My brother joined Frank after playing in a bluegrass duo called Tom and Smiley.
There were TWO Toms. Tom Travis along with my brother Tom, who was /is Smiley! They made 2 LP's for a budget label.
Tom went on to back PJ Proby. He had to leave because of Proby's habit of blowing every gig he did!
Frank Yonco was last heard of residing in Bath. He had a TV show in the early '90s broadcast from there, possibly BBC. It was called "Frank Yonco's Bath night).
The album "Live at the Nashville Room" was released on Decca 'World Of Series as 'The World Of Country Music '.
Line-up was Frank Yonco (acoustic gtr/vocals), Kit Connor (vocal) , Jim Hornsby (lead guitar) , Dave (Skid) Marks (drums) and Karl Benson (bass, later to join Frank Jennings syndicate), Tom Smiley Bowker (banjo / dobro).
After a tour of Germany Hornsby left and Smiley Bowker took over on lead guitar , plus the other misc instruments . Hornsby later surfaced as banjo player on the Mike Harding hit "Rochdale Cowboy'.
My brother recalls his tenure with Yonco as being 72'- onwards. Yonco's earlier '60s band was the Texas Drifters. There were many other Manchester country groups at this time - Slim And The Bandits, Mavis And Jack and The Country Cousins.
There was a pub out on Deansgate .. (name; anyone?) that featured all these folks and was known as THE C&W Club in Manchester.
I think the pub on Deansgate referred to by Dave Bowker, was further south, where Deansgate becomes Chester Road and was called either the Bull or the Bull's Head. I remember seeing Frank Yonco and Mavis and Jack there, in the very early sixties.
Of the many country bands that frequented Barratts Of Manchester over the years was the ever popular Frank Yonco & the Everglades.
Now we got to know this band quite well because the lead guitarist, one Mr Ady Edlestone worked at the shop as a salesman come guitar fettler.
They were doing a gig in Manchester one night & Ady invited me down to the gig and so I went with the missus I might add (that's a first). Although country was not my thing, we had a really great evening & enjoyed the show which was very professional.
The young blonde lady Kit Connor was Frank's sidekick in the show & they (the band) referred to her as "Princess Laughing Teeth". Now I don't know what the song was called but I do remember a line from a song that they played & she sang "may the bird of paradise fly up your nose". What the hell was that about?
Frank was a real character, a bit of a loveable rogue and I think that he thought of himself as Manchester's answer to Johnny Cash and he did tend to model himself on the man in black.
Frank worked at that time on a used car lot in Salford and as I was in the market for a change of transport (I should not have told him) Frank turned up at my flat in Altrincham one evening in a beat up old mini traveler that was just two screws short of the going to the scrap yard and despite my fumbling excuses & begging him not to leave it in case the neighbors saw it (it was posh where I lived).
He said try it out over the week and see how it goes - its a good runner!!!!!!!
Well he left it and then he left .That mini never moved from that spot all week until I got in it on a Sunday morning and drove it back to the used car lot in Salford. I gave him my sob story of how I would like it but I couldn't afford it and after a very longwinded discussion I left it with him and headed for home somewhat relieved.
As for Ady Edlestone, he was one of the best at fettleing guitars and not only that but he was a great guitar player and did a couple of dep gigs with the Harbour Lights in the early '70s at Bredbury Hall near Stockport.
We met up a couple years ago in Manchester where he was working one Saturday. There was me, Eric Haydock (ex-Hollies) and Ady - we all went out to lunch and had a great time. Ady went off home later and I walked with Eric to Piccadilly Station where I last saw him a little worse for wear, balancing somewhat precariously on the platform after all the chardoney we had consumed.
It was a good day out and later that week I spoke to Ady who now lived on his own in Salford and asked him what his plans were for Christmas. He said that he didn't have any so I invited him to join us at my house on Christmas day for Christmas dinner which he did. The wine flowed like a river. I bet he doesn't remember me taking him home.
Ady still works in Manchester at sound control and to this day is still an excellent guitar fettler and nice guy.
PS. I still have the vinyl album shown here. It is brand new and never been played.
Must be a collectors piece by now!
Brian Higham, Barratts of Manchester
Hi I was in Franks band in the late 60s/early 70s I think.
I remember Brian and worked at the Newcastle branch of Barrats of Manchester. I did one tour of Germany with Frank and also played on the live album ... The World of
I met up with Frank Yonco at his club called the York Club (back Bootle Street, off Deansgate. Manchester) in around 1957.
The first time there, I took along my friends Mavis and Jack Lee, who incidently still run a c/w club in Heywood called The Hobos Retreat. They have kept country music going in and around the Manchester area for almost 50 years.
In the early '60s Frank asked me to join his band as a double bass player and I worked for him about 3 years. In this time we also had a small haulage buisiness.
I remember that at times we would leave the lorry outside the club or pub where the gig was booked.
At the York Club I met up with Slim Traynor; his band were the Hillbilly Bandits and Pete Elliott, the country cousins.
We started to meet up with bands from Liverpool who would come to the York Club - they were the Blue Mountain Boys, Hank Walters, a brilliant guitarist called Carl Goldbey and many more. Then we would exchange visits to their club in Liverpool called the Black Cat Club.
