1963 Roll-call

1963

sees the big change as R&B hits the Island big-style, taking over Wednesday and Sundays, leaving Saturdays for jazz. The Rolling Stones are given a five-month residency; Cyril Davies’ Rhythm & Blues All-Stars feature with Long John Baldry; The Yardbirds are in evidence as well as Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames, Manfred Mann, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and Jimmy Powell’s Five Dimensions provide early glimpses of Rod Stewart ……

April 1963

Wed. Apr 24th – The Rolling Stones

Probably the first time The Stones played on the Island (certainly in their own right: recently reports have come to light of an interval appearance, possibly on a Back O’Town Syncopators date, which would almost certainly have been earlier than tonight, though this is doubtful, as there is no mention of such an event in Bill Wyman’s meticulous autobiography, “Stone Alone”, but Laura, whose Dad played in the BoTS, contacted us to say that he had told her that while they played one time, the Stones were collecting beer glasses, and did play during the interval – she even suggests it was Jagger – maybe it was ‘some’ Stones before they were Stones?). They would total some 24 appearances between now and September 25th. Doorman Stan, who used to stamp people’s wrists on entry to the club (usually with names of obscure countries – he was a cartographer), visited the museum in 2015. He recalled how Arthur was wondering where the club’s clientele had disappeared to and so the two of them visited the Station Hotel in Richmond, and found the outfit that was drawing them in there. Thereafter, the Stones suddenly were granted a five month residency at Eel Pie Island. I guess that means that for a large part of 1963, you could see the Stones on a Wednesday at Eel Pie Island, and at the weekend at The Station Hotel, later the Crawdaddy! A mere 46 years after tonight, this date was chosen for the unveiling of the “Music Legends of Eel Pie Island” heritage plaque on the riverside, overlooking the Island, outside The Barmy Arms

May 1963

Wed. May 1st – The Rolling Stones

Wed. May 8th – The Rolling Stones

Wed. May 15th – The Rolling Stones

Wed. May 22nd – The Rolling Stones

Wed. May 29th – The Rolling Stones

June 1963

Wed. Jun 5th – The Rolling Stones

Wed. Jun 12th – The Rolling Stones

Wed. Jun 19th – The Rolling Stones

(Rolling Stones dates from April 24th to June 19th from Bill Wyman’s “Stone Alone” and initially

http://www.tamworthbands.com/1963/rollingstones/1963gigs.htm )

My guess is that never in a million years would the Rolling Stones imagine that exactly 55 years after this appearance (their ninth at Eelpiland) they would still be active as a musical concern, never mind playing to an audience of 55,000 at the rather bigger venue in Twickenham that is the Rugby Stadium

Sat. Jun 22nd – Mickey Ashman (from flyer)

Sun. Jun 23rd – The Yardbirds

A still-at-schoolkid called Top Topham took to the stage as support with his band: they had settled on the name of The Yardbirds earlier in the month, on their debut at Studio 51 (Ken Colyer’s club in Soho) – they had to be called something, deciding on Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker as inspiration (Keith Relf had been reading Kerouac‘s “On The Road“ at the time), though Top himself remembers it being this night at the Island that the name was coined, in the dressing room above the stage. Tonight would have been only their fifth appearanceThanks to John H Warburg for this confirmation. Of course, come September, young Top had been packed off back to school, and his place had been taken by a certain Eric Clapton. When the Stones relinquished their residency at The Crawdaddy (by now relocated to Richmond Athletic Ground) in September in order to go touring, The Yardbirds took their place

Sun. Jun 23rd – Cyril Davies All Stars (from http://www.carlolittle.com/dates63.htm )

This appears to be the beginning of Cyril’s association with the club. Legendary drummer Carlo Little was a founder member of The Savages who backed Screaming Lord Sutch, played in early incarnations of The Rolling Stones before Charlie Watts came on board, and is credited with influencing Keith Moon’s style, having given him lessons for the extra pin-money that would bring. Then he joined Cyril Davies’ outfit. Fortunately for us, he also kept a diary of his playing exploits which has yielded this entry, as well as a few others during this period (the above link will take you to these records). He continued to do session work and tour throughout the 60s and beyond before reforming the All Stars in 2000. Following his death in 2005, the current Eel Pie Club organised a Carlo Little benefit at York House in Twickenham the following year, which featured, amongst others, Phil May and Dick Taylor from The Pretty Things, and 50s survivors Vince Eager and Wee Willie Harris. As for the mighty Cyril Davies and his blues harp, he was an inspiration to R&B enthusiasts and converts far and wide. Future Downliners Sect’s Don Craine remembers how he turned up to see Screaming Lord Sutch, and noticed how, while The Savages were indeed present, the good Lord was not, and in his place was the bank-managerly figure of Cyril Davies, familiar to Don from the Ealing Club, and thus, apparently, Cyril’s Rhythm and Blues All Stars were born: a wee while earlier than tonight, obviously

