Rev Black and The Rocking Vickers

Line-up as pictured above:  Nick Gribbon rhythm & lead - Ian Holbrook  lead -
Harry Feeney vocals - Ciggy Shaw drums - Steve Morris  bass

 

Reverend Black and The Rocking Vicars (as the band were originally known) are probably best remembered outside the North West due to their guitarist Ian Willis - aka Ian Kilminster - later to be Lemmy of Hawkwind and Motorhead.

But at the time, they were probably one of the hardest rocking live bands around.

Their reputation as a wild band strengthened by their choice of clerical outfits as stage gear.

Although very much evident on the local scene, where they were a major attraction, they were also one of the first UK groups to perform behind The Iron Curtain (Yugoslavia 1965) and later toured Finland.

There was also an Australian "Rev Black and The Rocking Vicars" formed by ex-Blackpool guitarist, Dave Rossall, formerley with Bruce and The Spiders.

 

We did summer seasons at the Queens at Cleveleys with the Wheels from Belfast and every top name that you could think of at the time ... Lulu, Proby, Swinging Blue Jeans, Jethro Tull, Merseybeats, Undertakers, FourPennies, Billy J Kramer and lots of Manchester bands who we played with at the time Cimmerons, Stylos, Frankensteins Monsters and many more, also Dave Lee Travis and Ray Teret and Dave Eager and Bob Carolgees and many more.

Manchester fans were good to the Rocking Vickers and the city played a big part in our limited success, at least we can say we were there at the time.

Many of the famous groups and stars always remember the Vickers because more often than not we blew them off stage thanks to the crowd and the guy who made our big sound amps from TVM in Whitefield.

Harry Feeney
Rev Black

I am still alive and kicking,Wow! Reading this brings back memories,What you up to these days Phil Coggan?  The last I heard you had gone back to Wales, and that must be 30 years ago,

Yes  - myself, Ciggy and Mogsey kept the Vicars going for quite a few years - packing them in on the local pub and club scene.  But once they started putting zimmer frames on stage for us, we decided to call it a day.

It would be great to hear from anyone who used to come and see us

STUART McGARRY
Spiders, Vicars

Rev Black and the Rockin’ Vicars' repertoire that I noted down after a few gigs (with recorded versions in brackets.)

Gloria (Them)
Living Above Your Head. (Walker Bros)
Tears and Kisses.
It’s Too Late (To Say You’re Sorry) (Written by Bobby Goldsboro)
(She’s) Not Respectable (or should this be Not Responsible?)
Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Shirelles)
Turn On Your Love Light
Rockin’Pnuemonia and The Boogie Woogie Flue (P.J Proby)
New Orleans (Bern Elliott and the Fenmen)
Stay By Me (Rockin Vicars)
It’s Alright #
Dandy #
I Don’t Need Your Kind #
Zing Went The Strings of my Heart #
Skinny Minnie
Woolly Bully (Sam the Sham)
Stop The Music
Saturday’s Child (Walker Bros)

I’d love to know some information about “Tears and Kisses”. I note that it had been recorded by the Australian version of the band. Are there any versions of the song available over here?

Brian Hadfield

Here's a teaser for all you Rocking Vickers fans ... who remembers Bishop Trelawny?

Kathy Arkwright
17/11/10

 

Line-up #1 1963-64

       
Harry Feeney Alex Hamilton Peter Moorehouse Cyril "Ciggy" Shaw
lead vocals guitar bass  drums
       

Line-up #2 1964-65

This great picture (on the right) is taken from a 1964 promotional leaflet for The Plaza Ballroom.

Back row from left:
Ciggy Shaw - drums
Harry Feeney - vocals

front row from left
Alex Hamilton - rhythm
Ken Hardacre - lead
Pete Moorhouse - bass

         
Harry Feeney Alex Hamilton Ken Hardacre Peter Moorehouse Cyril "Ciggy" Shaw
lead vocals guitar guitar bass  drums
         

Line-up #3 1965-67

Line-up as pictured on the right:

Lemmy Willis/Kilmister - Lead
Harry Feeney - Vocal
Steve Morris - Bass

at the front
Ciggy Shaw - drums


       
Harry Feeney Ian "Lemmy" Willis Steven"Mogsy" Morris Cyril "Ciggy" Shaw
lead vocals guitar bass  drums
   
  Sam Gopals's Dream
Opal Butterfly
Hawkwind
Motorhead
  Solomon King band


Discography

UK Singles

I Go Ape/Someone Like You (Decca F 11993) 1964

It's Alright/Stay By Me (CBS 202 051) 1966
(This was a Pete Townsend track - basically "The Kids are Alright"

Dandy/I Don't Need Your Kind (CBS 202 241) 1966
Dandy was a Ray Davies song - a hit for Hermans Hermits.


Memories

I was first aware of the Rockin' Vicars from cries of outrage, in the newspapers, about their name.

