elcort

Here’s the Youtube video for the ‘B’ side – Searchin’: –

1 elcort

The Elcort – back row (l to r) Rob Turner, Kenny Craddock, Paul Nichols: front row (l to r) Dave Eckhard, Derek Rootham, Glyn Sadler

The Elcort’s manager at the time was Derek Balmer. Although he was good at dealing with the recording companies he wasn’t that familiar with the booking circuit and like most managers who think they have the best group, he sent the Elcort off on a four week promotional tour playing every night (and sometimes twice a night). The band toured throughout the country, from Newcastle to Manchester; from the Cavern at Liverpool to the Marquee and Scotch of St James in London. The band also took up a residency at a club called Sibylla’s in Marble Arch, London, which was apparently owned by one of The Rolling Stones. The residency came to an end one night after Brian Jones turned up at the club with three girls and as a prank pulled the electric plug out of the wall as they were leaving. According to Glyn, he was chased up stairs by the Elcort’s bass player Dave Eckhard who only stopped hitting Jones when he was told who he was.

The Newcastle agent, Ivan Birchall eventually took over the management of the Elcort along with the Sect. Both bands became good friends and, along with their roadies, played 5-A-Side football together most weekends in the Majestic after it closed for the night but before the cleaners turned up. They also went to each others gigs if one or the other had a night off.

Although Glyn was offered a recording contract as a solo singer (which he declined) he figured that there were too many great singers about for him to make it on a professional level. In contrast, a couple of the guys in the Elcort, Kenny Craddock and Paul Nichols, still had aspirations to make the big time in London. The outcome of these ambitions and Glyn’s preference to stay in the north east was that the Elcort split up. Kenny and Paul teamed up with the Sect’s singer, Brian Short and formed a band called New Religion. Rob Turner and Dave Eckhard joined the Pleasure Machine. Glyn and Derek Rootham joined the Sect. Glyn stayed with the Sect for a couple of years and was then with a band called Elmore Green for a while.

4 The Sect flyer

New Religion didn’t make it but both Paul Nichols and, in particular, Kenny Craddock went on to bigger and better things. Amongst others, Paul was the drummer with Skip Bifferty, Lindisfarne and Widowmaker (with Steve Ellis from Love Affair). Kenny had a highly successful career as a session musician and musical director, working with many top artists including Ginger Baker, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Van Morrison. Sadly, Kenny’s career came to an abrupt end when he died in a car accident in Portugal in 2002. His obituary in The Guardian is a great testimony to his talent and shows how much he was respected as a musician.

Unlike the Junco Partners who are still performing in the north east, the Elcort’s career was relatively short lived, lasting less than two years. But they still remain one of the most remembered local Newcastle bands of the sixties. Who knows what might have happened had they found a suitable song to follow up their one and only single – Tammy?

5 Newspaper

The reformed Sect in 1967 (left to right) are: Alan Atkinson, Glyn Sadler, Tom Duffy, Derek Rootham and Dave Corker.

6 ELMORE GREEN 1969 BW

Elmore Green in 1969 – (l to r) Tommy Jackman, Mick Shepardson, Glyn Sadler, Fred Reeves and Ricky Tocher

  1. David Reed

    May 31, 2011 •

    Definately muscians who were great in this area and some who went on to be Legends..Enjoyed The Elcort and Elmore Green..

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  2. maggie dixon

    February 4, 2012 •

    i used to be a follower of the Elcort,first met them at ponteland memorial hall,my freinds and i used to follow them to every gig and we also bought tammy.it was nice to hear about them again.good times good memories!!

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  3. peter robinson

    May 24, 2013 •

    hi my name is peter robinson I used to manage the fables in
    Newcastle we played all over Newcastle in 1965s we did all the socal clubs around north east at that time they where local bands pop up all over Newcastle all the groups wanted to play at club gogo in Newcastle it was a great time in 1960s

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  4. Jim Appleby

    September 22, 2013 •

    It was great to see a picture of my old mate Mick Shephardson with the heatwaves and elmore green. Mick and I went to school together, both bought guitars at the same time and went to guitar lessons (Billy Waugh) in Gateshead) we lost touch but got back together at a school reunion in 1988 and stayed and played together until his death in 2000, he was a phenomenal guitar player and what made him stand out compared to other guitarists especially in the 60`s was his ability to read music like no other guitarist around at the time. When he died after a long illness with cancer a great part of me went with him. Everytime I pick up a guitar especially I always shed a tear, I learned so much from him, Mick was a brilliant finger picker, but I always remember during his illness I would take music books some times he wanted Chet Akins the next day it was Joe Satriani or Django or Eric Clapton his uncanny ability to read dots made him the great player he was it didn`t matter if it was Jazz, blues rock classical whatever, as long as he had the dots he could play it.A great friend and guitar player. Never ever forgotten
    RIP Mick

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  5. Art Delaney

    December 22, 2014 •

    Remember these lads Elcort well they had a great following and had every chance to make the big time.

