News Stories

Norman Haines Band

I would like to have details of The Norman Haines Band added to your site. I am Norman Haines and one of the two band members left alive. We only gigged a few times but the bands 1971 album Den of Iniquity is a highly collectable vinyl and much re issued CD.

Line Up

Norman Haines – vocals and keyboards
Andy Hughes – bass guitar acoustic guitar and vocals
Neil Clarke – lead guitar and vocals
Jimmy Skidmore – drums

Den of Iniquity

Wassifa Sound System

Wassifa Sound System was owned and managed in 1972 on Stamford Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham, England by Mykal Brown.

Previous sound members between 70s, 80’s and mid 90s included Errol Mitchell, Big T (Tony Rowe), Big John (John Johnson), Frenchie (Roy Hamilton), Bu Bu (Vincent Johnson), Eric Mitchell, Runnings (Lanzo Hamilton) and Natti (Delroy Hamilton).

We would like to say special thank you to Mrs Vera Brown (The mother figure of the sound), Jahmi Williams (Cleveland Williams), Jahweh (Cornell Brown) and their families for their continuous support and direction over the years.

In the 80’s and early 90’s we had singers and MC’s that use to sing/DJ/toast/rap over instrumentals on our Sound System. Some of these MC’s included Pato Banton, Macka B, Bitty McLean, Apache Indian, Mickey Tuff, Daddy B, Speng Man, Jahbi, Desta, Sister Dan and Bright Eyes.

We are honoured to have selected alongside some of the world’s greatest sound systems.
We’ve listed a few for you, King Jammies, King Stur Grav, Jah Tubbies, Fatman, Stone Love, Metro Media, Jah Shaka, Sir Coxson, Saxon Studio, Luv Injection, V Rocket, Jah Massigan, Jungle Man, Nyah, Quaker City, Jack Ruby, Skippy & Lippy, Enterprise, Baron, Sovereign Sound, Gemmi Magic, Unity Sound, Rapattack, Master Mind, Rampage, Java and David Rodigan.

“Sound systems like Jammy’s Volcano and Black Scorpio kept the public thirsting for more material”….. “A similar process went on in the UK, with the sounds of Saxon Studio, Wassifa Hi-Fi and Unity all offering something different to their Jamaican counterparts”. Sited page 64 from The Guinness who’s who of Reggae, Published 1994, General Editor: Colin Larkin.

Since 1995 Wassifa Showcase (continued by Mykal Brown/Shadi/Mr Priceless) founded I.D.E.A.L Academy which means; Innovation – Development in Edutainment – Arts and Leisure. We continue to assist and develop many projects to this present day. Equipping them with the necessary expertise to get off the ground and maintain their services in years to come.

We have been a key link to implementing further education courses for other legal radio stations such as: Big City Radio, Fusion/New Style Radio, Javani FM Radio, Sparkbeat Radio and Youth FM. Many inner city Presenters/DJs have been educated through these programmes and have since gone on to be a high industry success. Our music library was even used to set up on of Birmingham’s legal inner city radio station called “Choice FM”. Michael Brown presented a range of shows including- Reggae Countdown on Choice FM which then emerged into Galaxy FM.

Following in his father’s footsteps Jelani Brown aka JB also broadcasted on Galaxy FM. He is also one of the selectors for Wassifa and the founder of a community project called ‘The Mixing Lab’.

Ironically both father and son are employed at South & City College Birmingham, Michael as an Assistant Director – Access to Further Education –Community Provision and Jelani as a Mentor to the students.

Other than radio many TV channels, actors and broadcasters have also benefited from our structure and expertise. Our guidance has given many of the above an opportunity to have their material being streamed on TV, radio and the internet.


Formed in the latter part of 1968 the band grew from a four piece to a six piece to include a trumpet and sax. Full line up were Les Marshall (drums, percussion and vocals), who joined following a lengthy tour with Tim Rose. He replaced John Bonham as Tim’s drummer. Richard Pannell (lead guitar and vocals), Andy Abbott (bass guitar and vocals), Geoff Brown (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Dave Caswell (trumpet, flugelhorne) and John Smith – Replaced by Lyle Jenkins (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones).

