|1968-75(ish) The pre-history
Although the club has had an unbroken run
from 1979 to the present, there had been a folk club in Spalding before
this, run for most of the time by Colin Whyles, who has kindly
contributed his recollections (and some original photos and artwork! Click thumbnails to see them in their full glory)
ran the club from 1969 until some time in the mid 70’s, 1976
at the latest, although he was in touch with John and Penny Sykes when
started up again in 1979. Colin had
taken over from a previous organiser who had run things for about a year
already, so 1968 is the best estimate of the start date. For most of the time the club was held at
the Mailcart on Pinchbeck Rd, although it may have moved briefly to the White
Hart in the Market Place.
are his recollections:
”I can remember some of the artists we had:
- Alex Campbell
- Jasper Carrott
- Derek Brimstone
- Allan Taylor
- Martin Simpson
- John Foreman
- Sean Cannon
- Bill Caddick
- Magic Lantern
- Tim Laycock
- Saffron Summerfield
- Jack Hudson
- Pleasure Machine
and many others. There was
an amazing, quite mad chap I collected from London called Jack something. He
had an enormous range from high to low, several octaves. When I was driving him
out of London he suddenly shouted "Stop!". I stopped, he ran over to
an off-license and came back with a bottle of whisky, which he downed before we
reached Spalding. When we were well away from London he kept muttering that it
was unnatural for everything to be green and not concrete. And he read the name
'Cow-bit' with great relish until I corrected him!
He was a great entertainer, and I wish I could remember his name.
Sluicebridge, of course, was Bill Whaley, Dave Fletcher, Phil Bevins and
myself. I think there is even a picture of us at the club somewhere. (see left)
Pleasure Machine was another band I was in with Pete & Sue Castle. The name
was not my idea, and I hated it! We wrote all our own songs. Pete wrote really
clever, interesting songs. He eventually stopped writing and turned to trad
folk, which he still does.
Most artists came several times over the years, but not the madman! We had some
singers' nights, but they were never well subscribed.
We also held a disastrous festival in August 1972. It was intended to be in aid
of the Spastics Society. We were largely persuaded to run the festival by Colin Ward and perhaps also George Slinger, who were kicking
off their Live Promotions careers.
It was held along Cradge Bank. The festival area was screened off by container
lorries. We had some great artists all booked through an agent in Leicester:
Sean Cannon, Diz Disley, Johnny Silvo, Dave & Toni Arthur, probably Derek
Brimstone, and many others.
Diz Disley and Johnny Silvo arrived together in a Rolls Royce. Diz immediately
realised we hadn't got the crowds and called the artists together because he
was worried he wouldn't get paid. After all, he had a Rolls Royce to pay for.
There was no danger of him not being paid because the Spastics Society had
underwritten it, but it was a nasty experience.
The problem was that we had started too late and had missed getting publicity
into the universities before they broke up for summer.
We then ran many discos to reimburse the Spastics Society. For a long time
afterwards though I got telegrams from Dave & Toni Arthur demanding their
fee. I think they probably spent it on telegrams.”
Harriss got in touch with us to say he remembers going to the festival
and has even kept this advert which appeared in Sounds newspaper.
Harry says: "I clearly remember Johnny Silvo and Derek
Brimstone - other than that Saffron lingers longest in the memory, but then
she was better looking than them and I was just 15."