Toni Baker joined the Dakotas on keyboards and vocals in the early 80s, alongside two original members, Mike Maxfield and Tony Mansfield. The Dakotas toured again with Billy J Kramer in '96. Toni has a long history of working in hit bands. He played on Billy Ocean's early recordings in the 70s, & was a member of "Shabby Tiger", a hugely successful group in Europe, with many hit singles, such as the No.1, "Slow Down". Toni, a session man for years, is also a songwriter and had a Number 5 hit in Japan with the hi-energy classic "Eat You Up". He was also responsible for writing all the music for Britain's top comedy series "Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights" and "Max & Paddy's Road to Nowhere". Toni continues his production work for major TV programmes including "Waterloo Road" and "League of Gentlemen".
A CD with much of his TV work - The Best of Peter Kay So Far - was released in 2005.
Pete Hilton joined the Dakotas in 1998 replacing Tony Bookbinder on drums. He is a well respected session player, and has been touring since 1963. In the late sixties Pete worked the Liverpool Cavern Club along with the guitarist Robin Hill. Pete and Robin went on to form jazz rock band "Spring". There were memorable live performances with Mike Oldfield, Joe Cocker, Canned Heat, Deep Purple, & Traffic. In the late 70s Pete worked UK theatres with many greats such as Frankie Howerd, Bob Monkhouse, Rolf Harris & Tommy Cooper! He also worked alongside The Supremes and David Essex, who inspired Pete to perform in "Godspell" while he was living in Canada.
Pete also starred alongside Toni in "Phoenix Nights" as a member of folk band "Half A Shilling" and he is currently recording again with Robin Hill. As well as playing with the Dakotas, he teaches drumming and regularly appears at tradeshows demonstrating Roland V drums alongside colleague Pete Shaw. Here's an example ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErL6qTr1Nco
Alan Clare joined the Dakotas on lead guitar in 2006, when Mike Maxfield became too ill to perform live any more. His varied guitar styles perfectly suit The Dakotas' music. Alan has worked in many different bands, from 60s bands, to funk and jazz bands.He is still a major session player, having worked with artistes as diverse as The Supremes, Dionne Warwick, Buddy Greco, Cliff Richard, Gene Pitney, Gerard Kenny, Lynn Paul and Ken Dodd.
As well as being one of the North's leading session guitarists, Alan teaches a master class in advanced jazz guitar techniques and also works in an acoustic duo with singer Linda Jennings playing small venues around the North West.
Marius Jones joined the Dakotas on bass in 2010. He had played many shows with Pete, Alan & Toni, so was an obvious choice when it came down to choosing the right man for the bass guitar job.
Marius has a wealth of musical experience and has worked with many legends over the years. As well as having worked with Pete & Alan in Freddie & the Dreamers, he also played bass with Amen Corner for several years.
He is a great musician who has provided the musical foundation for a wealth of international stars.
Ronnie J Ravey had been known to Toni and Pete for years.
An amazing frontman, he has worked alongside many famous names both live and in the studio, since the early 60s.
He even started his career in a duo with Bobby Ball!
Like the rest of the band, he learned his craft by performing and singing every kind of music from The Everly Bros to Joe Cocker. His personality is second to none when it comes to making an audience feel at home, and when the band decided once again to become a 5 piece, and feature a front man in 2010,
Ronnie was the perfect choice.