All Things Bright – Witch Doctor St Leonards 29th January 1966

Tony Court-holmes… we won the world cup that year never do it again well not in my life time

Mick O’Dowd… Amboy Dukes were more well known and were a nice little band.

Dave Nattress… Noticed the bottom said “The Birds are Coming” – would this be “The Birds” a band several years pre-Faces that featured Ronnie Wood? This is topical for me right now as I’ve finally got round to reading “Had me a real good time” – The Faces biography by Andy Neill and it seems like The Birds were a very hard gigging band. As yet the Witch Doctor hasn’t been named and maybe anyway, I’m on a bum steer here!! I’m only on page 95 of 500 odd. Also, there was an “Amboy Dukes”, from the USA – the name I recall well and I’ve looked them up and they featured Ted Nugent and are described as acid rock and psychedelic rock, would this be the same Amboy Dukes who played the Witch Doctor supporting “All Things Bright”?

Mick O’Dowd… Did the Birds not compete in Ready Steady Win! along with The Bo Street Runners?

Pete Fisher… Bo Street Runners rang a bell with me…and I remembered that they were one of the bands Mike Patto sang for before Timebox, Patto and Boxer…Mick Fleetwood also played drums for them…winning Ready Steady Win! in 1964 got them a contract with Decca..

The Birds – Valentines Day – Witch Doctor 1966

img659

supplied by Robert Wren

Alan Esdaile… Anyone tell us anymore about The Birds? The American band was spelt ‘The Byrds’ but I think it could be this version…..

John Storer….The bassist in this clip is Kim Gardner who was the “Gardner” in Ashton Gardner & Dyke who had a hit around 1970 with “The Resurrection Shuffle” Groovy clip, by the way ….

Robert Wren….Ronnie Wood.

Andre Martin…..This is the British BIRDS and this is 1966, there was some confusion at the time about the 2 groups.They came from West London, and Ronnie Wood was in the original line up – here is potted history – The Birds were a popular rhythm and blues band in the United Kingdom during the mid-1960s, although they recorded fewer than a dozen songs and released only four singles. Starting out with a hard R&B sound, they later began infusing it with Motown-style vocal harmonies he best known former member of The Birds is Ronnie Wood, who went on to join the Jeff Beck Group, Faces and later The Rolling Stones.

Will Cornell…..Your Birds (w. Ron Wood) predated our Byrds by a little I think, and that’s why McGuinn used a “y”–that and he didn’t want UK audiences to think they were chicks.

Eric Cawthraw… just catching up on some of my SMART site reading and noticed the Witch Doctor posting for this. Well at the moment I’m reading ‘Rock On Wood’,  about Ronnie Wood obviously. A damn good read it is too. There is a lot in the book about the British 60s R&B band the Birds – I see they are also on the same add. This explains the item on the bottom left of the book’s inner sleeve cover that says “Don’t blame me, I was at The Witch Doctor”. See for yourself! I believe there was a right old whoo-ha over the name when the American Byrds came to tour. I believe our Birds were highly respected on London circuit in the mid-sixties. I’m too young to know! [Delusional again]. Anybody got some more music reading to recommend?

Ronnie Wood001 Birds Witch Doctor001

supplied by Eric Cawthraw

 

Witch Doctor – what the stars say but NO Moody Blues! July 1966

witch-doctor chessmen

913931_10201902688666886_291041510_o 312356_4631032771856_1040629612_n

Andre Palfrey-Martin Collection

Andre Martin…..The Witch Doctor advertisement you have posted for July 1966 – which gives the Moody Blues as appearing -did not take place- having checked through the newspapers, see attached. All that I can think happened, was that this had been the original plan to get the Moodys back again, but as the 1966-1066 Programme book must have been planned and printed well in advance, something changed – perhaps the Moody Blue were on tour out of the country, who knows – in the end it was the Birds who topped the bill on that 3rd Birthday Party Night.

Mick Knights….the most likely reason for cancelation was a bands sudden increase in popularity (single climbing the charts) and the booking fee increasing by the same ratio. Seem to remember the same effect in reverse, when not enough tickets were sold to cover the bands fee.

Andre Martin….Mick -That’s what I thought, so I checked with their website and it would seem that Summer 66 was a ” troubled” time, with band members changing, so it would have been a logical move by management to pull dates. I don’t think we will ever know for sure.

