The Sample Folk

Line-up included  
Keith Hull vocals
Phil Strange lead guitar/vocals
Roger Wilson rhythm guitar/vocals
Geoff Phillips bass
Roy Whittle drums

Geoff Phillips writes:

In 1971, I answered an ad in the Manchester Evening News' Bands, Musicians and Artists column for a "Gen Bass Player." Before long, two of the guys came round to my house, took me to the pub, told me what the crack was, brought me home, listened to me play unamplified while they sang a couple of numbers, and I was in.

Phil and Keith, who previously had played with Mummies Darlings, were seasoned musicians, having played in Germany in the sixties. They had lots of very entertaining tales of what went on in those days.

Phil had also been a member of Three Speed Walking Stick.

The band started life in the world of folk (hence the name, even though they had "The Sample Five" on the bass drum) but became a great cabaret band.

They had a Friday night residency at the Fiveways hotel in Hazel Grove and also played the club circuit around the North West. Most of the gigs were from honest agent Pop Siddall.

The band always went down well, probably because they gave the audience what they wanted, as well as having some fantastic vocal harmonies.

Roger Wilson played an unusual Mosrite guitar (wonder if he's still got it?) which had the narrowest neck you ever did see. Phil had an early 60's Strat (wonder if he's still got it?) This was the first band in which I used my 1962 Fender Precision bass, the best £65 I ever spent (I've still got it!)

The band had a regular Friday night following at the Fiveways. including a bunch of high-spirited local divorced ladies. The Sample Folk WAGs had a name for them - "The Cows."

These evenings were ususally fuelled by copious quantities of Greenall's bitter and the new exotic Grunhalle lager, which made for some spectacular arguments, usually between Phil and Keith.

I always remember one incident when Phil had one of his rows with Keith, which ended up with him announcing he was leaving the band. He angrily picked up his Vox AC30 amp and carried it off the stage, announcing he was never coming back. He didn't get very far as it was still plugged in to the wall socket. Cue much mirth from all the observers!

At this time, I had yet to pass my driving test so the others had the dubious honour of having to pick me up from Urmston and drop me off after the gig. I shudder when I think of these 80mph homeward journeys with a Gallon-of-Greenall's inebriated bandmate at the wheel.

The band folded afterI decided to leave the band when I was offered a job with Warrington/Northwich based Barnaby Rudge, who were all set to become a pro band. Watch this space for their story....

L-R Geoff Phillips, Phil Strange, Roger Wilson, Roy and Keith Hull

Songs I remember doing with the Sample Folk

Malt and Barley Blues
When I'm Dead and Gone
No Matter What
59th Street Bridge Song
Love Me with All of Your Heart
Voices in the Sky
Leaving on a Jet Plane
Keep the Customer Satisfied
Yellow River
Honky Tonk Women
Brown Sugar
I Hear You Knockin'

Gigs I remember doing with the Sample Folk

Fiveways Hotel, Hazel Grove
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
Mersyway Precinct Bandstand
Lloyds TV Social Club. Droylsden
Ram's Head Disley
Atherton Labour Club
Cherry Tree, Runcorn


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Comments (9)

Topic: Sample Folk
Roy Whittle says...
Hi Geoff, I am drummer Roy Whittle and I remember all of the above! - including running you back to Urmston after every gig! I may not be forgiven for saying this but I think we were one of the tightest cover bands in the North at the time. I am ... Read More
9th May 2014 8:42pm
Roy Whittle says...
Hi Guys - No I do not still have the Anglia van! but I do remember the endless trips to Urmston and back! the Manchester ring road was not even built then - so it took quite a time to get from Hazel Grove to Urmston. Apparently, the Five Ways has ... Read More
14th June 2014 12:05am
Margaret says...
I'm Phil Strange's cousin. I followed his bands all through my teens. I was madly in love with Keith Hull when I was about 14. He had a glorious voice, and when coupled with that of Fred Ridgeway's it was fantastic. He was also a very ... Read More
23rd June 2014 10:08am
Roy Whittle says...
Hi Margaret, I've been trying to find an email address for Phil just so I can tell him about this site! He used to have a girlfriend called Caroline who used to come to a lot of our gigs. Curiously enough, I worked out in New Zealand for about 7 ... Read More
27th June 2014 12:43am
Roger Wilson says...
Hi Geoff... Really interested in your comments about your time spent in the Sample Folk (Five)! This is Roger Wilson the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist and I also remember most of what you write about of those experiences so long ago! Roy and I ... Read More
13th May 2014 2:52am
geoff phillips says...
Great to hear from you chaps again after all these years! Now I've retired, I've found a bit more time to crystallise the stuff that's been floating around in my head all these years. I can't remember what I had for dinner today ... Read More
14th May 2014 6:28am
Roger Wilson says...
Hi Geoff , great to hear from you after all this time! I tried to answer your message by replying to Paul's email and then realised thatI have to reply on this site! If Paul sends onmy original message you'll see that I've already said ... Read More
16th May 2014 7:34am
Roger Wilson says...
Hi Geoff, I've tried to post a picture of the original line-up of The Sample Folk, showing Ken and self with Christine in the foreground when we started in The Fiveways in 1968/9! I hope it works!
11th August 2014 12:38am
Roger Wilson says...

Geoff here's a link to my Facebook page with the photograph I mentioned.
11th August 2014 1:17am

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