'The Independent Music Show Magazine' July 2022 - Page 16

Graham Sclater

Musician - Author



HOWIE CASEY – Saxophonist and Session player


Graham Sclater

Howie Casey - Howard William Casey (born in Liverpool on 12 July 1937) is a

British rhythm and blues, rock saxophonist. He formed his first group, The

Seniors at the end of 1959 and they soon added Derry Wilkie, a black British

singer, and changed their name to Derry and the Seniors. Like the Beatles and

other Liverpool groups they auditioned to tour as Billy Fury’s backing band but

they both failed to get the gig. Larry Parnes, Fury’s manager, invited them to go

down to London and play at the famous 2i's, coffee bar in Soho. It was during

one of their gigs that they were seen by Bruno Koschmider, a visiting German

club owner who was looking for acts that he could use in one of his to clubs in

the Hansa city of Hamburg.

They were the first Liverpool based group to travel to Germany and in early

1960 they took up residency at the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg. A few months

later they were joined by the Beatles who played at Koschmider’s other and

much smaller club, The Indra, further down Grosse Freiheit.

Being at the forefront of the English group invasion of Germany the musicians

spent many hours together in the bars of St Pauli and built up a long-lasting relationship which was to lead to much greater things for Howie many years later.

Howie’s first time in Hamburg was short-lived as unlike the Beatles they didn’t have work permits or visas and were sent home in October 1960. Upon his return, Howie renamed the band, Howie Casey and the Seniors and their early claim to fame was that they were the first Liverpool group to record an LP, “Twist at the Top” released in February 1962 by Fontana Records. This preceded the Beatles’ first single by several months. Despite the release of several singles, success evaded them and they broke up in mid-1962. The album is still available on CD and was released in 2010 by the reissue label, Bear Family Records.

Following the break-up, Howie returned to Germany in 1963 and joined Hamburg based, Liverpool band, KingSize Taylor and the Dominoes, (who recorded the Beatles first live recording at the Star Club.) Howie recorded several singles with the band which were released by the labels, Phillips and Polydor. The band returned to the UK in 1964 where they toured with Alex Harvey, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins. Following those tours, the group split and Howie returned to Germany with The Pawns before joining The Krew and performed in France, Italy and Switzerland.

In 1970 he moved to live in London and started his work as a much sought-after session musician and worked with record producer Tony Visconti. He played on many of the Marc Bolan records and also toured with him. Visconti suggested that he work with Paul McCartney. It was a match made in heaven and in 1973 he played on several tracks on the incredibly successful Wings album, Band on the Run. He can be heard on: Jet, Bluebird and Mrs Vandebill. Paul then asked him to tour with the band on their 66-date show, Wings Over America in 1975-76. This resulted him Howie playing on two more Wings albums.

During a gap in touring and playing with Wings, in 1975 he played on the Tommy

soundtrack and toured with The Who in 1976.

In late 1976 he rekindled his relationship with Tony Ashton, a member of the Remo

Four which had spent many years as the house band at the Star Club in Hamburg. and

played on the Paice, Ashton and Lord’s 1976 album Malice in Wonderland.

Howie has continued to play and record with so many top names and now at the age

of 84, this month, now lives in Dorset and is still playing. Following the formation of

12 piece band, Beatles with Wings, he has toured much of the world playing songs

by the Beatles and Wings.

He regularly plays and his band is well worth checking out.

“You won’t be disappointed.”