SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell reviewing Sumer Is Icumen In: The Pagan Sound of British & Irish Folk 1966-1975 – Various Artists, 3CD

SUMER IS ICUMEN IN: THE PAGAN SOUND OF BRITISH & IRISH FOLK 1966-1975 Various  (3CD Set)

The latest excellent Grapefruit Records lovingly curated set is a long awaited follow up to their 2015 offering ‘Dust On The Nettles’, which was very warmly received and praised at the time. I have to say that although i enjoy a lot of the music contained here, it is not my area of expertise and i wouldn’t pretend to be knowledgeable about the genre, and therefore for once i will quote heavily from the better informed and of course offer my own opinion. All that said i think the title is self explanatory and you know what you’re in for. A voyage through an era in music history when traditional folk collided with the counter culture sounds of the late 60’s and early 70’s. The ‘Pagan’ aspect came about through a remark from legendary Folk stalwart Martin Carthy of Steeleye Span who said back then ‘the whole scene had a strong pagan feel, dark and elemental’. He was referring to other bands like Comus, Dr Strangely Strange and The Third Ear Band, the last band would perform with the ancient order of Druids, typically at dawn solstice ceremonies at places like Glastonbury Tor. Third Ear Band kick off Disc1 of the set with ‘Lark Rise’ a number i am familiar with however it’s the next track that conjures up a mixture of emotions in me and as soon as i hear it i am transported back to a cinema in 1973 and the terrifying image of The Wicker Man. ‘Corn Riggs’ by Magnet is one of the haunting songs from the film that has always stayed with me. Magnet weren’t actually a ‘real’ band like the others on this compilation they were a bunch of musicians assembled to provide the soundtrack to the film, however they capture the spirit of the ‘Pagan’ sound and vibe perfectly and anybody that’s seen the film that i have spoken to always refers to the music with a sort of hushed reverence. Moving on, other standout tracks on Disc1 number amongst them Traffic with ‘John Barleycorn’ Vulcan’s Hammer ‘The Keys Of Canterbury’, Kevin Coyne ‘White Horse’ & the unknown to me previously Amber with ‘ Swan In The Evening’. Disc2 starts with a ‘classic’ of the genre Fairport Conventions ‘Tam Lim’ a cornerstone of their live performances i have heard many times over the years. Bridget St John who i must confess i had forgotten about over the years joins the party with ‘Lizard Long Tongue Boy’, and again i am also familiar with Comus offering ‘The Bite’.  Dr Strangely Strange, a band much championed by John Peel give us ‘Strings In The Earth & Air’ and an old friend of mines favourite band  Principal Edward’s Magic Theatre weigh in with ‘Autumn Lady Dancing Song’. These are just a few of the highlights. Disc3  is probably the most accessible to those of you yet to be exposed to this genre with the more established Pentangle ‘Cruel Sister’, The Incredible String Band ‘Witches Hat’, Curver Air ‘Elfin Boy’ Mellow Candle ‘The Poet & The Witch’. Mellow Candle were a fabled Irish band who released one album on Deram ‘Swaddling Songs’ from which this track is taken. If you can find an original vinyl copy of that you could probably swop it for a Porche……..The disc concludes with a track from Mr Fox ‘Mendle’ a husband & wife team who along with another husband & wife duo Dave & Toni Arthur were devotees of self styled ‘King Of The Witches’ Alex Sanders, who many local people may know lived here in Hastings back in the day. A man who i once had a rather big falling out with when i rightly called him a charlatan in a local pub…(a whole other story). So in conclusion if you are into folklore, May Day, The Green Man legend, fairies, corn gods and magickal tales this 3CD set with 60 tracks (over 4 hours) and as ever a highly informative 40 page booklet is definitely for you. As i said at the start this may not be my area of expertise or knowledge but it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience getting acquainted with. Enjoy.

For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk

Til next time…….stay safe……..Colin

 

 

 

Middle Of The Road – Aquarius Club – Hastings 1971. Colin Bell looking for photos.

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all cuttings  Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

Mick O’Dowd….Yeah I saw them there as well. Good live band in their time. Also saw Ben E King, The Elgins, Percy Sledge (complete with padded trousers!) and Gene Chandler. Oh wot joyload!

Read moreMiddle Of The Road – Aquarius Club – Hastings 1971. Colin Bell looking for photos.

Ex-Lax. Who remembers having to take this as a kid?

