Home.Band Members.Periods.Rooms.
Denny Laine
Clint Warwick
Ray Thomas
Graeme Edge
Mike Pinder
Rod Clark
Justin Hayward
John Lodge
Patrick Moraz
Ray Thomas - Saints & Sinners Business Card
Saints & Sinners monogram
Mike Brassington Home made guitar
Saints & Sinners 1958
Saints & Sinners - Tyburn Methodist Church 25th April 1958
Saints & Sinners - Tyburn Methodist Church 25th April 1958
Saints & Sinners - Tyburn Methodist Church
Saints & Sinners
Saints & Sinners
Saints & Sinners
Saints & Sinners washboard
Saints & Sinners washboard
Saints & Sinners washboard
Saints & Sinners signatures
Saints & Sinners
Saints & Sinners cuttings
Saints & Sinners cutting Ray Thomas joins.   Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Highcroft Carnival
Saints & Sinners Highcroft Carnival cutting
Saints & Sinners Highcroft Carnival
Saints & Sinners Apollo Invitation
Saints & Sinners Apollo Programme
Saints & Sinners Apollo Programme
Saints & Sinners. Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners. Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Signatures. Ray Thomas earliest autograph. Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Fund Book.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Set List.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Carroll Levis TV Audition. Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Carroll Levis TV Audition. Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners TV appearance cutting. Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Ray Thomas  Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners cutting
Saints & Sinners  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners  1959 Band Diary.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners 1959 Band Diary.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners 1959 Band Diary. February 3rd Buddy Holly death
Saints & Sinners Expenditure Ledger.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners Expenditure Ledger.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues
Saints & Sinners home made coffin bass label
Label from inside the bass, plus band expenditure ledger showing parts for repair
Saints & Sinners Acetate. I'll Show My Love is True.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues Mike Brassington
Saints & Sinners Acetate. It's Cold Outside.  Ray Thomas Moody Blues Mike Brassington
Saints & Sinners. Tyburn Methodist Church. 6th March 1959
Saints & Sinners. Tyburn Methodist Church. 6th March 1959
Saints & Sinners Shirley Carnival 1959
Saints & Sinners Shirley Carnival 1959
Saints & Sinners Shirley Carnival 1959
Saints & Sinners Shirley Carnival 1959
Saints & Sinners Shirley Carnival 1959
Mike Brassington Autograph
Ricky Wade Autograph

 

 Mike Brassington (vocals, guitar)
Brian Smith (guitar)
Albert Flaherty (tea-chest bass)
Brian Lawton (drums)
Alan? washboard?
Malcolm Atkins (washboard)

Dave Jones (percussion) - replaced Brian Lawton
Ricky Wade (washboard / drums) - replaced Malcolm Atkins
Ray Thomas (tea-chest/double bass) - replaced Albert Flaherty

 


With inspiration from the great Lonnie Donegan, the Saints & Sinners Skiffle Group, the
brainchild of Mike Brassington sprang to life in March 1958.  An apt title for the group of
young lads rehearsing at the local Tyburn Methodist Church Hall, their appearance in the
school room on the 8th making the local Erdington News paper on 21st  March.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike had recently moved on to Moseley Art School and, taking honours on guitar and vocals, enlisted some pals from Paget Road school, these being Brian Smith also on guitar, Albert Flaherty on tea-chest bass, Dave Jones on percussion and Brian Lawton on drums. The programme for the Grand Variety Concert at the Castle Bromwich Church of England Parent-Teacher Association on 25th April 1958, in the Victory Hall, Castle Bromwich lists another band member by the name of Alan (note: am looking for more info on this).


 

Equipment was very basic to say the least, just one snare drum and not even an amplifier to
their name, just a speaker in a home-made box.    A small 3 watt ‘Elpico’ amplifier was
purchased as soon as funds would allow to give extra volume to Brian’s guitar, to which
he had fitted a pick-up for solo work.

 

With Mike’s mother driving the band to engagements in her
Austin 10, they started to become quite well known in the area,
frequently appearing in competitions and carnivals (such as
Highcroft carnival procession 19
th July 1958), often getting
their names in the local newspaper.  