I first heard their music on TV program 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'. Each week a section of the show was given to a studio jury (members of the audience, including Janice 'O'ill give it foive' Nicholls) who voted, points out of five' on the likely success of 3 new releases. This particular week they played 'I go ape' by the Rockin' Vicars. The consensus of opinion was that it was too soon after Neil Sedaka's original version, to be a hit.

The first time I saw them live, they were billed as Reverend Black and the Rockin' Vicars. They were a 5 piece group who all wore black suits and 'dogcollars', except for the bass player, who was dressed as a schoolboy (long before Angus Young !). As the set went on, the 'schoolboy' was plastered with 'custard' pies and quirted with a soda syphon.

Whenever I saw them after that, they were a 4 piece band. The bass player (Pete Moorhouse) and a guitarist (Ken Hardacre) were replaced with Ian 'Lemmy' Willis / Kilminster on guitar and Steve Morris on bass. Lemmy often stood with his back to the audience 'windmilling' power chords (like Pete Townshend).

As I recall, their set was a powerhouse from start to finish. The band would come on and start playing and after a few bars, Harry Feeny would bound to the front and launch straight into the vocal. I particularly remember their version of 'Rockin' pneumonia and the boogie woogie flu'. Their version of 'Baby never say goodbye' (written and later recorded by Unit 4+2) impressed me enough to go out and buy the available version by the Bo Street Runners, which I still love.

They also did a great number that was by Bobby Goldsboro, but I never got the title - nothing I've ever heard by Goldsboro sounded remotely like it.

A CD of all the tracks they ever recorded is available, but only 'I go ape' and 'Shake, rattle and roll' are representative of the sound of their live set. The version of 'Baby never say goodbye' is quite insipid.

Their name was changed on record to the Rockin' Vickers, but they were still billed as Vicars. I understood, at the time, that someone at their record company considered the use of 'Vicars' to be blasphemous."

Brian Stevenson


The Vickers toured Finland in the 60s, with Roy Wood's The Move - the Move being the second billing.

Some of the numbers that the Vickers did must have inspired the Move. On return to the UK the Move came out with a L.P "Something else from the Move (Rocking Vickers version of Eddie Cochrane's Something Else), the Move's first E.P. "Zing Went The Strings" - another version of a classic but better orchestrated by the Vickers.

I think the Vickers did not get the recognition that they deserved. One of the best live bands ever!!!

Steve Mealor


I can remember being at Blackpool Casino where Lemmy told me that he was leaving the Vicars, and did I want to go with him down south?

Not long after that I replaced him along with Nick Gribbon who had gone back on rhythm guitar.I only played two gigs with the Vicars, I can't remember where the first one was, but the second was at the Oasis, Manchester.

A little story about Lemmy's guitar! When I was with The Five Commandments I visited the Vicars at the bungalo they rented just outside Blackpool. I remember picking up his Telecaster and tried to bend the strings, but they wouldn't move! On closer inspection I noticed that there were cuts in the frets that stopped the strings from moving, these were caused by him slamming the neck against the mic stand!

The early roadie was a guy called 'Nod' he was originally a sound engineer on 'Radio Caroline North'. There was another roadie after him called 'Lango'.

Phil Coggan


I knew the band well. They used to play regularly at The Stoneyleigh Hotel in Ilkely. They always called at The Old Cafe (Church Street) where I lived, for their tea before the gig, and I always got a lift with them to the hotel in their old MK2 Jaguar. Those were the days. I particularly liked their version of New Orleans.

Jeff Pole


Memories of the Rocking Vicars? Why has no one come forward with the fantastic nights when the Vicars entertained us at the Bolton Palais, Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday night fantastic memories. My first introduction to what I call real R & B as the act started the stage rotated to the heavy beat still causes Goosebumps as clear as if it was yesterday. Ahhhhhhhhh fantastic.

Graham Prendergast


Seem to remember Rev Black and the Rocking Vicars one Monday night at Accrington Con Club. They were brilliant, hard rocking, but unfortunately were banned for stripping off to the waist (lol) so the story goes.

Only found this through a mate, was looking for info on the best live band of that era - which without doubt was Rev Black.

Olly


I used to watch the Vicars at Cleckheaton Town Hall in 63, 64 and 65. They were a great act for that time. They did a great version of New Orleans.

Kenny Rooke


They used to bring the house down at Dewsbury Town Hall - always went to see them - always a sell-out.

Alan Swithenbank


Just reminiscing of the time we went to The Beachcommer on Bank St in Bolton and The Palais. Rev Black was a regular and Frankenstien's Monsters - great times, great memories.

Pete Ripponden


I remember the Rocking Vicars from pubs round Blackpool and the Queens at Cleveleys.

They were ahead of thier time - a truly fantasic band who all the girls just loved they were a great bunch and we followed them all around our area.

Weekends were great just knowing you were going to a Rocking Vicars gig.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh those were the days. I was a big fan and my now husband was too.

Happy times remembered.

