Lonnie Donegan and There's More

lonnie donegan

                                  BAND ON WITH LON


Lonnie had many fine musicians working with him over the years. In this section I have tried to list who and when they were "behind" him.

It is believed that during Lonnie's army days 1949 - 1951 he played in a band known as The Wolverines. One strange thing about this part of Lonnie's musical history is that he played drums in this band!

 The first known band that Lonnie was in, was Bill Bronskill's New Orleans Jazz Band, Lonnie being, shall we say a bit more outgoing than Bill, and was able to get more bookings, so they changed name and became The Tony Donegan Jazz Band.

Lonnie Donegan - Guitar & Vocals, Bill Bronskill - Trumpet, Don Simmons - Clarinet, replaced by Geoff Kemp, Gordon Blundy - Trombone, replaced by Bob Dawbarn, "Woofer" Barker - Bass, replaced by Jim Bray. Arthur Fryatt - Drums, Bill Wren - Piano. 

A note I received fom Les Woosey regarding the possibility of Bill Wren being a band member.

Regarding the latest post on your website, I have the name of a guy Bill Wren who played piano for Bill Brunskill. In all truth, I cannot substantiate whether he played pre-Donegan, with-Donegan or post-Donegan, However, the photograph in Lon's 'This Y'ere De Story' programme certainly shows Brunskill, Donegan and a pianist (half a head!) all together in the band line-up dated 1952. My educated guess is that the pianist is Wren - but whether this can be extrapolated into him being the piano player heard on any early Donegan jazz band recordings then I cannot be certain. My take on things is that it would PROBABLY be Bill Wren if that name is correct!

                                                                Bill Brunskill 







The first of "The Skiffle" bands was the one that played for a bit of fun during the half time break at Chris Barber's Jazz Band performances.

                                                      The Chris Barber Jazz Band

This is the main part of the line up that recorded those historic four tracks on The New Orleans Joys album.

Lonnie Donegan - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Chris Barber - Double Bass, Beryl Bryden - Washboard.

     Beryl Bryden       Chris Barber    

Soon after Rock Island Line Lonnie signed up with Pye, and a band had to be found quickly for the first recording sessions in 1956. I don't think this band ever toured.

Lonnie Donegan - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Dickie Bishop - Guitar & Vocals, Chris Barber - Bass, Ron Bowden - Drums.   

They were all part of Chris Barber's Jazz Band.



Ron Bowden. 


The first touring Band

Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Mickey Ashman - Bass, Denny Wright - Guitar, Nick Nichols - Drums.


 Mickey Ashman           Denny Wright

        Nick Nichols



Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Mickey Ashman - Bass. Jimmy Curie - Guitar, Nick Nichols - Drums,


Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Nick Nichols - Drums, Les (brother Les) Bennets - Guitar, Pete Huggett - Bass


Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Les Bennets - Guitar, Pete Hugget (pic) - Bass, Pete Appleby - Drums, Denny Wright - Guitar, rejoined 1962.




Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo  & Vocals.

Pete Appleby – Drums.

Cliff Hall – Keyboards.

Pete Oakman – Bass.

Les Bennetts or Denny Wright– Guitar

And in 1965 for a couple of shows in Great Yarmouth, Justin Hayward.



Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Les Bennets (left 1970)  Who was replaced with Paul Brett (from Cyril Stapleton's Orchestra). He was then followed by Paul Greedus and then Peter Bocking, and occasionly Denny Wright - Guitar.  Steve Jones followed by Bobby Hates and then Melt Kingston - Bass ( Melt also played Euphonium & Trombone).  Pete Mack followed by Mark Goodwin in 1968,and Pete Merrick - Drums. Paul Maguire, then Graham Elliott and sometimes Cliff Hall - Keyboards.

Lonnie didn’t play much over the next couple of years due to having a heart attack. The few dates he did manage I believe were with various people from the above list, but I have not been able to confirm this.

Photo from Mark Goodwin, I wonder what song they are performing?


Paul Brett



Details from Stuart Brown.

Lonnie – Guitar, Banjo & Vocals

Roger McKew – Guitar

Roy Cooper - Guitar

Pete Merit (or Merrick)

Stuart Brown – Keyboards, Harmonies & solo vocals (during change of outfit mid act)

73/74 BAND.


Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, "Big" Bill Scott or Roy Davis - Keyboards,Ian Murray-Sorbie or Bob Renney - Bass, Willie Wilson or Chris Hunt - Drums, John McAuley - Guitar.

 From Rairoad Bill's Collection.

