Agents

Although often not very popular with groups (and vice-versa), agents provide regular work for the group interested in more than playing at their friends weddings - you do, after all, tend to run out of weddings to play at.

A number of agents existed in this period, working with some of the major venues and groups of the time. Some are listed below but there were many others. Can you assist????

I have a couple of contracts off agents that are not in your list and as was usual in them days you sometimes worked for agents that you never saw so would not have known them if you had met them.  That was the great thing about Brian Mills he was friendly and aproachable.

Anyway one of these agents was John Smart entertainments 4 Langdale Drive Sunnybank Bury. The clubs on my contract were Rafa club, Spa hotel, Monton Trades and Labour, St Bonifaces Borough Social Failsworth cycling club and The Spinners.

My other contract was from J T Promotions Gloucester Rd  Urmston and was for  The Piper which if memory serves me right was a restaurant in Preston and was a full weeks work for the grand sum of £50 which wasnt bad for 1972.      

Al Richie
12/3/11               

Ace Artistes Agency

 

Alan Arnison Agency
Alan Cheetham
Alan Lewis Enterprises
AH Agency
 
Barry Perkins Organisation
BDH
agents Brian Mills, Walkden
agents Barry Semp Enterprises, Didsbury (circa 1965)
agents Barry Chaytow Enterprises, Middleton
agents Brian Durkin
agents Brian Gant, Rochdale
agents Brian Mills, Walkden
agents Bryan Yorke
agents Baron Artistes
agents Barny Smith
agents Bunny Lewis
 
agents Chris Wright
agents Clive Kelly/Jimmy Powell, CubiKlub, Rochale
 
a Don Read, Bolton
Delrick Entertainment, Warrington
agents Derek Oultram Entertainments, Bollington
agents Dixon Agency
agents Dial Theatrical Enterprises
agents DK Enterprises, Didsbury (Baz Cromwell)
 
agents Esquire Entertainments, Davyhulme
 
agents Frank Booth
 
George Gray, Eccles
 
agents Intermac International
agents Ian Hamilton / Hammat International
 
agents Jeff Bates Promotions, Blackpool
agents JT Enterprises, Blackpool
agents JT Promotions, Urmston
 
agents Kevin Kent
agents Kennedy Street Artistes
agents McKiernan Agency, Stockport
 
agents Les Mac
agents Les Thorpe
 
agents
agents Maurice Johnson - booked acts for Stamford Arms, Altricham
agents Miller Bourne
 
agents North West Productions
 
Oliver Batson Enterprises, Stockport
agents Oldham Entertainment Agency (Dave Cunningham)
 
Paddy McKiernan
Paul Ingham
agents Parkside Entertainments
Paul Vonk
agents Parabil, Warrington
 
agents Robert Holland-Ford, Moston
agents Ronnie London
agents Roy Mozley
agents Roy D Spencer and Associates
agents Rowntrees
agents RTC Promotions
 
agents Sounds Entertainments

agents Stanley Sher (Leeds) more of a manager than an agent. Only had six acts in his stable,but guaranteed constant work (we had to ask for time off). He booked the Piper in Preston, lovely man.
Dave (Jason&Gee)

agents Stuart Littlewood
agents Sonny Ross Agency, Corporation St
 
agents Wycrest Agency (Andrea Cassel)
 

  
George Gray

Eccles based George Gray (real name George Sidlow) had been an alto sax player in the RAF. On leaving the RAF, he worked as a blacksmith at Mitchell and Shackleton, Monton near Eccles, where he met Peter Hughes - the drummer with the Chuckles - who also worked there as an apprentice.

At night, George would play in a trio at the College Club in Manchester backing visiting artistes.

Managed Chuckles, working under the name Unit Management.

Later worked with Paul Julian and Carlton Edge under title Baron Artistes

Copy of a Unit Management contract     

I knew George Sidlow (Grey) when he worked at Mitchell Shackleton (sadly now demolished), and I remember him practising his sax in the forge at MS.

He used to play Friday evenings at the Station Hotel Pendlebury, before going on the College Theatre Club. His act always ended with, 'Pennies from Heaven' when the audience then threw pennies on the stage - for charity - or so they said!

There was an even greater sax player at Mitchell Shackleton called Granville Williams, whose world fame did not come until after his retirement. Will find some info on him.

