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Roburt

1960's London Mod / Soul Clubs

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trouble was getting in at the marquee as there was always long queues esp when the Who were appearing there it was virtually impossible to get in unless you joined the queue at 5 ..recall long john baldry at the bar towering over everyone else ..

we used to go see the who at the goldhawk club in goldhawk rd working mans club and many times we didnt think it was worth the outlay to get in as at that time they were known as a chaotic nutty band among local youngsters ..this was when they were all out of their heads and making a racket ..we didnt feel it was worth the expenditure

 

Edited by sceneman

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Eel Pie Island Hotel

220px-Eel_Pie_Island_Hotel_postcard%2C_1
 
A 1900 postcard of the Eel Pie Island Hotel

The island was the site of the Eel Pie Island Hotel, a genteel, 19th-century building that hosted ballroom dancing during the 1920s and 1930s. In 1956, trumpeter Brian Rutland, who ran a local band called The Grove Jazz Band, started jazz sessions at the newly reopened hotel.[5] Some time afterwards, Arthur Chisnall took over the running of the club and continued to promote various jazz bands and then, in the 1960s, rock and R&B groups.[6][7]

Famous names who performed at the dance hall between 1957 and 1967 include:

In 1967, the hotel was forced to close because the owner could not meet the £200,000 cost of repairs demanded by police.[8] In 1969, the club briefly reopened as Colonel Barefoot's Rock Garden,[9] with bands such as Black Sabbath,[9]The Edgar Broughton Band,[9]Stray, Genesis, and Hawkwind[9] (then known as Hawkwind Zoo) performing there.

Caldwell Smythe (entrepreneur, vocalist, ex-Riot Squad and, briefly, The Honeycombs) said: "I approached the owner Mr Snapper who lived in Kingston and we agreed a rental deal. I called it Colonel Barefoot's Rock Garden and plastered west London with quad crown posters." Smythe booked bands such as Edgar Broughton, Free, Deep Purple, King Crimson, Genesis, Wishbone Ash and Mott The Hoople. Smythe said: "There were two stages: the headliner was on the big stage and the support on the small stage with the light show projectionist above it. We had a bar doing tea, soft drinks, hot dogs and hamburgers. We then did Colonel Barefoot's Killer Punch (cider, cooking brandy and cinnamon) and we gave it away along with beer in half pint plastic disposable cups. I had rows with the fire department as the emergency exits were chained shut to stop people bunking in. Eventually, after a raid by the Fire Chief, I closed down and walked. I was living in Chiswick at this time."[citation needed]

In 1969, the hotel was occupied by a small group of local anarchists including illustrator Clifford Harper. By 1970 the Eel Pie Island Commune had become the UK's largest hippie commune.[11]

In 1971, the Eel Pie Island Hotel burned down in a mysterious fire.[8][12] The centre of the island was devastated by fire in 1996, and a year later, the footbridge was damaged by a utilities contractor.[12] A new footbridge opened in August 1998.[12]

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Some more London gigs in 1967 ....

... this was when the London live gig scene was changing quickly, lots of UK beat groups / R&B groups were reinventing themselves as blues / progressive rock outfits. Thus the likes of Alan Bown, Zoot Money and more were fropping soul tracks from their playlists & changing to all sorts of rubbish.

Lots of venues tried to reinvent themselves too & new ones sprang up ... one of the prominent new venues was the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm (an old British Rail steam loco shed that had been sold off & transformed into a music venue). This place soon established itself as a top London 'progressive' act haunt .... though in it's early days it did stage a few soul / R&B themed shows ... not a venue that the soul / mod crowd frequented.   

LondonSoulGigs67mont.jpg

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Really interesting thread - having progressed through the mod scene early 80’s in to the nighters scene - I love looking at the old pictures of the clubs - when I lived in London early 90’s I visited all the old haunts that were still standing - even went to a nighter at the Notre dame hall - fab reading - thanks for posting 

Edited by The Tempest

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Many of the 60's soul clubs were located in basements of run down buildings ... So many of the venues are long gone due to redevelopment. But of course there were a number of different types of clubs ....

There were the member's only clubs, some only accepting folk with money. There were the clubs that were where music biz celebs / record label types hung out. Many of these were also difficult for normal teenage mod types to get into. Luckily, many of the clubs were open to anyone & everyone ... so if you wanted to be one of the in-crowd in those clubs, it was more than possible. 

Blaises was in the basement of the long since demolished Imperial Hotel ... 

BlaisesImperialHotel2.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Footage of a few of the 60's London soul clubs still exists, some being up on Youtube (clips from an old German music TV show for instance). Clubs were also featured (briefly usually) in 60's UK movies. For instance there's a clip of Max Baer & the Chicago Setback performing in one club that appears 45 mins 20 secs into the film SEBASTIAN (see youtube clip & shoot forward to 45mins 20 secs ) .... shots taken at Blaises were also used in the 1967 UK horror movie THE SORCERERS (see poster below) ...   

BlaisesNiteClubLondon67film.jpg

LondonSoulMont.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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I've enjoyed this thread, I attended many of the clubs mentioned, happy days. One not mentioned was the St Moritz in Wardour Street, which still exists I've just found out. It wasn't a Mod club, I went there a few times in 1965, can't remember the music at all, simply that I met a girl there that I dated a couple of times. I note that Gaz's Rockin' Blues is on there, anyone been?

There was also a place in Mare Street, Hackney over Burtons I think that I went to a couple of times, can't remember the name though, but the music was okay. 

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53 minutes ago, Geoff said:

I've enjoyed this thread, I attended many of the clubs mentioned, happy days. One not mentioned was the St Moritz in Wardour Street, which still exists I've just found out. It wasn't a Mod club, I went there a few times in 1965, can't remember the music at all, simply that I met a girl there that I dated a couple of times. I note that Gaz's Rockin' Blues is on there, anyone been?

There was also a place in Mare Street, Hackney over Burtons I think that I went to a couple of times, can't remember the name though, but the music was okay. 

Yes I've been to Gaz's Rockin Blues @ St. Moritz. Great Club, nice music and the venue has a special vibe! Love it.

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when the scene club conked out we moved on to the ricky tikk and eel pie island and other  out of town clubs as we didnt want to go to the piccadilly area ..when the kingston jazz cellar closed there was a jazz club on a barge moored along near kingston.then when the richmond crawdaddy closed there was  new crawdaddy on taggs island near hampton court.. the sound was different now with hendrix and other experimental bands  which wasnt to my taste ..the marquee and flamingo kept going for many years tho but they had a distinct customer base

according to  TV prog about london criminal gangs of the time there were various groups fighting for control of the vice and drugs in the west end about this time so that might explain the changing times..i then heard mates talking about clubs playing soul up north but i didnt join em

 

the who played at the scene club as the high numbers a few times but i didnt see them as there was no ads to know about it

 

Edited by sceneman
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