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Help the Cellars

I’m currently contributing a series of 60s Pompey venues to the My Area website. Sadly most of them have since disappeared (Birdcage, Savoy, Kimbells, Ricky’s/Marina, Indigo Vat, Soul Parlour etc)

Now another great little Pompey venue is under threat. In recent times the Cellars has presented many interesting and often special acts including 60s favourites like Chris Farlowe, Terry Reid, the Move, Paul Jones and the Zombies. Now I’ve just been among the recipients of the following message from Steve Pitt who runs the Cellars. Help him out!

“It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that our lovely landlord, Enterprise Inns, Dark Lords of The Sith, have informed me that they’ll be selling The Cellars, most likely for more bl**dy flats, at some point in 2011. We don’t make them enough money. I told them I’m happy to continue to work without making much profit at all, as I have done since the recession began, but that’s not good enough for them. So, this time it’s definitely for real.

I could set up an online petition, but I thought it would be more fun if you, and everyone you know who interacts with our venue, sent an e-mail to Ted Tuppen, the boss of Enterprise Inns, telling him they should continue to support us and allow us to continue to do our job for the local community.

His direct e-mail address is ted.tuppen@enterpriseinns.plc.uk PLEASE COPY ME IN (steve_pitt@ntlworld.com) and no swear words please.”



This photo of Pompey soul group The Inspiration was given to me by Lawrie Tippins who also took the pix of Morgan’s Camel Train and the Guildhall shots of Sandie Shaw, Adam Faith and Bill Haley.

The singer is Colin Carter, later of Coconut Mushroom and then, with Pete Banks (original guitarist in Yes) of Flash. I believe he now lives in America. The keyboard player is Brian Kemp, later of Heaven (bass and lead vocals). He’d gone back to keyboards when I played with him 20 years after this in the Reds.

I think this is the first line-up of the group. There were changes. Can anyone name the guitarist (Yes – see first comment) and drummer (yes, see third comment)? And does anyone know where it is? YES! The photographer, Lawrie, contacted me to say it was taken in the old Birdcage/Brave New World shortly after the fire that pretty much finished the place off. Apparently there was still a strong burnt smell around the place



I posted advice about a new site this morning with the link. David St John pointed out that clicking on that link from here requires you to log in. I’ve no idea why (please ignore my reply to him in the comments). If you wish to look at the site (also includes another piece about South Parade Pier) please copy and paste this into your URL


It should get you into the site then down the left hand side choose Days Gone By

I’ve started posting brief descriptions and pictures of local venues (1950s/60s). You can add your own memories and comments – and I’d be pleased to learn more about some local venues about which I know less, especially some of the youth clubs, pubs, church halls and naval establishments. I played at the latter but otherwise generally did not know what was happening there.

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Searching for contacts

I’ve just received this which was published in the (Portsmouth) News on-line. I’m adding it here, in case anyone can help. You can see Ken and Robbie (drums) in the picture of Morgan’s Camel Train on the Flickr Pompey Pop site:

CORNISH: I am looking for family or friends of Ken (Kenny) Cornish (deceased?) who lived in Paulsgrove, Portsmouth in the 1960s. Ken sang with local Portsmouth bands Morgan’s Camel Train and also Tangerine Slide. I think he had a brother called Barry.

Any helpful information on Ken would be most appreciated.

Robbie Clarke Fareham, 01329 31809



I’m hoping to make a presentation to a national conference in Edinburgh next spring about this Pompey music history project. It’s an academic conference of people teaching/researching popular music in universities and the focus is on the economics of popular music.

I have quite a lot of information about bands’ fees, ticket prices, instrument costs etc but the more the merrier (and I’ve months to prepare). So PLEASE send any information via the comments option or email – I’ll be very grateful


Rod the Mod/the Who

I’ve just received this request – I’m very much the middle man (it’s not specific to Pompey). If you leave a comment below OR email me at dave.allen@port.ac.uk I’ll pass on any messages:

(From Nik): “I’ve been contacted by a UK journalist who is doing a book on Rod Stewart’s career during the 1960s and is also updating his book on The Who. If anyone has any stories of playing on the same bill as these two artists or knew any of the musicians personally or has memories of gigs, could you please email me and I’ll forward them on to Andy (taking out your contact details unless you ask me to keep them in).”

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My recent on-line conversations with Linda DuPret /Ashton of Soul Parlour Oasis fame have focused my thoughts on Pompey’s DJs in the 60s. In my booklet “Here Come the Sixties” I quote from Spinner’s page that Parlour promoter Linn Harris suggested the scene was “played out”. She added “many progressive outfits are brilliant instrumentally but the youngsters cannot dance to them”.

I have to point out that Linn Harris should actually be Linda (above) – I plan eventually to update that booklet (very few copies left) and publish on-line so we’ll get that right. But talking of dancing, what I’m really interested in here is the names of the DJs around town and their roles in the various venues – including Linda (photo above). I can recall Pete Brady at the Birdcage very clearly where he played the latest, rarest soul and R&B between sets by Vagabonds, Action, Who etc. Lots of people danced to him. But what about other names and venues? Occasionally I went to the ‘Cage with Pete Cross who is probably best remembered for his years at the Tricorn and on the seafront (Neros?). At the Birdcage there was briefly an American DJ called Mad King Jerry and who was Prince Bustup on the Bluebeat/ska nights?

Oddly I can’t recall what went on between live sets at all the venues we played. What happened in the youth clubs? Was it just a record player? A couple of times I chose tracks for Rikki Farr at Kimbells on Sunday nights but they went through the band’s PA and nobody necessarily knew it was me.

Linda promoted at the Oasis but again I can’t recall what happened when Rosemary played there unless we were supporting or being supported. She was also a DJ (see below) – did you spin some discs Linda? With two bands the night was busy with live music but what about when we played on our own and took a 30 minute break? Were records played? (Did we get a break?)

What about Ricky’s? They had jazz record nights in the late 1950s but what kind of sound system and when did it become the Marina? Was the DJ initially Gary Buck? Following the quote above, that was the place for the dancers (and smart dressers). Occasionally the national guys like John Peel and Jeff Dexter turned up in Pompey but if people danced to them it was only that far-out hippy stuff

Tell me your DJ stories – send photos!

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Fishing on the Pier

Through the 1990s, Reet Petite & Gone were Pompey’s finest Psychedelic Skiffle Band*. They were last active in 2001 when they toured with Woodstock Star Country Joe McDonald (CJ & the Fish)
Well the band are back together for a one-off gig on the South Parade Pier, supporting the ‘Fish’ – lead guitarist of that legendary San Francisco band Barry Melton. He will bring his own four-piece band PLUS David and Linda LaFlamme from It’s a Beautiful Day
It’s two weeks today (Monday 26th July) Check out the Spiderpromos website for details
(Above) Dennis Reeve-Baker (gtr), Nick Evans (mandolin), Country Joe, Stewart Carr (dobro & guitars), Dave Allen (vocals, washboard, harmonica) at Southsea’s bandstand.
*OK, Pompey’s only Psychedelic Skiffle Band!