Nine Piece Memphis Soul band who have withstood the test of time
The All Night Workers
2015 line up:
Clive (Clyde) Barrow – lead vocals
Dave Mumford – lead guitar
Doug Ayris – lead/rhythm guitar
Brian Hosking – bass
Bob Hodges - Keyboards
Mel Wayne – sax
Geoff Glover – sax
Bruno Penrose – trumpet
Colin Docketty – trumpet
Adam Colwell – drums
Formed in Twickenham, Middlesex in mid-1966, The All Night Workers were a dynamic soul/blues outfit that gigged incessantly across London and the Home Counties before disbanding in 1972.
The group had its roots in two early-mid 1960s West London bands – Mike Dee & The Jaywalkers and Mike Dee & The Prophets, both led by singer Mike Dee (real name Mick Wheeler).
Wheeler and lead guitarist Brian Sell were founding members of The All Night Workers, having known each other since childhood and working together in The Jaywalkers during 1961.
This first version of The All Night Workers would feature many talented musicians from the West London area, including bass player Brian Hosking, bass player/lead guitarist Doug Ayris and drummer John Sergeant, before splitting in early October 1967.
Another former member of Mike Dee & The Jaywalkers, guitarist Brian Mansell, would then take over The All Night Workers’ name for a completely revised line up a few weeks later. This second incarnation featured new lead singer Iain Pitwell and a horn section that included sax player Geoff Glover.
In early 1968, Doug Ayris came back to The All Night Workers and brought Mick Wheeler with him as a second lead singer. The new look All Night Workers cut two tracks – “Rock Is Here To Stay” and “I Can’t Help It”, which were both penned by manager Ted Hare, before first Wheeler and then Pitwell departed. By January 1969, the band had a new front man – Clive “Clyde” Barrow.
The revised line up moved up a gear, playing more soul/funk material and recorded a further track, a cover of Clarence Carter’s “Tell Daddy”. Not long afterwards, however, the band finally splintered.
Move forward 40 years and former members Clyde Barrow, Doug Ayris, Brian Hosking and Geoff Glover have added another fascinating chapter to the history by putting together a new incarnation of The All Night Workers.
The 21st century version also features Brian Hosking’s brother, sax player Mel Wayne, who had played with Mick Wheeler in Mike Dee & The Prophets during 1964-1965. After Wheeler left, this band linked up with singer Simon Scott and became The All-Nite Workers before subsequently working as a backing group for first Jimmy Cliff and then Gary Hamilton.
Mel Wayne then briefly played with singer Carl Douglas before joining Calum Bryce, which included guitarist Dave Mumford, who’d worked with Wayne in his pre-Mike Dee & The Prophets band, Colin Shane & The Shannons. Mumford and second sax player Pete Bower completed the initial 2012 version, which debuted at the famous Bull’s Head in Barnes in May.
Since then, The All Night Workers have expanded to include several other members including organist Bob Hodges and trumpet player Bruno Penrose. Both come with impressive pedigrees.
Starting out in a Shadows-type band in the early 1960s, Bob Hodges graduated on to a semi-pro soul/R&B outfit called The New Jump Band in 1964. In November 1966, however, he responded to an advert in Melody Maker to join a promising soul band called The Soul System, which re-launched itself as The Attack. With highly respected guitarist David O’List also in the line-up, Hodges cut two impressive singles for Decca Records, including the original version of ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ before departing for Irish group, The Kingpins in April 1967 and a short tour of Germany backing Clodagh Rodgers. Four months later, however, he returned to the UK and signed up with Tuesday’s Children, again through Melody Maker. The group evolved into Czar and cut an impressive prog-rock album in 1970 before Hodges left in January 1971. During the Seventies, he played with pub-rock band, Blunderbus where he reunited with two former members of The New Jump Band. In January 1996, Hodges signed up with In The Red where he worked alongside longstanding All Night Workers’ sax player Mel Wayne. In The Red also featured trumpet player Bruno Penrose…
Originally from the Woking, Surrey area, Bruno Penrose started out as a teenage jobbing musician with various brass bands and jazz outfits in the mid-late 1970s, often playing with top, professional session brass players, glad to keep their chops in shape between engagements by blowing with the local up and coming bands. Classically trained as a trumpet player (and also adept at flugelhorn and piccolo-trumpet), Penrose moved into the ‘rock’ scene around 1982 when he signed up with future All Night Workers’ Dave Mumford and Mel Wayne’s rock-soul outfit, Hard Up. Over the next 30 years, Penrose and Wayne stuck together through a succession of bands, including Bloodhound (alongside another original All Night Worker, bass player and Mel’s brother Brian Hoskins), the Brian Allen Band (briefly fronted by Sue & Sunny) and In The Red where they were joined by Bob Hodges in 1996 and Dave Mumford in 2008.
This new line-up have started gigging again whenever their diaries coincide to allow them to come together. Click here to see where and when they are playing.
The All Night Workers have a rich pedigree and over the next few pages, we trace the fascinating history of this talented band from its formation in 1966 through to its disbandment in 1972.
The All Night Workers
By Nick Warburton
Nick Warburton is an award-winning freelance music journalist. During the late 1990s, he contributed several entries to Guinness’ Rockopedia and produced a series of articles for the Neil Young fanzine, Broken Arrow.
In the early 2000s, he began working with UK record producer Mike Paxman to establish the Rhinoceros website, which pays tribute to the Elektra Records’ group formed by the late Paul Rothchild. His pioneering work on The Mynah Birds was recognised by Universal Records, which contacted him to assist with the band’s entry on its Motown 1966 Singles Boxed Set. He is currently exploring an opportunity to record a documentary on the group’s family tree.
Nick has contributed extensively to Vernon Joynson’s Borderline books series and Richard Morton Jack’s Endless Trip book. He regularly contributes to a number of websites, including Garage Hangover and the Strange Brew podcast and has written for Shindig, Record Collector, Flashback and Ugly Things rock magazines.
He has also contributed liner notes to CDs released by Half a Cow (Australia), Fresh (South Africa), Pacemaker (Canada), Shadoks (Germany) and Rev-Ola (UK).
Follow Nick on Twitter: @Lucifersblues
Audio: Tell Daddy