The Karl Denver Trio formed in 1961 in Manchester, Lancashire, with a line-up of Karl Denver on lead vocals, acoustic guitar (b. Angus Murdo McKenzie, Wednesday, December 16, 1931, Springburn, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland, UK d. Monday, December 21, 1998, Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK, of a brain tumour), Kevin Neill on lead electric guitar (b. Kevin Peter Neill, Saturday, July 25, 1931, Miles Platting, Manchester 40, Lancashire, UK d. Saturday, March 13, 2010, at home at 69 Polefield Road, Blackley, Manchester 9, Greater Manchester, UK) and Jerry Cottrell on electric bass (b. Gerald Cottrell, Monday, December 18, 1933, Manchester, Lancashire, UK d. Friday, November 24, 2006, Trafford General Hospital, Urmston, Manchester 41, Greater Manchester, UK).
McKenzie (Denver) got his name from his son Karl, who was sadly killed and he thought he would keep his name and Denver because he thought it was a good place. He had lived for a time in Fort Collins in Colorado and the capital of that state was Denver.
McKenzie had left school at 14 and gone to sea. At first he joined the Scandianvian Mercantile Marine as a deck hand and travelled the world. He practised the guitar and entertained his shipmates. Next he joined the Argyll and Suntherland Highlanders and was wounded in the Korean War. Then he returned to the sea and at 21 (1953) he jumped ship in America and played clubs in Tennessee and in Denver, Colorado. He befriended the American country singers Faron Young and Lefty Frizzell, and became the first British performer to play at the famous Grand Ole Opry Radio Show in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1956 he was offered a management and recording contract, but being illegal in the USA he could not take it up. He was caught by the immigration department in 1959 and deported.
On his return to the UK, he settled in Blackpool, Lancashire and changed his name from Angus McKenzie to Karl Denver. Soon he was established around the Lancashire clubs and pubs, notably at The Yew Tree Cabaret Club in Wythenshawe, Manchester. He then formed The Karl Denver Trio when he teamed up with guitarist Kevin Neill from The Joe Loss Orchestra and bassist Jerry Cottrell.
Neill had been to St Gregory's Grammer School in Ardwick Green, Ardwick, North Manchester 12. He had started out playing guitar in 1946 in East Manchester based The Reg Goodwin Orchestra. In the 50's he played with the big stars, like the Johnny Ray Tour in 1954, Frankie Laine, Max Bygraves, The Anthony Newley Tour in 1960, Don Lang and the Frantic Five and later joined The Joe Loss Orchestra. He met Scottish singer Denver when he was poised to hit the big time in 1961 along with Cottrell. They had regularly packed The Yew Tree in Wythenshawe, Manchester and when Neill joined the group they were signed to Decca Records.
On Monday, April 6, 1953 Neill had married Clare Cregan and had two daughters, Beverley and Lorraine.
The Karl Denver Trio played the opening night of the famous Twisted Wheel Club at 30 Brazennose Street, Manchester 2 on Friday, January 27, 1963, along with Dean West and The Hellions. At this time Denver was residing at 69 Polefield Road in Blackley, Manchester.
On Wednesday, October 7, 1964 the bands appearance on Shindig Show 4 was broadcast. It was a special live from London edition of the show, with The Beatles, P. J. Proby, Tommy Quickly, Sandie Show, Sounds Incorporated.
In 1979 Neill left The Karl Denver Trio and was replaced by bassist Keith Elliott. Neill later joined Irish band The Bachelors playing lead electric & acoustic guitar, trombone, along with lead vocalist guitarist, John Stokes (b. Sean James Stokes, August 13, 1940, Dublin, County Dublin, Eire) and lead vocalist, guitarist Jonathan Young (b. Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland).
After the hits dried up, the Trio became a popular cabaret act for many years.
He had an unusual association with Manchester based 'Happy Mondays' in 1989.
Sadly, Karl Denver died of a brain tumour at the end of 1998, aged 67.
