The Saturated Seven

At our recent first Sunday afternoon gig at the North Euston at Fleetwood the band were bought a drink, would you believe one each! by a very kind gentleman who's name I did not get. It turned out that he had run pubs/clubs in the West Derby District of Liverpool. He said that our band reminded him of a trad outfit he used to employ called the saturated seven. This turned out not to be a compliment when he informed us that we differed from them because most of them played lying down. 

Any news of their present whereabouts would be most welcome.

Andy Gardner.
Wyre Levee Stompers
(Andy died 8th Jan 2006)

Hi Andy & Fred....As a former part time member of The Saturated Seven, whose band uniform consisted of an Alcoholics Anonymous club necktie complete with fresh Tetley stains,  I can shed light on this intrepid band of troupers who operated around the Merseyside area in the 60/  Merseyside's antidote to The Temperance Seven..

The leader was club booking agent/banjo Ernie Mack& the band was based at The Broadway Club in North Liverpool...

Personnel included Tommy Smith (tpt) now in Florida, Billy Edwards (tpt), Don Lydiatt (clt) .Ernie Royle (senior) keyboards,

 I forget the rest of the names since alcholic amnesia came with membership.  I'm sure others will be able to fill in the missing names..  Harold Troughton ( Blue Magnolia JB).

Yes, Andy, I can help you.

Whoever the philanthropic bloke was who lashed out drinks to the Wyre Levee Stompers at the North Euston, please let the Merseysippi Jazz Band know asap when you discover his identity. We all enjoy a drink or eight .......

The original Saturated Seven had a front line of Tommy Smith on trumpet, Billy Bolland on trombone and Don Lydiatt (still playing knock-out stuff with the MJB after only 53 years). The leader of the band was a banjo player by the name of Ernie Mac. Mac was short for a longer name that had a hint of north of the border porridge about it, but sorry, I haven't got a clue what his full name was. Perhaps he was your anonymous provider of liquid refreshment? Both the original bassist and pianist died, and thereafter countless sidesmen took their places.

Tommy Smith left for greener pastures and his place was taken by Billy Edwards, who played with the S7 for years; he's still around but suffered a heart attack not that long ago and is recuperating by playing the harmonica - which his doctor tells him is less strenuous than bagpipes or accordion. Thank God - and of course he'll get infinitely more sit-ins when he's good and ready.

Archie Parkes (ex MJB but still alive and kicking somewhere in the Wirral) took the trombone chair when Billy Bolland died.

And that's it, hope it helps.
Kind regards,
Derek Vaux MJB Bass and (computer) keyboards.

Hi Fred,

The Saturated Seven appeared in the 1971 film "Gumshoe" starring Albert Finney and set in Liverpool. The scene in which they appear was, I believe, shot in the Broadway Club. (Bill Dean played the manager) I've been trying to get hold of the video for a long time but I don't think it's available. The film has not been shown on TV for a number of years, but if it is shown again, it will be well worth recording for posterity. 

Cheers, Phil Yates 
(Mathew St. Ragtime Jazz Band)

Hi Fred!

Just to fill in a few more details for you. Ernie Mack is my grandfather (the shortening of his surname from McGrae to Mack came about in a prisoner of war camp in WWII). The pianist in the Saturated Seven was Joe Royle Senior, father of the ex-Everton manager, Joe Royle. Joe Royle Senior has sadly now passed away. They appeared on Opportunity Knocks with Hughie Green in the early 70s (and won it I think!). "Ernie" is still alive though (he is 82 now) and is still known to play his banjo and sing from time to time. I will let him know about this website and see if he can pass on some "real" information - his memory is still fantastic. It was his old fellow impresario, Billy "Uke" Scott, who played the "Uke"!! I have some old footage of them playing together on a Melvyn Bragg programme that was on the BBC in the 60s called "The Impressarios". I also think "Ernie" may have a copy of Gumshoe!

Regards, Calvin Wade.

Hi Fred - Re. Saturated Seven. the drummer was Fred Pettit. he is now resident Saturdays & Sundays at Maghull Royal British Legion. I have a drink with him every weekend and he talks fondly, drunkenly and at length about his beloved Saturated Seven. I'll show him this - he will be thrilled. - Regards, Harry Swinburne

Hi, Everybody! I remember the Saturated Seven ... I've seen them a couple of times; with "Big" Joe Royal as they called him and Ernie - yes they were great. My Dad is Billy "Uke" Scott and I remember the times that my wife Alyson and I spent at The Broadway club...what a shame those times are gone! Cheers! Mike Scott