They were very good times about the late 50s early 60s but I would like to think we were pioneers. About that time as country music has developed over the years.
When the York Club shut down, Frank wanted another venue. He managed to try out a pub by the name of the Bull's Head, Chester Road, Hulme, Manchester. This lasted 18 months and during this period Karl Denver and Johnny Duncan and the Bluegrass Boys would come for a free for all.
I remember Johnny Duncan asking Slim Traynor to be his mandolin player in his band but Slim at the time didn't want to go pro. Pete Elliott would become a regular singer. I also met up a most talanted and brilliant young guitarist, Dougy Darby, who now lives in the states.
I remember being on the Gene Vincent show when I was with the Texas Driffters at the Domino Club. I found Gene a very shy man.
The Bull's Head pub changed management so it was decided to move on. The next venue was the Manchester Sports Guild, near Victoria Station. It was mainly a jazz club but on different floors they had folk nights and country/ western. I don't remember how long this lasted but Yonco wanted a change, so Club43 on Amber Street, Shude Hill, was the next venue.
By this time I moved on with the Pete Elliott band for a time.
I am still in contact with all the main players in the bands. Yonco lives in Bath, Slim lives in France, Dougy Darbyin the USA, Pete Elliott in Denton and Ian Mcdowall (part of the Country Cousins) lives in Australia.
I married Frank Yonco's wife, Sylvia, in the 70s and was married for 23 years but sadly she died in Cornwall in 1994,
Frank Yonco wrote a brilliant book called Jack Daniels if you please - the life and times of the British Country legend Frank Yonco. He has travelled all over the world and I found it most compelling reading from his young days to the present.
This page has brought back many wonderful memories of the artists we met at the MSG who became friends we met at the MSG, especialy Mavis & Jack.
My self and my wife Barbara were frequent visiters to the MSG and Club 43 during the '60s and '70s.
We had many memorable evenings with Frank & Kit, especialy when Bill Munrow & The Bluegrass Boys performed at the MSG.
One of Frank's pranks was to raffel off his well worn out vehicles - this was one raffle NO one wanted to win.
We left the UK in 1977 for Africa, Zambia, Botswana & RSA. What a pleasure to hear Frank & Kit really did make it. Sorry I wasn't there to see it.
Frank Yonco country band in the early days were called The Texas Drifters.
Oon my first visit to the York Club in Manchester,1957, Frank had a great musician in his band by the name of Rod King who played a fender pedal steel guitar, and bearing in mind steel players were a rare breed in those days, and to make the country sound this intrument was in my opinion the nucleus of any c/w music.
In and around the '50s Frank had entertained the American GIs at Burtonwood. Slim Traynor and the Hillbilly Bandits also played at their camps.
Slim always had his ear to a.f.n radio program transmitted from Germany in the hope of picking up new material to play. These were from the Grand Ole Opry - broadcast relayed to the GIs stationed in Germany.
Thanks also to our country friends in Liverpool at the time. A lot of records and music came from the Liverpool docks, as the seafarers brought in from the States and Canada.
Thanks for putting Frank Yonco and his bands on the website. Frank, in my opinion, has travelled far and wide in the world, working along side top american country artists.
He has toured Vietnam behind enemy lines entertaining the american troops, the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany and so many other countries.
If you have the opportunity of reading his book please make the effort. Your local library could obtain it for you.
The book is called [ jack daniels if you please ] The life and times of the British Bountry legend Frank Yonco by kelston ross. [ k.r.a.2003 ]. It's a terific 464 pages book on his early days to the present times with lots of photos on tours with Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. Lefty Frizzell, Willie Nelson, Carl Perkins, Billie Jo Spears, Hank Williams jnr, Johnny Bond, George Hamilton IV and so many well known american country singers. he Had his own tv shows with Westward Television, Granada TV did a documentary on him and in 1997 HYV transmitted his show from the River Avon entitled "Frank Yonco's Bath Night
I played with `Yonco` for a few years and would love to thank him for introducing me to Country Music as I had just finished playing with the Ivy League on the Manchester scene for several years and had never heard of this genre of music.
But how glad I am that he got me into the music as I have had a wonderful career so far. I would love to hear from any of the band members from that era.
Hi, Frank Yonco here!
A friend told me about this webbsite just this morning and I'd like to say a big thank you to all my old friends.. It's quite true ... they were wonderful pioneering days, full to the brim with memories!
THANKS A MILLION.
However I would like to put acouple of things straight ... "You don't spell YONCO with a K! Gottit? (Paul: Sorry!)
And that, while I appreciate JETHRO singing my song RED ROCKS & WHITE WATER on his shows, will somebody please tell him that I AM NOT FROM LIVERPOOL! Thanks.
I admire you diligent seeking out of information and if I can be of help just let me know.
Regarding musicians I am proud to have had some superb sidemen ... of course there were others
but among the best several outstanding talent still shine through after fifty years of Country Music.
Steel player Rod King from Blakely is a superb craftsman and could leave several Nashville pickers I have known at the starting gate! PS He's also a very good bass player too!
I also highly rate Terry Silver and El Imber.