Wyn and Ken, Blackpool


I remember "The Rocking Vicars" in the '70s playing at the "Clevleys Hotel".  They used to play a a John Paul Young single "Love is in the air, I used to think it was better than the original version.

If I remember rightly Ciggy was lead singer in those days.

Ray Birch


Hey Stuart !!!  Just reading on here brought back memories  of those days . If you read this Stuart,   do you remember me -  Wyn,  Janet's  friend.  We dated  a couple of times. I wasn't  for you , or you me,  but we were young.  Hope you're keeping well and  let me know on here.  Are you still singing  or retired with the zimmer frame you spoke about (ha! ha!).  BE NICE TO HEAR FROM YOU .  HEY  KEN AND I ARE STILL GOING STRONG  AFTER 42YRS OF MARRIAGE.  Hope you are doing ok  byeeeeeeeeeeee 

Wyn Bennett


Oh boy, were they a good band!  I saw them everytime they came to Halifax.  They played a few times at the Marlbourgh Hall - never missed a show.Where can i get a copy of 'Its alright' lol.

Thanks for the memories 

John Sutton


We still meet up with Mogsy every Friday night at the Queens Hotel, Blackpool, where they have a rock and roll night.   Unfortunately, Mogsy is not playing, only visiting.   Rev.Black and the Rocking Vicars are still talked about amongst us rock and rollers in Blackpool.

Doreen & Bruce Johnstone


Back in the sixrties I was the drummer with the Voomins (of 'March Of The Voomins' fame) We appeared with you guys along with Brian Poole And The Tremolos and at the Queen's Theatre in Blackpool, (I think?).

At the end of your act, as you left the stage you sprinkled it with ball-bearings and The Tremolos, on making their spectacular  appearance, slipped and tottered about like a bunch of drunks.

I though it was great., my fondest memory of the tour.  Regards to all.

Ken Harrison


I've just been reading the comments about the band, amazing!! As people say still sends shivers down the spine remembering them.

I watched them all over the North West but in particular at the Top Twenty Club in Hollinwood around 1964/5. The club was owned by a guy called Ken Murray and the Vicars always turned up in a huge American Car (a cadillac I think). This was of course pre Lemmy days and I think the controvesy about the name held them back with national recognition. Ciggy Shaw has to be one of the best rock and roll drummers ever, certainly up there with Keith Moon of the Who.

Oh happy days, thanks lads.

PS does any one know ofthe existance of any film showing the group, it would be brilliant to see that.

Steve Moreton


My husband who was known as Robert Toothil used to see the Vicars at Halifax many times during the '60s. He remembers Big Daddy boking them , and one evening they turned up with their gear on a horse and flat cart.

You could smell the horse muck emiting from the stage and the bouncers Tony Greenwood, Phil Bolan and Manfred Allen spraying cans of air freshner around the stage. The audience were in hysterics.

Robert, my husband, changed his surname to Elam and he rembers John Sutton very well and would love to get in touch with him as hasn't seen him since the '60s - also Danny whose mum was Cled Babs that used to hang round with him and the gang.

Christine Elam

I remember them coming to Dewsbury Town Hall a few times, and always a great night.  The band and Barry Corbett and the Mustangs were the best that came to Dewsbury Town Hall in those days (1965 - 1968).

I didn't realise I was watching a supergroup guitarist at the time.  I seem to remember one of them would be down to his underwaer at the end of the night.  Am I right in this recollection?

John Croft
26/10/09

Saw them every week at the Victoria pub, Ceveleys. Madly in love with them all. Happy days

Marilyn Mcginley
24/11/09

We used to go and see them in Morecambe at the Floral Hall. Happy days.  Was in love with them - Harry was my favorite. "Will you still love me tomorrow" was great. I used to think he was singing to me  - so did every other girl in there.

Joyce Burns
29/12/09

In January 1966, at the invitation of The Wheels (Brian Rossi, Herbie Armstrong, Rod Demick, Victor Catling, Tito Tinsley and roadie Mick Lee/Kinane) I came over from Belfast to stay on the farm in Garstang which they shared with The Rocking Vicars and for a short time another Belfast band, The People - later Eire Apparent.

I remember that it was freezing and the electric had been cut. I was known as Murph. I was a 16 year old folksinger/songwriter. (I still am - just reverse the 16 and check www.paulmurphytv.com or www.thedestroyers.co.uk)

Lemmy in his autobiography 'White Line Fever' talks about a mad stunt that I pulled at Blackpool Tower dressed as batman! (It was to help launch Beat City at the Palatine Hotel a few blocks away)

After RV split he came to stay with me in what he describes as a 'rat hole in Sudbury upon Thames" which was actually Bromley, Kent.

I traveled with the Vicars to a few gigs. Particularly memorable is Bolton Palais. I've seen Lemmy a few times since, also Wheels Demick and Armstrong, and Henry Mc Cullough (Eire Apparent). But I have fond memories of Ciggy, Steve and in particular Noddy.

