Noah Gillette – Hastings 1950’s

supplied by Colin Tapp

Colin Tapp… I have found a cassette recording of my grandad, Hastings fisherman ‘Noah Gillette’ and thinks this is the recording that the BBC came to Hastings and did a programme called ‘Down Your Way’ in the 1950’s. He was always singing in the pubs in Hastings.

more information on Noah Gillette


Johnnie Winch – folk singer Hastings 1970’s

Barry French… In the early days of SoulXpress John shared the bill with us twice at the George Street Hall. A brilliant guitarist/ vocalists . Len Benton & myself had the privilege of guesting on his set at the Black Horse folk festival (I think 1991)

John Winch… Just found this site – a blast from the past to be sure. I’m seventy eight now, an old geezer but still as mad and still playing the odd few gigs here in Germany. I remember well George Street Hall and the gigs with SoulXpress as if it were yesterday. Also, my own very long and mad stint of Sunday mornings at the Standard. The Nelson Folk Club in the days of Wilf the landlord and Jeff Coates and Bruce Astly hammering away in the Nelson Sunday morning session (I used to play banjo then with them. the banjo kindly lent to me for the session by Ron Harrison who, sometime during the session and after a few pints, used to burst into a great version of ‘Shoals of Herring’. Those were the days when there were still a few herring in Hastings waters.
SoulXpress one of the best of the Hastings groups, which also included Tich Turner and Stallion, Chris Sayer and Co, and many more. Hopefully Barry , Lenny, and the others are still alive and kicking. Unfortunately some have left us, but I shall never cease to be amazed that there were so many good musicians and so much live music in such a small town.

Barry French… Hi John. A couple of weeks ago Len & I were in my back garden sharing a few beers. We were reminiscing about the early days of Soulxpress & the George Street hall gigs were bought up. We were both wondering what had happened to John Winch, & low & behold you’ve appeared out of the blue! Great to hear your well & still entertaining folks with your brilliant playing. I remember you used to come to the Yelton Hotel to see Soulxpress & were always supportive of the band.

John Winch… Well,well. Barry and Len. You didn’t invite me to your garden for a b….y beer did you. Do you remember Chris S always saying, “I’ll just have a half.” He named one of his bands ‘Swift Half’ if I remember rightly. Anyway, about the beer, us old folks still need the sustainance you know. I have two photos still, although not very good, one of me playing the EXpress interval at George street and one doing the same at the Yelton, and Len, always big thanks to you and Mo for all you did for me back then and, a very guilty man that I am, I still have your Little Milton single ‘Grits and Groceries’ and your early 1964 Decca Rolling Stones EP with ‘Confessin’ the Blues’ and ‘Around and Around’ on it. If you go to my web site or, maybe here, you will find my e-mail address. Please send an e-mail with your address and, believe it or not, I’ll be only too happy to return them to you.

Neil Partrick… Self-interestedly Alan, I was wondering if John was aware of the article I wrote about Kelvin Message as it mentions his work with him. Could you forward this link to him as I’ve no idea where he’s based now?…/kelvin-message-life…

Jennifer Addison (Stafford)… So pleased you are still playing. Happy Christmas. Xx

Dave SanSoucie… Hello John.


Johnie Winch: Retracing his Roots by Neil Partrick

John Winch has been playing ‘roots’ music – folk, blues, country, bluegrass, Cajun and skiffle – for six decades. For the last two (as throughout the 1980s) he’s lived and performed in Germany as a blues guitarist and singer. A correspondent to this site affirms that John remains an ‘extremely talented guitar and banjo player and has a fabulous blues voice.’

Please click on this link to read the article