The Swinging Hangmen
1964-65
 
 

The Swinging Hangmen started out life as the Matadors (early 1964) and within months changed their name to the Hangmen and soon after when I took over in September1964 we had yet another name change to the Swinging Hangmen.

When I joined the band as Agent,  original line up was a 3 piece of lads from the Haslingden area: Mick Hogan (bass & vocal), John Entwistle (lead & vocal) and Harry Eastham (drums).  Around the back end of 1964 Harry left the band and was replaced by 2 guys from the Burnley area - Terry Bannister (drums) and Dave Clarke (lead vocals) now making the band a 4 piece. 

We used to practice at the The Unity Club, Haslingden (now a private house), St Marys Junior School and then in the upstairs room of the Thorn Pub, the Bull, both in Haslingden, Bridge End – Helmshore and the Ambulance Hall in Haslingden (A very well known gig on Thursday nights).

   

We did gigs all over Lancashire, Yorkshire and especially the Manchester area. But on the onset I remember in them days (1964) having to use a phone box at the bottom of  the road where I lived (Hud Hey Road-Haslingden) to try and get bookings for the band, dashing in and out of the box between other people who where wanting to use the phone – not many people had phones of their own them days, and I had to collect loads of pennies and threepenny bits to use this phone – remember folks press button A to speak and then you would hear the pennies drop down into the box below the phone and then you were connected,  and press button B if you got the wrong number and wanted your money back.

   

The Matadors – taken at St James Churchyard, Haslingden during early 1964
   

When the group where a 3 piece transport seem to be a big problem those early days because none of us could drive, we first used a guy to run us around who was a local farmer called Mr. Worthington.

I can still clearly remember the “cow muck hum and the straw on the floor” when you got into his van, but what could we expect for a fiver  or was it £3 ten  shillings a throw, we also used a local Coach Proprietor firm – Mark Barnes & Sons (where I worked in the Office in the daytime), and when they hired transport from Mark Barnes it probably cost more for transport, than we actually earned from the gig itself – it was from them coming to book minibuses that I first got to know the group.

   
   

Here are a few of the old diary dates, some with fees for 1964 (but not complete) –  and sadly there is none for  early-mid 1965 when the group where at their most prominent:

Matadors

March 7th 1964 – Rochdale £8.00
March 8th 1964 – Regency Club, Waterfoot
March 10th 1964 – St Bernadettes, Whitefield
March 27th 1964 – Devonshire Sporting Club
March 28th 1964 – Wythenshawe BL
March 29th 1964 – Lee Mills WMC – Stacksteads £6.00
April 2nd 1964 – Public Hall, Haslingden £9.00
April 6th 1964 – Burnley Casino Club
April 9th 1964 – Carlton Ballroom, Mecca Rochdale £12.00
April 19th 1964 – Wythenshawe BL
May 3rd 1964 – St. Bernadettes, Whitefield £6.00
May 9th 1964 – Public Hall, Haslingden £10.00
May 16th 1964 – Devonshire Sporting Club £7.00
May 20th 1964 – Bury Palais de Danse £8.00 (Tel: Bury 1822 Mr. Spencer)
May 22nd 1964 – Wythenshawe BL £7.00
May 23rd 1964 – Radcliffe Paper Mill Social Club £8.00
May 27th 1964 – Wilmslow
May 28th 1964 – Public Hall, Haslingden
May 29th 1964 – Tender Trap Club, Bacup
June 5th 1964 – Levenshulme Sporting Club £7.00
Jun 13th 1964 – Outwood WMC £8.00
Jun 20th 1964 – Beachcomber – Bolton (Afternoon)
Jun 20th 1964 – Tender Trap Club, Bacup (Evening)
Jun 21st 1964 – Devonshire Sporting Club £7.00

The Hangmen (approx date)

Sept 12th 1964 – Haslingden British Legion Club £8.00
Sept 25th 1964 – New Hebers WMC, Middleton
Oct 3rd 1964 – Bolton Palais de Dance (Afternoon)
Oct 3rd 1964 – St Josephs, Middleton (Evening) £7.00
Oct 10th 1964 – Cavern Club, Accrington.
Oct 11th 1964 – Rising Bridge WMC £7.10s.0d
Oct 24th 1964 – New Luxor Club – Moss Side £7.00
Oct 25th 1964 – New Luxor Club – Moss Side £7.00
Oct 27th 1964 – Top Hat Club
Oct 31st 1964 – Golden Lion, Todmorden £7.10s.0d