Karl's grave is in Stockport Cemetery where his fans from all over the world have placed a memorial to him.
Members of Karl's website have set up a memorial with a plaque that says
"Karl Denver 1931 - 1998 Never Goodbye Karl With Love From All Your Fans Worldwide"
Margaret and Dave Lodge, Bob Patterson, Ronnie Copson, Mags Cummings.
Great news. On 24 November,2008, a month before the tenth anniversary of Karl's death all 24 original recordings from his first two Decca Ace of Clubs albums, from 1961 and 1962, have been digitally re-mastereed and released on a Vocalion CD
Wimoweh & Karl Denver CDLK 4378.
Many of the tracks have never before been included on other compilations
Gerry Cottrell left the trio in the very late 1970s and Keith Elliott took over the job until Karl's death.
Gerry Cottrell passed away on Friday November 24th. in Trafford General Hopital, after a long illness.
Kevin Neill gigged on for many years - later with John Stokes and Jonathan Young in the Bachelors. Sadly he passed away at his Blackley, Manchester home on Saturday 13 March 2010.
Karl Denver At The Yew Tree
With Love Karl Denver
The 2009 release: Wimoweh & Karl Denver
- a double compilation and features both the sleeves from the 1961 Decca Ace of Clubs Wimoweh and the 1962 Decca Ace of Clubs
Marcheta/ Joe Sweeney
Mexicali Rose/ Bonny Scotland
Wimoweh - Karl Denver (LP)
Decca Ace of Clubs
Wimoweh/ Gypsy Davy
Never Goodbye/ Highland Fling
A Little Love, A Little Kiss/ Lonely Sailor
Blue Weekend/ My Mother's Eyes
Dry Tears/ Pastures Of Plenty
By A Sleepy Lagoon (EP)
Karl Denver (LP)
Decca Ace of Clubs
Can You Forgive Me/ Love From A Heart Of Gold
Indian Love Call/ My Melancholy Baby
Still/ My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes
Karl Denver At The Yew Tree (LP)
(recorded 15/02/63 live at the Manchester pub)
EP Karl Denver Hits
My World Of Blue/ The Green Grass Grows All Round
Love Me With All Your Heart/ Am I That Easy To Forget?
Sally/ Swanee River
With Love Karl Denver (LP)
Cry A Little Sometimes/ Today Will Be Yesterday Tomorrow
Marta/ I'll Never Forget To Remember
The Tips Of My Fingers/ I'm Alone Because I Love You
You've Still Got A Place In My Heart/ I Still Miss Someone
Wimoweh Karl Denver (re-package of Ace Of Clubs album)
The Karl Denver Trio (LP)
Karl Denver Greatest Hits (mostly re-records) cassette album.
The Very Best of Karl Denver
Lazyitis (Karl Denver & Happy Mondays)
Voices of The Highlands
Never Goodbye The Very Best (CD album)
Just Loving You (CD album)
Karl Denver Wimoweh (includes then new track Maybe) cassette album
Movin' On (CD album)
The Best of Karl Denver CD album
Wimoweh & Karl Denver
* images are for illustation only and not representative of years.