When RV played Mecca Ballroom Belfast in  late summer 1966 Lemmy, Noddy and his assistant Pete rolled up to my house for breakfast in the famous van with a cross on the top and lewd messages scrawled all over its surface.

Many a curtain twitched that day! My mother blessed herself, muttered a prayer and then fed them a huge Ulster fry.

PS: Despite what the sleeve notes say on RV The Complete: Its Alright! the song Little Rosy was not written by Ray Davies. Music & Title: Herbie Armstrong/Lyrics: Paul Murphy) I was with the Vicars in the studio when they recorded it. Shel Talmy Producer/John Murphy engineer, didn't like Herbie's original lyrics and I was given the job of an on the spot rewrite.

Paul  Murphy
11/2/10



Manchesterbeat.com

30 Jan 1965



To find out what this is about - CLICK HERE


Disc, 17 October 1964

 

The Shyms from Wigan played at places like Croston Village Hall nr Chorley in 64-65. We were just starting up as a second phase band being about 4 years younger than 1st phase. We were on with Rev Black & The Rocking Vicars. My ears haven't been the same since.

I went Austalia in the late 80s... to Fishermans Wharf, Gold Coast. It was mid-day and I'd just settled into a nice cold 'Vicky B' tinny and sitting lazily on the promanade overlooking a small stage in the distance. The panoramic view beyond and over the ocean was just stunning. I was wearing pair of heavy sunglasses... you know, the type that marks you out instantly to any Aussie - so that he automatically thinks - 'another bloody pommy tourist'.

My eyes settled on that tiny stage watching the two guys set up their gear for what was obviously going to be a performace of some sort. Then they were into it. Just two guys doing a '60s set. But there was more. One of the guys had a north of England accent. Are you all running ahead of me now....? Yes, yes, I had recognised the lead guitarist... and yes he said, "I played that night with the R' Vic's in Croston Village Hall," so he later told me.

Bill Hart
17/2/10


OMG this brings back lots of great memories of The Rocking Vickers at Bury and Bolton Palais in the 60s I dont think I every missed a night at Bury Palais.  Fond memories of sitting on edge of stage wiping the sweat from Harry's face and screaming at the same time!!!!!

Sue Lyons (Bowman)
20/3/10


Sensational.......an enormous influence on me easily up in the top five of all time (ANYWHERE!!) for generating real excitement.

At 16 I was playing an all-nighter at the Majestic (sad sad gig).....two girls from their fan-club who happened to be there put me up for the job of replacing Harry (off selling cars probably) in '67.

Nick's mum (lovely lovely lady.....lovely family actually) picked me up in Bolton outside the Palais and took me to 23 Kenilworth Gardens South Shore...had a brief meeting with 'the rev' who with a wink and smile wished me 'the breast of luck'(sic).

On meeting Steve and Nick we had a few passes at some of the set and though they kinda liked me and were enormously gracious. We all felt I didn't quite fit bill ... with hindsight I should have taken my guitar{:o). Nevertheless took part in a couple of shows (sang three songs I think)  - Room at the Top Wigan maybe ? Amazingly I somehow managed to get 'pulled' by a smiling girl who inquired 'Have you just been singing?' on my replying 'Yes' she announced: 'I'm with you' !!!

Went home to M'cr and wrote them a tune 'Linda's Just a Statue' ... they  probably didn't really listen to it seriously (I had a clutch of songs and had been writing from being 12/13) but I didn't take any offence as they were really nice guys.

12 years later The Out would record it and John Peel would play it regularly back to back with the 'A' side 'Who is Innocent' .  Record of the Week in 3 of the Music Papers, record of the year for some  fellow musicians apparently ...Tom Robinson, Pete Townsend ???
 
Extraordinarly charismatic Harry was to me the perfect mix of all the neccessary ingredients for a frontman.

Great singer,cool mover, dead sexy without posing or being moody or arrogant ... charmingly cheeky and SMILING! Who wants to look at a slapped arse? (pretenders take note!)... and TUNES!! 

So with a magnificent powerhouse of a band behind him, the girls went radio{:o)

Would be nice to see them play again: Nick, Ian, Harry, Steve,Cyril ... that's the quill line-up for me.

Here endeth the sermon from a temporary rev {:o)

Smiling chords.

George Borowski
28/3/10


Hi Stuart M, I saw your post on the Vicars page asking about me, well I'm still around, I finished with bands about eight years ago, but I still mess about with my studio.

Email me. (email paul@manchesterbeat.com for Phils email address)

Phil Coggan
4/7/10


Saw them a few times at Accrington Con, still watching bands to this day, never seen a better live act, still got the Decca single "I go Ape" still plays great.  Was told many years ago Ciggy had passed away very young?

Olly
5/8/10


Used to see the Rocking Vicars at the Floral Hall Morecambe,a great venue.  Saw all the top groups there - Kinks, Merseybeats, Lulu, Undertakers, etc.