Albert Beckett
13/3/10

  


George on the beach at Lossimouth in Scotland,
whilst touring with The Chuckles
 
 
Rowntrees Agency

Not really an agency, perhaps a way to get your acts at a discount.

Ran by Pat Day, the agency booked its own clubs - Rowntrees Sound (Hanging Ditch), Top of the Town (Cross Street), Spring Gardens and Takis (Oxford St). I can remember Pat being pleased she had managed to get a pre-"Gin House" Amen Corner  for their usual low rates. Most groups at the clubs got between 15 and 25 pounds for the night.

On looking at an old contract, I spotted the following "The Artistes should arrive no later than 7 pm.  Should they arrive after this time, a reduction of $2 for every 15 mins will be made".  Remembering that they often tried to sling the band out of the club within minutes of the bar closing, it was somewhat unfeeling.

Copy of a Rowntrees contract       

 
 
Parkside Entertainments

Based at The Blue Note Club in Gore Street, the agency booker was Rick Chandler and had, I believe, something to do with IVAN'S MEADS, a great Manchester band with a minor hit record Sins of the Family in the mid sixties.

 
 

LE Agency

Run by William Leyland, booking most of the Wigan area gigs - including Wigan Casino and his own Pink Elephant club at Aspall, Wigan..

Managed Harlem John's Reshuffle.

 
 

Delrick Entertainments

Warrington-based agency run by Dave Warwick and George Swindells. Booked for most of the vast number of Warrington gigs, especially Warrington Co-op Hall, where Dave was the DJ.

Whilst George eventually went to the USA, Dave started his ownhighly successful David Anthony Promotions, which handles TV Presenters. Previously Dave had major success with two of his acts, Poacher and Rick Astley.

 
 

Alan Lewis Enterprises
208 Chapel Street, Salford 3

Managed Four Pennies.


 

 

 
Paul Ingham
Middleton
 
   

"Paul was our first booker I used to go to school with him – I’m sure he was the same age as me. We did all those clubs in the early days, we kept good company didn’t we?

I passed Paul’s house a few months ago, he lived across the road from Peter Cowap’s hardware shop on Alkrington. I remember calling to his house on many occasions to drop off his 10%, but we soon got fed up of that and gave him a real hard time. Paul would tell the promoters not to give us the money and would collect it himself later in the night to get his commission. Of course we then refused to go on until we got paid and for a time we had a stand off.

Paul then called us with a gig to try and make up as friends again. The gig was Platts Social Club!!!!!! We were an out and out mod band something like the small faces..... Platts was a ROCKER club. When the curtains went back and we saw all the bikers we shit our selves. We did a couple of numbers and a big greasy bugger came up and asked for an Elvis song, we played Heartbreak Hotel about fifteen times that night but to no avail, we had to have a police escort to get out of the building and even then the kicked hell out of the van.

We put out a contract on Paul but there were no takers for the £20. Good old days! I'd love to hear from Paul again. Boy were we a pain in the arse!"

Danny Hardman

 
Don Read
Based at the beachcomber Club, Bank Street, Bolton
 

Don Read was a very perceptive, unassuming man who you would never guess had his finger on the pulse of the hip music scene. He managed my group - Outrage - along with The Warriors (featuring Jon Anderson, eventual member of Yes), The John Evans Smash (featuring Ian Anderson, the future lead singer and flautist in Jethro Tull), The Dawnbreakers and Leicestershire band, The Family. I think he had some connection with Wynder K Frog.

He was also responsible for bringing many great groups to the 3 Beachcomber clubs, including the Small Faces, the Who, the Action and Preston's own, very underated David John and the Mood, who had the distinction of not only producing superb Bo Diddley style material of great intensity on stage but also fetured on the Vocalion label, which most record buffs will know is a premier jazz/blues label and equal in stature to Blue Note, Sue and Ace. A major achievement in itself.

Don helped most of his groups to greater things and in our case, managed to get Kim Fowley to produce our stuff. I believe he ceased trading in 1967 and last time I heard of him he lived in Irlam of the Heights with a well known lady ex jazz singer.

Geoff Parkinson

JT Enterprises, Blackpool

I've just remembered another Blackpool agent we used, 'JT. Enterprises'. I'm not sure but I think his name was John Taylor, his name appeares at the bottom of The Love Trade picture.

