Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Road Runners

I received an email from Colin Bradley, in Toronto, the other day (pictured above with Paul Rodgers)
Colin was a founder member of the Road Runners - a very successful local group during the early Sixties - who hailed from Middlesbrough.

What I had not realised, until Colin contacted me, was just how influential some of the members later became on the the UK rock and pop scene.

Two of the founder members were Paul Rodgers and Micky Moody.

Paul, who started out as the Road Runner's bass player, was an original member of FREE and has enjoyed a 40 year career culminating most recently with his fronting of QUEEN. 

Micky Moody eventually found success working with John McCoy's Tramline, Juicy Lucy, a series of side-man gigs with people like Gene Pitney and others, and in later years was a founding member of the hugely successful White Snake along with another son of Teesside, David Coverdale.

Bruce Thomas, who took over the role of bass player when Paul became the main vocalist and front man,  ended up playing with the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver before beginning a long association with Elvis Costello and the Attractions. He is also an inductee in the Rock and  Roll Hall of Fame and a published author and expert on the career of martial arts icon Bruce Lee.  

Not bad for a bunch of local lads Eh?
Read Colin's full account and pictures here

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sad News

It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of Mervyn Forse, on Saturday 13th June 2009

In the early Sixties Mervyn played bass in the popular local group the Del 5, and was later to be the driving force behind White Sound Amplification.

The Del 5 pictured in happier days - Mervyn is second from the right.

The funeral takes place on Tuesday 23 June 2009 at 10.30 am at Sunderland Cematorium.

RIP Mervyn

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Albert Lee was ......

..... great the other night.

But I'm not downhearted.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

60s Live at the Vic

The pics for the first club night are to be found on the new web site which is here:

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

NEW "60's Live at the Vic" web site

Under construction here:

Check back regularly for all the News and Gossip including the latest pics and video clips

Rare guitars found after 50 years (from

The guitars were made during 1958-9 by Jim Burns and Alan Wootton
A collection of rare British-made electric guitars has been discovered in the basement of a house in Cheltenham.

The Supersound instruments came out of a brief partnership between Jim Burns and Alan Wootton during 1958 and 1959.

Guy Mackenzie from West Cornwall, who bought the guitars, described them as "the holy grail" of his collection.

"I don't actually play," he said "but I just love them in the same way that people collect old paintings even though they can't paint."

Mr Mackenzie heard about the find from a friend who knew he collected "weird and unusual" guitars.

"As soon as I tracked down these ultra-rare instruments - apparently some of the very first made by UK legend Jim Burns - I just had to meet the owner," he said.

They comprise an important, but hitherto virtually unknown chapter in UK guitar-making history

Guitar expert Paul Day
"I discovered he'd bought them from Alan Wootton's son several years ago and had kept them virtually untouched ever since."

Jim Burns' guitars have been played by pop groups and stars including The Shadows, The Searchers, Slade and Queen's Brian May.

"Musicians who play them now include Andy Bell of Oasis, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and The Kooks," said Mr Mackenzie.

Paul Day, guitar expert and author of "The Burns Book" on Jim Burns and his guitars said: "In nearly 50 years of playing, working on and writing about the electric guitar, this is the first time I have actually seen one Supersound instrument, let alone 12.

"These are among the earliest electric guitars and basses from any British builder and therefore comprise an important, but hitherto virtually unknown chapter in UK guitar-making history."

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Golden Classics

Just had an email from Keith Abott - one of our regulars at VSL - to inform me that he will be appearing at Billy Row Club on Saturday 11th April 2009. Keith, formerly of the Golden Years, has recently formed a duo with Ed Armathwaite and they will be performing loads of old favourites from the 50s 60s and 70s.
So if you are looking for somewhere to go on Easter Saturday this is the place to be.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Small world innit .....?


This is the earliest known footage of boy wonder guitarist and VSL co-founder Mr Alan Leightell playing his Triumph guitar.

During this piece his fingers can just be seen jumping up and down like maggots on the sunday joint and his wrists never leave his arms.


