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ESCORTS, THE (1)

Last updated: 03-10-2017

Lead Vocals: Mike Prior Jan62-Jan64

Guitar: Alan Drake Jan62-Feb64

Guitar: John Nockolds Jan62-??63

Bass: Peter Carter Jan62-Jan64 (2)Bernard Barton Feb64

Drums: Dennis Scott Jan62-Nov62 & Nov63-Feb64 (2)Ricky Meek Nov62-Nov63

           

Drake had a vast musical background playing piano, violin and trumpet before picking up his first guitar at the age of fifteen. He began jamming along with school friend Barry Fats Dean, later of King’s Lynn outfit The Tea Time Four and later The Brian Auger Trinity.

 

Drake formed The Escorts in January 1962 and the band’s debut gig was at The Assembly Rooms, Swaffham the same month. The group at the time rehearsed in a small damp room in King’s Lynn’s town centre. Drummer Meek said,  “The only power source was that of the light socket from which the band would run an adaptor. Mike would often turn up in wellington boots and rubber gloves to insulate himself during the rigging up of equipment.”

 

Meek had replaced original drummer Scott who had joined The Sabres in November 1962. Before turning to drums Meek had been a solo vocal, guitar act. “I had started singing and playing with my dad’s band The Snettisham Hillbilly’s and later auditioned solo for Anglia TV’s, Showdate 61 but I didn’t really enjoy the guitar, or singing for that matter and when the audition rejection letter arrived from Anglia TV, I traded in my guitar for a drum kit,” comments Meek.

 

In early 1963 Nockolds moved on to join The Pagans and the group continued as a four piece. In July 1963 the band perform Some Other Guy and Twist & Shout on Anglia TV’s, Junior Angle Club. “The popularity of the Mersey sound had really started to catch on, so we began to drop much of our old rock’n’roll repertoire in favour of the new sound,” said Drake.

 

In November 1963 the group’s manager Alan Lockwood convinced Scott to return on the drums. Meek finds out via Sabres guitarist Tony Relph, who rings him to convey that Scott will be re-joining The Escorts that evening and would he like to join The Sabres who were also gigging that night!

 

In December 1963 the group travel to The Gaumont Theatre in Ipswich to audition for Iain Hines who was representing The Top Ten Club, Hamburg, Germany. The audition didn’t go well and this one event appears to be the catalyst of the band’s downfall, despite their local popularity.

 

In February 1964 The Escorts’ profile appears in the LN&A as contenders for the LN&A Challenge Trophy Beat Poll for the best local beat band with Prior up for the area’s best singer. However, before the competition had reach fruition Prior jumped ship to The Tea Time Four. An additional nail was added when Carter left to join The Sabres (who had incidentally passed the same audition but their bass player couldn’t get the time off work). Undeterred Drake added Barton and took the new look Escorts trio to France. However, the tour and the band come to an abrupt end when Scott came down with Peritonitis; from here Barton went on to join The Tea Time Four and Drake The Sabres.

           

Selected advertised supports:

12/01/63 King’s Lynn Corn Exchange - The Flee-Rekkers

29/06/63 The Gala Ballroom, Norwich - The Eagles (UK)

24/08/63 The Gala Ballroom, Norwich - Rel Jason & The Bluestars

12/10/63 The Gala Ballroom, Norwich - Rod Price & The College Men

06/11/63 King’s Lynn Corn Exchange - Dave Berry & The Cruisers

23/11/63 The Gala Ballroom, Norwich - The Druids

20/12/63 King’s Lynn Corn Exchange - Shane Fenton & The Fentones

31/12/63 The Gala Ballroom, Norwich - Grant Tracy & The Sunsets / The Clearways

 

Tours:

France 1964 (More details required)

 

Mediography & TV:

Anglia TV Junior Angle Club ~ Some Other Guy & Twist & Shout

Recorded 29/07/63 broadcast aired 02/08/63

 

Bibliography:

From Maids Head To Hamburg By Rick Meek

Self Published 2007 ISBN 9780955600101

 

(Scott - Volcanoes) (Carter - The Starlights) <> (Nockolds - The Pagans) The Tea Time Four / The Sabres