acknowledged as Britainís premier session guitarist, Big Jim performed
on over 1,000 hit recordings including Billy Furyís Halfway To Paradise.
Big Jim started his career with the Soho Skiffle Group before being spotted by
Vince Eager, in whose band he played in for two months before joining Marty Wildeís
His illustrious career continued when he became guitarist for Tom
Jones for years, before joining James Last for 15 years.
Big Jim writes:
1 Hold Me : PJ Proby
Jack Good produced this classic 1960s record. Oh Boy guitarist Eric Ford was
also on the session and had with him a fuzz box. Before recording Eric
attempted to use the fuzz box and the ensuing sound prompted Jack Good to
comment: "What a bloody awful row."
I had seen Chet Atkins use one and asked Eric if I could have a go. I did and Jack asked me to use it during
the solo of Hold Me. It was the first time one had been used on an English-produced record.
2 Crying Game : Dave Berry
In the late 1950s I acquired a wow wow pedal which I used on a Michael Cox
session of Sweet Little Sixteen, but never since. During the session I thought it
would it would be perfect for the Crying Game and the producer agreed.
3 Itís Not Unusual : Tom Jones
I had recorded other material with Tom before Itís Not Unusual, but they were
never released. This one was his first success and then I played on every record
he made in the following five years.
4 Halfway to Paradise : Billy Fury
I backed Billy on stage a few times and also worked with him when I played in
Martyís Wildcats. As well as Halfway to Paradise I also played on Collette,
A Wondrous Place, Thatís Love, A Thousand Stars, Iíll Never Find Another You, Last
Night Was Made For Love, Once Upon A Dream, Because of Love, Like Iíve
Never Been Gone, When Will You Say I Love You, In Summer, Do You Really
Love Me Too, I Will, Itís Only Make Believe, Iím Lost Without You, In Thoughts of
You, Run To My Loving Arms, Iíll Never Quite Get Over You, Give Me Your Word,
the Billy Fury LP, We Want Billy Fury LP and the Sound of Fury LP.
In his teenage days in Grantham, Lincolnshire, Roy Taylor teamed up with two pals to form the Harmonica Vagabonds, later to be the Vagabonds Skiffle Group.
Roy became infatuated with skiffle king Lonnie Donegan's music and the
Vagabonds became the local teenage flavour of the decade as they filled
the Grantham and district dance halls and clubs with their music and contagious
Vagabonds were to spread their wings when they entered the World Skiffle
Championships, which saw them reach the televised final on BBC Television's
A disappointing second place did not deter the boys and
they were offered a residency at the 2 Is Coffee Bar in London's
It was not long before they were booked by pop Svengali Larry
Parnes, manager of Tommy Steele and Marty Wilde, for a Sunday concert.
The outcome was for Roy Taylor
to become Vince Eager.
This was followed by a tour and the making of an
extended play record, Vince Eager and The Vagabonds.
Clark and Mick Fretwell returned to Grantham and bass player Brian Liquorice
Locking remained in London in search of his personal fame which he found
as a member of Cliff Richard's backing group, The Shadows.
became a household name with over 100 TV appearances on shows such as
Six Five Special, Oh Boy and Drumbeat.
He became a good friend and flatmate of
Billy Fury, and has become a valued supporter of billyfury.com, headlining
at Fury Fest 03 in Newark.
While his recording career was
dogged by the conflict that was to develop between him and Larry Parnes,
Vince did release 14 singles and 5 albums.
Many of today's compilation CDs feature Vince's 1959-61 recordings.
Touring with Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Marty Wilde,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Fury and many more top pop names gave Vince the
opportunity to hone the stage skills that serve him to this day.
death of his best friend Eddie Cochran in a car crash on Easter Sunday
1960 was to prove a turning point in Vince's career.
He was disgusted
with the manner in which Parnes sought to gain publicity from the accident
and he began the process of getting away from the Parnes stable
the years that followed the Parnes era, Vince was prolific on the British
and overseas cabaret circuit, theatre, pantomime and for 5 years he starred
in the Sir Laurence Olivier Award-winning West End musical Elvis.