    Saw Elmore Green as well who played the circuits Mike Shephardson lovely guy very un assuming but he could play a guitar.

    Great to see these pictures a great time some great musciand and singers came out of the NE.

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  6. Barry Irwin

    January 23, 2015 •

    Remember seeing The Elcort playing at my youth club every Tuesday, (The Mera), about 1965, played Tammy every session, also used to do a version of In The Hall of The Mountain King, Sure Derek Rootham was with them, Can remember a drummer they had called Freddie Wheatley, went to school with him, saw him a few other bands,They were great times, Had Derek at the club I work at booking the entertainment, just a plug have The Juncos booked for 22nd May, Gosforth Empire Club.

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  7. Bob B

    August 2, 2015 •

    Hi Barry. Do you remember a young John Turnbull cutting his teeth at the MERA with his school band?

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  8. Alan oliver

    March 5, 2016 •

    Interesting read with good memories. I was lead guitarist with bright lights. Glyn Sadler, Brian short and Paul Nichols also in band . Alan Robinson - bass player sadly died some time ago. I remember Glyn as a great singer and Brian original drummer but a terrific stage presence as a blues singer. Paul took over as drummer when Brian moved
    Up front and he was an outstanding talent. I hope they are all well and look back fondly on good times together

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  9. charley foskett

    May 27, 2016 •

    nice memories - I played all those venues and knew most of those guys - truly magic times.

    charley foskett (music producer and arranger)
    www.charlesfoskett.com
    www.foskettsfolkfactory.com

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  10. Roger

    May 27, 2016 •

    I remember you from the 10th Avenue All-Stars, Charley. Have you seen the photo of of a very young Charley Foskett on the Jasper Hart page?

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  11. Barry Irwin

    June 30, 2016 •

    Heard that Derek Rootham retired last Christmas, will be missed.

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  12. lucas reid

    October 24, 2016 •

    What a time mid 60's in Newcastle, these lads were vibrant as were a lot of local talent around at that time.
    The Juncos, Gas Board etc etc and the Sect etc etc.

    I was told The Elcort recorded Tammy on Glyn's birthday at Abbey Road in Studio 3 on the day off The Beatles had whilst recording LP Rubber Soul.
    I remember hearing that The Beatles gear was in the studio and Lennon popped in.
    Great Blog to Rog.

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  13. Ricky Tocher

    November 16, 2016 •

    I am Ricky Tocher and was the keyboard player with Elmore Green ,Jub Jub Clique band,High Street East and The Jailbirds.
    I would love to meet up with Glyn Sadler and all the other people i played with like fred Reeve,Tommy Jackman,Micky Bennison.Brian Jarmy and all the others whose names i have forgotten.
    I was sorry to hear that Rod hood and Mickey Shepherdson were dead and jack Bickerton did not look too well the last time i saw him 20 years ago..
    I would love to hear from any of them or if you know any of them ask them to contact me.
    Great times.i met some wonderful people/musicians

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  14. Darren Goulden

    November 11, 2018 •

    Ricky Tocher, you mentioned Micky Bennison. Could anyone give some info on Micky's career?
    I believe he played in Geordie in 1977 alongside Brian Johnson (vocals), Tom Hill (bass) and Paul Swindon (drums) but I can't seem to find anything else about Micky.
    Cheers
    Darren

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  15. Alan oliver

    November 12, 2018 •

    It’s funny. I am 72 now so I guess we're all getting on and we look back on what was a golden time for us. I really hope my former band mates and friends, particularly Glynn, Brian , Paul and Tom Duffy have equally good memories of great days together.

