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


John Winch & Brian Golbey 1963

Supplied by John Winch

John Winch… from 1963 of me (playing banjo) with Brian Golbey (One of the only Brits to win a Nashville country singer award for best singer) playing fiddle. We guested a few times at the Sidley Folk Club and also at the Nelson Folk Club of that period.

David Betts… Remember it well. The New Inn Sidley was run by me and Colin Potter, we also played the Nelson Hastings, Dolphin Eastbourne and ran the Black Horse Telham.

Mike Curtis… Was the Sidley folk club at the New Inn. Apparently Paul Simon played there? He definitely played the DLWP – I was talking with Shirley Collins who played on the same bill. Shirley said Paul was bottom of the bill………..

Bo’ville poster – early 90’s

supplied by John Winch

John Winch… Bo’ville poster about 91-92. Members – J.Winch, Kenny Comfort, Kevin Watson. The curly haired guitarist was a temporary person called Mark Wright.

David Betts… Hi Johnny, are you still playing? Remember the Sidley new Inn folk club, you and Brian Golbey, those were the days.

Martin Stringer… Crikey Johnny Winch. Hello mate, how are ya.

John Winch… Hi Dave, yes I remember Sidley folk club well – super gig. Made a lot of new friends back then. Martin Stringer, you old hairdresser and song writer you. I remember you turning up to an Andy Bannister’s 4 A.M. gig in Nuremberg without your teeth once – lot of street cred’ that. Good to hear your still around. We all belong to the ‘good ol’ boys’ now – never thought about this back then. Yes, truly good fun days and masses of Hastings music. What happened to Jeff the mandolin player from the ‘Wobbly Hellbellies’ or whatever the band was called? Thay had a radio hit didn’t they once? Remember you all doing a great set in the Jenny Lind but sadly a very thin audience.

Martin Stringer… Hi John. Great to hear from you. Still going strong. I was never a hairdresser old mate. I don’t play anymore. I perform as a Mentalist across Europe not now of course Corona stopped all that. Yes Jeff is still around. The hit was “Two pints of lager and a packet of crisp please”. I mainly live in Ireland, but have other homes around Europe but can’t get to them at the moment. Hope you’re in good shape.

Alan King… what was Mark Wright when he wasn’t being ‘a temporary person’ ? bit like an occasional table

John Winch… Mark Wright ( certainly not a temporary person – sorry about that) was a good friend of mine, a fine maker of teeth, and a very fine guitarist. Mark was also a great friend of Jack Peach the well known jazz drummer who played with different bands in places such as the Palace Bars during the 80s and 90s. I also met and played with Jack on a few occasions and believe he also played with some very famous jazz personalities during his carreer. Jack’s son, a fine bassist, was a member of Ian Dury’s band at some time or other.

John Winch… Hi Martin. Also good to hear you are still here and busy by the sounds of it. Sorry about accusing you of once being a hairdresser – no idea where I got that from. Maybe we’d had a few beers when that was mentioned or, maybe it wasn’t mentioned at all but we’d still had a few beers.