Ellesmere Hotel in Walken (1963)
l to r are "Ernie", Bernard Southern, Tony Owens, "Jem" Yates, Malc Hurst and Eric White
Jim "Jem" Yates
Church House Youth Club, Tyldesley (1964)
l to r,
Bernard Southern, "Jem" Yates, Tommy Perry
and Eric White, (Tony Owens
The band first formed in early 1961 with Harold Taylor as lead vocalist. At that time they were known as Vince Treemore & the Silhouettes. Well that’s what Harold intended the band to be called but the printer made a spelling mistake on some business cards Harold had printed and it ended up as Vince Tremor & the Silhouettes. The original line up was unusual in the fact that it had four guitarists in it. The line up consisted of, Harold Taylor (vocals), Bernard Southern (lead guitar), Alan Wright (rhythm), Eric White (Bass), Joey, (cant remember his last name) also on rhythm guitar and, Ronnie Stevens on drums. Ken White was the band's manager.
In late 1961 Harold and Ken recruited Jim Yates to replace Alan Wright who was leaving to team up with the Vulcan’s, another local group.
The band rehearsed at the Church Inn in Leigh, playing mainly Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis stuff with some Elvis and Billy Fury numbers thrown in. In fact quite a few Billy Fury songs really, as he was Harold’s favorite singer. The first gig with Jim on guitars was at Hilda Street Youth Club in Leigh. The place was absolutely packed with kids and the group only had one microphone, it was a cheap thing Harold had bought from some junk shop. The problem was we didn’t have a mic stand for it, so, Jim’s dad made us one out of a 12” piece of 8”x 3” floor joist with a brush handle stuck in it. The mic was taped to the end of it.
Harold spent two and a half hours getting ready for that performance and had an unforgettable grand entrance on stage. The gig started with an instrumental (walk don’t Run) and then Bernard went to the mic to bring Harold, (The fabulous Vince Tremor), on stage. And what an entrance it was. He came on stage to all these kids screaming their heads off….. And promptly fell over the mic lead cracking his nose on the floor. It sounds awful but Bernard and Jim almost fell off the stage laughing. It didn’t stop Harold carrying on though even with a broken nose.
Shortly after that Ronnie the drummer decided to call it a day, He was having a lot of hassle from his girlfriend and couldn’t cope with her and the band as well. So we found another drummer, Tony Owens.
He had been at school with Jim and he had a full set of second hand Premier drums that his granddad had bought him that day from Barratt's in Oxford Road. He fitted in perfectly although he was very loud and in the years to come Tony was become the leader of the band after Ken White decided he’d had enough of managing the outfit.
Tony’s first gig was again Hilda Street Youth Club, he had only rehearsed two songs with the group and after two instrumentals, (Walk don’t run and The Cruel Sea), Harold was again introduced to the audience, this time he ran up the three steps from the dressing room, hit his head on the door frame and fell backwards unconscious, Tony had to do an impromptu drum solo whilst the mayhem was sorted.
Playing mainly Youth clubs and wedding receptions initially, at that time, all was well with the band. But, by the end of 1962 Harold decided to call it a day and we were looking for a new singer for the line up. Malc Hurst, another old school friend of Tony and Jim was recruited, mainly because he had long hair and looked good.
Jem and Bernard
Malc was well into Rhythm & Blues and this was to be the direction the band was to take from then on.
As 1963 went on so did the band, going from strength to strength. We got better equipment and were starting to travel further than our own town.
It was in autumn of 1963 that Joey left and the band having changed its name several times finally became The Pressmen. I think it was Tony who thought of that name. Anyway it was the name the group used for the next three years.
The line up was now, Malc Hurst (vocals Harmonica) Bernard Southern (Lead guitar) “Jem” Yates (Rhythm guitar) Eric White (Bass) and Tony Owens on drums.
The band was now, playing places like Wigan Casino, Twisted Wheel, Manchester and Liverpool Cavern’s Wigan’s “Room at the Top” club and the Bolton and Leigh “Beachcomber“. It was because of this that bassist Eric White, who was still at college decided to move on and concentrate on his studies.
The next but not the final member of the Pressmen was Jasper Greehall he became the bass player in early 1964. This line up recorded a single at a studio near the Rising Sun Pub in Hazel Grove, Hoochie Coochie Man on one side and I got my mojo workin’ on the other. Shortly after Jas joined, Malc was replaced on vocals by Tommy Parry. Malc left The Pressmen to join Leigh band The Vulcans.
Over the next 3 years or so we became quite successful on the club circuit as it existed in those days The band were regular visitors to Sheffield’s “Club 60“, “Club 66“, “Mojo” & “Esquire” Clubs.
We appeared at Leigh’s famous “Garrick Club” with acts like The Magil 5 and Les Dawson before he became famous.
