Who remember Embassy Vouchers?

Ian Quinnell… Yep, and Kensitas vouchers too

Jeff McCall… I went up to London to College in 1971 and bought my tools with Embassy vouchers and ended up sharing a room with a guy whose father worked in Sheffield for the Embassy voucher scheme!

Wendy Weaver… Players No.6 vouchers. Friends used to give them to me to add to the amount.

Jon McCallion… Yep remember them well

Chris Wood… If I remember correctly you had to smoke about half a million cigarettes to have enough to buy a folding deckchair which you needed cos you couldn’t breathe and needed frequent rests.

Paul Coleman… Yeh. Had hundreds of ’em. I obviously smoked too much! Lol.


SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Once Upon A Time In The West Midlands – The Bostin’ Sounds Of Brumrock 1966-1974, 3CD Box Set Various Artists

I’ve been looking forward to this release for some time. Whenever we start talking about the 60’s and the leading bands and artists its inevitable we will start talking about Liverpool, Merseybeat and The Beatles, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Cilla etc, followed by Manchester with The Hollies, The Dakotas, Georgie Fame, Hermans Hermits, Barclay James Harvest etc and of course London at the very heart of things which spawned 100’s if not 1000’s of bands. But as Merseybeat began to wane in the mid 60’s and the ‘beat’ scene in general, another city was on the way up bursting with talent and boasting some musicians destined to be at the forefront of the music scene, some to this present day. That city was Birmingham and this new 3CD box set is devoted as the title says to ‘Brum Rock’.  When you start to list just some of the main acts you can hear on this new compilation you begin to appreciate just how much influence these artists have had on the world. So who do we have in the main league? The 2 most obvious ones are a pair of guys who couldn’t work together eventually, but between them created some of the greatest and much loved music of all time. I speak of course of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Roy as any rock fan knows came to prominence with his band The Move in 1966 which Jeff was to join briefly before the pair of them started the Electric Light Orchestra and then due to musical differences went their separate ways with Roy forming Wizzard and Jeff developing ELO into the monster success it became. When i think of Birmingham its Roy and Jeff that first enter my mind swiftly followed by a man who fronted another huge band from the city. The Moody Blues, with original lead singer (and old friend) of many years Denny Laine. Everybody is familiar with Denny’s lead vocal on ‘Go Now’ (not included here) but when he went solo he made a record that became the inspiration for a 15 year old schoolboy to get in the music business. That 15 year old was me and the record was ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ which is included on this compilation which i am so pleased to see, as the original version has been incredibly hard to find over the years since it was initially released in 1967. It became a bigger hit when Colin Blunstone recorded it a few years later and he did a great job, but Denny’s original is sublime. I could write pages on just Roy, Jeff & Denny but with space limited let’s have a peek disc by disc at some of the great music and artistes to be found. Disc1 contains tracks from the previously mentioned heavy hitter’s such as The Move ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ alongside Jeffy Lynne’s band The Idle Race with the catchy psyche pop ‘Imposters Of Life Magazine’. ‘Life’s Not Life’ from The Moody Blues and Denny’s ‘Say You Don’t Mind’. Other big names abound with The Spencer Davis Group ‘Moonshine’ their spin off band Traffic with one of my all time favourite numbers of theirs ‘No Face, No Name, No Number’. The Rockin Berries follow with the seldom heard ‘Yellow Rainbow’ and Chicken Shack weigh in with ‘When The Train Comes Back’. Notable mentions go to 2 more less familiar bands in the shape of Locomotive with the excellent ‘Mr Armageddon’ and The Uglys with ‘I’ve Seen The Light’. It’s also great to see tracks from The Move’s guitarist Ace Kefford after he left to go solo. Disc2 headliners include The Climax Chicago Blues Band, Medicine Head, Trapeze & Big Bertha who collectively may not have shifted records in the quantities that the main artists on Disc1 did but they all have loyal fans and followers. Scattered throughout the disc are also some previously unissued gems including the delightful ‘Dance In The Smoke’ from Kansas Hook, a band that arose from the ashes of The World of Oz, another favourite band of mine who released the psyche/pop near hit ‘The Muffin Man’, i recently wrote about elsewhere. The World of Oz also feature in their own right on the compilation with ‘Like A Tear’. Other tracks that stand out come from acts Tea And Symphony, The Californians, Bakerloo & Cathedral with the previously unreleased ‘Its A Hard Way’. Disc3 gives us the debut hit from Roy and Jeffs baby, ELO, with what would become the bands signature set closer, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, nestling alongside this is Roy’s undoubted homage to all things Phil Spector/Wall Of Sound with ‘Ball Park Incident’ which is nice to see, rather than the usually compiled ‘See My Baby Jive’.  Roy also features solo with his wistful rendition ‘Dear Elaine’. Slade crop up with a track i confess i’ve never heard before in ‘One Way Hotel’ which catches them in 1970 on the cusp of breaking through. The ever satisfying Steve Gibbons features with ‘Brown Girl’ & another favourite appears with Jim Capaldi and ‘Eve’. Proto metal rockers Judas Priest join the party with ‘Rocka Rolla’ a quite restrained rocker given their usual fare. The compilation climaxes with the aptly titled ‘Bye Bye Birmingham’ a rocker from Blackfoot Sue, best known for their hit ‘Standing In The Road’ but proving here they were a more than competent good time rock band. All told this 3CD set runs to over 4 hours, containing 69 tracks and i have only featured just some of my personal highlights. As ever, this release from the excellent Grapefruit Records, comes housed in a sturdy clamshell box complete with a 48 page booklet with a wealth of information and artwork. I’m sure the good folk from Birmingham and the West Midlands particularly will love this new package and look back lovingly on their local bands, but those local bands grew in many instances to be known all over the world and are right up there with anything Liverpool, Manchester & London produced. I’ll leave you with the record that started it all for me. Here’s Denny. Enjoy.

