Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Web Page No 812
Top Picture: I never remember seeing a Hillman convertible like this one. Must have been built in the mid 1960’s I saw it in Glasgow last year.
Bottom Picture: The Classics
I came across this article in the March 1964 edition of the Hampshire Magazine. It deals with a Gosport R&B group I have mentioned before ‘The Classics’ and it talks of a gig at the Green Man in Whitchurch but it could well apply to any local group appearing in any local church or school hall. The article was written by Trvor Fishlock and really bears being read again 45 years later.
The Classics come to Whitchurch.
They were standing around the jukebox when we got into the Green Man at Winchester; four young men with very long hair whose fingers twitched excitedly as the machine coarsely spat six strident pennyworth of Rhythm-and-blues from its chrome encrusted iron lung.
They held a furrowed bow conference when I suggested drinks. Three of them decided on light ales; one accepted a cigarette. The Classics drink very little and only one smokes. The previously constructed image of a wild tearaway bunch of fast living young beat-men began to crumble.
The Classics are, dedicated being the word, to carrying the message of the Hippyhippyskake, with plaintive Texan and Oklahoman overtones, into the far corners of darkest Hampshire. To this end they lead an almost monkish existence, tolerate hundreds of miles of wearisome travelling every week, get to bed very late, rise very early and spend hours dreaming of the last square meal and the next.
Tonight, bound for Whitchurch church hall we clambered into The Classics 1959 green Morris van. The groups 23 year old leader, black bearded Tony Ransley, was behind the wheel; Paul Spooner, a side-burned milkman, sat beside him. Crouched in the rear wedged in the clefts between guitars, drums and amplifiers, were thin faced Tony O’Flaherty, an apprentice electrical fitter in Portsmouth Dockyard and lanky Ian Grant, a fitters apprentice, Peter, Paul and Ian are all 19. Like Tony who is at present looking for a job, they all live in Gosport.
This evening The Classics would finish at 11 o’clock and be in bed by 1.00am. For Peter, Paul and Ian that would mean five hours sleep before rising for work. Paul said “we get pretty short of sleep and regular meals. We get home from work, wash, change and then buzz off in the van, it is four or five nights on the trot, honestly we do not have time for things like girl friends. When we are not doing a show we rehearse at home. Without the amplifiers that is fairly quiet and we don’t get boots thrown at us. It’s hard work but we wouldn’t change things. We are good pals and keep each other in good order. While we are still paying for our equipment we don’t make a penny on our shows. We do it for fun; we enjoy making a big beaty noise and watching the kids get with it. We put everything into our playing and we are told that our standard of Rhythm-and-Blues is very high”.
Ian adds” Like most groups we don’t read music, we get our stuff from the radio, tape record it, then make our own arrangements playing by ear. We write our own stuff as well, it’s not bad and we are always trying to make it better. We also get some old records and rearrange some pre-war numbers.”
Every pop group need reliable transport. But that costs money. As the van chattered on through the mist Tony said “ We have been going 18 months and this old bus has taken us nearly 100,000 miles. It costs us a fiver a week for petrol when our diary is full. There is a lot of money to fork out for a group like this. Apart from the van there is more than £2000’s worth of gear – some of it still on the never-never. Look at what we have got, four amplifiers £925, Pete’s two guitars £170 and £140; Ian’s guitars £215 and £170 and my drum kits £350 and £250. Paul is the cheapest member his harmonicas, 16 of them are 11s 9d each. Some of our gear is pretty well paid for now and the monthly instalments are now down to £35.
The Classic’s instruments are on three year agreements and they work three nights out of five each show earning them between £15 and £25.
The band stayed together until 1966 when they split up, Ian Duck going to the Soul Agents and then Hookfoot and Peter O’Flaherty and Tony Ramseley, joining together with others from Portsmouth to form Simon Dupree and the Big Sound.
I remember seeing the Classics perform many times in the early 1960’s in the Oddfellows Hall, the Drayton institute, the Thorngate hall in Gosport and at many College Dances. Does anyone one else remember them?
Take Care and keep in touch
The only person I ever knew, who had pay TV, was the family I lived with, when I first started teaching in Oxted Surrey. The TV took 6d and lasted an hour I believe. It was hard for them to watch a film, as the money had to be put in on a regular basis, you could not put in more than one coin at a time. I did not watch with them but I heard the complaints when the money ran out at the exciting part and they missed it.
News and Views:
Cher auctioned off a home she built in the Four Seasons' Hualalai resort in Hawaii at the end of January for $8.7 million. The 8,800-square-foot home, built last year but never lived in, has 6 bedrooms and a pool with spa overlooking the resort's golf course.
On this day 20th February 1960-1965
On 20/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was EMI's last coarse-groove 78 rpm record was issued
On 20/02/1961 the number one single was Are you Lonesome Tonight? - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 20/02/1962 the number one single was The Young Ones - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Unknown Sean Connery cast as 007 in Dr No
On 20/02/1963 the number one single was Diamonds - Jet Harris & Tony Meehan and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Liz Taylor films Cleopatra
On 20/02/1964 the number one single was Diane - Bachelors and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Steptoe & Son (BBC) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Malcolm X visits Cassius Clay's training camp
On 20/02/1965 the number one single was Tired of Waiting For You - The Kinks and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.