Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Web Page No 862.
Top Picture: Pompey group The Cadilacs
Bottom Picture: Ricky’s Club in Goldsmith Avenue
What a Great Exhibition.
An exhibition in Portsmouth City Museum ( I remember it as the Duchess of Kent Barracks, the Wrennery!) entitled The Birth of Pompey & Southsea Pop & Rock has just ended. Imagine the year is 1960 and a 20-year-old Cliff Richard is leading the way as British rock 'n' rollers burst onto the scene with their revolutionary music and leading showbiz photographer Harry Hammond was there and it was his pictures that formed the basis of this exhibition – along with clothes, instruments and other memorabilia from the 1950s and 60s.
Harry Hammond photographed virtually every leading British musician, as well as many visiting American artists. From Tommy Steele to the Beatles, Shirley Bassey to Dusty Springfield, he captured the emergence of rock 'n' roll and the stars of the time. As well as the Hammond photographs, the exhibition featured a period soundtrack and an interactive quiz with film clips. But any local music fans were certainly fascinated by one special collection of items as part of the exhibition. This included a red drape suit worn by Colin Quaintance, lead singer of the Portsmouth rock 'n' roll band The Cadillacs, the drum kit played by fellow band member Bryan Hatchard was also there. Then there was a brightly patterned shirt which was worn by Chris Harvey of Portsmouth group The Live Five when they appeared in the 1959 Cliff Richard film Expresso Bongo, the display also featured his guitar.
Another item was a washboard signed by skiffle stars, a signed Manfred Mann LP, fascimiles of autographs of stars such as The Beatles and Rod Stewart, these were collected in the 60s by a local fan and there were posters from the Birdcage club in Southsea (they brought back some memories).
A recorded oral history featuring local people talking about the 50s and 60s was interesting and there was an area where people had brought in pictures of themselves and items such as concert tickets and posters from that era. Imagine my surprise when I saw not only tickets for the Manor Court Youth Club (a little after my time, these were 1968) and a membership card. I remember having one of those and Steve and I also remember being there in the Youth Wing on the very first night, actually if you look at the side bar there are three pictures of the opening night courtesy of Steve. One other very clear memory I have of the Manor Court Club is of Friday 22nd September 1963 just after 7.00pm. It was then that the news of President Kennedy’s assassination came through. The whole club went quiet and every one slowly drifted away. There was no music or dancing that night as the club was deserted by 7.30pm
In a 10-year period popular music was transformed in terms of style and instruments; it changed from crooners with dance bands and ballad singers to electric guitar based music.
In 1956, British jazz drummer Tony Crombie formed what was reputed to be the very first professional British rock 'n' roll touring and recording act, Tony Crombie & his Rockets. Their debut was on a variety bill at the New Theatre Royal on September 10th of that year.
One other thing that I found interesting was the list of music venues in Portsmouth. Many I have mentioned before on other pages but here are a few I had forgotten. The Cambridge Hotel in Southsea, the Cobden Arms in Portsmouth for traditional jazz, Ricky’s in Goldsmith Avenue which eventually became one of the first Disco’s in town. The Bottle in the Wall in Hampshire Terrace featured folk music with artists such as Caroline Hester and Jon Isherwood as did the Talbot Hotel in Fratton; and then of course there were the many homes of the Rendezvous Club.
There were local bands in abundance The Cadillacs, Tangerine Slyde, The Four Tunes, Southern Sounds, The Classics who broke up and formed the basis of Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, Manfred Mann, The Saints Skiffle Group, The Rivals and the vocal group The Honeys. The list seems endless, but it was all live music played by real musicians.
One point of interest is that Frank Kelly who now lives in Titchfield was Portsmouth’s first recording pop singer. He recorded with a group called The Hunters and only ever recorded on the Fontana label in 1962 Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On/ 'Cept Me, in 1963 I Saw Linda Yesterday/ Good And True and What Do You Wanna Do/ She Loves Me So and in 1964 Some Other Time/ Why Baby Why. The Hunters were a similar sounding group to the Shadows but had only one chart entry which was as the backing group on Dave Sampson's self penned song 'Sweet Dreams'.
Keep in touch
Re have a fag, you know me as the non P.C. type and (all round rebel) and as you know still smoke rollups. So can comment on some of this, yes the Liquorice papers are still out there and both Christine and I prefer them. I have probably tried most of the brands of manufactured fags from those days, Passing Clouds, Joysticks (Super Kingsize and sold in singles), Players Weights (my first taste) of the devil sticks! Then the ones that almost put me off smoking forever, Solbrany 'Black Russian' Black paper with a gold filter tip I believe? Only had the one and it made me feel sick for hours after! Zippo lighters are still sold, in fact I am still using one now, but our local Tobacconist shop like most has gone.
'Cool as a mountain stream' I think that was the ad for Consulate Menthol fags? That seemed to be a favourite brand for Women, my late Mum smoked those until she packed in her mid 40s, Christine also started to smoke them.
I also started off with the Rizla machine, until a friend taught me how to roll by hand and actually found it easier once I got the hang of it. Plus I had less accoutrements to carry around with me. Tried the other filthy habit of snuff a few times, trying to be like my Granddad who was probably addicted to it. Also tried a pipe but never got on with that, it burned my throat plus I couldn't keep it from rattling about in my clenched teeth.
Peter was talking about smoking recently which has brought back a few memories for me of the dreaded weed. I too gave up smoking years ago, about 38 years to be precise but whose counting eh! Probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to do and I still get a whiff of nostalgia when someone lights up a fag so it just goes to show how addictive nicotine can be. I had been a smoker albeit a social smoker really since the age of 14 when I use to pinch one or two of my Mum's Craven 'A' ciggies and puff away behind a bush in the grounds of the deserted Flint House ( remember that place! ). If my Mum was short of ciggies and she would notice them missing then it would 5 Woodbines from Taylor's shop and a cough as it was just about all I could afford in those days.
The "Posh" cigarettes that Peter refers to were called Sobranie Black Russian and were considered to be the luxury end of the smoker's market and the multi coloured ones with the gold filter tip were Sobranie Cocktail for the Ladies as they were considered to be the height of coolness. I didn't know any Girls who smoked those cigarettes....lol
Smoking is now in such a minority with people now which can only be a good thing in my view when you see the harm that prolonged smoking does to your body and in particular the lungs. I have not had a puff now for nearly 40 years but I swear if nuclear WW 3 does break out I will be forced to reach for a fag and a bottle of 12 year old malt whisky and utter those immortal words.......anyone got a light?
News and Views:
Ray Davies of The Kinks has put his Konk Recording Studio in London up for sale. The asking price is £2 million. The sale is not expected to go through until September.
On this day 14th August 1960-1965.
On 14/08/1960 the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/08/1961 the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. 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 Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Mont Blanc tunnel completed
On 14/08/1963 the number one single was Sweets For My Sweet - Searchers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. 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 Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Great Train Robbery.
On 14/08/1964 the number one single was Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred Mann and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 14/08/1965 the number one single was Help - The Beatles and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Riviera Police (AR) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.