The Happy Ballroom and more 15th Jan 1966 and David Bowie update by Andre Martin

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David Bowie gig 31st Oct 1964. Andre Martin collection

Time continues apace and we have reached the weekend of 15th January 1966, the Pier Ballroom continues to remain in darkness and no Saturday Night entertainments are scheduled, other activities continue – Bingo. Horse Racing and Fishing and the Bar and Restaurant are open, when will we see the Ballroom in action again ?
As you have gathered from reading these weekly reports, we do tend to settle into a regular pattern with the activities and locations included, and this week is no different. Friday Night Television entertainment would have started with Ready Steady Go or perhaps from some it might actually be “ Crackerjack” who knows ? RSG this week had a good line up including – The Kinks “ To the End of the Day” & “ Where have all the good times Gone”: Fontella Bass “ Recovery” :Lee Dorsey “ Get Out of my life Woman”: Patti LeBelle & The BlueBelles “All or Nothing “ & Over The Rainbow” also on the show that night was a Welsh future super-star Tom Jones.
Then for many it would have been down to the town and The Pam Dorr or The Fiesta or any other coffee bars, and a few might have ventured into the local Public Houses, The Anchor, The Pump House, and the like.
The Witch Doctor on the Saturday Evening would have on offer – The Mark Four and The Poor Boys, 2 groups that had an excellent track record having appeared several times before at the club, 7.30pm – 11.45pm all for 6/- [30p]. The Sunday Afternoon Record Session, were popular 2.30pm – 5.00pm and all for 1/6 – no licensed bar so it would have been soft drinks and the burger bar !!!. Tuesday evening we have the “Candlelight Pop Show” 7.30pm – 11.00pm all for 1/- [girls] 2/- [boys] and Thursday a regular crowd puller – Steve Maxted with his very looney show, 7.30pm-11.00pm for only 2/-. That’s how it was at Marine Court that week.
Radio & Television offered a very wide range of entertainments. BBC Light Programme, Saturday hi-lites would have included 10.00 Saturday Club with Brian Matthew – on the show that morning – Spencer Davis, Cilla Black, Kenny Ball, Swinging Blue Jeans, The Truth, Friday Brown, and the Johnny Pearson Orchestra. 12noon and it was a new show “Does the Team Think” Panel game featuring Ted Ray, Tommy Trinder, Cyril Fletcher & Beryl Reid – with MacDonald Hobley and Jimmy Edwards. 12.30pm, Jack Jacksons Record Show. 3.45pm, Saturday Band Stand with the Scottish CWS Band. 6.30pm Jazz Beat featuring this week – Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, The Mark Leeman Five and George Melly. Later in the evening “Home & Away” from the Nuffield Centre broadcasting to UK & British Forces in West Germany on the show, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Julie Grand and The Ronnie Aldrich Quartet. Sunday offered amongst the regular show – Easy Beat with Keith Fordyce and 12noon 2 Way Family Favourites with London and Cologne being the hubs for requests from the UK and BAOR in West Germany.
Television on Saturday included 12.45pm Grandstand with David Coleman amongst the sport on offer – Rugby England v Wales. 5.15 Juke Box Jury –David Jacobs in the chair with Tito Burns, Libby Morris, Veronica Shaw and a Zombie ! The evening continued with some popular regulars including Dixon of Dock Green, The Western [film] Black and White Minstrels, Bewitched. Sunday featured Skiing from Switzerland, 14.50pm International Rugby League – England v France. 17.05pm The Lucy Show, 5.30pm David Copperfield followed by Pinky & Perky. BBC 2 had a real treat for Opera Lovers with Puccini’s – La Boheme.
Thank your Lucky Stars on ATV that Saturday night had on offer Jim Dale, Nashville Teens, Adam Faith, Rolf Harris & Paul and Barry Ryan.
That is how it was, 50 years ago in January 1966. To bring this weekly report up to 2016, this has been a bad time when you think of some of the names from the music industry who have recently joined that great concert platform in the Sky, but 3 in particular have links with Hastings. David Bowie – Played Hastings Pier with his group from Bromley – The King Bees, when they were booked to support Tony Rivers & The Castaways on 31st October 1964. Also in 1965 Davy Jones and The Lower Third headlined at the Witch Doctor on Saturday 17th July in that year. Also this week Tony Crombie the drummer with the Alan Haven & Tony Crombie Duo that released “Images”, they played the Witch Doctor on March 1965 with local group The Humperdinks in support. And the third was former manager of The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds – Georgio Gomelsky, who I meet a couple of times when he came down to Hastings with the Yardbirds in 1965 and 1966. Lets hope that we don’t get too many weeks like this.
Until next week you all take care out there, fingers crossed that the white stuff keeps away from the town and a little sunshine would be a bonus.
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016

Jim Breeds… Thanks Andre. Great stuff, including the Davy Jones bits of course.

SMART 25 report.

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Made it to 2016! After a slow start everyone piled in at 4.00 o’clock and among the newbies this time were Cliff Wootton and Carol Cooksey. Lots of chat about the shock loss of David Bowie with Andre revealing some interesting news about him and Hastings, watch this space. Also the sad loss of ‘Mo’ funeral details on the website. Cliff was talking about the various bands he has played with, guitars and an engrossed chat with Lol about church music.  Colin Bell had new cd’s from Peter Sarstedt and Alcatrazz, look out for reviews soon. Tony Qunta was talking about the new Reuben James Richards track A.S.A.P. he played on and is currently on the A-list of plays on Radio 2. Tony Davis had with Cliff Richard live at ABC Kingston 1962 cd  and on the inside cover list the tour dates when he played the ABC in Hastings. Andre mentioned the History of the Pier Book by Steve Peak is near completion and will be available to coincide with the opening of the pier. Loads of pier talk and also talk about Eyes Of Blond, Eric Harmer Band, Beatles Day, identifying some old musician photos and anyone remember a local group called The Banned?   Congratulations to Elaine Roberts & Neil Roberts from Black Sheep for their song Monopoly  which was runner up in the best song in the Doc’s Blues Award 2015. Pete Prescott mentioned a couple of exciting gigs he is involved with at the Stables Theatre. Sunday 28th February 2016 with Mike Hatchard celebrating the music of Nat King Cole and  Easter Sunday 27th March 2016 with Liane Carroll.  Geoff Peckham (Jaffa) had with him some recordings of the forthcoming Factory CD on his iPod and a number of people got a first listen on the headphones. It’s really good and expect more news shortly on release date and upcoming gigs. This is just a small bit of what I remember, please feel free to add anything interesting that I missed.

Geoff Peckham… Thanks, Alan, for another enjoyable SMART meeting this afternoon. I enjoyed catching up with Andy Knight, among others, and Alan lent me the Eyes of Blond reunion DVDs and CD to check out. I look forward to that – a great band. Good to see everyone again.

Sarah Harvey… Work transpired against me so sorry I couldn’t make it….always miss seeing everyone

Allyson Breeds… Was a lovely afternoon

Mick O’Dowd… Nice Meet although I had to leave early because of being taken out to dinner.

Jim Breeds… We missed you. Nice to see you though Mick. I’m going to look for ear trumpets on Amazon later. Thanks for organising it Alan. Had a good time chatting to all. And not all about music either 🙂 Also good to meet Cliff again after all these years.

Phil Gill… You should’ve said Mick, I could’ve had my people pick you up and drop you at the restaurant.

Cliff Wootton… Really enjoyed catching up with folks I hadn’t seen for a really long time. Looking forward to the next time.

Phil Gill and friends


Peter Millington… Sorry I missed the meet on Friday – competing demands on my time and I lost! Next time hopefully.