Your memories of the All Stars band

The Charles Crookston All Stars.
The Charles Crookston All Stars.

The picture of the Charles Crookston All Stars band, which appeared in Time Of Our Lives, has certainly revived fond memories for lots of readers who have been in touch.

After Mr Crookston’s son, also called Charles, identified the band, other people have made contact to name many of the All Stars or simply to say how wonderful their music was.

One of them was Maureen Buckingham who wrote: “After seeing the photo of the dance band in the Gazette, I can help out with the names of the musicians.

“My dad was Jimmy Reed,he was the drummer, though he is no longer with us as he passed away in 1993.

“He, along with my mam, who played accordion and piano, played in bands since their teens.

“There was also Stan Stokes, on guitar; Bobby Alton, clarinet;Charlie Crookston, on bass and Ronnie Simpson, on piano.

“I’m not sure about the man on the front row, right hand side, but he could be Ronnie Nesbitt. I believe the man with the accordion was Bill Marley (though Charles thinks it was his dad).

“I hope I was of some help.”

Anne Pellow remembers the All Stars with a real affection.

“It was a fantastic band,” said the 76-year-old.

“They played everything, from the London sounds of the 60s to every type of dance music you could imagine, such as the quick step.

“I got the shock of my life when I saw the picture of the band in the Gazette, it brought back lots of happy memories.

Anne, whose maiden name was Spowart, said she remembers the band when they played in the 1960s, when she was 18 or 19 years old.

“I went to the dances for about seven or eight years. Everyone could do all the dances.

“Everybody dressed most beautifully, both the men and the women.

“The mean wore shirts and ties, with polished shoes and lovely hair cuts.”

The women, she added, were just as dapper.

I asked Anne who was her favourite singer from that time, and she was quick to answer Frankie Laine.

Frankie Laine, who was born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio, was an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned 75 years.

His hits included That’s My Desire,Mule Train, Cry of the Wild Goose, Jezebel, High Noon and Rawhide.

Who was your favourite singer from yesteryear?

Lance Liddle wrote: “I’m pretty sure the pianist was Ronnie Callaghan, who earlier had led his own band, The Ronnie Callaghan Big 8, to the national finals of the Melody Maker Dance Band contest.

“Because of union differences between the British MU and the American AFM, American bands didn’t play in England until the mid fifties when bands such as Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Count Basie and others played regularly at the Newcastle City Hall.

“On a different tack, I remember Marcelle Oley from when I was about 15. I think the last time I saw her was in The Latino club where she may have been a waitress.”

Bobby Burn took to Facebook to say: “I’m sure the Kings Hall was at the back of the Golden Lion and next to the Black and Grey.”