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One Bit of Magic

I’ve seen the news that Jack Ely has died. He’s singing on this

I guess it’s so good because they’re not very good. It is a classic isn’t it? Somewhere I have a CD album of Louie Louie versions and related songs, including the Richard Berry original which is really good – but there is something wonderful about this one

RIP Jack



If you’re not part of the solution …

… you’re part of the problem – as the old Counter Culture slogan went.

I’ve played at the Cellars a few times and I’ve been there as a punter a few times but I’m certainly one of the people who might have been more of a regular and wasn’t. On Pompey Pop Facebook Malc has said

“Problem is not enough punters. I’ve been there when even a well know name was on and probably 10 to a dozen people watching. Maggie Bell for example. Same as with pubs, no good complaining they are all closing if you don’t go. Number of times bands play to just a handful of customers. Amazes me how they can pay the bands.”

I think he’s entirely right and I understand Oscar’s deep disappointment because he was a regular, loyal customer and folks like him deserve better

But I’m part of the problem. People often ask me ‘am I going/did I go’ to see XYZ and I usually say no. My days as a punter are almost over and I can’t ever quite explain why. I guess it’s partly that I’ve done so many gigs over the past 50 (ish) years that to a large extent ‘the thrill is gone’ – is that just typical of an old ‘muso’?

It’s also partly that I’ve seen so many utterly awesome acts in my life that very little measures up (although I’m less ‘open’ than Oscar to new stuff) but at 65 I’ve probably turned into my dad – loveliest of blokes but didn’t drink and never went out evenings if he could help it.

Is it just me? Why don’t we go in numbers that keep these things going? Can we blame the kids? Should they be going?


Another One – a BIG one – Gone

From Facebook- passed on by ‘Fossy’

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the closure, for good, of The Cellars at Eastney, as a music, comedy and theatre venue, on Saturday 1st August 2015.

Despite changes of ownership, The Cellars has been run largely by the same team for nearly 18 years. The current landlord has been amazingly supportive and without him, the venue would certainly have closed in 2011 when, then owner, Enterprise Inns were selling the freehold for development. However, he is simply no longer in a position to subsidise our rent, as he has done for some considerable time and the business is just not in a position to pay the rent in full. He is as gutted as we are that there is no viable way for the venue to continue …


Born or Raised

Philip Haines tells us in the previous post that Mick Fleetwood was born on Hayling Island

Who are the high achievers among local Pompey Popsters then?

The Shulman Brothers? (but Derek and Phil were born in Glasgow)

Joe Jackson? (born somewhere near Stoke)

Paul Jones? (left at 18 and never came back)

It’s probably more important where they grew up and learned to play in which case Joe and the Shulmans are Pompey, but Jones is much less so.

I think …


On the Road

On Friday evening, BBC4 did a show called “New Tales from the Tour Bus” about rock & roll life on the road. It was presented by Rick Wakeman which did not thrill me with anticipation. He’s a bit of a clown but I take it back. I really enjoyed it and I guess it’s still on Iplayer. It’s worth a look


40 Years and counting

My buddy Denis and I are off to launch our new band today at a private ‘dress rehearsal’ party before our public debut next Thursday

Today is also the 40th Anniversary of one of our great nights. We were students at Milton’s College of Knowledge and had a seven-piece country blues/skiffle/jug band Skys Is Cryin’. We entered a nationwide ‘Tartan Bitter’ student Talent Competition on the offer of free beer at every gig and on this day/tomorrow (?) in 1975 we appeared in the Final at Hammersmith Odeon (support to Steeleye Span) and won the whole thing with a prize of £750 – serious money in those days.

One of the judges was Alan Bown, the MC was Bob Harris and somewhere I’ve still got the recording. It was a rather magical day! The photo is from one of the earlier rounds which were at Worthing, Thames Poly and Reading University but I can’t remember which one.

Skys is Cryin' 1975 (with Dave right)

Steeleye Span

hammersmith envelope


Cold Jazz?

Last night my buddy Denis and I, plus Mrs A and Mrs RB went to the Guildhall to see the national Youth Jazz Orchestra (all under 25) – and a very fine performance they gave too


The modest audience was almost a straight mix of young people from schools and colleges, many of whom had attended a workshop in the afternoon (and are probably studying music) and old jazz fans – our party in their mid-60s was at the ‘youthful’ end of that group, with many familiar faces from Portsmouth Jazz Society gigs

But there were very few people in their 30s/40s/50s. That led me to thinking about the original Pompey Pop project and the way it has developed with the post-1975 history at the Guildhall and on the new Facebook site

What’s happened – and it may well reflect what really did happen – is that styles of rock music and the electric guitar have come to dominate, to the exclusion of the far richer mix of the 1960s. We could argue for ever about whether the ’60s were really ‘better’ but in one respect – from my experience at least – I reckon they win hands down.

In the 1960s I went regularly to folk clubs, jazz concerts/gigs, R&B and blues gigs, there was soul and ska at the Birdcage and ‘pop’ was everywhere (youth clubs, pirate radio etc). The variety was fantastic, both live and on the radio. It seems to me that these days the roots of popular music are in rock and pop and pop and rock plus for a minority, electro or Hip Hop. But the variety is far less apparent. Jazz is there if you want it, but I’m not sure that younger generations do want it very much.