Early Days 7

When Shirley Douglas made her first record with the group, 'Across the Bridge', it was released at the same time as Nancy's last record with the group, 'Johnny Oh'; consequently they were in competition with each other, neither getting their fair share of promotion.However Shirley quickly established herself as a firm favourite with the skiffle fans. Her folksy soprano voice added another dimension to the group's repertoire. 

Already there was Chas specialising in the skiffle standards and folk beat songs; Tony Kohn, he of the rich brown voice, covering the blues flavoured titles like 'Everyday' and 'I Want a Little Girl' and Bill Bramwell featuring the scat/jazz songs such as 'My Old Man', once recorded in the 1930's by The Five Spirits of Rhythm.

Maurice Burman, reviewing in the Melody Maker, a broadcast by the Chas McDevitt skiffle group, on 'Saturday Skiffle Club' 1 July 1957 picked up on this reference to the 30's group.He reported;

"In fact the line up of this group was similar to the 50's Skiffle groups; two guitars, a tipple guitar, bass and suitcase played with two clothes whisks.Substitute a washboard for the valise and you have the forerunner of Skiffle.

"You could have knocked me down with a feather when one of the McDevitt guitarists came forward and sang the ancient and honourable jazzer 'My Old Man' with a good beat and style.
"The Chas McDevitt group, unlike nearly all Skiffle outfits, contains good musicians.And because of that the players show taste and sensibility in their music."

Maurice Burman was so impressed that on this occasion he awarded his weekly 'Burman's Bauble' to Bill Bramwell.

He might not have been so generous with his plaudits had he been aware of another one of Bill's talents.Bill would always succeed in commandeering the front passenger seat in the group's mini-bus.He would jump in quickly, nursing his little hip-flask, whilst the rest of the boys loaded his guitar and amplifier; then he would remove his shoes and place his feet over the hot air duct, filling the vehicle with a nauseating malodorous funk.

The McDevitt group undertook numerous nationwide tours with; Slim Whitman, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Freddie Bell and the Bellboys and with the fabulous Treniers, replacing Jerry Lee Lewis who had been withdrawn from that particular tour because of the scandal surrounding his marriage to his 13 year old cousin.