Login Register

Vampires finally see the light of day

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 14, 2014

The Vampires Skiffle Group. This particular incarnation featured, from left: Joe Ellis, Jeff Elsmore and Ron Dixon

Comments (0)

WE'RE long passed being surprised at the length of time that can pass between an article's appearance in the Bugle and a reader's follow-up to it. Nostalgia, ironically, never seems to go out of date, and Bugles are passed around and re-read for months and even years.

And here, from regular reader Ken Ford of West Bromwich, is a piece which follows on from a letter he wrote to us himself last century – fifteen years ago in 1999.

Ken had written in response to our publication of a school photograph from Joseph Edward Cox School in West Bromwich. That was Ken's old school, and he recognised a fellow pupil, Ron Dixon. Seeing Ron reminded Ken of the first time he'd ever seen a band perform live, as he told us in his letter of 1999:

"My friend Malcolm Massey (who is sadly no longer with us) persuaded my mom to let me go to the children's room of the Golden Lion pub near Stone Cross to see a skiffle group. This was about 1960 when I was 12 or 13. In the group were Ron Dixon, my cousin Alan Ford and Joe Ellis.

"The group was called The Vampires. They were only 14 or 15, another member played the washboard, and they may have had a tea chest bass. They sounded great."

Soon after Ken's recollections of that Vampires show were published, he was approached in the pub by Jeff Elsmore.

He asked Ken why he hadn't mentioned him, as he had also been a member of The Vampires, and could show him a photograph to prove it.

Some fifteen years later, Jeff had finally trawled through his loft and found the picture, which he passed onto Ken for Bugle readers to have a look at.

"Jeff is older than me so I wouldn't have known him back then, and probably wouldn't have seen him in the band," says Ken. "Several weeks ago he brought the photo into the pub. He said there were some changes in the line up, and he left when he started courting.

"Joe Ellis, on the left of the picture, was later a member of Birmingham band Locomotive in 1966/67, and played the bass. He may have been on Rudi's In Love, a single which made the charts in October 1968 and got to number 25. It was in the charts for eight weeks and is still played sometimes on Radio 2.

"Jeff Elsmore is in the centre, and Ron Dixon on the right. l think Ron is still in the entertainment business. Ron, if you see this send me an email and I could arrange a Vampires reunion!"

If you're out there Ron, you can reach Ken on ken ford2008@tiscali.co.uk

Read more from Black Country Bugle

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters