The Twilights 1961/2/3 plus other bands
My Dad, Brian Shields grew up in the 1940s & 1950s just off Rye Lane in Peckham, South London.
At the age of 16, he started playing the guitar - self taught - and started various skiffle groups in Peckham.
Here is a list of his bands in chronological order -
1957 The Ravens (Peckham skiffle band - Lesley Barrett on guitar, Mick Mahone on guitar, John Pointon - bass, John 'Bomber' Harrison on banjo/washboard).
1958-59 The Dicemen Peckham skiffle band - John Skudder on guitar, Mickey Cole on tea-chest bass, Brian Cole on vocals and Gerry Smith on drums,
1959 Johnny West and The Apaches Peter Cole replaced Mickey on bass.
Chislehurst Caves - plugging into the light socket. John Skudder with blonde Hofner President
1959 Lance Shields and The Knights - often played The Star Of India pub in Peckham. Robin Perry joined on Fenton Weill and then Hofner Club 40 guitar.
Fenton Weill guitars
1960 Same band but name change - Andy Cole and The Andy Caps
1960 & '61 Return of Johnny West and The Apaches A female singer called Brenda joined the band. Lenny Mills joined on vocals (singing Big Bopper stuff), Brian a sax player joined for a while- It turned into a showband which played venues like the Park Lane Ballroom, Croydon & Co-Op Hall Peckham then called Rye Lane Jazz Club - where my Dad first met Paul Raven who got up to sing with them.
1962-63 Cliff Adams and The Twilights -
My Dad and Robin then saw a singer called Cliff Adams singing in a club in Peckham. They approached him and asked him to join them. My Dad and Robin thought of the name 'The Twilights', (Cliff Adams went on to become the manager of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac).
1962 The Twilights LtoR Robin Perry, Brian Shields, Cliff Adams, Gerry Smith & Johnny Miller
Robin Perry and Brian Shields alwsys swapped between lead guitar and bass - Robin's style very much like Hank Marvin and Brian's much like Scotty Moore.
Cliff Adams and The Twilights - Denmark Hill Club 1962 Robin Perry, Brian Shields on Framus bass, Cliff Adams, Gerry Smith & Johnny Miller"
The Twilights LtoR Robin Perry, Brian Shields, Gerry Smith & Johnny Miller
Brian Shields The Twilights 1962 Cliff Adams and Brian Shields
In 1962 Gerry replaced by Peter Engham (Adams), Johnny Miller replaced by Barry Watling.
LtoR New band line up - Barry Watling - rhythm guitar, Brian Shields - lead guitar, Robin Perry - bass, Cliff Adams, Peter Adams - drums. Listen to them perform What'd I Say - recorded 1962 in Regent Sound, Denmark Street. Click on this link to listen:- https://soundcloud.com/chris-shields/whatd-i-say-cliff-adams-and
Tommy Steele's brother Colin Hicks fronted the band in 1963
LtoR Brian Shields, Barry Watling, Cliff Adams, Colin Hicks, Robin Perry, Peter Adams
The Twilights LtoR Robin Perry, Brian Shields, Peter Adams, Barry Watling
February/March 1963 Cliff Adams and the Twilights
play The Star Club Hamburg
The Beatles played the Star Club in December of 1962. My Uncle Joe Knight (who was the manager of The Twilights) was very on the ball and ahead of the game, and he managed to get Cliff Adams and The Twilights on the bill for 5 weeks in February/March 1963 - this was just 6 weeks after The Beatles and before the real influx of British bands. My dad's Star Club 6 pointed star badge
They arrived in Hamburg and just missed Brenda Lee performing there. They were on the bill with Johnny Kidd and The Pirates, 'Fat's and his Cats', The Rattles, King Size Taylor and The Dominos and Lee Curtis and the All Stars (with Pete Best on drums). Adrian Barber of The Big Three had set up the Star Clubs PA system and would socialise with the Twilights band members. Johnny Kidd was the first person to suggest that my dad should write his own songs.