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  16. Ricky Tocher

    November 16, 2018 •

    Hi Darren and Alan,
    I played with Micky Bennison in Jub Jub Clique Band and last time I saw him was 1967. However I know he was a member of the Bennison the Builders family and lived in Low Fell (in 1967).
    Also Alan, I have been in touch with Glyn Sadler over the last 2 years and he is well and lives abroad but hoping to meet him in January 2019.
    He certainly has fond memories of The Elcort, Sect and Elmore Green .
    I am currently looking for a lead and rhythm guitarist and singer to do a little jamming and have facilities and equipment. Have a Roland RD2000 incredible keyboards playing 8 instruments and drums where required but doesn't replace the real thing.
    Get in touch if anyone is interested.
    Ricky Tocher

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  17. Alan oliver

    November 17, 2018 •

    Hi Ricky - if you are meeting with Glyn in Newcastle in January I would love to join you. I spend a lot of my time in Spain but will be back in Newcastle from about 19th January. So it would be great to meet up.

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  18. Darren Goulden

    November 17, 2018 •

    Ricky, thank you so much for the information.
    There were some brilliant band names in the 1960s. My favourite band name is the Gobi Desert Kanoe Club
    Cheers
    Darren

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  19. Ricky Tocher

    November 17, 2018 •

    Hi Alan,
    I will let you know if the meeting is taking place.
    Glyn is coming from Athens via Majorca to see his sister and I am away in Portugal for 2 weeks in Jan but if all together let's meet somewhere probably Newcastle.
    Are you still playing at all? Looks like you play lead or rhythm guitar.
    Cheers Ricky

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  20. Barry Irwin

    November 18, 2018 •

    Brilliant reading all this about an era which won't be forgotten. Look forward to reading your notes should you meet up in January.

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  21. Alan oliver

    November 18, 2018 •

    Thanks Ricky - hope it works out for January meeting. I still play - with more enthusiasm than talent it has to be said. I have usual collection of old person trophy guitars (a Strat, a Tele, a 335 and a Fender acoustic - but wife limits me to a Fender 20 watt amp and a few pedals.

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  22. Ricky Tocher

    November 18, 2018 •

    If you have a guitar in UK and can get to Whitley Bay let me know. I have a sort of studio and amps etc. No need to be modest about your abilities.
    Will let you know when I hear from Glyn about January
    Cheers
    Ricky

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  23. Ricky Tocher

    November 18, 2018 •

    Barry will let you know about result of Jan. meeting.
    What connection do you have with Glyn and The Elcort?
    I was Elmore Green.
    Ricky

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  24. Barry Irwin

    November 18, 2018 •

    Hi Ricky, only connection is way back in 1965ish when the Elcort used to play at our youth club at the time. Went to school with then time drummer Fred Wheatley. It was him that got me in to playing drums which I did for 40 years mainly residencies after a spell with club bands. Knew Derek Rootham through club bookings when he was with various set ups. Can remember when The Elcort used to do In The Hall Of The Mountain King. Guy called Bob Smoult used to come on stage with a rope round his neck (no health and safety) when they did this number and chase the young girls round the club. Bob if my memory serves me right had something to do with the band at time. Last time I saw Derek was at Gosforth Empire Club a few years ago. Any info would be greatly appreciated as Bob Smoult suffers from the dreaded Alztheimers. Regards Barry Irwin.

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  25. Alan oliver

    November 18, 2018 •

    Sounds good. I have a friend Roger Shehy who lives in Whitley Bay and he is really brilliant. No exaggeration he is Albert Lee class - I will speak to him when I get home and maybe we will get together? I am currently in Antigua but back to UK next week. Cheers . Alan

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  26. Ricky Tocher

    November 19, 2018 •

    Alan ,
    I have asked Roger Smith at Ready Steady Gone to give you my e mail address as it may not be safe to put these details on an open site.
    If you go to the home page and find "contact" you can e mail Roger at novamute@blueyonder.co.uk after which we can correspond privately because I would love to meet up with you and Roger Shehy for a session to see if we can make some decent sounds ..
    Did some sail training a few years ago in Antigua going from English Harbour to Jolly beach and back.
    Cheers Ricky

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  27. Ricky Tocher

    November 24, 2018 •

    Hi Barry,
    I have only just seen your post. I am meeting Alan Oliver on Monday to make some music.
    If it works and we need a drummer are you up for it? I have some drum pads.
    Cheers Ricky

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  28. Barry Irwin

    November 24, 2018 •

    Hi Ricky,
    Sounds great.If things go well on Monday,definitely interested. Get those drum pads ready.
    Cheers
    Barry.

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