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Call Up The Groups - Part 1

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

Issue 5: Updated : 15th August 2018

A feature on the Pop Groups Managed by Reg Calvert and his partner Terry King (Kings Agency) 7 Denmark Street London WC2 which became HQ of Radio City

From the diaries of Thomas Long (TL) of Pinkerton's Assorted Colours ('Pinks') with recollections from Dorothy Calvert

Crop Spraying Aircraft

Reg more or less ran the groups everyday lives who lived in with him at Clifton Hall, Rugby finding jobs for them. In many of the early pictures of the Fortunes, Danny Storm etc, they are pictured cutting the grass at Clifton Hall. I always knew that this wasn't just posed for the camera, they did it all the chores

Reg Talked 'Pinks' into things, he talked everyone into things, we took the donkeys to the gigs for him, but he paid us extra to do it. He paid for us to pick up a transmitter. But we had a fairly easy ride with him, we had our own rehearsal rooms, though we did rehearse at Clifton Hall. We were quite organised as a self contained unit, had our own gear, van, stage wear etc so he didn't get involved in our day to day business

'Pinks' were relatively low maintenance, he was upset when we voted one guy out of the band, but we faced him with a faitacomplis, we had already hired, rehearsed a replacement, sorted out his equipment and stage clothes. Reg just had take care of the publicity and media contracts. I think he even quite liked the fact that we had minds of our own & would discuss and vote on issues. Even on the odd occasions when we refused to do a publicity stunt for him, which we disagreed with

Pinkertons Assorted Colours LP Sleeve Pinkertons Assorted Colours Line-Up

The one thing which stood out in my mind was the time he wanted us to dye the fountains in Trafalgar square and appear for publicity photos. We were horrified at the thought of leaving a lot of messy dye that was difficult to clean off the stonework and the real chance of poisoning the pigeons. We most emphatically said no. In the event he went ahead in pretended faked up pictures. We often pushed the boundaries for him but he knew we had limits. If it sounded good to us, we'd do it without a murmur, we served our own apprenticeship. He could be off working at Radio City, all he needed was Bill Allen to get us the work - TL

Pinkertons Assorted Colours 'Mirror Mirror' Poster

Formed in their home town of Rugby the 'Pinks' were brainchild of Reg Calvert, probably the closest of his bands so were very much helping hands behind the scenes of Radio City

From the early 60's Reg with his wife Dorothy had been working out of Southampton they moved to Rugby to set up in a run down Country House called Clifton Hall outside Rugby

This became a kind of 'Pop School' with various bands making a living on the books as sound-a-likes

Reg's stable of groups were rehearsed and sent swiftly out on package tours to play Co-op Ballrooms and Dance Clubs

Pinkertons Assorted Colours Line-Up 2

The band was originally called 'The Solitaires' that went through a few short name changes around the time I joined. In 1964 Tony Newman was by day working in a factory and playing in the now named local 'Liberators' by night. I too worked in a factory, that was where Tony first approached me to join, in fact only a short time after settling on the name 'The Liberators'. Tony was first then we all took the plunge, gave up our day jobs. We then made a single written by Tony produced by Shel Talmy "It Hurts So Much" flipped by "You Look So Fine"

Approaching Reg Calvert with Sam Kempe in the ranks he fronted the band & played Autoharp - TL

Pinkertons Assorted Colours in the Charts

Tom Long came in on Lead Guitar, Barry Bernard - Bass with Dave Holland on Drums

Soon after Radio Caroline launched Reg had the idea of forming a teenage radio station, he spoke to David Sutch one of his rosta of artists, who in Reg's mind would make the ideal front man for the enterprise. David had an outlandish Rock Horror act but was prepared to invest some money and time in the project. David thought the adventure would be helpful in promoting his career, band and his record sales

Shivering Sands Forts in 1943

Shivering Sands Fort being supplied by the MV 'Katherine' (1943)

Successfully grabbing headlines with a launch from the pool of London Reg had already scouted around the Thames, talking to local fisherman he'd earmarked the abandoned Army Forts at Shivering Sands for Radio Sutch

There is no evidence to support this but Reg at the time said he'd approached various Government Ministries for permission to use the Forts, but was given the run-around, he gave up and took over Shivering Sands

These were the furthest out from the coast, at the time much easier to board than the other option the Naval Fort Knock John. Access being stages of steel ladder entry into the bottom centre of the Fort

Boarding Knock John was a different kettle of fish, it involved a scramble up onto the landing dolphin which had partially collapsed and tilted at a oblique angle. Dodging the holes the final climb was by an exposed single steel ladder

