Voice Your Choice


(The Radiants) one of those classic soul tracks that ‘Brady’ was likely to play at the Birdcage. But as 1966 turned to 1967, Brady was about to follow his mate Robin Beste out of the Birdcage and on to another life.

1966 was a bit of an up-and-down year at the club, but it finished pretty well with John Mayall, Little Richard, Cream plus regular favourites the Vagabonds, Action and Alan Bown Set in the closing weeks.

1967 opened with a record night called “Freak Out” although I doubt whether many Frank Zappa tracks were played. There was a three-way split looming as the club suddenly started Ska nights – mostly on record but occasionally someone like Prince Buster would turn up. It’s interesting that the year of the Summer of Love was also the year of ska/Bluebeat (named after the record label of the singles).

The club continued to book those favourite soul/Tamla acts although the Action were already exploring new stuff with covers of tracks like “Why” by the Byrds. Alan Bown would follow suit. And soon to arrive were the Pink Floyd, alongside the Who, the Knack and the Syn who would ‘sort of’ metamorphose into Yes. The In Crowd came regularly but they would soon turn into Tomorrow – “My White Bicycle” and Keith West with his “Teenage Opera”.

Changes were in the air then and across the Atlantic, the Trips Festivals were well underway (Ken Kesey, Grateful Dead etc), while Jefferson Airplane had released their first album in 1966. Early in 1967 the first album by a new LA band appeared; The Doors, including “Light My Fire” and a lengthy finish with “The End”. The Youngbloods eponymous album also appeared early in 1967 with one of the more enduring hippy anthems, Dino Valenti’s “Get Together” urging us “try to love one another”. I last heard that back in the summer on the Isle of Wight performed by Banana of the Youngbloods and Barry Melton of the Fish. It endures – Happy New Year Bloggers:




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

4 thoughts on “Voice Your Choice

  1. PS: congratulations to two 60s chart toppers who have received knighthoods – Ray Davies and the voice of the decade Ken Dodd!

  2. Bluebeat Dave? Interestingly enough The Furys featured at least two songs during 1966 performed to what we called Bluebeat. We had never heard it called Ska. Funny enough both were Buddy Holly tunes that lent themselves to that beat. One was “Mailman Bring Me No More Blues” played up tempo. And the other was “Think It Over”. I really don’t remember what prompted us to do those songs and why we emphasized the “BlueBeat” approach to them. But give them a listen it is easy to imagine how they would be ideal material. I don’t recall if the “My boy lollipop” song was out in that time frame or what, but something inspired us to use that beat. Maybe too much Rum and Coke or Cheap Red Wine.

    • “My Boy Lollipop” was a couple of years earlier (at least). I’m not sure whether that music was known as ‘Bluebeat’ back in Jamaica – I think that over there it was called Ska and fairly soon, Reggae, then Dub etc. But I do recall buying a few singles by the early Wailers, Prince Buster etc on the ‘Bluebeat’ label – about which I know nothing really –

      The Birdcage was using the term Ska in early 1967 – and there were the Skatalites of course (“Guns of Navarone”). I guess the rhythm/feel thing can be understood in terms of the influence of America R&B – especially from the New Orleans/Louisiana region on Jamaican stuff in the post-war period and I’m sure Buddy Holly and other rock & rollers would have heard that

      here’s an example of a Bluebeat label single:

  3. This is worth having a look at – 1956 as well. They called it a “Shuffle” beat and Millie’s 1964 version sounds not too far away from this.


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