 

For a time, Malcolm Atkins joined the ranks, on washboard (I assume replacing Alan), however, for some shows,
his place was temporarily taken by Ricky Wade, until his position was made permanent. Dave Jones also
came on-board as replacement for Brian Lawton.

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several appearances were also made at the Apollo Cinema starting on 7th & 8th September 1958, with them quickly running
down the aisle during the interval between films to perform before the audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Thomas & John Lodge (both Paget Road pals) had been frequent visitors to Mike’s Mom’s house, together trying to
compose songs on their piano.  For some time, Ray had talked about his desire to join the band and, with Albert’s diminishing
interest, by 1
st October 1958, the replacement was complete.

With Albert and his tea-chest bass now history, a suitable
replacement instrument was needed for the newcomer Ray.  
Mike then hit upon the idea to design and build a new
single-string electric double bass, complete with microphone
dangling inside!

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

As the band’s fund book shows, out of their modest earnings, they each ‘religiously’ coughed up
sixpence every week to cover expenses.  Each purchase was also meticulously documented, showing
the plywood, glue & varnish needed to finish the creation, and proud they were too of ‘the Coffin’,
as the bass was affectionately known.

 

 

 

The band went from strength to strength and their repertoire could now boast classics such as
Move It, That’ll Be The Day, Red River Rock, Peggy Sue, Mona Lisa, Mean Woman Blues and,
interestingly, Blue Moon and Down The Line (that were recorded by Ray's subsequent band
El Riot & The Rebels).

 

 

 

  

Accordingly, it was time to drop the skiffle tag and the band now went by the name of The Saints & Sinners Vocal & Rhythm Group, perhaps their appearance on stage at the Carroll Levis Discoveries Show (on 24th October 1958) would open up more doors?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 1959 saw a series of enjoyable children’s parties at the AMAC (Aeroplane & Motor Aluminium Castings) in Wood Lane, Erdington and GEC in the Parochial Hall, Broomfield Road.   January 1959 also saw Mike being hit on the head by a bottle thrown from a previous rowdy pub audience, as pictures from the time testify, Mike bravely continuing complete with sticking plaster on his forehead!    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wound hurt little in comparison however to how he felt a few days later when tragedy befell his idol Buddy Holly
in that fateful plane crash on February 3
rd.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last day of February was not a happy one for ‘the Coffin’, for, following a show at the Church Tavern, Aston, Brian Smith’s
father, driving home rather too quickly found that a gust of wind blew the bass straight off the roof-rack of their Commer van,
smashing it into several pieces on the Tyburn Road - the next day was therefore a mad dash to somehow get the instrument
back into working order for their next show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18th April 1959 was a momentous day in Moody Blues history for on this day, Ray, with his Saints & Sinners bandmates
ventured into Hollick & Taylor Studios, Handsworth to cut their one and only disc.  The session was booked for 5:30pm
and enthusiastically they laid down the two tracks It’s Cold Outside (no resemblance to the track from the Present album!)
and I’ll Show My Love Is True, both penned by Mike. The sixpence a week fund was all but used up paying for the studio
time and for the five copies of the acetate, still, it was to mark the start of long and illustrious recording careers.    A copy was
sent to Norrie Paramore but was returned with nothing more to show than an uncanny resemblance on ‘Apron Strings’,
the b-side of Cliff Richard’s next release!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

These two tracks finally got an official release in 2006 as part of the Moody Blues Classic Artists DVD & CD,
which also featured interviews with Mike Brassington.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike recalls one occasion at the Acorn pub, Erdington when, struck down with a sore throat,
Ray stepped in to cover on vocals as “the show must go on”.  Not surprisingly, with his looks and
fantastic voice, Ray went down a storm fuelling his desire to take the centre stage.

 

By June 1959, it was over. Even winning a talent competition at the Navigation pub couldn’t
hold the band together.   Mike went on to spend some time with Albert Eccles (aka Clint Warwick)
in the Rainbow Rhythm Group and a long stint in the Cutaways, playing the Say Mama shows at
Maney Hall, Sutton Coldfield during the early 1960’s.   Whilst Mike’s songwriting and composing
career flourished, his increasing interest in writing poetry led to the publication of a number of successful books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos supplied courtesy of Mike Brassington.

 


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