Anybody else out there remember these nights?  Got wild sometimes but great. Anybody remember date that Lulu was there - 64 or 65 I think.

Pat Newton
14/9/10


Hi - I'm Mick Kemp from 19 Altham St In Padiham Lanc's. I went to St John's School Padiham With Peter Moorhouse & Ken Hardacre.

We formed a Skiffle group around the late 50s. We used to jam at my house at 10 Villiers St (covered by the local press 2 years ago).

I'm 70 now but those were the BEST years of my life. I also worked at an engineering firm for some years with Pete, where he lost the tip of his index finger.

ROCKING VICARS!! Thinking of you always.

PS-Sorry to hear about PETE passing on.

MickKemp
2/11/10


Gosh how many memories has this page brought back for me! Only just heard the very sad news that 'Ciggy' has just died aged 70. I was shocked to realise that so many years have passed (am I really 64!).

Valda (Harry's wife (Rev. Black)) and I used to run the Rocking Vicars Fan Club in the 1960's and we used to follow them to nearly all their venues in Valda's old Ford Poplar car.

I have just been listening to their music again....and it still makes me want to get up and dance (well I can't actually 'dance' anymore!.)

I remember the atmosphere and the excitement at their 'gigs' and standing looking at them on stage and idolising them! How we missed them when they went to Finland, but we more than made up for it answering all their fan mail from the new fans they made whilst they were there.

Those were the days.........so many happy memories!

Kathy Arkwright
13/11/10


Hi! I'm Mick Kemp aged 70 from Padiham Lanc's. Pete Moorhouse Ken Hardacre & myself went to school together & formed a skiffle group in 1957 (washboard, tea chest - the lot!!). We used to jam in my front room.

However its a little known fact that the Vickers came under a different name at one time --- THE TUXEDOS.

Happy Days.

Mick Kemp
19/12/10


Hi everyone who knew Ciggy.

I giged round Blackpool and  across the country with him with my brother and the rest of the band.  We was in our early 20s then in the 19 80s.

What a drummer, especially on Whiter shade of pale. The drums used to move 3 ft.

Remember ordering vicars shirt under Reverend Colin Walsh.  Funny when I look back he introduced me to Lemmy at Preston Guild Hall on a gig .  Had all the portfolios of Lemmy with 60s hair cut.  Was a great night  - still got couple of photos of them meeting.

Ii will be playing at the Queens Hotel from June til Nov with a group called The Kasuals.  Bob down and have a chat.

Colin Walsh
15/2/11


The Rev. and the boys, my first "dangerous" rock gig at the Rendy (Rendevous) cafe in Douglas Isle of Man.

Legends.

Dave Gwynn-Jones
26/2/11


I loved the band first saw them at Delph Youth Club, in the early 60's. Together with Mike Cadillac and the Playboys and the Hollies they were my inspiration to get into the business. We recently held a Delph Youth Club reunion with the Backbeat Beatles and a couple of dodgy old DJ's. It was fantastic to roll back the years. We are already looking forward to the next one. 29/3/2011

Stuart Littlewood
19/3/11


I also remember Rev Black and the Rocking Vicars at the White Elephant Club in Delph in April 1966.  I had seen them previously at Royton Town Hall. I'd never seen or heard a band like them before, they were fantastic! 

I could not wait to see them at The White Elephant Club when I knew they were on.  I wasn't disappointed, they were brilliant.  Me and my cousin Chris jived the night away to their pounding music.

It was there that I met my future husband, we are still together and both of us have fond memories of the Vicars!  Happy days indeed.

Hazel Guttridge (nee Hirst)
17/7/11


I was only 14 when I saw these lads at the White Elephant club in Delph, near Oldham.

Being soul boys amongst lots of rockers we had to risk our safety but it was worth it seeing the Vickers.

Absolute magic, most energetic band I ever saw, and the sweat dripped off the walls and ceiling in bucketfuls. "I Don't Need Your Kind" in particular tore the roof off. I'm still into Northern Soul but have fond memories of the Vickers and the White Elephant.

Happy days indeed.

Phil Newton
19/7/11


I used to try to go to Manchester Oasis to watch the Rockin Vicars whenever they were on - I loved them and they were definitely my favourite group to go and see there.

I knew Lemmy when he was in Motown Sect and automatically followed his move to the Vicars. No-one else has mentioned a song I remember them singing almost every time I saw them - Midnight Hour - it still sends shivers down my spine now!
They were certainly some of the best days of my life and I have very happy memories of them.
It's great to know that so many other people thought that they were a fantastic group too. 

Jen Barnes
4/9/11


The Fireflites from St Helens appeared with The Rocking Vicars at the Floral Hall, Morecambe, in 1964.We actually did a summer season there 1964.Hope someone remember us.Colin, vocalist and rhythm guitar.Alan, lead guitar.Trevor,bass guitar, and Jimmy on drums.The Rocking Vicars were very good,and great to see all the supportive comments.

