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Whisky A Go Go

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
The 60's in Brum were the best for live Mod bands, specially at The Whiskey a Go Go above Chetwyns on the corner of John Bright Street and Hill Street. The whiskey was unique in the fact that not only did the local bands King Bee's, Modonaires, Jugs O'Henry, Moody Blues, Denny Lane, Spencer Davis play there, but also people from the states. "Motown" & "R&B" greats like Sonny Boy Williamson & Ike and Tina Turner sang there. All nighters on Fridays till 8am Saturday mornings and again on Saturday nights till Sunday morning. The owners Chris & Steve Healey were two great guys who were there to welcome us all every night the Whiskey was open. They both wore natty striped jackets as I remember. The original Manager and I recall also the DJ some night's was Ronnie Whicheler, a great guy with thick red hair, a real "dude".
I have been told that Steve still has a book that records all the bands and singers of that time that they booked up, such as The Faces, Long John Baldry & The Steam Packet, and Gary Farr and The Knockouts. I remember Georgie Fame playing virtually all night. They couldn't get him off the small stage until he collapsed with exhaustion, or lack of stimulation's.
Great Brummie characters of the time also frequented The Whiskey; King of the Midland Mods Sean Mahoney (rip), Billy Sutton, Billy & Dodger Thompson (rip), Colin Mythan (rip), Noel Barnes, Chris and Gary Burgess, Jock Ellis, Duffy, Bugsy, Chris Wolsey, Mushy Moriearty, Kenny Frazer, Rob Marsh, Popeye, Dicky Martin, Jonnie Brain, Bobby Summers, Henry O'Neil, Eddy The Jew, Jonnie Hutton, Percy McIver, Tony Baker, Jim Cheesby, Kenny Bull, Dorian Walford. Black H (rip) and Spencer, who were both 60's & 70's local Brummie DJ's with Caribbean and soul backgrounds learnt their trade at the Whisky.
The place buzzed for three years until it changed hands and became the Marquee in 1968. And the chicks that went there were out of this world. One group were called "The Magnificent Ten" which included Esther, Cherrie, Lela, Betty Smart, Pat Smith, The O'Brian Sisters, Linda Walton, Shirley & Oriel Teeger, Viv, Sue Jelly,Heather and Dott. Other male groups of people were nick named "The Martini Set", "The T-set" and the "Coca Cola Boy's". It was cult and leading edge for urban 60's live Motown & blues band music, dance styles and fashions emanated from the "Whisky".
They used to pack in nearly 250 townies and mods onto both floors in those days with no fire escapes only a small front door with narrow wooden steps up to the 1st and 2nd floor's. Live bands on the 1st floor and DJ's on the top floor. Many dudes where "knocked back" at the door if you weren't part of the crowd, as they could not get everybody in the gaff.
People would fall asleep on the wooden floor after they tired from dancing at about 5pm, but the bands and DJ's played on till about 8am. the following morning. Money and stuff all over the floor, came out of peoples pockets, it was like an "Aladdin's Den"
Do you remember that the phrase 'Nice One' which spread all over the country came from the Whiskey? There was a west Indian guy of about 40 (seemed really old then) who used to come up and dance on his own. After each record he would shout 'Nice One' which was soon picked up and used by all. Can't remember his name.
After we crashed out again in the mornings at the KD (Kardoma) coffee bar in New Street, we went on to the West End Dance Hall Saturday afternoon dance. We then had the energy to go to the "All Nighters" at the Town Hall. Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood were classic, along with the other Blues bands of the time. The Whiskey attracted people from all over the midlands, including Coventry and London scene, to dance and hear live music of the era, that was very ahead of pop culture in England at that time! If the Town Hall gigs weren't on, we used to go to "The Twisted Wheel" in Manchester that also played Motown & Blues".