Following extensive rehearsals and tour dates, Galliard went on to record two albums produced by the now legendery Phil Wainman, and a sampler album.
The first album, Strange Pleasure, (Deram) was much admired by the musical press and by the bands many admirers, however, failed to generate significant sales.
The second album, New Dawn (Deram) also failed to impress the record buying public.
Much was written in praise of their levels of musicianship, and influential people like John Peel said “I spent a couple of fine evenings with them, remembering some of the great records of the early fifties. Galliard have an LP for mid January release on the Deram-Nova label and it should be pretty good”.


Mid-to late 70s rock band that featured Kieth Rimell who went on to be in The Killjoys. The recorded one album called ‘100 Miles From Heaven’ which had a belated release on Garden records in 2003.

This is Groucho In Drag

Never Before

Digbeth Civic Hall (Institute)

The Digbeth Institute is a 2,000+ capacity music venue in Digbeth, which has been synonymous in the development of the British rave music and drum and bass scene.

Capacity: 1,500 (The Institute), 600 (The Library), 300 (The Temple)

A former church and theatre, the venue is now called the Sanctuary and was the original home of Godskitchen`s weekly club nights.

As well as Godskitchen, The Digbeth Institute / Sanctuary  has also played host to famous club nights such as Atomic Jam, Uproar, Slinky, Sundissential, Athletico, Ramshackle and Panic.
Many influential hip hop artists performed at Digbeth Institute  including Redman and Keith Murray.




Designed by Arthur Harrison, it was officially opened January 16, 1908 by the wife of the Pastor of Carrs Lane Church, John Henry Jowett, as an institutional church attached to Carr’s Lane Congregational Church.

In the week that followed, it hosted a variety of acts.

The area which surrounded it was predominantly slums and industrial.

In 1954, the building was put up for sale by the trustees as they felt the building was not needed for its originally intended use. It was bought by Birmingham City Council in 1955 for £65,000 and was used as a civic hall.

The exterior is a mixture of red brick and grey terracotta.The grey terracotta forms the more ornate features of the facade including the three towers, the 1.65 metre tall allegorical figures and the window and door frames.
The allegorical figures are believed to be the work of John Evans, the chief modeller for Gibbs & Canning.
The drawings of the building by Arthur Harrison do not include the figures, indicating that these were probably added in 1909.[2] The building is Grade B locally listed.

People known to have made speeches at the Digbeth Institute include Neville Chamberlain, Henry Usborne, Florence L. Barclay and Herbert Hensley Henson.

In 1987, the building was used as a film studio by the Birmingham Film and Video Workshop for the Channel 4 film ‘Out Of Order’. The venue later appeared onscreen again, when it played a part as one of the main locations in the feature film ‘Lycanthropy’, filmed in 2005-2006.

At the rear of the Institute was The ‘Jug ‘O Punch Folk Club, which thrived in the 60’s. on Thursday nights.
The club was run by Ian Campbell, for me the most under-rated influence in folk music and a man whose influence rates alongside that of Ewan MacColl.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group included the great Dave Swarbrick, Ian’s sister Lorna – whose singing was unsurpassed in Britain and the late John Dunkerley.
The group had also included one Dave Phillips, and later Dave Pegg on bass, who was to join Jethro Tull,
and Fairport Convention

Compiled by Keith Law

Ron Brinsdon sent in this ticket stub of The Fall’s gig here.


Back Street Slide

Back Street Slide at The Railway

‘Back Street Slide’ at The Railway, Curzon Street.
Nigel Jones, Terry Biddulph, Trish Hathaway, Mark Stevens, Keith Jones & Dick Shaw.