Colin Ashcroft
6/9/11


Absolutely stunned to find this web site. Used to watch Harry, Ciggy & co practise when they first got together. It was in rooms over the Co op on Oxford Rd. in Burnley. Great times and good memories.

Catherine Bradshaw
8/9/11


When I was a kid I lived in Whitefield and the manager of the band lived next door. I still remember thir van being parked outside our house covered in lipstick, my mum was outraged when one day a bunch of cassocks were hanging out to dry on next doors washing line! those were the days!!!

Geoff Barrett
26/9/11


The Fireflites from St Helens appeared with The Rocking Vicars at the Floral hall, Morecambe, in 1964. We actually did a summer season there 1964. Hope someone remember us. Colin, vocalist and rhythm guitar.Alan, lead guitar.Trevor,bass guitar, and Jimmy on drums. The Rocking Vicars were very good,and great to see all the supportive comments.

Colin Ashcroft
26/9/11


I had just started in my first Rock n Roll band it was summer '65 and I saw Rev Black and the band at The Oasis Club Lloyd St Manchester. They .. were .. magnificent !!! Their first song was 'Stop The Music'.

One of the best live bands of that period and I saw them more than any other group apart from The Pretty Things. 

Mike Sweeney
22/10/11


Hi everyone from the sixties.

Just got this website from a good friend of mine, Micky Kelly. Well what a great deal of memories this has brought back.  I thought no one would ever remember The Vicars.

I was just a young lad when i joined the band as a roadie. Had lots of fun and what an experience it was. I remember Murph so well  - we used to share a holiday bungalow. Cheap place to live.

I loved the song Paper Joint Man. He wrote it one night while we were under the influance  - nudge, nudge.  

Always wondered what happened to everyone. I got to join a great band after The Vicars, a band called Nektar. www.nektarsmusic.com  and moved to Germany where they were based.  Stayed there for two years did a few tours of America, then decided that we should move to America and have  been here ever since.

Will write more on The Vicars antics soon.

Cheers and all the best

Peter Lango (roadie)
ps would like to hear from any of the old aquaintances
6/11/11  


I remember them at the Top 20 Club and the Catacombes Cellar club at Huddersfield Road, Oldham.

Does anyone else remember the Cats as it was known?

Ray Dalton
11/11/11


As participating drummer in The Zany Woodruff Operation in the mid sixties we used to meet and watch the vicars at Cleckheaton Town Hall and after met up on various occations.However many years later i was doing a residency at the Phiharmonic Club in Blackpool and lo and behold who was the resident trio in the Foxhall Pub across the road only Ciggy and Mogsey yes the Rocking Vicars.

Over the next few seasons many a flaggon was quaffed together and many a tale exchanged.  If you're still around lads, would be good to hear from you.

Gaz Garside
15/11/11


Rev Black and the Rocking Vicars were banned from playing in Oldham on Sundays by the watch committe.  They also banned A Band of Angels.

Jim Whatmough
28/11/11


Just a note to mention of how Lemmy joined the Rockin' Vicars (or Vickers).

In 1965 I was in a band called the 'Fat Sound', which morphed from The Pathfinders.

Our manager was a really great guy called Dave Baxter who kept a pub called 'The Albion' in Stalybridge, Cheshire, near Manchester, England.
We were a soul, Stax style band and rehearsed at Dave's pub.

At the time I had a day job, and Dave called me at work to say that the drummer of a local band called 'The Motown Sect' came in the pub and asked if there was any chance they could borrow our van to get to a gig in North Wales.

He knew that our band was based at "The Albion', and hoped that there might be goodwill between bands. I do believe the venue was the Picture House at Pentre Broughton.

There was no way that any of the Motown Sect could drive our van as none of them had passed their driving test, so kind hearted Dave drove, and I went along for the trip.

We first picked up the drummer and his kit from his parent's house on the Hattersley estate near Hyde, a lad nicknamed 'Hector'.
I can't remember how the rest of the group came in the van.

The cinema was about half full of young kids, and the Motown Sect played on the floor in front of the first row of seats with cinema screen with curtains closed, behind them, with all the house lights up.

I can't remember if they did one or two sets, probably two. I don't think Lemmy played bass, I think I remember him playing rhythm on a Hofner acoustic with a pick up.

On the way home in the van, Lemmy and I discussed our love of Buddy Holly, and he told me that he'd seen Buddy live in Liverpool on the 1958 tour. I do believe Lemmy said he'd travelled from his home in Colwyn Bay to see Buddy at the Liverpool Empire.

Dave & I did the favour of this North Wales trip with the Motown Sect on one more occasion before they split.

On one of the trips home from Pentre Broughton, the van lost a wheel after coming 'round a roundabout outside Chester. A couple of the bolts on the wheel hub had sheered off, and we watched the wheel roll in front of us and come to rest in the road side ditch, as the van took a dive to one side and ground to a halt.

Dave found some nuts & bolts in the tool box and miraculously put the wheel back on the hub and got us home. I do believe the 'Motown Sect' split up soon after.