Wed. Jun 26th – The Rolling Stones (£45)

Sat. Jun 29th – Doug Richford (from flyer)

Sun. Jun 30th – The Yardbirds

Sun. Jun 30th – Cyril Davies All Stars (from http://www.carlolittle.com/dates63.htm )

July 1963

Wed. Jul 3rd – The Rolling Stones (£45)

Sat. Jul 6th – Back o’Town Syncopators (from flyer)

From north of the border and led by one Alexander Murray Smith, the Syncopators recorded a version of Ron Grainer’s  “Steptoe & Son” theme, aka “Old Ned” (an undoubted inspiration for Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive”), as well as Rangers FC’s anthem “Follow Follow” in 1962, an iTunes version  of which has found its way onto the internet

Wed. Jul 10th  – The Strawberry Hill Boys (from http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/tline/1963.asp )

The Strawberry Hill Boys were local lads, led by Dave Cousins, who specialised in Bluegrass music at this point. They went on to shorten their name to The Strawbs in 1967, featuring Sandy Denny on their first album that same year, recruited Rick Wakeman in 1971, and became rather unlikely chart heroes in 1973, having further recruited Dave Lambert on guitar, and glamming up a bit

Wed. Jul 10th – The Rolling Stones (£50)

Fri. Jul 12th – The Muleskinners

Fri. Jul 12th – The Rolling Stones (£65 according to Stuart Thorpe who “co-made” the booking)

(from http://www.tamworthbands.com/1963/rollingstones/1963gigs.htm)

Tonight is subtitled ”Twickenham Design College Dance”, which explains the ‘unusual’ Friday performance, as well as its absence from Eric Easton’s letter (see September 25th below), as The Stones had been booked directly by the College. Future Small Face Ian McLagan relates how he booked the Stones for the Twickenham Art School [sic] dance after having seen them here (and helping them lug their gear back across the bridge), and that his band The Muleskinners supported them. Recently coming to light is the fact that the poster for tonight’s gig (intriguingly inviting punters to “Come to the Klondike”) was designed by Colin Fulcher, later known as Barney Bubbles, who, like McLagan, was also studying at Twickenham, and would go on to design a myriad album covers from 1970 onwards

Sat. Jul 13th – Original Down Town Syncopators (from flyer)

Sun. Jul 14th – The Yardbirds

Sun. Jul 14th – Cyril Davies All Stars (both today’s entries listed as ‘unconfirmed’ by www.garagehangover.com but Cyril Davies verified by http://www.carlolittle.com/dates63.htm )

Wed. Jul 17th  – The Strawberry Hill Boys (from http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/tline/1963.asp )

Wed. Jul 17th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Jul 20th – Eric Silk (from flyer)

Sun. Jul 21st – Cyril Davies All Stars (from http://www.carlolittle.com/dates63.htm )

Wed. Jul 24th  – The Strawberry Hill Boys (from http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/tline/1963.asp )

Wed. Jul 24th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Jul 27th – Dick Charlesworth (from flyer)

Sun. Jul 28th – Cyril Davies All Stars (from http://www.carlolittle.com/dates63.htm )

This appears to be Carlo Little’s last appearance with Cyril Davies on the Island, as he returned to duties with Screaming Lord Sutch a couple of weeks after tonight

Wed. Jul 31st – The Rolling Stones (£55)

August 1963

Wed. Aug 7th  – The Strawberry Hill Boys (from http://www.strawbsweb.co.uk/tline/1963.asp )

Wed. Aug 7th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Wed. Aug 14th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Aug 17thMickey Ashman (from flyer)

Wed. Aug 21st – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Aug 24thOriginal Downtown Syncopaters (from flyer)

Wed. Aug 28th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

When we had a pop-up version of the Museum during 2015, Ken Wormald gifted us a shot he’d taken of the Stones at the Island, which we incorporated into the display. On confirming who was actually in the photo, with the suggestion that one character was Brian Jones, Ken scoffed “No, he wasn’t there that night: that happened a lot”. Bill Wyman’s “Stone Alone” backs this up, as he has “without Brian – ill” for tonight, as he has for the September 4th date below “without Brian 2nd set – ill”. According to Wyman, to compensate, they drafted in Ian Stewart and miked his piano, putting it through an amplifier to improve its sound

