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Return to North Devon’s rock ‘n’ roll years

11:37 09 April 2014

Author Pat Barrow is joined by Bob Moore and Chris Verney of North Devon 1960s rock

Author Pat Barrow is joined by Bob Moore and Chris Verney of North Devon 1960s rock 'n' roll band The Summits.


A book delving into the region’s rocking heyday plus a 50th anniversary reunion for Barnstaple band Gil Jones & The Summits, will bring those 1960s moments flooding back.

Gil Jones and The Summits as was.Gil Jones and The Summits as was.

MEMORIES of the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll in 1960s North Devon are set to be revived thanks to a new book and a nostalgic 50th anniversary reunion gig by The Summits.

In August three founding members of Gil Jones and The Summits – Gil, Chris Verney and Bob Moore – hope to stage a rock ‘n’ roll charity concert night in Barnstaple to mark the band’s half century and Chris’ 70th birthday.

To bring that 60s feeling back to the present day they have teamed up with local historian Pat Barrow, whose book The Rock ‘n’ Rolling 60s in North Devon offers a gateway back to the days of rocking at the Queen’s Hall, quiffs and drainpipes.

It delves into the thriving rock ‘n’ roll scene of the time, as local bands became small town heroes, entertaining at Saturday night dances and driving the audiences wild with their music.

Gil Jones and The Summits, whose line up also included John Sweet and John Knill, excelled at recreating the sounds of The Shadows.

They are among bands whose memories and stories form the backbone of Pat’s book, and their plan is to go out with a bang, joined by a host of live bands on the reunion night plus a rock ‘n’ roll DJ to keep the party atmosphere going.

Any proceeds would go to a local charity but right now the band would like to hear from anyone who is keen to see such a night happen.

“There are a lot of people out there who still love rock ‘n’ roll,” said guitarist Chris.

“We want people to write in or contact us as to whether they’d be interested in coming along to a 60s night this August. We’re all getting older and I’m not sure whether we’ll ever play together again after this.”

Pat’s book began to take shape after he met Dave Barrans, a singer with The Prophets, who he saw perform at Braunton Parish Hall in 1965. Five years ago their paths crossed again and through Dave, Pat met up with Chris and other musicians from the time.

“I wanted the audience view too and that was harder to get because nobody ever took cameras with them in those days,” he said.

“It was a thriving scene and everybody went wild when they went out on to the dance floor – when the bands played they brought life to the crowd.”

Currently the book is only available in disc format from the author, but Pat is hoping to see it published and would like to hear from any local printers or publishers who might be able to help. He can be contacted on 07581 443399.

People of all ages who would love to roll back the years and rock around the clock this August at The Summits 1960s night are invited to get in touch with Chris Verney via 01271 343377 or 07901 717928.


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