The Music Shop Originally The Orbits from
The line-up at Sinatras - Left to right Alan Uren, Norm Higginson, Mike Rayner, Phil Winterbottom on drums and Mike Hammond.
bass (replaced Brian)
keyboard (replaced Jimmy)
drums (replaced Phil)
The Orbits was a group started by 5- 15/16 year olds at St Pauls youth club Stalybridge. They were , Mike Rayner (guitar ) Brian Smith (bass), Phil Winterbottom ( drums )& Jimmy Smith ( keyboard ) & Charlie Hogg ( sax ).
That was in 1964. I joined them in 1965 as the singer & old man of the band at 18. We played gigs in schools, churches, pubs, town halls etc pretty much like all the groups starting up at that time.
There was some politics & a woman involved so after several months I left the band. But several months later the band sorted the politics out by getting rid of the manager & his son , the bass guitarist & I re joined.
We then got a Saturday night residency at S.I.D.S. ( Stalybridge Indoor Sports Stadium ) & we had become The Music Shop. We stayed there for a year or so working for Val Morton & his wife Ruth & they were great times at a great venue. It was at SIDS that we were joined by Norm Higginson on bass.
In late 68 we were offered the residency at the Southern Sporting Club owned by Arthur Goulden & the compere was Peter James. It was at the Northern that the sax player Charlie Hogg left us & became famous in the USA. Peter James left the Southern & went to compere at Sinatra's in Failsworth & a couple of months later we were invited to join him.
Sinatra's was owned by Tommy Bolger & was very flash for those days. The resident backing band was The Keith Wall Quartet & we thought we had landed.
Next news is that Arthur Goulden buys into the place & we're working for him again.
We were at Sinatra's for a couple of years during which time Jimmy Smith left us for some other gig at Mecca I think & was replaced by Alan Unren on keyboards. Phil the drummer also left to pursue his career & we were joined by Pete Simensky ex The Manchester Playboys.
Then I heard several rumours about the club not doing so good so I called Dougy Flood at the Broadway & offered our services. We were invited to the Broadway where Dougy served us tea ??? & cheese & cucumber sandwiches ??? This is Dougy Flood the gangster I'm talking about.
We started in mid 1972 & stayed there until the Broadway stopped doing cabaret & went disco in Jan 1975. Some friends of our had a band so we arranged for them to take over our spot at Sinatra's & it only seemed like a couple of months later that the club burned & they lost all their gear. The saddest part was that the keyboard player, John Howarth had just bought a new Fender Rhodes that day, it too went up in smoke.
During our time at The Broadway we were also doing The Northern , Blightys, Sidings + 1 or 2 other places Mr.Flood had going.
It was at this time that we as Love Train went on the road doing pubs, WM clubs etc but that is the beginning of another story. Some of the musicians are still playing under various guises & to some extent still enjoying it.
I moved to South Africa in 1989 where I only sing in the shower now, I still get a thrill out of going back to UK & getting up to do a song or two with the " Boys in the Band " music is still a big part of my life & I wouldn't have changed a thing.
The Music Shop at Sinatra's, Failsworth
The Music Shop at Sinatra's, Failsworth - 1970
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Hello there, I was wondering if anyone out there might have photos of " The Music Shop " who played/were resident at the Southern, Northern, Sinatra's & Broadway+ plenty other clubs. Any pictures or information would be appreciated.
Hi sorry don't have any photos, but so remember The Music SHop from the days of Sinatras and The Broadway Club. Great supporting band who used to get everyone up on the dance floor. I remember your cover of the classic...Something Old Something New track, which I always thought was brilliant. Happy days and a fantastic time to be in Manchester, always expected the band to get a recording contact.
Hi Keith,glad to know that someone remembers us.I don't think any of the band wanted to be famous, we were all level headed guys who didn't smoke, drank very little & just liked to play music. My claim to fame is that when Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers were staring Arthur Goulden unpluged their gear & sent them packing then said to me " You're top of the bill for the rest of the week ". Several times Dougey James would appear & he used to arrive with a young guy called Paul. At the end of some nights we would have a big jam session & Paul would ask me if he could get on stage with us all. Paul went on to be the lead singer in Mike & the Mechanics but sadly died a couple of years ago. Something old is still one of my favorite songs of all time. Most of the band are still playing in/with some band or other but I moved to South Africa 30 years ago & said goodbye to being a singer. Cheers Keith. Stay well. Mike
Hi Mike yes fantastic times I remember Dougie's James Soul Train so well, funnily enough I always preferred Sinatra's to The Broadway for some reason. Seen Reg Coates and his comb Band, Dave Berry, Billy Fury, Pinkertons Colours Sweet Chariot, Stella Starr and a whole host of others at that time. Wasn't there another resident group at Sinatra's called The Keith Wall Quartet. If I remember rightly didn't your group ie The Music Shop also cover the following tracks. Candida, The Resserection Shuffle etc I certainly remember your band always used to get everyone up on the dance floor. Great times Mike, take care and thanks for some magicsl fantastic nights.
Hi mike great band you had , I worked at sniartra s as a waitress thought your vocals were great loved all the drifter s covers you did , I had an embarrassing crush on Norman lol . Hope your life s great fantastic voice should still be entertaining
Hi Shirley, I'm a bit embarrassed to say I don't remember you. I remember Stella, Anita Bowles but that's it.It was nearly 50 years ago.I have passed your message onto Norm & I'm waiting for a reply. He's still playing in a band ( Higgy's Band ) so you should look out for them. Hope your life is great also. Cheers babe.
Thanks for the reply I remember Stella and Anita I worked upstairs I was 19 short hair we didn't really speak or meet I just enjoyed listening to your music still think of you when I hear down at the club the drifters your version was spot on I was a big billy fury fan Arthur introduced me and my mate Moira who worked there to him , I remember norm meeting a dark haired girl from Newcastle I think
Hi again Shirley, was your friend Moira studying to be a teacher? I remember the week Billy Fury starred , he was very, very ill. In the dressing room he could barely stand up. I even offered him my asthma inhaler because he was having difficulty breathing but he refused saying it wouldn't help. I don't think he lived long after that performance, if you were a fan you will know when he passed. Cheers from a sunny summers day in South Africa .
Hi again Shirley, I was hunting through a box of old diaries, photos etc & I found a reference to a girl called Myra. She worked on one of the bars during her holidays from teacher training college in Liverpool. Myra was a great lady & we were very good friends until she went back to school. If this is the same lady & you're still in contact with her please pass on my warmest, very best regards.