Some Karl Denver Trio concerts:
Wednesday, December 9 - Sunday, December 20, 1959: UK Tour with Shirley Bassey, Frank Weir and his Orchestra. The promoter was Paddy McKieran
Wednesday, December 9, 1959: The City Hall, Barker's Pool, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Friday, December 11, 1959: The Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Saturday, December 12, 1959: The Albert Hall, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Sunday, December 13, 1959: The Free Trade Hall, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Sunday, December 20, 1959: The Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool 1, Lancashire, England
Saturday, September 30, 1961: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
Tuesday, October 24, 1961: The ABC Ardwick Apollo, Ardwick, Manchester 12, Lancashire, UK, supported Billy Fury, as did The Allisons, Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whiskey, Eden Kane, Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers
Friday, January 27, 1963: The Twisted Wheel Club, 30 Brazennose Street, Manchester 2, Lancashire, UK, with Dean West and The Hellions, the opening night of this club
Monday, March 25, 1963: The Casino Ballroom, Leigh, Lancashire, UK
Wednesday, March 27, 1963: The Cavern Club, 8 - 10 Mathew Street, Manchester 2, Lancashire, UK, with The Big Three, The Hollies, Earl Preston and the TT's, The Sapphires, evening session
Tuesday, October 29, 1963: The ABC Ardwick Apollo, Ardwick, Manchester 12, Lancashire, UK, supported Billy Fury, as did Joe Brown and the Bruvvers, The Tornados, Marty Wilde, Dickie Pride
Friday, May 12, 1967: The Imperial Ballroom, Carr Road, Nelson, Lancashire, UK
"We worked with Karl Denver Trio sometime towards the end of the '70s at Chatham Barracks, Kent. Our guitarist, Bob, almost wet himself when he saw Kevin Neill was using the very same guitar from their pic in Beatles Monthly. I suppose you have to be a guitarist to notice things like that. "
Credit should also be given for Karl's massive selling Decca EP By A Sleepy Lagoon that reached No.2 during a 20 week stay on the EP charts.
The Beatles also made their live radio debut on Karl's Side By Side programme.
Also Karl's hit single Never Goodbye was a 1962 BBC TV Song For Europe entry. Although Ronnie Carroll got the nod as winner with his forgotten "Ring A Ding Girl" that peaked at 43 on the charts, Karl's offering proved the big recording success of the contest.
We saw Karl in Benidorm Spain many times. The last time was in 1996 - he was great and enjoying life and we really loved his music and the jokes he told.
Really sorry for the loss of him - we all miss his music.
Sylvia and Peter
When Karl was doing a split week at the Palace Theatre Club and the Southern Sporting Club, he would turn up at the Sunday band call at the Southern and the bar would be opened especially for Karl, Gerry and Kevin. It was obviously a cost effective exercise that wasn't done for any other act.
His local was the Thatched Cottage in Reddish and sadly in his later years, there were fellow drinkers there who didn't realise what a star he'd been back in the early sixties.
Eleven years after after his death the interest in Karl appears to be growing with more of his work available on You Tube. A 1964 clip of the Karl Denver Trio performing Wimoweh live on a Shindig TV programme recently passed 100,000 hits and two other You Tube sites with the same film have a combined viewing of over 28,000 taking the total views of this film to almost 130.000.
And last week the greatest discovery for Denver fans for years was suddenly placed on You Tube. Full colour film of The Trio performing Rose Marie and Love Me With All Your Heart at the 1983 Peterborough Country Music Festival couple with an interview after the show.
On this occasion Karl was on the bill with American C & W stars Tom T. Hall and Jimmy C. Newman. The Trio appeared on the 1980 show with Frank Ifield and Ken Dodd.
Doddy and Karl both charted in 1963 with the Country hit Still, Karl easily out paced the Knotty Ash maestro peaking at 13, during a 15 stay on charts.
Sorry to hear about Kevin- he was the bee's knees musically and I have had some transpositions done by him over the years.
In the early 60's, in the small town of Castleford, South Yorks, the hometown of Viv Nicholls- the spend, spend, spend lady,who 'won the pools', there was a niteclub called The Crystal Bowl Club with Karl Denver Trio in one room with a supporing act of three coloured girls, whose name escapes me at this time.
In another room Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and in yet another room Adam Faith, whom I was supporting - all this under one roof! I knew Karl pretty well and we had some laffs together- good days.
Robert Smith Wright
A Karl Denver mint condition promo simgle Uska Dara/Zimba on London label recently sold in America on ebay for 75 dollars!
I'm unsure whether the record was ever released in this country?
I met Karl on the Central pier in Great Yarmouth in 1963. He was performing there,I was a sixteen year old kid and though under age Ii was happy to accept a pint from him at the pier bar. I was a member of theTtravellers pop group from Rochdale at the time and because of our mutual interest in anything to do with groups and music we got on like a house on fire. That was until a groupie latched on to him.