Phil Coggan

Jeff Bates Promotions

Jeff Bates Promotions was also a well established Blackpool agent we used. Jeff Bates was agent/manager to a few groups but mainly to Bruce and the Spiders, who were one of Blackpool's truly pro groups in that, the band was their full time job.

Jeff was very strict with them and made sure they were up to date with chart material. They gigged at least five days a week.

Phil Coggan

JT Promotions

I recently spoke to a nice gent & a good friend who was a major player in the early days.  His name is Tony Yorke.  He had an agency in Urmston with Jonnie Martin  called JT Promotions.

Tony seemed to have it well sorted & plenty of work was around them. He still continues to work from his Altrincham office doing a lot of live events.  He also opened a club in Swinton, the old Wishing Well  - had some great artists on there & compered it himself.  He also had a club in Bolton.  He also compered the Talk of the North for myself - good luck tony

Roy Mozley
9/4/12

When with the McCord Bros (aka Jason&Gee), I auditioned for JT Promotions at the Gransmoor Hotel. After the audition Johnny Martin asked us if we wanted to earn £8 by winning a talent contest at Dino's later that night. I asked him how he knew we were going to win. He replied "because me and Tony are the judges".

Great times.

Brian Mills
 

Brian Mills, based in Walkden, had hundreds of acts, not just groups. He booked the Willows acts many times and many of the football clubs I did for him through the 70s as well, such as Bolton Wanderers, Preston NE, Everton 2000 club and the 4 cabaret clubs - Embasy, Carlton and the other two whose names I've forgotten.

Alan Roberts

I remember Brian Mills from back in the mid to late 60s. He was a nice man. At the time I was the guitarist in THE WOODLANDERS (2 guys & a girl singer) & we worked through BARNY SMITH ENTERPRISES who booked mainly cabaret lounges & casino's with some social clubs. My memory of that time was that BRIAN MILLS & BARNY SMITH formed an affiliation, working closely together. I recall BARNY SMITH bringing Irish show bands over to tour along with many continental acts.

Ken Porter
4/9/09

 

Les Mac Associates
 

Les Mac Associates was run by Les McSheffrey.

Originally from Nothern Ireland, Les played bass in Margo and the Marvettes (a highly popular act on the northern cabaret scene, pictured right) before he started working with Ian Hamilton at their office in Didsbury.

After Ian left for Australia, Les carried on the agency - working with manny northen based acts including Noel Burns Junior and Cherry Rowland, travelled to Australia for a while then operated a camp/caravan holiday park in the south of France.

Sadly, Les died some years ago.

 

   
Intermac International  

Another well known agency in the mid 1960s with offices in Manchester was Intermac International. The proprietor was a guy by the name of John Knowles. He handled quite a number of the then 'well known' Manchester groups - but more than that I cannot tell you.

Raymond Sanderson/Atlas
19/8/09

 

 
Parabil
 

 

Bunny Lewis

Agents that worked different parts of the country but one that’s not mentioned is  Bunny Lewis who was a female impersonator.  He  ran his office from his house which was in Whalley Range at the beginning of Princess Parkway.

Running the office was a Johnny Martin who may be the one who was in The Cresters but at the time was solo with a comedy act involving a suitcase full of hats and impersonating people.  Tthe most memorable being Old Mother Riley.

Bunny Lewis’s colleague lived with him and I do know he made all his dresses and he was a well known Manchester comedian called Jackie Carlton.

One thing that sticks in my mind was the fact that Bunny had two little pet monkeys running riot in the place.  Bunny roped me in to march to the town hall with hundreds of other acts to complain about a new gambling law that would have affected the entertainment business. There was an agent called Mr Bean (I kid you not) - I think his name was Tony.

I  do remember two of his children had an act  - I think called The Millionaires.

Al Richie
26/2/11

A magician/music hall act called Knox Crichton lived in a caravan behind Bunny's house - which was in Whalley Range. Knox had a very bulbous, almost alien bald head and when not performing he demonstated magic sets in Lewis's toy department.

Two agents that booked groups and artists were Madame Ace - she used to phone me "darling, could you....?" Never met her and the rumour was that she lived in her bed - but a lovely person to deal with.