The Swinging Hangmen (approx date)

Nov 1st 1964 – New Hebers WMC, Middleton £8.00
Nov 4th 1964 – Cavern Club, Accrington £8.00
Nov 5th 1964 – Leigh Miners Welfare Inst £7.00
Nov 7th 1964 – Bacup Irish Club £8.00

Somewhere around when Harry left and Dave & Terry Joined (approx)

Nov 14th 1964 – Cubi Club, Rochdale (early evening)
Nov 14th 1964 – Empress Cabaret Club, Stockport (late) £10.00
Nov 15th 1964 – Levenshulme Sporting Club £7.00
Nov 21st 1964 – Wythenshawe BL £8.00
Nov 22nd 1964 – Gt Harwood Unity WMC £8.00
Nov 25th 1964 – Cobden Place, Stockport.
Nov 27th 1964 – Casino Club, Burnley £9.00
Nov 28th 1964 – Droylsden & Dist Social Club, Fitzroy St £9.00
Dec 1st 1964 – Human Jungle, Albion St, Oldham
Dec 5th 1964 – Rawtenstall Liberal Club
Dec 6th 1964 – Arcadium Ballroom, Accrington
Dec 12th 1964 – Victoria Hotel, Blackpool £9.00
Dec 13th 1964 – Levenshulme Sporting Club £7.00
Dec 18th 1964 – Bodega Club, Manchester £9.00
Dec 19th 1964 – Devonshire Sporting Club £7.00
Dec 20th 1964 – Chambers Cellar Club, Rochdale Town Hall £9
Dec 24th 1964 – G Plan Club, Nelson
Dec 27th 1964 – Levenshulme Sporting Club £7
Dec 31st 1964 – Davenport Rugby Club, Stockport £25
1965
Jan 1st 1965 – Cavern Club, Accrington £12
Jan 2nd 1965 – George Hotel, Burslem, Stoke to double with Oasis, Manchester.
Jan 8th 1965 – Starkie Arms – private

The majority of gig fees where around the £7-12 mark!

Other dates during 1964 & 1965 included:The Queens, (Cleveleys), Southport Floral Hall, Majestic Ballroom, (Barnoldswick), Haslingden Ambulance Hall (Thursdays), Bradford Transport Club (Fridays), The Regency (Rossendale), Astoria Ballroom (Rawtenstall), Embassy Club (a strip club in Burnley), Liberal Club (Rawtenstall), Seven Stars (Heywood – full week), Room at The Top (Wigan?), Grants Arms (Ramsbottom), Ramsbottom WMC. Top 20 Club (Idle Bradford), Big Daddy’s Club (Halifax), Cleckheaton Town Hall, Mandrake Club (Hull), Leeds Palais etc etc etc.

Here is a sample of accounts information gained from a 1964 notebook (of John’s)

 

Life began to get easier in regard to transport when the group made it to a four piece, Dave (vocalist) had a big white Commer van which the group used, and before long this was to be covered from head to tail with lipstick messages “we love you”, etc etc etc – the guys had been really busy writing all this graffiti on the van until it was covered!!  That was the deal those days, every group did it….. it wasn’t a groupie van if it wasn’t covered in lippy messages.


The Hangmen taken at a live gig during mid 1964

I remember one of the first gigs we did after I became their Agent – The New Hebers WMC in Middleton (25th September 1964 and again on 1st November). Paid up after the 2nd spot for being too loud.  This was not the first time, it happened time and time again.  I would tell the guys to turn it down but whenever you said turn it down they just went the other way and turned it up.  I suppose looking back now it really wasn’t that loud compared to what you got in the 80s, but probably too much for some of the early 60s patrons.

As the band got on I remember what was to become our intro number (called The Hangman) which was written by John & Mick and it went something like:
 “We went through the Ch-ur—ch yard, who who who who, ah ah ah ah, 
Worms crawled in and worms crawled out – who who who who ah ah ah ah….. and on and on (but forgot the rest) – can you imagine what we got away with and the kids loved it!!  I suppose in a way we were a bit daring to say the least for that period!

We did regular spots for Gerry Millman who was the booker for Bill Benny whom if I remember correctly had the Cabaret Club, Devonshire Club and the New Levenshulme Sporting Club (regular from 16th May 1964).  We were always the bottom of the bill, yet regular did the double between the Devonshire and Levenshulme, and on one occasion actually did the Cabaret Club.  These were cabaret clubs and great named acts appeared on the bill.  Our band was basically used for opening at one club and then closing at the other. I can also remember another name Bill Kerfoot, who I think had something to do with these gigs.

