La Strada: Having fun with Donald Peers
Brothers Rob and Tom Quinn have many memories of performing at La Strada nightclub, in South Shields.
Rob was the lead singer with The Crusaders (who played regularly at the Coronation Street venue), while Tom was the drummer.
And both recall the crazy moment (captured on band manager David Golden’s camera) when one of the club’s star attractions, singer Donald Peers, joined them for a fancy dress-clad sing-song.
Also pictured enjoying himself was the club’s owner Sandford Goudie.
“One of the pictures shows Sandford on conga drums, with a 15-year-old me (he didn’t know at the time) second from the left playing guitar,” reveals Rob, who still sings, and will be performing two shows at The Customs House, in Shields, in May.
Tom, who is 73, said: “We were wearing daft hats (on the two Donald Peers and Sandford Goudie-related pictures) because we were doing Latin modern. Donald Peers was in a party mood and started singing and playing tambourine with us.
“Sandford grabbed a conga drum, and joined us as well. I think it would have been about 1967.”
Tom said The Crusaders were a local group who became one of La Strada’s resident bands.
“As well as Rob and myself, the bass player was Dominic James, the guitarist, who was wearing the tall hat in the photo, was Ed Haws, and the keyboard player was Len Singleton.
“The resident band changed several times, but the main band was the Ken Maddison Trio. Ken was also the musical director for Tyne Tees Television.
“We rotated band players so the music would never stop. We would jump in, one at a time, so that there was a different band on stage at the end than there was at the beginning.
“We played there regularly, Sunday lunchtimes, Monday nights and Friday nights.
“Later on, we did a Saturday night at the Sunderland La Strada.”
Donald Peers was a popular Welsh singer who is best remembered for his rendition and signature song In a Shady Nook by a Babbling Brook.