Musical memories

posted in: Mini Memories 19

Reader Keith Parker wrote in recently with some memories:

Hi Allan

Came across your website and it brought back so many memories. I am a drummer and as a very young boy had the honour of playing with Dennis Van Rooyen at functions in and around Durban. We played at weddings and many MOTH dances. I would like to know please when Dennis passed away as I am sure he is no longer with us. He was such a personality and an artist.The sound of that Hammond organ has stayed with me for a long time, being 70 years old now.


Limits 4 band members
Band members: Donald Scott, Ivan Spiers, Des Kuhl,Lawrence “Podge” Holesgrove, Glen Turrell?? and Keith Parker.


Another item on your site was regarding Lee Men Limited. the group used to play at the Arena Club which doubled as a boxing academy run by Doug Dolan if I remember correctly. During that period I was playing with a group called Limits 4 and actually we took over playing at Arena when Lee Men Limited finished up there. Later on the group became The Village Green and we had a fixed venue at the Ocean View Hotel in Musgrave Road.

Such wonderful times.

In a later email Keith told me that Limits 4 started out playing at the Surfers Hut which was at the bottom of Moore Road near the corner with Umbilo Road.

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19 Responses

  1. Gary Gibb
    | Reply

    Hi Allen, Dennis passed away some years ago, what a great musician. Its possible Colin Penn may recall when. Search for Colin on facebook. All the best to you.

    • Keith Parker

      Hi Gary,
      I was the drummer that asked about Dennis.
      Thanks for the information.
      Keith Parker.

  2. Graeme
    | Reply

    Hi Keith, you guys were pretty good…….Ocean View…good jol then. Went there when other sessions were boring like Assumption church hall, nothing on at Pirates Surf Livesaving club, and Sherwood hall, bit far though. Pity about the venue of Ocean View being so far away from the beachfront where me and my mates lived….ja, correct, we had to walk…ha ha.

  3. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Hi Graeme, I used to enjoy playing there. It was a bit more upmarket from the session venues.As I recall it was called “The Hive” It was way off the beaten track for sure. Do you recall “The Surfers Hut” at the bottom of Moore Rd? Played there right in the beginning of my band days with Limits Four.

  4. Deirdre Capell nee Smith
    | Reply

    My dad drummer with Dennis many gigs. My dad was Les Smith. I remember going to his music shop in Gale Street with my dad

  5. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Hi Deirdre,
    I do remember your dad playing with Dennis and the Hammond organ shop.

  6. Deirdre capell
    | Reply

    Thanks for remembering. My dad was a wonderful drummer whose big rival Johhny Marshall. They played together in The Battle of the Drums in the City Hall. I was a little girl.

  7. Madelein
    | Reply

    Hi my dad was also a drummer in the 70’s in Durban his name is Fanie Strydom anyone remember him?

  8. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Hi Deirdre,
    I actually took drumming lessons with Johnny Marshall. Johnny used to play with a band on the Castle Line mail ships between SA and UK.

  9. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Hi Madelein.
    I cannot recall your Dads name. Do you perhaps know the band he was with and where he played

  10. Peter Smook
    | Reply

    Hi There,
    I’m Peter Smook, was the Manager, then Regional Manager of Ocean City and Ster Films Natal way back in the good old days. My brother John was the bass guitarist for Lee Men Ltd
    The lead singer Richard Wright now lives in Louisiana, John lives in Tennessee, Nic (Doc) the drummer lives in Vancouver,
    Jimmy Thompson, the keyboard player, is a publisher in Los Angeles and sadly, Kenny Henson is no longer with us for many years now. We still all communicate frequently and reminisce about the days at Tiles, the Arena Club as well as at the Hawthorn Hotel and many sessions in and around Durban. I too remember Johnny Marshall and many others from visits to Bothners and Poliacs

  11. Richard Wright
    | Reply

    Hi Keith,
    I used to sing with LeeMen Ltd and remember The Arena well. Dougie Dolan was a good buddy of mine and when we played at the Arena; his very young son Neville used to watch us in awe. He was probably one of our youngest ‘roadies’.
    Many years later and here in Louisiana, USA (the home of the Blues), I came across Neville Dolan again through the sugar industry. Both he and I were, and still are in the sugar industry and we didn’t even know it. Those were good old days. Most of the old Lee Men are over here and in Canada. Ken Henson passed away some years back.

  12. Keith Parker
    | Reply

    Hi Richard,
    I remember most people called you Dick.
    I was the drummer for Limits 4 and Village Green.Donald Scott singer, Ivan Spiers, Peter Knudsen and Derek Klenwryck,
    Never could spell Dereks surname.
    We started at Arena Club as Limits 4 after LeeMen Ltd moved on.Great to here that you are well, just getting older as I am. 70 last May.
    Kind regards,

  13. Daniel van Rooyen
    | Reply

    Hey Guys, I stumbled across this and think you might be talking about my late father Dennis Gordon van Rooyen. He played base guitar for a number of bands ect when he was younger. Was the Dennis you were referring to a guitarist?

  14. lynton
    | Reply

    how good to hear you wonderful folks chatting about my late dad Dennis. he passed in 1973. im 70 now and he would be 98. he was my best friend. lynton van rooyen

    • Cheryn Bieri

      Hi Lynton, I was only talking to a friend ysterday about your Dad. Im Jackie van Rooyens cousin, Cheryn (nee Schou). Sadly Jackie passed away yesterday, her Dad was your Dads brother, Les. This is so weird.

  15. Gerald Buttigieg
    | Reply

    A well known band in Durban in the early 60s, Dunny and the Showmen. This is the original line up as I remember it and my memory seems to remember their first venue was The Upstairs at the Downstairs Club. This was in Morrison Street. This venue I think later became a boxing gym.

    This group line up was Dunny Browne, I cannot remember the drummer, Ian (Spider) Murch, his elder brother Peter Murch who worked at a jewellery shop, and Peter Duffield son of Ernie Duffield the July Handicap commentator. This was about 1963.

    The group later changed and Dunny’s two brothers Tim and Benny joined the group. All three were pupils at St Henry’s (Marist Brothers) College. In the photo below are also, Gary Buckle and Graham Buckley as well as Spider Murch . This group played for a couple years at the Milner Gardens Hotel.

    Dunny now lives in Canada whilst Tim and Benny are in Australia. Their father was E.R. Browne of the well known Durban legal firm E. R. Browne, Brodie & Co. and he was Mayor of Westville for some years. ER Browne was well known in Durban’s early theatre circles. All three brothers took up legal professions. There was an elder brother Edmund and the youngest was a daughter. Dunny and I matriculated together in 1961.

  16. Greg Jones
    | Reply

    I was a lad of 13 when I first met Dunny Browne. He was studying at the university in Pietermaritzburg and stayed in a flat were I lived. He was good to me and friendly even after they had their first big hit with the Pied Piper.He even let me play “roadie” for the Showman so I could get into a gig at the town hall. It was a “psychedelic freakout” with many bands jamming and flashing lights – I shall never forget it.
    This is not interesting for you stars but loved recalling the memories.

  17. Heather Johnson
    | Reply

    Dennis van Rooyen was my mothers cousin. He played the organ and I have some of his LP records. He travelled up to Salisbury to give a concert at the old Grand Hotel. Mums maiden name was Barbara Loasby married Jimmy Aitken.

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