   

Paddy McKiernan gave us some gigs as well, I remember one night we had to double between the George Hotel, Burslem, Stoke On Trent (2nd January 1965) and get back to the Oasis in town for 2am – on the way down it was a pea soup and we got to about the Stockport area we literally at times had to get out of the van and walk in front so the driver could see – it took ages to get to that gig and a good job we allowed plenty of time, yet was still a little late arriving

   
At the George I remember we were supporting that fabulous Jimmy Powell and the 5 Dimensions, which at that time included a very young Rod Stewart – I will never ever forget that brilliant rendition of “Hoochie Coochie Man” which Powell and Stewart combined lead with harmonicas and brilliant scratchy vocals – I just wish that had got on vinyl……it was about the time when Jimmy Powell was about to take up residency at the Crawdaddy in London, following on from the Stones.  Probably now one of my claim to fames, is talking with the very young Rod Stewart in the dressing rooms at this gig, snatching conversation with him whilst at the same time he was trying to concentrate on the writing of his letters to his many girlie fans….. By the way we never actually got back to the Oasis, the fog had thickened even further and it just got far too late to make it.
   

Another frequent gig we did was the Empress Cabaret Club in Stockport (14th November 1964) (later to become the Poco a Poco), we always went down well here and got plenty of rebookings, until we let the guy down with a New Years Eve gig, when we pulled out some 30 days previous, to go for a gig with lots more money…… I remember the Empress fee was £20 and by the left that was a lot of money them days…..

Another frequent gig in Manchester was the New Luxor Club at Hulme (24 & 25th October 1964), At the time this seemed a frightening place for a 16 year old.  I remember on one occasion when Jackie Carlton was the compere and he announced “ladies and gentlemen” here we go for the top of the bill we now have not got Acker Bilk, but we do have his Paramount Jazzband – the Paramount Jazzband turned out to be a local band from just down the road called the Panama Jazzband.  Trade descriptions never came into it.  At this gig I used to have to go to the bar area of the Club to collect our £10 playing fee and there was this big guy in a wheelchair, always seemed to have a couple of dolly birds to each side of him, I presume he was the owner, and you got that first impression at that young tender age, that this was the local mafia boss!! After all we was in the so called mafia area of Manchester.  The guy who used to book us in this gig and also I think was manager was Ginger Chilton and I later found out in the 80s that had become the concert secretary of the Blackpool Central WMC.

Frank Bell who was an ex boxer or ex boxing promoter loved us and he had a regular weekly gigs at Haslingden Public Hall, Stamford Hall Altrincham and Parr Hall Warrington.  These were great gigs and we regularly supported the Rocking Berries, Wayne Fontana, Hermans Hermits, Manfred Mann etc. etc It must also have been the very early days for Dave Lee Travis because I am sure he was the regular DJ at these gigs.

I remember another gig we did which was called The Limit in Middleton.  I’m sure this was then owned and managed by Don Arden who went on to be a mega player in the music business, managing amongst others the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). He now lives in Beverley Hills.

We did lots of other gigs in and around the Manchester area, although I have forgot most, but do remember some eg: Sale Locarno, De La Salle College – Middleton, Chambers Cellar Club – under Rochdale Town Hall, The Candlelight Cabaret Club in Oldham (where this guy (bouncer) would look through a little 5”x5” hole in the sold steel door to check out who you where. The Cubi Club – Rochdale which was the basement floor of the large (probably old cotton 6 storey factory) next to the Yelloway Bus Station on Weir Street, here they got some great acts including the Stones, I think we supported Donovon one night.  I’ll never forget the smell when we first entered this gig, it quite knocked you back – it reeked with Cannibis smell (my first ever recollection of drugs! – in them early 60s days). Regular spots also at the Bury Palais which was next to the old Railway Station, the first time we appeared here was with Hermans Hermits, and we also did the Bolton Palais (with revolving stage – as like many Palais we worked) and here we would do Saturday dinner time sessions. We used to do another Mecca/Palais venue which was either Rochdale or Oldham – and Jimmy Saville was the guy running the show. There was also the Nevada Ice Skating Rink in Bolton and the Casino Clubs in both Bolton and Burnley- these were owned by the Howcrofts Brewery of Bolton and the Bolton Casino later became a well known cabaret club called Blightys. Another favourite in Bolton was The Beachcomber which was booked by a agent called Don Read – I remember they did have The Beatles on here and I think they had bands upstairs as well as downstairs.

