The Prisonaires – Searching for The Old Folk Rebels – Review of Electric Palace Hastings gig 1st July 2018 by Neil Partrick

Photo: Neil Partrick

Alan (left) with Bobby Valentino (fiddle), Les Morgan (drums) and Tony Reeves (right,bass)

The Prisonaires Live at the Electric Palace Hastings

“Is this a supergroup?” asked a friend of mine as we took our places last night in the third row of this tiny, historic, yet barely half-full Hastings cinema. If about 250 years of combined experience playing with some of the most important western musicians of the 20th Century fits the bill, then The Prisonaires are definitely a supergroup. While not household names, any blues, jazz-rock, folk, or rock enthusiast will understand that these gentlemen were pivotal to some of the most ground-breaking music of the 1960s and ’70s. Yet there were plenty of empty seats in a venue that only has 48 of them.

Acoustic guitarist and leader of the band, Alan King commented wryly that scheduling a gig during an international football tournament is always a disaster. But can it be that south-coast music buffs preferred staying at home to watch telly in the hope that Argentina would defeat the French, than attending a gig of this quality? When The Prisonaires finished their set a member of the audience stood up and shouted that it was the finest gig he’d seen in Hastings in years. It was one of the finest gigs I’ve seen anywhere in years.

Musical impresario, Alan King was a doyen of the famed 12 Bar Club, the ‘60s Soho music venue that gives the name to Dr King’s ‘12 Bar Music’, the platform for this and for some forthcoming Electric Palace gigs. King told me outside the Gents – the Electric Palace is so small that the toilets are never far away – that he is lucky enough to have played with his favourite guitarists, Davy Graham and Bert Jansch, and his favourite singer, Miller Anderson For many years King also played with his favourite songwriter, Alan Hull (of Lindisfarne).

The aura of Graham and Jansch hung over proceedings as King opened the set riffing on the rite of passage folk guitar tune, ‘Anji’. What the advance publicity promised would be a hybrid of The Pentangle and Can, “with a touch of Miles Davis’” jazz-rock-funk fusion, was underway. ‘Anji’ went from sounding like The Pentangle were performing it, to something with a lot more attitude. Almost like Fairport Convention’s ‘A Sailor’s Life’, but lifted beyond even that wonderfully free-flowing, folk-jazz hybrid  However I couldn’t detect the influence of Can on this or on any of the other tunes The Prisonaires performed last night. It was undoubtedly an eclectic set though, and The Prisonaires have certainly embraced Can’s determination to kick against the musical pricks.

To read more of this review please click the following link…


David Reinhardt & Bobby Valentino memories

David Kent….David looked a bit like Klaus Kinski with Johnny Winter hair. I jammed with him once, it was a weird evening.I think a friend of mine gave him a old donkey jacket to smarten him up a bit.

Alan Esdaile…..I remember Dave Reinhardt very well. He walked into Martin Casson Agency looking like a tramp, had a funny little constant chuckle, with a violin case under his arm. He said he was looking for gigs and opened his violin case and played. We were blown away, really good player. Paul Casson tried to manage him but he was such a free spirit, that you could not rely on him to turn up for gigs. You described him perfectly Klaus Kinski with Johnny Winter just about sums his looks.

Yvonne Cleland…..I remember Dave Reinhardt very well. He was D’jango’s nephew or something

Andy Qunta….Thanks for the reminder about Dave Reinhardt! What a character!

Chris Meachen…..David Reinhardt used to play in a duo with another chap, who turned up on top of the pops some years later as a member of (I think) the Poodles…

Phil Gill…..Think you mean Bobby Valentino, fiddler and Clark Gable lookalike from the Fabulous Poodles and the Electric Bluebirds. Top bloke, used to go busking with him sometimes. He worked in the Fiesta briefly in 1973.

Here’s a photo of Bobby Valentino….



Bobby Valentino….Thanks for the name check but I never did a gig with Dave Reinhardt, he was too indisciplined to do duets. Cheers b.v.