In February 1966, the Fat Sound got the job of backing the singer Karol Keyes, and changed the name to the 'Big Sound' (nothing to do with Simon Dupree). Karol didn't like the word 'Fat'. (Karol, real name Carol Hirsch, became actress Luan Peters, and singer with '5000 Volts', and the Australian girl in Fawlty Tower's ' The Psychiatrist').

The Big Sound was now managed by Karol's manager, Joan Lewis, sister of Alan Lewis who was manager of the "Four Pennies'. This was with Dave Baxter's blessing.

It was during early 1966 that through Joan, we met Jack Venet, manager of the 'Rockin Vicars'. Joan called him the 'pot man', as his business was selling seconds plates, dinner services and the like, on Bury Market. We got to know the 'Vicars' quite well.

I remember Harry Feeney driving us in our van to London. I can't remember why he drove us, but he may have needed a lift, so volunteered.
Around this time the 'Rockin Vicars' were having problems with one of their guitar players, I can't remember which one, but I will if I checkout their photo from the time.

Both the Big Sound & the Vicars were booked together on the same bill at the Palais de Dance, Gas Street, Ashton under Lyne.
Probably around March 1966. The Vicar's guitar player was late, and they feared he might not turn up at all. They thought he might be suffering from a nervous breakdown, as he'd appeared not too well for a few weeks.

They asked me to stand in, so I was frantically rehearsing with them in the dressing room, when he eventually turned up. However, that night Jack Venet either fired him, or he left of his own accord.

I mentioned to Jack & The Vicars that I knew this guy who had the image and attributes to take his place, and they asked me if I could get hold of him. The following day I called Dave Baxter. Dave still had Hector's (Motown Sect' drummer) 'phone number. Hector got hold of Lemmy who wasn't doing anything.

Lemmy passed the audition for the 'Rockin' Vicars'. We met up with the Vicars a couple of weeks later, and Lemmy thanked me for the break.

The rest, as they say .........................

Kevin Parrott
7/12/11


Hi Guys

I am also a big fan of The Vickers, ever since !962/3/4 when they played Delph Youth Club. Although just a teenager I used to help run the place, and we had some great bands including 'Ricky & Dane Young and the Hollies' as they were known then, but my favourites were the Vicars.

How about letting me promote a reunion tour, can Harry still do it. ? If Take That can do it why not the Vickers.? You can reach me on 01457819350 Incidently I had a couple of great days last summer with your old agent Ian Hamilton who was on tour in the UK in his Mobile Home and came to visit. We were reminising around the Jukebox !.


Stuart Littlewood
26/2/12


Stone the crows - it is the Rocking Vickers I met in the early 60s at Blackpool.

I stayed at the same holiday camp and they asked me and my mates to be their minders when they were on stage with Lulu in Cleethorpes. This was a few years before I had my first record released in 1968. I am now 66, I got married on the same day my first record was released in March 1968.

Every year we go to Blackpool I always remember the Rocking Vickers  - they were a great group - and I remember Harry Feeney telling me that EMI were nearly going to sign them, but they signed The Zombies instead.

I remember their old van and how we all scrambled inside it, great times. I still have the photo they gave me of them with their fan club address printed on it.

I am still trying to find them on Youtube but no luck yet, maybe they have no film of themselves singing   - shame. I told Harry they should have made 'Some one like you' as the A side  - I love that song.

Thank you Harry for the great memories.

Brian Romany Rebel James
2/4/12


In early 1964 (or late 1963) Our newly formed group 'The Tarantulas' out of Ilkley Yorkshire were booked to play the 'Rag' Dance at Keighley Technical college. We were to support a local established group called the 'Brian T Strollers'. We had seen them a few times and thought we could give a good account of ourselves.

The night of the gig we saw in the local evening paper that the band we were to support had pulled out and were replaced with a band called 'Mr X and his Mystery men'.

We were delighted because we assumed that Mr X's band must be a few lads that had got together to fill the space and consequently we would be able to 'rock them off the stage' (a term of the day).

At the time there were six of us, a bass three guitars (all Futurama's) a vocalist and 2 backing mikes all stuffed into 2 30watt RSC 'push pull' amps. To the uninitiated a push pull is where you have 2 speakers back to back so you had a speaker pointing to the audience and the other pointing at the band,the only advantage or disadvantage was that you could hear the same racket that the audience was suffering. I digress...
Anyway the 'Mr X' lot arrived after we had set up and proceeded to throw Vox after Vox onto the stage, from recollection the amps were tatty and worryingly well used. We thought for a bunch of locals they had borrowed some pretty good gear.

We played our first set and were quite pleased that not all the audience had disapeared to the bar. We thought we would watch Mr X's first set to give us confidence for our second. The curtain opened and there in flash suits and dog collars were 'Mr X's' band.

They started with the instrumental 'Walk don't Run'.

