Ray Black and The Steeltones
The Powerhouse 6

Peter Tattersall lead
Ray Black vocals/rhythm
Pete Hewitt bass
Bernie Byrnes drums
Bernard (Biff) Keegan piano
Andy Black drums
Kev Curtis vocals

The photo above was taken circa 1960 at the Kings Hall Cheadle Hulme when we were known as Ray Black and the Steeltones.

When we added a tenor sax we changed to The Powerhouse Six .

The line up from left to right was Peter (Tatts) Tattersall (lead guitar), Ray Black (vocals and rythm guitar), Bernie Byrtnes (drums), Pete Hewitt (bass guitar) and Bernard (Biff) Keegan  (piano).

We laid down a pretty mean sound although I do say it myself and played the Manchester scene around the time of Johnny Peters and the Crestas. We played many various locations, church halls, skating rinks, community centres, dance halls such as Newton Heath Palais, the Kings Hall and a couple of gigs at The Bodega in the centre of Manchester.

We did one show at The Plaza Ballroom in Manchester where I remember a cigar smoking extrovert, who was turning Manchester upside with his Disco shows, saying to me after a rehersal session, "yeah... Okay,  but you gotta get some ginger up your backside and bop a little more!"

That was about 1960 and Jimmy Saville went on to do great things in the dance hall circuit. 

The Midland Hotel in Manchester at a Christmas Party for the staff - Christmas 1961.
This line up in the photo was the same as above except the drummer is Andy Black.
He is still gigging at various functions with an outfit called "BandAge"

I remember one  gig we went to at the Kings Hall in Cheadle Hulme where soon after we arrived they had to evacuate due to a power supply problem so we just set up outside on a warm summer night and played "unplugged"for about 45minutes to a very appreciative crowd!

Going back to the Plaza gig, we had to learn a waltz called (I'll be loving you )Always as this was the change over music from the resident band to ensure a smooth transition of perfomance. What a hoot! A buzzed up testosterone filled group of teenage rockers learning a waltz. But we did it because Jimmy Saville was a stickler for production values!

I could probably sit for ages and bore you to tears but it is good to look back on a fantastic time ...when two or three of your mates came along as roadies but actually were hired muscle to keep jealous boy friends at arms length,(it also helped that they got in free as a consequence!)

If you have any ideas how I could get back in touch with any of the boys to catch up on the last 50(!!) years I would really appreciate your help.

Yours  (still rockin')

Ray Black

To contact Ray, please email paul.


The Steeltones morphed into the original Powerhouse Six in which I played drums and they had nothing to do with the later incarnation of the name which featured the wonderful Tiddy Gibbs. The name was given to the second band by Ian Hamilton who had been the agent/manager of the first band and latterly the second band and when the first band broke up, he just gave the name to Tiddy's band. As far as I know, nobody in the first band ever played with the second band.

Bernie Byrnes

I've been trying to find Kev Curtis for ages. He was the lead singer in the original Powerhouse six. I was on drums and I couldn't believe kev's Little Richard style voice when I first heard it at  Bury Palias in 1960.

I'm sorry I can't add to the history of the Four Escorts, but if anyone can put me in touch with Kev I would be very grateful. I am currently trying to organise a reunion of the original Powerhouse Six and would love Kev to be there.
My home phone number is 0161 480 6143.

Bernie Byrnes

I played drums in my brother Ray's group "The Steeltones" for quite a while till I went to university at Keele (1957-61). While there I played in various groups, including the "Keele Hi-Five", in and around the Potteries.Later I was in a modern Latin American group, the "Jazz Chameleons", often at The Marble Arch or Tommy Ducks.

I was a teacher at Altrincham Boys' Grammar: after Bob Geldof's 1985 "Band Aid", guitarist Pete Butler (who taught  Greek!) jumped on the band wagon and formed a goup called "Band-Age!". Keith Knowles (Biology) is lead singer/rhythm guitar, and John Barton (Geography) is on bass.We still rehearse and occasionally play gigs for discerning clients. So it's rock'n'roll forever!

Andy Black

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Comments (2)

Topic: Ray Black and The Steeltones
Steve Williams says...
How brilliant that the ex-Altrincham Grammar School teachers formed a group. I remember Andy Black from my times as a pupil, as he was a great English teacher there, along with John Schofield. What is amazing is that he was only about 7-8 years ... Read More
15th April 2014 7:52pm
Andy Black says...
Hi Steven Williams. My brother Ray has just alerted me to your kind message. I try to avoid social media, hence taking two years to discover your comment! To be honest I am not sure I can recall you, but no offence meant. Band-Age! just about ... Read More
10th July 2016 5:26am

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