Ray and The Drifters

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Ray Columbus and The Drifters - morphing out of The Downbeats
Dave Russell, Mac Jamieson, Ray Columbus, Peter Ward and Doc Foster


The renamed Downbeats line-up became known as Ray and The Drifters, and it consisted of - Ray Columbus (Vocals), Dave Russell and Brian Ringrose (Guitars), Mac Jamieson (Bass) and Peter Ward (Drums)  They began to make a name for themselves around Christchurch by late 1961 performing mainly instrumental tunes, with Ray Columbus providing the vocals when necessary.  The clubs in Christchurch at that time played host to numerous American servicemen stationed at Operation Deep Freeze.  Their style and music interests had a major influence on Ray and his group, who were at that time resident at The Plainsman in Lichfield Street.


In February 1962, because they were becoming very popular in their hometown, they received a boost in their career by making appearances on National TV in a local Christchurch production called "Club Columbus".  The four programmes were screened nationally, bringing greater exposure to a wide audience.  Thanks to these TV performances they were invited to work in Auckland.  Lead guitarist Brian Ringrose was still at school so could not go, and he was necessarily replaced by Wally Scott from Mataura.  Mac Jamieson also left, and his place was taken by bassist Puni Solomon.  This is the line-up that left for Auckland, changing it's name on the way to Ray Columbus and the Invaders.