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Wrexham – a Musical History

Andy Scott

Wrexham has always been a hotbed of creative talent, with many musicians and bands coming from the town and surrounding villages. Although most have not been nationally successful (apart from possibly Andy Scott of The Sweet, a local lad!), they have had their moments of fame, including The Declan Swans, (who opened for The Kings of Leon at an outdoor concert at The Racecourse) who’s music has recieved world wide attention as a backdrop to the hit docuseries Welcome To Wrexham.

 

This creativity is still in the town, with many groups appearing regularly in music venues across North Wales and other UK venues, but the groups on this page are my own memories of local groups who lead the way for those that have followed.

 

The Raynes

The Raynes

The Raynes were a mainstay of the Wrexham (and North Wales) 60’s music scene.Starting out as (eventually!) The Del Remos, they layed many of the then available venues, including The Cavern in Liverpool. They became established as a ‘must see’ group following an occasion in October 1964 when The Kinks were unable to perform at The Royal Lido Ballroom in Prestatyn, and The Raynes stood in for them.On December 9th, 1964 they appeared at the (sadly missed) Hippodrome Theatre supporting Freddie Starr and The Midnighters and The Searchers, who’d had two number one hits that year and also had ‘What Have They Done To The Rain’ at No.11 at the time.

This lead to then sought after residency there which ran until 1969, during which time they played with such acts such as Adam Faith & The Roulettes, Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers, The Paramounts (who became Procol Harem of Whiter Shade of Pale fame), Steam Packet (featuring Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and Rod Stewart), The Birds and the UK group featured guitarist Ronnie Wood, of The Rolling Stones fame, The Troggs, The Moody Blues and many others over the 5 year period. During the residency they had a few personnel changes with Ray Roberts (on bass) and Dave Williams (on saxophone) joining, as later on did Richie Winn (drums) and Rob Jones (drums.)

The Raynes today - Right to left Don Pickup (guitar and vocals), Dave Williams (Tenor Sax), Mike Evans (vocals), Harold Martin (drums) and Richie Winn (drums)

The Raynes today – Right to left Don Pickup (guitar and vocals), Dave Williams (Tenor Sax), Mike Evans (vocals), Harold Martin (drums) and Richie Winn (drums)

To add to the history of The Raynes (many thanks to Richie Winn!) the remaining members of The Raynes continue to meet up, enjoying regular lunch dates. Sadly, they have lost Ray Roberts (bass and vocals) in 2019 and Pete Taylor (guitar) is now suffering from ill health.

Incidentally Andy Scott (of The Sweet fame) lived just down the road from Richie Winn’s family in Acton. He played bass for Richie’s brother’s band (The Forewinds) around 1965 and in 1967 The Silverstone Set (who had had just done eight weeks on Opportunity Knocks) who Richie joined on drums.

 

Patchwork

Patchwork

Patchwork were a Cefn Mawr pop band (1975-79),featuring Gary Hughes, Ken Matthews, Graham Roberts, and Chris Wright (drums) who toured the country extensively. The group released an album called ‘Unlucky For Some’ (which sold 6,000 copies at its launch) .

They appeared on TV’s Opportunity Knocks (X-Factor of its day!) hosted by Hughie Green. Patchwork spliL in 1979, Chris Wright went on to play in numerous other bands of varying musical styles, including Baby Blue who were regulars at the Talbot lnn in Wrexham every Sunday night. Chris sadly died in April 2009 (aged 59).

Patchwork - Johanne Of The Zuider Zee (Far Canal)

Terminal

Terminal

 

During the early 80’s the post-punk band Terminal were THE Wrexham group to see. Originally formed in 1978 when David Selvey (Guitar) met with bass player Nick Skelson and his friend Dave Guy who agreed to form a band (before they even had a band name!). The group then recruited Phil Heym (Vocals and Lyrics) who had just left the band Mantrix. Nick wanted to perform traditional rock so left and was replaced by Dave Cheeny (Bass), and there was another personnel change with Dave Humphreys replacing Dave Guy on drums and this was the first line up as they became Terminal.

 

In 1980 the band recorded their first 5 track at Cargo Studios. Terminal released a number of singles during their early career and were also championed by no less than John Peel for whom they also recorded a session, showing their calibre.In further personnel changes, Ihe lineup included N1geI Peters (Guitar, who replaced David Selvey in 1981), Adrian Heym (Bass), ArweI Jarvis (Keyboards) and John Daniels on sax. During 1986 Dave Humphreys left and between 1987 – 1991 various drummers sat in, Mark Snappy. Rob Johnson and Ian Edwards. from 1991 – 1994 The band had a more familiar line up with Phil Heym (Vocals and Lyrics), Adrian Heym (Bass), N1geI Peters (Lead Guitar), John Daniels (Sax), Rob Davies (Guitar), Richard Kaplan (Electric Violin), Jim Mikin (Guitar), Ian Edwards (Drums).

During this period the band toured extensively. playing all over the North West. They also went back in the studio recording several tracks. They made two appearances at the Newtonon Lee Willows music festivaI playing an early spot in 1991, and headlining the festival in 1992. After 3 years of playing 100’s of gigs. the band spilt in 1994.

 

In July 2005 lhe band reformed for a one off gig for Phil Heym’s 50th BIrthday with Phil Heym (Vocals and Lyrics), Adrian Heym (Bass), N1geI Peters (Lead Guitar), John Daniels (Sax), and Dave Humphreys (Drums). The Band again reformed in 2009 with the following line up; Phil Heym (Vocals and Lyrics), Adrian Heym (Bass), N1geI Peters (Lead Guitar) and Ian Edwards (Drums), with guest appearances from Martin Peters (Guitar) and Heym (Guitar and Vocals).

 

 

Terminal Live!

3 Videos

The Declan Swans

the declan swans the band from welcome to wrexham brazil

The Declan Swans are a Wrexham based self described ‘comedy indie’ rock band who regularly play in pubs across the town (and beyond), starting life around 2000, and have become part of both the fabric of Wrexham AFC, and the town itself. Now a three piece, (they started life as a 5 piece band), with guitarist Mark Jones, Ben Jones on drums and Scoot (Michael Hett) on vocals, their early influences where the music and songs of Half Man Half Biscuit and Billy Bragg , their songs are also now influenced by the Socialist political beliefs of the band.

 

The themes of the songs, as well as being Wrexham AFC related, run across a spectrum of left wing and vox pop topicsand famous celebrities such as Anne Robinson and the Beckham family, but always relevent to their Wrexham working class roots.The Declan Swans had some early success with an appearance on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and Radio 1 and Piccadilly picking up on their classic ‘Meet the Kilshaws’.

Their single “Always Sunny In Wrexham” has become a firm favourite amongst the fans of Wrexham AFC and was initially written a number of years ago when all of the issues surrounding the uncertainty of the stadium where arising. Taking its name from Rob McElhenney’s long-running hit comedy series ‘It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’,and the take over of the Club by.Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds,the group feature in the hit docuseries Welcome to Wrexham. Rob McElhenney calls it ‘the song they’ll play at my funeral’, while Ryan Reynolds introduced the world to the tune via his millions of followers on Tik Tok.

album-art

Wrexham AFC _ Songs about The Town!

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