After The Fire – Falaise Hall 3rd March 1979

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Sarah Harvey…..After The Fire – March 3rd 1979 – I loved this band and bought the album ‘Laser Love’ after hearing ‘One Rule For You’ .

Tony May……I actually joined their fan club! Loved the first album and 80F but they started to decline a bit after that. Did you know that I A J Twiddle also released an album? Don’t know what it was like but I remember seeing it once. I’m a bit of a ‘Wild West Hero’ now myself!

Dave Nattress…..”One Rule For You”, truly fabulous. I bought the albums 80F and Laser Love – 1979/1980 and also a 3 CD set, “The CBS Recordings”. “One Rule” is definitely a wonderful track, much of the rest a bit dissappointing.

 

Frank Carson – Hastings Sunday market 3rd March 1985

Eric Harmer… Funny man

Phil Gill… It’s the way he tells ‘em.

Eric Harmer… he made me laugh with one. “What’s the difference between my wife and a terrorist. You can negotiate with a terrorist”

Keith Roxborough… If you think so

Chris Howard… Might have been funny but was not very pleasant. I did a gig with him once his attitude was dreadful

Gerald Jeffery… It’s a Cracker ! It’s The Way I Tell Em !

Conan Howard… it was the way he told EM

Cheshire’s 68-69 Queens Road Hastings 1981 – woodworkers supplies

photo ©  Steve Peak

Stuart Moir… Shopped there many times

Andrew Freeman… My Dad often popped in there to get things for whatever project he was on! I remember brown warehouse type coats.

Kay Lobb… Gosh a blast from the past there! I remember going in there with my dad, years ago.

John Gale… Anybody remember what the decorators shop was called in the 60s . It was next door to Cheshires, where St Michael’s Hospice charity shop is now. I think they had an upstairs too back then. Can remember being given old wallpaper catalogues to use as scrapbooks.

Pauline Richards… John, I remember Friday Ad being there and wasn’t it a pram shop. Donkeys years ago? Gambrills?

John Gale… Pauline, Yes definitely a pram shop before Friday Ad. It would explain why i have a vague memory, aged about 5 ar the time, being given a basic Lego toy present from there, maybe they sold a few toys then. So, maybe the decorating shop was near to it then. It’s all a bit blurry after 60 years.

Alan Esdaile… John and Pauline your both right, Number 65 was Collins wallpaper and paints and number 66/67 was Gambrills pram shop.

Tony Collins… John, I took over the diy shop in the early seventies and it was called Collins Homecentre. I cannot remember the previous name though.

Angela Gardner… I loved this shop so useful for odd bits of wood.

Pauline Richards… And foam cut to any size!

Lloyd Johnson… A much Loved woodwork shop…great bits and bobs in the window…I remember buying wooden wheels to make a model and dowelling to make a buntline special in the 50s when Wyatt Earp was on telly…

Roger Simmonds… Often popped in there !

Keith Blizard… Great little shop !

Alan Esdaile… My dad loved this shop and at times he would let my dad have offcuts for nothing.

Peter Ellingworth… Great shop. My father often used to call in.

Nigel Ford… used to get thick foam for machine seats cut to size there from a man out the back in a brown coat….. do I see Fork ‘ andles in the window too?

Graham Sherrington… and plugs…….13 amp.

Jenifer Hitchman… Anyone remember the book shop on Queens Rd. Was just down from the pub. In the middle and then used to be out of date shop on corner.

Alan Esdaile… Jenifer, remember the cheap out of date shop, buying crisps and biscuits in there. Usually fine but occasionally had to spit them out as they were soft!

 

Marks & Spencer 20, Queens Road Hastings

supplied by Leigh Kennedy

Leigh Kennedy… Marks and Spencer. The first Marks and Spencer store opened in 1920 at 20 Queens Road. In 1930 the building at 30 to 36 Queens Road (pictured) was built. M & S moved into new, purpose built premises opposite in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre in 1996.

Fiona Evans… The good ol’ days,with sturdy shop fronts & lovely window displays.

