THE world was on fire for Kerry Burke, the silver-tongued choirboy who later rose to showbiz fame, appearing with groups and sharing the same stage as Cream, Jimmy Hendrix and Ike and Tina Turner.

And even today, you can't keep this son of St Helens off stage! Now living at Sandown, Isle of Wight, you'll find him performing solo keyboard at the hotels.

Says his younger brother James Burke of Boundary Road, St Helens: "You can't stop him, Kerry just loves music." And to keep things ticking along, he works as a self-employed electrician.

James is seeking anyone who might have any photos of Kerry - early group shots, girlfriends and school photos from Grange Park Tech and St Teresa's, Newtown. "Anything at all", says James, "and I'd be happy to reimburse them for copies of their pictures."

James opens up the amazing musical history of Kerry, who first hit the spotlights as a boy soprano.

The family had newly moved in at Queensway, Moss Bank and Kerry was trained as a boy soprano by Patrick Booth at St Teresa's. He toured Rome five times, sang solo with Liverpool Philharmonic and at both the Liverpool cathedrals.

He also went to Ireland, singing with his younger sister Christine, who won a medal. Next to Liverpool's Irish Ceilhide Band with well-known musician Billy Greenall.


Then it happened! Kerry's voice broke. But, after a long and patient wait, he came back as a baritone. He became an apprentice electrician with Critchleys of St Helens. But then the bands and groups scene started to explode and Kerry sang with The Psycho Five, The Daleks and then the Moss Bank group, The Denims.

Kerry was vocalist with Ian Traverse (lead guitar), Derek Mercer (rhythm guitar), Dave Wheelock (drums, and bass guitarist Graham Huggett (believed to now be living in Australia). The earliest gig remembered by Kerry's sister, Helen, was at the Triplex.

James steps back to 1963. "I was six years old and went with Geoff Etchells, Jimmy Halsall and Chris Martin (all Moss Bankers) to Victoria Park. It was a beautiful day and we watched and listened to The Denims there."

But the showbiz curtains were to open far wider. Kerry, not yet 18, was invited to join full-time group The Manchester Playboys and joined in the big Hamburg circuit, working also in France, Belgium, Holland and Sweden.


They had a record, 'I Feel So Good', written for them on the Fontana label - a nice Northern Soul record, highly collectable but difficult to find. Well-known local drummer, Mel Preston, was on the picture when the photographer called to take Kerry's picture on release of the disc.

Kerry's 21st birthday was celebrated at the Globe Hotel, Standish Street. The Playboys performed upstairs ("St Helens has never had a night like it.")

Plenty of clues remain to this day, with items on the Internet. "They are on the Cavern Wall of Fame", says James.

Kerry, now in his 50s, played The Cavern at lunchtimes for the office workers. "They also played with Cream, Hendrix and Ike and Tina Turner."

AND if anyone would like to complete James's records, they could give him a call on St Helens 615037.