In the summer of 1966 & 1967 you would find most of the guy's and girls of the Brum scene in Margate our favorite haunt on Bank Holidays, the centre of Birmingham used to be empty. it was a mad exodus by scooters, cars, thrumming and by train, jumped of coarse! We used to get of the train too Watford, where the local geezer Phil Manall used to offer us shelter and food after he took us to the local clubs and the "Milk Bar" in Watford High St. Sometimes we would go to the "East End" where another cockney dude Barry Lane looked after us in transit to Margate. Barry Lane also came up to Birmingham and came with us to Jersey in 1968, we made him an honoree Brummie.
In 1968 after the Whisky days ended we mostly took of and all worked the season in Jersey, well that's another story for another day.


Other live Mod band venues we frequented where the "Lafayette" and "The Connaught Suite" in Wolverhampton with Brian & Judy Franklin, the local leader Aggie and his mates.
The Matrix Club, Fortythievs & The Leofric hotel, in Coventry were other great venues where we mixed with the Cov crowd of Terry Green, Terry Shone, Tony Rieley, Paul Gardiner, Paddy McGurk, Guy Marshall ,Freddy McFarland, Rodney Joyce, Jim Snow, Ernie Clark, Wally Parker (rip), Frank Guin, Owen Ferry, Ernie Sower, Tilley /graham Rutherford, Con McGrogan, Dave & Mickey Snape, Brian Fanning (rip) and many more that also joined us at the Whisky agogo and in 1968 in Jersey.


We had a Whiskey reunion in 2007 at Solihull Arden Tennis Club. Organized by Chris & Viv Wolsey and Bobby Summers, 150 original people including the Whiskey owner Steve Healey attended.
The reunion was DJ'ed by the refreshingly knowledgeable Mike Hollis of "Smooth Radio", 40 years after the Whiskey a Go Go closed in 1967. Nobody was knocked back at this gig though!! People came from as far away as Norway, France and all over the U.K. to meet each other again for the first time in all those years. It was a great nostalgic and emotional night . We intend to do it again in 10 years, God willing!!

photo 1 The whisky above Chetwyns
photo 2 Steve Healey one of the 2 original owners & Jonnie Hutton still surfing at the Mumbles South Wales aged 60.
photo 3 Whisky team on the way to the Twisted Wheel Manchester, Top Bobby Summers, Eddy the Jew Smith, Popeye Dave Ladbrook, Jonnie Hutton. Bottom Dickey Martin, Black H (RIP), Jonnie Brain, & Billy Thompson
photo 4 1966 Batterseapark Pat Clarke, Maggie O'Brien, Oriel Teager, Cherry, Christine O'Brien, Glenys and Pauline Lawrence
photo 5 On tour in Jersey 1968; ?, Popeye, Barry Lane, ?, Bobby Summers, Jonnie Brain, Kenny Bull.
 
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bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
The reunion was magic, But can you recall the people in the photos. Some have aged fantastically well and are nearing or over 60 years of age. What is it they say about vintage wine?

1 Rob Marsh in mddle
2 Tony Parker, Chrissy Burgess, Gary Compton
3 Tony Baker, Mickey Johnson, Viv & Chris Wolsey, ? , Kenny Frazier.
4 Chris Wolsey, the notorious Duffy, Bobby Summers
5 Standing outside where the Whisky stood. On the corner of John Bright St and Hill St.
 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Old faces of the 60's Now at Whisky Reunion 2007

Photo 1, Terry Hales, (Cheesy ) Jimmy Cheasby, (Popeye) Dave Ladbrooke
Photo 2, Mushy (John morriaty), Tony Bamford , Eddie Smith .
Photo 3 Roger Bloomfield, Chrissie wolsey, Pete Dodd,Kenny Frazier, ?, Paddy Gill.
Photo 4 Madeliyn Heyfield & Bugsie (John Jarvis)
photo 5 Terry Scott, Freddie Sheppard & ?
 

Patty

master brummie
Great photo's wish I had known about it, have we really got to wait till we are 70 for the next one?
 