A regular favourite for us on a Thursday night was the Leigh Miners Welfare Club, this was a great venue with up to 3 groups per night on the bill.  I remember in the next room (lounge), Georgie Fame would be playing the piano at his tender age – I believe his father was a regular at the Club and he got George playing there. This gig always brought in the many Liverpool bands of the day.

Getting away a bit from Manchester, but one of our regular gigs and booked by a Manchester agent at that time Ronnie Cross (TDC Enterprises of Chorlton) was the Queens at Cleveleys were the top of the bill was Rev. Black & The Rocking Vicars (they came from just up the road from us at Blackburn) but I think them days they stayed at a farmhouse in Blackpool whilst they were on residency together - with The Wheels whom were second on the bill (also resident) -  for me The Wheels were one of the greatest bands we ever worked with – they came from Belfast (lead singer Brian Rowbottom – whom later became a classic comedian named Brian Rossi – whom sadly died at a young age with a heart attack – I can still remember us doing a gig there on the very day that the Wheels released “Gloria” on Columbia and what a superb rendition it was – in fact Van Morrison was a great pal of these lads from the Belfast days and if I’m not mistaken, he actually let them release his song in their own right, before he then later released it by his own band Them.  We was also there too when they released their 2nd single again on Columbia called “Bad Little Woman”- now a freakbeat classic, wish I had bought their records at that time which now bring over three figures.

Being the bottom of the bill we played up in the Gods a sort of stage which was about 40 foot high above the dancefloor, and what a ballache carrying the gear.

Us not being professional like the other two bands, and having to dash straight from work, more often than not we would be running 15-30 minutes late for bandcall and the Manager of the gig a big guy wearing a trilby and matching suit (sure he was called Tattersall and nicknamed the “Colonel”) stood at the entrance of The Queens and on our arrival with arms folded, Where the “F…….. Hell have you been, if you had been ten minutes later, I would have sent you home anyway I’m docking your money tonight…. This was a regular peformance every week….. usually in the end after a lecture he paid us in full.

Ronnie Cross also used to book us into a University gig in the Oxford Road area of Manchester but cannot recall what it was called.  Another one of his we did regular was in Halifax called “Big Daddy’s Club” and yes it really was – it was owned by Shirley Crabtree whom was later to become the well known TV wrestler called Big Daddy.

Another Blackpool gig I remember was the Victoria Hotel which was on golden mile, next to Madame Tussards, we were joint billing that night with Bruce & The Spiders (a great group from the local area). We were booked in here I think by Norman Teal the ex partner of a comedy double act who used to be with the late Roy Castle. This was a weird one in that we had to change the electrics around and drop from 240v to 110v and John forgot to change it back after the gig ready for the following nights gig at the Levenshulme Sporting Club and when we cracked up at Levenshulme everything fused and put the lights out etc…

We did the Top Twenty Club at Idol, Bradford (which was the basement of the Idle Conservative Club), this was booked by Garth Cawood – a great guy whom also was in a well known local Yorkshire band.  The first time we did the gig we supported Ricky Valence (Tell Laura I Love Her) and I remember seeing on the next weeks forthcoming bill was this band called Tom Jones & The Squires whom had just released their first record “Its Not Unusual”.

   

Performing rights slips we accidentally forgot to hand in from 1964
   

Eventually we signed to a management in York called Coney Variety Agency which was set up by a couple of prestigious Solicitors who had their Offices on Coney Street in the centre of York. 

I remember contacting them after seeing their advert in the Liverpool 60s beat newspaper “The Merseybeat” where they were asking groups to write into them.  They asked us to do a private audition on a Saturday afternoon which was at their Office in York.  They seemed very impressed and wanted to take us on there and then, and unknown to us they had arranged for the band to go to a top hair stylist in York where the guys all got a free pow wow, in preparation for a photo shoot that very same day. 

Another band (and the only other at that time) that Coney had on their books was “The Wheels” (from Manchester). Coney arranged a booking at the Palais in Leeds on a Saturday and then off to the “Mandrake Club” in Hull for the Sunday night. On the Monday evening the Yorkshire Evening Post did this headline article about one of the group leaping about the stage showing his chopper!! – the chopper was a rubber axe which kids use to play Red Indians with… but the papers made it out to be very suggestive and from this lots of bookings started to poor in.