For more information contact… https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time……stay safe…..Colin

Leigh Mitchell… as always, very interesting…..xx

Alan Esdaile… Look what I found! Colin and Denny Laine.

Remembering Alan Jensen Disc Jockey Record Shop – by Tony May for Hastings Town Magazine

Remembering Alan Jensen (‘Big Al’ And The ‘DJ’).

In the early 1970’s a local businessman-Johnny Hodgson, owned a record shop in the Old Town of Hastings entitled ‘The Disc Jockey’. The shop was doing very well but Hodgson had other business interests (like the promotion of bands on Hastings Pier) and these were beginning to take up more and more of his time. Johnny decided to put an advert in the local paper for someone to help him run the shop. Alan Jensen (at this point working for Courts) applied for and got the job. Hodgson and his wife (who ran a hairdressers shop in the Old Town) were well known locally and Johnny had political ambitions. In 1972 those political ambitions became a reality when Johnny was duly elected as a Hastings Councillor. Seeing his chance, Alan Jensen offered to buy Johnny out of the shop. His offer was accepted and the pair went their separate ways.

A larger than life character and a born showman, Alan soon managed to make a success of ‘The DJ’ (as it became more commonly known) and swiftly set about moving premises to a more central position in Hastings at the bottom of Queens Rd. For a short time, the shop was renamed ‘The Disc Jockey +1’ but Jensen had another way in mind about how to stamp his personality upon the shop… the invention of ‘Big Al’ – a caricature ‘mascot’ of Jensen himself (the medallion around the ‘creatures’ neck featured the words ‘I Like Big Al’).

‘Big Al’ was a massive success and gave the shop a unique (and very memorable) image. ‘Big Al’ appeared in all the shops newspaper advertisements and on all of the shops printed bags. With his beautiful and glamorous wife Sue at his side, Alan swiftly established ‘The DJ’ as the most popular and trendy place to buy your records in Hastings. A chart of the DJ’s best selling singles and albums appeared weekly in The Hastings Observer and regular ‘competitions and give-aways’ ensured that another smiling picture of Alan (along with the latest winner/s) was frequently in print. In short, Alan Jensen was not just a flamboyant and confident character he was a fine businessman.

Then of course there was the shop’s staff. As conclusively proven by his wife Sue, Alan was definitely a man with an eye for the ladies and invariably the shop would have a bevy of beauties behind the counter. While in today’s day and age such a practice might be frowned upon, (like the similar period practice of offering ladies free entry to nightclubs) it certainly ensured that the DJ was frequented by most of the young male record buyers in the town… including me!

