Bobby Thomas by Dan McAloon

John Moxham: “Before I left Sydney, aged 22, 1962, I worked some nights at the dances held at the Ramsgate Life Saving Club opposite the Baths – they’d have a Monday night dance with a local band called Bobbie Thomas and the Nocturnes. There was a bloke on the door named Clive Stewart – who had been an Australian welterweight – I did the doormen work with him. ‘The Stomp” started there and at Maroubra- this was about 1961-62. I’d be working on the door and if ever there was a blue I ask Clive to hop in and handle it.- the bands that played included Johnny O’Keefe and Bobby Limb.”
The Nocturnes were picked up by Festival Records as an instrumental band, sans Bobbie.Thomas’ band later became the basis of Ray Brown and the Whispers.

They recorded two instrumental records for the Leedon label at Festival’s Harris St studio in Sydney, Riptide / Prairie (Leedon LK 482) in 1963 and Sitting Pretty / Storm Warning (Leedon LK 580) in 1964.
Their line-up continued to evolve over the next two years, and included on guitars John Leslie, Bob Pierse, Lawrie Barclay, Terry Vincenzini and Bobby Richardson, along with John Manners on bass and Pat Jeffrey on drums. The group appeared on The Johnny O’Keefe Show and with Bobbie Thomas back on vocals organised their own dances at venues in the Kogarah-Ramsgate area.

However Bobbie wanted a change and left The Nocturnes. With the Beatles and British Invasion era in full swing and surfing music dying, The Nocturnes changed their direction and style, and acquired a full time vocalist, with Ray Brown replacing Bobbie Thomas and changed their name to Ray Brown and The Whispers.”

Bobbie Thomas’ big hit arrived in 1967 with his cover of this happy ditty “If You Wanna Be Happy”

The above recording of Bobby Thomas.

The data above was supplied by Don McAloon.