In the Beginning...
There Was Howie Casie & The Seniors
By Bill Harry
Ironically, the first gig they got on their return to the 'Pool was at the Top Ten Club, a new club opened by Allan Williams, with Bob Wooler as the compere.
"It was short-lived because some local gang decided it was going to be their club," said Howie. "Of course, there was a huge fight, a big bundle. We got involved in the fight because the gang didn't like the look of Derry. Of course, Derry's no soft guy and he jumped in and the next thing we were covered in gang members.
"There was only a couple of security guards and they'd been chicked out by the gang, along with most of the audience. Luckily, the police arrived like the US Cavalry in the nick of time, just as we were in the middle of a big brawl.
"We went off, leaving our gear in the club. The next morning my father wakes me and tells me someone has phoned to say that the club has just been burnt down to the ground. All the gear was burnt and that
signaled another change in the Seniors line-up. Jeff Wallington had had enough and so had Billy Hughes."
The new group was called Howie Casey & the Seniors and featured Howie on sax, Derry on vocals, Freddie Fowell as second vocalist, Brian Griffiths on guitar, Frank Bowen on bass and Frank Wibberley on drums.
They became the first Liverpool group to record. They cut an entire album for Fontana in an afternoon. Their album 'Twist At the Top' was issued in February 1962 at the same time as their debut single 'Double Twist.' Two other singles followed, 'I Ain't Mad At You' and 'The Boll Weevil Song.'
They were unsuccessful and the group split up, with Fowell changing his name to Freddie Starr (after Ringo Starr) and leading various groups, including Freddie Starr & the Midnighters. Frank Bowen joined the All Stars, Derry joined the Pressmen, Wibberley teamed up with the Lee Eddie Five and Brian Griffiths joined the Big Three. Howie became a member of the Dominoes and spent several years on the Continent.
Howie recalled, "I was in contact with Bobby Thompson and he suggested it would be good if the Dominoes had a saxophone player. I returned to Germany because Manfred Weissleder had released some Seniors stuff on the Star Club label and I sort of attached myself to the Dominoes. In time I became a member proper and stayed with them over there for a couple of years. Then I began to do Star Club tours around Germany for Manfred who brought in people like Jerry Lee, the Evs and Johnny & the Hurricanes. We went round the big Stadhalle's in Berlin and had a great reception there and in all the other major cities. "Don Arden got in touch and made a deal with Manfred that he was going to bring over Chuck Berry to Britain and Carl Perkins and, of course, Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes. "I always thought Kingsize could have made it in Britain but unhappily he was there in Germany when the Liverpool thing was really happening. We'd just got a record deal and released a record called 'Stupidity' when the Dominoes were booked to tour as an act in their own right, but also to back Chuck Berry. We were highly delighted, we thought Chuck Berry - wonderful. "So that's what happened. It ended up with the Dominoes backing Berry, doing their own thing and touring Britain. We didn't go back to Hamburg and the Star Club. There was a bit of a contretemps in the Dominoes and Kingsize left. The Dominoes continued for a little while on their own, but then they split. Bobby Thompson went off with the Rebel Rousers, I think, and later on it was the Rockin' Berries. Gibson Kemp joined Paddy, Klaus & Gibson of course, and I returned to Liverpool.
"I next went over to Germany with a group called the Pawns. George Peckham and Mushy Cooper the bass player were in it. We went to a place in Duisberg and when we first got there I met a band called the Krew, they'd just been in the New York City Club, the place were we were playing. The Krew were off to Paris and as I didn't like the look of the New York City Club they asked me if I'd like to go to Paris with them. Of course, Mushy and the boys said 'yes, go on', bless them, because they didn't like the look of the place either. So I buzzed off to Paris and I stayed in France and Italy and Switzerland, touring there with the Krew and my own band until 1970."
It was when he returned to Britain and settled in London that he began to get session work. "I did a lot of work for a producer called Tony Visconti, for Marc Bolan and people like that.