Back at Shivering Sands, scurrying aboard a hodgepodge of redundant war surplus's equipment was assembled as Radio Sutch took to the air

Supply Ship leaves Shivering Sands in the 1940'sShivering Sands in 1964

Supply vessel the Margaret Hyde leaves Shivering Sands (1943)
Shivering Sands Towers in (1964)

Brian Reg & David in studio David Sutch in full flight Chris Cross in the Galley

Brian Poole, Reg Calvert, Screaming Lord Sutch
David Sutch in Full Flight
Chris Cross

Early recruit to Radio Sutch Chris Cross is seen making a brew in the galley Chris (Mullock) hailed from Rugby had made himself known to Reg. A willing pair of hands Chris stayed on the Fort for prolonged periods, without transport the return trip home to Rugby was for him cost prohibitive, that's if he couldn't cadge a lift with Reg who in any event seldom visited Whitstable or the Fort. Chris was to remain with City until early 1966

The main reason people were left to get on with it was that Reg wanted to offload some of the responsibility for the station. Eric Martin ran the South Coast Office in Oxford Street Whitstable. Tony Pine along with Paul Elvey were the senior engineers, later joined by Phil Perkins & Ian West. On the Fort adhoc DJ's looked after programmes & commercial traffic. This changed in 1966 when 'Mother' Tom became senior announcer

Whilst Reg was gradually shrinking his dance hall circuit, which had been a good steady earner for a long time, he felt was that the station took up so much of his time resulted in him neglecting acts still on his books

N.B The Radio City Galley was the same room we used on Red Sands Radio in fact reminiscent in almost every detail!

Reg & Candy Calvert Fully known as Pinkertons etc

Press Pictures

Reg with youngest 13 year old daughter recording 'Candy's Pop Shop' for the teenage station Radio Sutch

From the same time frame full known as Pinkerton's (Assort) Colours with Samuel Pinkerton Kempe

Reg with youngest 13 year old daughter recording 'Candy's Pop Shop' for the teenage station Radio Sutch

By September 1965 when Reg had sole control of Radio Sutch, In fact Tony & Sam of 'Pinks' used their Bandwagon to collect "Big Bertha" the former USA General Electric TCK-7 Naval Transmitter from Southampton

More detail of the GE TCK-7 can be seen by navigating from Radio Sutch & City Part 1

Following a series of colourful gigs the band had earned their new name 'Pinkerton's Assorted Colours' The Lovin' Spoonful in America had hits with the autoharp 'Pinks' were first to adopt the instrument in the UK & under Reg the band found airtime on Pirate Radio making "Mirror Mirror" a top 10 hit (13th January 1966 UK #9)

Gees Radio Tapes

Above Original Radio City Open Reel 7" Gees Tape

Like Radio Invicta, Radio Tower, Radio City used Gees, Lafayette Tape, they were cheap until they lost their magnetic oxide

Radio City House Band 'Pinks' were to record several of the stations Advertisements, a few Jingles including some Weather Jingles examples to play below, appologies for the quality


Pinkerton's Assorted Colours 1966 with their recording of Green Shield Trading Stamps and Radio City Weather Jingles

Reg Calvert at Nuneaton Co-Op

Reg Calvert on the stage of Nuneaton Co-op

Above Reg had just announced us walking off, resplendent in his usual 3 piece suit, my cousin who was visiting from Bromley took the above picture

Reg told him it wouldn't come out because the flash wasn't up to it. I gave the negative of this to the works photographer at G.E.C. Telecom's who said he'd make some larger prints, he lost it. I could have wrung his neck - Thomas Long - TL

Liberators (Pinks) at High Wycombe

Newspaper advert for High Wycombe Town Hall, neatly tied into Radio City

Advertised as 'The Liberators' with 'Pinkerton's Assorted Colours' in brackets because we had been playing High Wycombe regularly as 'The Liberators', we were known under that name. I can date this from my old diaries to 31st October 1965, it must have been the time when Reg had just settled on the name he wanted to start publicising it. We were paid £15, wow good ol' Reg!. We did however play there on Christmas Eve as well, amusingly, for the grand sum of £17 which was our normal 'Liberators' fee, although our record was released and had started to bite, it hadn't quite got us into the "money "gigs. The first of those was on New Years Day 1966 - TL

Denmark Street 1965

Tin Pan Alley - Denmark Street more or less opposite number 7

This Picture has all the Radio City connections taken in front of our 1958 Ford Thames van which had transported a Radio City transmitter from Southampton to Whitstable

