This well known Brumbeat act were one of the five original groups to be signed up by Norrie Paramor of Columbia Records at the famous Moat House Club auditions in 1963.
Pictured is the original line up of (from left to right) Keith Powell, Malcolm Ritter, Mal Ford, John Gainer, John Allsebrook, and Colin Wood. Organist Mal Ford and lead guitarist Colin Wood have sent information about the group as well as some wonderful recollections of those days which are reproduced here as follows;
Mal Ford writes...
Well, what a lovely website and a great surprise to find it by accident. I was very happy to have been a member of 'The Deltas' ( with my mate Pat Wayne ) and then Keith Powell and The Valets which later became 'The Showman' featuring not only The Valets, but also 'Gordon Andrews and his lovely wife Janet Anne' a really popular showgroup in and around the Birmingham area.
Gordon was also accountant to many Birmingham muzo's and football players. This show went on for about two years until Gordon had to retire due to his accountancy work taking over. I have lost track of Gordon and Janet Anne, last time I heard they were living in Stratford upon Avon.
I am now living in Blackpool running my Artiste Management Company with various clients i.e. 'The Buck Ram Platters', The Cornel Gunter Coasters, local Brummie singer 'Eddie Brown' etc; both here in Blackpool and Las Vegas (as per my website www.malford.com) USA.
The years with these wonderful people and groups - Deltas, Valets, Showman and later my own 'Mal Ford Band' were very very happy. The great gigs (not venues!) The Carlton (Phil Myatt, John Singer) The Regan gigs (Plaza's, The Ritz, and their Irish club - name escapes me! I remember 'The Garry Owen') were great. On these gigs bands followed each other to each gig actually playing possibly four gigs a night for, if I remember correctly £12 for the lot and that was to be shared with all members of the band! Who cares - we were always broke anyway and Mr and Mrs Regan were lovely people to work for.
Brierley Hill Town Hall was another great gig. Every group who was on stage at 10.00 pm had to play the 'Hokey Cokey'. It was so funny seeing the Teddy Boys of the time doing the Hokey Cokey, but we all did it including brilliant 'Tommy Burton' and his 'Jackpots'. They were really popular - what a piano player - great! Tommy is upstairs now - God Bless Tommy!
The stories, the history, the rock 'n' roll, I have a lot of happy memories and my mate Laurie Hornsby, your goodself help us never to forget a period of time that should never be forgotten - Thank you! - and by the way I think our accent is Brilliant!!
Keep up the good work
Colin Wood writes...
I was surprised, impressed and fascinated by your wonderful Brumbeat website. Congratulations! I can't imagine why the Brum rock 'n' roll bands of the fifties and sixties have become popular again but they seem to have. Maybe they have been waiting in the wings for the recognition they deserve and it is only now that we see exactly how good it was.
It was earthy, loud and exciting, not to mention sexy, riotous (sometimes even 'dangerous', but rarely for band members) and just a whole lot of fun. Parents hated it which was reason enough to like it. What can you say about the late nights and going for weeks without seeing daylight. Then there were the girls ... I believe we saw one or two about the place. So appreciative and accommodating! Oh, and the music was great too!
In the beginning all we could do (all we wanted to do) was play songs that came from elsewhere. After all, we knew that we didn't invent rock 'n' roll so we thought we couldn't write our own. But we did create our own brand of music from the start. The songs came later. All served up with a pint of brown and mild and a cheese cob.
A generation found self-expression, we made good friends and we turned the city into a playground, albeit with the grey after effects of the Second World War as a backdrop. The consumer society was in its infancy and nobody had much money. We travelled by bus a lot and I didn't know many people with a telephone. But did we have fun!
I left Birmingham in 1966 to live in Melbourne, Australia. While these days I have my own small magazine publishing company, I still play guitar at home for fun and have a small collection of ten guitars.
Keep up the good work.