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Cumbrian Bands of the 60's

In the 1960's there was no Cumbria - we then lived in Cumberland and were proud of it. There was also no M6, so we were somewhat remote from the music hotbeds of Liverpool & Manchester.

As a result we had to form our own local bands and create our own entertainment. In those days there were numerous venues for the bands to play in.

Every town had it's ballrooms, often with a resident "orchestra" (until the rise of the groups killed them off) and every village had it's village hall. There were also youth clubs, church halls and pubs with live music.

This was before the days of discos and the dreaded karaoke.

For those of us "of a certain age" this remains a golden age. Still innocent (well relatively!) but full of life, as was the music of the time.

Many people underestimate the role some Cumbrian groups or band members played in the history of 1960s music.

Jimi Hendrix played his first gig in this country jamming with The VIPs from Carlisle in the Scotch of St.James club in London.

Mike Harrison of The VIPs went on to play with Art and Spooky Tooth and more recently to record with the Hamburg Blues Band

Even Black Sabbath, although not Cumbrians, had their earliest successes in Carlisle and the Cumbria area.

Tony Iommi of Sabbath took over Necromandus after they had supported Sabbath several times and took them under the wing of his Birmingham based Tramp agency.

Necromandus - Billy Branch, Dennis McCarten, Baz Dunnery and Frank Hall

The Liverpool Five
with Dave McCumiskey (aka
Dave Burgess) in the centre,
formerly with The Ramrods

Jimmy Henshaw of the Ramrods & The VIPs wrote some of the songs recorded by The Animals.

Dave McCumiskey of The Ramrods went on to play in Eric Clapton's first band, Casey Jones & The Engineers, together with Tom McGuiness who later went on to Manfred Mann and is still active with Paul Jones in The Blues Band and The Manfreds.

Dave then went on to international success with The Liverpool 5 (none of whom came from Liverpool!) and played at the Tokyo olympics.

Rue and The Rockets, who are one of the few Cumbrian 1960s bands still in action, achieved their greatest success later in their careers, having a big hit in Benidorm recently with their track "Sticky Vicky" (which refers to an erotic dancer of that name).

The Square Chex from Carlisle supported Jimi Hendrix in Stockholm in 1967.

Marshall Scott & The Deputies were recording at Abbey Road in the same studio as the Beatles on the day that the Beatles recorded Paperback Writer.

Both Marshall Scott and The VIPs toured widely in Europe, mainly in Germany. The VIPs were also very popular in France

Marshall Scott made two promotional films (the forerunners of todays pop videos) which were distributed both here and in the USA and Canada. One of these can be viewed on You Tube.

The main Cumbrian towns each had their own bands -

Carlisle - The Ramrods, The VIPs, The Dolls, The Shades, The Midnighters, The Gravediggers, The Four Dollars, The Bee Jees, 22nd Street People, The Hotrods, The Square Chex, The Runaways, The Cave Dwellers, Fire & The Ferinos, The Avengers, Olly Alcock, Mythology,
The System etc.

Workington - Marshall Scott & The Deputies, The Renegades, The Defenders, The Electrons, The Dukes, The Phantoms.

Whitehaven - Lenny & The Silhouettes, The Phlok, The Invaders and Ashley Kay.

Maryport - Billy Steele & The Strollers, The Meteors, Mid-Stream and The Avengers

Wigton - Rue & The Rockets, The Firebirds, The Microns, Mere Detail and The Konchords.

Kendal -
Wee Willie Henry and The Wanderers, The Saphires, Socks to Match, The Fog, The Followers of Finkle, and The Hellions.

Barrow - Chapter Five, The Vikings, Hobos, Tornadoes, Patents Pending etc.

Penrith - The Dave Storey band.

This site has been created by Alastair Duncan and John Fisher as a tribute to the many great bands playing in Cumbria in the 60's. It now has links to and from other sites worldwide relating to the music of the 60s.

For quite a few years we worked in conjunction with Ann Jones of the Cumberland News, supplying the local bands portion of her weekly Timeline page in the News & Star
This has led to several other bands contacting us and being added to the site. Ann has also located some bands herself and passed them on to us for which we are very grateful.

Alastair has guested on Tony James's radio show (see below) discussing the bands of the sixties in Cumbria. We also provided information, pictures and contacts for Border Television's program about sixties music in the county.

We are always on the lookout for other bands we have not yet covered and additional information and pictures of those we have. If you have any information or comments please use either of the two e-mail links below.

Email alastair at

Email John- jonfish at
Visit John Forster's Website

One-to-One Guitar Tuition

Guitar Repairs
Other String Instrument Repairs
Hawaiian Guitars built to order

For a great laugh visit

The History of Maryport

Cavern After Hours
Barry's Book Now Out
Visit Danny Holmes' site
Cumbria Club Stars

This website is now
15 years old!

Click HERE to see
how it developed
over the years

of the VIPs

Including -
Jimi Hendrix's
UK debut with the VIPs

of the
Spooky Tooth
& Humble Pie

Paul Craven &
The Gravediggers

Me & The Midnighters

The Phlok


Chapter Five