Local heroes: Brass Alley & Lucas Tyson

Local heroes: Brass Alley & Lucas Tyson
hartrockrecordI couldn’t finish my blog project without saying a few words about these two bands.
Brass Alley and Lucas Tyson (along with Beckett who I have already covered in earlier posts) were arguably the top North East bands in the early ’70s, playing in ballrooms and clubs around the region.
Brass Alley were a heavy rock band with a bluesy edge, fronted by singer Dave Ditchburn and featuring Barry Alton (guitar), Frankie Gibbon (bass), and Howard Martin (drums). They were heavily influenced by Free, and always included a few Free covers in their set. I saw them loads of times at Sunderland Locarno (Mecca), Newcastle Mayfair, in several working mens’ clubs and supporting touring acts at the City Hall. I remember that they had, for a short period, a Sunday night residency at Sunderland Top Rank. I can picture us all now, standing on the tables chanting for “The Hunter”; which was their encore at the time. The guitarist would do a great instrumental version of the “Theme from Exodus”.
Lucas Tyson were a much more guitar-oriented band fronted by the excellent, Hendrix-influenced, Pete Barclay. Pete played a Fender Strat, made heavy use of wah-wah and fuzz, and was a guitar hero for many of us young guys. I also saw Lucas Tyson play at Sunderland Mecca, Newcastle Mayfair, Sunderland Poly, and at the City Hall. Pete would do great Hendrix covers (“Voodoo Chile”, I think) and other guitar-led tracks. I remember seeing them support Edgar Broughton one night at the Mecca, when they played an awesome version of the Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”.
Brass Alley and Lucas Tyson both feature on the single pictured above. I still have a copy and it’s a gem of early ’70s rock psych. The 45 EP features four tracks: “Daylight Child” by Lucas Tyson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57TSW5w1j6s&list=PLRBjLK_SZFghJcBolYpCMkTVt9L60TtCv&index=1 ; “The Hobo Song” by Yellow; “Pink Pills” by Brass Alley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeR7xmNupF8 and “I Know You Well” by Trilogy. The single was released to promote Hart Rock, a 1971 rock festival held at Hartlepool football ground which featured these four local bands, plus others and was headlined by Arrival and Beggars Opera.
Four days to go.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gordon Hamilton on January 26, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Well knock me over with a pretty pink straw!

    I didn’t think there was anybody out there still alive – and compos mentis enough, to remember Lucas Tyson and Brass Alley.

    I’m working on a music video at the about the music of my life and both these bands featured heavily in my past. So when I typed Lucas Tyson Google I was surprised at the amount of hits I got.

    I followed these two bands all over the place in my youth after seeing Brass Alley for the first time in Shiney Row Working Men’s club and Lucas Tyson at the Mecca in Sunderland, both in the very early 70s.

    I’ve lost count (many, many years ago) of how many working men’s clubs I visited around the north east just to see these two bands play.

    It’s really pleasing to know that these two bands are still remembered and more so, here on the internetty-wotsit-thingy! As they say, the internet is forever!

    Just the mere mention of the Mecca in Sunderland made me think of my second home; five nights a week I was there :O

    Many thanks for this blog which I will have to read much more thoroughly and keep tabs on.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Terry on March 12, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Great days and the memories come flooding back. We would travel the north east club circuit following these great bands, Beckett (I had a crush on Jan who worked at Windows and introduced me to Wishbone Ash when I was 15 but deflated when she told me she was married to the bass player in Beckett?!) Lucas Tyson (one of the best gigs ever at the High Pit Club in Cramlington was a stand out) and Brass Alley and Geordie (when they were Yellow and USA). Shame there isn’t some video footage; the atmosphere these guys created was always amazing!

    Reply

  3. Posted by ian bateman on March 20, 2016 at 10:08 am

    i remember all these bands,mint

    Reply

  4. Posted by David Orchin on April 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    I saw Brass Alley in 1972 at Newbottle Workmens Club, they made an impact on my love of heavy metal rock music, I was only 16 at the time. That same year, 1972, I saw for the first time Lucas Tyson at Shiney Row Club and I was hooked, saw them many times after that. The lead singer changed to a black guy who I think came from Chester Le Street and he was an excellent front man. A fantastic band who’s rendition of Sweet Child In Time still sends a shiver down my spine. My memory recall is somewhat limited due to the early onset of “you know what” but the lead singer rocking to the strobe light on Sweet Child’ was brilliant. Do not get too close to the stage at the end of the set though as the lead guitarist always slammed his instrument down onto the stage floor, absolute delight to be there in the early 70’s. Thank you for the memories.
    David Orchin

    Reply

  5. Posted by Dave Dawson on April 17, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Around this time I used to see a van parked in a Pallion street with ‘Lucas Tyson’ written on the front.

    Reply

  6. Posted by BOB DUNBAR on May 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Don’t forget Fogg with the great Dek Rootham on guitar.seen them many times all over the northeast .

    Reply

  7. Posted by Bill Dimmick on October 15, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Remember listening to all of Peter Barclay’s practice sessions living 4 doors away from his family in Loughborough Avenue in Sunderland back in the early 70’s. My mother and father always complaining of the racket while they practiced in their converted garage. Great memories.

    Hull Mackem Bill Dimmick

    Reply

  8. Posted by Norma hall on December 2, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Hi My husband was a roady
    for both Lucas Tyson and circus in early seventies great memories ,(Alan hall(h)!!!

    Reply

  9. Posted by Ron on August 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I remember brass alley and the John miles set playing at the Manhattan Sunderland in the early 70’s. They were both on the same bill.I was very lucky. Never forgot that club and that evening.A memory that will never leave me. Even though living abroad for over 40 years,the golden age of Geordie rock .Memories are precious .An old fan Ron.

    Reply

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