Deek Rivers and the Big Sound

Line-up included 

  • Derek McDonald - Wolf Montgomery - Deek Rivers - vocals
  • John Goodwin - lead
  • John Murphy - guitar
  • Ronnie Pirrelli (Rony Clarey) - drums
  • Ronnie Pearson - drums, replaced RC
  • Kevin Lang - bass
  • Albie Sayers - bass
  • Pete Smith - guitar/sax
  • Chris Brooker - bass
  • Ken Shalliker aka Bassman - bass (replaced CB)

Sad to hear that (Rony Clarey (also known as Vince Pirelli) who was the drummer with Deke Rivers and The Big Sound (and was also the drummer with The Blue Diamonds and The Javelins) passed away on 17th September 2011, aged 66 years.

Our best wishes to Yvonne and family.

Very sorry to hear of the passing of Ron

Ken Shalliker - 12/10/11

I remember the original drummer with Deek was Ronnie Pirrelli (Rony Clarey), and then Ronnie Pearson who played Gretsch drums and was superb.

I think Albie Sayers was on bass then. Johnny Murphy then formed the duo "Classical Gas" and they were very popular on the cabaret scene for many years.

Rob Parkes. 

My father (John Goodwin) used to play lead guitar for Deek Rivers and the Big Sound in the sixties, I believe.

I will try and ask him more of it. He used to go out on a sunday with Deke for a drive in Deek's convertable but luckily he didn't go with him the day he went through a junction and was killed in an accident.

That's true to my knowlege, but you know how these old teddy boys go on.

Vernon Goodwin

Deek was killed when his Marcos sports car ran into a parked van and got wedged underneath it. The Marcos was extremely low at the front. Tragically Deek was still alive, but the car burst into flames, and that is what killed him.

Deek was a great guy, very friendly, and encouraging to us kids in our group "The Orphans" Deek gave us our name !!

Rob Parkes - 23/2/09 

I played lead guitar with Deke when we first formed the Big Sound. We were playing as the Big Three at first then found there was a Blackpool group under the same name - so we changed to the Big Sound. The lineup was Deke (vocal) Pete Smith (me back then) on lead guitar, Chris Brooker on Bass and Ron Clary on drums.

Chris & I had formed a group in N. Wales in the late 1950's called J Spearman and the Javelins and we decided to move to sunny Bolton and try the pro circuit. What a struggle getting started.

We worked through the Danny Batesh agency along with Freddy and the Dreamers and played a lot of clubs across northern England and the midlands. Many times had run-ins with tough boys at the clubs and remember dustbins raining down on our van as we left the rear entrance. Ah well Happy Days.

I'd like to get in touch with Ron Clary and Johny Murphy if they're still alive!!!!!!

I realize that Deke has passed on and I've managed to connect with Kenny Shallika who played bass with the Big Sound when Chris Brooker left. Johny Murphy replaced me when I left to return to Wales and take up a career in Coal Mining - go figure. Perhaps less risky than facing down the boyfriends at the club.

Pete Smith - 12/5/09

I'm Steve Baylis and worked with Wolf (Deek Rivers) Montgomery in 1970 as drummer with his outfit "Strictly for Cash" 

I was introduced to him by the superb guitar playing Vic (Vic Steele) Farrell whom along with Maurice ???? on bass we were for a short time resident between the cabaret club in Oxford Street, Ocean's 11 in Rusholme and some other venue, but can't remeber although it was in another district of Manchester. 

We were unfortunately laid off from the residency because of funds or some reason or other and that's how I ended up with Wolf. 

We toured the US bases in Germany doing two shows a night in the NCO messes at various locations. It was very much Get up, travel,set up, do the show, pack up, travel then bed six days a week with Monday off. We did this for a month. Also on the bill with the tour was a lovely young woman of about 30 from Southport called Cherry Rowland. On guitar was John Kelman (Ex Freddie Starr) and on bass was Paul Turner? who's dad taught ballroom dancing next door to their home in Walkden. 

After returning from Germany Wolf secured a residency at Mr Smiths in Manchester. This venue had a reputation for witholding bands and performers payment (after they had performed of course!). But Wolf made sure that we received payment every week. 

The line up was Wolf vocals, John Kelman guitar, Paul Turner Bass and me on drums. There was also the superb saxophonist Phil Chapman (Ex absolutely everyone) 

We turned up for work one night to be told that Wolf had been killed in a motor accident in the early hours of that morning. Guess what happened on pay night? That's right! no dough! We quit the jon immediately. 

I moved south to Brighton to continue my musical career and seek my fortune. Paul joined a Rank (I don't mean rubbish) resident band in York and John Kelman? I wonder if he still lives in the high rise in Brinnington

Steve Baylis - 30/11/10

Deke Rivers (Wolf Montgomery) and Mel Had a daughter Mandy Montgomery, who sings with Billy Rance and Co at The Nursery Pub in Heaton Norris/Moor Stockport, run by Pete Mclains son. We have had some great nights there,with Pete Mclain's Clan ,and Mandy's band "Massive Bill And The Bigheads" !!!