Smiley Bowker was certainly one of the best five string pickers I have met and an excellent dobro player.
Jim Hornsby rates without question as the best Telecaster player I have ever met and that's a lot, including Larry Coryell, Albert Lee, Carl Perkins and Buck Owens.
In another style I would say that Ady Edlestone, Big Steve Turner and Paul Henry are the best.
Bass players? Well pure clean Country bass player are very hard to find! Rockers can't do it or Jazz players - they are all too busy. In my experience the best in Britain are Stuart Duncan, John Adkin, Joe Butler, Carl Benson and the late Vince Evers.
Drummers? Well only three come to mind who were really aware of what the music was all about.
Dave Marks, Steve Jackson and Peter Haig.
Hi! The pub on Deansgate was the Bulls Head. I was the bass player in The Hillbilly Bandits.
Now living in Ireland and to my disgrace have never picked up a bass in the last 20 years.
Your website brings back some great memories.
I'm now 67 years of age but would love to hear from anyone who knew us at that time.
I was a bass player in the 1970s with Frank Yonco and The Everglades and I was on the Granada documentary and film along with Smiley Bowker, Martin Brewster and Kit Connors and would like to know along with Martin if a copy is available to download anywhere.
First of all I'd like to thank the creator of this site for helping to bring back memories of the old days.
I first met Frank at the York Club in 1960 when myself and John Wilson did a short guest appearance on Frank's show. I joined Frank and the Texas Drifters shortly after Rod King left,around about 1961 and stayed with him until shortly before he went touring again, probably around '66. The Drifters then comprised Frank,Derek Clegg and myself,with a number of personnel changes along the way including Spud Murphy on bass (Liverpool),Stan Stanley on fiddle and I remember that we even gave an audition to the wonderful Victor Brox who at that time if my memory serves me right was a student at Lampeter University, Victor obviously made the correct career decision !!
I first recall Tom and Smiley putting in a guest appearance at our regular Friday night show at the MSG. I think they were the Double "T" Ramblers back then with the two Toms accompanied by a string bass player.
After leaving The Texas Drifters I joined Peter Elliott and stayed with Pete until the late seventies culminating in an appearance on the Hank Locklin show at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. The line up then was Pete,Ian Stocks (fantastic bass guitarist,who never missed a beat)Graham Cunliffe on drums, myself and the late and fabulous Pete Cowap.
Mavis and Jack should be declared a national treasure for their contribution to the northwest music scene.
If Frank reads this page I would like to thank him for introducing me to Patricia O'Brien at the Clarendon in September '62. Patricia worked with Frank and Frank O'Dell at Williams Motor Company on Deansgate. Yonco was the car salesman and Frank O'Dell was a mechanic. Patricia and I have been together ever since that first meeting.
Thanks to all the contributors to this page and thanks to all the people I have had the pleasure of meeting over the years.
By the way Brian, Frank tried to sell me a Morris Minor traveller in '64 which he left with me on approval.
If anyone wishes to make contact with me I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07511 529274
Hi, Good to catch up with some old friends. I was a bass player in Yonko's band whilst he was based in Cornwall. Good to hear from you Frank.
I learnt a lot from Frank, which stood me in good stead when I formed my own band 'Misty Dream'.
I came upon this webpage by accident. Found it so interesting especially as I have just read "Jack Daniels If You Please" for the second time. Good to hear news of so many old friends who either lived in Cornwall or who came with Frank & Kit.
Mr Yonco talked me into running a Country Music Club (Colorado CMC. St Blazey. Cornwall) which later led to my envolvement in journalism etc. (Country of course)
Great Days. Happy Memories.
I was the lead guitarist for the Country Cousins back in 1963 - 1964 with Ian McDowalland Vince Evers. I played a couple of gigs with Frank Yonco during that time, but since 1967 have been living in the USA working as an electrical engineer for John Deere in Moline, IL.
I sort of gave up playing in bands around 1975 and didn't touch an instrument for 25 years. I'm heading for retirement and have got back into playing again with a band that specializes in classic country (songs from the mid 50s to the mid 70s).
I've kept in touch with Derek Clegg and a few years ago sent him a of the Country Cousins that was originally taped in 1965. I found the master tape in my basement,had Ian McDowall clean it up and transferred to CD.
I've read Frank's book and its a great read. I'm glad that he stuck with music and became one of the UK's leading CW entertainers. He always was a great front man, and there's not many others in the past 40 years who could touch him.
I would be interested in obtaining some of his recordings, either on vinyl or on CD as it would be great to hear him again. The only stuff of his that I have are the "Live at the Nashville Room" album and the "Red Rocks" CD.
I played pedal steel with Frank Yonco on the Scottish end of a tour he was doing May/June 79. He was the perfect professional and a joy to work with.
Well Hi All,
How great to have computers!!!
Thought the world had ended once I had moved to Lancs and retired.
Fantastic to read so many names, so many still alve and kicking, really brings back good ole memories of Cornwall and the Driftwood but do try to forget the OlD YONCO BAND BUSES - 1st class seat an old rejected sofa jammed into the back.
Great days! Great memories and great musos - Cheers All.
I've just come across the Frank Yonco site and thought many of you would be interested.
