POMPEY POP


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Right Royal Operation

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I promised a Royal Wedding story: in the late 1970s my musical life was pretty quiet until I got a call from some London-based pals. We’d played together in Skys is Cryin’, an acoustic country-blues band, in the mid 1970s but they’d mostly gone to London and formed a band called the Operation which played various gigs but also busked regularly at the then newly re-vamped Covent Garden

Their singer went abroad so they called me up and every Friday night I’d leave Pompey and spend the weekend in London. We’d earn plenty at Covent Garden and there I am (above) singing; on the left is Denis Reeve-Baker on guitar (also with Pompey bands, the Mooks, the Reds and Reet Petite & Gone) and on the right is drummer Paul Hookham – a Pompey teaching student previously, who also played with the Redskins. Pompey boy Keith Matthews played saxophone and Andy Rankin later of the Pogues was also a member

The Operation often had 10/11/12 members. One weekend a guy arrived at Covent Garden and signed a bunch of the regular, varied acts to play at the opening of the London Film Festival. So off we went to the South Bank National Film Theatre (good dosh) where we performed and were presented to Prince Charles and Princess Diana. I think they were married by then, I can’t remember – but it’s absolutely true. We played lots of R&B, rock & roll, rockabilly, blues etc – mostly dance stuff – although I can’t recall if they danced.

It was a delightful band but impossible to maintain and organise. We finished busking around Christmas 1981 and I came back to Pompey to play regularly with Steel Mill – especially Friday nights at Charlie Hurdle’s (Eastney). I didn’t get an invite for tomorrow so I’m off to the cricket.


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Soul Society Set List

Here’s one from Phil Freeman (thanks Phil)

Aint  too proud to beg……………temptations
Michael………………..geno Washington
Open the door to your heart…………daryll banks
Shotgun………………..jr walker
How sweet it is………………jr walker
Whos cheatin who…………….little Milton
Road runner………………..jr walker
That drivin beat………………willie Mitchell
Harlem shuffle………………bob & earl
Green onions………………..booker t
Can’t turn you loose……………..otis redding
Fa fa fa sad song………………otis
Respect………………….otis
Mr pitiful………………….otis
Shake………………….otis
Satisfaction………………..otis
My girl…………………..otis/temptations
Everybody needs somebody………….solomon burke
Sock it to ’em j b……………..rex garvin/mighty cravers
Don’t fight it……………….wilson pickett
Midnight hour……………….. wilson p
6345789………………….wilson p
Don’t fight it…………………wilson p
Raise your hand……………….eddie floyd
Knock on wood………………..eddie f
Things get better……………….eddie f
Ride your pony……………….lee Dorsey
Get out my life woman…………….lee Dorsey
Mr soul…………………..bobby bland
Good time Charlie ……………………bobby bland
I’m your puppet……………….james &bobby purify
Eloise……………………william bell
Seesaw…………………..don covay
Walkin the dog………………..rufus Thomas
Memphis train……………….rufus t
Jump back…………………rufus t
Willy nilly…………………rufus t
Show me………………….joe tex
SYSLJFM………………….joe tex
You don’t know……………….sam &dave
Hold on I’m comin………………sam & dave
Can I get a witness………………marvin gaye
But its alright…………………j j Jackson
Amen…………………..various
Hi heel sneakers…………….tommy tucker/graham bond
Little girl……………………graham bond
Questionable is……Can’t sit down…..phil upchurch combo
Merc mercy mercy……………johnny Watson /? (Don Covay?)
Soul finger………………Barkays
Al Capone ………………..Prince Buster
Guns of Navarone ………………..  Skatalites


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Set Lists

Were you in a band? I’d rather like to collect some ‘set lists’ or at least lists of songs played. After Harlem Speakeasy split (see previous post) I was in Rosemary (greatly loved, always missed etc). For much of our later relatively short life we played our own stuff but initially we played a real mix of old blues and newer rock/psychedelic/ singer-songwriter stuff – some of them I can’t even remember but that’s what they say about the 60s. This is the list I have:

Morning Glory – Tim Buckley
Apricot Brandy – Rhinoceros (instrumental)
Pat’s Song – Country Joe & Fish
Spoonful – Howlin Wolf/Cream
Sunshade – Fairport Convention
Nightmare – Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Who Do You Love – Bo D/Misunderstood version
I’m Drinking Again – Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart
Waiting on You – BB King
Society’s Child – Janis Ian/Spooky Tooth version
Violets of Dawn – Eric Andersen/Fairport version
Love Me Two Times – Doors
Sporting LIfe – trad blues
Going Down Slow – H Wolf/St Louis Jimmy Oden
Takes a Lot to Laugh – Bob Dylan
Nights in White Satin – Moody Blues


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Queen connection

It’s a good week for royalty I guess, so here’s an intriguing bit of info I discovered only yesterday about local links with Queen. Like me, you may well have known for some time that local boy Spike Edney plays keyboards with Queen but I’ve learned that Richard (Ritchie) Anderson worked for some years as personal ‘roadie’ to Brian May (imagine being so famous that you have a personal roadie!)

For a brief period around ’68 Ritchie was a pal of mine as he was roadie and generally the ‘in charge’ organiser of Harlem Speakeasy, not least when we went pro’ which was a very tough time logistically, managerially etc. He was a great guy

The band split late in ’68 and he went off to London where he certainly worked with Mott the Hoople and features a number of times in Ian Hunter’s fine book “Diary of a Rock & Roll Star” – apparently he then gravitated to Queen

I’ve got another Royal story to follow ….


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Easter Funday

1969            6 April

There was an invasion from the USA around the Easter period. On Tuesday 25th March, Rikki Farr’s Apache Promotions presented Country Joe & the Fish, Eclection, DJ Jeff Dexter, and Explosive Spectrum Lights at South Parade Pier (8-12pm). The Fish line-up included Barry Melton and later that year the band would play at Woodstock where Country Joe’s impromptu solo performance gained most attention. In the 21st century he toured Britain regularly with Old Portsmouth as his home base. The following Sunday at the King’s Theatre Apache’s “experimental concert” featured Roland Kirk & Soft Machine. Rikki Farr also enjoyed a major coup with Led Zeppelin appearing at his Kimbells Sunday club. Then a week later, Al Stewart, Alexis Korner, and Champion Jack Dupree offered an interesting mixture at South Parade Pier. Later in April, blues acts BB King, Fleetwood Mac, Duster Bennett and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee came to the Guildhall.


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Easter Bunny

1968            14 April

By 1968 the Birdcage had become the Brave New World with an intriguing variety of performers including the Herd, Ten Years After, Jon Isherwood, the Singing Postman, Dakota Staton, Stan Tracey, Tubby Hayes, Jimmy James, the Carl Douglas Stampede, Chris Farlowe, Humphrey Lyttleton Elkie Brooks, John Peel, Blossom Toes, Family, Spooky Tooth, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger. Rikki Farr meanwhile was back at Kimbells with weekend blues and progressive acts.

In April, local bands attracting attention included Southampton’s Hendrix/blues influenced Brother Bung, Inspiration, Monk, Tangerine Slyde, Lace, Universal Trash Band, Technicolour Yawn, EXP, Wrong Direction and blues band Pevensey Brown Melon and Rack (who changed to) Virgin Circle.

Spinner predicted “Coconut Mushroom will turn professional” as they signed for Apple. An interview with Derek Shulman confirmed that they “love the (Indigo) Vat crowd” but in early April, Spinner reported the club’s unexpected closure. Harlem Speakeasy and their lights could be seen for 3/6d* at St Margaret’s Church Youth Club in Highland Road. (*17.5p)

Last one tomorrow folks


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Anyone who has a heart

Most of you out there are in the swinging sixties (at least) so here’s a serious and potentially valuable piece of advice via Rod Watts

 HOW TO SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE

Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, without help, the person whose heart is beating improperly and who begins to feel faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness.

However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest.

A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let-up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again.

Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a hospital. Tell as many other people as possible about this. It could save their lives!!

A cardiologist says If everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can bet that we’ll save at least one life.

Rather than sending jokes please, contribute by forwarding this mail which can save a person’s life…If this message comes around you … more than once … please don’t get irritated … YOU need to be happy that you are being reminded of how to tackle … Heart attacks … AGAIN!