PS Mandy did have a record deal with Elton Johns Rocket Label many moons ago,and had a single out "In my Fantasy" Dont know where my copy went though.

Jeff Bruton - 12/6/11

Hi this is Bassman. My name is Ken Shalliker. I played with Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes and in 1962 parted company in Hamburg whilst playing at the Star Club.

A couple of days after my return home a knock came to my door. Three guys, one in a Mohair suit said "WE WANT YOU to join our band". How they found out so quick amazes me to this day!

Long story short, I joined the Big Sound as the bass player. It was an easy ride after playing 6 hours a day for weeks on end at the Star Club but we had our moments!

A while ago I was sorting out a few things and came across this sketch (above) it was done in Wolf's house but I can't remember who did it!!!!! 

I had the first Fender Fiesta Red Precision Bass to come into Liverpool and though the sketch is in black and white I have added a picture of me today with the bass. To come full circle I still play with the Dominoes we have been formed for 53 years!!!!!!!!

So if anyone can remember who did the drawing --- please let me know --- Maybe Elaine or Alice might know????

Ken Shalliker - 4/10/11

I have just learned of Ron Clary's death. I am so sorry. He was one of my very first boyfriends. I am 66 too. I knew him back in either 60 or 61. Condolences to his family.

Jennifer Call ne Conroy - 10/12/11

I just been reading your really interesting piece on Manchesterbeatscene and Deek Rivers and The Big Sound and thought that it's about time I added my 10cents worth.

Although not mentioned I was Deek's first bass player when The Big Sound was first formed ... initially we called ourselves The Big Three shortly to realise that there was already a Big Three in Liverpool.

Deek had recently recorded 'One Kiss' on Oriole and was forming a band. We used to all hang around Barrett's of Manchester music shop on Oxford Road on a Saturday which is when I first met Deek. I'm confused about this Wolf Mongomery name, I always thought his real name was Derek McDonald!!!

We used to rehearse at Deek's house in Agnes Street, Levenshulme. Deek had a great voice and good on stage personality which appealed to the ladies ... an Eden Kane style of singing.and he could also bash out the rock stuff as well.

Ron the drummer, who I have sadly just learned has passed away) was a natural harmoniser and we used to produce some pretty good sounding material.

Our transport in those fantastic days was a 3 x pot, gear stick behind the driver Trojan van and latterly Deek's Ford 'consul' I think - with a hugh plywood box on the roof rack painted up with 'THE BIG SOUND' and that's how we hit the road.

We were quite innovative with songs and Deek used to manage to get USA records of stars we didn't realy hear much of over here. We playing The Coasters' 'Searchin' and 'Poison Ivy' one night in Manchester, Graham Nash and Alan Clarke were in the audience and asked Deek for the words ... shortly after they released it.

We were a good band - some said a 'band's band', often other bands would come to see us. Having said that there were some knock-out bands around in Manchester in those days...who I always thought were much better that us....but Deek had that 'X' factor and was a good front man.

Prior to being invited to join Deek I was involved with a small church hall on a Sunday evening band called Glyn Ellis and The Jet's who eventually became Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. My brother Bob Lang was just leaving school and had started to play bass so I introduced him to The Jet's and I left to join Deek....the rest as they say is history.

After that I met Mike Cadillac and The Playboys and spent some time with them until I evetually joined a band from Folkestone called 'Neil Landon and The Burnetts (see Google also 'Bye Bye Johnny') and played the German night clubs for a few years until the 1960's music ran out of fun.

I had a stint with another M/c band caled 'The Marino Quays' playing the USA bases in France...that was when I knew it was time to pack it in and get a proper day job.

I retured to playing again in the late 1980's with a Shadow's tribute band backing my hero Jet Harris, a Quo tribute band called 'Fake-Us-Quo...a few in beteen and now with a 40/50 gigs a year Bristol based band called 'SHAZAM'.

If there is anyone out there who reads remembers me and those good old music days please get in great to hear from you. To everyone responsible for the Manchester Beat Scene...thanks.

Kevin Lang - 23/12/11

Ah yes, what a different era that was, still crystal clear now. Deek Rivers sometimes called into "Frankies 700 Coffee Bar", in Levenshulme. There was a small bar upstairs serving alcohol also. Deeks records were on the jukebx in the coffee bar down stairs. Pauline Clegg and her husband ran the place.

Wayne Fontana worked there too, serving up the "Frothy Coffee" the place was always packed seven days a week, always lots of girls there to eye up.

I was no musician but could dance OK, one night a couple of girls asked for my autograph after I'd done an inpromtu version of the twist. Crazy days.

Kevin Monahan - 14/10/12

Hi, I went out with Deek Rivers many years ago and thought he had a lovely voice so I introduced him to Cecil Korer of the BBC and it wasn't long after that that he recorded 'One Kiss'. Deek gave me the white label of this record which I still have today. I did not know that he had been killed and was really sad to hear this.

Linda Collins - 28/10/12
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