Colin Gibson… These dinosaurs blew high st presence out and destroyed the cricket ground, along with co-conspirators boots the “chemist”. Queens Rd is now a tasteless selection of cheap imported tat with few exceptions. If it’s raining you can always go into priory “meadow”, for some indoor tat.

Russell Field… Colin, I believe M&S executives said “if you don’t build the shopping centre we’re leaving the town”. Shame, we should have had a lovely marina instead.

Alan Esdaile… It was Peacocks for awhile and rumoured to be Wilko store?

Patricia Burgess… We were back in Hasting in 2003, I could not get over what a mess the Queens Road was, it looked like a poverty stricken area. Such as pity, to destroy the Cricket fields

Peter Fairless… It is. It was.

Alan Esdaile… Anyone remember the excellent fruit and veg stalls at the side of M&S?

Lloyd Johnson… My Mum was a Supervisor there for years until her retirement…,

Veran Palmer.. Why is this building still empty!

Peter Ellingworth… Top photo of M&S taken before June 1959 or just after, bottom one post that date, early sixties onwards, newer style lights attached to former tram/trolley bus wire poles. Like the old style street lights in the top photo. What’s the clue to the date of top photo anybody ?

Graham Sherrington… me mum used M&S from the 1960’s till she passed in the 2000’s. I loved their Norwegian Prawns.

SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing David McWilliams: Reaching For The Sun: The Major Minor Anthology 1967-1969, 2CD Digipak

