How it all began!
The Roulettes were formed in 1962 initially with Rex Carswell, Brian Holden and Ron Hall who make up the main body of the group right up to the present day. But even earlier than that, Rex and Brian were too-tooing around with their acoustic guitars attemping to make them electric by attaching old headphones and other crude pickup devices. The amplifiers were nothing more than an old stereogram and a valve radio. Once having bought 'real' model electric guitars (Brian - a Commodore, Rex - a Hofner) the pair teamed up with Ron who then played piano forming the original Roulettes. They were still at high school and played for several school dances before heading out into the wide world of concerts and other functions (Three pounds each per night). Note the shared blistering 6 watt Concord Contina amplifier with dimensions not much larger than a cornflakes packet - placed on a chair for maximum sound projection! The ladder at the back is not part of the group's equipment.
Most of the rehearsals were were done at Ron's place where his mother had little choice but listen to them play. With her knowledge of music and interest in the group she offered much in the way of advice and guidance in those early years.
For a brief period the group recruited a drummer - Louis Edwards (Right). Where is he now?
Ron took a liking so much to having drums in the group that he took over the job himself, buying a very basic kit of Beverly drums coloured in deep red. For a while there was nobody seated at the piano, as is evident here. The Roulettes were very much now a reality with the name proudly painted on the bass drum.
That seat at the piano was soon taken up by Maureen Munro. Maureen remains a faithful supporter of the group, keeping memorabilia such as photos and treasured newspaper clippings that at the time did not seem to mean much. A larger amplifier was purchased (a Concord Contessa -behind Rex) and Rex built an extension speaker cabinet which had a cupboard in the back to store spare leads and accessories. He was the modern day equivalent of the group's sound engineer, always ensuring that the cable and leads were carefully wiped and rolled up neatly at the end of an engagement (gig). On top of the cabinet is a spring reverb unit complete with chrome carrying handle and blue formica panel. This device was used to enhance the sound of Brian's guitar. Note the addition of the floor tom tom to Ron's kit, so he could now make an impressive job of playing numbers such as 'Wipeout'. The Roulettes style of music was inspired by instrumental groups from the 'twang' era such as the Ventures, Duane Eddy and of course the Shadows.
Brian, Maureen, Ron and Rex. They don't make bottles (far left) or grand pianos like that anymore.
Accomplished guitarst Allen Castleton (right) replacing Maureen.
(Picture to be uploaded)
1964 Same line-up but now with Brian playing his (almost) new Gibson Les Paul guitar.
BACK TO THREE. Now with two Jansen 'Six Twenty' amplifiers - one each! Note also the addition of a new (Zildjian) cymbal, which once rolled down the stairs after a late night gig and out on to the road!
Although the life of the Roulettes spanned just on three years (a lifetime when you're young) the members enthusiastically agree that they were the most memorable years of their music careers!
NOT THE ROULETTES, but a later group - The Image. George Merriman, drums, Nick Anderson, bass, Brian and Rex.
The Reunion! :
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