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Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s

ChrisJBrady 20 Nov 11 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 20 Nov 11 - 07:04 PM
ChrisJBrady 21 Nov 11 - 07:12 AM
GUEST,roderick warner 22 Nov 11 - 06:54 AM
ChrisJBrady 29 Nov 11 - 08:11 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Nov 11 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,roderick warner 30 Nov 11 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,k 30 Nov 11 - 12:51 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 30 Nov 11 - 01:00 PM
John MacKenzie 30 Nov 11 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Mike Byrne 04 Nov 12 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 15 Jan 13 - 11:39 AM
Mr Red 16 Jan 13 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Jeannie Williams 23 Mar 13 - 08:40 AM
GUEST,jeannie williams 13 Apr 13 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,roderick warner 13 Apr 13 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Jeannie Williams 18 Apr 13 - 02:13 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 15 - 01:00 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 15 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,John Jeffries 13 Jul 15 - 03:32 PM
The Sandman 13 Jul 15 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,John Jeffries 14 Jul 15 - 05:34 AM
GUEST,Roderick warner 14 Jul 15 - 10:45 AM
GUEST,Guest Rory 15 Jul 15 - 02:19 AM
GUEST,Roderick Warner 15 Jul 15 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,CJB 13 Oct 15 - 01:34 AM
GUEST,GUEST Emily Hall 08 Feb 16 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Christine Hollis 22 Jul 16 - 07:52 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 16 - 11:46 AM
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Subject: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 20 Nov 11 - 06:10 PM

Here are some remarkable photos of the Roadstars - the Hollis Brothers - busking in Leicester Square in the 1960s. On lookers include Warren Beattie, Tony Hancock, Kenneth Moore and Joan Collins. Click on each image to go to the next.

http://rfillary.jalbum.net/Roadstars/

http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/F3282977?thread=5639048

The Hollis Brothers were not only famous for their Egyptian 'sand dance' but also their step dancing; and for being the most arrested buskers in London.

Clips of them dancing can be found in the BritishPathe archives. Here the Hollis Bros of Roadstars performing a step dance.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=47554
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=46509

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=2323
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=2325

In the latter two on the steps of the French pavilion we see buskers performing: The Road Stars do a kind of Egyptian sand dance; Cyril Jackson plays his one-man band; three ice-skaters perform on a tiny ice-rink stage.

Does anyone remembers the buskers of old, there used to be another group The Happy Wanderers...

Wonderful stuff. Now all gone.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 20 Nov 11 - 07:04 PM

I knew Ronnie Ross and his wife very well - got acquainted when I started busking in Leicester Square in 1966, after Don Partridge, Alan Young and Pat Keene rejuvenated the busking pool with younger blood. Used to stay with Ron and Peg at their place in Kings Cross when I left London and was passing through.
More photos of Ronnie and Peg in our book: 'Don Partridge and Company' - a threeway between myself, Don (who unfortunately died last year) and Pat Keene. Pat started out busking in Paris in 1961, knew Dick Farina who played with him occasionally, the wonderful Alex Campbell and Derroll Adams. He put Davy Grahame up for a while and Davy bottled for him! Pat was also a photographer and took lots of photos round the West End in 1968 for a project that never materialised. All these are in the book - Ronnie solo with his tapedeck and amp in Leicester Square and lots of old and young buskers of the time. Stuff that has never been published before. The book has photos and stories from the Albert Hall Buskers Concert in 1969, when Don, The King of The Buskers, One Man Band Supreme, after he became famous from his hit record 'Rosie' (and 'Blue Eyes' etc) hired the place to put every busker he knew young and old on stage and sold out the joint. I played on that gig and am on some of the photos - along with Meg Aikman, Paris Nat who compered, and everyone else - including some good shots of the Happy Wanderers Jazz Band. Apologies for shameless plug! There is a blog about the book which we published for print on demand with links to buy it

http://donpartridgeandcompany.blogspot.com

Three young men who hit the road with their guitars and music - one of whom became famous.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 21 Nov 11 - 07:12 AM

Hi Roderick. Maybe you could apppend your post to the thread at:

http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/F3282977?thread=5639048

I'm sure they like to know about your book. (That is if you can create an account - I tried to join and failed!!!)


