Sunday May 23, 2021

Lost Recordings No.22
Or in this case Lost LP

The Gateway Jazz Band at The Coach House Club


Thanks to Linda Smith for this earlier photograph of the band taken around 20 years before the LP was recorded - Mick Potts (trumpet), and his brother on clarinet. Colin Smith on washboard, Peter Myers on tuba, and Norman Healy-Creed on trombone. Al Potts is on clarinet. but the identity of the banjo player is currently unknown.

"In February 1967, after much resistance from the Border Rural District Council, Mick Potts persuaded the Brampton Magistrates Court to grant a club registration certificate, and the Coach House Club was born. The club was located in a large house at Heads Nook, about 7 miles from Carlisle. During the lifetime of the club, many well known bands and musicians were featured, with Teddy Wilson appearing several times. This recording was made at the Border TV studios, Eleven years later, Mick Potts and the Gateway Jazz Band featured on a Border TV programme called, 'Taking The Mick'. The show featured the band with invited guests. Initially, it was for a trial period but eventually ran for 3 series, each of 6 programmes (clips from the programmes can be seen on 'You Tube')"  - Norrie Thomson November 2011

Click here to listen to the full LP

Track No.


01 Nagasaki
02 Saturday Night Function
03 Fidgety Feet
04 A Kiss to Build a Dream On
05 At Sundown.
06 I Wanna Be Like You
07  Oh! Baby
08 Drop Me Off in Harlem
09 Beale Street Blues
10 That's My Home

Band line-up on the LP - Mick Potts (trumpet, vocal, leader), Norman Healy-Creed (trombone), Bill Douglas (clarinet, alto-sax), Jim Willis (piano), John Maitland-Smith (banjo), Colin Sycamore Smith (string bass), Albert Holliday (drums). Recorded at Border Television Studios, Carlisle, 1968. This recording is from an LP issued by the band for sale at band gigs and in and around the Carlisle area. Linda says, "Sadly non of the musicians are still with us (as far as I know).  I could check as I'm still in touch with Pam Smith ( widow of John , banjo )".


Some items on the News Page that brought about this one

06/05/21 - I played Clarinet in the Panama Jazzmen on Tyneside in the 1950's and had a great blow on one occasion, depping for one of the brothers from Carlisle, at a King's College Newcastle Arts Ball at the Oxford Galleries. The other brother led the band and played fine trumpet and I think the name of the band was the Castle Jazz Band??   Do you have any information re their musical careers etc. If not no probs but I often tell people about the great night I had without being able to name names. I now live in Adelaide and play quite often with Derek Dalton and in 2019 I was in UK and played a couple of sessions with Bob Wade and Gordon Solomon in the River City Jazz Band at Ashington Jazz Club. - Don Armstrong

07/05/21 - After trawling my site, Don Armstrong now seems to feel the name of the band was the Gateway Band from Carlisle, and the leader was Mick Potts. If anyone can add further information, please let me know and I'll pass it on - Fred

10/05/21 - The mention of the Gateway Jazz Band re Don Armstrong’s enquiry brings back many happy memories of Mick Potts. Mick left us in 1993 at the age of 57 after his 3rd heart attack, a true legend in his own lifetime. His older brother was Al Potts who Mick taught to play clarinet and they formed the Gateway in1953. Mick was a classical trained pianist who after getting the jazz bug taught himself to play the trumpet.   Mick was a close friend of Wild Bill Davison and they played together in Carlisle with Mick on piano although I recollect Jim Willis Gateway’s pianist taking Mick's place when Mick suffered one of his heart attacks. Think the venue was near the cattle market.   Mick brought many big names to Carlisle . Oscar Peterson,George Chisholm, Alex Welsh, Britains Greatest Jazz Band, Sammy Rimington, WASO and even Jimmy Deuchar which showed that whilst he was a traditionalist in the mould of Armstrong he could enjoy Modern.   Yes my highlight of any week was travelling the 33 miles from Dumfries down to Carlisle every Sunday Sing Something Simple on the car radio at 7, 0 clock and then entering the real world of Micks Club at 7.45 before returning home suitably refreshed with English Bitter {our wives took it in turn to drive} and JAZZ HOUR on the radio at midnight. Shame I had to go to work on the Monday. - Peter Bledge

11/05/21 - Re the Peter Bledge info. re the above. The Gateway played at the Garret Club, Devonshire St., Carlisle during the 50/60s. I shared the trumpet chair with Mick Potts when my army duties allowed from 1955 until 1957. When I was available Mick took over the piano stool his first love. The line up was Al Potts clar, Mick. Norman Healy Creed tmb., Albert Holliday dms,. Colin Sycamore Smith tuba, the banjo was shared between Buddy & Cooky. Sorry I can't remember their full names, it's an age thing. - Bill Robinson.

11/05/21 - With reference to Don Armstrong asking about a Carlisle band in the 50's it sounds as though it was the Gateway, the leader being Mick Potts whose brother played clarinet. Mick played trumpet & piano and vocals . My late husband Colin Smith ( who had the nickname Sycamore) played washboard originally ( as in this photo ) he then taught himself tuba and later double bass. The tuba player in the photo is Peter Myers ( who I am still in touch with). Al Potts is on clarinet. I'm not sure who the banjo player and trombonist are on the photo but can find out. I can give more history if Don would like to know more. Colin then went on to play professionally for 10 yrs in the 60s then back with the Gateway for a while. He then came up North and played with Mart Rodger Manchester Jazz. plus lots of other bands that he depped with..-  Linda Smith.

14/05/21 - Re: The Gateway Jazz Band, I have a recording of a broadcast in Holland, October 1982.- Gerard Bielderman


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