Alan Brooker R.I.P.

Alan Brooker 25/11/1942 – 26/3/2019.

There is mention in the Cookie Look post on this site of Alan Brooker being the leader of a well known 1960’s Durban rock group called The Knights. Sadly on Saturday, I attended his funeral. Alan passed away after a long sickness. He was well known amongst the musos in Durban and post this for general information. Below is the link to the Cookie Look posting.

I managed to down load images of a Parlophone LP that the band produced. I noted that an old friend of mine Billy Gaugain was the drummer for the group. I knew Billy through the Durban Regiment and if my memory serves me correct he played for a band called A Group called Blue. The Knights consisted of Alan as Lead and Vocalist, Paul Janssen and Dennis Scott-Williams guitarists and Billy, drummer.

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16 Responses

  1. Frank Beeton
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    Sad news, Gerald. Alan worked for many years at Bothners in West Street (next to Payne Bros.) where those of us with an interest in music shopped for instruments, equipment, records and sheet music. It was also something of a gathering place for muso’s to chat and try out the latest equipment. RIP Alan.

  2. Angela Morrison
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    Alan Brooker and the Knights played at the jive sessions in Watterson hall many years ago those were happy days

  3. Wendy BRAMLEY
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    My dad was Denis Scott – Williams. It has been a while since I have heard “The Knights” I believe they had loads talent.

  4. Keith demner
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    Alan was married to Eileen bottom-left and they stayed in sedgemoor place in woodlands and was our neighbor. Alan and the knights played at my wedding when I was first married, that was at tray bang hall in Kenyon Howden road. Whst a band.

    • Eddie Simes

      Alan and I were at high school together

  5. Vernon Varty
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    Alan will be remembered by all fans of The Knights, but once they disbanded, Alan went on to become a very accomplished jazz musician. His transition from Rock to Jazz was interesting. I was booked to play with a dance band at the Killarney Hotel, and at the last moment we discovered that our bass player Roy Pellow had gone off to Northern Natal, having suddenly joined SAR+H (without telling us). In a panic we asked his dad if we could borrow Roy’s bass and amplifier just for the one gig. I asked Alan to play in Roy’s place, and spent the whole gig calling the chord progressions to him. The band thought this had worked well, so Alan and I began working together. For some unknown reason we called each other “Boet” for over 30 years.
    Somewhere along the line we were approached by Milt Johnson (in my opinion the best jazz saxophone and flute player in the country at the time) to form a quartet, with me on guitar instead of having a keyboard player, and Anthony Clothier on drums. A Durban group called the Executives, led by Peter Platt, had disbanded, and Peter suggested that we take over the name. When Milton left to tour with an Adam Leslie show, and Anthony left Durban, we were lucky to get that marvellous drummer Tony Voutsas, and continued as a trio..
    We stayed together for many years, playing plenty of upmarket gigs at the Royal Hotel and similar venues. By now Alan was recognised as a really good jazz player, and I’ve always been glad that I played a (small) part in his musical growth. He and I ended up playing together until the end of 1990, Saturday nights at the Oyster Box Hotel, then I relocated to Cape Town.
    I have managed to find an old cassette tape recorded on a tiny hand-held machine, of our 3-piece Executives playing at the Rob Roy Hotel …lousy recording quality, but precious for me. I am proud to have had Alan as a friend for all those years. R.I.P Boet

    • Mike Hutchings

      Sad news, I had lost contact with Alan a couple of years after I left S.A. to return to the U.K. I had tried to regain contact through his son Hylton when he was playing with Mr. Mustard but had no response. I played sax with Alan as a duo in and around Durban using the name “Executives” for many years doing a lot of up-market gigs including 9 month residencies at both the “Sands” and “Beverley Hills” Hotels until leaving S.A. at the end of ’95.
      Alan and I got on very well and had many good laughs and good gigs, and I remember him with great fondness. Mike Hutchings.