1986 Vince took up residency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida when, for 12
years, he became a cruise director on luxury American cruise ships.
With his wife Anette, Vince is now based in rural Nottinghamshire close
to his two sons Simon and Christie and their families.
He remains an outstanding performer with a
commanding stage presence and an amazing vocal talent.
This is Vince's own selection of
songs and commentary.
While compiling the following selection I
suddenly realised that the titles would indicate a religious theme.
Whether this is a result of my subconscious taking me back to my youth
as a choirboy I wouldnít know. But I do know they are all songs I love
The Lonnie Donegan interpretation of this
was the first version I sang in 1956. This recording I made in 1963 with
Joe Brown on drums and his late lovely wife Vickie on backing vocals. It
was also this recording, which received the highest critical acclaim of
all my records.
This was always my strongest song on stage
and it was my performance of it on the opening night of the
Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent tour in 1960 that prompted Eddie to come
to my dressing room in the interval and congratulate me. I would make
myself cry when singing it and it worked a treat. On one occasion during
my season with Billy at the Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth, I had to sing
it four times as the audience wouldnít let me carry on with my next
number. It was Billyís suggestion that I record it as a single but
Larry wouldnít let me. Billy said if I didnít then he would. The
rest is history as they say. No I didn't forget the lyrics. I was told
when I started my career that if you change some of the lyrics around in
a song you could claim royalties as the arranger......it's only now that
I forget the lyrics!
This number, and Suspicious Minds, were my
two favourite songs when I toured the world as the mature Elvis in Elvis
The Musical for five years. I couldnít resist doing it when I produced
Happy Birthday Elvis for the BBC in 2005, using a 40-piece
orchestra, an eighty-piece male voice choir and a 40-piece ladies'
choir. It was one of the highlights of my 50 years as an entertainer.
keyboard player Chris Bucknall produces compilation CDs for the
Japanese disco market. I would occasionally lay down vocals for him and
they would be released under strange names for Japanese discos. This one
was as El Vincent and it reached number 1 in the Japanese disco charts.
Sad but true! Apologies to any Elvis fans. It's manic! It tires me
out just listening to it!
Rob began his career in front of the
microphone in the mid-90s, when after a false start as a would-be
guitarist, he realised that his singing was earning more attention.
He took the plunge by entering the pub
and club circuit, where he was spotted by agent Clive Wilce.
Clive booked him into increasingly
attractive venues, where Rob concentrated on a set of 50s and 60s
"I always loved to hear Billy singing on the radio. I can
remember singing along to I Will, Like I've Never Been Gone and I'd
Never Find Another you on Radio Luxembourg, never dreaming that one day
I would be singing the same songs on stage," said Rob.
Clive, who is also a drummer, wanted to form a new band, and
recruited Rob to front the Fury Sound, which now has a settled format of
Ritchie Brookes (keyboards and musical director), Tony Turner (bass),
Paul Newman (guitar) and Mac Poole on drums, replacing Clive, who is
recovering from illness.
Rob and the band headlined on the Friday night at Fury Fest 03 and
Sunnyside 05, and also performed at the Ace Cafť and on a theatre tour.
In October they headline at an Evesham charity night, and they are
back to top the bill at Sunnyside 07 in March.
Rob is also in demand with his solo tribute to Billy, and his 50s and
60s tribute. A new theatre tour in 2007 will be announced.
The three featured tracks are from Rob's album First, Last And
Always, which can be ordered from him on 02929 831907.
His gravelly voice is unique, and has
always provided an immediately- recognisable trademark. No one else
ever sounded like Tommy, and no one ever will.
He was a porter in Covent Garden when
conversations with his friend, singer/songwriter Barry Mason, who was
fascinated with Tommy's voice, led to a recording of Tommy's favourite
song, Ain't Misbehavin'.
This held the number two spot for two
weeks in July 1960, just before his 23rd birthday, and proved to be his
only major hit.
What he missed in registering hits was
more than compensated by the affection with which he has always been
held over four decades, supported by his manager and close friend, Dave
Four of Tommy's classic releases can be
Billy's younger brother, was born on June 26 1943 in the Dingle district of Liverpool.