Rum Runner



Photo below via Dave Travis “Here’s a photo that I took at the last night at The Rum Runner or ‘Demolition Party’ as it was referred to.”
Last night Rum Runner Demolition Party via Dave Travis






Broad Street

The Rum Runner nightclub was opened on Broad Street in the Birmingham city centre in 1964. It was demolished in 1987.

One of the first ‘house’ bands, playing the cover versions of the day, became Magnum featuring Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin. They left the club in 1975 to play their own material of melodic rock.

Ray Berrow, who along with brother Don, their sister Tissy and another brother, were the original owners. Paul Berrow started at the club washing glasses, as did his younger brother, Michael. Ray and Don Berrow were all bookmakers.

Paul and Michael Berrow, relaunched the club with an eclectic power playlist borrowed from Studio 54 in New York. Roxy Music and David Bowie nights were accompanied by jazz funk nights which were strongly influenced by New York’s Chic powerdisco.

A real milestone in the history of the Rum Runner was when a newly-formed group of musicians called Duran Duran walked in one day with a tape. There was an instant mutual appeal between the Berrows and the band, and the Berrows offered Duran Duran a place to rehearse and play gigs.

The band found themselves becoming heavily involved with the running of the club with John Taylor working the door, Nick Rhodes deejaying for £10 a night, Roger Taylor working as a glass collector and Andy Taylor polishing mirrors, painting and cooking burgers for cash. Duran Duran quickly became the resident band at the venue.

After many months, Michael and Paul Berrow signed as Duran Duran’s managers. The Berrows and the band then formed the Tritec Music company (named after the triangular-themed bar inside the club). The label used the Rum Runner office upstairs from the club as its official address. Paul & Michael’s father was a well known in the Birmingham entertainment scene. Michael mortgaged his house to make funds for their supporting act roll for Hazel O’Connors UK tour.

In developing the club’s musical identity they also gave free rehearsal space to bands like Dexys Midnight Runners and UB40, with The Beat filming a video for their song ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’ taking full advantage of the many mirrors that walled the club.

As time went by they opened more and more different evenings and one of the residents became DJ Dick who later went on to form Rockers Hi-Fi and who now hosts the city’s main Funk Acid Jazz night called Leftfoot, situated at The Medicine Bar.

Notable denizens of the club included De Harriss, Mulligan, and Marlon Recchi of Fashion, Martin Degville and other members of Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Nigel & Jimmy (managers), Al Beard (security), and Liam (general socialite).

A sad picture of the famous seating barrels, and the club being dismatled.

Compiled by Keith Law

31 January 1967 – Eric Burdon. This is interesting because doesn’t bill The New Animals


Pixies at Burberries

[The Pixies at Burberries]


Burberries was the indie place in Birmingham in the mid 80s to late 90s. Home to The Click Club run by Dave Travis it was to be home to Pop Will Eat Itself, Mighty Mighty, Felt, Terry & Gerry and other great Brum indie bands.

Visiting bands included Orange Juice, Primal Screen and My Bloody Valentine amongst many many others.

The Click Club is still fondly remembered and talked about to today.

Benedict Davies has sent a bunch of ticket stubs from Click Club nights (not all at Burberries)

The Roadhouse


THE ROADHOUSE showcases a range of signed and unsigned bands including tribute acts covering metal, rock, pop, acoustic, jazz, folk, reggae, ska, hardcore, blues, funk and r’n’b.

“The RoadHouse Club was first set up on an informal basis for local friends and music lovers after the closure and eventual demoltion of the nearby “Breedon Bar” – for many years the area`s leading music venue.

What had been just a bar in a sports centre was transformed into today’s GREAT venue. From very humble beginnings with decidedly sparse facilities and equipment, we have progressed steadily since 1999 to the stage now where The RoadHouse is widely regarded amongst both artistes and audiences as one of the best live venues in the Midlands.”


L- R Paul Harris (guitar), Matthew Edwards (vocals), Tina Adams (synth), Martin Recci (bass). Nigel Collis (drums) not visible in this shot.


Dance at the Fighting Cocks March 1980:

Dance at Fighting Cocks 1980

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