Fully autographed, with the heading "To our good friends bob + Gladys"


Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Bob Renney - Bass, Chris Hunt - Drums, Paul Henry - Guitar, Nick Payne - Harmonica, Flute & Saxophone. Steve Darrington (The Boogieman) - Piano 1983
Steve Darrington.


Donegan's Dancing Sunshine Band

Lonnie – Guitar, Banjo & Vocals. Geoff Downs – Drums, Alan Gresty – Trumpet, Paul Henry – Guitar, John Beecham – Trombone, and of course Monty Sunshine – Clarinet.









Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Paul Henry - Guitar, Nick Payne - Harmonica, Flute & Saxophone, Jim Rodford - Bass, Geoff Downs - Drums.


Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Paul Henry - Guitar, Nick Payne - Harmonica, Flute & Saxophone, Jim Rodford or Pete Oakman - Bass, Chris Hunt - Drums, Russell Gilbert or Alan "Sticky" Wicket - Percussion.

Also in the late 80's / early 90's when Nick Payne was unavailable the pianist / keyboard player Mike Bell replaced him. Mike played with amongst others Albert Lee. Strange that a Harmonica player was replaced by a Keyboard player, but Lonnie was unpredictable!

                                            Mike Bell

Another person who played with Lonnie was Gerry Conway, drummer now with Fairport Convention.  I'm not sure how long he was with the band, but he certainly played behind Lon on the BARRYMORE TV Show 1996. 

Gerry Conway




Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Paul Henry - Guitar, Alan "Sticky" Wicket - Percussion, Pete Oakman - Bass, Chris Hunt - Drums, Peter Donegan - Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Harmonica, & Keyboards. Mike Paice - Sax & Harmonica.

Now for some cheating, but having said that, Lonnie DID perform with some of these guys!


Putting On The Style Band

12 String Guitar, Banjo & Vocals - Lonnie, Drummers - Victor Spinetti, Ringo Starr, Bruce Gary, Jim Keltner, Colin Fairly. Bass - ALan Jones, Dave Wyntor, Roger McKew. Guitar - Rory Gallagher, Roger McKew, Peter Jameson, Albert Lee, Brian May, Peter Banks, Ronnie Wood & Mick Ralphs. Piano/Organ - Zoot Money, Peter Wingfield, Gary Booker, Elton JOhn, Rev. James Cleveland, Nicky Hokins, William D Smith. Harp - Leo Sayer. Percussion - Ray Cooper. Backing Vocals - Southern California Community Choir, Michelle Phillips, Leo Sayer & Possibly Adam Faith.


The Sundown Band

Lonnie - Guitar, Banjo & Vocals, Jim Keltner - Drums, Jai Winding - Piano, Albert Lee - Guitar, Slide Guitar, Mandolin & Backing Vocals, Doug Kershaw - Fiddle & Accordian, Richard Bennett - Steel Guitar, Ray Cooper - Percussion, Becky Lopez, Venetta Fields & Shirley Matthews - Bcking Vocals.



Muleskinner Blues” Band

Yes, even more cheating!


Lonnie – Vocals, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, 12 String Guitar, Banjo - Van Morrison – Vocals - Gerry Conway – Drums, Percussion - Sticky Wicket – Percussion, Washboard, Tamborine - Vic Pitt – Acoustic Rhythm Guitar - Albert Lee – Electric Guitar, Hammond Organ - Paul Henry – Electric guitar, 12 String Guitar - Nick Payne – Harmonica,Whistle, Backing Vocals - Brian Hodgson – Electric Bass - Chris Barber – Bass, Backing Vocals - Sam Brown, Sonia Jones, Margot Buchanan, The Sarstedt Brothers (Eden Kane & Peter Sarstedt) - Backing Vocals - John Slaughter – Electric Guitar - Jerry Alison – Triangle, Percussion - Hand Claps – Sundry Friends - Rufus Thibodeaux – Fiddle - Joell Le Sonier - Accordian - Gary Booker - Hammond Organ - Jaqui McShee – Harmonies - Paco Javier Jimeno – Acoustic Spanish Guitar - Paul Lincoln – Keyboards.



                                                                                        John Slaughter.


I know I've cheated on the last three. But imagine what it would have been like if some of them had gone "on the road" with Lonnie. Mind you, who from the normal set up could you leave out? They are/were all fine musicians!

OOPS! Nearly forgot one important guitarist who played with Lonnie, I don't know the dates at the moment so I'll add him on here.

Roger Rettig.


What a band this would have been!

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