The other agent was Ronnie London - now he was a character.... a wooden leg, and always at the bar with a glass of brandy in one hand, woodbine in the other. He would watch the group or act he'd booked, collect the wages in cash from the club boss then do a runner into a Mantax cab before the act came off stage. I was working with Johnny Christie in a club opposite the Museum (Regency Club???) and Johnny realised what Ronnie was up to and finished his act, said "come on Stuart, quick" - I rushed down stairs and jumped into Johnny's car - a Reliant Robin, NO kidding. Johnny chased the cab all round the (then) back streets of Manchester, two wheels on the bends. Finally Ronnie ended up outside his flat next to the Casino Cinema where he "gave up".

Stuart Brown aka Wilson
24/12/12

Ronnie London

Now he was a character.... a wooden leg, and always at the bar with a glass of brandy in one hand, woodbine in the other. He would watch the group or act he'd booked, collect the wages in cash from the club boss then do a runner into a Mantax cab before the act came off stage. I was working with Johnny Christie in a club opposite the Museum (Regency Club???) and Johnny realised what Ronnie was up to and finished his act, said "come on Stuart, quick" - I rushed down stairs and jumped into Johnny's car - a Reliant Robin, NO kidding. Johnny chased the cab all round the (then) back streets of Manchester, two wheels on the bends. Finally Ronnie ended up outside his flat next to the Casino Cinema where he "gave up".

Stuart Brown aka Wilson
24/12/12

Ace Artistes Agency

Madame Ace - she used to phone me "darling, could you....?" Never met her and the rumour was that she lived in her bed - but a lovely person to deal with.

Stuart Brown aka Wilson
24/12/12

I gigged for MADAM ACE for many years in the 70s and 80s when you phoned her she would always have 2 or 3 gigs for you to choose from. There was a guy in a very well spoken voice called PIKEY who would sometimes answer the phone, never quite knew the set-up there? Met many old stars at the end of their careers through MADAM ACE AGENCY like Denis Lotis, Jimmy Clitheroe, Charles Hawtrey and dozens of great musicians trying to make a crust. 

Thinking about 'Madam Ace' she had been a very good singer herself probably during the late 40's and 50's where she went under the name of Claire di Castro I believe. Hence the official name of the agency "ACE ARTISTES AGENCY"   Another amazing thing was most of the 'gigs' I got were usually around tea-time or later on Saturday, I could only guess that the clubs had been let down at the last minute with an organist or in my case a drummer. That was the life being on the agency  'books' you certainly took the rough with the smooth !  I would do it all again but this time round with a personal 'roadie' to help with carrying my drum kit in and out of the clubs and pubs. Great days eh ?  

John D Mills
1/1/13

My Father was a club and pub singer in the 1950's and 1960's and worked exclusively for Madame. His stage name was Gordon Reid.

She was a lovely lady and as a young boy would talk to me without worry about the time, when she phoned to give my Dad bookings. Although I never met her face to face I feel I knew her very well.

When at 15 I started as a DJ at a youth club she showed interest and always asked me questions. Then when her venues started looking for DJ's in the late 60's she gave me the work, which turned me into a professional. I will always have fond memories of her and will always be grateful for her kindess on love. I'm also sure I can say that as well on behalf of my late Father. 

Gordon Collins
11/3/13

 

 

Oliver Batson Agency

He gave us [Vince Reno & the Sabres] a great deal of work in the early 60's. Several times with our good friends Farons Flamingo's and a lot of other class acts. We learned so much from our association with this agency.

Ken Hobin (Guitarist)
22/8/11

Les Thorpe

I have lived in Spain now for may years and often have a little nostalgic trawl through the MB website and it is amazing who's name pops up from the 'old days'.

I was having a read today about the old agents and on the list is my old Dad - Les Thorpe.

We had lived in the Heatons (Stockport) for years and Dad had run a dance band for donkeys years in the Stockport and Manchester areas. I can remember the 'band' as a child. Johnny Pomfret (Drums) Dave Mangan (Piano) Jay Leslie (Trumpet, I think) Nat Swerling(Sax) and Big Reggie Cohen(Bass) - were some of the characters in the 'band', while old Les himself sort of ran things (usually at the bar with a large scotch looking for more bookings for the band and his artists).

I can't remember any particular artist he managed or booked but he knocked around with some of the finest musicians around at the time and knew all the city centre characters in Manchester. Les could always be found in the Cromford Club, the Wilton and a jazz club over Burtons on Oldham St/Ancoats whose name I can't remember.

Sadly Les passed away many years ago but stuck with the band and his scotch till the end.

Chris Thorpe
17/3/13

 

 

 

 




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