The National Grid (Oldham)
previously Four for Blues
- Dave Lambert - vocals
- Dave Gleave - lead guitar
- Rob Marland - bass
- John Needham - drums
- Eddie Jaworski - guitar
National Grid line up was Dave Lambert, Vocals. Rob Marland, Bass, Dave Gleave, Lead Guitar. John Needham, Drums. Eddie Jaworski (now deceased) also played guitar in the early days when the name of the group was Four for Blues.
For several years the band played many of the clubs, youth clubs and dance halls around the Greater Manchester area. Even though still semi pro gigging four or five times per week was common and started to take the band much further afield, for instance Carlisle, Birmingham plus many gigs in North and East Yorkshire.
In 1967 Dave Gleave and John Needham turned pro to form a band called Seduction with legendary guitarist Ady Edelston and former Blind Dog Blues Band singer Mike Lynch. Seduction worked mostly in Europe, apart from a few gigs in the UK in the first months after forming.
After Seduction split, Dave Gleave, John Needham and Mike Lynch teamed up with Martin Tetlow and Alan Faulkner to form Money.
Later John Needham moved on to join JC Heavy with Ken Anders, Neil Levine, Jo Musaphia and John Hajok.
John Needham - 4/1/13
The National Grid played a gig at my school. North Chadderton Secondary Modern in the mid sixties I think. I'm sixty two years old now but I still remember that night.
I'd been at the same primary school as The National Grid drummer John Needham. I hadn't seen him for ages but I recognised him straight away. He's not the type of guy you easily forget.
I remember as he settled down behind his kit making last minute adjustments. He looked mean and had this ferocious look on his face like he wanted to Behead someone. I remember thinking it would probably take a well aimed Scud Missile to dislodge him from his stool. I also remember he was looking straight at me.
I was only a couple of feet away from his kit so I took a step back in case he decided to use my head as an extra tom tom. John was a very loud drummer and I noticed a crack appear in the wall behind him as he tested his bass drum. It was the biggest bass drum I'd ever seen and I wondered if he rented it out as a one bedroom flat when he wasn't gigging.
The band were awsome and the memory of that night has stayed with me all my lfe. How the buiding survived is a miracle. As I walked home later my ears still ringing from the sounds of the mighty National Grid I decided something
I was going to be a Drummer.
John Hughes - 25/4/13
The Grid weren't exactly known for their finesse. A typical set would be kicked off with a version of The Creations' Makin' Time but delivered with a much harder edge, that would usually set the tone for the rest of night. The band was not particularly user friendly to the Tamla fans, due to the Who style treatments given to songs like Heatwave and several other Tamla classics.I got the distinct impression that The Grid were either loved or loathed depending which side of the fence people were on.
What the band lacked in musical excellence was made up for with raw power and the group also had the benefit of a great front man in Dave Lambert. Another big plus was bass player Rob Marland whose on stage antics could best be described as being just on the safe side of insanity but, hugely important to the group.
I well remember a gig with the Rockin' Vicars when, after our set, one of the Vicars came up to us and the first words out of his mouth were "F**k me lads that was different", didn't say whether he liked it or not though.
Fact is we were young and didn't care, we were what we were and did what we did and had a great time doin' it.
John Needham - 25/4/13
I was told to have a look at the website and glad I did as it brought back some fond memories and I am pleased to see band has not gone unnoticed.
I always felt lucky to be a member of the Grid which at the time left its mark and I was fortunate to serve my apprenticeship in the music world with three great musicians who put up with my simple contributions.
We gigged hard and played hard all over the country and every band we played alongside with at some great venues always said they wish they could play with the same freedom and commitment as we did, most of them tied to record deals or management which can be very limiting.
The work we put in under the disciplined supervision of our front man Dave Lambert and musical leadership of Dave Gleave who was a brilliant guitarist later set me in good stead for the bands I played with in Cornwall and to be honest I have not played with a drummer who could match the power and excitement of John's playing which I look back on as the foundation of a special rhythm section that took no prisoners.
I would also like to mention some unsung hero's Pete Warhurst and Dave Duckworth who where the group roadies, Mike Parkes who later took over from Dave Lambert who left the band to become one of the countries top Aviation boffins and all the fans we had at the time especially from Counthill School and Rochdale, so god bless you all and thanks for being part of the crazy experience and please accept my apologies as I was only growing up.
Writing this has brought back a flood of memories and tales which if anybody is interested I would be pleased to recall in a later blog as I am sure it would perhapsd be worth a read.
Rob Marland - still alive and kicking - 15/7/2013
Great to read Rob Marlands piece, I'm so pleased to see he's still alive and kicking.
I too have great memories of working with Rob in The Grid. For instance, a gig at Rochdale Fire Station Ballroom where we managed to set fire to the stage during one of The Grid's wilder shows.On another occasion we nearly succeeded in bringing down several large glass chandeliers at York Assembly Rooms. There are many more stories of mayhem and madness surrounding The Grid in those early years, too many to tell here, I'll leave it to others to fill in the rest.
I've often thought that it was a shame that The Grid didn't turn pro together as a group, it could have been magnificent.
We were approached on at least four occasions by agencies in Manchester for sole representation but, as Rob mentioned, groups who were involved in these sort of deals didn't seem to enjoy the same freedom as we did so, on that basis, we turned them all down preferring instead to go our way and not be turned into some sort of silly little pop group, which would have suited none of us.
If you happen to read this Rob, I'd love to hear from you.
John Needham - 18/7/13
Finally managed to find a couple of very early National Grid photos (added in Gallery), probably from early 1964 when the group was called Four for Blues. They must be from that time because in the middle of both photos is Eddie Jaworski on guitar and he had left the group just after the name change and as far as I recall he never played a gig with us under the new name.
As for the venue, I have no idea, it's probably one of the local youth clubs in Oldham.
John Needham - 8/6/14