The music we all heard at Redcar Jazz Club has become classic. Styles evolved so quickly from the Trad Jazz popular when the club began after white boys in the cellar clubs of 60’s London began to adopt American blues & R&B & soul. Once it had gained a foothold in the capital, the music filtered north, within a few short but fantastic years morphed into blues rock, progressive and heavy rock. What is so interesting is that, with the exception of straight pop, the club mined the seams of all these types of music and attracted audiences for all of them through the 60s and on into the 70s.
We would like to remember that classic music here. We invite anyone to write a review of their favourite album by an artist they saw at the Jazz Club and send it in for publication on this page. The album must have been available when the reviewer saw the artist, which will also enable memories of their performance to be included.
From the opening bars of 21st Century Schizoid Man it was apparent that these were incredibly accomplished musicians. I thought at the time that for dynamic impact, production quality and musicianship this was the greatest debut album I had ever heard. It still sounds great. Freaky album cover to go with it.
A friend of mine came back from the free Rolling Stones concert at Hyde Park, where Crimson were the support act, raving about this new band. They played Redcar Jazz Club about five or six weeks after that and they lived up to the acclaim. This album was pretty much the whole of their live act at the time and their live sound was every bit as good as the studio recording. It is a complete sound-scape of swirling textures and cadences. Go on, give it a listen.Anthony Clements, singer
Author Chris Scott Wilson comments: Nobody could ignore the raging beast of a sound that exploded on the stage at the Jazz Club when King Crimson opened their show. They weren’t about to become giants – they already were. Greg Lake’s mangled megaphone vocal was perfect against the razor guitar chords as they raged against the world in Schzoid Man, and the central passage with its orchestrated stops and starts and stutters had the drummers in the audience reeling. How did they remember all that? How would they top it? Then to drop it all and descend into sweetness and light, slowly building the set back up to the finale of In The Court Of The Crimson King with its anthemic chord structure that almost sailed majestically into the distance. Their performance was something you would never forget. And they caught it all perfectly in the studio.
This was the real Fleetwood Mac, not the slick adult oriented rock band that later came to pass. Peter Green was a sublime guitar player and there were three guitarists in this band by the time that I saw them at Redcar Jazz Club. Jeremy Spencer being the predominately bottleneck player with Danny Kirwan, the later addition to the band, adding some hard blues licks. I'm not sure if Albatross was ever on an album and it certainly wasn't on this one, but it was at number one in the UK charts when they appeared at the Jazz Club. This was a number which seemed at odds with their repertoire at the time but it is a beautifully haunting melody and was played superbly live.
Some great blues standards on this album such as Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Trail and Elmore James' Shake Your Money Maker. What made Fleetwood Mac stand out from most other blues bands on the circuit was the fact that Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green wrote a lot of their own material and didn't only rely on the blues standards. Oh! And of course there was the guitar genius of Peter Green himself.Anthony Clements, singer
Author Chris Scott Wilson comments:One remembers the strangest things. The first time I saw Peter Green play was with John Mayall, and as I wrote in the book, they sat at a table in the audience drinking while the support band played. When they stood up to get ready to play, I noticed Peter Green was wearing jeans that weren’t very faded at the knees where Levis usually showed their wear first, but was baffled to see they were threadbare on his right thigh. I only understood why when he strapped on his Les Paul. The hole in his jeans was exactly where his guitar rested against his leg. It suddenly dawned on me he must have worn that guitar most waking hours, practising incessantly. It makes sense really. That’s how you get to be that good.
This was the album when I first became aware of Eric Clapton, but I don't remember thinking at the time that he was destined to become the big blues guitar hero that he did. For me that awakening did not come until he joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. This was the last album I bought while still a schoolboy and I thought I was so cool to be owning it. It seemed to reek of blues authenticity even though it was a very British take on the genre. The guys in the band were obviously real enthusiasts.
Some of the blues standards covered on the album were already familiar to me and I particularly liked their take on Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. The album was at the vanguard of the second wave of British blues. Lots more to follow.Anthony Clements, singer
Sadly, let this album go many years back. Downloaded an extended copy to rekindle the fire of nostalgia. The hairs on my neck stood up once again, as I returned to my teenage years. The cosmic magic of such nonsensical lyrics cleverly delivered, and the partial move from acoustic toward an amazing sounding electric guitar, with a simple percussion backing, still ticks all the boxes for me.
In fact my first concert at RJC was to see Tyrannosaurus Rex at the tender of age of nearly 16 in March 1970. My schoolmate Trevor Wadlow and I bought tickets from Alan Fearnley’s record shop on Linthorpe Road, then travelled by the No 55 United bus from Middlesbrough to Redcar. Me suitably covered in my Dad's overcoat, (thought it would help me look 18, the minimum age for entry). The journey seemed to take ages, but the youthful excitement of seeing our favourite band eased an otherwise tediously long journey.
We arrived one `Lazy Sunday Afternoon` and after a stroll along the sea front, went to the venue. Both excited and nervous, we loitered near the stage door. As we were about to venture elsewhere, a long black Cadillac with Marc Bolan in the front seat, pulled up yards from where we stood. The driver, a big looking guy, jumped out and walked to the car's boot. We nervously approached him, and asked if we could speak to Marc ? "Sure," was the reply. Stunned we walked back to where Marc rolled the window down, and we were stunned and so lost for words!
