1969 Roll-call


again sees only occasional activity on the Island, but increasingly “progressive” acts like Edgar Broughton, Van Der Graaf Generator, Stray, Hawkwind (put on by the Richmond Arts Workshop run by Grenville Sheringham), before Caldwell Smythe reinvents the venue as Colonel Barefoot’s Rock Garden with the likes of Mighty Baby, Wishbone Ash, Audience, Cochise, Egg, If, and Pete Brown’s Piblokto……

January 1969

Fri. Jan 17th – Marque’s Group

Fri. Jan 17th – Pancake now known as Steppes

Fri. Jan 17th – Shaemushaemushaemus

Fri. Jan 17th – Muskrat Ramble

Fri. Jan 17th – Jo-Ann Kelly

All the above acts featured on the bill for a Benefit Ball for the Release organisation, organised by Richmond Area Free Press. This was advertised in Vol 1, No1 of the aforementioned Richmond Area Free Press magazine, which espoused virtues in common with the more famous ‘underground’ press prevalent at the time, such as Oz, and featured record reviews, poetry, “agitprop” information, as well as information on local events and a community service guide. It is not clear at this point how many issues RAFP went on to achieve, but this Issue No 1 has been loaned to the Museum by Garry Rutherford (the friend of one of our volunteers), who was in the line-up of the Muskrat Ramble band (on vocals and keyboards) who played on tonight’s bill. Jo-Ann Kelly went on to become one of the significant people still treading the boards in the British Blues scene during the early 70s. Mostly her stuff was acoustic Blues, and, of course, being a woman rather marked her out as a rarity in a predominantly male genre. Jo-Ann’s brother Dave Kelly helms The Blues Band, along with Paul Jones, the ex-Manfred

February 1969

Fri. Feb 7th – Ian Whitcomb with Turnstyle

Ian Whitcomb had hit the heady heights of #8 in the American Billboard charts in 1965 with “You Turn Me On”, where he remained thereafter as nothing he did sold in the UK. When he did return to the UK, he embarked on a successful writing career, but tonight he has Turnstyle in attendance 

Fri. Feb 7th – The Pretty Things

At this point, The Pretty Things would have been promoting the previous year’s epic “S.F. Sorrow” album to little commercial avail, leading to guitarist Dick Taylor’s departure a few months later. Unfortunately, despite the poster in existence that confirms this date, Jackie Elvy contacted our Facebook page to tell us that she arrived on a freezing night for this one, only to be told that the gig had been cancelled, as the band couldn’t get their gear over the bridge, due to the ice. This has since been backed up by Len Woolford, who visited the Museum in June, further pointing out he didn’t get his 12/6 back. So maybe that explains why Phil May reckoned they never played on the Island!

Sat. Feb 8th – Van Der Graaf Generator (from http://www.vandergraafgenerator.co.uk/vdgglive.htm )

Sat. Feb 8th – Pegasus

Fri. Feb 14th – Edgar Broughton

Fri. Feb 14th – Juniors Eyes

Junior’s Eyes were responsible for the intriguingly titled album, “Battersea Power Station”, but later this year, guitarist Mick Wayne guested (amongst others) on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” single and I think all of the Eyes were on Bowie’s resultant eponymous first album

Fri. Feb 14th – Roy Harper

July 1969

Sat. Jul 26th – Hawkwind Zoo

Sat. Jul 26th – Stray

The Hotel was closed (again) at this time, but Grenville Sheringham had rented it to house the Richmond Arts Workshop. Both Hawkwind Zoo and Stray rang Sheringham wanting the chance to play at the Island. Despite not knowing them, Sheringham agreed, they played for free (to Sheringham), and the gig acted as Sheringham and three friends’ 21st birthday party, with about 400 punters turning up. I guess this persuaded the Arts Workshop to continue to put gigs on for fundraising purposes

August 1969

Thu. Aug 7th – Spice (from www.uriah-heep.com/newa/giglists.php )


It seems likely that Caldwell Smythe’s tenure as Colonel Barefoot himself started at this point, though John Lethbridge, who worked the Mass Spectrometer Light Show, asserts it was not until December 29th (see below) that the Colonel “steamed in”, citing the fact that Richmond Arts Workshop gigs were on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that Smythe changed the nights of operation to became Fridays and Saturdays.

October 1969

Fri. Oct 3rd – Mighty Baby

Mighty Baby evolved from the ashes of The Action, who appeared here early in 1968

Fri. Oct 10th – Grope

Fri. Oct 10th – Stray

Fri. Oct 17th – Medicine Hat (sic)

Could this have actually been Medicine Head, purveyors of an album called “Dark Side Of The Moon” before someone else was? Assuming it was, as they were certainly on the circuit at this point, their demo of “His Guiding Hand” was released as a single on John Peel’s Dandelion label in 1969, and while they went on to chart success with four singles, none of their subsequent albums repeated that success. Their final album was recorded in Pete Townshend’s Eel Pie Studio in 1976, and they broke up a year later. Both members continued in the music biz, and guitarist John Fiddler is often to be seen performing around these parts, like at Strawberry Hill Music Day a year or two back. Having said all that, when John Fiddler visited the Museum recently, he confirmed that there was indeed an outfit calling themselves Medicine Hat, so this could indeed have been them, though he maintains Medicine Head did play the Island

Fri. Oct 17th – Steve Miller’s Delivery

Nothing to do with “The Joker” provider of later years

Fri. Oct 24th – Hawkwind Zoo(from http://www.hawklord.com/hw/HWgiglist.html )