Alan Esdaile… I can remember my parents telling me it tastes like chocolate. You like chocolate. Argh! horrible, I spat it on the floor!

Dennis Torrance… That made me laugh it tasted terrible what was we eating then . I also remember liquid paraffin a horrible clear substance

Mike Waghorne… Should have eaten your veg as your mother told you too !

Gerry Powell… Milk of Magnesia was thrown down my throat if I refused to take that stuff. I still cannot eat dark chocolate as it reminds me of Ex-Lax

Michael Coller… Found that in the cupboard as a child, thought it was normal chocolate, ate it all, not a good result for my parents at the end

Gerry Fortsch… I remember my mate at work dishing it out to the lads and then they strangely disappearing for some time later.

Stuart Moir…I could always shit for England, no problem shoving smelly ones out

Annie Richards Cottis… Ah, but if things went the other way you’d get Kaolin & Morphine

Alan King… Bung me up Scott

Nigel Chorley… Economy family size????? Oh well we were all in the sxxt together. Share and Share alike

Vivienne Gibbs… We were always given syrup of figs – same effect and better taste

Ray Harper… Possibly a little to much information Stu.

Nicola Barfield… We were only talking about this yesterday

Gary Benton… Chocolated? Is that even a word?

Nick Prince… I remember Ex-Lax but I dont think I took it. I recall a slimming chocolate called AIDS in the 1970’s, clearly with a name like that it didn’t survive into the 80’s for long. For a while it was spelt AYDS but that change was too little too late.

Steve Thorpe… For that get up and go feeling….

Jason Stainer… That’s old school exlax. They’ve replaced the phenolphthalein with senna now because it turned out to cause cancer.

Inside Saturdays Nightclub George Street Hastings 2019

supplied by Maureen Fuller Hastings Old Town Traders Facebook page.

Jill Lawrence… I remember it as Aquarius !

Jim Breeds… I remember it as both

Eugene Hughes… Me too. I can remember carrying Steve Maxted’s speakers up those stairs. Would need a conveyer belt today.

Martin Richter… I was assistant manager there in the 80’s – among other places !

Paul Bryant…

Martin Richter… Paul, name and shame

Sandra Bryant… I was there when it was the Aquarius

Alan Esdaile… Remember it well. Does anyone know what it is going to be now?

Maureen Fuller… spoke to builders today they are only repairing front of building as dangerous cliff is pushing front of building out not doing anything inside

Alan Esdaile… Thanks Maureen, its been empty now for ages and surprised no one has done anything with it.

Carol Arnold… saw Hot chocolate up there !

Leigh Wieland-Boys… me too! Worked up Aquarius as glass collector & Saturdays as cocktail waitress! Happy days

Tony Court-holmes… reopen? I was thrown down the stairs by a bouncer

John Beeching… I don’t remember it at all, but then there is lot about the seventies I don’t remember

Jacqueline Marsh… Is that the old roller skating rink I remember going there as a ten year old and learning to roller skate and dance on skates, my big achievement was skating backwards. Not sure if this was the same place? anyone remember the skating rink upstairs?

Maureen Fuller… Yes it was I used to go every Sat morning

John Busbridge… I remember it quite well, went there on my stag night in the snow! Half of my mates didn’t make it due to the snow! That would have been in February 1983.

Read moreInside Saturdays Nightclub George Street Hastings 2019

Harry Worth – who remembers doing this?

Alan Esdaile… Used to be a shop in Robertson Street about where Walkers is now. I think it was a shop that sold televisions and we all copied this.

Dennis Torrance… So remember this grew up with Harry Worth on BBC think most at this time tried this

Philip Wood… …..I don’t know why, but there it is.”

Matt Thomas… Used to be able to do this at the bus stops in Queens Rd

Virginia Davis… Remember it well !

Tony Davis… There was also a suit shop, John Colliers I think by the bus stops that used to be in Wellington Place. It was opposite the very old wood and marble decorated Sainsburys

Mark Randall… Did Mr Worth do anything else apart from this ( that people remember)

Dennis Torrance… Made me laugh at most things he did not like some of the modern comedians

Philip Wood… His sitcom was funny and he did Panto.

Jim Breeds… Gosh yes, I think I remember doing that at the shop in Robertson Street!

Diane Knight… me too !!!

Jo Turner… Yep

Flanko Fin Barr… my mum loved him bless her heart

Keith Cowper… I did it!!

Jake Nelson… Me & my mate ‘did the Harry Worth’ every time we passed a certain newsagent’s window!