He asked if we were going to the concert, which broke the ice. We then asked him numerous questions, and were amazed how soft and gently spoken his replies came. An example which nearly had us laughing was Q : “What do you think of Eric Clapton?” A : “Oooh, he is a lovely man!” In the back seat, Micky Finn, the recent replacement for Steve Peregrine Took, was behaving very strangely. In retrospect I can only assume he was in some chemical induced state (tripping).
We asked for our tickets to be autographed, and they duly obliged. Marc signed his with a small m above the a in Marc. Unfortunately, on entering the club the fear of being turned away was replaced by a deep frustration as our autographed tickets were taken from us and placed in a bucket behind a small table never to be seen again!!
We strolled round the club, feeling very excited and wanting to look 18, purchased two drinks from the bar. The Coca-Cola was put in a 1/2 pint class, to give the impression it was something stronger. We stood on the radiator to the right of the stairs, and my shoe soles started to melt as they had been turned on just as TR opened their set. We sang our hearts out and loved every second of an amazing set, which was focused on promoting their new album : Beard Of Stars After the show we caught the last train back, talking incessantly about the “our time” interviewing Marc, and their breathtaking performance.John Barchan, club guest.
I can tell you now my fav band at the RJC was Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. To be sure of our seats, I used to queue from around 4pm., then my mate and our girls of the time would turn up about 6.45pm. When the doors opened at 7pm., I was always first through, I kid you not.
I must have been there every time they played and that was quite a few times. Front row, centre seats, great memories. The drummer, Carl Palmer actually celebrated his 18th birthday playing there and is, in my opinion, one of the best drummers from this country ever. We all know how he went on to form the amazing Emerson, Lake & Palmer. He had a beautiful round sounding kit of Rogers in those days at the RJC and he was I thought, one of the best at the time and only 18! It was because of him I started tuning my kit to the Bass, so as to get the same round sound and it worked. Was a lovely sound for the old Soul music that I loved.
The Art of Chris Farlowe featuring The Thunderbirds was Chris’s 3rd album and sets out for me the man’s enormous talent and that of his backing band The Thunderbirds. Four of the songs were covered by the Rolling Stones in 1992. Says a lot when this album was actually made in 1966! The song that I suppose he is best remembered for was Out Of Time, written by Keith Richards & Mick Jagger. Andy White was the drummer on this track and not Carl Palmer – I remember standing and singing along at the top of our voices at Redcar Jazz Club when he sang this. A great number, and Mick Jagger also helped to produce this album and sang backing vocals on some tracks. Chris took no prisoners on his own version of Paint it Black, and did it his way and what a way, while I’m Free, also written by Mick & Keith is awesome with its big band sound and backing vocals.
Chris covered some great classics like Reach Out I’ll Be There by The Four Tops, but you can hear him putting his own inimitable stamp on this, while What Becomes of the Broken Hearted sounds more up tempo and gutsy than the Jimmy Ruffin version for me - just love it. Chris carried so much emotion in his hoarse-toned voice when he sang, that I believe was why he appealed to so many people of the day. Most British singers didn’t have that. I think the arrangement and string section in I’ve Been Loving You Too Long is brilliant even by today’s standards. Like most songs of its time just too short for me, and one of my favourite songs on this album is We’re Going Fine which still makes the hairs on my neck stand up today. A raw sound, as is the album, but of course they didn’t have the technology to play with as the producers do today.
There were fourteen tracks in total on this LP and another eleven were added in 1992 when it was re-issued, one being the classic hit Handbags & Gladrags, a song that has been covered by so many singers, but Chris’s version remains one of my favourites. A real happy sounding song is You're So Good For Me which takes you straight back to the days of the Mods and their scooters and Ride On Baby is certainly a song of the 60’s with its beautiful soul/blues overtones and brass, driven home by powerful vocals.
For me Chris Farlowe covers the spectrum of Blues and Soul with this record and it has been my favourite LP of his since its first release way back when. He was always a total pleasure to watch live and listening to it always brings back some great memories of his Redcar Jazz Club appearances.John Stanway, drummer
For anybody who had seen Jimmy James and The Alan Bown at Redcar Jazz Club this album was a must. The best in British soul (not forgetting Geno Washington); these were sweaty and exhausting nights.
Jimmy James took one side of the album and Alan Bown the other. It was like a live index of all the great soul tunes of the time and played at max intensity. I remember leaving RJC with sore hands and a sore throat. The Vagabonds' Amen went on forever and no one wanted it to stop.
Jess Roden's vocals for the Alan Bown on numbers like It's Growing and Emergency 999: brilliant! The energy generated by the Alan Bown rhythm section would keep everybody on their feet until the very end. Years of experience as one of the biggest acts on the circuit had honed their skills to the max. This album must have prompted many a soul fan to go looking for the original recordings.Anthony Clements, singer
The album was recorded ‘live’ at the club on 25th September 1966 using the Marquee studio, which was situated in the annexe, rear of the club. The studio, which had opened during the same year was only 4-track so once recorded there was little opportunity to add overdubs although Jess Roden did add some harmonies on the final mix. Both bands appeared on the same afternoon, which was attended by a full house. There was a great atmosphere in the club and the raucous reaction of the audience can be heard on the recording. Because of the time factor we mixed and matched our equipment on stage and the keyboard player of Jimmy’s band kindly offered to let me use his Hammond Organ. The Curtis Mayfield song, ‘I Need You’ was sung by me and all other songs by Jess Roden. His version of ‘Down in the Valley’ is outstanding but it was probably ‘The Boomerang’ that summed up the band’s exciting live performance with John Helliwell blowing superb sax.Jeff Bannister, keyboard & vocals, The Alan Bown Set.
More about the band can be found here.