Granada Television

Penny Black @ Radio Lancashire 

During the years, ’68-’78 John was an occasional visitor to the “Folk Scene” at venues like The Cartford Arms at Little Eccleston where he would recite the humorous Lancashire Dialect Poems of poets like “Marriot Edgar” of Albert and the Lion fame, and it was at the Cartford during a conversation with Phil Ralph, Dave Atkins and Dick Grothusen that they got together and formed a “Madcap Jug Band/Skiffle Band” that after a few false starts developed into the group “Distressed Gentlefolk” where he again played Tea Chest Bass and later even Electric Bass, and with this line up, on the 27th May 1981, appeared on Granada Television's "After all that This", as well as being one of the resident bands at “The Rag” (Lane Ends Hotel) The Blinking Owl and The Shovels at Hambleton.

Distressed Gentlefolk continued until the 90s with different line ups (John being the only original member left) when he joined up with Ian Gartside as half of “The Elderly Brothers” and with Ian did numerous Lancashire nights for the Thwaites Brewery (it was considered by Thwaites to be one of their best promotions ever)

1999 Saw him record his CD “Before it’s too late” as a result of people saying the songs and poems that he did were going to disappear if they were not “Set Down”

He started a “sing around session” at The Falcon Hotel Hardhorn and it was there that he met up with  Pete Skinner (multi instrumentalist, singer and avid organiser) an association and friendship that remains to this day. With Pete he played in various ad hoc line ups and also with a celidh band and as part of the band for Singleton Cloggers and in the millennium year joined with Pete and Double Bass Player, Barrie Parker, and the group “PENNY BLACK” was formed, (the name was suggested because they were “First Class Males” and also “Getting on a bit and thought they may be worth summat” the original suggestion was “Phil Laterly and the Penny Blacks” but for some reason, not even known to him, John couldn't get his head round the stage Name of "Phil”

Barry left the group after only a short period of time and Penny Black became a duo, but bringing in an excellent Bass Player Bill Hunt from Preston whenever the occasion warranted it.

With this line up Penny Black have appeared all over the country form Edinburgh to Sidmouth, Whitby to Wales, Have appeared on many, many occasions on Radio (even writing and performing jingles for Radio Lancashire driving relatives daft with the number of plays they received.)

Once being described on Radio Lancashire “The Drift” as “The busiest Folk Group Around”

As well as the normal “Gigs” Penny Black played a weekly daytime event at The Steamer Hotel in Fleetwood. This started as a request from Gordon Giltrap for musicians to help raise funds for ARC the Arthritis Research Campaign and as a result over a period of time Penny Black from bucket collections at the steamer and other venues put quite a few thousand pounds into this charity. As a Result of their music Penny Black have made friends from all aver the world and frequently receive requests for CDs and information from USA and Australia. Penny Black have allowed many CD's to escape "into the wild"

2012 is the year of the 40th Fylde Folk Festival and John has performed in some guise, Steward, Compere, Host, Artist since the eighth one.


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