Hawkwind have yet to find their “Silver Machine” and go “In Search Of Space”, but they are led by Eel Pie Island habitué of the early 60s  Dave Brock (who schooled a young Eric Clapton in some early guitar chords back then). According to the ‘pooterland’ site (see below), they are still actually billed as Hawkwind Zoo tonight: it would be a wee while later that they dropped the “Zoo” tag

Fri. Oct 24th – Stray

Fri. Oct 31st – Snake

Fri. Oct 31st – If

I suppose you could argue that If represent the return of jazz to the Island, but their jazz-rock leanings are probably a million miles from the trad arbiters of yore, though Dick Morrissey and his tenor sax had been here with his quartet back in August 1966, playing with Jimmy Witherspoon

Fri, Oct 31st – Egg (£3 as per Caldwell Smythe)

(from http://calyx.perso.neuf.fr/bands/chrono/egg.html – site since closed)

Tricky time signatures from these Canterbury progsters, who I much preferred to their overblown oppos, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and who were led by Dave Stewart (not the Eurythmic one) who had chart success with both Barbara Gaskin and ex-Zombie Colin Blunstone in the 80s. As Caldwell Smythe recalls paying Egg only £3, that suggests they were supporting If tonight

November 1969

Wed. Nov 5th – Rapture

Wed. Nov 5th – Clouds

Fri. Nov 7th – Tara’s Harp

Fri. Nov 7th – Pete Brown’s Piblokto

Pete Brown was Jack Bruce’s lyricist, but evidently his vocal style didn’t impress his own band, The Battered Ornaments, as they sacked him the day before they played on the bill at Hyde Park, supporting the Stones. However, he bounced back with Piblokto, who featured respected Scots guitarist Jim Mullen

Wed. Nov 12th – Fat Daughter

Wed. Nov 12th – Alexis Korner (£75 as per Caldwell Smythe)

Caldwell Smythe was managing Alexis Korner at this time

Fri. Nov 14th – Tobias Wragg

Fri. Nov 14th – Warm Dust

On the heels of If’s jazz-rock leanings come Warm Dust, who weren’t to set the world alight, but did feature Paul Carrack, later of one-hit wonders Ace, and later credits with stints in Squeeze (notably “Tempted”) and Mike & The Mechanics, Mike Rutherford of Genesis fame’s spin-off band

Wed. Nov 19th – Strawberry Blues

Wed. Nov 19th – Virgin Hearse

Wed. Nov 19th – Radha Krishna Temple

“Hare Krishna Mantra” strains from George Harrison’s Buddhist buddies, supported by someone called Virgin Hearse? Wow! Former lead guitarist Keith Simpson has been in touch to point out that Virgin Hearse were a blues/rock group from Oxford, and not a person, which I may have implied! They did a couple of demos for Polydor and EMI, but that was it

Fri. Nov 21st – Train

Fri. Nov 21st – Battered Ornaments

Pete Brown’s former band featured Chris Spedding, a respected session guitarist who would later feature in a number of TV appearances as a greased-up biker for “Motorbikin’”, as well as that of one of The Wombles in full Womble gear. Variety, as they say…

Wed. Nov 26th – Tara’s Harp

Wed. Nov 26th – Greatest Show On Earth

The name doesn’t appear to have worked in their favour, particularly, though they did get to #1 in Switzerland with “Real Cool World” in 1970. However, they did feature within their ranks bassist extraordinaire, Norman Watt-Roy who, of course has featured in Ian Dury’s Blockheads line-up since “New Boots And Panties”, and also currently is working with Wilko Johnson

Fri. Nov 28th – Hawkwind Zoo

Fri. Nov 28th – Mandrake

Or Mandrake Paddle Steamer to give them their full name

Sat. Nov 29th – Nemesis

Sat. Nov 29th – Amazing Gas Medicine Show and Junk Band

December 1969

Wed. Dec 3rd – Old Nick’s Train Set

Wed. Dec 3rd – Edgar Broughton Band

Fri. Dec 5th – Cochise

Fri. Dec 5th – Andwella’s Dream

Andwella’s Dream were from Northern Ireland, and were responsible for one of the most valuable albums around: despite failing to sell on its release, “Love And Poetry” commands about £1000 these days, in mint condition, of course. And mine is. Despite suitably psychedelic origins, guitarist/vocalist Dave Lewis went on to write “Happy To Be On An Island In The Sun” which was taken into the charts by Demis Roussos in 1975. Now there’s a name I didn’t expect to be mentioning here

Sat. Dec 6thDawn

Wed. Dec 10thSkin Alley

Skin Alley were responsible for one of the better tracks, “Living In Sin”, on the CBS sampler, “Fill Your Head With Rock”, released the following year. They featured one Thomas Crimble, who went on to play bass in Hawkwind

Sat. Dec 20th – Wishbone Ash

At this point, Wishbone Ash had only been together for two months, but their novel use of twin lead guitars held them in good stead when their first album was released just a year after tonight. They’d peak in 1972 when “Argus” was voted Melody Maker’s album of the year

Sat. Dec 20th – Audience (both above from http://www.saxmusicplus.com/audienceareback.com/69-05.html )

Round about now, Audience, meanwhile, were commissioned to write the film score for the critically acclaimed East End Skinhead flick, “Bronco Bullfrog”


Entries for 1969 otherwise obtained from www.garagehangover.com courtesy of Nick Warburton and itself sourced from Melody Maker and Mick Capewell’s Marmalade Skies, or from http://www.pooterland.com/index2/chronikles/1969/1969.html (Oct 3rd to Dec 5th apart from the first Hawkwind and Egg entries, which I knew about already) as spotted by Phil Emerson.

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