Better Days – John Barleycorn – The Crypt 8th March 1989

Paul Dengate…  Better Days, a folk-rock band from Hastings, East Sussex, UK, was formed in 1982 and split in 1992.
This track, John Barleycorn (a traditional song) is from a set recorded live at The Crypt in Hastings on Wednesday 8th March 1989 when Better Days won the Battle Of The Bands competition, and just a few months before they toured the UK as support to Steeleye Span. The line-up in 1989 was John Burgess (vocals), Garry Blakeley (fiddle), Steve Cooke (fiddle), Paul Dengate (guitar), Andrew Griffin (bass) and Paul Warren (drums).

John Storer… Gosh … Garry Blakely! There’s a name from the past. Was friendly with both him and his older brother, Teddy, as they lived just around the corner from me. Enjoyed this clip and found several others of Garry’s excellent fiddle playing, and a great video of him and his son playing together

Mary Lipscombe… I’m fairly sure they played the beach concert that year as well.

Andy Gunton… This takes me back. Better Days were one of the first local bands I can remember seeing after moving down to Hastings in 1988.
Not a bad introduction to the Hastings music scene I reckon.

Clifford Rose… I saw them support Steeleye Span at the White Rock back in April 89. Better Days played the better set.

Paul Dengate… We played the beach concert a number of times. I’ll see if I can find which years.

Simon… Saw them at the Battle Folk Festival at The Black Dog, Battle. I bought the CD and listening to it right now. Garry B is married to a sister of a great friend of mine but didn’t know he was in the band!

The Black Horse Telham – 2nd folk club reunion 1990

supplied by Paul Dengate

Paul Dengate… Poster from 1990 for the 2nd Black Horse folk club reunion, which became known as the Black Horse Music Festival that ran annually for another 20 years or so. The folk club itself had run for a similar lifespan from the mid-60s. Many of the musicians and/or bands involved in the Saturday event had been regular performers or residents at the folk club.

Nadia Compagnone… I used to live next door to the Black Horse and married Eddie“s brother in law. My dear cousin was Peter Thompsett from Cottage, sadly missed, but many happy memories.

Neil Partrick… Readers might be interested in my profile of folk musician Ian Dobson which has quite a bit about the Black Horse Telham folk club and some of the musicians who played there

Keith Veness… Had some great nights there in the early 70s

Mike Waghorne… Often went there in the mid 70’s

David Betts… For the record the original founders of the Black Horse folk club were not the 2 gents listed in the attached article, the club came from an idea of a guy called Sam Sewell who I (Dave Betts) was at Bexhill Grammar school with, he introduced me to Eddie and myself and Colin Potter started the club in the side room on a Saturday night, this would have been around 1964, around the same time we ran the New Inn club in Sidley, which originally started at the Conservative club in Bexhill .

Better Days – Prom-in-aid gig – Queens Hotel Hastings 1986


supplied by Mick Mepham

Gary Blakely, George Copeland or Andy Griffin?, Joe MacIllvenney, Paul Warren, Paul Dengate and Steve Cooke

Dave Kent….the bass player has been identified as George Copeland. I think it’s actually Andy Griffin who also probably played with Flat Battery & The Jump Leads. Anyone confirm this?

Mick Mepham…..I should think Paul Dengate would be able to say for sure.

Steve Cooke…..Quite right Dave, it is Andy Griffin. I must say that the fiddler on the right appears to have the least dress sense out of all of them.

Yvonne Cleland….I  remember the fiddler on the right from junior school………