The Toffees were a Hartlepool band who stuck in the memory
If you were into the town music scene in the early 1960s, you probably danced the night away to this rhythm and blues band, which later developed its pop image.
They were 16-year-olds who first played in the Rift House Social Club in 1963. They went down a storm.
As they grew, they shared the bill with The Zombies and The Kinks (Ray Davies and all) just after they released You Really Got Me.
You name a town venue, The Toffees probably appeared there. The Rink, Red Admiral, Pink Domino, Queens Hotel, Catcote Hotel, the Olde Durhams Club.
Robin O’Carroll, now a 69-year-old dad-of-two, grandfather-of-two and great grandfather-of-one, was lead guitar and vocals.
Alan Lindridge (keyboard, guitar, vocals), Ray Stuart (lead vocals) Iain ‘Jock’ Campbell (bass guitar, vocals), Kenny Burgess (lead vocals) and Mike Kirton (drummer) made up the rest of the original line-up.
Fred Lawson was the equipment technician.
Ray and Robin had known each other since they were seven and “got our first guitars when we were 12,” said Robin.
Their influences were the top Hartlepool bands at the time such as the Hartbeats and the Rock-Avons.
The Toffees were good and “hit the road” in 1964, developing their act as they went.
“We travelled all around England doing gigs and we made a demo disc in London,” said Robin.
It had a cover of Around And Around by Chuck Berry on the A side with She’s Gone (an old Cliff Richard song) on the flip.
It was never recorded but, thanks to the group’s first manager Eddie Leighton who got The Toffees into the studio, it remains as a reminder of the band, which stuck together for four years.
The line-up changed. Many have passed away, such as Eddie Leighton and fellow manager Ken Tyzack, drummers Mike Kirton, John Madge, Mick Rafferty; lead vocalist John Pontone, and Kenny Allen (bass player and vocals).
But some – Jimmy Fawcett, Ray Stuart, Robin O’Carroll and Alan Lindridge – re-united at the Cosmopolitan in Hartlepool this month.
Sadly, it could have been a final hurrah. Robin, who is staying in Scotland and who emigrated to Calgary in Canada with his wife Veronica in the 1970s, admitted: “I look on these guys like brothers.
“The reunion was very emotional for me.”
But Robin does have one question. Can anyone help trace Kenny Burgess, Jock Campbell, manager John Boagey and lead vocalist Eddie Saul? Perhaps Hartlepool Mail readers could help.
Contact Chris Cordner on (0191) 5017473 or email [email protected]