10/08/04 - Yes Harry Swinburne is quite correct, I was the original drummer with the Saturated Seven. I started at the Broadway Club in 1956, just after I got married. Then there was only Joe Royle and myself. Tommy Smith introduced Ernie Mac to the Broadway Club. Ernie, at the time, had a business called "Robinswear" on the corner of Shaw Street and Brunswick Road, Liverpool . Ernie took over the entertainment side of the club and it grew from there. I think Derek Vaux of Merseysippi J. B. bass, got it wrong about the original bassist and pianist. Freddie Harrison and Joe Royle have passed on. But nobody ever replaced them, as they were still playing there when I left, sometime in 1972. Ernie Mack eventually opened his own club "The Montrose" after I left a drummer named Norman Chapman came in, after him came Dave Josephs - a very good percussionist. Other guys worked with the band now and then - Johnny Elder, Les Harris (Blue Magnolia J. B.), Archie (Johnnie) Parkes came in after Bill Bolland passed on. He is still with us and he is quite ill at the moment with leukaemia. I give him a ring now and then to keep in touch. a real gentleman is Archie. Another local character who worked with us now and again was Jackie Owens (tenor & clarinet) now passed on. The band worked with a few well known stars, a week at a time. Ken Dodd, Vince Hill, Norman Vaughan, Mrs Mills - who we got half shot before she went on stage at the Royalty Theatre, Chester, and Bert Weedon, that great guitarist of tv and radio. We also used to do a shop window show at Jacobs Social Club (Aintree ) on Sunday afternoons. Wasn't sorry when that finished - coming home every Sunday to a dried up Sunday dinner. I have the video of the Channel 4 documentary "The Impresarios", which features the Broadway Club and other venues, Ernie Mack, Billy "Uke" Scott, and the Joe Royle Trio. Also the film "Gumshoe" of which a lot of it was filmed at the Broadway. It's nice to look back on now and again. but I could go on forever. 

Hope this information will interest you Fred. 
Regards Fred Pettit

17/12/04 - An update on the Saturated Seven and in particular Fred Petits' message. Unfortunately Fred has been seriously ill in Ormskirk Hospital. I keep in touch with his wife Barbara and she tells me he is making progress now after a very traumatic period. I'm sure all of you old mates will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. 

Harry Swinburne

Ernie Mack is my Dads Brother (my Dads name is Ken) and therefore my Uncle.  I am trying to trace McGraes from anywhere as I never knew much about this side of my family.  My father is still alive and so is Ernie but I don't see my father much and haven't seen Ernie since I was a little girl (Im 41 now). . Any other McGrae's out there?

Jayne McMullan - originally McGrae
janemcmullan* (use @ instead of *)

02/08/06 - 

Last night we were in the Montrose Pub in Slater Street in Liverpool & I told two of my friends that the 5th. Beatle was discovered opposite the Jackoranda Club. They laughed & spilt their beers when I told them that it was Norman Chapman, later of the Saturated Seven.  It was documented in Alan William's book that he played with them 3 times & was then called up for National Service.  In my single days in the 70s our crowd used to frequent the Crown Pub in West Derby and often had a drink with Norman & friends.  In fact on a Thursday night we would drink with anyone within 4 feet of the bar. I once asked Norman if he thought this was a cruel twist of fate, and I think he replied that he might not have lasted as a Beatle for long and he quite enjoyed his time doing National Service!!!  Must admit I only saw the group play once at a Jazz festival in the early 70s.

George O'Donnell

Hi Fred. did me the world of good reading your page and seeing the names of so many wonderful “uncles”I grew up with. My father is Tommy Smith who played trumpet with The Saturated Seven. He now lives in West Palm Beach Florida and is still playing but not so much now as he will be 80 next birthday. I have many wonderful recordings of him with his band in the states called Second Time Around. He was involved in a very serious car crash over 20 years ago and hasn’t touched “a drop” since. He now qualifies for The Temperance Seven. Great talking to you.

Deryn Munro nee Smith


I've just come across your piece (from 2004-2006) on the Saturated Seven.

Bill Bolland (Trombone) was my grandfather. He had previously played with Joe Loss as trombonist and musical arranger. When he retired he then joined the Saturated Seven. Most members knew each other through playing at Ossie Wades, a club near Everton's ground which has been demolished and Everton FC have their shop on the site.

I played in bands in the sixties and seventies, supported by my Grandfather's encouragement. He became ill and could not blow, so at age 70 took up a new instrument - the drums. He was a music teacher and would teach me if a lesson became spare when a student failed to turn up. He was a tough task master but I remember all he taught me (`play the spaces' was a favorite when my timing was off.)

Sadly he died when I was aged 20 and though he saw a few shows I did, it was years later before I became anything like good enough for him to appreciate.

When Gumshoe was being filmed, my band was working for George Silver, who owned the Shakespeare theatre club in Liverpool and the river Rooms restaurant. He had a part as a drug user in the film and my band were filmed at Reeces where a brief scene was shot. However all our bit ended on the cutting room floor, but Grandad features playing at the Broadway, with a wonderful brief shot of him leaving the stage after a session.

The chap who bought the drinks, from West Derby, could have been Ian Caine who went on to own the Broadway and still does.

Phil Furlong
8-10 Stanley Street
Liverpool L1 6AF

31/05/09 - Tommy Smith has died in his Florida home aged 81. A tribute to him appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post on May 28 2009. Hopefully it's still visible on line by clicking here

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