Saturday, 27 February 2010

'66 Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan, the Marquee club

The Lovin Spoonful arrive in London, 'Do You Believe in Magic' is a great single, written by John Sebastian, it's so enthusiastic and good time, as are they, we see them at the Marquee, they have lots of fun on stage and have a big laugh with the audience and play a really good set.

May Day, the NME Poll Winners concert, The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Rolling Stones, Who. I turn up at Wembley without a ticket, having already decided I wouldn't bother going in unless I got a good seat. I was about to leave when a guy came up to me and said, 'Here do you want this?'  It was one of a pair given to him because he was a press photographer, great seat in the 4th row for free. Result! Even enjoyed the Beatles. Can't say it stretched to Cliff though.

Later I saw Keith, we had an odd conversation about James Brown and his over the top stage act, with the never ending cape routine and how extremely sweaty he got. 'Out of Sight' was a big favourite of ours. His band was so tight, he really worked them hard.

Bob Dylan is playing the Albert Hall and Pamela and I have tickets in row E, well done us, we did some serious early morning queueing. The first half Bob does alone with guitar and harmonica and very nice it was too. He comes back for the second half with an electric band, The Hawks (essentially The Band without Levon Helm), we loved it, others seemingly didn't. Much shouting and booing from diehard folkies, the Beatles were in the audience to see this farrago.  I wonder what they thought. I love this photo of Dylan who at a press conference in Paris insisted upon answering through the ventriloquist's doll and drove them all crazy.

Met Roy C at RSGL, he was here to promote his single 'Shotgun Wedding', a kind of novelty soul record with gun shot sound effects and begins with the Wedding March, not sounding good is it?  But it really does work and he was knocked out with the reaction of the British fans.

London Airport to see the Stones off to America, Brian looked particularly good, a stripy jacket and pink sunglasses. I was getting tired of this, I loved seeing them and talking to them, but it was becoming pointless and less fun than it should be, so many loud in your face fans. You always knew when they arrived they may as well have had a fanfare, their signature yelling and shouting was a sign for us and the Stones to disappear, but they always found us and eventually it became a total nightmare. I would still continue to see them play, but hanging out was coming to an end.

My last airport visit, the Stones were returning from the States in August '66.  I chatted to Charlie, I was sad, I knew I couldn't do it anymore, but what could take it's place.

As it happens London's exploding music scene was more than enough to occupy me, I more or less lived at the Marquee, along with occasional visits to the 100 club, Klooks Kleek, The Country Club. John C Gee ran the Marquee with a rod of iron, I don't remember ever having trouble in there, I don't think anyone would dare.

Top class acts were appearing regularly at these tiny venues, Cream, Jeff Beck, Peter Green with John Mayall and then Fleetwood Mac, Spencer Davis Group and sometimes American Blues acts. Later of course came Jimi Hendrix, Captain Beefheart, Mothers of Invention, Dr. John .

One Saturday afternoon I went to the Marquee, Radio London were putting on a show, someone called David Jones and his band came on, I thought he was rubbish, bit of a poseur with not much of a voice. May as well admit it David Bowie never did it for me, not that it hurt his career any.

I was heading home up Wardour Street when I bumped into Pamela and some friends who were talking to some German guys, we chatted for a while, then I left. As soon as I got home the phone was ringing, one of the Germans, JoMa was very keen that I should return, after a lot of persuasion I headed back into town, we all spent the evening in Hyde Park until the keepers chucked us out.

Bluesology were supporting The Move at the Marquee, a band put together by Long John Baldry -  Elton Dean, Reg Dwight and Caleb Quaye, some well known musicians here, Reg was already famous for those cover versions of hits that Woolworth's sold, although not quite as famous as he would become.

This time it was the Rolling Stones at the Albert Hall, row O, we're loosing our touch. Long John Baldry was MCing. Ike and Tina Turner were on the bill, as were the Yardbirds with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, they were good, Ike and Tina play a kicking set, (PP Arnold was one of the Ikettes), and now we're waiting for the Stones to come on. As they appear, the audience begins to move from the back of the hall, a couple of girls leap on the stage, one is glued to Mick's back. Brian's laughing at Keith who is being dragged off stage by security while still attached to his guitar. I end up on the floor under some seats with feet moving all around me.  The next thing I know is the show is stopped and Long John is on the mike. telling us all to go back to our seats. He is on a hiding to nothing, no one is paying any attention to him. Eventually they give up, the Stones come back on and finish the show.

A girl at school turns me on to Bert Jansch, a bunch of us go to see him at St. Pancras Town Hall, I loved it, I knew little of the British folk scene apart from Donovan, so it was a bit of an eye opener for me.

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and Geno Washington are doing alternate Tuesdays at the Marquee, Geno's good, but I particularly like Jimmy James - Amen. We go regularly.

BBC2 put on  some weird thing at the Marquee - 'Tonight In Person Theodore Bikel', he introduces several artists who do a couple of numbers each, one of them is Sandy Denny, done up like Dusty Springfield, with her blonde hair in a beehive with a big black bow at the back, she looked none too comfortable, but she sang like an angel.

The Marquee's Christmas party is with Spencer Davis Group and Syn, this was the kind of Christmas party we liked, no mince pies, turkey or ancient relatives, just loud rocking music with Steve Winwood.

The New Year's Eve Rave was as good, Jimmy James, Count Prince Miller, The Vagabonds, The Bunch and  The Neat Change. A fabulous night and hours of dancing.  Come on 1967.

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