Fats and His Cats pic (a map to the Erdmann leather shop is on the reverse).
They are listed as having performed 30 shows in March 1963.
The band stayed at the Hotel Pacific and were taken to Erdman's leather shop by Horst Fascher. Here is my dad on the ferry home in his new leather jacket.
I still have his 1963 Erdmann leather jacket and receipts!
In mid 1963, Cliff left the group and Paul Raven became the new front man of The Twilights, although Cliff continued with another band which he called The Twilights.
1963 Paul Raven and The Twilights - managed by Joe Knight (my Uncle).
Paul Raven and his list of songs with keys on reverse of card
Paul Raven and The Twilights 1963 (LtoR Robin Perry, Brian Shields, Paul Raven, Barry Watling, Peter Adams)
Dad with his Gibson SG (one of his friends stood on it and broke it in half!) at a 1963 rehearsal.
My Dad left The Twilights in early 1964 after an arguement about management (my Uncle Joe Knight had managed them up until now, but some of the band members wanted another manager called Peter Aitkin instead). This put my Dad in an awkward position as Joe was 'family' so he left Paul Raven, Robin Perry & Barry Watling to carry on touring in the group without him. In the meantime Cliff Adams was working with his own band which he'd called 'The Twilights' so there were two 'Twilights' on the circuit in late 1963/1964 playing the same venues, one with Paul Raven and one with Cliff Adams. My Dad mentioned one gig when both bands turned up to play the gig as they were on the same Roy Tempest agency!
Cliff's brother Peter Adams, who had been the drummer of The Twilights for their Star Club heyday, left the band to replace Clem Cattini in The Tornadoes.
1964 The Images (Dave Kettle on drums, Richard Bird on guitar and singer Bob Moore - based in Epsom, Surrey. He remembers them having long hair (longer than in this picture!) and he enjoyed playing lead guitar with them but he left the band when Barry Watling (ex Twilights) was financing a tour and persuaded him to join Sam Cooke's singing nephew Sonny Childe and be the lead guitar for a band called 'Sonny Childe and The Elders Consolidated'.
1964 Sonny Childe and The Elders Consolidated - Financed by Barry Watling from The Twilights - Sonny Childe (Sam Cooke's nephew) on vocals, 2 sax players, John Cameron-Tetley on drums).
This pro band (including John Cameron/Tetley on drums) toured in a large coach and played lots of venues e.g. The Pavillion Ballroom Bournemouth, Locarno Ballroom Swindon & The Princess Ballroom Halifax.
1965 Brian called back to 'The Images' for single release
In 1965 after he'd left The Images, the band won a competition and got to release a single on Polydor. They wanted an original song so asked my Dad if they could use one of his songs 'Head Over Heels'. They invited him back to the recording session where he played lead guitar and sung in harmony with Bob Moore. The 'A' side was supposed to be Tony Macaulay's (Baby Now That I've Found You) song 'I Only Have Myself To Blame' but the people at Polydor preferred my Dad's song 'Head Over Heels' as it was more upbeat.
Have a listen to Head Over Heels by The Images here:- https://soundcloud.com/chris-shields/head-over-heels-brian-shields-the-images-1965
1965 The Pyramids - John Tilt vocals, Robin Perry - 12 string guitar, Brian Cole bass, Gerry Smith Drums. Released 'Baby's Gone Away' on Polydor 1965.
My Dad was asked by producer Jack Winsley if he had any more songs so he hastily formed his own band called The Pyramids and had a single 'Baby's Gone Away' released on the same Polydor label by the same producer in the same year as The Images 'Head Over Heels'!! Click on the link below to listen to Baby's Gone Away.
Click this link to hear their single
The Pyramids 1965 Polydor
The Pyramids on Polydor 1965 (Brian Shields, Brian Cole, John Tilt (Johnny Valentino of 1970s do-wop group Yakety Yak), Gerry Smith & Robin Perry)
1967-9 The Blacksmiths - Alan McIver on bass, Peter Randall - vocals, Phil Read on drums, Paul Speigal on organ replaced by Ivan Coutes. Played a regular slot at the White Swan, Crystal Palace.
