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John Wetton RIP

I have just heard from my pal and fine bass player Mick Legg – these days on the IOW – about the death today of John Wetton, himself bass player with Asia, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music etc. He grew up down the road in Bournemouth.

Mick recalled meeting John a few times in London (in the company of Mr Slim Brown) and described him as “a lovely guy”.


Who played what?

I’ve now reached the point with this new book where I’m focusing on details. While the main body of the book will be mid/late 1960s – sort of Birdcage to IOW Festivals musically – there is stuff about what came before and I’m interested in what the local groups were playing around 1963/4.

I have a recording of Mike Devon & the Diplomats – the guys who supported the Beatles at the Savoy – and their sets in those days included some ‘Merseybeat’ songs: “I Saw Her Standing There”, “There’s a Place”, “I Call Your Name”, “Sugar & Spice”, “I’m Telling You Now”  as well as Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven”, & “Memphis Tennessee” and other stuff from the USA that many people covered back then such as “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby”, “Do You Love Me”, “I Can Tell”, “Searchin”, and “Love Potion No 9”.

This is post rock & roll and just prior to the R&B ‘boom’ (Muddy, Hooker, Bo etc). I’d like to know about other groups back then and whether this set looks typical, whether any ‘classics’ or favourites are missing?


Going Underground

Around this time in 1967, the first UK edition of Oz was published, while on this very day fifty years ago the seventh edition of IT (International Times) appeared

It ran a header about Inner and Outer Space, called for the arrest of the Home Secretary Roy Jenkins and announced that Hendrix was in London to stay. There was an article on UFOs by one of the ‘experts’ John Michell, reports from China, Vietnam and Moscow, a piece by Allen Ginsberg about LSD and also Jeff Nuttall on psychedelics and other names to appear included Chet Helms from San Francisco’s Family Dog/Avalon Ballroom, Hare Krishna, poet Brian Patten, Traverse Theatre Company and Timothy Leary “tuning in … (etc)”

All that for a bob (5p)

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Once Upon a Time

It seemed that every album poll in the world had Sgt Pepper (50 years in June) as the greatest ever, by anyone. Now it seems that a bit like Lennon’s joke about the best drummer in the Beatles, it’s not even their best album.

You’d have to go a long way to find someone less interested in tennis than me, but my attention was drawn to this item on today’s BBC Sports site, about a game played today:

“Before this Australian Open final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal even began, it felt like the Beatles reforming in 1979 for a one-off gig. When Federer’s forehand finished it, deep into the Melbourne night, it was as if they had released a new Revolver too.”


Perfect Reply

ORDJ (Our Resident DJ) has responded very fully and in detail. Cheers Mr C!


When I did my first night at the Tricorn I insisted they dispensed with the handle to the  gramophone!
The Club was initially an out-and-out cabaret venue with not a hint of disco- when I  was taken on, in late 1967, as a token DJ to please the many regular punters who wanted more up-to-date  music to dance to, I was positioned on a stool facing a double turntable in a mounted box affair  on wheels- the unit was originally used  to put on records enabling the resident trio to have  a break or two .
We had 2 x 100 watt speakers perched either side of the stage- no mixing decks, echo units, reverb, speeded up and down turntables, cross fades etc which are taken for granted nowadays. The mic was attached to a foot long goose neck bendy affair. If the dancers got a little excited and jumped up and down in front of me one had to place a half penny on the top of the needle frame to stop the records jumping.
As more and more people requested discotheque (what a lovely old word) music, the trio were phased out (sorry musos – nothing to do with me!) and the Tricorn become a club/dance venue. To boost the sound we hired a 6 channel Sound City Amp from Alan Clarke Sound (still going young Alan doing the PA for Des O`Connor) and suddenly we sounded superb – a separate channel for the mic, one for the turntables and one for a “jingle machine” which was actually just a tape deck Alan rigged up with Radio jingles copied onto it.
We had at least 200 watts to blast out- how this must have sounded up against Slade, Uriah Heep, Mud, Alex Harvey Band etc goodness knows but we were all youngish- this is what we had to “play” with and we were more than happy with it – plus who can recall the Beatles small PA battling with the screamers at The Guildhall in `63.
The Tricorn then bought its own Sound City valve amp from The Image (I hope Cmdr. Ford paid them) and apart from Nigel Grundy adding a personalised front box this is how we continued for years.The only problem we sometimes had was when cabaret acts turned up expecting to use the in house PA (still happens today) and the sight of a comic bending over my DJ consul performing his act  using my 12” goose neck mic was a joy to behold.Pic attached of aforementioned turntable with my hi tech lighting way before LED`s came into existence.

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Last Night a DJ …

Interesting Comment from Oscar about Rikki Farr’s record intervals in his early Birdcage days at Kimbells, implying that it was all pretty basic. I remember that ‘Brady’ was around then but maybe not yet the club DJ? (They would advertise the ‘Brady/Beard* Jug Band’)

Am I correct in recalling that when you entered the Eastney Birdcage with the stage in front of you and the seating cubicles and then the ‘coffee/coke’ bar on the left, there was a DJ cubicle on the right about halfway up?

Did that mean that by then, ‘Brady’ was playing records (and they were records) through a club sound system? And if so, how common was that in 1965/6? I don’t remember a DJ or even records at the Rendezvous, while at Kimbells later on, Rikki still tended to use an ordinary record player through the band’s PA (with a mic?). One night he hired me as the DJ for Aynsley Dunbar but only once – clearly no potential there.

What about other venues? The Savoy? Tricorn? How did DJs make themselves heard in the 1960s? Is our DJ expert still picking us up from north of Buckland?

*Bob Beard