   
 
   

Sadly within a few weeks of joining the Coney outfit, the band disbanded (Middle of 1965) and the final gig they were booked at was Alstons Commercial College, Colne Road, Burnley.

 

Today (2007) Mick lives in Southern France where he and his wife operate a very successful Estate Agents selling high class properties to the English. He always looks me up when he is in the UK and we speak over the phone perhaps twice a year.

John is still living in the same old house as his parents had in them old days which is some 300 yards from where I live – but after saying that I’ve only seen him once or twice in some 40 years since the group broke up (until doing this article and Ive seen him about 6 times in two weeks). Terry is still in Burnley and I believe as been very successful in business with Motor Car scrap yards and property.  I’ve now tracked Dave down after some 40 plus years and he’s a tenor sax musician resident in the North East. Since leaving the Swinging Hangmen he has been with groups Kudos, Blues Unlimited, District Blues Company, Cat Road Show (London), Rain & Tears and Pied Pipers (Germany), he also had a spell backing the Hollies on tenor sax.

   

Bryan Yorke (Agent & Manager)

 
   

Memories

 


I was a mate of John Enty. We worked at John Woods, Engineers in Ramsbottom, where he was a centre lathe turner.

He took me on a few of their gigs in his 3 wheel car. I haven't seen him for years. He lived in Hope Street.

Also Mick Sullivan had a band called The Hideaways, named after a Freddie King number. They played mostly at the old Rrawtenstall Astoria. Mick also played lead like John and stayed up all hours in John's house learning new numbers.

I hope they are both around. 

Roy Isherwood

Enjoyed the site, valuable info on the 60s which i am proud to have been part of.

The lipstick on my Commer van is true, I wrote "I love Dave" I can confirm!!!Ha! They were great days, we had some good times.

More info on my time back then at  www.dcsax.co.uk cheers,


Dave Clarke
18/4/09

Hi, I am Harry Easthams nephew, unfortunately Harry "the man" has just passed away on the 15/2/12 after a battle with cancer.He always loved to talk about his days in the groups. His funeral will take place on Thursday 23rd Feb 2012 at Pleasington Crematoriom 3 pm.

Trevor Gibson
20/2/12

Hi, I knew Harry for the last 5 years of his life. It was a complete pleasure. Some people just get under your skin, and Harry was one of those, special.

God Bless you Harry, I'll remember you with a smile. X

Janet Lawrenson
26/2/12

Hi Paul. It's keith here again.Long time no read.Just a line to say that I'm still in touch with Terry Bannister even after all these years.Each time I come over to England from France where I've been living for the past 42 years we always find time to get together and have a few drinks around the burnley area listening to bands on the local pub scenes.

When Terry left the Swinging Hangmen he teamed up with Les Walker (vocals) and (Little) Joe Brown (bass) and myself (guitar)after I left The Atlantics and a quick spell backing Jess CONRAD (that's a blast from the past!!!) to become a group called The HURT.

The band stayed together for about 2 years and then split, with Les going off to London to form a band called Warm Dust with Terry (Tex) Comer (ex So on and So forth) and the well renowned Paul Carrack.

Terry left the band before the end and started a car dismantling business which did very well.

Best wishes

Keith (Mike) Michael FAWCETT
4/3/12

I don't know why I searched the Web for The Swinging Hangmen after some 50 years or so, I guess they must have made a lasting impression!!

Although The Swinging Hangmen were a Manchester band,and played mainly in the north east, did they ever travel south? I seem to remember a great band of the same name playing at The Conservatie Club in Bedford on a least one occasion, probably booked by Rocky Rivers.

Dave Rickets
4/3/12

Hi, I was there that night at the New Luxor in Oct 64, in fact I was the young 16 year old banjo player with the Panama Jazz Band. Ginger Chilton once asked me to come to his office after the show! He being a Homosexual and me not, I declined!!

Yes at that age the Manchester Nightclub scene could be a frightening place to be, fortunately for me the rest of the Band were in their 30s so I was well protected.I remember the Stamford Hall Altrincham very well! Frank Bell being my P.E teacher at school!

I started going there from the age of 13.I'm "sorry" but I cant remember The Swinging Hangmen but then again it's not surprising we were spoilt we saw so many groups!!Iam now a Blues singer in the south west of France!

I like looking back to the Manchester of my youth!keep up the good work!!

Derek Ward
25/8/12

 

 






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