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 06:54 AM

Thanks for the thought - I know the site as came across it when I was doing some back research on the Road Stars. Didn't join at the time - but think took your tip and gave it a go. I can't get on either! (I know a guy who is a member, John Lawrenson, so may see if he can help.
Good to see the Road Stars remembered. The Happy Wanderers were a miserable bunch, it has to be said, but Ronny Ross in particular was a wonderful man. When he gave up busking in London (got too heavy in the seventies for a variety of reasons) he used to go to Paris a lot and could be seen working the terraces of the Deux Magots. The French loved him!


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: ChrisJBrady
Date: 29 Nov 11 - 08:11 PM

There is newly available film of the Happy Wanderers at

http://www.eafa.org.uk/catalogue/3153

"Documentary about 'The Happy Wanderers', a band of buskers who performed in London's West End.

The film begins with shots of a tower block and housing estate. One of the buskers gives his views on life - the importance of thinking, the need to be intellectually honest with children, the neglect of family members in old age. He speaks of his love of classical music (Stravinsky, Beethoven) and art (Picasso) and reads Homer. There is a scene of him eating breakfast with his wife and young son. A performance to audiences in Leicester Square follows. The band go into a pub where they play darts and dominoes. A band member gives her views on the role of women and her ambitions - "I would have liked to have been a mortician, prettying the bodies up". They play while people in the pub dance."


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 04:42 AM

I vaguely remember a guy who busked with guitar and budgerigars, There was a string hanging from the guitar headstock, and the birds would climb up from the ground, while he played, and sang.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 12:49 PM


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,k
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 12:51 PM

The guy with the birds is


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 01:00 PM

Apologies for abortive posts above... on my phone which is doing odd things.
The bird man is Don crown the budgie man who is still busking, I think
. He has a web site if you Google him.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 30 Nov 11 - 01:14 PM

Thanks


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Mike Byrne
Date: 04 Nov 12 - 12:35 PM

Hi,
There is a very short clip in the video on You Tube :Title:
Old London Trafalger & Leicester Square 1955.
I was a great fan of the Roadstars in the early 1960's. Often watched them on Saturday nights in Leicester Square outside the cinema. Their performance was always better than the film we were queuing to see !!
When we saw them, there was a woman on the accordion. I liked the bit where one of the guys would hail a passing cab, while showing his knee !!


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 15 Jan 13 - 11:39 AM

Hi CJB - finally got to watch that clip as backtracked here looking for some info on the Happy Wanderers for someone. Except it looks as if they made a mistake in the documenting. The guy talking at the beginning is Ronnie Ross, of the Road Stars and later solo, but the drum in the section where they are busking in Leicester Square says: The Happy Wanderers. Some confusion! The accordion player's name was Mikky, if I remember correctly. Wonder if they borrowed the drum or maybe there is a connection I don't know. The Wanderers, as in their name, tended to walk slowly up and down playing, especially on Oxford Street but I guess all over. Ron needed a static pitch for his tap-dancing act. Nice to see his wife Peg and one of his sons. When I knew Ron a couple of years later she was bottling (collecting) so I assume at this time she was still at home. Ron had three sons, two by Peg and an older boy - the actor Joe Melia as Ron's original surname was Melia. Ron and Peg both gone now, unfortunately, died end of the 80s. Thanks again for this - a real find...


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Jan 13 - 11:28 AM

Who were Wilson, Kepple & Betty?

and how many Betties were there?


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Jeannie Williams
Date: 23 Mar 13 - 08:40 AM

My father was in the roadstars although there is no mention of him. I know he didn't go to Paris my mother wouldn't let him go I was only young at the time. But there is two film clips that I have seen that show my father with Albert Hollis not his Alberts brother Harry. I have a photo of Albert and his lovely wife taken many years ago. They would often come to our house when my mother and father had parties. I don't remember Harry but I assume he was a younger brother. I do remember the lady who played the consentina! I also remember when Wilson, Kepple and Betty were playing at the palladium my father and Albert was moved along my the police because the audience was happy to stay out side and watch a real performance. !!!