REACHING FOR THE SUN -THE MAJOR MINOR ANTHOLOGY 1967-1969      DAVID McWILLIAMS

I am going to set my stall out straightaway with this wonderful new release. I have been a music journalist, writing reviews, articles, gig reviews etc for over 50 years now and have always prided myself on being objective when writing about artistes, a lot of whom I know or have worked with over the years, many becoming good friends. Sometimes it’s hard to critique work, especially if it’s a negative word or two given those circumstances. There are a few artistes i confess i find it impossible to be negative about, whatever their musical work, as i love absolutely everything they do and my natural objectivity takes a rare back seat, which may be wrong but is my honest admission. Such is the case with David McWilliams and I make no apologies for waxing lyrical about this entire new compilation of his work for the Major Minor Record label. Sporting 53 tracks spread over 2 CD’s, the compilation covers David’s 3 albums for Major Minor and includes over 12 tracks making their CD debut. What is remarkable (and i can’t think of another artist that has achieved this) is the fact those 3 albums were all recorded and released over a period of just 8 months. This you might think would dilute the quality of the songs, but no that is far from the case. Born in Belfast in July 1945 David Samuel McWilliams starting writing and playing songs as a young teenager and formed his own ‘Showband’ (a popular entity in Ireland of the times), he named it the Coral Showband after the record label of the same name that released songs by his hero Buddy Holly. A demo tape of David singing his songs made it’s way to the desk of Irish music entrepreneur Phil Solomon, then domiciled in London and managing fellow Irish acts The Dubliners, The Bachelors & Them amongst others. A deal was done with CBS and in 1966 David made his debut single appearance with a strong ‘protest’ song ‘God and Country’ which opens this new Grapefruit Records compilation in fine style and given the current state of the world in relation to war is still deeply resonant all these many years later. It didn’t chart. By the end of 1966 Solomon was launching his own Record label in Major Minor. Signing David to this new enterprise in 1967 the label launched David in a blaze of publicity across the music press, on hoardings and London buses etc, not as you might think with a single, but an album entitled David McWilliams Singing Songs by David McWilliams (Vol 1) which sold moderately well in June 1967, However it was to be his second album Vol 2 released just 4 months later that would see David immortalised with the track for which he will always be remembered ‘The Days of Pearly Spencer’. This quirky insistent earworm of a song was a hit across Europe, but NOT as most people remember (wrongly) a hit in the UK. The reason we heard it so much and think it was a hit was down to Pirate stations, particularly Radio Caroline, that has seen it lodged in most peoples memories as a UK hit. It was no co-incidence that Phil Solomon had a financial interest in Caroline which guaranteed his Major Minor releases would be played to death, often to the ire of some of the stations DJ’s. This of course was ‘payola’ which came to light later at the BBC as a scandal but as the Pirates were outside the law they got away with this illegal practice of ‘hyping’ a record into the charts. The success of ‘Pearly Spencer’ saw that the second album again sell well and lead as aforementioned, to his 3rd album release in February 1968. At the time not all the music biz critics were appreciative of David’s output. Major Minor had made such a massive big deal hyping up publicity for this unknown artist, it had the detrimental effect of working against him which would lead to David becoming disillusioned with all the razzamatazz surrounding him in 1967/68 and see him buy a farm and virtually disappear from view for the next 3 years. So to the music contained on these 3 albums. Opening as aforementioned with the strong protest song ‘God and Country’ this is followed by a string of songs covering, social issues, love, repression and all facets of life. The titles tell their own story in many cases, such as ‘Redundancy Blues’ ‘The Silence is Shattered’ ‘Hiroshima’ ‘Time of Trouble’ & ‘In The Early Hours of the Morning’ to name but a few off the debut album. David much like my dear friend the late Peter Sarstedt also had that rare gift that is given to some singer/songwriters of being able to paint cinematic images in your head as you listen and get steadily drawn further into his meaningful lyrics. The 2nd album kicks off with ‘Pearly Spencer’ and it’s interesting to note that many people refer to it as that song using a ‘megaphone’. That famous signature section of the song was in fact not a megaphone but was literally phoned in to the studio from a call box outside to achieve the desired effect! A wonderful slice of music trivia to know. Immediately following ‘Pearly Spencer’ is my all time personal favourite the exquisite ‘Can I Get There By Candlelight’ which may be familiar to some of you as it was also released as a single. ‘For Josephine’ ‘How Can I Be Free’ ‘What’s the Matter With Me’ & ‘Lady Helen of the Laughing Eyes’ are  just some more of the standout tracks to be relished. The 3rd album begins with another wonderful track ‘Three O’Clock Flamingo Street’ followed by ‘Harlem Street’ which was in fact the original Major Minor single release of David’s as the ‘A’ side with ‘Pearly Spencer’ on the ‘B’ side. For reasons best known to Solomon he didn’t spot the more commercial side. Maybe he was influenced by some of the less favourable reviews from some critics. Conversely and Interestingly, several industry luminaries such as my old friend Dave Dee and old bosses Chris Stamp & Kit Lambert at Track Records as well as Roger Daltrey all praised ‘Pearly Spencer’ at the time and Disc & Music Echo singled out David’s work as making you ‘sit up and really take notice’. Of all the 3 albums contained in this compilation I personally think David’s finest work appears on the 3rd album. It contains a wonderful diversity of songs, the romantic, where the songs are often augmented throughout his recording output from his debut album onwards by some lush arrangements by Mike Leander, a guy i got to know well in later years when working with the now disgraced Gary Glitter, Mike was co-writer and arranger of the majority of Glitters hits and worked with a lot of major names over many years. I am also indebted to Alan Esdaile-Johnny Mason the founder of the SMART website where this review appears, for reminding me in a conversation (prior to me writing this piece) of what a dark and wondrous outstanding track ‘The Stranger’ is that appears on this 3rd album. David had the ability to switch from ethereal lightness to dark and brooding without missing a beat. For what is probably the majority of you reading this review throwing all these titles of great songs at you may mean very little, if like the majority, your only experience of David’s catalogue has been ‘Pearly Spencer’. All i can do is urge you to listen to one of the best home grown UK singer/songwriters we ever produced. Don’t take my word for it, no less an icon than David Bowie declared David to be his favourite singer/songwriter. As ever, with a Grapefruit Records release the fold out digipack comes with a insightful essay by label boss David Wells, always an informative and fascinating read. As i said at the beginning i think it’s now apparent my love for David’s work is now thoroughly out there. Sadly David passed away in 2002 at the too early age of 56 at home in his beloved Ireland. After his 60’s success he only made occasional forays back into the industry preferring to live a quiet life, he left us with a musical legacy which is up there with the very best. Enjoy.

for more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk/
Til next time, take care………..Colin

Stephen Moran… Thank you for posting Colin’s review Alan. Beautifully written and informative as always. I had no idea that David McWilliams was so prolific. To be honest I thought he was a one hit wonder (Days of Pearly Spencer), I’m looking forward to listening to more of his recordings.

