POMPEY POP


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Soul Agents

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Some more contributions from Colin that came with the Wrong Direction things. I saw Soul Agents at Clarence Pier in 1965 and they played in Gosport too, but came from Southampton originally. They were one of the better early 60s R&B bands. Ian Duck of the Classics joined a later line-up.


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Radio Days

There’s some stuff that might be of interest on the radio 2 website. The one I enjoyed most was Pete Townshend recalling his early life and the Who’s career to the end of the 1960s BUT part 2 is coming tonight so you need to catch this one today I think.

I don’t deal much with the 1970s here – partly to keep this manageable and partly because my tastes went way off mainstream from around 1968. However, you may be interested in a long series about “The Old Grey Whistle Test” which started 40 years ago on 21 September 1971. The first programme includes people like Alice Cooper, Cat Stevens, David Bowie and the wonderful Curtis Mayfield – with a contribution from Richard Williams who was the presenter before Bob Harris. He wrote beautifully about music in the Melody Maker – these days he writes about footy in The Guardian. You get lots of ‘Whispering’ Bob too.

Just go to the BBC2 site and follow the links


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Spot the Dave Allen Competition

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Amuse your friends for hours with this trick photo competition – here I am (left in case you’re wondering) with Stompin’ Dave Allen before our performances at the Dockyard Club  yesterday in JR’s lovely ‘Folk & Roots Festival’.

For me it was one of those magical gigs – we (Reet Petite & Gone) had a great time but the whole bill was a delight of mainly (amplified) acoustic blues and roots stuff. Andy Broad was there of course (catch him soon on my TV show), Stompin’ Dave and Dave Saunders of the Producers and played beautifully (old tunes like ‘Nobody Knows You’ and ‘John Henry’, some Muddy and Jimmy Reed and even a BB King on banjo!). The Sons of the Delta another duo played similar material ranging from Muddy to Ralph Stanley and Pete Clark once of this parish sat in delightfully on mandolin. Pete also performed with JR who sang a couple and played spoons with us on a dance tune called “The Georgia Crawl”. The sound was great, there was a good and very appreciative audience AND

The Dockyard Club was one of the early locations for the old Rendezvous Club around the time 50 years ago that jazz and folk were growing in Pompey. The early folk scene down here was notably ‘Ballads & Blues‘ and I had the feeling that the ghosts of those Pompey’s pioneers like Ted Wenham and Frank Hurlock would have both approved and been astonished by the quality of acoustic blues playing in Britain’s Deep South these days. Then it was off to the Florence for an early evening beer and yet more acoustic blues and roots with the Jelly Rollers. I guess there ain’t been many Monday afternoon gigs of note in Pompey over the years, but boy was this one great fun – thanks to JR and his pals for doing it all again. Next for Reet Petite & Gone will be a Sunday lunchtime at the RMA.

PS I hardly ever listen to the news on radio or TV in the morning but today I’m on my own (MRA is off studying her mysterious arts this week) so I switched on Radio 4 and the third item was a report on the death of 92-year-old David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards. I wonder if he too would have enjoyed the thought that as the great Delta Blues tradition loses pretty well its last significant original performer there are still a whole bunch of white guys in places like Pompey paying tribute to that beautiful music? I’d like to think so.


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If you don’t want to know the score …

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This is the programme team sheet from the first match I ever saw at Fratton Park, almost exactly 52 years ago in November 1959. The result of this 2nd Division  (ie ‘Championship’) match was Pompey 1 Cardiff 1 watched by around 15000. There were just a few less at the Park on Saturday to watch the latest 2nd Division  (ie ‘Championship’) match and the result was Pompey 1 Cardiff 1. The only difference in 52 years is that back then all the subs were in Portsmouth Harbour

But just consider all the changes in venues, fashions and styles in the world of popular music in those 52 years! On the previous evening Tony Crombie – a legend in Pompey Pop brought his band to the Savoy and around that week in Pompey you could see the Four Freeman, George Melly, the Chris Barber Band and the Southern Counties Dance Orchestra. Check it out on the website (year-by-year) or Mick Cooper’s site


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Savoy News

(Monday morning) There’s a nice full-page piece about the history of Savoy Buildings on the Nostalgia page of today’s News plus a lovely photo of the buildings from the Pier about a century ago – people roller skating up the pier (etc).


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On The Road (Again)

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My first paid gig this year is tomorrow afternoon – I like to do at least one paid gig a year and I’ve managed it for around 45 years (often more of course). I’m playing in a Tribute band for legendary Pompey postmodern skiffle outfit Reet Petite & Gone. We look a bit older than them (above) but we’re doing that same stuff with versions of Memphis Minnie, Buddy Woods, Tom Waits, Frankie Ford, Robert Johnson, Elvis, Tim Buckley, Skip James etc.

I got to a point in my life where I found regular gigging hard work and I missed the magic – nowadays doing gigs less often helps a lot and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. We had a nce rehearsal and the gig in the Southsea Folk & Roots Festival is at the Dockyard Club, Onslow Road Southsea. The afternoon starts at 1pm, we’re on at about 4pm for maybe 75 minutes after which I’ll need a lie down!