He entered show business in 1962 under the stage name of Al Trent working with his band
Two years later Liverpool comic Freddie Starr introduced Albie to the record producer Joe
Meek, signed Albie and gave him the stage name Jason Eddie.
His first release was in 1965 on the Parlophone label. On the A-side was a track entitled
Whatcha Gonna Do Baby with the flip side entitled C'mon Baby. His second
release, Singing The Blues, became a top 50 hit Jason in 1966.
Jason had a UK tour with the Walker Brothers, The Troggs and The Mindbenders.
Heart And Soul was released on the Tangerine label in 1969.
Ill health forced Albie retirement from the music scene, but he returned in 1972 with his new band
The Jason Eddie Sound and toured throughout the UK, appearing in big cabaret venues.
After the band split in 1976, Jason
began a solo career, performing his first Billy Fury tribute in 1989 for charity at The Montrose Club in Liverpool.
Jason continues to do tribute shows in the name of his brother, winning
new fans to the music.
His shows have been noted in recent years
for the superb production values, combined with a haunting, soulful
Although Albie is often mainly associated
nowadays with his authentic Billy Fury tributes, his CD I Never Met
Collette is a valuable reminder that he is also a superb performer in
his own right.
Operating from their base in the
north-west, Colin Paul and The Persuaders have gathered a big fan base,
who rate them as one of Britain's best live rock 'n' roll bands.
Fury fans all know Colin as a dedicated,
dynamic performer with an electrifying voice, backed by a superb set of
And as anyone who has met Colin will tell
you without prompting, he's also one of the nicest guys you will ever
Colin was born in Brisbane, Australia on
June 6, 1962, and first became interested in music at the age of four. I
One of his earliest recollections is
hearing It's Not Unusual by Tom Jones. Then at eight, he heard
Elvis's The Wonder Of You, and he was hooked.
Colin heard Billy Fury singing Halfway To
Paradise on Savile's Travels in the mid-70s, saw a picture of him with
Elvis, and set out to find out more about him.
At first, Colin used to record programmes
on tape, which enabled him to hear more of Elvis's and Billy's work.
In May 1988, he began making music
professionally himself, when he formed the Stormbeats.
"We had seven great years performing
the music of the late 1950s and early 1960s," said Colin.
"So popular were the Fury songs that
we did a separate tribute shows under the name of The Fury
The band met Jean and Albie, and Albie
booked them several times to perform their own show, or to back
The Stormbeats split in June 1995, but
two months later, Colin formed The Persuaders.
"We are still performing the hits of
Billy Fury as well as other rock 'n' roll legends and our own material.
"We have recorded several albums,
including a tribute to Billy, and in August 2005 we recorded at the Sun
Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
"Bearing in mind that we also work
each year for the Presley estate, and over her alongside Billy's family,
it just doesn't get any better than that."
The other members of The Persuaders
Lead guitar:Jeff Morgan.
Colin said the great bonus with
performing Billy Fury songs was that they were all singalong numbers.
"As soon as the band strikes up you
can see the audience singing along.
"It's just a great feeling.
Billy will never die, as each song is such a memory."
The band were asked to perform at the
Carousel Hotel, Blackpool, for the second Billy Fury weekend in 1992.
"The rest is history. The
weekends just got too big and we moved to the Metropole," said
By coincidence, Colin had rheumatic fever
as a seven-year-old and spent several months in hospital.
For years, he knew no one else who had
the complaint, until he learned that both Billy and Albie had been
treated for rheumatic fever.
One of my biggest disappointments was
having to call off Fury Fest 04, as I was looking forward to seeing
Colin and his superb band on stage in Leeds.
We'll go some way towards making up for
it at the Sunnyside in March.
of Colin's songs are featured here. He writes:
Click titles below
for individual songs
I Love How You Love
Me: I just love this song. It's always
been a favourite of mine. When I first heard Billy sing it, it
just blew me away. It just goes to show that whatever Billy
recorded, he could make it his own. Running Around:
This song never fails to deliver. Billy rocks. Every
time the Persuaders and I perform this song, it's a guaranteed
floor-filler. The King Is
Gone: A tale of two
kings, Elvis and Billy. They may be gone, but we loved them
through their music and that will live for ever. Without their
songs to life us when we are down, to think of those we love, to dance
to, or to remember the good times, the world would be a lonely place.
