Beat Preachers

circa 1963-66

R&B / mod/ freakbeat

Line up: Geoff Parsons (guitar), Ian 'Stuart' Coleman (bass), Graham Rolaston (drums), Forbes Merrigan (lead guitar), Jackie McCormick (vocals).

Formed around 1964 in Rugby. R&B/Mod outfit who supported The Who at the Matrix Hall in 1965. When they played the Parkstone Club the ad proclaimed "see all you mods there ...". Were known as the Midlands Rolling Stones.

Released their lone single under the name The Carribeans (sic) in September 1965. The songwriter credits were 'Benn/Sherriff', after two famous local dignitaries. Reviews at the time noted "..a distinct West Indian sound..."

Added Saxophone (Tony Britnell - later of Jigsaw) in April 1966, but split up two months later. Some members joined Pinkerton’s Assorted Colours.

Under Friars agency. Played The Walsgrave, The Coventry Flying Club, Orchid Ballroom, Reynold Chains factory, The Heath. 

Managed by Reg Calvert and provided Pinkertons Assorted Colours with members. Stuart Colman became a well know DJ and now is a consultant for the excellent re-issue label, Ace records.

Single (as 'The Carribeans'):

Inside out / Up my street - 1965 (as The Caribbean) (Pye 7N 15961 - 1

"Very different are the Beat Preachers. They have changed as drastically as any local group. Not so long ago, they sported

shoulder-length hair and were very much on a Stones kick in their music. Now the barber has done his work and they all sport well-groomed manes. Their sound has changed too. They now have a distinct "surfin sound" - although manager Colin Maskell assures me the sound is unintentional. " From Coventry Express, Friday May 28th 1965 Citybeat by Paul Connew (Via Tim James)

Bigger version of the this press page below.

Memories from Stuart Colman- From Rex Brough

"The Beat Preachers were formed in Rugby circa October 1963. The line-up was essentially taken from two other groups -

myself, Geoff Parsons, and Graham Rolaston were all apprentices at the AEI factory and had been in a group called The Cataracts. Forbes Merrigan, and Jackie McCormick had similarly worked at English Electric where they were in an outfit named The Boot Hill Six. We turned pro early in 1964. Because the Beat Preachers worked so frequently in Coventry, it soon became accepted that we were actually from the city. This was not unsimilar to the Mighty Avengers situation, as three of them were from Rugby as well. We were booked by the Friars Agency. The agency was a set-up run by an ex-bandleader named Jack Hardy, along with a younger partner named Mick Tiernan. We often worked every single night of the week at venues such as The Coventry Flying Club - (wild), The Walsgrave, The Orchid Ballroom, Reynold Chains factory, The Heath, and countless other locations.

Thanks to the convenient geography, we also visited Birmingham, Leicester, Northampton and Nottingham on a regular basis and became known as "The Midlands' Rolling Stones". We played r&b and basic rock & roll, and had a

strong image. However, the group suffered poor management and when we finally came to record, the one single on Pye appeared under the pseudonym of The Caribbean.

The group split with Jackie McCormick at the end of 1965 and for a short while went out with a mad sax player called Tony Britnell who would later become part of Jigsaw. The Beat Preachers made it as far as May 1966 when Forbes Merrigan quit and I was offered the bass guitar gig with Pinkertons Assorted Colours. The work I do for Ace Records, is on a consultancy basis. I am, and have been for many years, a record producer (Shakin' Stevens/ Kim Wilde, Cliff Richard etc. etc.) and I also became a dee-jay on Radio One in the late 70's. I now live and work in Nashville, Tennessee. Well done for running the site. Best wishes, Stuart"

Memories from Stuart Booth (C.S. & K.S.A. Booth Book Publishing Service)

From Rex Brough

"...the band that truly sent me off into what I remain (60 next year-2004) when I saw them at the Boulevard near York in 1963 . Also added to the bill were unannounced Rhythm & Blues Incorporated form Liverpool.

BUT this is not the odd thing - its that I met and published Stuart Coleman's book THEY KEPT ON ROCKING many, many years later - with no knowledge of the previous connection. Neither did he. Bloody hell! We even had him do an ace r'n'r disco at the Bookseller Conf in Scarborough when published. He was, like me, a Yorkshireman surely - he from Harrogate? I'd always imaged maybe the Beat Preachers went on to be The Sorrows or some such........... Omigod!"

Stuart Booth (From comments on BBC Radio Coventry)
I saw the Beat Preachers play the Boulevard, on the A64 'tween Leeds & York in either late 63 or early 64; supported their by local resident Steve Cassidy and the Escorts and "surprise guests form Liverpool: Ruythm 'n' Blues Incorporated (actually form Lytham I think). A night that changed my life.

New article on Stuart Colman here