We recorded and released Frank's single - "I can't keep my hands off of you" c/w "Early Sunday morning" on Tabitha Records TAB2 back in 1977.
It was great working with him and the band at Acorn Studios in Oxfordshire and the sessions went really well. We used the renowned BJ Cole on pedal steel and several session singers when we completed the recording in London.
I have a couple of singles available for any collectors of Frank's wonderful music.
And I was the house engineer at Acorn records (which was the little baby of the soon to be legendary solid state logic console manufacturer). That was a great session, would love to hear the tracks again.
Are they still available?
Hi, I was Frank (Yonco) Marriott's not very good first drummer.
I introduced Rod King the steel Guitarist to the band.
Later I joined The Rod King trio with a brilliant Jazz guitarist Mike Latham,who also played with the Texas Drifters.
Rod King went on to have a full time career as a professional musician.
Kit Connor was married to my brother Roy, who was the band's first bass player.
The renowned Folk Banjo player Harry Boardman from Oldham was also in the band for a time as were many other talented local musicians from the area, including pianist Alan [Chopper] Jewes.
Mike Latham now lives in Macclesfield and still playing Jazz.
One of the first C&W clubs we ran was the "HILLBILLY Guesthouse " at the the Waterloo Hotel in Cheetham Hill.
The club on Deansgate was called the Ambassador and we took it over one night a week.
Slim Traynor and Hank Walters and the other HillBilly Bandits were regular performers at the club.
To the relief of true music lovers everywhere I haven't touched a drum kit for the past 35 years.
My husband Peter used to sell music - LP's!!!, Cassettes!!! etc in the West Country Fairs and Markets. He would also travel around to various Country Music clubs in the Plymouth, Exeter and Cornwall areas selling said products.
We met Frank at one of the clubs and Peter became quite friendly with Frank and would sometimes visit him at his Country shop in Cornwall. Frank sold a mean range of 'Country'clothes. Peter thought a lot of Frank, said he was a decent guy.
Wherever Frank played, and this was in the Eighties recession, he packed the place to the rafters. Any club that booked Frank knew they were going to have a very, very good night. A very talented man.
Peter, my husband, passed away last October but I am abolutely certain that if Frank put on another show, Peter would be there (in spirit of course).
Where are you Frank? The British Country Music scene needs you!
I worked at the Driftwood Spars hotel in St. Agnes in the 70's when Frank, Kit and the Everglades were performing regular gigs around Cornwall. They stayed in the cottage attached to the Driftwood for much of that time.
I would often go to gigs with them in the evenings when I'd finished work at the Driftwood. Many happy memories and some good photos, too, of those idyllic days! I even baked and decorated Frank's 40th birthday cake - do you remember that, Frank?
If you read this, still love you all lots and treasure the memories of those happy days. Les XXX
wir waren (mein mann und ich) vor ca. 20 jahren in st. malo, bretagne. dort spielten frank und kit in einer wunderbaren atmosphÃ¤re auf dem "groÃŸen platz", an der alten stadtmauer. es war traumhaft. wir haben ihn jahrelang dort besucht und uns auch geschrieben. das letzte mal als wir ihn getroffen haben, war er wirt in einem restaurant in la richardais/sant malo. wir haben ihn dort auch besucht und er hat fÃ¼r uns alleine gesungen. er war, glaube ich, nicht sehr glÃ¼cklich und wollte wieder zurÃ¼ck nach england. ich habe noch einen brief von ihm bekommen. aber dann ist unsere verbindung leider abgebrochen. ich wÃ¤re sehr glÃ¼cklich, zu erfahren, was bzw. wo er jetzt ist. kann mir jemand helfen.many kisses for all fans of frank.
Which translates to something like:
My man and I went to St Mmalo, Brittany about 20 years ago and saw Frank and Kit playing - a great atmosphere.
We visited there for many years - meeting frank when he was the landlord ofn a restaurant in La Richardais/Saint Malo. We visited it and Frank sang there to us.
I got another letter off him. but then we lost contact. I would like to contact him again - can anyone help me.
roswitha burchert dasseldorf
I remember seeing Frank Yonco and the group at a dance night at RAF Kinloss in the late 1970's, when I was just finding out what Country Music was all about. Even wrote an article on the night for "Round-Up", the magazine of the British Westerners Association, of which I am still a member.
A great night was had, with Frank and Kit doing a few requests, and I am sure this was what started me out to discover other great C&W music.
This and the radio shows of Pat Campbell and Wally Whyton.
Thanks for the memory,
Keep it Country,
Came across this site whilst "browsing". I was visiting Newcastle in the early seventies and was taken to one of the "working mens clubs" which were more like the night clubs in my home town,
Frank Yonco & The Everglades were performing that night, excellent show. I bought the record SPA 215 and all the group signed it, Frank, Kit Connor, Martin Brewster, (who is not listed on the record) Karl Benson, and Smiley. Brought back some wonderful memories. Regards
My brother Tom (Smiley) Bowker .. is living in Malaga Spain with his wife of 40 years - Norma.
He does not have a computer, so unfortunately has not seen any of these great contributions to Frank's page. He moved there about 4/5 years ago from Penzance where he had been living for at least 20 odd years.