Alan Pepper… Yes waiting for the bus in Queens Road by John Colliers we all did it early 70’s !
Did find him a bit annoying though to be honest !!

Lesley Brown… Some of us still do!!!

Karen Towner… Remember it well- my dad always had a go.

Michael Wilson… The window of the Sewing shop in London Road Bexhill with my brothers and sisters every Sunday morning in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

Kevin Williams… Still do it!!!

Jim Breeds… Part of Walkers is at No. 47. It’s the one on streetview with curved windows. In 1960s and 1970s directories, that was occupied by Rediffusion. I wouldn’t have thought, though, that the curved windows allow for a Harry Worth moment. And my recollection of doing similar is that it was on the other side of the street.

Eugene Hughes… I used to do that in a shop in Robertson Street too

Joe Knight… Good old Harry bless great comic act

Ernest Ballard… Still do it lol

Monica Bane… Ah! How I remember him doing this trick!

Madeline Scalliwags Reade…. I was

Eric Harmer… That was filmed in Hastings I was told

Matt Thomas… Queens Rd shops behind the bus stops

Lucy Pappas… I loved Harry Worth x

Robert Fisher… I remember Harry Worth ,he used to live in Strawberry Hill Twickenham

 

Sham 69 and The Cimarons – Hastings Pier 25th November 1978

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sham-69

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Jon Nurse….Remember that night

Peter Fairless… ‘The one where Jimmy bought me a coke…’, anyone else remember this one?

Neil William Michael McGuigan… was there, it was a riot, literally

Peter Fairless… Nah, just a bit of good natured fun! Compared to some other Sham gigs around that time, it was very mild.

Tony Ham… I saw Sham 69 a few weeks ago with Angelic Upstarts, still great live.

Anyone remember the band called ‘The Lou’s’ on CBS Records?

autographed poster from Hastings Pier gig supplied by Peter Houghton

Pete saw them on Hastings Pier but can’t remember who they supported or any other information. Anyone help?

Tony Ham… As they were on CBS, The Clash possibly? Can’t find any mention of them anywhere.

Peter Houghton…  I have found them they supported Richard Hell and the Clash they was an French Punk Band members Pamels Pola Sacha Dejones Raphaele and Tolim Toto

Mark… they supported Richard Hell and The Clash in Bristol about 1978-9

Pete Fairless… They supported the Clash.

Simon Lokes… Yes i saw them at Hastings pier pavilion Nov 1977, 3rd on the bill behind The Clash and Richard Hell, also remember seeing Billy Idol hanging around after the gig.

Petrel41… See their bio at https://www.last.fm/music/Lou%27s

 

Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come 24th Nov & Budgie 6th Dec 1972 – Hastings Pier

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poster & tickets supplied by Mick Mepham 

John Storer…..Was at both these gigs – remember a ship floating across the stage at some point during the Arthur Brown gig – only a small one, mind! May have been where Spinal Tap got the idea for their pyramids 🙂

Phil Gill….Arthur Brown was awesome. He sat there behind that Bentley Ace analogue drum machine and scared the shit out of me right from the first song, “Time Captives”. I loved it.

Philip Thornton….agreed ! – the heart beat at the start went on for ages and then started speeding up !! class ! Mr Brown is a top class guy ! – and yes he has still got it big time ! – check out his performance on ‘Pollen’ by Mandragora if you get the chance !!

Mick Mepham….Ace track! He still has the voice too ……. and to start with, he was a soul singer ……

Philip Meston….Love the album ‘Journey’ from Kingdom Come, it’s an absolute classic!

Mick O’Dowd….First saw Arthur at Pilot Field Hastings in 67 with Kinks, Dave Dee, Geno Washington etc. Must have been a couple of weeks before he caught Fire!

Eric Cawthraw… I was with my old mate John Storer for both the Arthur Brown and Budgie gigs – so fond memories. The thing about the ship floating along the back of the stage – it was quite bizarre and theatrically it looked very Edwardian. There were long boards going right across, painted and shaped like waves and these were pulled back and forth to give a moving ocean effect. The ship was placed among them and rocking to and fro! We were definitely in a non computer age for graphic scenery!

Chris Meachen… Had to prevent the bouncers chucking Arthur off the pier.. He might have ‘over medicated’ & was looning about in the amusement arcade being strange….

Robert Searle… aw Arthur at the Saville Theatre supporting Jimi Hendrix with Carl Palmer on drums

Tony Court-holmes… saw Budgie a couple of times