Other venues included Birmingham Palais and the Brum Cavern with the Walker Brothers, Manchester’s “Twisted Wheel” “The Cavern” and many other Clubs and Halls around the country.
Heaven & Hell Club Warrington (1965)
l to r Tommy Perry, Bernard Southern,
Tony Owens, Jasper Greenall and "Jem" Yates.
We entered one of the many contests for groups that were held in those days. One in particular was in Liverpool and there was a lot of stiff competition but we won it by 1 point ahead of a local band the Tabs and The Rocking Vicars. At least we thought we’d won till they decided to have a recount of the points and the judges decided the Tabs were the winners and we were placed second. It later emerged that two of the judges on the panel were related to members of the eventual winning band.
There were many funny incidents that occurred while the band were together and to relate to them all would fill a book but one particular one that springs to mind happened one night when we were appearing at the Manchester Plaza.
The stage was three tiers and Tony set up his drum kit on the top tier. We went on stage and all was as it should be until we came to the end of the show when just as we were coming to the end of our last number the drumming suddenly stopped.
I looked around and Tony had disappeared. We didn’t know till we were packing up our equipment and looked over the back of the platform Tony had been set up on that he had fallen over the back and was spread eagled on the floor some seven or eight feet below It could have been serious but it turned out he wasn’t hurt. Didn’t stop us seeing the funny side of it though We still pull his leg about it to this day!
The Pressmen finally disbanded at the end of 1966 playing their last show in December of that year. Bernard and Jas joined other bands and Tommy gave up the business all together. Tony and "Jem" carried on working together forming another band, The Night Train.
It would be 33 years before The Pressmen were reunited again and it was sadly at a memorial service for an old and dear mate of the bands, Steve (Frost) Rothwell. However some good came of that meeting as the band decided to play together again in aid of a local charity. This has led to an Annual reunion concert with the Night Train.
Where are they now?
Of the twelve members who over the years played a part in the make up of the Pressmen,
three are still performing today.
Bernard Southern works in Denmark with a Beatles tribute band “The Bootles”
Eric White is now a member of the clergy with the Anglican Church.
Tommy Parry sadly passed away on December 20th 2014 .
Alan Wright now lives in North Wales;
Ken White is rarely seen but still lives in the Leigh area, as does Jas Greenhall.
Nothing has been heard or seen of Ronnie Stevens or Joey since the mid sixties and sadly, Harold Taylor, the founder member of the original band that The Pressmen grew from, passed away in 1967.
Malc Hurst now lives in St Ives Cornwall and plays with a blues band Nu-Clear Blues and The Dirty Livin Rhythm Band. He also plays with a band in Malta and is setting up a blues duo.
Above left: Seated is Bernard Southern, and L to R Tony Owens, Malc Hurst, Eric White, Jem Yates.
Above right: The Pressmen's brick at the liverpool Cavern.
What about your driver - the man with a post office van complete with coffin handles and the fun we had.
Remember the time in the Church Inn? We had so much things plugged in not only did we blow a fuse but the wires ripped out of the wall, and the time the front axle broke and we could only go in a straight line. To turn, everybody had to get out, lift the van up, turn it and off again.
I remember u played at the Catacombes in Oldham and Hill Stores Dance Hall, Oldham. The drummer was always breaking his sticks.
Stewart Jameson was the driver for the band back in the 60s. Haven't seen Stewart since the last Pressmen reunion about 6years ago. You could write a book about Stewart. He was a real character and one of the funniest guys you could meet We had a great time with him.
As for the band we're still rocken!! Had an impromptu get together at Tony Owens 65th birthday party recently.
We found another old mate of ours recently when Ken White the bands first manager got in touch. After fifty years we had a lot to catch up on when we met up for an evening out in June. Needless to say we had a great night!. The band is planning to do a reunion in the near future with the proceeds going to charity.
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The Pressmen's re-union concert on the 22nd March 2014 is a complete sell out. All tickets for the event were sold within 6 days of going on sale. The band would like to thank everyone for their fantastic response. All proceeds from this event ... Read More
The Pressmen's re-union concert on the 22nd March 2014 is a complete sell out. All tickets for the event were sold within 6 days of going on sale. The band would like to thank everyone for their fantastic response. All proceeds from this event will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Hi guys. My dad played in a band called the Pressmen in the 60s. Either that or he helped out now and then. His name is William McShane, but he was known as Billy. He grew up in Wavertree in Liverpool. Any memories?
The band played this years reunion on 28th March at Leigh Miners Club to a sellout 300 audience and raised £2500 for Teenage Cancer Trust. The Band also dedicated the performance to Vocalist Tommy Parry who sadly passed away just before Christmas.