1958 Roll-Call

1958

sees Mick Mulligan, Mike Peters, Sandy Brown, Al Fairweather, Terry Lightfoot, and Wally Fawkes all performing at Eelpiland, together with a “Jazz Parade” starting at Twickenham Green featuring Acker Bilk and Sonny Morris, but also skiffle from the City Ramblers and folk from Sandy and Caroline Paton from the USA, and Scotsman Robin Hall ..

January 1958

Fri. Jan 17th – Acker Bilk

Sat. Jan 18th – Mick Mulligan

Fri. Jan 24th – Mike Peters also Sandy Paton and Caroline (American Folk Singers)

This deviation from jazz featured Sandy and Caroline Paton who were indeed American folk singers: in his obituary appearing in The Guardian in 2009, Sandy was bracketed with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Bob Dylan, as examples of US folk merchants breaking over here in the late 50s and early 60s. Sandy went on to co-found the influential Folk-Legacy record label in 1961. Incidentally, Sandy and Caroline’s first son was born during this year-long sojourn in the UK: “a free baby, courtesy of the National Health Service”, as Sandy put it. Thinking about it, as they had no work permits, it may have been a bit risky to have been advertised and they almost certainly would have been paid “under the table”

Sat. Jan 25th – Sandy Brown

Back in December, Sandy Brown was augmented for a six month stint by a sax player who would become synonymous with saxophone in both jazz and R&B circles in the 60s, not to mention jazz-rock fusion even later. His name? Dick Heckstall-Smith, who was certainly the first fellow I saw who could play two saxes at the same time

Fri. Jan 31st – Al Fairweather

Tonight, it appears Al Fairweather appeared without usual oppo Sandy Brown, with whom he’d started with back in Edinburgh as members of the Royal High School Gang: at one stage they played at Edinburgh’s Oddfellows Hall, where one of their buddies, one Tom Connery, was the bouncer – Tom went and changed his name to Sean, and look what that did for him!


February 1958

Sat. Feb 1st – Les Six Orleanais

This predominantly French outfit (led by Claude Luter) had at some point featured the controversial figure of Sidney Bechet, who beat Louis Armstrong to the studio in the 20s, was jailed and deported from the UK in 1921, returned to France with the Revue Negre (featuring Josephine Baker) that got as far as Russia in 1926, jailed and deported from France in 1929, had a hit with “Summertime” in 1939, and, disillusioned by prospects in the US, eventually moved back to France in 1950. That French imprisonment followed the accidental wounding of a woman passerby during a shootout which was apparently a duel called by Bechet after being accused by another musician/producer of playing the ‘wrong chord’. The challenge was accompanied by the assertion, by himself, that “Sidney Bechet does not play the wrong chord”. All very interesting, but I believe Bechet’s association with Luter ended in 1955, so it’s unlikely he was on show today, unfortunately

Fri. Feb 7th – Dick Charlesworth

Sat. Feb 8th – Acker Bilk

Fri. Feb 14th – Trad & Folk Song

That’s all it says on the flyer. Maybe it was a return visit from Sandy and Caroline Paton, only this time discretion having led to some anonymity?

Sat. Feb 15th – Sandy Brown

Fri. Feb 21st – Ray Galliers Prelude Six

Sat. Feb 22nd – Al Fairweather


March 1958

Mon. Mar 10th – Elesto Cortez and Robin Hall

This was Eelpiland branching out in a different direction: tonight is billed as “Eelpiland presents International Folk Music every Monday 8 to 10:30” and for tonight the aforementioned Sandy Paton “will be introducing ELESTO CORTEZ (Nigerian songs) and ROBIN HALL (Scottish songs) with visiting artists from floor”. Admission to what is billed as its opening night is free, with “Spiritual and Caffeic refreshment available”. While certainly Robin Hall became something of a household name due to his TV appearances in the 60s with Jimmy McGregor, it is not clear whether this folk venture endured much beyond tonight


May 1958

Fri. May 9th – Ian Bell

Sat. May 10th – Sandy Brown

Fri. May 16th – Acker Bilk

Fri. May 16th – Cy Laurie

Fri. May 16th – Dave Carey

An unusually rich bill for a Friday: must have been something special about tonight

