SMART 7 Coffee Meet report

SMART 7 great turn out at the White Rock Hotel last Friday and a massive part of the Hastings music history was on display for all to see. Thanks to Mick Mepham the tables were piled high with various posters from the pier gigs and other venues. He also finally showed us the very rare dustbin lid from ‘Stackridge’. Tony Qunta came over from Maidstone with a cd of ‘Factory’ songs which he hopes to put on the internet in the near future. Some great stories and cuttings of him playing with ‘Head On’, ‘Johnny Mars Band’ and ‘Kabbala’ and more.  Roger Carey arrived with more bags of goodies including cuttings from ‘A Minute Passed’ , ‘Hat Trick’ , ‘Felix’ and others, plus gig tickets and business cards. We have talked about his fashion sense in the passed and interestingly the reason he wore white on stage back in the 70’s was he thought Bill Nelson from ‘Be Bop Deluxe’  looked cool dressed in white. He also had us all laughing with his mimics. Great to see Andy Gunton join us. He does a brilliant job in supporting live music and has various interesting projects coming up. Please check out his website which now has the great slogan ‘from Hastings to the world’. A new couple joined us and were talking about the memories of The Black Horse and ‘The Telham Tinkers’. Jon McCallion has now put the ‘Muller’ record Fooling Around on You Tube. Mick O’Dowd is still looking for photos of ‘The Likes Of Us’ and ‘Morning Dew’ featuring Pete Horton. Chat from Andre Martin included correcting some of the recent comments on The Black Cat & Pam Dor coffee bars. His history and memory on the town is amazing and constatly surprises us with rare cuttings from his collection. He also noticed in Mick Mepham’s archives  a contract for Mick’s band ‘Essence’ who played their first pier gig back in 1974 for £10.00 and the code on the contract proved that I booked them. Lots of pier talk from Anita & Ray Medhurst and Barry Taylor gave us more info on the Sex Pistols gig. Other chat was about Gary Moore, Sparks, Vinegar Joe, Shakatak, Genesis, Arthur Brown recent tv interview, Brian Johnson from AC/DC singing Nutbush City Limits at his audition, Titch Turner playing St Marys in The Castle in December and more.

Mick Mepham….Cracking afternoon Alan, well organized mate.

Andrey Palfrey-martin….The amount of information and evidence that keeps coming out is really excellent.

Mick O’Dowd….Just want to say how much I enjoyed the friday meet at the White Rock Hotel yesterday. This was the best ever in my opinion. Old faces, new faces. Great stuff! I think we all ought to thank Alan for doing such a brilliant job organising these dos and the web and Facebook pages. Well done Alan!

Tony Qunta….Great afternoon! See you all at the next one!

Pete Prescott….gutted i couldnt make it.stuck working ! willl get to the next one.

Yvonne Cleland….Same as that!

SMART review by Andy Gunton Pierless Music


Posted on November 12th, 2013 by andy gunton pierless music

We all know that Hastings has a great music scene these days. But that’s nothing new and now there’s a great Facebook group for all those who remember the local music and bands from the heady days of the 1970’s and beyond.

It’s called SMART, which is an acronym for ‘Seventies Music and Retro Talk’.

You can find it here:

SMART was set up by local music lover Alan Esdaile and as he told me the group was originally started “to post a few of my cuttings and photos of friends in local bands from the 1970′s. But as more people got involved, I realised it needed to be from the 1960′s through to the 1980′s, all with a connection to Hastings” . SMART has since expanded beyond being just a Facebook group covering those decades though.

Alan now arranges regular meet ups of all interested parties. He said “I’ve now set up a coffee and chat group where we can all get together and chat about music, bands, pier talk etc. It’s great that a few musicians are talking about reforming bands and didn’t realise that other people were still as passionate about their music as they are/were.” If you’re interested in going along and sharing your own memories, the next meet up is on Friday 22nd November in the bar at the White Rock Hotel from 3.30pm.

Alan’s main aim for the group is “Keeping memories alive”, but he needs your help to do that. So, if you have any old photos, flyers, gig tickets or press cuttings etc why not let him know? As he told me “So many brilliant musicians and different bands locally come and go. But it’s quite sad that photos are kept in a draw or turning yellow in a box in the loft when other people can get so much more enjoyment out of them.”

