The Harbour Lights
info and pics courtesy Brian Higham

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The "Harbourlights"had by now quite rightly got themselves a great reputation with numerous recordings and a very prestigious T.V. Show under their belt.

They  played from 1961 until 1967 as Mike, Brian and John but regretfully Mike left to pursue his career and his place was taken by Alan Forbes. This line up did not last long (no reflection on Alan ) as things and the times changed.

John decided to leave and form his own band, Alan also left with him - this was around very late 67' I think.

So after all those years I was left on my own with no band.  Things had come full circle. 

The reason for writing this is that the various musicians that followed deserve some credit and recognition for keeping "The Harbourlights " reputation intact no matter what guise it took on.

PANIC!

After a few frantic phone calls I recruited David Buckley who was an excellent drummer but more important he had a great voice. Then I really dropped lucky when someone rang and said they knew a bass player who was looking for work. I rang him and arranged audition (audition? I was desperate ).

He turned up at the Royal Oak and not only was he a good bass player but another great voice. His name was Peter Jackson. Both him and Dave were really great guys and and we all got on great.

We borrowed a load of gear off Adrian Barratt for which I will always be grateful even though I worked there (because we had to split the gear when John and Alan left ), and we rehearsed all week ready for the next Saturday. And so it was that" The Harbourlights MK2" was born.  

This line-up stayed together for about 2 years.   To say this line up was the same as the original would be untrue but with these 2 great guys it was a very very exceptionally good band if I do say so myself.   

   

The dates and the passage of time tend to elude one when you are looking back so far.

 

Well, for personal  reasons Peter had to leave.

It was a great loss to a band that only ever had 3 members (mind you, I lost 2 in one go) but Dave came up with a solution. He rang a friend, bass player come vocalist, his name was Dave McDonald and so with a new set of suits "The Harbourlights MK 3 had arrived and once again it turned out to be a good choice (but lucky).

This version of the band was offered a full time gig at a new club in Wythenshawe called "The Golden Garter" and by now we all had M/U cards.

The Royal Oak had run its course but it was sad for everyone when it came time to leave. We played at the Garter for 2 years and during this time I was still working for Barratts during the day and the Garter at night, (talk about knackered ) but it was a good time and the band was great and so was the business I was getting from artiste's that performed there (name drops keep fallin on my head ).

My only one great regret was that the management decided that they would like the band to be called  "The Golden Garter Trio" so under pressure from them (they paid the wages) and my 2 guys, I gave in.

And so  The Harbourlights after all those years then ceased to exist.

It never did sit well with me and when the management wanted us to dance in the revue, I thought it was time for this Harbourlight to hit the road.

 

I waited till Dave got a replacement and when the day came I did my last gig there, got in my Morris Minor van LNC558G  (blue, courtesy of Barratts of Manchester) and disappeared into what for me was my darkest night.

It was around this time that Eric Haydock of the "Hollies" came back into my world.

But that's another story. 

Brian Higham

 

PS. The 2 original Harbourlights Brian Higham & John Lee bass player vocalist are still in touch today and remain firm friends despite the ups and downs over the many years past. Both our thanks and respect to the memory of Mike Foord.

Pickwick
with Brian, Eric Haydock, Rick Rothwell and Peter Baldwin

 



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