"He then gave me a call to come and do this album for Paul and it was 'Band On The Run.' I re-met Paul after quite a few years. I hadn't seen him 'cause he'd become rich and famous and I was working. It was great.
"I played on the tracks 'Jet', 'Band On The Run', I did the solo on 'Bluebird' and the solo on 'Mrs. Vanderbilt.' He liked what I'd done, so a year later I got a call. I'd been on tour with Marc Bolan and all sorts of stuff and I got a call from McCartney's office to see if I'd be interested in doing a tour with them. Of course, I jumped at it and went off and did that world tour - and I did another few albums, 'Wings At The Speed Of Sound' and, of course then there's the triple album 'Wings Over America' which was recorded live; 'Back To the Egg'; 'Rockestra,' the Kampuchea concert, we did the Venice thing, then I did a second tour with him later on which was the one which ended up in Japan where we was arrested and then he more or less gave up touring after that so that was when we sort of went our
Howie and his wife moved down to Bournemouth, where they still live. "I still play, I'm still on the road and still do the odd recording session," he says.
Howie Casey Discography
Howie Casey & the Seniors
'Double Twist'/'True Fine Mama.' Fontana H 364, February 1962
'I Ain't Mad At You'/'Twist At The Top.' Fontana H 381, May 1962
'The Boll Weevil Song'/'Bony Maronie.' Fontana TR 403, June 1963
'Twist At The Top' Fontana TFL 5180, February 1962
'Let's Twist' (the 'Twist At The Top' album with a different title) Wing WL 1022, March 1965
'Twist At The Top.' Bear Family Records BCD 16603 AH, 2002
Tracks on Compilations
'The Star Club Story'
'Mersey Beat 1962-1964. United Artists, 1974
'Mersey Beat' EMI, 1983
'The Beat Years - Shaking All Over' Star Club, 1980
'Beat In Star Club'
'Beat Battle At The Star Club' Line, 1986
Kingsize Taylor & the Dominoes (some of their releases under the name the Shakers)
'Bitte Bleib Doch Bel Mir'/'Limbo Italiano' Polydor NH 52-098, 1962
'Money'/'Memphis Tennessee' Polydor NH 52158, June 1963
'Hippy Hippy Shake'/'Dr Feelgood' Polydor NH 52213, December 1963
'Money'/'Hippy Hippy Shake' Polydor NH52258, December 1963
'Whole Lotta Lovin''/'I Can Tell' Polydor NH 52272, February 1964
'Memphis Tennessee'/'Money' Polydor NH 66-990, March 1964
'Hippy Hippy Shake'/'Dr Feelgood' Polydor NH 66-991, March 1964
'Stupidity'/'Bad Boy' Decca F 11874, April 1964
'Somebody's Always Trying'/'Looking For My Baby' Decca F 11935, July 1964
'Thinkin'/'Let Me Love You' Polydor BM 56151, 1965
'Teenbeat 2' (EP) Decca DFE 8569, April 1964
Howie has recorded with Cliff Richard, Elkie Brooks, Kevin Ayres, Duster Bennett, John Entwistle, Gilbert O' Sullivan, Marc Bolan, Rocky Sharpe, Jimmy Ruffin, Lee Dorsey, Fontella Bass, Wilson Pickett, the Who, Flash Fearless, the Hollies, Denny Laine, Paul McCartney, Marmalade, Andrew Matheson, Mott the Hoople, Paice Ashton & Lord, Ringo Starr, Unicorn, Mike Vernon, Roy Young and many more.
Sheila Casey, as Sheila McKinley, appeared with her sister Jeanette as the McKinley Sisters and appeared on concerts with the Beatles in Scotland. Sheila has provided vocal backing for the Rolling Stones, the Hollies, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Catherina Valente, Vicky Leandros, James Last, Demis Roussos and Ringo Starr, amongst others.