He does not gig these days but is writing prolifically and he occasionally sends me some great country stuff (whole albums worth) that he records in his state of the art studio in Malaga.
I played bass with Frank in '71 doing gigs in the Manchester area and up to Newcastle.
I did a short tour of Cornwall, we stayed at Frankie Best's place at Nettles Corner, St Blazey, a lovely old house. She owned the Rainbow Rooms in St Blazey where we played. An old Bedford ambulance was band transport then and, if I remember right, Smiley had a passion for pancakes and we could drive miles trying to find a Kentucky Pancake bar.
It was odd how I came to play for Frank;I had just finished playing with Screaming Lord Sutch and answered an advert for a bass player in the Manchester evening news and started with Frank the same night. I think Carl had recently left but he took over bass duties again when I left some 4 month later.
I moved to Cornwall in 1980 ( funny how many of Franks musicians seemed to end up in Cornwall). Now at the age of 70 I have just retired from playing, mainly , '50 rock and roll with a number of local bands.
Maybe it's not relevant in this forum, but does anyone remember Tiddy and the Teenbeats, Deke Bonner and the Tremors and Johny Masters and the Mastersounds some north Manchester bands I played with in the '50s.
It's good to know so many people appreciated Franks performances.
I'm John "Johnny Lang" Langin's daughter. I'm sorry to have to tell you that my Dad died in 2004. I've always known that he was a drummer and as a little girl I was in awe of the fact that he was in a band who released a record. My favourite pass time was reading the back of the record sleeve and looking at all of the pictures of the other members of the band. I remember Dad telling me that the band was supposed to be doing a live radio session one day. Unfortunately, just before they were about to go on air, the lyric " If you don't like Hank Williams, you can kiss my ass" came to light and the session was cancelled!
I still have the record sleeve for that album but the location of the actual vinyl, only Dad knew. If anyone is able to get me a copy, I would be eternally grateful.
I had a little boy in October and would love to be able to play him his grandad's music when he's old enough. If anyone can help you can reach me at email@example.com
Good to read your archive and to have news of so many old friends.
But be warned there is another Frank Yonco around.
they say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery but this one is in Austria. I was browsing through a record store in Nice when I came across CD of THE FRANK YONCO BAND. It was a strange mix of Euro Tech with the odd Country riff.
So I made some enquires.I wrote to the guy and sent him my Red Rocks CD and this was his story:
As a 12 year old boy he came to St. Malo on holiday with his parents in 1983 and came to our show every night and when he was in his late teens set up his own band and called it The Frank Yonco Band!
I think Derek Clegg mentioned my autobiog written in my pen name Kelston Ross. In fact since retiring in 200 I have done quite a lot of writing. eg.
JACK DANIELS IF YOU PLEASE. ISBN 1-905-200-03-X
A biog of not only about my 40 years on the road but a warts & and all account of an everchaging life.
Craig Baguley's review in Country Music People called it the best and funniest music book he had ever read!
THE BARON OF ANCOATS. ISBN 1-905-200-50-1
This book is particularly of interest to my Manchester friends. It is an action story set across the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The story of one man's merciless progress from the slums of Salford to the highest corridors of power and wealth.
THE KINGS CIRCUS ISBN 9781-905-50-01
A book about Georgian Bath but a far cry from the Jane Austen genre. It show the real story of this city of pleasure and intrigue which was called the New Babylon.A three cornered affaire between an Admirals daughter, a Portuguese beauty and a hard bitten Marine officer caught up in the biggest robbery of the period.
They are all available from Waterstones or any good bookshop or direct from Bill Chislet at KRA office.
Thanks again for your wonderful web site.
Other items available from KRA
CD: Red Rocks & White Water.
and coming soon ... A DVD of Franks last show 1996 :
FRANK YONCO's BATH NIGHT
An open air show aboard a river cruiser on the Avon with great music, guest stars, food and travelogue
Contct Bill at KRA on firstname.lastname@example.org
I began playing Banjo back in 1963 & had become pretty adept by '66,good enough in fact to have formed a group "The Dog-hobble Ramblers" with Mike Bowker (Tom Bowker's cousin)on Guitar & lead vocals & Tom himself playing Mandolin after his band, "The Double-T Ramblers" broke up. We eventually obtained the services of one of the finest Bass Fiddle players up here,John Henderson,which really filled out the sound.
The hub of the Country & Western scene in Manchester was the Manchester Sports Guild (MSG),but Frank Yonco had moved there on a Friday night,from the 'Clarendon Hotel' on Oxford Street. The MSG was where i saw my first Bluegrass band 'The Double-T Ramblers'.I'd only just begun playing at that time & i couldn't believe that there was a Bluegrass band actually in Manchester.
Yonco's band moved to another club,"Club 43" which was situated in a side street just off Shudehill,Manchester & were there for a few years.
In 1966, me & the band were booked to open for Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys at the MSG. Tom Bowker's old partner, Tom Travis, guested with us on stage that night. Bill Clifton who was living in Seven Oaks, Kent,was second on & then Bill & the Boys. All told it was certainly a night to remember.
I remember very well all the guys in Yonco's band & i'm still in touch with Derek Clegg & Mavis & Jack Lee.