Sat. May 17th – Bruce Turner

Fri. May 23rd – Brian Taylor

Sat. May 24th – Sonny Morris

Fri. May 30th – Mike Peters

Sat. May 31st – Brian Taylor


June 1958

Fri. Jun 6th – Sonny Morris

Sat. Jun 7th – Alex Welsh

Fri. Jun 13th – Acker Bilk

Sat. Jun 14th – Mick Mulligan

Fri. Jun 20th – Brian Taylor

Sat. Jun 21st – Terry Lightfoot

Fri. Jun 27th – Sonny Morris

Sat. Jun 28th – Sandy Brown


July 1958

Fri. Jul 4th – Brian Taylor

Sat. Jul 5th – Acker Bilk

Fri. Jul 11th – Mike Peters

Sat. Jul 12th – Bruce Turner

Fri. Jul 18th – City Ramblers

The City Ramblers were a skiffle outfit who had not come through the ranks of trad jazz, but who were initially a barely proficient trio (after ditching early member John Pilgrim on washboard and pet monkey Saki(!?)), often found busking outside Charing Cross station. Two years before tonight, they had embarked on what appears to have been a fairly chaotic tour of Germany and Scandinavia with Woody Guthrie-inspired American ‘cowboy singer’, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and cutting an EP in Copenhagen, before cutting their losses and returning to London, with Elliott electing to stay in Germany with his wife June. A year later, and they were playing at the Moscow International Youth Festival, so they certainly put the miles in. Incredibly, the City Ramblers embarked on a revival recently, appearing at Herne Hill Music Festival, and are still gigging as City Ramblers Revival, featuring original member Hylda Sims, whose first guitar was gifted to her by Ivor Cutler when she was a teenager

Sat. Jul 19th – Brian Woolley

Fri. Jul 25th – Acker Bilk, Sonny Morris, Dixie’s Marching Band and The Riversiders

This was a ‘Jazz Parade’ (on behalf of the Borough of Twickenham Fair) starting at First Cross Road, Twickenham Green, according to the flyer. Seeing as there were a number of ‘Jazz Parades’ during this era, what my imagination is struggling to come to terms with is how was the inevitable bottleneck handled at the other side of Eel Pie Island’s bridge, when all (performers and acolytes) had to pay their toll to the little old ladies?

Sat. Jul 26th – Al Fairweather


August 1958

Fri. Aug 1st – Sonny Morris


September 1958

Fri. Sep 12th – Don Steele

Sat. Sep 13th – Micky Ashman

Double bass player Micky Ashman graduated through the ranks of Humphrey Lyttelton and Chris Barber before stepping out with his own band

Fri. Sep 19th – Mike Peters (Esq.) 

I don’t know how Mike Peters earned the “Esq” soubriquet for tonight particularly, as he was well known to the Eel Pie fraternity by now, but I do know he seems to have been the only person around with a camera in those black and white days, one of only a few to document Eel Pie Island photographically, so he gets my vote for that at least!

Sat. Sep 20th – Acker Bilk

Fri. Sep 26th – Dave Nelson

Sat. Sep 27th – Graham Stewart


October 1958

Fri. Oct 3rd – Terry Layton

Sat. Oct 4th – Terry Lightfoot

Fri. Oct 10th – Ian Bell

Sat. Oct 11th – Alex Welsh

Sat. Oct 25th – Graham Stewart

Fri. Oct 31st – Dave Nelson


November 1958

Sat. Nov 1st – Acker Bilk

Fri. Nov 7th – Brian Taylor

Sat. Nov 8th – Wally Fawkes

While clarinet is his instrument of choice for tonight, it was the pen for his other day job, as satirical cartoonist Trog, in creating “Flook”, which ran in the Daily Mail for 35 years. The pen-name ‘Trog’ came from his earlier jazz band, Wally Fawkes and The Troglodytes

Fri. Nov 14th – Micky Ashman

Sat. Nov 15th – Sandy Brown / Al Fairweather

Fri. Nov 21st – Mole Ben

Sat. Nov 22nd – Micky Ashman

Fri. Nov 28th – Pete Wells Benefit

Sat. Nov 29th – Diz Disley & Brian Woolley


December 1958

Fri. Dec 5th – Dick Charlesworth

Sat. Dec 6th – Graham Stewart

Fri. Dec 12th – Brian Taylor

Sat. Dec 13th – Acker Bilk

Sat. Dec 13th – Riversiders

Sat. Dec 20th – Terry Lightfoot

Wed. Dec 24th – Graham Stewart (late night)

Fri. Dec 26th – “Members night”

Sat. Dec 27th – Micky Ashman

Wed. Dec 31st – Alex Welsh (late night)

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