Thursday, 22 January 2009

Dave Lee & The Staggerlees

Dave Lee & The Staggerlees - Love Me (Oriole CB-1864. 1963)

Dave Lee & The Staggerlees - Sweet & Lovely (Oriole CB-1907. 1964)

The Staggerlees were well known around the South West during the early-mid sixties. As the "Staggerlees Rock Unit" they competed in, and won, Truro's annual Rock and Rhythm contest in 1962. The band soon built up an extensive following within Cornwall & Devon and became one of the first professional Cornish beat bands. The band turned pro and moved to Torquay, gigging around the Devon area.

The band ventured further afield, playing around the more lucrative Northern Working Men's Club circuit while based in Sheffield. This also lead to gigs around Germany were they share the bill at the Top Ten Club with Dave Dee and The Bostons (who became DDDBMT) and Jimmy Powell & The Jumping Jacks amongst many others.

Through the bands involvement with an agent in Sheffield the band scored a deal with Oriole records, where they recorded two singles. Unfortunately neither singles recieved much airplay failed to take off.

By 1967 Dave Lee had quit the band, which continued as The Staggerlees. The three peice continued playing the club circuit until fairly recently. Dave set up a folk club back in his native Redruth before embarking in a succesful 25 year career in photography.

The following singles are often attributed to the band, but are in fact not related to the Cornish Dave Lee & The Staggerlees:
Take Four / Five To Four On (Decca F11600) 1964
Adam Adamant / Georgia's Theme (Fontana TF723) 1966


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great find. Thanks so much for this great British beat and for uploading both sides of each disc.

More British Beat please!


Anonymous said...

brought back many memories check this site out

Anonymous said...

brought back many memories check this site out

ex stag said...

Those two photographs bring back memories. The friday beat night at the winter gardens Penzance was one of the first joint dances Teen Promotions and Dave Lee and the Staggerlees ran. The first were at Thornton Hall redruth. From Thornton hall to the Prince of Wales theatre in London - quite a trip. Just where did you get those photographs?

RP said...

Hi Ex-Stag,

Great to hear from you. Those pictures came from Dave Penrose. He's still around in Falmouth.

Drop me an email on - I'm working on a project around the Cornish music scene in the 60s and you will be able to help!


ex stag said...

Ah! - so it was our Dave ‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ Lee who let you have the photographs. Cornwall – rock –60’s – well we were early 60’s by 63 I felt we had played nearly every hall in Cornwall - out most nights - winter and summer thanks to manager Louey Instance – Tuesday night Carbis Bay Memorial Hall, packed –Wednesday night Lane Village Hall, packed etc, etc, – good days.
Penzance had a great early 60’s rock scene - we appeared there a lot – first there were the Friday Beat Nights at the Winter Gardens which for some reason became regular Saturday night ‘Bops’ at the Drill Hall at Chy-an-dour, that had on occasions to move to a hall at Heamoor. Then the High-Fi Club opened – we appeared there often once with Paul Raven – later to became Gary Glitter. We appeared at the St John’s Hall with Jimmy Crawford who at the time was No.1 with ‘I love how you love me’. So many turned up the police had to take charge. The Crazy Screaming Bee (Roger Brokenshire, Redruth) was also on the bill with his ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’. We also appeared with, and backed the Vernon Girls at the Pavilion somewhere on the sea front. They were in the NME chart with ‘Know what I mean’. Nearly didn’t make that one, we crashed in the Glyn Valley on the way to the Black Cat Club in Plymouth for a booking the week before. Anthony (Amph) Grigg, lead guitarist, who had a broken leg played sitting in a wheel chair - leg up in the air. Still remember Amph saying to the Vernon girls when they gave us their sheet music – We don’t read music, but you sing it we’ll play it’. The Vernon girl’s manager was horrified but it all went great that night. No mention of the early 60’s rock scene in Penzance would be right without mentioning – big roll on the drums – be-boppers we give you – ‘Rikki and the Layabouts’. Tell Mann was a member of that group who in later years as a solo folk singer entertained and confused so many holidaymakers with his endless repetition of ‘beauty’. Come on Penzance you had another good group from Newlyn way somewhere, what was their name? The name Hitchen’s Transport rings a bell - ding- dong. I can’t remember what they were called and I’ve lost my plectrum, or was it a drumstick? No it wasn’t the Cyclones they came from Helston way.

ex stag said...

