Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This time around Pete Clemons delves back the very early 70's and catches up with a band called Barnabus, who have recently reformed, for the Coventry Telegraph.

Drums - Tony Cox
Lyricist - Les Bates
bass - Keith Hancock
Guitar - John Storer

"The rock band Barnabus formed in 1970, in Leamington Spa, when pop covers band the Jay Bee Kay Pees split. Lead guitarist John Storer and bass guitarist Keith Hancock, enrolled drummer Tony Cox from the also recently defunct Rockin' Chair Blues Band. Barnabus started out playing covers from bands such as Black Sabbath, Trapeze, Deep Purple, to name but a few, but before long they progressed to writing their own numbers, with the help of a young lyricist/poet called Les Bates. They played all over the local area and in London. They were the support act for several "name" bands of the time - Man, Edgar Broughton, Trapeze. They even supported Hawkwind at the Coventry Locarno, and in 1971 recorded an album at Monty Bird's studios, in Snitterfield near Stratford Upon Avon. Barnabus won the Midlands heat of the Melody Maker Rock & Folk contest, in 1972, where the judges were Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi. The band eventually split up a year later, but reformed for a few charity gigs in 2009. All the members now play in other bands, but still play the occasional gig together. The band were promoted by their booking agents as Barnabas Legge although the band stuck with Barnabus themselves."

Some Text from the Hobo A to Z of Coventry bands

"Band Name Tony Cox has cleared up the confusion about the name of the band. The band's name was Barnabus but
" Barnabas (sic) Legge was the name our booking agents tried to persuade us to use, unsuccessfully!" Says Tony.
On the Broadgate Gnome site and originally on here there was an entry for both bands names as it wasn't clear if they were two bands with similar names. The spelling of the name was different too. Thanks for that clarification Tony.

Tony Cox explained
" Keith, John & I formed the band in 1970 following the demise of our previous bands, The JBKP's(K&J) and The Rockin' Chair Blues Band (me).

We started out as a rock covers band but soon started writing original material, aided by lyricist Les Bates. We had a bit of success, as well as the Melody Maker thing, we supported a several "Name" bands of the time, such as Man, The Edgar Broughton Band, Trapeze and Hawkwind.
The band split up in 1973 but got together again 3 years ago to play a few reunion gigs, mainly for charity."

Leamington based rock outfit. Played the Walsgrave 31st Dec 1970 and Tuesday 26th Jan 1971 (Silk Disco). Won Melody Maker 'National Folk/Rock Contest' early 1972. In 1970, as can be seen from the above advert in Broadgate Gnome, they played Henry's Blues House at the Mercers Arms. Just a few of their many gigs.

Tony Cox adds " The demand for 60s/70s original prog rock is not great and so we don't gig that often!! However John & Keith play in a 60s "pop" band called the JKPs and are always busy in the Leamington area. Keith and I also play in a Bob Dylan tribute band called The Bob Phillips Dylan Rhythm Band which gigs occasionally, but Dylan music is also a bit of a niche market. So to keep busy, I also play with a blues rock outfit called Hoochmongers, and our bass player is the very same Martin Johnson from The Rocking Chair BB days!! so we've gone full circle"


An early version of America by Barnabus

More tracks on Youtube by Barnabus - click through
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC1h4fuTc10 Apoclypse 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwDrScZ-W5E Resolute 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ra1Qb_20WI War Drags 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BSirixSFig Don't Cry for me Lady

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvdeDkX3P5o Perdita

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saCKDzG7fJg Clasped Hands

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jA8JuwCcc4 Gas Rise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvPPfC1OEoY Mortal Flight

And you know, there maybe even more - versions from 1971 and recently on youtube.
Look up the Hoochmongers and the individual muscians too.

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