Monday, June 2, 2008

Vivid Memories Of 'The Big O', Batley Variety And The Black Horse

         *Musicians who played alongside international legendary singer Roy Orbison had no difficulty in deciding where to stay when they were organising a reunion in Yorkshire.
Over 30 years ago when the entertainer, affectionately known as 'The Big O', was on the bill at Batley Variety Club he and his band always stayed at the Black Horse at Clifton.
And when his former bassist and personal representative Terry Widlake decided it was time for the musicians, along with a number of Roy's most ardent fans to meet up again, the only place to stay was back at the popular Clifton inn.

"We all have good memories of coming here and we always loved it when we were appearing in Yorkshire," said Terry, who is now based in Nashville, Texas, but is originally from Birmingham.

He said there were about seven of them who were in the band - all pensioners now - and it was about 35 years since they were all last together.
"We have kept in touch via email and chatting on the phone but this is the first time we have all met up," said Terry. "Other people who joined us were faithful fans of Roy who became good friends."
Another member of the band was Alan James, who played lead guitar and he now lives in Naples, Florida.

"The evening gave us the chance to catch up on old times and reminisce," said Terry. "Only one person brought along an instrument, a trombone, but we didn't get round to playing any music. It was just good to have a chat and enjoy being back at Clifton."
During Roy Orbison's appearances at Batley he was often top of the bill and in the early 70s he recorded 'Penny Arcade', a song written by Yorkshireman Sammy King. The star, who died in 1988, was also well known for numbers such as 'Only the Lonely', 'Oh Pretty Woman' and 'Crying'.

When the musicians were staying at the Black Horse in the 70s it was run by Mrs Pat Hubbard and her then husband, the late Chris North.
Roy Orbison was among a host of celebrities who used to stay there including Lulu, Danny La Rue, Joe Brown and George Hamilton IV.
The pub is now run by Mrs Hubbard's daughter Jane Russell and her husband Andrew and they were delighted when the group of around 18 chose the Black Horse for their reunion.
"It was a private party and also included Roy's son, Roy Orbison junior," said Jane. "My mum had the chance to meet them and enjoyed sharing memories."

Pat, who still keeps herself involved at the pub by filling hanging baskets, pots and tubs for the summer months, said she really enjoyed meeting the musicians.

"When Roy used to stay here his son was only a little boy. He's in his mid 30s now. He was a lively little boy, always hurtling around and he had fond memories of the Great Dane we had then, Wellington," she said. "It was lovely to see him as an adult".*
Members of Roy's band with Roy's son, Roy Orbison Jr.
Brighouse Today, June 2, 2008
(Thank you so much, Barb!)


  1. I don't see Bobby Goldsborro? He is one of
    my favorite singers.
    Great post and info.