Sat. Aug 31stDauphine Street Six [sic] (from flyer)

September 1963

Wed. Sep 4th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Sep 7thEric Silk (from flyer)

Wed. Sep 11th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Sep 14thBack O’Town Syncopaters (from flyer)

Wed. Sep 18th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Sat. Sep 21stAlan Elsdon (from flyer)

Wed. Sep 25th – The Rolling Stones (£55)

Rolling Stones dates between Jun 26 th and Sep 25th are all from confirmation letter from their then manager, Eric Easton. Witnesses at this last Stones gig (where Arthur Chisnall maintained “never mind the ballroom, the whole bloody Island was overflowing”, with queues stretching back beyond the footbridge) remember how Mick asked everyone to buy their new single, and that if it bombed (I doubt he used that word, but you get the sense), he’d see everyone soon. It didn’t, and he didn’t: they never came back after “I Wanna Be Your Man” sailed into the charts some weeks later, and this would be one of their last club gigs, or at least the last residency they played, with their immediate future on the ‘theatre / ballroom’ circuit, and a national tour with The Everly Brothers and hero Bo Diddley. To put the Stones’ tenure at the Island into context, by this point they had racked up 24 appearances during 1963, compared with 27 at the Station Hotel / Crawdaddy, 25 at Windsor’s Ricky Tick Club (over 1962 and 1963), 22 at Ealing Jazz Club (again over 1962 and 1963), but the total falls well short of that at Ken Colyer’s Studio 51 which comes in with a mighty 41 gigs

Sat. Sep 28thOriginal Downtown Syncopaters (from flyer)

Sun. Sep 29th – Cyril Davies & The Velvetts [sic] (from flyer)

The Velvettes (Hazel Futa, Patience “Princess” Gowabe, and Eunice Mamsie Mthombeni, together initially with Peggy Phango who left to pursue a solo career) were three female singers who had come to England on tour performing in “King Kong”, a musical from South Africa, and stayed on after its completion, presumably preferring to remain rather than return to the apartheid at home. Not to be confused with Motown outfit, The Velvelettes, which I initially did when first getting involved in the Eel Pie Island Music project in 2013

October 1963

Wed. Oct 2nd – The Temeraires

Temeraires’ drummer Nigel Ridgway contacted us to say his band supported Georgie Fame at the Island on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, this is the only date we’ve found so far for Mr Fame, and as Nigel reckons they would have been first on at this one, who am I to argue? For a fiver, recalls Nigel

Wed. Oct 2nd – Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames (from flyer)

Georgie Fame swopped his piano for a Hammond organ when an American GI gave him “Green Onions” by Booker T & The MGs, and gained some sort of, ahem, fame by all his Top 10 hits becoming chart-toppers (“Yeh Yeh”, “Getaway” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde”). Subsequently, Georgie has played with loads of big names, and is still busy these days: with his sons in tow, he played at Twickenham Stadium’s Live Room in 2010 as part of the tenth birthday celebrations of the current Eel Pie Club

Sat. Oct 5thBack O’Town Syncopators (from flyer)

Sun. Oct 6th – The Downliner Sect [sic] (from flyer)

Don Craine’s Downliners Sect, formed as an attempt to meld the music of Cyril Davies with the sex appeal of The Stones: his words, not mine. Still, while not achieving a great deal in this country, sales-wise, they did take their “Little Egypt” to the top of the Swedish charts

Wed. Oct 9th – Student Grant Benefit: Cyril Davies with Long John & The Velvetts [sic], also The Road Runners (from flyer)

The ‘Long John’ is, of course, featured vocalist Baldry. The Road Runners were an early foray into R&B by the Shulman brothers from Portsmouth who would gain fame and fortune as Simon Dupree & The Big Sound with “Kites”, and become prog-rockers Gentle Giant. Then again, there were any number of groups known as The Roadrunners, and up in Liverpool, there was just such a bunch tearing up the boards there, who George Harrison reckoned The Stones weren’t as good as! So which Roadrunners tonight? I have no idea. And this just in…..Daryl T Allen contacted us to say that Derek Shulman told him he never played on the Island, so that rules out the Pompey outfit. With the Liverpool lot somewhat unlikely, Daryl further suggests it may have been the Bo Street Runners before they changed their name (like I said, there were lots of Roadrunners about that time), that option gaining credibility when I saw original Bo Street Runner vocalist John Dominic participate in a Cyril Davies Tribute Night at the current day Eel Pie Club in March 2018 – dozy sod that I am, it didn’t occur to me at the time to verify this. The Bo Street Runners were sort of notable, in that they won the TV ‘talent competition’ “Ready Steady Win!” in 1964. Winning got them a contract, which meant a record release, but that never translated into sales. Singer Mike Patto joined them later, but they ended up being wound up. Their story is continued on February 26th 1967, when they played at the Island as the Chicago Line Blues Band

