Special 20 had its origins in the short-lived but fertile Romiley Cricket Cub scene of the late 70s/early 80s, basically a bunch of pissheads who got together to drink cheap beer in the cricket club clubhouse, courtesy of John "BB" Sharrocks who had a key, and to jam ineptly on whatever gear we had.
Two bands emerged from this: one was the Beagles-Nick Marchuk on drums, Colin Stott on bass, Dave Hibbert on guitar, Bryan Singleton on guitar, BB on vocals (I think). Also involved in the Beagles at some point was Ian
Special 20 mk.1 was Ian "Mass" Massey on drums, me on bass, Bryan Singleton on guitar, Dave Hibbert on guitar, Duncan "DJ" Cheslett on harp and vocals, and BB on vocals.
Special 20 played around Stockport in 1981-82 in pubs such as The Birch in Ashton, the Lamplight in Chorlton, The Grey Horse in Romiley, Surrey Arms in Glossop, Cobden's place in Stockport, did a few support spots for The Cheaters, and our biggest gig was scoring the support spot to a version of Dr. Feelgood at Manchester Poly.
We memorably did a busman's benefit fundraiser at Sheffield Poly supported by Zanathus who proceeded to steal the show and also drink all the beer in the dressing room.
Special 20 mk.2 evolved after DJ and I started attending Sunday jam sessions at the Manchester Arms in Stockport on Sunday evenings. There we met Paul Bamford who was playing in the Handsome Brothers and poached him. Dougie Green the dissolute dentist also guested regularly on guitar before departing for Essex, and he was replaced by Duncan "Jim' Moore, leading to Special 20 mk.3 who settled into the lineup now consisting of Cliff Milner drums, me on bass, Paul on guitar, Jim on guitar, and Lynne-Paul's wife-on vocals. By now it was 1983/4: regular gigs at venues like the Band On The Wall followed, we did a couple of tracks on the Manchester Rhythm And Blues LP alongside No Mystery, Yes Sir, The Robinson Brothers and Norman Beaker.
We added a sax player at one point, firstly trying the two guys who ended up in Soul Finger (one was called Clive I think), then Chris Nelson who left due to "musical differences". Lenni out of Sad Cafe helped us out on the album tracks and Norman Beaker produced them. This lineup remained fairly stable, changing only when Cliff left to pursue his acting career and Paul Baines stepped in on drums. I think the band finally ran out of steam around 1985.
All the above is purely my recollections-after such a long time I'll have things out of sequence, wrong dates etc.-if anybody can flesh out the story let me know.
Biography added : 27th August 2014