Category Archives: Music

The Good Times , Some Memories of the Vic’s ‘Top Rank’ Days ..


by Eileen Marriott


victoria 002

Every Saturday I would wake up excited by the prospect of going to the “Vic” Saturday and Sunday.  First I had to do my Saturday job at the Co-op for the money to go out with as I was still in the 6th form at St. Helena school!

Home to get ready – didn’t have many outfits so I suppose we wore the same things week in week out.  I do remember a green cord mini skirt with yellow skinny rib polo neck jumper and cheap white boots (my friend had red skirt and white jumper) .
Veronica Sanderson was my main dance ‘partner’ always there until she moved to London to be a nanny!  Another good friend was lovely Liz Meakin who sadly died aged 22 from lung cancer. I still carried on going to the Vic and was soon dancing with friends Maureen Edwards, Pat Horton and Sandra Robson!… Continue Reading →

Musical Opportunities

by Ray Huckle .. 

…in which the theory is tested that the sad decline in musical standards is due to the demise of the annual bus trip to the seaside, once regularly undertaken by the pit villages of North East Derbyshire .. !


I have noticed and been mystified by the fact that in spite of being perpetually plugged into the ‘Cyberverse’ and receiving the latest pop hits from ‘Beyond’ played at Volume Eleven., only a few of today’s young aspiring musicians appear to be capable of making music themselves.

Even singing seems to have gone out of fashion, although having listened to a lot of the modern  music maybe we should be thankful for that small mercy. I don’t think it is lack of access to musical instruments either as I have seen good second hand (Sorry! Preloved)  guitars etc. for less than the price of a rock concert ticket.… Continue Reading →

From Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – ‘With a Little Help From His Friends’


From two articles in ‘My Kind of Town’  issue 16; one by David McPhie,  and one by John Firminger and Martin Lilleker ..


Joe Cocker


I was saving this contribution,”From Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – With a Little Help From His Friends”, along with John Firminger’s “Farewell Joe, Up Where He Belongs” for (chronological) inclusion later in the sequence of my story, but as we have recently heard the sad news  of Joe’s untimely passing I have updated this for publication in ‘My Kind of Town’ ; and here are the two articles as they appear in Issue No. 16.             DMcP.

From Lathkill Dale to Woodstock – with a little help from his friends

Every successful performer can look back at turning points in their careers… and David McPhie recalls one such moment for Joe Cocker when a room above a street corner barbershop in Chesterfield was converted into a makeshift recording studio

I first came across Joe Cocker – but then known as Vance Arnold (and The Avengers) – in 1960/61, when he appeared at the Lathkill Dale Hotel at Over Haddon, near Bakewell.… Continue Reading →

The Chesterfield Cowboy


By Tom Bates





Artwork by Ian Lee 


He rode across the centre pages of the Daily Mirror on his horse Startrix in June 1958 in the company of Duncan Renaldo -otherwise known as `The Cisco Kid’.

He was pictured in newspapers around the country wearing a white stetson and toting a pair of pearl-handled six-guns, and he rode the ranges of England – from Horse Guards Parade, past Buckingham Palace in the south – to the cinema aisles of Manchester in the north.
He was “Dave Darby – the Authentic Singing Cowboy direct from Ontario, Canada – Star of Stage, Screen and Television”, and the story went on to tell how the lonesome cowboy had just been re-united with his faithful horse following it’s release from quarantine restrictions after the two had arrived in Britain from Dave’s ranch in Canada!

In actual fact the horse had been hired from stables near Rotherham – and the `authentic singing cowboy from Canada’ was really a milkman from Chesterfield who had never been out of this country in his life!… Continue Reading →

Stalled at the Crossroads ..

Ian Lee’s account of his childhood ‘apprenticeship’ in music, in 1950s Tibshelf, and his journey through the 1960s as a member of Chesterfield band, The Blueberries ..
This post developed a ‘bug’ and it has been a struggle to finally re-post it, but the photographs and pics of Ian’s paintings have not yet been added, but should be restored within good time (DMcP) ..

Preface ..
I am indebted to the friend of a friend for directions that would eventually lead to the crossroads. We were round his house one evening when he pressed on me a slim volume with a yellow and green dust jacket. It was called The Country Blues by Samuel B. Charters and was published here in England in 1961.


Little did I appreciate the influence that this book already had and would have. I was familiar with many names and sounds of musicians who had migrated from the South to Chicago and had been recorded by the Chess Brothers in the 1950’s.… Continue Reading →

“Tallbird Records” .. the Maria Harris interview

‘Tallbird Records’ Interview with Maria Harris ..

I only discovered that Chesterfield had a brand new record shop late last year, having heard not too long before of the demise of the long established Hudsons operation, where I had worked in the early 1960s as record buyer on the stall in the middle of the covered Market Hall. That was before opening my own “Some Kinda Mushroom” on Newbold Road, selling both new and second-hand vinyl, and specialising in the newly emerging ‘Progressive Rock”, Blues, Folk and Jazz.

I don’t think that my particular ‘market’ affected the ‘mainstream’ clientele that Hudsons had a monopoly on, and we co-existed side by side for many years in what was probably the ‘high water mark’ for record sales, followed by a rise in popularity for the new CD format, and just as quickly, a decline over the next three decades.
So, it’s now very pleasing to see a thriving record shop in town again, with its finger firmly on the button of the prevailing zeitgeist, and concentrating on good old vinyl too.… Continue Reading →

Sounds In The Shadow of The Crooked Spire – Corrections !

Sounds Shadow Crooked Spire Errata


Much as I am pleased to have finally got the book onto the shelves, and receive many positive responses, there inevitably comes a time when errors come to the fore, mistakes having arisen from a number of issues.

The most embarrassing of these concern two Lance Storm and the Tempests photographs ……….

David McPhie


1 .. on page 196, the photograph of Dave Saunders and Tom Redfern; it isn’t Tom Redfern, it’s John Rodgers.

2 .. page 214, the Tempests group photo; left on back row isn’t John Rodgers, it’s Tom Redfern; on right at front isn’t Tom Redfern, it’s John Rodgers. Hopefully this doesn’t instigate an identity crisis between the two of them!

3 .. page 197, The Warriors should read Warrior, and they are not the same group as the one mentioned by Eileen Marriott on page 59 and by Veronica Sanderson Element on page 60, featuring groups appearing at the Top Rank ‘Vic’ ..… Continue Reading →

Statement from David McPhie re “Sounds in the Shadow of the Crooked Spire” and “Dirty Stop Outs Guide to 1960s Chesterfield”

It has been brought to my notice that the inclusion of the photograph of St. Helena schoolgirls in front of the ‘Some Kinda Mushroom’ record shop in both “Sounds in the Shadow of the Crooked Spire” and ‘Dirty Stop Outs Guide to 1960s Chesterfield’ has caused distress to the women concerned. As it was me that the photograph was sent to, I therefore apologise for any distress or anxiety that this has caused, but as I have lost a series of emails from around two years ago during the period that the photograph was forwarded to me, then I cannot trace or verify the sender.
I can only repeat my regret for any distress caused as a result of the inclusion therein.

David McPhie  5th Feb 2019Continue Reading →