We were four lads from Stalybridge who started playing around early 1965. We played all the popular venues Astoria ( Hyde), Firswood Youth Club, Top Twenty Club (Droylsden), Three Coins - to mention a few.
We had quite a following in those days as we had a pretty good sound, we split around late 1966, I went on to join The Hornets.
I would like to add some early history to Alan Cottam's story of the Squires.
Myself, Ken Buckley and Dave Wood were friends and pupils at West Hill School Stalybridge. When we heard the Beatles we thought we can do that - it was 1964. Ken and I were still at school, Dave had left the year before, and we decided to form a group. Both Ken and Dave had some musical experience having both been in a brass band. Dave's dad had been a singer and he owned an acoustic guitar, so I borrowed it and began the long and painful process of learning my chords. Then the day arrived and off we went to Barretts in Manchester to buy some gear. Dave became lead guitar, Ken the bass and I would be rhythm guitar. We used to practice in Ken's front room, but eventually moved to Saint Raphael's Church club in Millbrook. Dave and Ken did most of the singing at this stage as I was still concentrating on learning the guitar, but eventually they realised that I could sing a bit so I did most of it from then on. One night when we were practicing, Father Fraser the local priest asked us if we would like to perform at the weekend in the club.
So our show business career began as a trio. Dave's sister Judy made us some PVC leather look waistcoats for our debut performance. Ken's dad, also called Ken, became our manager, and a local builder, Ken Mitchell, would transport us and our gear around. We would play at local pubs and working men's clubs and also the odd birthday celebration. We eventually acquired a drummer, I think his dad worked with Ken senior but I'm not sure about this. His name was Pete, can't remember his surname. Well now we were a proper group and things began to improve, I could even play most of the songs and not have to switch my guitar off so the audience wouldn't here my bum notes.
We began to get more bookings and working further afield, but even though we were improving, we realised that Pete the drummer just did not fit in with the rest of us, and so he left the group. This was when Alan Cottam joined us. Alan was just what we needed, not only was he a very good drummer but also his personality fitted in with us perfectly. We had some great times touring the Manchester area and eventually got ourselves quite a following. Some local girls started a fan club with badges and photos. Don't know what happened to all this, I have a badge somewhere, but I haven't seen any photos for years.
Had some great nights in Hyde especially Hyde Town Hall where we once supported the Factotems, one of the best groups that came out of Manchester and the fans didn't want us to come off stage as we were going down so well, but we had to come off eventually to make way for the headliners.
Anyway, round about 1966 Ken, who was always the driving force and the most ambitious member of the group, decided he wanted to move on to bigger and better things, so he left. We finished off the remaining bookings with a mate of Alan's on bass and that was the end of the Squires.
Ken did carry on in the business in fact he is on the Manchesterbeat web with another band. Alan, as he says, joined the Hornets, me and Dave apart from performing as a duo for a friend's birthday went back to a normal life. Happy Days.
Yes, I have great memories of the Squires. My friend, Julia, use to go out with Terry. They all lived in around Carrbrook/Stalybridge and looked the part with their beatles hair cuts. I remember going to a number of their gigs in local church halls and Hyde Town Hall. Hardly the Palladium but at the time it was wonderful. Julia now lives in the South of France and am in London but she emailed me with details of this website and it great to read about all the groups and clubs which were around in the early 60's.
Joan Livingston (nee Cooney)
Very sad to read of the passing away of Ken Buckley on 10 January. Hadn't been on the site for sometime and missed Lorraine's message, so unfortunately didn't attend the service. I'd met up with Ken and Dave a while ago. Had a great night out reminiscing about our time in The Squires - sad that we won't be able able to repeat it. Would like to send my condolences to all the family.
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