The Blue Dukes


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heres a photo of ''The Blue Dukes'' band, based in Walthamstow mid 60's.




22 Feb 2009 - Hi, I am Howard Watling, a friend of John Knowles, as I founded the Spartans Rock Group.
I am interested in your picture of The Blue Dukes, because I bought my first Electric Guitar (a Hofner club 50) from Johnny Erkert (Urquhurt?) who was the Lead Guitarist with the Blue Dukes. Their Bass Guitarist (Ken ?) lived in the first road on the right going down Walthamstow High Street, from where, for a time a guitar teacher, who went by the name of Al Bernard, (real name Allen Bernard Coyne) taught many aspiring Guitarists on Saturdays, myself & Johnny included. He was a Jazz Musician, so I used to have to learn Jazz, re-time it as Rock'n'Roll, then go back next week & play it to him as Jazz.
Johnny was an excellent, guitarist & the night I arranged to collect my Club 50, the Blue Dukes were playing supporting Johnny Kidd & the Pirates at the George Moneaux School. The arrangement was that, as I had already paid for it, I collect it during the interval, after they had finished their set. During the interval, John came over & introduced Johnny Kidd's Guitarist, to ask whether he could borrow my Guitar, as the Pirate's kit had not turned up, & so they borrowed the Blue Dukes gear, including my guitar for the night.
Other local bands were The Starliners, from Highams Park.
(From Memory Mick Dewey; Bass, John Grindley; Rhythm, Roger Crooks; Lead, & Barry Raven; Keyboards. I can't remember the Drummer or singer, but they used all Fender Guitars & Amps)
Dale Martin (or Stevens?) & Group 5, with Tony Atkins who lived near Simmons Lane Bridge , Friday Hill (played a Hofner President). Their singer was called Colin, & played an Electric solid Ukulele.
The Gunners, who used to play at Wellington Ave Youth Centre, with a Lead Guitarist called Kenny Rio, & a Bass Guitarist who used to also play Malaguena on an Electric Guitar. I once saw Jimmy Page there standing in for their regular guitarist, & he was kind enough to show me a few tips in the interval. This was before he became famous, but he was still Brilliant, & very encouraging.
They used to play venues like the Bell Walthamstow, Heathcote School etc.
If any more come to mind, I will let you know. I would be glad to hear from any of the above, or anyone who remembers seeing the Spartans, but doubt they will remember me. Yours sincerely,
Howard Watling email


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