The Happy Ballroom & more mid February 1966 by Andre Martin

12694977_10207166591261161_4808495849199024534_o 12688304_10207166589981129_4960190379955993507_n

Andre Palfrey-martin collection

The weeks move on and it’s now mid February 1966, and for many it’s that time of the year to look toward to Valentines Night! In the build up to that event, one would have expected something from the Pier Ballroom, or at least the Pier – but nothing, perhaps they have something up their sleeve, and it’s going to make a sudden appearance a little later – we will have to see. [Just for once I would love to be able to start off the weekly column with some GOOD NEWS from 50 years ago, about this iconic building in the town].  In the line up to the weekend, Friday starts as ever with that most popular television programme for the teenagers – Ready Steady Go, and this Friday [11 February 1966] this line up includes The Animals “Inside Looking Out” & “Mandie”: Len Barry “ Like a Baby” : the Breakaway : The Action & James Brown as a special guest from America, even Cathy & Keith did not really get into any sort of Valentines mood.
The Witch Doctor, starts a busy weekend, with this Saturday night Thee Washington DCs featuring Johnny Cannon, ably supported by The Defenders, all the usual services, DJ and Records with Johnny Mann, bar open to 11.00pm and for the princely sum of 6/- [30 pieces of the new decimal currency] On Sunday afternoon, it would have been Afternoon Spin all for 1/6d and that would allowed you to tuned in at home and have a quick Sunday Lunch with 2 Way family Favourites on the Light Programme and get down to the Club in the afternoon. On Monday it was Valentines Night and here the Witch Doctor had something special – The [British] BIRDS not to be mistakes for the [US} Byrds. Based in west London they had developed a musical description that was a Motown-style group. A founder member of this group and still with them in February 1966 was Ronnie Wood. The advertising tag for this evening the local press was “ fly in and see – the Birds” 7.30pm-11.00pm and all for 5/6d. The remainder of the week was as usual Tuesday Big Record Session – possibly with Trevor Ollive and “You Know Who “ on Thursday, the “Muscles Maxted Show” from Maidstone. A whole evening of confusion & mayhem for “half –a-dollar” or since Monday twelve and a half new pence.
I said that the whole of the Marine Court was busy that night, in the Dolphin Ballroom; the Hastings College Students had a St Valentines Night Dance with The Gordon Rider Orchestra and cabaret The Trendsetters. It was unusual for a college night, late bar till 1.00am, 7/6d on the night and 6/- in advance. And if I recall the next day we started our lessons as usual at 9.00am – Tuesday period 1 for me, I think was Economic History A2 with Mr Charlie Welstead.  That weekend on the BBC was again not really altered to tie in with Valentines – Saturday on the Light Programme would have meant, “Saturday Club” with Brian Matthew, this week’s guests Gerry & The Pacemakers, the Four Pennies, Lulu, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds and Unit 4 plus 2. Lunchtime would have given us the Jack Jacksons “Record Roundabout” Later in the day you have had “Saturday Band Stand” with Crossley’s Carpet Works Band from Lancashire, at 4.30pm “Open House” with Desmond Carrington in control of the decks. In the early evening it was “Jazz Beat” with John Mayell & his Blues Breakers and Dickie Pride and The Sideswingers. The rest of the evening had a strong leaning to “The Old Time Days” in one form or another.
Sunday on the Light would have given the listeners the opportunity to hear – 10.30 “Easy Beat” with Keith Fordyce and The Johnny Howard Band plus records, “Two Way Family Favorites” was just that, and London Cologne linkup between UK and BAOR families and Friends.[If my experiences of the forces is anything to go on, they would most certainly celebrated Valentines Night – and perhaps the whole week] In that afternoon, the usual schedule would have included Al Read, Jimmy Clitheroe, Joe Brown & The Bruveers. 4.00pm Fluf would have been along with “Pick of the Pops”, and after this Peter Haigh with “Movie Go Round”, and this week the films would have included “The Spy that Came in from the cold” Richard Burton, Claire Bloom & Oskar Werner and “10 Little Niggers” Hugh Obrien and Shirley Eaton.
BBC TV on Saturday, Grandstand with the international Rugby England v Ireland, Dr Who, Juke Box Jury, and with this week’s guests Pete Murray, Lulu, Eddy Arnold and Peter Potter with Chairman David Jacobs. To continue, – Dixon of Dock Green and then – The Saturday Western – “The Last of The Mohicans” – Randolph Scott. At 8.00pm it was the Cathy Kirby Show with Nina & Frederik and Dave Allen. On Sunday some of the high lights would have been 12.30 The Universal Force –The Puzzle of Inertia – a pre Open University Lecture on science matters. At 1.30pm we had the Percy Thrower Gardening Programme. When you look back at these schedules from the time, and lot were geared towards education or improvement rather than entertainment. Later that afternoon Pinky & Perky. The Sunday evening film was Tyrone Power – Mississippi Gambler. This would have been followed with News and Dr Finley Casebook, and discussion style programmes till closedown. How things have changed in 50 years – now from about early January you get bombard with Valentines related advertising etc so when the 14th February arrives, all you can really say is – Thank goodness for that. It just leaves me to say, keep watch the Pier NOW in 2016, things are happening and May will soon be with us. Until next week, when we look back 50 years ago, keep warm, the forecasts give low temperatures. And take care of yourselves.    Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2016