Johnny Storme was born in 1957 on the Isle Of Wight, where he still
lives, and his
performances on the mainland have been far too rare.
During his childhood, the jukebox in his father's restaurant was constantly playing hits from the 50s and 60s, so as he lived above the premises, John soon came to know and appreciate the great sounds of Billy, Elvis and Marty Wilde.
In the late 90s, John began learning the guitar, and started singing with the aid of a rhythm guitarist, a bass player and backing tracks - just for fun.
Then in July 2001, John had a phone call from a member of a local band, The Invaders. Their singer had let them down, and he wanted to know if John could help them out. He agreed to do a guest spot on one evening, and in fact had three 20 minute spots at the Shanklin Beach Hotel.
The reception was so good that John was booked for the rest of the season.
In the same month, John travelled to Southampton and spent a day in a studio at the university, where he recorded an eight-track demo CD that he was kind enough to send to me.
In August 2001, John joined the Isle of Wight group The Invaders, and I had the pleasure of seeing their stunning act in Spring of 2002.
Johnny regularly appears with the band at island venues.
was the first performer to record Billy's lost single, I Must Be
Dreaming, after it was featured on billyfury.com
and our Without You CD, for which he
laid down some powerful tracks.
made a surprise appearance to open Fury Fest 03 in Newark, then he
provided us with a very impressive guest spot at Back To The Sunnyside
in Northampton in March 2005.
of Johnny's songs are featured here. He writes:
Forget Him was the
first song that I recorded in a studio at Southampton University. The
backing was produced by David Twigg, who also sung backing vocals on
the recording. His Dad, Allan played bass and is a great friend
of mine. He was in a 70s group called Stevenson's Rocket and was
in the charts. Don't ask me why, but I just needed to record it, and
was gobsmacked when you added it to Paradise Place along
with big name stars.
Be Mine Tonight has always
been a favourite of mine, so much so that I paid a lot of money to get
the backing as close to the original as possible. Zoom Entertainments
produced the recording and a big thank you went out to them and
the session singers on the track for such a splendid job.
I Miss You is one of those
songs that can bring a tear to your eyes. At first I couldn't get past
the first verse! I hope I have done the song justice as a lot of
feeling went into the song and I didn't want it to sound quite like
the Elvis version. I wanted to make it sound like it was from Johnny
Many of us particularly admire John for
his talent in infusing every song he tackles with an extraordinary
Listen to these three
tracks, and learn why we consider John to be so special.
She has been familiar to Fury fans for several
years, however, as she developed
an interest in Billy's music through her manager, Kevin Summerfield.
As well as a terrific voice, she has a poise and
confidence that belie her years, and those who have met will know that
she's a genuinely nice young lady.
She has her feet firmly on the
ground - she's studying A-levels at school in Wellingborough, and she
aims to qualify as a primary school teacher.
Laura also wants to make it as a singer, but she is
a realist and knows that while her ability has given her a flying
start, there's hard work ahead.
Laura loves 60s music and the
lyrics to Legends Never Die reflect Laura's reaction to being shown
video clips of Billy for the first time.
She has appeared at Billy gigs, notably The Empress
Ballroom, Blackpool, after the statue unveiling at the
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool and at Fury Fest 03.
She is also a featured artist at Back To The
Sunnyside in Northampton on March 19.
The three tracks that showcase Laura's talent are
Only 16: Having spent an enjoyable
weekend in Liverpool for the statue unveiling, she was deeply affected
by the murder of a 16-year-old boy - a victim of a drugs turf war in
the city. This is a rewritten version of Craig Doulas's Only 16.
Baby How I Cried:
This is a real knockout -
a superb new version of a Fury track.
Legends Never Die: The updated version
of the song that first helped to bring Laura to our attention.
Baby How I Cried and Legends Never Die initial
production and keyboards by Matt Condon/guitar by Mick McNulty/all
vocals and mixing by Neil Haynes, Parlour Studio.