Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rocking at the Gaumont

Another article hits the press - Coventry Telegraph - from the pen of Pete Clemons. This time he regales us with the rock history at the Gaumont in the 1950's. If the likes of Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran and Cliff Richard ring a rock tune in your head - read on -

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Indian Summer - Coventry band

Peter Clemons treats to the first of two articles top 70's Coventry Prog-rock band Indian Summer, published recently in the Coventry Telegraph.

Keyboard player Bob Jackson went on to play with a range of top artists and bands including John Entwhistle's Ro Ro and then Ross, Pete Brown's Piblokto, Badfinger, Dodgers and more recently The Fortunes. 

This is part 1, part two when published with focus on their 1971 album Indian Summer.


More on Hobo - A to Z of Coventry Bands

From Coventry Evening Telegraph 1971

Trev Teasdel "Summer 1970, Indian summer played Pete Waterman's Walsgrave pub Progressive Music venue. I was doing the door for Pete and through bass player Malc Harker (who was soon to leave the band) booked them for the Coventry Arts Umbrella club. The Umbrella was only a small venue but the Friday night band sessions went on until about 2am. We were lucky to get them, the band were in big demand at that stage and not long afterwards made their first album for RCA Neon - still a classic on the Prog-rock scene after all this time."

The early version of Indian Summer with Paul Butterfield (far left) and Al Hatton 2nd left.

More on tracks on Youtube

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Mercers Arms Music Venue

Another article from the hot pen of  Pete Clemons from the Coventry Telegraph - this time charting the history of the Mercers Arms venue -


Addition Information Below
DJ Mark Brown at the Mercers Arms 1968

Mike Tyzack on Historic Covnetry http://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/memories/m-tyzack.php remembers - " In 1959 I started going to jazz clubs: There was The Weary City Jazz Club at The Mercer's Arms in Highfield Rd. They had visiting bands including Chris Barber and his band."

New Modern Idiot Band (Rod Felton / Rob Armstrong) played there in the late 60's.
Fat mattress 9th Nov 1969
At Henry's Blues House - Mercers Arms 1971 - 
Satisfaction - Thurs Jan 7th
Alan Bown - Thurs Jan 14th
Climax Chicago Blues Band - Thurs Jan 21st
Julian's Treatment - Thurs Jan 28th 
Mogul Thrush - Thurs Feb 4th
Dando Shaft - Thurs Feb 11th
Duster Bennett - Thurs Feb 18th
Medicine Head (with guest - Keith Relf on guitar / Trev Teasdel on Jews Harp! - See story!) - Thurs Feb 25th

On Thursday 25th February 1971, Trev Teasdel (then organising the band nights at the Coventry Arts Umbrella and assisting Pete Waterman on the door at the Walsgrave Pub Progressive Music nights every Tuesday, went to the Mercers Arms with local drummer Steve Harrison and they met up with some female friends - the two Jans', Louise and Jackie. Trev had heard Medicine Head on John Peel and bought their first sing His Guiding Hand ( on the John Peel 'Dandelion label). Medicine head were a two-piece with songwriter John Fiddler on guitar and one man band drums and Peter Hope Evans on harmonica and Jews Harp. Peter however was off ill that night and a strange, unannounced guitar player took his place. As they had no Jew's Harp player John Fiddler asked if anyone in the audience played Jew's harp and would like to join them on stage for a couple of numbers. The girls volunteered Trev on stage. Although he had began writing his own songs and poetry, it was his first ever venture on stage! Quite daunting with such luminaries as Medicine Head but little did he know who the mystery guitarist was, that he shared a mic with and whom shared his bear with (Jew's Harp makes your mouth quite dry!). The band struck a twelve bar and Trev watched the guitarist fingers, noting his skill as he played along on the Jew's Harp but not realising just who he was! It should be noted that Trev was used to a small Jew's Harp that you could buy in the local music shop but the roadie had opened a box of assorted harps and gave a huge version that vibrated the hell out of his mouth! Coming off stage the roadie asked Trev if he knew who the mystery guitar player was. It turned out that it was only former Yardbirds lead singer Keith Relf, only his hair was a long longer these days. Keith had taken Medicine head under his wing and was now playing in a new band Renaissance!  Not bad for a first gig! Trev tried to book Medicine Head for the Umbrella Club but their fee was way out of the Umbrella's range!


c 1974 Jim Reilly ran the The Cosmic Music Club at the Mercers Arms 

Read more about Direct Enterprises and The Cosmic Club here http://covdiscoarchive.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/direct-enterprises-coventry-music.html


Bob Caldwell 

THE publicity surrounding Coventry City's planned new stadium reminds me of a venue much loved by jazz enthusiasts which became a casualty of an earlier redevelopment.

The Mercer's Arms, opposite the Sky Blues' Highfield Road football ground, was flattened to make way for a car park. In its final years the pub was known as the Sky Blue Tavern.

But in its heyday the Mercer's Arms was the venue where several local bands and many national names packed in the crowds during the decades when jazz was indeed a popular music.

Bands such as The Idaho attracted large Saturday night audiences during the late 1950s and the average age of the musicians was about 19.

At about the same time, a band composed mainly of art students, The Weary City Jazz Band, became so popular that its sessions were extended to both Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Trumpet player Paul Barnes is now a BBC radio presenter and clarinetist Jack Ashby took up tenor and now leads The Jack Ashby Band.

Possibly the most significant development was the Dud Clews Jazz Orchestra, which played the big band music of Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and McKinney's Cotton Pickers.

Saturday sessions were enormously popular from 1962 to 1974 and it is sad that Dud never lived to see how his original idea evolved into today's vintage big band, Harlem.

Enthusiastic local promoter Harry Flick brought modern jazz to The Mercer's for several years.

I remember hearing Stan Tracey, Ben Webster, Joe Harriott, Ronnie Scott, Tubby Hayes and countless others.

Meanwhile, the great traditional and New Orleans bands were making the pub a Friday evening haven with Ken Colyer, Terry Lightfoot, Alex Welsh and Colin Kingwell.

Harlem performed there with American legends George Kelly and Benny Waters as recently as 1982 and it is a source of regret that a building with such a history should end up being demolished.


Mercers Arms
Another hardcore R&B / Jazz venue, this played host to a number of regular club nights like The Yardbird Club (1967 - 69), Tudor Club (1967), Henry's Blueshouse (1969) and Pete Waterman's Floorboards Club (1970). Legendary acts like The Graham Bond Organization, sax player, Tubby Hayes, flautist, Harold McNair, pianist Stan Tracey, reggae outfit The Skatalites and Shotgun Express (featuring Rod Stewart when he was good!) all performed there.
Sadly the venue is now demolished.

1967 The Penny Peep Show played at the Mercers Arms at the Tudor Club 19th November 1967

The Penny Peep Show


Coventry drummer Jim Pryal tells us that Leamington band Stepmother played at the Mercers arms in the mid 70's "The Mercers Arms Cov on a Monday night - 5 long haired hippies playing to an empty room till a coach load of rugby players came in!!! Mick Smitham of The Fortunes is on guitar along with me, Harry Frazer and Jamie Lord."

Below are a few photos supplied by Mark Rider of Coventry band 'Bullets' playing on stage at the Mercer's Arms in 1982. Bullets were Mark Rider- guitar, Ray Borkowski (bass) and Roger Strong (drums) and singer (unknown!). Mark and Ray had a duo called Sasp'rilla in 1974 and a band called reflex 1979 / 80 and mark was involved with the legendary Horizon Studio in Coventry where the first Selecter album was recorded by Roger Lomas. Mark is now in another duo called Skawaddy.