From left to right local girl Rowle (Kit) Armoogum, Paul (Spike) Davis, Tony Newman, Sam Kempe, local girls, Thomas Long, more local girls, Barry Bernard, another local girl, then John Walbank

Kit Armoogum was of South American origin was our bouncer at the local gigs we ran ourselves. Kit was deported later following a violent incident. Spike was a helper in various ways, he became a DJ at the Disco Blue in Ryde Isle-of-Wight. John Walbank was the drummer in the Liberators, but when it came to signing contracts with Reg, he bowed out and never played in the 'Pinks'

The 22nd September 1965 was a day we spent in a studio at Central Studios Denmark Street where we recorded the radio advertisement jingles. I suppose Reg thought it would be good practice, as we were due some fairly heavy sessions at Decca shortly after. I was quite surprised in that we just piled in with a few notes and made it up as we went along. Everyone contributed including Reg. I have a feeling he was using this as a way to get sung adverts to test our recording capabilities. Spike & Kit were on The Green Shield Stamp Advert with Reg, The second jingle I remember, was for South Essex Motors, Cherrydown Basildon. The address being emblazoned in my memory. The words Cherrydown Basildon being in a low register, were sung by a guy from Kings Agency, don't remember his name but he was a slick type but had an excellent baritone voice, he may have been salesman at the station - TL

Signatures on rear of photograph

Dated 22 September 1965 the rear of the photograph above

Radio City Club Card front

Thomas Long's Radio City Club Membership Card

I left in 'Pinks' in April 1967 and had little involvement until 1999 when I started doing other work with Tony. He has what I would call a Sherlock Holmes type of memory. Selective and precise, he remembers lots of things down to fine detail, yet other things seem to have passed by him completely. Mind you I was with the band from long before we were 'Pinks'. When I joined first we didn't consider ourselves good enough to ask Reg for an audition, then we worked at it like hell so by the time we did ask we got an audition we sailed it. In a fairly short time we were well established as one of the favourite bands

This was a time when most of his 'live in' bands from Clifton Hall were drifting off as the original 'Pop School' was disbanding as Radio City took more of Reg's time. We & the 'Fortunes' were the only groups left on the books and no longer lived at Clifton Hall

John Wileman headed Clifton Hallwho he'd graduated from being a singer-bass player to Reg's gofer, he married Jill the secretary, Candy can remember them, we could tell you loads of tales of those days, you'd have to edit them though! Things moved quite quickly, I remember watching the band before I joined it, doing an audition for Reg failing it miserably. 2 years on we were one of his best, getting paid more than the ragged crew from Brum called Danny King and the Mayfair Set (ELO)

It was a damn good crack, Reg was very persuasive, you found yourself up to all sorts at all times. It was however a slightly different matter for the ones who lived in. They didn't get such an easy ride they had full board and a wage, it was expected they'd chip in. Rod Allen found he got asked to do all sorts of chores, even before the 'Fortunes' hit the charts they were pulling in good money, they made more as they went up the charts. Moving out of Clifton Hall they got a cottage. By the time 'Pinks' were properly involved, as we signed for Reg at the end of 1964 there weren't any 'Muso's' living there any more, & Reg was preparing to sell to move to a small house near where I live now

The 'Pop School' concept had run its course & the station was his big interest. He just needed a base in the Midlands but also a base in London. He had a small flat in Charing Cross Road near the Agency, which was used by many different people, then he got the apartment in Baker Street - TL

Radio City Club Card rear

Radio City Club Membership Card rear with Secretary Candy Calvert's signature

In the early days the station was regarded as a bit of a joke, I remember there being celebrations when it was possible to receive it at 7 Denmark Street. However once things really started to happen reception reports came in from all over the Country, Europe and even further afield. I remember the best we experienced was a few miles north of Doncaster in our van whilst travelling to a gig - TL

Flying Machine CD sleeve

Pinks Flying Machine CD cover

Pinks in 2007

'Pinks' still playing today above at Rugby Benn Hall in 2007 a familiar venue they played for Reg

Did I tell you I live in the village where Reg is buried? Once in a while I take a walk and gaze wistfully at his stone - TL

Pinkerton's Assorted Colours are:

Samuel 'Pinkerton' Kempe - Autoharp & Vocals

Tony Newman - Guitar

Tom Long - Guitar

Barrie Bernard - Bass Guitar

Dave Holland - Drums

John Wallbank - Drums ('The Liberators')

