News Stories

Firebird Jazz Club

Jazz club on Carrs Lane, city centre.

Steve Williams

Jazz Radio presenter with Metro FM, Power FM, PCRL and Premier FM, DJ and founder of Vibe fanzine, which metamorphosed into UK Vibe

In interview:

Mini bio:

Issue 1: January 1993

Issue 1: January 1993

Issue 2: February 1993

Issue 2: February 1993

Issue 3: March 1993

Issue 3: March 1993

Issue 4: April 1993

Issue 4: April 1993

Echoes (Black Music) magazine dated May 22 1993

Echoes (Black Music) magazine dated May 22 1993

The Montanas

The Raymond Froggatt Band

Raymond William Froggatt was born 13 November 1941, Bordesley Green, Birmingham, England and is an English songwriter and singer

Froggatt (otherwise known as “Froggy”) began performing rock and roll in the early 1960s. His band, initially known as the Buccaneers, later Monopoly and ultimately The Raymond Froggatt Band, and whose bassist was Louis Clark of Electric Light Orchestra and Hooked on Classics fame, were signed by Polydor in 1964. However chart success eluded them, although the Dave Clark Five had a No. 7 hit in the UK Singles Chart with Froggatt’s “The Red Balloon” in 1968.

His own version of the song, under the title “Callow la Vita”, reached No. 3 in the Netherlands. Another Froggatt song, “Big Ship”, was a No. 8 UK hit for Cliff Richard in 1969

In the 1970s the band was managed by Don Arden, hoping to break into the United States music scene, but the experience led to the collapse of the band. He later became an internationally recognised country music performer, releasing Here’s to Everyone (1993) on his Red Balloon record label. Froggatt’s autobiography, Raymond Who, followed in 1995.

Wikipedia®  Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

The Lasers

Fronted by Carol Decker before she joined T’Pau, The Lasers were a new wave/pop band called the lasers. They gigged around B’ham alot in the late 1970’s early 80’s.

Thanks to Keith Bates

Alternative Route

Keith Bate has written in:

Am 59 yo. have listened to music since the late 1950’s. First record bought “she loves you (63) been going to gigs since 1973. still go regularly and support new music/bands. I regard Alternative Route as One of the top 20 bands i have ever seen . saw them a number of times around 1980/83. The name said it all they played a kind of “rocked up reggae” in a way i have still not seen equalled. The band’s style was a combination of rock and reggae. A souped up faster reggae with a solid guitar basis for the music. Like the Yardbirds crossed with Bob Marley maybe/.maybe not. Should surely be included on the list.
I saw this band at least 4/5 times . They played JB’s a number of times between 1979/82. The one night remains my fav ever evening at JB’s. They played there set and we shouted for more. They said they had played all the tracks they knew. So we shouted “second set” and he group obliged. The music had a real feel good factor about it. The guys were great. Love to know what happened to them. They should have been huge and were ahead of their time. They deserve a place. Another memory they played a festival of black music awards night at the Albany hotel around 1981. When Alternative route came on they pretty much cleared the dance floor except for myself and our group. A small number of Coloured girls danced around like we did. I asked One of these girls why the group were not popular despite being brilliant She said “some niggers do not appreciate good music”…

The Jazz Tonics

I am part of a duo called The Jazz Tonics, we are a live music act specialising in smooth jazz and contemporary classic.

Please find a link below to our music:


Greyhound Records

Ian Lawton

Hello, im contacting yourselves as i’m representing a Ian Lawton who had a rich and varied career within birmingham and west midlands back in the 70s and 80s, I have enclosed a copy of his profile im sure you may find of some interest, especially of late, many thanks

Ian Lawton, Birmingham born singer songwriter has seen a career expand over 35 years, from the very early age of 7 when he
was bought a guitar at Christmas. He wanted music to be his way of life. At the age of 16, Ian partnered up with his friend Gary Whinnery to form a duo that would see them busking around Birmingham City Centre.

A local BBC Radio presenter named Malcolm Stent had heard Ian and Gary and their music after inviting them along as a support act at the Tyburn House in Birmingham, which then saw them supporting at the Old Sollihullians club.
Malcolm Stent then invited them along onto his show “” The Barmaids Arms ” at the BBC Pebble Mill Studios, Birmingham to record various self written tracks for the show “The Barmaids Arms” was a highly popular show which had seen some of the biggest names from the Birmingham music scene play live.  The show proved so popular it began being aired on BBC Television.

A few weeks later whilst playing in the city, a well known Birmingham artist had walked by and heard Ian and Gary. They were invited to become a support act for Raymond Froggatt, which granted them the opportunity to appear at such venues as The Birmingham Odeon and The Wolverhampton Civic and other major venues, commanding large audiences.

Ian then went on to co write songs for Raymond Froggatt which also saw Lawtons and Whinnery`s unfinished song “Through Sorrow Through Pain ” being completed along with Froggatt as co writer and was included on the album “Frog Live at the Birmingham Odeon” . The song “Through Sorrow Through Pain” was later released as a single by Lawton and Whinnery with the B Side being “Being Lonely” Produced by Grammy Award winning Producer Bob Lamb of UB40`s” Signing Off”

Ian also provided the backing vocals throughout the album “Is It Rolling Bob” having co wrote the opening track “How The Eagles Fly”.

Lawtons and Whinnery `s careers soon saw them headlining a summer season in the Isle Of Man. It was during this time due to being mismanaged they decided to part ways. Ian then went on and formed his own band named “The Catch” consisting of Ian Ryan, Clive Grouse, Jason Kirby, Alan Watson and Bob Lawton, who worked together over a period of six years.

As time went on The Catch members went there own ways and Ian fell into ill health which led him to be in need of a few years of respite having undergone major lung surgery.

Ian also saw himself having an association with one of the UK s biggest reggae bands for a number of years.

In 2003 Ian relocated to Somerset, U.K and adopted Clevedon as his home town along with his children after a split with his long term partner. It was then he decided he wanted to be part of the music industry once again. He then built his own recording studio at his home.

He then penned his single “Break These Chains” and upon a coincidence for the first time in 10 years he met back up with Ian Ryan who agreed he would put guitar onto the new song ” Break These Chains ” which is even now proving to be popular receiving radio air play all over the world.

Ian knew in his heart he would like to reform his old band which he did but without Jason Kirby who was the percussionist/ saxophonist and keyboard player of the original line up of The Catch. The return saw them play a one off gig in aid of charity which proved a success, the band had travelled from all over the uk for the one off special show.

Members of the band went on to forge there own careers as they had and still are known throughout the industry , Clive Grouse had success with the biggest tribute act to UB40 namely “Rats in The Kitchen” which took him touring all over the world, he had also been a stand in musician for the likes of Jools Holland and Black Sabbath.

Ian Ryan who is also an accomplished musician had seen success also playing along some well known names such as Chris Moore. Ian continued writing and yearned to be given a break and in 2013 was asked by to add melody and music to a poem President Shimon Peres had written called “Ray Of Hope” which was released on a worldwide charity cd which was released June 2014 and saw Ian representing the U.K with his soft reggae version which is now receiving worldwide reviews.

Throughout his career Ian has met some of the worlds biggest stars, the likes of Johnny Cash and Ruby Turner , Hoyt Axton, Mike Sheridan and the Knight Riders, Robert Plant and Robin and Ali Campbell amongst many others

Ian will also be appearing in a music video to be announced soon…………

His new album, due out soon is written from the very heart and soul and core from experiences with 70 s and 80 s rock, Soul and Reggae blended into one stunning new album “The Chains Have Broken”

Copyright 2014

The Redwoods

60s folk trio

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