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Frank Jackson Bass Guitar

I have no photos or details of the early days, as they all got destroyed a long time ago, including my band suits.

FRANK JACKSON bass 1961  

About the group The Hi-Fi’s I can’t really remember much, I have trouble remembering 2 years ago, never mind going back 50 years.                                                                                                                                                               

Born 11th April 1940 in Sunderland, for some reason the family moved to South East London. I went to Sydenham Junior School and later on I attended Tavistock High School in West Croydon. I’m from a family of five. Mum and dad came from Up’t North and I have a daughter Yvonne Sheila Jackson, who lives in Germany.

I first started to play the double bass aged 14/15  and joined my first group Rod Lyward &The Hot Rods around 1956, because Rod got in touch asking me to join them, I took over on the tea chest bass. The names I can remember in the group then, was Billy Wells (guitar), later on Dave Steel (banjo tuned as a guitar), Alan McIvor (guitar), Dave Bridges ( guitar), Bob Marsh (drums), and a little later on Les Smith (piano). When Les left he then joined Sony Stewart .

When I left the Hot Rods, can’t remember why, I joined The Hi-Fi’s for a short while, taking over after Allan Stainer, when he left 1960. I think it was Brian Bennett/ Malcolm Wright/ Len Ford who came into the shop where I worked, (Radio Component Specialists) and asked if I would join them and I said yes. I also remember rehearsing at Malcolm Wright’s home.

I only remember a few things from then, playing mostly at the Park Lane Ballroom in Croydon. The owner Ed Waller played the piano pretty good and looked a bit like Arthur Askey. Also the Ebbisham Hall in Epsom and Playing The Market Hall in Romford with Neil Christian and The Crusaders on the same bill and Len Ford talking a lot with Jimmy Page, who he was a friend of. The Co-operative Ballroom, Peckham was also memorable as we were on the same bill as Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds. This group then had the now legendary Albert Lee as lead guitarist. Maybe some other dates will come back to me in time, but don’t hold your breath.

After the Hi-fi’s short stint I was asked, along with Ian Duncombe to join Sonny Stewart & The Dynamos. His previous group members had left him due to money problems and his guitarist Pat O’Grady couldn’t keep up the gig schedule with his day job/marriage and had to leave. Ian, me and Sonny recruited Dave Dale (aka Constable) on drums and Roger King piano, both were very good players. The press piece below was probably the Croydon Advertiser which details the group leaving for Germany in August 1961. It was his previous group that had been with him on the TV shows, and sadly we never did any of them.

The full line up was; Dave Dale(aka Constable), drums, Frank Jackson, Fender bass, Roger King (piano),Ian Duncombe(lead guitar) Sonny Stewart vocals(aka  Arthur Champerlain). He was a great showman and singer. Sometimes he drove a 1960 Chevrolet “Impala” We played the US bases Chicksands, Brize Norton, Laken Heath etc and always went down great.

We also played at the US airbases and The Top Ten Club in Germany and appeared with some famous names on the same bill. As I was a huge Bill Haley fan, appearing with him and The Comets was special. Others of note were; Gerry & The Pacemakers-Tony Sheridan and Pete Lancaster, a big act in Germany, also picture below, Carl Wayne & The Vikings

Germany was a great time for me but sadly it all came to an end. I moved back to the UK and got my old job back at Radio Component Specialists, on Whitehorse Bridge, Whitehorse road, Thornton Heath, Croydon. My old boss John Ladd took me back and when he retired I purchased and took over the business.

During this time I carried on playing and at one stage I was in 3 different groups, mainly country bands “Country Scene” was one of them. I remember 3 really good vocalists. John Smith, Colin Fuller, Martin Monaghan, he was Mony from Johnny & Mony. He did great versions of Roy Orbison songs with Brian Shields (lead guitar), Dave Benyon (drums), and me on bass. I did get bored of playing the 2 beat stuff and so;

I joined up with Len Ford and Malcolm Wright as The Chess Set and for 2 or 3 years, played local gigs and a residency at The White Swan in Crystal Palace. I had to give this up when my boss John Ladd retired, due to my excessive workload.

I always kept in touch with Len and Malcolm and spent many good times fishing with Malcolm, a pastime that gave me great joy over the years. My workmate Dave Monk and ex Hot Rod Dave Bridges introduced the sport to me in 1975

I gave the business up in 2003 when I retired, also giving up playing bass, so if anyone would like to buy a black 1960 Fender Precision Bass, please get in touch;

Remembered quite a lot really didn’t I, thanks to some help from Len Ford.

Billy Wells. David Steel. Frank Jackson. Bob Marsh. Rod Lyward. Dave Bridges.

Sonny’s Chevrolet Impala

This picture shows the line up after Ian Duncombe and Roger King left

Malcolm Wright (bottom left) and Len Ford (top left) with Frank circa 1995

Frank Jackson       Ian(Jimmy)Duncombe.        Dave Dale         The Top Ten Club.  Hamburg.  1961     

Frank Jackson. Geoff Pulham. Sonny Stewart.

Dave dale. Pete Budd.

         The Top Ten Club.  Hamburg.  1962   

Sonny Stewart.  Frank Jackson.   Dave Dale.  Pete Budd.

Acadia Tanz Club.  Frankfurt.  1962

Pete Budd.   Sonny Stewart. Dave Dale.  Geoff Pulham.  Frank Jackson.

Top Ten Club.  Hamburg.  1962

These pictures from the German clubs have been supplied by Frank Jacksons daughter. Yvonne Sheila Jackson and Dave Dale

Colin Fuller.   Johnny Eastern.    John Smith.    Frank Jackson.

Late 60’s Frank was a member of; Country Scene, and evolved into Root 5,and shortly after became Pony Express, with personnel changes along the way .The final line-up being;  John Smith (vocals/guitar), Brian Shields (lead guitar/vocals), Dave Benyon (drums),Robin  Perry (bass) when Frank left , he joined The Chess Set with Len Ford and Malcolm Wright.

Picture and details courtesy of John Smith.