THE CRAWDADDIES

 

The Crawdaddies - or John McCoy and The Crawdaddies - were active on the Teesside and national music scene in the mid-60s. When the band signed a management deal with Rik Gunnell (the manager of Georgie Fame) he said they had to change their name because another band with a similar name - Tony Colton and The Crawdaddies - were operating in London. So, in 1966, The Crawdaddies became The Real McCoy.

One of the earliest photographs of The Crawdaddies which was taken about 1962/3 with John McCoy, Ottie McLoughlin, Mike Ferris, Kevin Fox, Jack Edgar and Alan Fearnley.

The Crawdaddies taken about 1963 at the Red Lion in Redcar with Alan Fearnley, Kevin Fox, John McCoy and Mike Ferris.

It is obvious to see, from the majority of these photographs, that The Crawdaddies had a residency at the Red Lion in Redcar. This one, too, dates to about 1963 with John McCoy, Mike Ferris, Ottie McLoughlin and Kevin Fox.

More live action - with Alan Fearnley and Mike Ferris on stage at the Red Lion in Redcar. As well as their many appearances at the Red Lion, The Crawdaddies also made several at the Room at the Top in Stokesley, which was at the Bay Horse public house. That's where it all started for the band!

Another photograph from the Red Lion in Redcar with Kevin Fox, Alan Fearnley, John McCoy, Ottie behind John, Mike Ferris and Jack Edgar.

Alan Fearnley on guitar with John McCoy on vocals at the Red Lion in Redcar.

John and Alan at the Red Lion.

The Red Lion again with Ottie McLoughlin, Ray Dales, Alan and Mike. On the lower left is the head of Julie Ford - now Julie Fearnley - and Mick Farley dancing with an unknown girl.

A series of live action at the Red Lion with Ray Dales, Alan Fearnley, John McCoy, Mike Ferris and Ken Thwaites.

More from the Red Lion in Redcar with Mike Ferris, John McCoy, Alan Fearnley and Ken Thwaites.

At the Red Lion in Redcar with Jack Edgar, John McCoy, Mike Ferris behind John, and Kevin Fox and, on the right, Kevin and John - also at the Red Lion.

John McCoy in action and in a Darlington recording studio with Mike Ferris standing and Alan Fearnley seated.

The band on tour - possibly in Stoke-on-Trent about 1965 with Terry Sidgwick, Tony Ayres, Ottie McLoughlin and Ken Thwaites.

The Crawdaddies on stage at Saltburn Spa on July 24th, 1965. It shows Ray Dales, Tony Ayres, John McCoy, Mike Ferris, Alan Fearnley, Ken Thwaites with Ottie McLoughlin at the back.

Live action from Saltburn Spa with Ray Dales, Tony Ayres, John McCoy, Alan Fearnley, Ottie McLoughlin, Mike Ferris and Ken Thwaites.

More from the Saltburn Spa with Ray, Tony, John, Alan, Ottie, Mike and Ken. However, we can't help wondering how that sign appeared on the side of the keyboard which reads: "Borough of Margate - Marine Drive Lavatory Ladies' WC - 1d" - you can see a slightly larger image in the right hand column!

Another 'live' show from 1965 which shows the band at the original Mr McCoy's Club which was in Bottomley Street, Middlesbrough. Left to right are Ray Dales and Tony Ayres on saxophones, John McCoy on lead vocals, Ottie McLoughlin drums with Alan Fearnley on lead guitar and Terry Sidgwick on bass.

It's photograph time - with Ray Dales taking the picture of Ottie and Ken - who are standing at the back - with Alan, John, Terry and Tony seated.

Outside the Marquee Club, in Wardour Street, London. The Crawdaddies had a residency here for a while. The happy crowd shows Terry Sidgwick, Tony Ayres, John McCoy, Ken Thwaites, Ray Dales, Alan Fearnley and Ottie McLoughlin.

John McCoy, Alan Fearnley, Mike Ferris, Jack Edgar, Ken Thwaites and Ottie McLoughlin.

The Crawdaddies at the fourth annual Redcar Jazz Festival at Redcar Racecourse on June 26th, 1964. This photograph show Ottie McLoughlin, Kevin Fox, John McCoy and Alan Fearnley.

Another at the Redcar Jazz Festival with Jack Edgar, Ottie McLoughlin, Kevin Fox, John McCoy, Mike Ferris and Alan Fearnley.

Also from the Redcar Jazz Festival with Jack Edgar, Kevin Fox, John McCoy, Mike Ferris and Alan Fearnley. Drummer Ottie McLoughlin is hidden at the back. Photograph copyright © Dennis Weller.

The fourth photograph from the Redcar Jazz Festival with Alan Fearnley, Kevin Fox, John McCoy, Mike Ferris and Ottie McLoughlin. Photograph copyright © Dennis Weller.

A potted history of The Crawdaddies by Alan Fearnley:

When did The Crawdaddies form? That is open to much debate. But where? There is no doubt.  Circa 1963, John McCoy on vocals and harmonica, Alan Fearnley on guitar & Ottie McLoughlin on bongos, started to sit in with singer/guitarist Jim Wright at the Bay Horse in Stokesley. If you went down the alley, and up some outside stairs, this was the "Room at the Top". Jim played a mixture of folk, jazz and blues and everyone jammed together.  

The time came when Jim wanted to stay with his folk and jazz roots but the others were more interested in playing blues. So The Crawdaddies were born - with the addition of Kevin Fox on guitar and Mike Ferris on bass, with Ottie now on drums.  The "Room at the Top" was always packed and when a Saturday night residency at the Red Lion, in Redcar was offered, there was no doubt about the answer. Saturday nights at the Red Lion proved to be just as successful with a packed crowd every night with Jack Edgar joining the band for a short period on keyboard. They were now playing blues and rhythm and blues songs that are, nowadays, regarded as  classics but at that time were fresh and new.

The next change was when Ken Thwaites, on Hammond organ, took over from Jack Edgar and Ray Dales joined on Tenor Sax. The band was now moving more towards a soul/rhythm and blues style. After a while, Tuesdays at Stokesley were getting too busy, with crowds spilling out onto the street. The police were not happy with the situation so Tuesdays were then moved to larger premises at Kirklevington Country Club - always later known as The Kirk - which at that time was a dinner/dance venue, but only at weekends.  This also was a huge success  and when Duncan Forest, who ran the Red Lion, moved to the Runswick Bay Hotel, the band  started playing Saturdays as well as Tuesdays at The Kirk, datewise about 1964/5. 

The next personnel changes were when Terry Sidgwick replaced Mike Ferris on bass and Tony Ayers joined on baritone sax.  As well as The Kirk residencies, for a few years The Crawdaddies travelled all over the country, playing many times in prestigious London clubs such as the Marquee, Cromwellian, Bag o' Nails etc. At about this time, the management asked the band to think of another name as they already had a band on their books called Tony Colton's Crawdaddies. So in 1966 The Real McCoy was born.

This page is dedicated to the memory of Ron Aspery and Kevin Fox.

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