Sat. Oct 12thClyde Valley Stompers (from flyer)

Sun. Oct 13th – Cyril Davies (from flyer)

Wed. Oct 16th – Jimmy Powell and The Dimensions (from flyer)

Sat. Oct 19thBob Dwyer’s Hot Six (from flyer)

Trombonist Bob Dwyer later joined Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers, and was interviewed for the 2013 documentary, “Rock’n’Roll Island”

Sun. Oct 20th – Cyril Davies (from flyer)

Sat. Oct 26thOriginal Downtown Syncopators (from flyer)

Wed. Oct 30th – Jimmy Powell and The Five Dimensions (£30)

Early sightings of Rod Stewart on stage may have occurred at this point, as he was briefly employed as Powell’s harmonica player, until he started contributing backing vocals and got the sack. Was Jimmy scared of the competition? In any case, Jimmy and his Dimensions apparently backed Millie (Small) on her smash hit “My Boy Lollipop” the following year, which no doubt helped foster the urban myth that Rod Stewart provided the harmonica solo, but Dimension Peter Hogman claims that credit, while Jimmy Powell himself was responsible for the harmonica on PJ Proby’s “Hold Me”

November 1963

Sat. Nov 2ndEric Silk (from flyer)

Sun. Nov 3rd – Cyril Davies All Stars (£60)

Cyril (or ‘Squirrel’, as he was affectionately referred to by fans) Davies is still on a comparable fee to The Stones at this point

Sat. Nov 9thCharlie Galbraith (from flyer)

Sun. Nov 10th – Cyril Davies All Stars (£60)

Wed. Nov 13th – Monty Sunshine’s Jazz Band (£50)

Sun. Nov 17th – Cyril Davies All Stars (£60)

Wed. Nov 27th – John Mayall Blues Breakers (£25)

This would be the first incarnation of Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, featuring Bernie Watson on guitar, and John McVie, even then, on bass. Incidentally, the contract for tonight was made with Charlesworth Presentations, an agency run by Dick Charlesworth of City Gents frequency here, so clearly he had more strings to his bow than merely leading a jazz band It’s likely that tonight featured the first appearance of local outfit The Others, as bassist Rob Tolchard recalls having blagged a support gig for this particular Mayall lineup

Sat. Nov 30th – Eric Silk and his Southern Jazz Band (£35)

December 1963

Sun. Dec 8th – Manfred Mann (date from “Mannerisms: The Five Phases of Manfred Mann” by Greg Russo)

Manfred Mann were shortly to become pop stars, when “5-4-3-2-1” stormed the charts after being adopted as the theme tune for Ready Steady Go, though it had been recorded back in August. Despite playing on the record, it was after playing at the Island, probably tonight, that bassist Dave Richmond was told his services would not be required the following night, at which point guitarist Tom McGuinness walked on stage at The Ealing Club with a bass for the first time

Fri. Dec 20thThe Muleskinners (from ticket)

It’s another Twickenham College do tonight, and as in July, Ian McLagan’s Muleskinners are in attendance, seemingly the main attraction this time, and Colin Fulcher (aka Barney Bubbles) is again involved, at least in the design of the tickets. The theme for tonight is to “Come Cossack” according to Barney’s artwork

Tue. Dec 31st – Cyril Davies All Stars

Brian Corsie (currently with The PigsFoot Stringband) got in touch to fill in this little gap: he and his wife recall this New Year’s Eve date being one of their first together, and their first exposure to British R&B. While Davies was billed, his illness prevented his appearance, and, sadly, he was to die about a week later, but Long John Baldry led the band tonight, and Brian is fairly certain Charlie Watts was sitting in on drums, though as he was on duty with The Stones at Lincoln Drill Hall tonight, it seems unlikely

  As for 1962/63, there is another significant gap in available documentation between this point and May 1st1964.

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