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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
additions

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any news on the soul hole in balham high road where denny cordell was the DJ and the moody blues started out with their copy of the bessi banks 45 ? he offered me a job as an apprentice at Island records which i stupidly turned down..he went on to make a million on ''whiter shade of pale'' 45 ..

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makes me sick when i read all the acts i missed at all the clubs but we didnt have the money to see them and unlike today there was no way to know when they were on except by the musical press..of the time or word of mouth

 

and unlike today with all the record shops in berwick street there was only 1 record shop and they had a lousy stock of 45 ..and a strange collection of LPS ..it was called the harlequin record shop  and there was no sale or return on 45s  so they kept little stock unless in top 10

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they were all fire traps and today wouldnt get a license to operate .luckily there was no fires as the last chance was a fire trap ..it was later known as the eidelweiss club and now demolished for crossrail at tott court road..

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One of the best things on Soul Source in ages, absolutely brilliant thread, thanks you guys for posting all this:-) 

watched all of Sebastian last night, you gotta love Susanna York!  Strange film thought, kinda ipcress file ish.... but not... typical though of that time.  Always thought I was born twenty years too late:/) 

 

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Posted (edited)

Got a couple more old bits to post up but can't find anything much on line about 2 of the London celeb clubs, the Revolution and the Speakeasy. Both venues had top U S live acts on (like Ike & Tina + more). The Revolution Club ... then a Speakeasy ad from 67.

 

SpeakeasyLondonJan67.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Posted (edited)

A few more 60's flyers / ads ... members of the Beatles appear in the above video ... they also used to attend a lot of the shows staged at the Saville Theatre in London in 67 (Brian Epstein owned / ran it then ). I attended a show at the Saville, saw Jimi Hendrix (not great) & Garnett Mimms (very good) that night. The Platters (below ad) were really the Steinways (ex Laddins) .. A fake version of the Show Stoppers also toured here back then (can't recall if the outfit below were the real or fake group). Joe Tex was booked to tour the UK about 3 times in the 60's; think he cancelled each time.

LondonGigs6768mont.jpg

LondonGigs67mont.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Posted (edited)

in the street opposite the flamingo which is now china town was the alphabet club which was a cut price club to get in at 10shillings ..i used to pop in there sometimes in the am .some pals used to prefer it on saturdays ..lots of blocked kids in there with a lousy sound system

 

last tune at the last chance was always jimmy radcliffe. seems hard to believe its was it was of that period .then the lights went on and it was chucking out time and they all streamed down to liverpool street station on sunday morning where the blockers headed for a coffee and snacks ..very quiet on sundays not like today when its always busy 24/7

Edited by sceneman

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15 hours ago, sceneman said:

in the street opposite the flamingo which is now china town was the alphabet club which was a cut price club to get in at 10shillings ..i used to pop in there sometimes in the am .some pals used to prefer it on saturdays ..lots of blocked kids in there with a lousy sound system

 

last tune at the last chance was always jimmy radcliffe. seems hard to believe its was it was of that period .then the lights went on and it was chucking out time and they all streamed down to liverpool street station on sunday morning where the blockers headed for a coffee and snacks ..very quiet on sundays not like today when its always busy 24/7

Where was the last chance club? Fabulous thread by the way. 

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On 05/03/2019 at 15:55, Roburt said:

A few more 60's flyers / ads ... members of the Beatles appear in the above video ... they also used to attend a lot of the shows staged at the Saville Theatre in London in 67 (Brian Epstein owned / ran it then ). I attended a show at the Saville, saw Jimi Hendrix (not great) & Garnett Mimms (very good) that night. The Platters (below ad) were really the Steinways (ex Laddins) .. A fake version of the Show Stoppers also toured here back then (can't recall if the outfit below were the real or fake group). Joe Tex was booked to tour the UK about 3 times in the 60's; think he cancelled each time.

LondonGigs6768mont.jpg

LondonGigs67mont.jpg

Saw the Hendrix/Mimms show at the Saville, thought Mimms was great but was in a minority as so many of the Hendrix trend-followers ignored him and carried on conversations through his set.  Found Hendrix too loud and didn't like his followers so walked out after a couple of numbers!

Joe Tex certainly did miss the Dec 3rd Saville gig, but Gladys and the lads were so incredibly good, he wasn't missed.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, supermabel1 said:

Saw the Hendrix/Mimms show at the Saville, thought Mimms was great but was in a minority as so many of the Hendrix trend-followers ignored him and carried on conversations through his set.  Found Hendrix too loud and didn't like his followers so walked out after a couple of numbers!

