The Sample Folk

 Line-up included 

  • Keith Hull - vocals
  • Phil Strange - lead guitar/vocals
  • Roger Wilson - rhythm guitar/vocals
  • Geoff Phillips - bass
  • Roy Whittle - drums 

In 1971, I answered an ad in the Manchester Evening News' Bands, Musicians and Artists column for a "Gen Bass Player." Before long, two of the guys came round to my house, took me to the pub, told me what the crack was, brought me home, listened to me play unamplified while they sang a couple of numbers, and I was in.

Phil and Keith, who previously had played with Mummies Darlings, were seasoned musicians, having played in Germany in the sixties. They had lots of very entertaining tales of what went on in those days. Phil had also been a member of Three Speed Walking Stick.

The band started life in the world of folk (hence the name, even though they had "The Sample Five" on the bass drum) but became a great cabaret band.

They had a Friday night residency at the Fiveways hotel in Hazel Grove and also played the club circuit around the North West. Most of the gigs were from honest agent Pop Siddall.

The band always went down well, probably because they gave the audience what they wanted, as well as having some fantastic vocal harmonies.

Roger Wilson played an unusual Mosrite guitar (wonder if he's still got it?) which had the narrowest neck you ever did see. Phil had an early 60's Strat (wonder if he's still got it?) This was the first band in which I used my 1962 Fender Precision bass, the best £65 I ever spent (I've still got it!)

The band had a regular Friday night following at the Fiveways. including a bunch of high-spirited local divorced ladies. The Sample Folk WAGs had a name for them - "The Cows."

These evenings were ususally fuelled by copious quantities of Greenall's bitter and the new exotic Grunhalle lager, which made for some spectacular arguments, usually between Phil and Keith.

I always remember one incident when Phil had one of his rows with Keith, which ended up with him announcing he was leaving the band. He angrily picked up his Vox AC30 amp and carried it off the stage, announcing he was never coming back. He didn't get very far as it was still plugged in to the wall socket. Cue much mirth from all the observers!

At this time, I had yet to pass my driving test so the others had the dubious honour of having to pick me up from Urmston and drop me off after the gig. I shudder when I think of these 80mph homeward journeys with a Gallon-of-Greenall's inebriated bandmate at the wheel.

The band folded after I decided to leave the band when I was offered a job with Warrington/Northwich based Barnaby Rudge, who were all set to become a pro band. Watch this space for their story.... 

Geoff Phillips 

Songs I remember doing with the Sample Folk

  • Malt and Barley Blues
  • When I'm Dead and Gone
  • No Matter What
  • 59th Street Bridge Song
  • Love Me with All of Your Heart
  • Voices in the Sky
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
  • Keep the Customer Satisfied
  • Yellow River
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Brown Sugar
  • I Hear You Knockin'

Gigs I remember doing with the Sample Folk

  • Fiveways Hotel, Hazel Grove
  • Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
  • Mersyway Precinct Bandstand
  • Lloyds TV Social Club. Droylsden
  • Ram's Head Disley
  • Atherton Labour Club
  • Cherry Tree, Runcorn
  • samplefolk1



Comments powered by CComment