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,jeannie williams
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 04:37 PM

As i have already mentioned my father was a busker and looking at pathe news film archives http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=47554
AND      http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=46509
He can be seen dancing with Albert Hollis. My father is the one on the right.At the end of the act he tips his hat to show a full head of hair which he kept right up until he died. Alberts wife was a really lovely lady and ALbert was a reallt nice man.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,roderick warner
Date: 13 Apr 13 - 06:35 PM

Hi Jeannie - thanks for those links, haven't seen them before and fascinating. I knew Ronnie and Peg in the sixties so much later on. By the seventies he'd pretty much given up busking in London, was drawing his pension by then although he kept fit right up to his death. He would go over to France now and again as he knew mutual friends in Paris, my old bottler Julie being one (I used to play there a lot in the seventies and beyond) and he did very well. I never knew the Hollis brothers (apart from Charlie) but from what you say the Road Stars had been going for quite a while, longer than I realised.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Jeannie Williams
Date: 18 Apr 13 - 02:13 PM

Hello Rod glad you liked the clips. I saw a message from Henry Hollis's grad daughter saying that her grandad turned down the chance to appear at the london palladium with jack Benny. My father and his partner   Albert Hollis were busking outside the palladium when the doorman came out and ask if they would go on and do there act. Benny wasn't going down to well. They finished the show. I have a shrt copy of this act on super eight cine film. Happy memories.

Jean


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 15 - 01:00 PM

Bump ...


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 15 - 02:05 PM

For a short time files can be downloaded from here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l5hramz6cbol76w/AACapZSOhh_Ri9BECo09Dhgea?dl=0


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,John Jeffries
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 03:32 PM

Any mid-60's memories of a busker/singer/guitarist in the West End area who also turned up in folk clubs. I am pretty sure his first name was Les and his surname was something like Leston or Weston, but neither of these get a result. I certainly remember him singing a so-called Cockney song "Wiv me 'ands, wiv me mitts, wiv me maulers."


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 15 - 04:27 PM

the so callee cockney song is i wish there were no prisons, sounds like you could be talking about les paisley?sadly passed on


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,John Jeffries
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 05:34 AM

Thank you so much Good Soldier Schweik for the name and song title. I have also now found the lyrics. Best regards, JJ.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Roderick warner
Date: 14 Jul 15 - 10:45 AM

Probably Les Bridger. Think he decamped to Scandinavia ...


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leics. Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Guest Rory
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 02:19 AM

Not Les western, he sang Jack Elliot and old timey stuff, from memory Les Bridger sang allsorts of songs including Marilyn Monroe. Played a 12 string.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Roderick Warner
Date: 15 Jul 15 - 07:51 AM

Don't remember Les playing a twelve string but I only met him first in 1965 ish when he wasn't doing a lot of busking. He had a nice Martin which he used down Cousins and elsewhere. Think Mr Jansch used to borrow it occasionally.


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 13 Oct 15 - 01:34 AM

Great book about busking from Amazon at

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Farewell-Leicester-Square-Henry-Hollis/dp/0853352585


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s
From: GUEST,GUEST Emily Hall
Date: 08 Feb 16 - 11:44 AM

Hi all,

i'm working for a television production company making a documentary for Sky Arts.

I'm interested in learning more about the busking experience in Paris in the late 1960s.

Was anyone there?

Please feel free to email me: emily.hall@nutshelltv.co.uk

With best wishes

Emily


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s
From: GUEST,Christine Hollis
Date: 22 Jul 16 - 07:52 AM

My Dad was Edward James Hollis I think Henry who I knew as Harry was either his cousin or uncle. Is there anyone else on here who is related?


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Subject: RE: Roadstars Busking in Leicester Square 1960s
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 16 - 11:46 AM

guest emily hll you should try contacting peggy seeger


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