Joe Tex certainly did miss the Dec 3rd Saville gig, but Gladys and the lads were so incredibly good, he wasn't missed.

Our bunch had the same views on the show as you. Luckily we were sat among folk who did give Garnett a fair hearing AND we also walked out during the Hendrix set ... (2nd time I'd seen him & not impressed at all either time) ... 

SavilleTheatreLondonMay67.jpg

SavilleThSundayposter.jpg

SavilleTheatre4Tops66x.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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Posted (edited)

Not truly on topic as lots of these venues are well outside London ... BUT ... here's a typical month of gigs for two London based UK soul outfits back in early 67 ... quite a few London area venues but other spread far & wide around the UK ... 

Plus 2 more UK based acts that played Klooks Kleek ... 

LondonClubGigsJan67y.jpg

KlooksKleekJohnWatsonWeb.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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the last chance was down 2 flights of stairs to a basement .it was cosy and warm but the air must have been bad with all the ciggy smoke ..more or less opposite the 100 club i would guess ,but also strange we  rarely went into the 100 club at the time .. around in tottenham court rd was another all nite coffee bar frequented by blocked mods ..i recall opposite the flamingo was a all nite sandwich bar that sold pill sandwiches of the purple variety

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A few more from 1967 … 

It was in 1967 that Local Government got involved in club regulation in a big way. Many clubs went 'members only' to escape some of the regs but others (the ones that didn't have drinks licenses) came under scrutiny for the 1st time. It was the councils and their elected members that (listening mainly to their older constituents, who were voters) forced the closure of great places such as the Mojo and Nite Owl. In Manchester, they would also get involved in the early 70's to close down the Wheel (end of January 71). I believe they had less of a hand in the demise of the London soul clubs, which were strongly effected by changing musical tastes … lots of pop / soul outfits that had filled their live shows with soul track covers moved on to feature psychedelic rock / blues rock stuff instead.

LondonSoulClubs67.jpg

LondonSoulClubs67b.jpg

Tiles67.jpg

Edited by Roburt

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drugs may have killed off the london clubs when pushers moved on to hard stuff away from the blues and purples imo..more money to be made on heroin . i recall some old scene members who became heroin addicts for good until they died

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Brian , 

Thanks for your contributions and your wealth of knowledge , to what is such a good thread. 

My brother used to come down to a few of the London clubs being 10 yrs older than me but he was more a rocker than a Mod , so wasn’t in to the same kind of music but saying that .. that’s when it started to change the musical map and listening habits as American artists started to come over . 

Four Aces not strictly in the Centre but quickly gained a reputation for good music 

8E01184B-61A3-4AD1-A21E-0D10A10AA93D.jpeg

7DAD72DD-C77D-4D59-B6D9-7B8A48BDBE34.jpeg

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strange i dont have a last chance club members card ...we used to mosy there from the scene club on A sunday morning after getting chucked out at 7 and pay i think it was half a crown or 10 shillings for a few more hours of music ..sunday morning in soho saw small bands of blocked mods cruising around town ..seemed too  many  for the clubs to take them but they were all going nowhere in particular with a comedown and no pills to top up

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It's been pointed out already that the 100 Club wasn't on too many 60's mod / soulsters radar back in the 'swinging decade'. This isn't too surprising as the club stuck with it's jazz band policy right thru to the end of the decade. It had tried to generate a R&B crowd following on some nights of the week in 1964 (temporarily taking up the Rhythm & Blues banner for those nights in Feb 64) but it seemed to slip quite quickly back into it's more normal jazzy ways a few months later and remained with (mostly) live jazz outfits till at least the end of the 60's.

I was a 14 year old school kid up in Yorkshire in early / mid 64, so have no 1st hand knowledge of the club or it's music policies back then … anyone know why it dabbled with R&B for a few months and then went back to a (mainly) jazz diet … did the London mods not take to the club way back then ?? 

100Club60sMont.jpg

100Club6869.jpg

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For the best music you really needed to go to those bigger venues (or very small unknown clubs that wouldn't be known by anyone on here).

Like the Croydon Top Rank, Orchid Purley, Tottenham Royal, etc. Back in the late 60s I used to go to some of the clubs listed here, the music was mostly w*nk.

It's not not for nothing that in 1972 we all started going up North. 

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no word of mouth i would guess as if nobody was talking about it how would you know what was going on at the 100 club ..there was other jazz clubs that had a bad rep back then .bearded weirdys blowing like crazy wouldnt go down well at the time ..beatnick types were in a genre of their own at that time ..too far apart from suited mods..the osterley jazz club was another dive that didnt attract mods .although we dropped by on scooters some times but didnt go in

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