He was obviously irritated by this and convinced her that I was his roady. Soon after Iwas left to deal with the young lady as Karl had dissapeared. Don't remember what the outcome of that was.
I first met Karl at the Luxor Club in Hulme, Manchester, in late 1962 where he was topping the bill.
I was part of a group called THE AZTECS, later to become PETE AND THE PERSUADERS, whose drummer Denis Ashton was a friend of Karl.
We met him on more than one occassion, and I liked his sense of humour and, of course, his voice.
THE PERSUADERS were unfortunately involved in a serious accident in which the lead guitarist Sid Overett and rhythm guitarist Brian Valentine died. The first memory I have, when waking up in Stockport infirmary after the accident is a heavily Scots accented voice saying "Hey peterrrr it's me Karl Denver, how are you?", and he was so sincere and feeling, he also knew that we were ignorant to the fact that Brian,and Sid had died.
I don't remember most of our conversation, but I do remember him saying that he was going to contact lots of the gigs that we had done, and ask them to put on charity shows for us, to enable us to replace our van, and any equipment damaged. this as far as I know is what happened,and I will always remember Karl fondly.
I was very mooved to see my favougerrite singer of all time was still remembered after all this time. I still play his music. I am now 67.
I am looking for the song By a sleepy lagoon.
He was magic.
Avid Karl Denver memorabilia collector Bob Pattreson of New Romney Kent, has unearthed what he believes are the earliest known recordings by the legendry singer.
Bob told me after tracking down the six track, 10 inch acetate demo disc, recorded around 1958 in one the recording booths that existed then where budding entertainers rented a time and got the disc to keep at the end of the session.
Bob believes his treasured acetate includes the generic version of Karl's massive hit Wimoweh. He says the basis of the hit version is there, but with a different arrangement and played slower.
Among the other tracks are two outstanding "finds" the TRIO never released commercially. An impressive Blues version of Lead Belly signature Black Girl and an ancient sentimental ballad That wonderful Mother of Mine.
Bob's alsao hads another remarkable stroke of luck recently in tracking down complete studio master tracks of a second, but never released Nevis album.
Read my full story on the Leicester Mercury web site, click This Is Leicester and then click Nostalgia on the banner, scroll down to 26 Feb.
The frist time I met Karl was at the Luxor Club working for Ginger Chilton. My dad was Wally Harper, a Manchester comic.
I was sixteen and played and sang country stuff. The resident band did not know any of the songs I sang and could not play for me. Karl and the boys overherd what was happening and backed me up for whole of the week.
He was a good freind. Oh, he also gave me a pair of cowboy boots given to him by Lefty Frizzel. He is sadly missed. God Bless you Karl.
I believe I am right in saying that the Karl Denver Trio played at a holiday club in Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey and as that was where we used to go every holiday. My parents became very good friends of them and Karl often stayed at my parents pub in Canterbury. They also became good friends of Gerry - in fact my mother has photos of Gerry and his then young lady Naomi.
He used to drive a yellow open top car at the time. My parents also had photos of the Trio hanging in the pub.
Just read Karl's website - great memories. I grew up with Jerry Cotterell (bass). Karl acutally taught my brother the guitar - they were very very good.
Another great pic from Roy Mozley!
He adds " I found this in my files one of the great summer seasons at Blackpool in 1964. Tthe amount of star artists on this picture is un believable! Here we go - Cliff Richard, The Shadows, Marty Wilde, Matt Munro, David Whitfield, Morcambe and Wise, Jimmy Clitheroe, Des O'connor, Karl Denver, Barbara Law, Eden Kane, The Dallas Boys, Sooty and Harry Corbett., Pinky and Perky, Peter Butterworth (Carry On films), Lonnie Donegan, Danny Williams, Edna Savage, Daley and Wayne, Jimmy Edwards, The Vernon Girls,etc.