M

Mossy

Guest
Bobby do you rember my mates who plyayed at the Whiskey Steve Dolan R I P Mick Dolan Frank on the piano the were called The Cock 'O'Hoops
There was another good band from Kiddy called The Shakedown Sound who also played at the Whiskey

Mossy
 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Great photo's wish I had known about it, have we really got to wait till we are 70 for the next one?
Pattie thanks for your interest, we will be having another get to gether and we are looking for folks that went to the Whisky a go go in the mid 60's. But also whats important is that if people have any photos in that era, to post them online at this site, or send to me at [email protected].
We have a site that has old 60's photos around the brum clubs and many of the "Reunion Bash" last year at :Dancedanser01:


.address: https://whiskeyreunion.snapfish.co.uk/jessops
room code: whiskey

all you have to do is register and give yourself a password to entre and see albums placed on this site.

if and when we have another Whisky Bash I will post on this thread
 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Bobby do you rember my mates who plyayed at the Whiskey Steve Dolan R I P Mick Dolan Frank on the piano the were called The Cock 'O'Hoops
There was another good band from Kiddy called The Shakedown Sound who also played at the Whiskey

Mossy
Mossy I do remember the Cock O'hoops what a good local blues band any chance of a picture or are they on the Brumbeat Site?
 

RobertS

master brummie
Cock a Hoop

Remember them well, even moved that bloody piano. (Midlands Arts Centre and that club under the hotel by New Street Station.) Went to London with them once to lend a hand when they played in Soho. Someone must have a photo.
 
M

Mossy

Guest
Bob unfortunately i have no photo's,sadly Steve Dolan passed away a few years ago,the last time i saw Steve he was playing with Trevor Burton and that was at The Vine aston,he told me that Mick was at that time was a sound engineer for Steve Windwood

RobertS you must have known the well,they teamed with Jimmy Powell to make a record of which i have a copy called ''I CAN GO DOWN'' the did not stop long with him

And went on to be called ''Hard Meat'' and yes Bob that is the name that they are on the brumbeat site

Mossy
 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Just to let you all know that the funeral of the passing off the King of The Mods Sean O'Mahoney.
His Funeral requiem mass was held at Corpus Christi Church Stechford on Thursday the 5th June 2008.
Both his brothers Paul and Timmy where there with his two sisters and his wife and children all gave him a good send off, with many of his old townie mates in attendance. It was very solum affair with a full quire in the church
Sean was buried at Witton Cemetery and was carried from the church in a two horse carriage. His coffin was dressed with just white Lilies and his white cap. The two beautiful black stallion's where draped in the Irish tricolor flag and was a sight to be hold. Sean was laid to rest under two grand poplar trees at the bottom of the cemetery.
The Wake was then held at the Emerald Club in Green Lane Small Heath, where his family and friends celebrated his distinguished life.
 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Just received a great photo of a group of whisky a go go dudes from about 1965/66
Wouldn't look out of place today would it?
The Two guys from the right going left are Billy Thompson and Jonnie Hutton who still surfs to this day at the Mumbles South Wales!
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
hi bob. nice photo and you are right they wouldnt look out of place today. wales:)
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
Here you are Bob, Chetwin's before the Whiskey A Go Go days. At least I can't see a sign, but I don't think it was open in 61 was it.

Phil

 

bobsummers

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Re: Whiskey A Go Go

Thanks a million Phil you have made an old Townie very happy,:):'( where did you come across the photo?
Yes it was open but under another name I think the whiskey came into existence about 1963.

Can any of the crowed remember what it was called before this?

I think it changed its name after Chris & Steve Healy sold it in 1968 to the Marquee.
 

Phil

Retired Layabout
Bob

I have had that one for ages, I thought you were looking for photo's of the club itself. I'm sure I have got another one when the shop underneath was selling musical instruments. Was it still Chetwins then or was it Yardley's?. I'll have another good look for it and see if I can find it.

Phil
 

postie

The buck stops here
Staff member
Bob, acording to my Sister whos older than me, it used to be Laura Dixons dance studio.
 
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