Let’s not forget, this was a time before the Internet, social media and digital cameras. An age when nobody had a mobile phone in their pocket with which to record and share their personal gig going experience.You just might have a piece of local music history laying around forgotten somewhere in your house. So why not have a search and see what you may be able to dig up?

SMART also has a family history angle too as Alan told me that he’s had a number of young people contacting him, asking if he has any pictures of their dads, uncles or other family members. This goes to prove that history isn’t just for the older generation, it is important to everyone and the more of it that is preserved, the better.

The musical history of the Hastings area during the 1960′s/70′s/80′s and 90′s is a particularly rich one. So, it’s good to see somebody like Alan Esdaile trying to help preserve a unique part of our local heritage.

Why not give him a hand?


Alan Esdaile….A big thank you to Andy Gunton. Don’t forget to check out website where he’s got some great interviews and videos of local bands and more and has added a new slogan ‘From Hastings to the world’.

Shirley Collins & The Albion Band

Will Cornell from USA writes

Hey I was looking over that site you contribute to, and did a search for Shirley Collins but there doesn’t appear to be anything there.  Maybe she’s not considered ‘rock’ enough, but she WAS from Hastings apparently and her legacy is  simply HUGE.   I really didn’t know much about her until a few years ago when I got a “Folk Box” on Topic from overseas–it’s a box set of the best Brit/Celt Folk from about the 50s until the late 90s.  She had a few cuts with Davey Johnston (sp?) and Ashley Hutchings  (who she was married to for a while) and I thought her voice sounded a bit “off”.   But then I got some Ashley comps and the more I listened the more I was fascinated.
Then I found out about “Anthems in Eden” and her using David Munrow’s Early Music Consort, and I had to have it since I’ve been collecting whatever I can from his short career.   30 seconds into listening to this CD (it’s part of “The Harvest Years” 2 CD set, and budget priced) I realized this was going to be something special.   And apparently it was.   This was one of those albums like the first Velvet Underground LP where it may have only sold X many copies but everyone who bought it went out and formed a band.   In Fairport Conventions case, it was one of the main influences  that pushed them into creating “Liege and Lief”–their 4th album that really put Brit folk and early music influenced rock and roll, on the map for the first time.  (“Anthems” is extra cool for me personally since it contains absolutely NO guitar at all.  May be the only “ most influential-to-rock-n-roll “ album to make that distinction.)
I was even more surprised to find Shirley was a girlfriend of Alan Lomax when he lived in “exile” in the UK during his suspected “Commie” phase.   When he was allowed back over here without hassle from the FBI, she accompanied him on his recording trips for the Atlantic series of LPs called “Sounds of The South”–which among a great many other things, discovered such artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell.  These albums also were hugely influential.  You can kind of sense what he did in the opening scenes of that movie “Cadillac Records” where the guy playing Lomax records Muddy Waters outside Muddy’s shack down in Mississippi from the trunk of a car.   I don’t think anyone played Shirley in that scene, but then she was part of a trip Lomax took around 10 years after Lomax and his father discovered Muddy.
She may never win any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognition (nor will Jackie DeShannon, another rant of mine, so Shirley’s in good company) but as Hastings Sussex musical notables go, I would venture to bet Shirley’s got a huge history to rival no one else.


Will Cornell….Love the hurdy gurdy in the midsection of this tune. One of the cuts that finally pushed me into buying one myself…..

Will Cornell on Fairport Convention….Fairport were performing in the early 70s  at some college campus here in the USA….doing their big beat version of some 16thCentury tune like “Matty Groves” ….some a-hole in the crowd  kept yelling “Boogie” and “Play some rock n Roll!” and Richard Thompson stopped everything and walked up to the mic and said:  “This IS Rock N Roll….British Rock N Roll!”

Will Cornell…the new Blowzabella CD “Strange News” contains not one but two cuts that update songs contained on Shirley Collins’ “Anthems In Eden”, so her influence (esp that LP) continues uninterrupted!