What a great photo!"
I met Karl in 1988 in Jersey. I played Keyboards for him on and off until he died in 1998. We became great friends and I miss his sense of humour.
I played with Gus 1955? on the Citizen Showboat from Dunoon. We met up later in the parly bar to do some songs with some other lads. It was then he said he was off to London. I said "no" as I was starting my time. The rest is history.
Jim Chippington "Chippy Jim"
I never saw KDT play live, but I was present when they opened a record shop on Underbank Stockport. It must have been early 60s, and the shop was owned by Peter Swales (ex Man City), Whites and Swales, at the bottom of Mealhouse Brow.
In approximately 1969 I owned a garage business in Sykes Street in Reddish, one of the very few garages who owned a tow truck.
A regular call-out (usually by the police) was to recover a car which had crashed into the same lamp post outside the Houldsworth Mill on a number of weekends, the driver was Karl after spending the evening in the Poco a Poco Club.
I met him on a number of occasions (he lived in the street behind the garage) usually to repair his car and try and get payment!!! On his invitations all the lads from the garage went to the Poco to see and meet him, as always leaning against the bar with a bottle of champagne and a female friend?
Karl had a real sense of humour and was a very likeable character.
I saw the Karl Denver Trio 4 times in the 60's. If they had come to Australia I would have seen them again, THEY WERE GREAT. RIP Karl Gerry and Kevin.
Hello Karl fans
My dear departed Dad's record collection includes the Wimoweh LP,which he played now and again when I was a kid in the 60's. Chatting with me one day somewhere in the 90's about Karl, he mentioned the trio used to play at the Yew Tree pub in Northenden. A big live music venue in the early 60's, I understand,only 3 miles away from where I live now. He told me that he recorded a live LP there.That was that.
A couple of years ago I was talking about what Dad had said to my friend next door. He went on E-bay...A few minutes later he came back round and said.."Guess what? I've just put in a bid of £8 for it on E-bay". Low and behold it sits in my collection! Mint condition.It's on now as I write.
I don't know how rare this record is. Maybe someone can enlighten me.That aside, it is a superbly recorded gig by the Decca mobile studio. Karl and the band are note perfect.You can feel the atmosphere.You can hear the crowd between songs, glasses chinking, its a beautiful thing.The cover features the Trio behind the bar laughing and pouring beer.The sleeve notes are written by a gentleman called Peter Attwood and it sets the tone before you put the record on.It really is a gem. Aswell as the trio on stage, they also have Alan White on drums and Rod King on steel. I am a huge rockabilly fan and had no idea what to expect..boy! was I surprised.
They kick off with a blues version of Blue Yodel...then its country, rockabilly all the way ... finishing with a blistering live version of Wimoweh.
I cannot find this LP anywhere on cd. I have an idea...The liner notes describe it was recorded in a long low room at the Yew Tree. It is my intention to get in touch with the pub very soon and ask them if I can arrange a charity function.The purpose? To invite Karl fans and indeed anyone interested.I will play the LP in the very same room it was recorded in 49 years ago.
I invite anyone with any more info on this LP,or indeed if you were there on Feb 18th 1963 to contact me on email@example.com. Kind regards,
I remember appearing at a venue called Frescatties on Oxford Rd and after coming out of the toilet I noticed this guy chatting my girl up (now my wife). I thought it strange that this man was wearing a suit and cowboy boots. He shook my hand and introduced himself as Karl Denver.
Many years later I used to play now and again at a pub in Reddish Lane called the Pomona for the landlady a well known lady called Renee Rhythm. On a couple of occasions Karl would come in and say “drinks all round”. No wonder he went bankrupt - a very kind hearted guy.
Hi to all Karl Denver fans
First of all I worked with a guy called Terry Rogan in the mid 70s to early 80s who told me he had become a member of the Karl Denver Band, does anybody have any recollections from that time?
