Shep's Banjo Boys 

We used to got to the Parakeet Coffee Bar and spend all night with one cup (6d)of coffee, and later frequented the Left Wing Coffeee Bar.

When I was about 16 (1961) played (banjo) at the Black Lion Hotel, Blackfiars St. upstairs with the Ian Rose Jazz Band (Thursdays) and The New Iberia Jazz Band (Sundays). 

Later (1963) joined The Savannah Jazz band who were resident at the Manchester Sports Guild for some time (Fridays I think). The guys in the middle bar often had weekend parties so we were usually invited "bring your banjo" of course and we would rush to Picadilly Station to catch the last train to Hayfield where the guys had a cottage in the hills. We would play till the early hours often stood on the wall playing to the sheep and neighbouring farmers.

Being a musician I didn't have to pay to get in so would spend a lot of time at the MSG. I also used to go upstairs on a Monday where Frank Duffy ran the folk singers club and play some banjo solos.

After a short spell in London returned to join Shep's Banjo Boys and played at the Golden Garter for 3 years.

My first job (1961) was at the CPA on Oxford Street so lunchtimes were spent in and around the music shops- Barrats, Renos, Mameloks, Stock & Chapmans, Johnny Roadhouse.

I was brought up in Longsight and Mike Maxfield (Dakotas) lived opposite in the corner shop for a while but he was into pop music whilst I was into skiffle and jazz. We have met up many times since then.

I got my first guitar when I was about 9/10 having heard Rock Island Line by Lonnie Donegan and often wonder if my dad hadn't bought me a banjo for my 11/12th birthday I would have stayed with the guitar and probably played with one of the Manchester groups! 

Charlie Bentley - 15/9/10
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