They were so good it was almost unbelievable. Then 'Mr X' came on and sang 'New Orleans'. They were the best band we had ever heard their set was great. The most memorable number from recall was 'I'm a Hog for You'

We were so petrified to do the second set that we had serious thoughts about leaving our gear on the stage and buggering off into the sunset.

However we bumped into them in the dressing room and had a good chat.

They told us that the local paper would not print the bands real name and had come up with the 'Mr X' thing We told them of our worries and they were very reassuring. I remember that it was when Harry Feeney and Ken Hardaker plus Ciggy and Mogsy were in the band.
We plucked up enough courage to go on and survived.

To this day one of my highlights of watching live bands was their final set. Fantastic.

We did eventualy progress to Vox amps and Fender guitars.

We played with the Rocking Vicars quite a few times more mostly at the Stoney Lea Hotel Ilkley. We played also with the Wheels at The Queens Bar and Ballrooms at Cleveleys and went on to do the Cavern with the Clayton Squares. I'm told we do have a brick there with our name on it.

Pete Dickinson
21/9/12


My name is Lillian Venet my late husband Jack Venet was manager of the group for a few years in the early 60's. The group consisted of Harry, Mogsy, Nicky, Ian, Ciggy and for a time Lemmy.

I was the tea maker and spare driver when there was no one available, it was a wonderful time and they were a wonderful band. Nodder was the roadie with Pete, later joined by Richard, Nodder's brother.

Jack was a promoter and  manager, he put on the Dave Lee Travis Night out and managed among others PJ Proby. With his partner Ken Leary, he opened up a chain of night clubs. Ciggy came to see us in the late 80's, as Jack was ill with cancer. Jack died in July 1989.

I only learnt of Ciggys death quite recently and I was very shocked and sad, he was a great drummer and a lovely person.They were wonderful times, I have great memories.

Lillian Venet
29/9/12


My names is James Shaw (Ciggys son). For anyone who is interested in where the band members are today.

  • Harry is owner of the toyota showroom in Blackpool.
  • We all know Lemmy is still doing his Music.
  • Nick is still rocking away doing pubs and clubs in Blackpool every week with his own Band 'Nick Unlimited' in which he is the lead vocalist. The band sometimes includes his son on keyboard, who also has his own blackpool based band called 'Monster Squad'.
  • 'Ciggy' passed away last year due to throat cancer.

James Shaw
21/11/12


James,
really sorry to hear about your Dad. I knew Ciggy in my early teens, I was friends  with Harry. He was a lovely lad. I lost touch with them all in the mid sixties. I got married and my husband was in the R.A.F so we moved away. Have some nice memories though
.

Catherine Roberts (Bradshaw)
30/1/13


I remember The Vickers from Bolton Palais. Anywhere they played My mate, Lorraine and I would do our utmost to get there. We were both madly in love with Harry. God they were good!!! Happy days.

Judith Barker
18/2/13


Hi James  - very sorry to hear about Ciggy. He was one of the best drummers I knew.

Used to have fun setting up his double kit of red premier bass drums at the front of the stage.

Sorry I lost touch with the gang. Would like to hear from any of the old band or friends of the day.  My e mail is petendjango@comcast.net hope all is well and in good health all the best.

Peter Lango
ex Rocking Vicars roadie
24/2/13  

Hi to anyone in the Rocking Vickers who remember Lemmy. Around 1964 Lemmy came to lodge at my mums house in Dukinfield. He stayed with us for about 18 months and left when he joined the Rocking Vickers.

In that time Lemmy and the group came to my mums for a visit - does anyone remember that visit. I have since met up with Lemmy a couple of times at the Appolo in Manchester where he was playing with his group Motorhead and we had a good chat about old times.

Kind regards

Roy Corfield
23/10/13


 

      

Images courtesy Roston Corfield

 

I saw you guys preform at Millom Palais, Cumbria in about October 1968.Thought you were fantastic! You did a number by Jimmy Cliff I think, that nearly blow the stage apart. We got cracking bands there in those days and you were not exception....bravo to you all! You were billed then as; Reverend Black and the new Vicars. Must have been during a revival?

regards, Straker
1/12/13


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Comments

Billy Harper
Someone has already mentioned Bolton Palais on a Sunday night. The Rockin Vicars, The Magic Lanterns, The Foundations, Frankenstein & the Monsters.Some of the best nights in my teenage years.Boarded up at the moment after Ikon closed.(This was the last name Bolyon Palais had)
10th June 2014 5:26am
John Croft
There were two groups who had the kids standing in front of the stage at Dewsbury Town Hall and they were REV BLACK and The ROCKING VICARS and Barry Corbett and the Mustangs. Happy day indeed
25th May 2014 2:36am
John Bennett
My dad passed away on the 24.2.2014. He was from Burnley and was a roadie if that was what they called them in them days, he was at school and worked with Ciggy and even give him that name as he never had any fags and was always tapping a ciggy.
12th March 2014 8:21pm




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