Summer 1957 to Summer1958

THE BLUEGENES. Based in Huyton; progressed from church halls/ fetes to the Cavern...which then nad the prestige of the London Palladium! Combined skiffle with trad-jazz songs. 

They looked very sharp in matching sky blue jeans, and shirts with a Martini label pattern - and while most other skiffle groups quickly made the transition to rock'n'roll, they stayed closer to traditional jazz, which had a much stronger foot-hold in the established clubs around Liverpool. 


Spud Ward: double bass (replaced by Jimmy Hudson); 
Ray Ennis: guitar, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: washboard; 
Bruce McCaskill: guitar, vocal; 
Tommy Hughes: banjo. 

Tommy Hughes (who'd been taking piano lessons since he was 9, and who learnt the banjo from his Ship's steward father) ran into the others when he was in THE PINETOP SKIFFLE GROUP. 

Ralph Ellis was invited into the Bluegenes after they saw his group performing 'Ella Speed' at the Liverpool Empire / Stanley Dale Skiffle contest of March 1958. 

Summer 1958 to Spring 1959

Their unique brand of  "Sophisticated Skiffle" ensured loads of  bookings - including twice a week at the Cavern, and dancehalls/clubs at Chester, Crewe, etc. 

The group even had the luxury of its own van - decorated with a cartoon impression of them - drawn by Bill Tidy (who was Tommy's cousin). Bruce (later to manage the Average White Band) left after an altercation; Tommy was called up for National Service (unlucky lad !). 

Tommy Hughes: banjo (later formed "The Kansas City Five"); 
Bruce McCaskill: rhythm, vocal (later formed "The Kansas City Five"); 
Ralph Ellis : guitar, vocal; 
Ray Ennis: guitar, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: drums; 
Les Braid: double bass. 

Spring 1959 to April 1963

Still kings at the Cavern, where their tuesday guest nights featured the likes of the Beatles, the Searchers, the Remo Four, Gerry & the Pacemakers, etc, etc, etc! 

Began calling themselves the SWINGING BLUEGENES in 1960. Went to London and recorded two numbers with Joe Meek (7/62), which were never released. Were offered a management deal by Brian Epstein - but they saw him as a shopkeeper and signed with club-owner Jim Ireland. 


Johnny Carter: guitar, vocal (to Canada); 
Paul Moss: banjo (joined the police); 
Ralph Ellis: guitar, vocal; 
Ray Ennis: guitar, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: drums; 
Les Braid: double bass. 

April 1963 to February 1966

THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS. They signed with Wally Ridley at HMV - and within months scored an international smash with Hippy Hippy Shake. You're No Good was another top three hit. Package tours, interviews, TV and radio shows, stardom, fame! It was fabulous - but Ralph event - vally got tired of life on the road. The others were just starting! 


Ralph Ellis: guitar, vocal (got a proper job!); 
Ray Ennis: lead, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: drums, 
Les Braid: bass.

February 1966 to July 1967

Ray's tenth year in the group! 

The hits may have run out, but the gigs would go on forever - all over the world! Terry fitted in so well that they began to consider another Escort! (Both groups were managed by Jim!) 

Ray Ennis: lead, vocal; 
Les Braid: bass, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: drums; 
Terry Sylvester. guitar, vocal (from the Escorts). 

July 1967  until January 1969

When Terry left to join the Hollies. 
Norman left in 1969; Mike in 1973. Ray and Les are still there, flying the Blue Jeans flag after 33 years! I wish I had a quid for every time they've performed Hippy Hippy Shake. Keep on! 

Ray Ennis: lead vocal; 
Les Braid: keyboards, vocal; 
Norman Kuhlke: drums; 
Mike Gregory: bass, vocal (from the Escorts); 
Terry Sylvester: guitar, vocal. 

                                                    (1963 - 1965)


'It's Too Late Now'/'Think of Me'           HMV POP 1170      6/63 

'Do You Know?'/'Angie'                         HMV POP 1206      9/63 

'Hippy Hippy Shake'/'Now I Must Go'    HMV POP 1242    12/63 

'Good Golly Miss Molly'/'Shaking 
Feeling'                                                   HMV POP 1273      3/64 

'You're No Good'/'Don't You Worry 
about Me'                                                HMV POP 1304      5/64 

'Promise You'll Tell Her'/'It's So Right'  HMV POP 1327      8/64 

'It Isn't There'/'One of These Days'          HMV POP 1375    12/64 

'Make Me Know You're Mine'/'I've 
Got a Girl'                                               HMV POP 1409      3/65 

'Crazy 'Bout My Baby'/'Good Lovin' '     HMV POP 1477    10/65 


'Shake'                                                     HMV 7EG 8850      5/64 

'You're No Good, Miss Molly'                HMV 7EG 8868      8/64 


Blue Jeans A-Swinging                           HMV CLP 1802     10/64 

Date of entry into UK charts  -  Title  -  Highest position 

12/63                "Hippy Hippy Shake"            2
 3/64                "Good Golly Miss Molly"       11
 6/64                "You're No Good"                 3



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