Unfortunately,due to a stupid mis-understanding one night, at our regular weekly gig at the 'Wellgreen Hotel' ,in Hale Barns, our band broke up. Tom Bowker then went back with Tom Travids, to form the very successful "Tom & Smiley" duo.
I lost touch with Tom Bowker who I believe now lives in Spain, & Mike Bowker totally.
I still play Banjo to a good professional standard (when I play it that is), I'm mediocre on Guitar ,but I'm quickly becoming a decent Mandolin player after taking it up four & a half years back.
The days of the MSG & Club 43 & all the Folk clubs that were around,is something I'll never forget. I used to go to a different club every night of the week, taking my Banjo with me just in case there was a chance to play.
On one of those nights,a Sunday night at the "Two Brewer's" pub in Salford (now long gone),i met up with 2 guys from Manchester University,Alan Hodson & Bob Dheil.They'd had a Bluegrass trio but had lost their Banjo player after he'd graduated.I joined them & played a few gigs,but nothing ever became of it.
I'm retired now,but the love of Bluegrass music is still strong & i still carry memories of some of the great musicians i've met over the years - a truly incredible time.possibly the greatest time ever for UK music of all genres,
Ivan Kelsall- Higher Blackley
Derek (Clegg) is wrong with respect to his date for the York Club open in 1959. It was in fact 1960/61 and was a joint venture between Frank Yonco and 'Slim' Traynor leader of 'The Hillbilly Bandits'. A previous joint venture which was in 1959 was at the 'Bodega Club' in Cross Street, Manchester.
The line-up of the 'Bandits' in those days were 'Slim' Traynor-lead guitar and mandoline, Harry Dixon-vocals and rhythm guitar, Malcolm Povah-8 string plectrum banjo, Walt.Ogden-vocals and rhythm guitar, Frank O'dell-electric bass and occ. vocals, (see photo above). Karl Denver put in one or two appearences there, he had had a previous acquaintance with the 'boys' at 'The Yew Tree', Wythenshawe and at the 'Queens' down in All Saints.
Other venues operated by the 'Bandits' at the time and in which Frank participated included 'The Seymour Hotel' - Chorlton, 'The Bulls Head' - Chester Road (as stated), and 'The Oaks' - Chorlton. When 'Slim' formed the new 'Hillbilly Bandits' later in the 60's I fronted a club we ran in Stockport which frequently 'guested' Neville King, the N.W.'s first 'coloured' Country Music artist. (see photo below).
Maybe some of your readers can add further names to this photo? Me in 'black', back row, next but one to Neville, 'Slim' front row L.H.). Neville was also a regular at the 'York Club' and the 'Bulls Head', every Wednesday night along with Pete Elliot, Mavis and Jack and a very youthful Ivan Kelsall!
In the early days Frank Yonco played a 1930' accoustic Martin 'Revelation' guitar which had a 'resonator' (see photo right of me with the guitar at the 'Waterloo C&W Club' in Cheetam Hill). The guitar came to an unfortunate end while Frank was over in Germany during the late 60's early 70's.
I did a few 'gigs' with Frank, a couple of which stand out in mind. One was the 'Chorlton Palais' (later re-named 'Valantines') along with Johnny Duncan and his Bluegrass Boys with Pete Sayers on 5-string banjo. Also the 'Whiskey-a-Go-Go!' in Higher Broughton,Salford. This was the first time I'd played an 'all-night' night club and we were served breakfast before we left the following morning! I remember the singer/crooner Michael Holliday (married to Millicent Martin) played poker all night. During one of his infrequent breaks he called me over and said, "I like your banjo playing lad"! The next I heard of him, he had committed suicide!! It was a great 'gig' AND....we all got paid!!
Yes-many fond memories and great stories to tell along the 140,000 (paid) cruise miles I've clocked-up 'gigging' all over the world since then, as well as 'criss-crossing' the U.K.and Ireland in between!
Malcolm Povah. AKA The Banjo Man, The Railway Engineer!
Hi Malcolm - Nice to know you're still around. Other than yourself & Neville, the only guy I know in the group photo. Is the guy on the left of the photograph, Brian Neild? Brian used to sing & play Guitar with with either Slim or Yonco - can't remember which.
I got to know Brian very well as he used to work for British Aerospce at Woodford in Cheshire,the same place that I worked,
Female in pic above is Jan Martin.
Once again its good to read your articles from members of the country music scene late 50s/60s from friends and musicians alike. My old friend Malcolm Povah's recent contribution with some brilliant old photos brought back good memories.
I have to correct him on a couple of points. You state that Millicent was married to Michael Holliday. in actual fact she was married to Ronnie Caroll. 1958-1965 then married again and I believe she lives in the States.
You also state that the photo of you playing was a Martin revelation guitar. It was a Grimshaw revelation model g5/6 1930 cica 1930s. The photo with Neville Smart on his right side was I believe was Paul Starr but do not know what came of him, anyway all best wishes to you Malcolm.
I played bass with Frank a few times at Manchester Sports Guild in the sixties, great guy, I remember one night after finishing up a guy came round the corner and knocked the bumper off my old Moggy Minor ( the string broke ! ) Frank jumped into his old American station waggon, chased the guy up Rochdale road and came back with twenty quid off him!
