johnny crusoe and the castaways
also known as
dene barren and the banshees
This group were real pathfinders of the Wharfedale music Scene. Formed as Johnny Crusoe and the Castaways in the early sixties and lead by guitarist Pete Mogeridge.
Below is an account in Pete’s own hand of how the band was formed.
“It all really kicked off with Alan's Elvis shirt that his Mum had made him (Teddy Bear, from Loving You ) She was a wizard on the sewing machine. He invited me to his house to look at it and ,of course, I had my guitar with me. Alan put the shirt on and sang a few Elvis numbers with me playing guitar. Alan played accordion with Mal Clarkson’s Olicana Dance Band and he talked Mal into having me in the band as guitarist so that they could do a Rock and Roll spot.
This went down very well at gigs so Alan, myself and the drummer, Max Burnell thought about forming a rock band. We needed a rhythm guitarist and a bass player and through my friendship with Chris Sutton and the Darktown Jazz Band and Derek Modley in particular, who was showing two Addingham lads the rudiments of guitar playing, I met with John Powell and Ned Dixon .I put the idea to them and John agreed to learn bass guitar. John bought a Gibson bass and we set up a practice in Alan's bedroom, this showed a lot of promise so we decided to proceed with the idea. I came up with the name 'Johnny Crusoe and the Castaways’ and we learned a load of songs and instrumentals. Next step was to approach Jimmy Elder, who was caretaker at the King’s Hall Ilkley. He, in turn approached Eddie Bell, who's orchestra played the 50/50 dance on Saturday nights at the King’s Hall. Eddie agreed to let us do a half hour spot in the interval and that's what got the ball rolling. Alan and Max left the’Oilcans’ as the Olicana Dance Band was fondly known, much to Malcolm's annoyance, and away we went. John Powell bought an ex-GPO van, which we used to travel to gigs in - talk about sardines - failing that, we borrowed Hawkins Greengrocers van, for whom Alan was delivery man. We had to change the name of the band because we found out that there already was a group called The Castaways (Tony Rivers Band) - so I came up with ' Dene Barren and the Banshees’ - a name I remembered from the film 'Derby O’Gill and the Little people’.
Our first outdoor Gig!
Derek Modley let us practice in the Kings Hall to get the feel of a big concert – he gave us an old microphone which we promptly christened 'The Cannonball ' and also an old Carlesboro amplifier and two speakers. The amp had a unique facility which allowed us to run it from a 12 volt battery. This gave me the idea of running an all night Rock and Roll concert in the quarry at the back of the Cow and Calf rocks one crazy Summer Saturday night. I recollect that it lasted 'til 2.00am . That's when the police cars were spotted climbing the hill. We all got a 'Disturbing the Peace' warning and various other by-laws cautions. Hell - ILKLEY needed livening up in those days !
After the demise of The Banshees Pete had formed a new group called The Linden Shades and was looking for a local drummer so Jeff Pole from the Frends beat group was recruited. They appeared at numerous venues around Leeds and Bradford. The Linden Shades didn’t last very long and Jeff's recollections of this period are very vague although one of his remaining (amusing!) memories of this time was going to gigs in a bubble car belonging to one of the group members. "I think it was a Heinkel. The model that had the door at the front with the steering wheel fixed to it. There would be the two of us plus a guitar, an amplifier and little room for anything else".
Left to right Alan Wilkinson, (Ned) John Dixon, John Powell, Pete Mogeridge, Max Burnell
the year 1962-63
Lou (piano), Alan Wilkinson (centred), Drums? in the Olicana Players Band
We are sad to report that Allan Wilkinson (aka. Dean Barren, Johnny Crusoe and to his DJ fans ‘Wilkie’) died in January 2015. Allan contributed much to the 60’s live music scene and in later years with his DJ business. He must have played at many Ilkley folks weddings including my own. RIP Allan