Also I have recently bought a guitar from an 'antique'emporium, a Framus King a very large acoustic jumbo steel strung with extreme cutaway.It dates from Dec 1962. It has a contemporary pickup in it with the words 'plato flatop' engraved into it. The seller told me that his family had owned (but never used) the guitar for about the last 40 years or so and that it had been bought for Karl Denver by a man called Alan Goodwin who had also played with him. I have not payed over the odds for this guitar and if what is stated turns out to be true then I think I have got an absolute gem. It was in a sorry state but after some 12 hours work some 'new' tuners and a bridge modification sounds quite the business (especially through a 140 watt jazz amp with 15" speaker)
Again does anybody have any recollections from those times?
I met Karl in a Stockport bar called the Rudyard Hotel. It was about 1971 and we were having a beer and a good old chat. After a few minutes he put a box of matches on the bar. He then started the best and most amazing bit of voice throwing I have ever witnessed. So much so, that myself and a few others kept opening the box to see what was inside. Alas only matches!! The guy had an amazing talent, not just a great singer but a true entertainer.
My sister and I went to put flowers on our Dad's grave - then we did a little walk-about --- not far from Dad's grave we saw KARL DENVER. My sister said: I know that name!! Wow!!! We are both standing there over Karl Denver's grave. One of the greatest singers ever. I felt very humbled. I said a prayer and gave him a kiss.
Always find something ... this time, the wonderful news of Karl Denver's demos!! AND then I found them, posted on You Tube! Must date from the time he was resident at The Yew Tree, where we used to go and see him even whilst still at school.
One of your postings also reminded me that it was apparently FIFTY YEARS NEXT MONDAY that I was at The Yew Tree for the recording of his Decca LP!! Still no closer to a legit CD of this - Amazon MP3 downloads show a DOWNLOAD album planned for the end of the year - I just hope the source of this is not the crappy vinyl copy that the samples are taken from, as my own copy is in better nick! One of the best live recordings of the 60s deserves better.....
I recently came across the earliest musical pics I EVER took - Autumn 1961 (I was 18!) at the Southern Sporting Club in West Gorton....one is Karl & me; the other with two local sisters, Sheila & Patsy, who lived just round the corner (Donnison St?) and whom we'd met on holiday in Rhyl, which was the main reason we were there, if Im honest!!
Thank you for all the people who have posted comments, on this site as my family really appreciate the kind comments you have made about my cousin Angus, whom we all adored, in spite of him being a bit of a scallywag.
Growing up in Bicknell St Blackburn, I had a front row seat to the start of his career in the mid 1950's. He and his friend Henry Boyle stayed with my father, Karls(Angus's) uncle Donnie for almost a year, as he busked all around the town centre, and the Blackburn pubs.
He got himself into plenty of trouble in those day's and left town one step ahead of the police, some months later. Eventually he went into the Merchant Navy, jumped ship in America, and became the legend we all came to love, and appreciate.
I well remember the last time I was with him, when he came to to visit my father at our council house in Blackburn. He arrived in a massive big Cadillac with his wife Alma, much to the delight of all our neighbours, who had no idea we were Karl Denvers relations. As my father was working, he decided we would all go and surprise him at work. So we all piled into into the Cadillac, which was open topped, and enjoyed waving to all the open mouthed Blackburnians, as we cruised through the town centre, feeling like the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
We still have a good laugh about it, when the family gets together, though now being in Melbourne Australia, we have lost contact with most of Karls family. I have many fond memories and stories to tell of my wonderful singing cousin, and would be happy to tell them all to anyone who would like to know. Thank you very much to his fans, who did what they did for him after he passed away, and for which I am very grateful, though I did not find out, until years later, and wished I could have done more myself.
Who can you spot on this image?
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Mike, as far as I know Keith Elliot used to have a transport business in Manchester and I have the phone number but never followed it through. Don't know if it is still going. And while I'm at it, can Alex McKenzie of Australia please contact me, I'd love to hear some of his stories.