It paid for the nights beer and a new piece of string, great times.
I recorded a single with Frank Yonco in 1976 for my Tabitha Record label and still have copies.
I also have two vinyl albums - covers pictured on the right - which are for sale.
Graham "Sandy" Sclater
I well remember spending almost every weekend in St Blazey.
My then husband Keith and I lived in Guildford in Surrey but the long drive down to Cornwall was so well worth it.
Trevor Couchman was the lead guitarist and pedal steel then and it was through him that we met Frank and Kit, and became good friends with them.
They stayed in our flat for a few days when they did a few dates in London during the Cornwall summer, very cramped but such good fun.
We wanted to buy the Rainbow Rooms in St Blazey but at the time the owner didn't want to sell. Such good times and wonderful memories.
I had a spell as the Sousaphone player with Sheps Banjo boys and remember a great week in February 1974 at the Rainbow rooms in St Blazey, Cornwall.
This was Franks club, and our drummer Ged Martin had previously played with Frank's band on tours of US Army bases in Germany. We had a great week.
Happy memories of a period before I went back to the real world.
I played Pedal Steel Guitar for Frank way back in the late 70s, Did a tour of Germany with him, then moved down to Cornwall (like all the others) lived in the Rainbow Club for a summer season. Whilst with Frank we did the 6 show series Country Style produced by Paul Bernard for Westward TV, The Nashville Cavalcade Country Tour, and a couple of Wembly Festival appearances.
Frank??? With out doubt one of the finest showmen in the UK,in the 60s/70s/80s no one could could touch him for professionalism and dedication. I learned so much. So so many great memories.
I met Frank whilst on holiday at Perranporth with my parents who were keen c/w fans. It was summer 1976. We were so impressed that when we got home my Mum made her local c/w club (Leamington Spa) book him, and he came up all the way from Cornwall!
My Dad still has the album, the one with Frank sat on his son's Yamaha RD200. I haven't seen sight of or heard the album for over 30 years yet the songs still come to mind on occassion here and there.
Recently I have just started to re-discover country music inspired by the movie Walk The Line (especially Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams) and for some strange notion I googled Frank Yonco and found this site. Absolutely brilliant!!!
Thanks to Frank Yonco and the Everglades for giving our family some great memories.
My first musical culture shock. Frank Yonco - 1974.
In 1974, a group of guys I knew were offered a summer season in Cornwall. I gave myself the job of Roadie and occasional keyboards and, the day they set off in an old Dutch VW van, I set off hitch hiking - and got there four hours before them.
Frank ran the Stars and Bars at St Blazey, a nightclub with a country and western flavour. Our band 'Alias', pronounced Ail-ee-Arse by the locals did regular gigs at the Stars and Bars.
I was a 17 year old who loved prog-rock and hated anything that wasn't. Frank never tried to convert us to Country but, like anything that's lyrical, tuneful and well-produced, it soon got under the skin and I've been a fan of Country ever since.
Frank always seemed like a 'father figure' - especially to me at 17 - the rest of the crew were in early twenties. We were treated well by Frank, Kit and the boys and, because Frank had an eclectic mix in who he booked, got to see and chat to people we'd already heard of: The Swinging Blue Jeans, Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas and many more from that era.
1974 was a good year and Frank & Kit helped make it that.
As a postscript, I returned to Cornwall in January 1975 for my 18th birthday. When I told Frank he roared with laughter realising he'd served me behind his bar the year before: "you looked older than the others," he said in his defence. He asked what I wanted for my birthday.
I thought for a minute and said: "A signed copy of the album 'If you don't like Hank Williams," I replied. I had that album for years until it was lost in a house move. If I ever see a copy I'll buy it.
Frank Yonco, Miss Kit Connor, the Everglades, the Stars & Bars and Frank's stories about 'Nam' will remind me forever of Frank's place in the best summer of my life...
Great to read all the stories I played drums for Frank and The Everglades on a couple of occasions before joining Terry Dean and his Mystery Dream Band.
Great times at the Stars and Bars.
Regards to Frank and Kit
How marvellous to read about Frank, Kit and the Everglades.
I used to be the entertainments member for the Sgts Mess at RAF St Mawgan and we had to hire Frank as much as possible for the majority of our members. They were absolutely professional and wonderful to work with great memories, shame they can't come out to New Zealand, I'm 71 and can still shuffle a shoe to good music.
Hello Yonco fans..
I am Bill Chislett and I manage the Uk office for Frank Yonco.. Great to meet you all... Let me know any new info you may need about this Country Music Icon.
This talk about a Country Music Festival at Wembley brings to mind that Frank Played the Festival in 1979...
But more to the point..Frank Yonco promoted the first dedicacted country music festival here in the UK at Altringham in 1963, using acts from the Manchester and Liverpool ares (details on request) and a second one at Chorlton Cabaret Club, Manchester the following year..This one featured Johnny Duncan and Pete Sayers and was compared by Canadian Murray Kash. More details about this also on request. We will be releasing photos later.
So, if you have any queires let me have them through this web site.
Hi everybody ..
