The Rangers

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The Rangers playing live in 1964. Photo credit: Anthony Cauchi

The Rangers was allegedly the first beat group from Mellieħa, Malta.

They were active in the mid-1960s and best know for covering tunes made popular by British guitar group The Shadows.

The Rangers included John Bartolo known as It-Tirlikku (bass guitar), Angelo Chetcuti known as Tax-Xiber (lead guitar), Victor Fenech known as Ta' Stella (drums), and Anthony Cauchi known as In-Naqru (rhythm guitar).

Anthony A Cachia told M3P that he followed The Rangers since he was 14. He recalls that they used to rehearse a lot in a garden shed owned by John Bartolo's father, the location where the Pergola Hotel now stands. They used to play their own interpretation of The Shadows songs. Maestro Carmelo Muscat il-Captain used to write the music sheets for the group. These used to include 'Apache', 'The Savage', 'Theme for Young Lovers', 'Wonderful Land', 'PeacePipe' and also a few original songs written by the Captain himself including 'Jim' and 'The Rough Road'. Nowadays, these songs are included in an instrumental album called 'The Captain Album' released in 2006 and interpreted on guitar and produced by Joe S. Grech. 'Jim' was dedicated to Jamri, Muscat's brother.

Many Mellieħa residents remember The Rangers, especially Victor's drumming in Wipe Out and John Bartolo's Bass Riff in 36-24-36. The group used to play in most of the Mellieħa activities at the Imperial Band Club, La Vittoria Band Club, Mellieha Sports Club and during festivals held in the Sanctuary Square (il-Pjazza t'Isfel). They had even appeared in a competition on the national television station where they were greatly appreciated.

Mainly the group played only instrumentals, but Anthony A Cachia recalls a short spell, during the sixties beat groups domination, when they had a vocalist, Paul Perrone, from the early The Malta Bums but he didn't stay long. Later Anthony Cauchi emigrated to Canada and was replaced by Gino, from San Pawl il-Baħar on rhythm guitar.

Joe S. Grech told M3P that The Rangers was the first live beat group he had ever seen. They had up to date equipment as the Shadows, a British group who was heading the charts in those days. The Rangers used one Lead AC 30 Vox amp, and one Base AC 30 Vox amp (still owned by John Bartolo's family). A few months after they started playing, they updated their guitars and purchased the original Burns guitar and Bass. They also had the normal acoustic drumset.

The Rangers beatgroup members are still alive, except for their bass guitarist John Bartolo who died on the 25 July 2017.

In his youth, John used to play accordion,and joined the Rangers beatgroup on bass guitar.


Here's Joe S. Grech's interpretation of 'Jim': File:Jim.mp3