Paul Sleet… One of my favourite artists

Colin Bell… You’ll find much to enjoy on this release Paul

Mick O’Dowd… Always loved Pearly and the album that it appeared on because of the incessant plugging by Radio Caroline. I thought Pearly was a hit but probably only on the Caroline Chart. Got the album which I rate highly, but never was able to enthuse about his later work.

Leigh Mitchell… Very interesting! Pearly only came to my attention when Marc Almond covered it, but I then heard the original, which I preferred. I can’t say I have ever heard anything else by him, unless unwittingly during Brian Mathews time presenting Sounds of the 60s! Great read, Colin! xx

Colin Bell… Marc’s cover version was good, i liked it, but yes, the original is best, thanks for the kind words! xx

Alan Esdaile… Wonderful singer and writer. I got the album The Days of David McWilliams which I must have played hundreds of times and still sounds excellent.

Here’s the track ‘The Stranger’ if you haven’t heard it…

Bob Seal… My first favourite singer-songwriter of the 60’s (I have a few now!!). Beautiful melodies, great lyrics and a wonderful expressive voice. Must add – Some masterful orchestration from Mike Leander. This is ’67/’68 on a platter.

The Cobweb – opening night 23rd February 1968 Freddie Fingers Lee and The Mojos

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ad supplied by Sarah Harvey    cutting supplied by Andre Palfrey-martin collection

freddie

Sarah Harvey… Being a bit too young to visit The Cobweb at that time…. was this the actual opening night? February 23rd, 1968.

Wendy Weaver… I think Don Smith owned the Cobweb or even the Witchdoctor in the early days. He also had Aquarius I think and certainly owned Rennies (later Dennies) plus the Penguin Snooker Club until it was purchased for the Town Centre Development. He hoped to make the space that was the Cobweb a Casino but could not get permission.

Andre Martin… The Witch Doctor and Cobweb, were owned by another Mr Smith from Manchester who owned amongst other clubs in the North Mr Smiths in Manchester, the Catford Witch Doctor and several others. Don Smith was another Smith, who had interests in and around Hastings in the club business. You also had Eric Rennie, who I understood had the head lease for the Dolphin, which included Witch Doctor, Grenadier Club and Restaurant in Marine Court.

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Lies – The Chatsworth Hotel 1980

1. JAN 13th 1980 - LIES

13. 27th jan 1980 lies

16. 2nd march 1980 lies

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey… Some familiar names from March 2nd, 1980. Pete Prescott , Kevin Hoad, Ray Fenwick, Terry Pack Tony Bird .

Andy Qunta… Excellent!

Terry Pack… I remember those Sunday gigs. I enjoyed that band.

Pete Prescott… We didn’t gig that much. I remember doing Stevie Wonder ‘ s loves in need of love today. A few Chatsworth gigs and it was done.

Peter Millington… I was there, great band and venue

Terry Pack… Sunday lunchtimes. Kevin used to joke that nobody would come to the gigs because people would think it was all lies.

Tim Anderson… And the support act….Post Truth.

Phil Gill… They later changed their name to Alternative Facts.

Sarah Harvey… Peter Prescott !!! How posh ☺

Mick O’Dowd… That’s alot of Lies!

Robert Searle… A. Great lineup, I would have love to have seen this.

Stuart Moir… I was there admiring Ray Fenwicks guitar prowess brilliant evening

Robert Searle…I did recording session with him years ago. The last time I saw him play was at the Hailsham Club with Tony Kenward group, he can play any style.

Pete Prescott…He is a fantastic player. As you say any style. Very classy. One of the very few that listens and likes singers and the overall sound of a track. I would love to work with him again. Offstage he’s also very funny. He had so many hilarious stories. I’ve told him he should write a book.