All Write Now


My conversation with Phil (below) takes me on another path. I watched plenty of local bands in the days when I was just starting out to play – for example in those early weeks of 1966 I saw the Teapots and Klimaks for sure, while the year before, there were the Diplomats, J Crow Combo, Shamrocks and Crow  – and of course the regular Rendezvous support acts, Roadrunners, Sons of Man and Challengers from late 1964. Later in 1966 I saw St Louis Checks and Soul Society and maybe there were others (not sure whether I saw Academy and Wrong Direction when they played the Birdcage).

My memory is that most if not all of those bands covered other people’s material and I think that was largely true locally from the late 1950s onwards, variously rock & roll, Shadows/Ventures instrumental stuff, Beatles, R&B and Blues, soul and mid-60s pop.

Harlem Speakeasy, my first ‘proper’ band covered soul and Motown. When we got a recording contract, spring 1968, we were told we must start writing, so we wrote the flip to our single. Before that it had never occurred to us. We wrote the next single too but it was never released.

By that time, Coconut Mushroom were playing ‘West Coast’ stuff but mostly covers I think. My first ‘writing’ band Rosemary started out in January 1969 and was playing a completely original set by the end of that year. I think Heaven probably were too and about the same time Aubrey Small. I’m not sure that Cherry Smash were really ‘local’ but they wrote.

Was that when it started – 1968/1969? Were there other local bands writing lots of material? It’s a funny thought that unless decent recordings survived, those songs pretty much just faded away and one day soon will be gone for ever.

PS: Nice Comment from Tony ref the Classics. It’s just occurred to me that the Dynamos had to write an original song for the final of ITV’s Ready, Steady, Win! although I don’t know whether they wrote other stuff.




Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

2 thoughts on “All Write Now

  1. The Classic’s were writing around the Beatles time, we had 8 to 10 original songs which l still have on reel to reel tape. One song a friend heard, asked me to put it on CD took it away re-recorded and arranged it with him on vocals. He played it to Effie and myself a few weeks later and made shivers run down our spine.
    We tried to get a band together here in France, all Brit’s but wrong people. My friend recorded it in London with a song of his own, was being released as a double a side 4 Christmases ago but disappeared, luckily l have the rights to it.

  2. Well as the Residents we did have a go at an Instrumental but really there was enough to do just to learn all the covers. The Furys recorded an original at Decca in 64 but nothing exists of that. The song appears on the Demo we did with The Meteors UK in OCT 66. Brian Hare (Furys Drummer) and I started some serious writing in early 66. We actually would meet up every Sunday during the day and would stay until we put down words and chords on a reel to reel. My guess is that we had probably 50 – 60 songs of which maybe 10 were really good. Some of them are on a rehearsal tape from a “Blue Sand” Practice at Denmead Hall in 68. They do sound pretty lame though and rather “limp” if you consider the music scene at the time. The whole lot of my lyrics and the reel to reel tape was taken away by the ex and destroyed. Two of my compositions made it onto the Blue Sand EP we cut at Saturn Records. A very dated Instrumental and a very prophetic “Florida Bound” actually written about my brothers move to the USA in 67. The Colours Late Drummer Ted Ball wrote a load of Lyrics in 74 but we never put music to them. I think Dave that although many bands were inspired to write by the Beatles and as Tony said were cranking them out it really was still very much the “establishment and it would have been around 68/69 that performing your own music became accepted at gigs and by recording companies. Fast Forward to recent times and the two Blue Sand EP tracks actually were put in rotation on my friends Web Based Radio station called Songwriters Island. He only uses artists performing their own material so when he started up and just getting going I gave him mine to pad out the list. Now it is very successful and my songs have gone back into the past where they should have stayed anyway.

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