It is worth mentioning here also that in the 70’s and 80’s competition to The DJ was fierce and there was at least 8-10 places (not including second hand outlets) in Hastings town centre alone where you could buy records, tapes (and latterly cd’s)..

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SMART coffee meet no.58 – Friday 10th December 2021

Mick O’Dowd… Be there or be extremely square and probably rectangled too! So there!

Merv Kennard… Hope to there with a newbie

Mick O’Dowd… Sometimes I get the impression that people who are following SMART and say they want to come but always find an excuse not to that they don’t actually know what goes on! It is totally INFORMAL. NO stand up speeches/lectures. If anybody is sitting in the corner we make sure someone rescues them and gets them involved. You talk to who you like . Get a drink/coffee from the bar and just mingle. In his reviews afterwards Alan goes through what he has heard people talking about. Even I am surprised at what has been talked about. Just make the effort and leave the rest to us. EVERYBODY is welcome and we don’t have bouncers on the door in case you look dodgy! Give it a try I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! See you there!

Rock Museum – Parkstone Road Hastings 1969 & Pier gig 29th Nov 1969


supplied by Laurie Cooksey

Laurie Cooksey… Rock Museum Autumn 1969, posing alongside someone else’s mini in Parkstone Road, Hastings. Left to right: Tony Carr(lead vocals), Terry Corder(bass guitar/vocals), Dave Gurr(lead guitar/vocals), Laurie Cooksey(drums/vocals). Rock Museum had formed in early 1969 as a 3 piece heavy rock group, Tony Carr joining on lead vocals in the summer of 1969. The group split up at the end of 1969.

Janine Anne Hemsley… This is great.

Andy Qunta… Saw Rock Museum rehearsing in a Church hall in late ’69, shortly after moving to the Hastings area. Very impressed, especially with Laurie Cooksey! Remember thinking it would be great to play with him in a band one day!

Geoff Peckham… You never know, Andy. It may still happen!

Sarah Harvey… These photos are absolute gems

Colin Fox… I have to say that I have never heard of this band, but they certainly look the part. Great photo.

Mick O’Dowd… It’s amazing how many bands are coming out of the woodwork now thanks to Lol. Can’t say I remember these either so it is great to see them and just goes to show how lucky we were/are in Hastings to have such a rich musicak heritage.

Mark Asseenontv Scutchings-Stevens… I remember Dave Gurr in 1976 when he was living in Crawley ! He was riding a Honda CB500T . What’s become of him now ?

Ian McGilvray… Is Laurie still playing? I saw him behind His kit on many occasions in Bexhill.

Alan Esdaile… He’s still playing Ian, with the 6T’s (next gig The Comet 30th Aug 2014) and with a reformed Factory.

Janine Anne Hemsley… Terry Corder too .

Jan Warren… Oh, great to see this photo – I remember these guys and did some of them go on to form “Die Laughing” and “Factory”??!!

Andy Qunta… Laurie was (& is!) in Factory, and he & Terry were in Die Laughing, and are now also part of the 6Ts!

Sheila Maile… Are this band currently called the 6Ts

Richard J Porter… Two of them make up part of the 6Ts!

Terry Corder… Yes we are and still playing regularly. Find us on facebook, just search for thefab6ts

Sheila Maile… You used to play in the angling club not so long ago, shame you don’t any more. What they have there now are not a patch on you, yes I will look on fb.thanks

Terry Corder… We were at the little angling club on pirate day. It was a great day!

Tim Moose Bruce… Dave Gurr lived opposite us in Little Common. About that time he bought a little Gilera motorbike. He then got the nickname “Flying Jesus”!

