Co-op Hall (Warrington)
A real favorite for many bands - always full, two bands and a good night (with a stop at the Hoagie Wagon on the way home!)
In the earlier days, there were two stages and a band on each. Oddly, they would each do their own sets then finish off the night with two songs each for about an hour. Very odd.
Phoenix City Smash once found a double bed in the wings that had been used for a play, assembled it - then got the roadies to carry it out with the singer sat on the bed singing!
Bookings were handled by George Swindells and Dave Warwick of DelRick Entertainments, Warrington.
Last saw Dave in a Joke/Magic shop somewhere near Manchester as I passed through on the way to a gig in Carlisle (yes, even bands from Dover, Kent work Carlisle). He is still working in the business and handles many top tv presenters. He was also very heavily involved with Poacher and Rick Astley. George now lives in the USA.
Christmas Eve, 1969 - Phoenix City Smash were paid $60 for 2 x 45 min spots
Phoenix City Smash in the dressing room at Co-op Hall.
(Click on image for full size)
I can remember most of the groups who played the Co-op Hall, however, I am always told that The Who, The Beatles, The Original Drifters and other big names played there. Regretfully, I wasn't lucky enough to see them, but always remember local groups with great affection and wonder why none of them made it into the big time.
Who remembers The Tatters, The Scene (John Inman - vocals, Brian Tudor-guitar, Terry Skidmore-Drums, John (or was it Dave always mixed them up) Hill-guitar, Brian Ellis-Bass, I think I got it right. Jamies Jigsaw (Jamie Lomax) Mighty Joe Young, Maxwells Silver Hammer, The Magoos and not forgetting Fairytale (Mally Rabbit-guitar vocal Billy Fogg-Drums and I'm sorry I can't remember the other two, but they did turn pro eventually, I think they even led Workingmens Mission out of Bank Park on the towns Walking Day-like pop stars.
Most groups used to double up between Co-op Hall and The Bell Hall off Orford Lane, along with The Parr Hall in the town Centre. A lot of groups finally ended up after gigs at Pops Cafe on the Knutsford Road (now Poplar Truck stop on the Knutsford Road just off the M6. Another great venue for anyone into heavy metal or progressive was The Harrow in Culcheth village.
One band stands out Gravy Train - I think Norm Barrett, Barry Davenport & Co
Colin A. Smith - 19/9/12
I remember going to the Coop Hall in Warrington in the late sixties and early seventies and seeing The Equals perform live "Baby Come Back".
I also saw The Elgins " Heaven Must Have Sent You " and Ben E King " Stand By Me "at The Carlton Club which was another great venue
Christine Bentham - 12/2/2013
I remember these venues well as I grew up in the area. Just to put right a couple of points, the Beatles never played the CO-OP Hall but did play the Bell Hall on 19th July 1962, the only time I believe they played in Warrington.
The two missing names from the Fairytale were John Weston (vocals - guitar) and Chiddy Penketh (Bass).
John McGuinness - 5/3/13
I was in a band called "THE BOYS" with, Roy Altree on Drums, Billy Barlous on Base Guitar,John Rigby on Lead Guitar, and myself on Rhythm Guitar.
As you stated, the Beatles did play at the Bell Hall.and we were lucky enough to play on the same bill that night. The Compere (DJ) was Pete Rigby,who asked me to wait at the entrance to the Bell Hall and direct the Beatles to the rear entrance,
I waited 10 minutes for them to arrive ,then jumped into the front of their "THAMES TRADER" Van,and directed John Lennon who was driving to the rear entrance, where I proceeded to help them unload their Gear (just being nosey) as to what amps and guitars they had.
Our line up consisted of 2 white Fender strats 1 Fender Pro, Bass guitar, 2 vox AC.30's and a (Manchester Barrats' special) Bass amp,with a Red Premium Drum Kit.
One moment that will remain in my memory was,back stage, John asking me which girl was my girlfriend. He then sat her on his knee, and sang to her unaccompanied "Mr Postman".
We often played the Co-0p - Par Hall - Stockton Heath Church Hall - Bell Hall.
A big night for us was billing with JERRY-LEE-LEWIS at the Heven an Hell it cost 10/ shillings (50p) to get in.
One of his biggest fans was a guy names STAN CORK who, believe it or not later became a Personal Friend of ELVIS PRESLEY Buts that's another whole story. I kid you not.
Tony Evans - 11/7/13
Sunday night was time to be at the co-op hall all ways packed; never knowing who was on bands like the HERD'THE WHO 'KINKS , SMALL FACES,all the Mersyside bands,Manchester bands very good days
Hi my name is Brian Tudor I used to play guitar with the Scene After them i joined a country group called Outlaw. I'm now with a trio called Us Three
Hi John McGuiness remember watching THE BOYS at Stockton Heath church Hall Happy days remember the Latchford lads secondary entertainment Billy Brown & co taking on the bouncers now lives in NZ Thanks for the memories From John Price AUS
Did the boys have a guy called Bob who used to work at Lockers in Warrington
Hi Malcolm Sorry didn't know them personally I just enjoyed the sound they created
hi, stan cork did meet Elvis, I saw the letter his sister olive sent to his mam n dad, stan was a flagger, and I was a flaggers mate, Elvis game him a tie pin, his 2 sisters married yanks, mid 60s, I worked with stan 4 about 3yrs