Here’s a reunion shot from the White Horse at Westbourne last night. Every week, Alan Christmas, Mick McGuigan and other ’60s musicians from Pompey appear at the Open Mic Night. Last night they were joined by a group of old friends, including above (L-R) Dave Allen (H Speakeasy, Rosemary), Alan Williams (St Louis Checks, Magic Roundabout, etc), ‘Lenny Tench’ the mystery man, Linn Ashton (Oasis/Parlour and DJ ‘The Bird’), Mick Cooper (Soul Society, Heaven etc) and John Pratt (Morgan’s Camel Train, Soul Society). Linn and John (Mr & Mrs Du Pret) came over from Sussex, Alan down from London.
Memories from ace photographer Nigel Grundy:
What happened to Simon Dupree? Terry Shulman, the brother not in the band was one of my best friends in the 60’s. We went to the first Isle of Wight festival at Godshill on the I of W together. I had one of the roadies for Gentle Giant living at my house for the year they were rehearsing and doing their first gigs and I used to travel around with them in the white transit to various gigs. We used to unload the gear from the van and set it up in my bedroom and make a real row in St. Edward’s Road. I have got a great set of photos that I took at Trident Studios just off Wardour Street when they were recording their first LP. They played the Speakeasy in Margaret Street, I enjoyed that gig and spent some time talking with Peter Frampton. I suppose you know that Derek signed Bon Jovi etc.
Chichester’s “Jazz in the City” run gigs throughout the year. This Friday (1st October) at the Venue, Spur Road, Chichester they are presenting the British Army Big Band. I think they have a website for their other gigs which cover a broad range of jazz styles.
The pavement outside the King’s Theatre was thick with scooters last night for the showing of Quadrophenia. Little Johnnie Russell’s was jumping too with a great DJ, Mark from the Racketeers – I’ve heard nothing like that since the great days of Brady at the Birdcage! Although it’s outside the usual time frame of this site, it was good to see some old Pompey ‘punks’ and nu wavers including Ian from Empti Fish who looked wonderfully stylish and a guy called Dave in a trim suit, shirt and tie who danced beautifully. I’m too old for Friday nights now but boy it was fun – we even went to George’s for a curry
It’s “Tommy” tonight – here’s an on-line three minute feature from Meridian
There are photos there from Jacqui Hart whose husband Tony was a local drummer for many years. She did invite me to download them and add them to my sites but that’s proved beyond my (very limited) technical abilities so go and have a look for yourselves – there are some great photos (I want to know about the Bill Clack Band!). If I do get clever you’ll see them here (and on my Flickr) too.
The Portsmouth City Museum has a great Aliens show right now and on Saturday 27 November (2pm) I’m going back to do one of my talks – on popular music and the sci-fi boom of the 1950s and 1960s. Beyond the earth, beyond Telstar – I hope it’ll be fun (it should be better than Christmas rapping …)
As hinted (below), I’m doing the first of a weekly Radio Solent slot from around midday tomorrow (Friday). I’m going to tie the first one into the Portsmouth Festivities this weekend around Easy Rider, Quadrophenia, Tommy etc (Mods and Rockers). If you can’t listen live it should be on-line for a week or so.
I’ve just received this sad news from Mark Uttley:
“It is with sadness I would like to inform you of the Passing of Ray Feast who was a member of the “Roadrunners” before they evolved into Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.”
(Dave adds) I don’t remember Ray well but I saw the Roadrunners when I was maybe 14 or 15 (more than once) at the Oddfellows Hall in Kingston Road where they and the Sons of Man were the regular support acts to the visiting London R&B bands like Graham Bond (with Ginger Baker & Jack Bruce), Long John Baldry, the Animals, Downliners Sect, Moody Blues and Georgie Fame (etc)
Very soon after that I began playing myself in the British blues/R&B style. I think the crucial point about those early Pompey bands was that they made kids like me imagine that it was possible. Seeing the Beatles, screamed at by thousands was like another world but I’d played school rugby against Ray Shulman and these were kids like me, growing up in Pompey.
I figured that if the Roadrunners could do it, I could. So I did, and for over 40 years being out there playing that blues-based/ blues-related stuff has been one of the greatest things in my life (most recently a couple of nice gigs in August). So for that alone, thanks Ray Feast – you enriched my life.
Ray’s funeral will consist of a woodland burial at “The Sustainability Centre” ( formerly HMS Mercury ) on Monday 20th September
In terms of this historical project, I’m still not entirely sure about the original line-up of the Roadrunners and have no photos. Can anyone help?
Here’s a message from an old pal Geoff French who now lives in Kuwait – he’s been reading the Theatre Royal booklet and told me this fun story
Geoff: “I could be wrong, but in the event I don’t think the Pretty Things actually played with Family and Nice at the Guildhall in 1968 – they went off in a huff because they thought they should be topping the bill rather than Nice and we got a refund of 3/-. ! I liked the pre-decimal money. You could have a good night out for ten bob in those days.”
Anyone else remember that? I certainly played (Harlem Speakeasy) on a bill with the Pretty Things at Highbury in early 1968. They created a fair degree of mayhem, not least when drummer Skip Allen leapt from his kit to chase the dancing girls (Crimson Ballet? ) around the stage. I think the guitarist took over on drums. I remember too seeing them in their early days on South Parade Pier when the typical holidaymakers (circa 1964) just looked on in astonishment as these long haired scruffs unloaded their gear. And despite all that they survived and appeared there again this summer as part of the Bank Holiday Folk/Blues Festival.
Thanks to Derek Somerville (saxes – far left) for this picture of the second version of Heaven, the one created and then split by Rikki Farr. They released one album “Brass Rock” on CBS. The personnel listed in Record Collector are Terry Scott (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Eddi Harnett (vocals, guitar); Johnny Gordon (vocals); Dave Horler (trombone, keyboards); Butch Hudson, Derek Somerville, Dave Gautrey, Ray King (horns); Vic Glover (drums).
Well I can tell you that the three guys centre back are ‘Nobby’ Glover (drums), Dave Gautrey (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Ray King (saxes/flute) and the man with the hat is Terry Scott. Not sure about the names of the front two, although I don’t think it’s Johnny Gordon (who I thought played bass guitar anyway). I met up for a beer with Derek, Ray and Nobby last week (with Mick Cooper from Heaven Mark 1) – Ray is now in Germany, ‘Nobby’ still plays (including a Shadows tribute act) and Derek is in Big Brother Soul.
Record Collector Magazine gave the album 4 stars out of 5 adding “‘This Time Tomorrow’ is another stuttering prog-jazz juggernaut, but the LP bleeds seamlessly into dreamy flutes, string sections and, ultimately, something akin to soundtrack prog…”