Thomas Long in 2007

Thomas Long in the mix at Benn Rugby Hall in 2007

Candy says that there was an enormous collection of photographs of Reg and all his associated work. Reg originally did all his own photography, but later entrusted the job to John Wileman, Danny Storms bass player, when John gradually became a general factotum. He took most of the photographs with him when he emigrated to South Africa - TL

Dorothy Calvert remembers the 'Pinks' & Clifton Hall

The ‘Liberators’ were a young group in Rugby they came for a trial at Benn Hall. They weren’t very good but keen, I advised them as time went on, nursed them until they were good enough for Reg to do something with them

Folk law tells how ‘Pinks’ were named after the flamboyant Samuel ‘Pinkerton’ Kempe, in part yes, but the truth is that Reg and I weren’t sure about the name ‘Liberators’. We sat in the office chatting through ideas I looked up and in the storeroom opposite was a large box of toilet rolls. On one side was written ‘Assorted Colours’ and that’s how the name was derived. Reg went out and bought the boys different colour jackets making their appearance very different to the ‘Liberators’ garbo

Whilst many may have thought Reg a bit of a tyrant he was the opposite, he was easy going, it was me who had to try and manage to keep things running smoothly while he was rehearsing or recording. We both were running the dances working extremely hard maintaining a home and business

At Clifton Hall a Victorian mansion set in two acres of ground. Reg and I both worked hard on the gardens. Pete Mist bass player with the ‘Strollers’ helped clear the vegetable plot for money to help buy his new Ford Consul. We eventually had a gardener and others on the pay role to help maintain the place

The boys weren’t much help in fact I had to teach them how to look after themselves

Reg designed a set of speakers made when we were in Southampton by a joinery firm, they made Candy’s dolly bunk beds, which my great granddaughters now have. I had a Ford Zephyr 6 at the time and he had speaker cabinets made to fit the boot

At Clifton Hall I cooked the boys a meal everyday and there were always plenty of snack things in the kitchen. I was annoyed coming back from London to find a whole heap of dirty dishes discarded food. Money was often tight, clearing up their mess I was angry at the waste of food, especially the eggs from our own hens so I stopped cooking but left them basics. Sometimes when we were broke Reg would make a big pot of porridge, with milk, bread & butter so they didn’t go hungry

Dorothy Calvert 24th January 2008

'Pinks' Discography

'Liberators' - "It Hurts So Much" cw "You Look So Fine" - 1965

'Pinks' - "Mirror, Mirror" cw "She Don't Care" - UK #9 December 1965

You Tube has 'Mirror Mirror'

'Pinks' - "Don't Stop Loving Me Baby" cw "Will Ya" - UK# 50 April 1966

'Pinks' - "Magic Rocking Horse" cw "It Ain't Right"

The contract with Decca ending they signed to Pye Records as 'Flying Machine' with Tony Newman on Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Stuart Colman, (normally Bass) on Keyboards, Paul Wikinson on Drums, Steve Jones (normally Lead Guitar) on Bass they recorded a Tony Macauley tune called "Smile A Little Smile For Me" which made #5 in the USA & can be seen on You Tube

Additional web reading

The Coventry & Warwickshire BBC page has a feature on 'Pinks'

Basic detail at Geocity on 'Pinks'

Artists Direct for 'Pinks' Downloads

Play Play Play Logo

Grateful thanks to Thomas Long, Dorothy Calvert, Candy Calvert & Spike for their help in producing this feature

There's more information on the musical career of Reg Calvert on David St John's excellent site

01/03/08 - When the Calvert's auditioned they allowed a new band a 20 - 30 minute spot to judge them. The Friday night Liberators audition was 2 sessions one at 18.00 - 20.00 for the young kids without a bar, then 20.30 - 23.30 for the older ones.

'Pinks' auditioned for Dorothy at Nuneaton Co-op it was the original Solitaires that auditioned at the Benn Hall. I was there at the time, I remember the lead guitarist was out of tune and she shouted from the wings, 'TUNE UP', he misheard and 'TURNED UP'. They failed miserably

'Pinkertons' took it for granted that Reg would want to rename the band, & were never completely happy with the name Liberators. The main session took part in the dressing room at Nuneaton Co-op. The Liberators were in the habit of wearing differently colourful clothes. Reg latched onto Sam wearing something pink, & started brainstorming. Pinky! No it has to be something better, that dosn't sound too good. Pinkerton! Yes you can call yourself Samuel Pinkerton Kempe of Pinkertons Colours. It's possible he saw the words assorted on a box, because he started on about Pinkertons Assorted Colours. The group didn't like the "Assorted" bit at all, but Reg insisted. He said without colour TV 'Pinks' wouldn't get across the fact that we each wore a different colour. Reg's final word was that if we got established enough so that everyone knew us to wear different colours, he would then drop the 'Assorted' bit

The name settled the next thing was to search for material for suits, which was available in 5 different colours. This was difficult & I think everyone including Dorothy were involved in. I believe she eventually found the velvet curtain material in John Lewis' for 8/- (shillings) a yard. The jackets were properly tailor made by an Italian tailor from Coventry. N.B Tom Long still has his blue one in good condition and it still fits!