Here’s some info on that 1962 rock contest we won.
NEARLY 1,000 TEENAGERS AT TRURO CONTEST. Staggerlees “Rock” to Championship. It was standing-room only at the City Hall, Truro on Wednesday, when the largest ever audience seen there really let their hair down for a night of Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard-style mass hysteria. Nearly 1000 teenagers were rocking in the gangways for the 1962 Rock and Rhythm Championship of Cornwall, and had the time of their lives. Alan Freeman disc jockey and star of BBC and Independent Television, made an express trip to Truro to help with the judging and make an appearance on the stage. Rhythm groups from nearly every principle town and some from Plymouth and Exeter, competed for the title 1962 Cornish champions. So many people crowded into the hall that the annexe had to be opened out and still crowds stood at the sides and back of the hall. Many of the groups had powerful modern amplifying equipment and the combined noise of electric guitars, drums and the sceaming, clapping and stamping audience raised a pandemonium the like of which can never have been heard before in the old hall. Ambulance men stood ready for fainting females. It was strickly a session for the young and healthly, with no room for tender ear-drums, even at the back. Anyone who thinks that Cornish teenagers lack the spirit of get-up-and-go had an object lesson to the contrary that night. The Mayor of Truro ((Mr. S. J. Sunley) and the Mayoress plumped for seats right in the front of the hall. Their courage can only be appreciated by those who went. Some of the groups on the stage produced professional standard rhythm and Alan Freeman told them afterwards . “Believe me, we have seen and some great talent here tonight. I think, I honestly think, that in a short space of time I may have the pleasure of presenting one of theses groups on disc”. For Boys’ Clubs – The disc jockey had made the 500-mile one-day trip to Truro for a worthwhile cause. Proceeds of the evening, sponsored by Truro Round Table, were £130 gross for the Truro Boys’ Club’s new building fund. One of the club’s members, Charlie Hodder, went on stage to hand a present to Alan Freeman collected by the members in appreciation of his visit- before he was rushed to Truro station to catch a train to London. As his co-judges, Alan Freeman had Chief Insp. J. C. Deacon and the assistant county drama adviser, Mr. David Spinks. They had great difficulty in picking the winners and eventually decided that two groups, the Staggerlees Rock Unit, of Redruth, and the Druids Rock Unit, of Bodmin, were equal,. The two made a second appearance to decide the winners and the Staggerlees carried the evening with and instrumental medley including “Rock-a-Boogie Shuffle”, and “FBI”, and “Tea for Two” as the vocal item. Third place went to Truro’s top group the Manny Cockle Four. An illuminated certificate was presented to the Staggerlees by Alan Freeman. He said that in the play-off it was the fact that the Staggerlees had allowed the singer to get through that decided the judges in their verdict. From the tumult of applause it was clear that they were popular winners. The other groups taking part were the Midnights (Plymouth), the Phantoms (Camborne), the KopyKats (Penzance), the Echoes (Falmouth),The Senators (St.Austell), the Phantoms (Bodmin), the Black Shadows (Plymouth), the Vigilantes (Newquay Grammar Scholl), the Drifters (Newquay), the Harlequins (Exeter) and the Electrons (St. Austell). Mr.Peter Boggia was the compere, and the Chairman of the Round Table, Mr. Colin Fowler thanked Alan Freeman, the other judges, the audience, and everyone who worked behind the scenes to make the championship a success. (From the Cornwall Gazette, Thursday, April 26, 1962).

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Lance Fortune? Wan't he in the Staggerlees in the 60's?

PFF said...

Lance did sing with the band after Dave left. He's still around, living up North.

Check out my other website - - for the full story of the band, including a lot more audio and pictures!