Rumples – Queens Road Hastings 1981

Dave Nattress… Funny I don’t really remember Rumples – living in Bexhill albeit I was still a very frequent visitor to Hastings for various reasons – band practice and gigs and shopping – well Bexhill didn’t do a lot of any of these things, and weekends usually along George Street in pursuit of the club-life, females and alcohol. But, years before there was a restaurant called “Leadbelly” in Brighton just about opposite the Theatre Royal round from the Dome, which was a American themed hamburger restaurant doing fabulous burgers. First time I ever had coleslaw, Strawberry Cheesecake and Mississipi Mud Pie deserts also. Then another called Rumbleberry (I think) in seaside Road, Eastbourne, same sort of menu but no alcohol license originally. This would be early 1970’s. All these places put a new dimension on burgers and then perhpas started the demise of The Wimpey Bars and then I learned about McD’s and Burger King and Wendy’s. Still eating burgers but the addiction to McD’s is under control – rehab at The Priory has helped!


My 1:12 Scale Miniature Record Shop by Dan Large

© Dan Large

Dan Large… My 1:12 Scale Miniature Record Shop is now finished. A very enjoyable project and took about a year to do.

Mark Rodrigues… Very cool Dan.

Mike Guy… Love It Dan. superb work. Looking forward to your mini nuclear power station & the hotel from The Shining.

Bookham Ally… Send a pic to Danny Baker. He’s on Twitter

Alan Esdaile… Love that you got the Stallion sleeve on display

Tony Davis… That looks awesome!

Carole Prescott… Absolutely amazing. Love it.x

John Mcewen… That’s pretty amazing!!

Elaine Stock… Amazing.

Perri Ann Haste… That is fantastic!

Phil Gill… That’s fabulous Dan. Thank you so much for including our Stallion album in your shop, we’re honoured.

Dan Large… Many thanks Phil and no worries at all… my pleasure. Thank you for all your lovely comments everyone

Paul Cullen… Brilliant, well done

Alan Pepper… That’s impressive. Love the details especially the Seeburg . Wonder what’s A1 on that jukebox ! Just need a box of 45s in the corner.

Dave Nattress… That is a fabulous piece of art. Deserves national coverage!!

Kev Towner… OMG – that is SO cool!!

Andy Ives… Brilliant


Star Wars – Orion Cinema Hastings 1st July and Saturday Night Fever 2nd July 1978


Martin Richter… when this came out in america (a few months earlier), i was youth hostelling in wales with the school. one of the teachers (all long hair and john lennon glasses) was reading Rolling Stone and showed me a full page advert for Star Wars and said – watch out for this – it’s going to be huge! i think he was right!

Paul Crimin… What was Saturday Night Fever ‘X’? An adult version? Interesting…

Colin Bell… There’s two version’s Paul, one sanitized for TV, cinema release contained sex and very strong language

Paul Crimin… I remember seeing it at my local cinema the week it was released, I’m that old, and I don’t remember being shocked in any way. Thanks Colin, I didn’t know that there was a sanitised version.

Colin Bell… wasn’t shocked either, but it being the 70’s i’d already seen Clockwork Orange, Straw Dogs, Soldier Blue etc i think i’d become unshockable!

Paul Crimin… A fine list of films, I saw them all back then. I still can’t listen to ‘I’m Singing in the Rain’ without thinking of ‘Clockwork Orange’.

Nick Prince… the heavily edited A certificate version came out during the autumn of 1978.

Edward Adams… the flea pit

Gerry Fortsch… I remember the dirty raincoats brigade in there when we were teenager watching Chesty Morgan, what a bloody awful film that was?

Colin Bell… Bloody hell i’d forgotten that! I’ve just had a terrible flashback

Gerry Fortsch… It’s those varicose veins in those enormous boobs.

Andy Ives… I saw Star Wars the week of release but I thought it was at Classic Cinema. Maybe it wasn’t

Alan Esdaile… Yes your right Andy, as it came out in 1977.

Fred Marsh… my partner said he went to an allnight viewing of Clint Eastwood films there, well that’s his story anyway

Judith Monk… The Flea Pit…played some horrible art house type films and lots for the dirty mac brigade…

Mick O’Dowd… Star Wars was the last film shown I believe. Anybody confirm?

Nick Prince… Yes it was Mick….

Philip Mansbridge… I saw it at the cinema opposite Debenhams, where WHSmith was, there was a cardboard cutout of Darth Vader in the foyer

Mick O’Dowd… Philip, That’s where The Orion was.