Most country music fans are aware that Frank also writes books under the name of Kelston Ross and it might be of interest to Manchester folk to know that he is proud of his Manchester/Salford roots and has written a wonderful fictional book called The Baron Of Ancoats tracing the the rise and fall of an underworld tycoon through the first 50 years of the 20th century...
Get it and you will be taken on an informative and exciting rags to riches story in the familiar locations.
For more details contact the web site. frankyonco.co.uk.
Hi Paul and everybody out there..
Good to see Malcolm Polver.... I remember him well with Slim Traynor's band, Superb banjo player and agood showMAN ... but i'd like to make one clarification about the guitar he is playing in the photo...It is actually a British guitar.. A 1939 Grimshaw Revelation which I bought in 1962 from a lady in Salford who was moving house... It was beautiful and it came in a crocodile skin case. It was covered in dust and had not been disturbed since the war..It belonged to her son who never got to play it... As he was killed at Dunkirk in 1940. A sad story indeed.
Great to know your still enjoying life Frank.
We have great memories of following Frank Yonco around his gigs in Cornwall,would see him at least 4 times a week.
We would ride our horses past his place in St.Blazey 4 or 5 times a week,I took Frank horse riding around the area on a number of occasions.
Good times, good music, good memories....happy days....
Pat and Ron Richards
I can remember having a great nights entertainment whilst on a touring holiday in Cornwall....Frank Yonco and the Everglades were playing near Helston and I distinctly remember Miss Kitty and also my first introduction to the steel guitar.
Happy memories ... took me back to my early twenties!
I did a few gigs with Yonko in the early sixties but the Country Cousins was my group along with Doug Darby on guitar and on bass there was Vince Eavers, Derek Clegg or later on, Johnny Henderson. Tom Bowker and Rod King joined us occassioally and they were good years.
I think you would have to say Yonko is a character and once met, you would not forget. I did a bit of tv here in Australia in the late sixties, early seventies and then just got too busy. I started again in the early nineties as a singer songwriter and am now recording my fourth cd with my group ' The Dirt Road Band'.
Hi Frank, Thanks for giving me a great start all those years ago, always remember that where I come from anything north of Bodmin must be Liverpool. Please give me a call as we really must catch up.
Yonco here. Just like to let you know know that the new FRANK YONCO MUSIC site on YOU TUBE is now open. Some my old sidemen can now see what we all looked like back then. Just log in FRANK YONCO MUSIC...OK ..
More tracks coming and a Wikipedia reference will be open next month
Thanks again to all my old friends out there for their kind comments and the memories of those vintage days. Good to hear from old friend JETHRO again..Give us a call sometime!
Had the privilege of playing bass for the Everglades in the 70s in Cornwall. I was the only local yokel. The band consisted of Dave Fiddler on drums, Sandy Horne on steel, Alan Knight (Glascock) on guitar, with Kit and the one and only Frank on vocals. Great times.
I worked with Frank in the late 70s early 80s. He also manged me under the name of Sandie De Lane. Great days fond memories.
Hi Paul and all my good old friends out there..
Just a tip to get to the personalised Frank Yonco You Tube site
If you use the Google route. Go to simple You Tube. (with no Yonco references) When the Classic You Tube logo comes up enter FRANK YONCO MUSIC.
When the site comes up. Scroll down to the head shot of Frank and Click on it The layout of the site will then change to show an exclusive site with just the current 8 Yonco videos.
Oh Yes... Good to hear from Mike Black-barrow again...great Hendra Memories Mike.
Frank Yonco and Kit Connor
I have only just discovered the Frank Yonco page on manchesterbeat.
I would love to hear from anyone in the Vietnam band again so hope you can include this message on your page
I was on the Far East tour with Frank, Kit, David Marks and David Nesbit from April to November 1968 I had been working in Germany playing keyboards with a Scottish soul band with David N on bass. It did not work out so the band broke up after a month Feb 1968. I went back to Edinburgh and a few weeks later David N called me see if I was interested in joining a country band to go to Japan. Took me a nano second to say yes. Met Frank,Kit David M and Admy at Heathrow .were given the tickets which had various stop overs to Hong Kong and then Saigon. Nither David N or myself knew where Saigon was and considering what went on later neither did Ady.
Arrived in HK had a few days off then were sent to the Vietnam Embassy in HK for Visas. Only then were we aware where Saigon was.
We then flew to Saigon and immediately drove to a US camp close to Saigon where we stayed the night. After a few days Ady decided this was not for him and flew back to HK and arranged for his parents I believe to provide his air fare.
That left us without a guitarist so Dave N played guitar he was before that the bass player and as the keyboard player I played the bass on the Farfisa organ Frank bought in Hong Kong.
It was a great trip with a bunch of great stories . We were in Vietnam for two three month tours after that we played in Taiwan, Thailand, Kuala Lumpur before returning to the UK in Nobember 1968.
I have lost touch with everyone and have just found this page. I would love to hear from anyone else who was on the tour and can be reached on email@example.com
All the best
Hey Frank - remember me and my late brother Tommy? I used to be your road manager all those years ago,it would be great to see you again if you would like to get in touch and sure I can arrange it.
Hope you are well.