In 1967 my Dad, with Robin Perry, built a recording studio at the end of our garden and called it Woodview Studios. John Smith with his rare double neck Zemaitis in Woodview My Dad with his Grimshaw GS33
1967-69 The Falling Leaves Richard Roffey - vocal & Brian Shields -lead guitar
My dad started working with a singer called Richard Roffey who would sing my dad's original songs 'Feeling So In Love', 'Sing Me A Song' & 'Look Into My Life'. Richard sounded like Tom Jones and they recorded various original songs.
Richard Roffey went on to set up his own studio in Kent.
Escape Studios owned and run by Richard & Ted Roffey.
An early memory of mine is going to Escape Studios in 1973 while my Mum recorded her vocal to Sing Me A Song. I remember trying to get into the live room during the recording session but the studio door seemed two feet thick with soundproofing and was much too heavy for a little 3 year old to open (me in the red jumpsuit below).Listen to my Mum's recording of Sing Me A Song written by my Dad. Engineered by Tony Taverner.
Have a listen to it here:-
1969-73 Root 5 as bass player with John Smith, Colin Fuller - lead guitar, Dave Benyon -drums, Martin Monahan - harmonica. Then replacing Colin Fuller on lead guitar and with John Rayner taking over on bass. John Rayner was replaced by Robin Perry.
1973-77 Renegade - The name for my Dad's gigging band. A variety of players including John Smith, Robin Perry, Dave Benyon, John Grace - piano, John Edmed - pedal steel, John Brook - drums, Ivan Coutes, Richard Roffey, Alan McIver.
1977-84 Pony Express - Country Band - The old Root 5 band back with a new name. John Smith - vocals and rhythm guitar, Brian Shields - lead guitar/vocals, Martin Monahan - harmonica/vocals, Robin Perry - bass, Dave Benyon - drums. This was the band I remember as a kid and my Dad's favourite band.
Listen to Pony Express Listen to them here:- Martin Monahan, John Rayner, John Smith, Brian Shields, Dave Benyon - Pony Express
Brian Shields guitar on JedsonThey always used a harmonica player in their band, Martin Monahan, and that 'sound' always influenced me when I got to do my own stuff. I was lucky enough to have Martin play harmonica on my first cassette release in 1991.
Mark Feltham then replaced Martin Monahan on harmonica in 1982.
Graeme Leach replaced Robin on bass.
1981-3 Kim Bridges and The Hound Dogs with Nick Preece on drums, Rob Perry on bass
Kim Bridges and The Hound Dogs 1981
1984 Jenny and The Grand Prairie - Irish Country music with Rob Wilson on bass, Jim on drums.
1986-89 Kim Bridges and The Blue Moon Boys with Chris Shields on bass, Dave Benyon on drums
1989-92 Kim Bridges and Burning Love with Dal Shields on drums
Chris, Brian & Dal Shields at Odessa Street, Downtown Rotherhithe 1989
1992-6 Grand Prairie - Jenny Ormonde - Irish country music with Chris Shields on bass/vocals, Howard Tibble on drums.
I first joined my Dad in the studio on backing vocals in 1981 at The Old Barn Studios in South Croydon, run by Matthew Fisher (Procal Harum), singing for Kim Bridges.
My first live performance was in 1981 with his band Pony Express at Cane Hill Hospital, Surrey singing the Ray Charles song 'What'd I Say'- I still have the live recording on tape.
I finally got to play guitar in The Twilights and play again with Pony Express at my Dad's 70th birthday and was in my element meeting all his old friends. Left to right Clifford Adams, John Tilt, Johnny Miller, Gerry Smith, Peter Engeham, Brian Shields, Robin Perry - me in the front!
Dad did one last studio album called ''Goin Down Rockin' '' pressed on vinyl a week before he died in 2014.
Of his original band Pony Express, the only one still standing is Robin Perry. Singer John Smith, harmonica/singer Martin Monahan and drummer Dave Benyon have sadly all passed away.