The Kansas City Five, as with a number of Liverpool artists in the day, were heavily influenced by American artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. What separated the group from others performing at the Iron Door Club was the heavy influence that Carl Perkins had on them which characterized their sound as Rockabilly. The Kansas City Five's interpretation of this style of music was somewhat different leaning more toward the Country and Rhythm and Blues genres. It was this approach that enabled them to stand out from the crowd.
The Kansas City Five would undergo a number of changes over the years, but in the beginning its core members included Peter Cook, Tommy Hughes. Colin Middleborough, Robbie Hickson and Alan Stratton. Over the course of the Band's history a number of additional members would join. These included Lewis Collins (known later for his acting), Mal Theory (a Nashville session man), Beryl Marsden (vocalist), Barbara Harrison and Les Stuart (associated with George Harrison and Lee Castle).
Peter Cooke played lead guitar and was well-known on Merseyside as a recorded artist with Earle Royce and the Olympics. As a group member with Earle Royce he appeared in the movie Ferry 'Cross The Mersey. He was also a member of Faron's Flamingoes.
Robbie (Dee) Hickson, originally with Dee of the Dynamites, was the vocalist for the Kansas City Five. The Dynamites were quite possibly the first group from Wirral to specialize in rock and roll.
Dee and the Dynamites had a lineup that was most impressive and highly familiar to visitors of the Iron Door Club. They included Dee on vocals, Jackie Lomax on rhythm guitar, Karl Sloan on bass and Peter Cook on lead. Brian (Bug) Pemberton rounded out the group on drums and he would later be replaced by Tommy Bennett.
On keyboard was Tommy Hughers who to this day continues to perform with the Mojos in Liverpool. Tommy was the original banjo player with the Bluegenes during the early years from about 1957 to 1959. The group would later change their name to the Swinging Blue Jeans.
Hughes began his music career with a group called the Pine-Tops in 1956. They played in a cellar club of a large house in the Old Swansee District of Liverpool. The Club was run by a popular performer in the Liverpool area by the name of Alan Caldwell, better known to most by his stage name, Rory Storm.
Geoff Hogarth recalls the circumstances under which Tommy joined the Blue Genes.
"Bruce McCaskill had recently formed a rudimentary skiffle group and was in the audience on one of the group's appearances. After the show he contacted Tommy and invited him to play with the "Blue Genes", a skiffle band. Tommy readily accepted and also agreed to the conditions to joining. Bruce informed Tommy 'You'll have to wear Martini labelled T shirts and light blue jeans."
You can see the Blue Genes' lineup and read more about Tommy Hughes with the band in Tommy Hughes Joins The Bluegenes.
Colin Middleborough was on drums in the beginning. He was employed in a bank and would eventually become a Bank Manager. After leaving the Kansas City Five he would later play with "The Four Originals."
Colin was also a drummer with Dale Roberts and the Jaywalkers for a time.
A Recent Photo of Colin
Bruce McCaskill carried out rhythm guitar and vocal duties and was instrumental in organizing the group.
The Kansas City Five were formed in 1961 by Bruce McCaskill. His talents would go well beyond those of a performer and his early management abilites stood him in good stead over the years leading him to be instrumental in the success of The Swinging Blue Jeans, Groups' Incorporated and the Average White Band. He was responsible for a very early recording of the Kansas City Five at the Iron Door Club in 1962.
Please read more about Bruce in Bruce McCaskill Achieves Success.
The last, but certainly not the least, of the orginal members of the Kansas City Five was that of Alan Stratton who played bass. Alan played bass with the Black Cats in the late fifties and has played with a number of bands. He had experience playing the stand up double bass with Big Band and Jazz-Modern-Traditional genres.
He would go on to be a well-known artist in Liverpool playing alongside many of Liverpool's finest including the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and numerous others.
You can read more about Alan in Alan Stratton With The Black Cats.