Hastings Pier Ballroom & more – 13th Feb 1965 by Andre Martin


Andre Palfrey-martin collection

Andre Martin…Strange how times change – we are in February, Saturday 13th – 1965, and it’s a St Valentines Weekend – but there is very little indication in any of the Press and advertising, come forward to the present day and you would have been swamped by Press and Television advertising this date in the calendar. The Happy Ballroom continued with its policy of “Togetherness Dancing” and “Bringing back Romance to the Ballroom” – Gordon Rider and His Music will be on stage from 8.00pm to 11.45pm, with the usual package of music and entertainment for 5/-, and for those who are not that interested in what’s happening in The Happy Ballroom, the Long Bar is open and a place to meet all your friends.
As usual for so many of the young people in the town the weekend would have kicked-off with our regular viewing of the best from London: Ready, Steady, Go. in the capable hands of Keith and Cathy on the show tonight included Donovan – Manfred Mann “ Come Tomorrow” – Dusty Springfield “Your Hurtin’ Kind of Love” – Sandie Shaw “ I’ll stop at Nothing” – Millie, and The Nashville Teens “ Find my way back home”
The Live music scene at The Witch Doctor on stage were 2 groups from London, The Pantilers and The Exiles, who would set the scene going – all for 6/-. Sunday Club this week featured The Graham Bond Organisation, if you were a member it was only 4/-. You could also win a weekly draw of £10.00, based on your Sunday Club membership number – BUT you had to be in the club when the draw was made, if nobody won that week, it was simply rolled over and added to the next week. It does not sound much today, but 50 years ago £10.00 was a useful sum of money. Friday night it was Brian Poole & The Tremeloes. The record spinning for the remainder of the week, was in the capable hands of Trevor Ollive [Mon & Tues] Johnny Warner – Wednesday, with his “chick cheap night “ all for 6d, and on Thursday and Sunday afternoons – Ginger Powell.
Radio on Saturday had the BBC Light Programme presenting at 10.00am Saturday Club,and this week included Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, The Pretty Things, Jimmy Rodgers, Craig Douglas, Unit 4 + 2, Elkie Brooks and The Ladybirds. Brian Matthews was along to spin any new releases. Later in the day at 2.00pm – Saturday Swings this week presented – Janie Marsden, Four Pennies, Les Howard, The Brooks. The new 4.00pm show Top Gear continued with Sandi Shaw and Cliff Bennett with the Rebel Rousers.
On Sunday, the regular morning slot at 10.31 – Easy Beat – featured, Cliff Bennett, Spencer Davis, The Countrymen, Dodie West and The Johnny Howard Band – Keith Fordyce was on hand to spin any new releases.
For those who looked to TV to provide some pop entertainment, “Juke Box Jury” with David Jacobs and Marianne Faithfull, Adrian Poster, Brian Epstein and Ted Ray. And on “the other side” Thank Your Lucky Stars” – this week Brian Matthews guests included – Adam Faith & The Roulettes, Herman’s Hermits, Jackie Lee, Gene Pitney, Tammy St John – with the guest DJ Ed Moreno.
As we can see from the local press, things were about to change in the Happy Ballroom and national names were to start appearing again over the coming weeks, so for more of that, cope back next week and I will tell you more in The History of the Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier.
Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2015
PS watch this space – important announcement will be made shortly about Jimi Hendrix !!!

Mick O’Dowd… Oh no! Not the end of “together dancing” and Gordon riding off into the sunset! OMG.

Andre Martin… Don’t get too worried about this…. time will tell !!

Fox On The Run – pop song or bluegrass asks Will Cornell

Will Cornell… Would be interested seeing opinions from over there on this song….which many in US thought/still think is a bluegrass chestnut, but actually was an original by Manfred Mann’s Tony Hazard! Banjoist Bill Emerson used to keep a portable cassette player in his car and whenever he heard something unusual that he thought could be arranged for his bluegrass band, he’d tape it. “Fox On The Run” was captured that way. The Country Gentlemen shook up the bluegrass world time and time again by breaking away from “tradition” but many assumed this was some old Appalachian tune. To my knowledge, it’s never appeared on any US issued “hits” compilation by Manfred Mann, so it baffled many over here. WAS it a hit over there? By the way, no relation to the Sweet song which was roughly the same time period…but IS the same tune Tom T Hall had a hit with…and coming from someone who wrote great songs, his version nowhere near as good as the CGs…or Mann’s. Hall may’ve sold the most copies of it after all which is a shame.

Alan Esdaile… Manfred Mann’s version got to number 5 here in 1968 and was a very big hit. Still gets played on the radio from time to time. Country Gentlemen sounds very fast to me but does sound like an authentic bluegrass track.

Will Cornell… I  could almost imagine early Fairport or Steeleye doing this. Walking thru the corn leading down to a river is not something a lot of lasses did in 1967 lyrics. The bluegrass band I worked with 40 yrs ago extended that chorus from 3 parts to 4, and harmony was very effective. Solos on mandolin, banjo, flat-top guitar and sometimes (when they had a guest sit in) fiddle, really great on this tune.