Updated May 2015
Will Hammond guitar
Leigh Higginson bass guitar
Jimmy O'Neil piano, organ
Malcolm Palmer guitar
Bobby Styler vocals
Tony Walters drums
Phil Brittle drums
Formed in 1964, 'The Yamps' were a vibrant Birmingham R&B band with a hard edged style and a manic stage act (perpetrated, in the main by the unpredictable antics of Malcolm Palmer). Their music style ranged from the American blues of Muddy Waters to the faster rock 'n' roll style of British acts like The Downliners Sect and the Artwoods.
The Yamps were regulars at gigs like the Silver Beat, Rainbow Suite, the Whisky in central Birmingham as well as the normal round of appearances at places like the Hen & Chickens, Langley. After a chance meeting with photographer John Lines (responsible for most of the Brum group photographs at that time), he became their manager and got them their first Town Hall gig at Walsall.
The very amiable Stan Fielding of the Astra Agency, Wolverhampton signed The Yamps straight away and launched them onto the circuit where they were hugely popular at Wolverhampton gigs like the Civic Hall, the Woolpack, the Ship etc. and moreover, moved into the Stoke on Trent area playing the Victoria Hall, Queens Hall and other major venues.
The band could often be seen driving around Birmingham in their old Austin Princess Ambulance (a trend which would soon catch on with other groups). Essentially a five piece guitar band, the line up was augmented by Jimmy O'Neil (see The Uglys) on the trusted VOX Continental organ for a while before he departed to London to become the fourth member of the Walker Brothers touring band. During this time the Yamps played on the same bills as Cliff Bennett and The Rebel Rousers, Tony Rivers and The Castaways, The Applejacks and The Sorrows.
With the changing styles of music, The Yamps eventually transformed themselves into a ten piece group (featuring a five-strong brass section) re-launching themselves as "Traction" (see Traction). Will Hammond departed shortly after this transformation to re-unite his long time musical partnership with Jimmy O'Neil in The Uglys.
Today sees all of the Yamps still musically active with Malcolm Palmer playing with his band 'Bourbon Street', Phil Brittle, drumming with hugely popular band 'Quill', Bob Styler playing the odd gig at The Roadhouse and who also now works in The Music Exchange guitar shop, Leigh Higginson has entered a buddhist retreat in Devon but still plays bass guitar and Will Hammond is living and playing in Spain.
Thanks to Will Hammond for supplying the Yamps biography.