Chas could often be found in Soho during this period, busking with the mighty Redd Sullivan, a real eccentric and Leadbelly freak. At a brisk pace, marching through Soho, Redd would start singing in his powerful bluesy voice and Chas and Marc would scramble along behind trying to keep up with the giant's stride. Zom another Soho face would bring up the rear. When Redd found a suitable pitch or doorway, and if sufficient punters had tagged along Pied Piper like, he would stop and they'd sing two more songs. Then it was up to Adam, the bottler; he would pounce on the more affluent looking spectator, hold out his collecting bag and they'd bottle and go before the law could move them on. This always proved to be a fairly lucrative gig, especially during the Soho fair. Redd Sullivan and Zom would later join John Hasted's skiffle and folk group, resident at the 44 Club in Gerrard Street.
The Cy Laurie jazz club in Windmill Street was almost as well known as the Windmill Theatre, the home of strip-tease. It was a venue that had a cult following and Chas featured a trio here during the interval sessions, the St. Louis Trio, a name bestowed on them without their knowledge by Cy Laurie. Marc Sharratt was on washboard and Pete Timlett on piano. Pete was the regular piano player with the Crane River and Chas' skiffle group had a regular spot with the band. The group now included Dennis Carter and Alex Whitehouse on guitars; Alex had joined the group whilst Chas was playing at the Fantasie coffee bar in the King's Road Chelsea. John Paul came in on bass, having taken over from Ron Ward who had left to join the Ken Colyer Jazzmen and skiffle group.
For a while the group played the usual jazz clubs, such as the Kingsbury baths, often the scene of teddy boy punch-ups, and at the jazz club over Burton's in Kingston and the Weyman's Hall in Addlestone in Surrey. At the same time they played regularly in the Breadbasket, the Gyre & Gimble, the Cat's Whiskers and the 2 I's coffee bars.
In November and December 1956, for four consecutive weeks they entered and won a talent contest promoted by Pye on Radio Luxembourg. On the last week they lost to a Noel Coward style pianist, their choice of song; 'Freight Train', sung by Chas.
The group had already recorded 'Freight Train' for Oriole Records; thanks to the demo discs produced by their new manager, Bill Varley. Bill ran Trio Recordings, a small studio in Tin Pan Alley. It was Varley who suggested that to get an edge over the other skiffle groups they should include a girl in their line-up. Folksinger, Nancy Whiskey, who had also appeared on the Radio Luxembourg talent competition was invited to join the group. At first reluctant to give up her folksinging, she joined the boys at the end of December 1956. They re-recorded 'Freight Train' with Nancy taking the vocals. On the same session they recorded; 'Cotton Song', 'New Orleans' and 'Don't You Rock Me Daddy O'. The last track was released on Embassy records, Oriole Records' cheap subsidiary that sold in Woolworth's. They used the pseudonym 'The Cranes Skiffle Group'. 'Worried Man', originally recorded for Embassy, whilst Jimmie MacGregor was with the group, was substituted on their second Oriole release.