Soul Executives

The Soul Executives was formed in '62 by myself, Ken Knight and Barry Worthington. Prior to this we had been working together as very young musicians from the late 50s in good old fashioned dance bands. Waltzes, quicksteps, that sort of thing. As school kids we earned great money semi pro. In those days there were no such thing as DJ's. All wedding reception, 21st. parties, Church Hall socials etc. booked a dance band for music. There were hundreds of gigs going every weekend. Sadly and incorrectly our general conception of 'electric bands' was not good. They turned up as Teddy Boys, usually did a ten minute interval spot of about three numbers and that appeared to be the sum total of their musical skill. Even worse they pulled all the women. We were more into Miles Davies and Cannonball Adderley.

That was to change when I was reluctantly talked into, on a rare Saturday night off, to go and see some geezer I had never heard of called Alex's Corner. I can still even now after all these years remember the line up. Graham Bond on Hammond, Jack Bruce Bass. Phil Seaman Drums, Dick Hecksall-Smith Tenor Sax, Art Themen Alto Sax, Cyril Davies on Harp, a great girl backing group and of course Alex on guitar and vocals.

My world would never be the same again. Within a week I had bought a Burns Bass Guitar and we set about updating our dance bad. By advertising and word of mouth we eventually put together the line up of:- Myself, Ian Brookes on bass guitar and occasional trumpet and flugal horn, Barry Worthington on tenor sax and flute, Graham Attwood on baritone sax & flugal horn. Bill Conway on vibes, keybords & alto sax. Ken Knight on drums, Dereck Taylor on guitar & bass and Pete Ainsworth on vocals.

Most of the guys with the exception of Dereck Taylor were from a jazz orientated back ground. Dereck I believe had just done a spell with the Toggery five. Not surprisingly we were influenced by likes of Jimmy Whitherspoon, Mose Allison even our own Georgie Fame. Pete was very into the then, not very well known, James Brown.

Bill Conway on Vibes was a monster of a musician. I'd love to know what he is doing now. I did bump into him in the early seventies at a gig at Batley Variety Club. At the time he was at the Leeds College of music. He did a lot of written arrangements, and with the line up we had there were endless combinations.

We did all the usual gigs including the Twisted Wheel and for two years did a Monday night residency at the Bamboo Club in Stockport. Passing it onto Victor Brox and Mike Cotton.

In '66 Graham Attwood left after a spat with Pete the singer, I went on to full time trumpet and we advertised for a bass player. Eric Haydock, fresh from the Hollies walked into a rehearsal and asked if he could join the band. At that time we were being sued by a band from Blackpool called The Executives for passing off as them. We had just done a gig at the Twisted Wheel Blackpool. The real bummer was the writ read that we were pretending to be them and played an inferior music, thus doing them irreperable harm. I understood that the then nationally unknown Ian Anderson had something to do with the band.

Eric understandably wanted to take the lead and with a ready made recording contract it was an opportunity for the band to progress to a full time professional basis. So we changed the name to Haydocks Rockhouse. Not long after the change Eric wanted without Bill Conway, a tragedy, Bill was the best musician in the band, I think it was an image thing. Bill was a bit older than the rest of us. Not long after that I to had a run in with Pete and left to join Gin House.

I later moved to Sheffield, played with various band, including Bitter Suite for five years ending my serious musical career in Hamburg in '75.

In '85 I became licensee of the Bakers Vaults and Bulls Head in Stockport until 2000. Anyone who knew the pubs in that era will know it was the last resting place for many musical geriatrics of the sixties era. Victor Brox, Pete Maclaine and the late Pete Cowap along with hundred of band members to name but a fraction made regular contributions. 

Ian Brookes

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