Reg originally saw ' Pinks' as a stage act not considering them good enough to invest & record. 6 months after recording for Shel Talmy as the Liberators, the improved group impressed Reg who then took a closer interest in them. The Green Shield ads were made shortly after, even though poor quality the recording of the weather jingle gives an indication of how much the vocal harmony had come on

30/5/08 - I'm the Spike Davis with no E, that's Welsh! on the Denmark Street photo & my claim to fame is I did the base line on the Radio City Frozen Peas advert!

Great times......lovely to hear about my best mate Kit Ammoogum. I was a pro DJ between 1964 & 1974 so lived through the great times. Was also involved in the big three Isle of Wight festivals

Great site.......thanks

I've turned 60 & retiring to the Canaries in December, I'm still DJ'ing with gigs booked for 2009 so will be returning to the UK. I've had such a great life I'm going to write my story. Kit Armoogum was one of my best mates ever & the only photo of him I've ever seen is on the Pinkertons page on your site. There's a good story behind the photo too, as you say we recorded some adverts for City & I did the deep voice overs. We did a Birds Eye peas ad on that day. My line was something like <Deep Voice> "the peas went pop". Fame at last!

Best wishes
Spike [The Mighty Ruler]

08/10/09 - We're settled into Fuerteventura now and gotten used to doing nothing! as a result of your site Kit Amoogums brother Cecil got in touch with me from Canada. I know the web is wonderful. Kit isn't web orientated so hasn't seen any of your work. I've spoken to him twice recently and hes been working as a road manager for the old Tamla/Soul Bands like Gladys Knight. I'm very exciting, looking forward to seeing him and catching up with his news. He lives in Los Angeles I'm going to over to see him in a couple of weeks taking the grand kids to Disney in Anaheim and then going on to Memphis [to visit Sun and Stax] and then on to Nashville as part of the trip of a lifetime! I've also been in touch with Stu Coleman who was in Nashville but has now moved to New York oh well I'll have to go back to New York one day to see him. BTW I dropped in on Tony a couple fo years ago he's a bit strange, like a "mountain man", but living in a council house in Rugby, oh well hope to see Tom in December, will report back after my trip to the USA Best wishes Spike


24/12/09 - I had a great trip to L.A. I met Kit Armoogum twice whilst there and it was like we'd never been apart.
He's a couple of years older than me but still working. He's a road manager/personal assistant to acts like Billy Paul, Gladys Knight and is on tour early in 2010 with The Emotions {Best of My Love] We also visited New Orleans, vastly overated I called it "Rip Off City" & spent a few days in Memphis, did Gracelands, Sun Studios and Stax Museum all in one day!

Gracelands was very atmospheric it has been left as it was when Elvis lived there so you can imagine. Sun Studios was as it was when Elvis, Johnnie Cash, Carl Perkins, et al recorded there, even the crosses where they stood are still on the studio floor. The guide was fantastic and made the tour come to life

Stax was OK, especially for an old 60's DJ who's life long hero is Otis Redding but it didn't have the same presence as GL and Sun. The hotel was fantastic and highly recommended for all music fans 'Days Inn Gracelands'. After Memphis we went to Nashville, The Smokey Blue Mountains and finished of in Chattanooga

A great trip.....
Spike (Paul) & Susan

Thomas Long can be seen at the Radio City Re-Union

Read another Discography on Pinkerton's Assorted Colours

For all the Radio Sutch & City features navigate from Scrapbook Index

For a brief history of all the Thames Estuary Forts see Fort Fax

Make sure you also see the NAB "Mystery Tower" the forerunner to Maunsell Forts in Sailing the Solent

For the range of documentary CD's in the Offshore Radio "Roaring 60's" collection, the Sealand VCD, books, & a video on the Army & Navy Forts go to Offshore Shop

Trips to the Maunsell Sea Forts are arranged throughout the summer from Herne Bay & Whitstable in Kent

For details of cruises to see the sights of the Thames Estuary & North Kent Coast see Boat Trips

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