As a result of recent correspondence on our guest book I have been contacted by the proprietors of the Bell Accordion Co. They would like Mr Leightell to contact them urgently in connection with an outstanding account for a triumph guitar.

Ah Well - some you win son.

Comments appreciated - Hee Hee Hee

Friday, 13 March 2009

VSL have now left the building ........

Yes I am afraid it is true - due to some pretty devastating news which has emerged since the last club night .

As some of you may know Alan Leightell has suffered from Tinnitus and associated hearing problems for several years.

Sadly, it has recently reached the point where significant permanent damage is being done by repeated and prolonged exposure to loud music.
This has brought Alan, very reluctantly, to the decision that it would be very unwise to continue to perform, either as a solo artist, or as a backing musician.

Obviously, we are all gutted by this and the effect on VSL is catastrophic. For the last three years Alan has prepared, orchestrated and performed on the vast majority of arrangements for live performances for both the club nights and the various charity Gigs we have done.

Taking all of these points into consideration, Alan and I have decided that the Vintage Sixties Live Club Nights should be discontinued.
VSL was begun by Alan L and myself very much as a joint venture and I feel that any success we have achieved has been due to the excellent working and personal relationship we have always enjoyed and the special skills and interests each of us have brought to the project, so it seems fitting, now that Alan L is unable to continue, that we ride off into the sunset together.

As far as the website is concerned we intend to continue to maintain it as a permanent record of the last three years and as an archive for all the group pictures and information kindly donated.

So what happens now?

Well, the message we are receiving loud and clear, from performers and audience alike, is that everyone would like the live entertainment nights to continue and – and whilst we will no longer be running the show – we are both happy to help in any way we can to make this possible.

One of my lasting and treasured memories of Vintage Sixties Live will always be of the old friendships revived and the new friendships made. We have been staggered by the professionallism, and sheer depth of talent, of the performers who have passed through our doors over the last three years. Between them they have performed well over a thousand of the songs and instrumentals from the fabulous Sixties - with little or no rehearsal - to a standard which has amazed and enthralled our packed audiences and has become the talk of Clubland and beyond.

It would clearly be wrong to allow a pool of talent and enthusiasm such as this to go to waste.
Everyone, without exception, has agreed to muck in and help so – with the continued support of your good selves – the Club Nights will continue under new management and with a new name – 60’s Live at the Vic.

So we'll see you all on April 16 (one week later than usual because of Easter)

"B there or B square"

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Children in Need Appeal

As most of you know, our adopted charity for 2009 is the BBC Children in Need Appeal.

One of the ways we hope to raise money is to hold regular raffles on club nights and we would like everyone to consider donating a prize (or two) to this very worthwhile cause.

Most things will be accepted so get your thinking caps on!

Maybe that chemical toilet you got for Xmas?
Or those incontinence pants? (new goods only please)
That book - Cross Dress for Success - that you never got around to reading?

The King is coming back ....

Albert Lee - one of the finest guitarists in the world - and Hogan's Heroes are to make a return visit to the North East this April.
I have watched many top guitarists over the years, but Albert is the only guy I know who should come with a health warning. He can reduce a room full of guitar players almost to tears with one riff. It is worth the entrance money just to be able to look at some of the audience's expressions during Country Boy or Tiger Rag. They range from incredulity to outright misery - hee hee.
But this show is not only about speed twiddling. Each member of this band is a master of his craft - doing a job they obviously love - and the overall effect is awesome.
Don't miss it - I certainly won't.

Charity Show at Spennymoor Town Hall

I have just received advanced news of a great Charity Show you won't want to miss.

It is in aid of Blind Life and features four beautiful and talented girls - Emma, Joanne, Julia and Alice (pictured on the left) - who you will have seen several times at VSL.

As if that were not enough, they will be supported by a live band which will include another two VSL stalwarts Colin Ibbertson (talented but not beautiful) and Brian Luke.

£8 Admission will also include a hot buffet so book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.