  6. Vernon Varty
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    Hello Mike Hutchings. Wow, what memories your name brings back. I’m still in occasional touch with Alan’s first wife, Eileen, who lives at Scottburgh. You and I played in a great group called “Cannon” led by Jim Bailey, who recently visited us here in Cape Town. We played the repertoire of that wonderful band Chicago, and I remember our presentations with goosebumps. You and I also played with vocalist Judy Victor (now sadly deceased) and her husband Noel Bothma, who has retired to Margate (KZN, not UK). I can clearly remember rolling on the backstage floor at an upmarket gig when you sang that song “Over my shoulder goes one leg …”

  7. Bryan Porter
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    So sad to finally find out that my good friend Allan had passed. We met at Bothner’s way back in the eighties and became good friends. Unfortunately the last year or two we never saw each other a lot due to my work commitments. May you rest in peace dear Allan and have no more pain and suffering.

  8. Gerald Buttigieg
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    Hi Bryan
    I met up with Alan late in his life through strange circumstances. He spoke of his younger days when he really enjoyed the “rock and roll’ era and also of Bothners which he recalled as happy years spent there.

  9. Bryan
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    Hello Vernon

    I see you are still in occasional touch with Alan’s first wife, Eileen if possible please can you forward us her contact no. I would like to contact her or Hylton to find out more on Allan. Your assistance will be appreciated.

    Kind regards


  10. Vernon Varty
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    Hi Bryan
    I e-mailed Eileen to get her phone number for you, but she replied that you had managed to contact Hylton.
    I still don’t find it easy to accept that Alan has gone.

  11. Bryan Porter
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    Hi Vernon,
    Yes I had a great chat with Hylton and Tracey. It was a shock to find Allan had passed. I’m relieved to find out that he never had an extended period of suffering. The chats have helped me come to terms and find closure but we will still miss Allan.

  12. Vernon Varty
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    Too right Bryan. I think a lot depends on what kind of relationship one has had with a deceased person, as regards how much their passing affects us. I knew Alan and Eileen long before they got married.
    Many folks regard musicians as people speaking a foreign language … different accents (classical, jazz, rock, c&w, folk etc). Alan and I were no different. Our earliest influence was rock, he in The Knights and I with several bands including Dickie L & the Blue Jeans. But with time our interest moved towards jazz, thanks to a large extent to the superb Milt Johnson, with whom we worked for a number of years.
    We played in the same cricket team, he being far better than I was.Then Alan and I together with a pianist and a drummer, branched into slightly jazz-oriented commercial music … we spent years playing in all the top hotels (Royal, Bev Hills, Elangeni etc etc, together with an enormous amount of corporate and private work; for instance at one stage we were doing 2 weddings per week.
    My music time with Alan ended at the Oyster Box in Jan 1989, when I moved to Cape Town, but we would contact each other fairly regularly. I didn’t know he was ill until I heard from Rev Tony Clothier (a former drummer with us). This put me back in touch with Eileen, Lesley, Tracey.
    Apart from all the music I always regarded Alan as a special friend, and like all special friends his passing leaves a hole which can never be completely re-filled.

  13. derek ray
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    Hi Uncle Vernon
    ive been trying to get hold of you, names derek ray , to inform you of the sad passing of my Dad Desmond Ray today 15 12 2020 , who played with you many years in Margate , and with Dickie Loader and the BJ .
    he has succumbed to Covid after almost 2 horrible lonely month of isolation , hes left to meet his maker ,and play his saxophone in the sky. it would be wonderful to make contact , im on Linkedin, you showed me my first few guitar chords !
    A sad day for our family, and very difficult for mom after 60 years together, a man that can never be replaced.

  14. Desmond George G Kuhl
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    I did not know Alan but in the late 60’s I played with drummer Billy Gaugain in a band called A Group Called Blue and was wondering if someone could let me know if Billy is still alive. I was part of that band and my name is Desmond Kuhl

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