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A page on personal history, well not too personal!!
If you are reading this,... my own version of 'This is your life'!!! then you must be desperate! You'd get more entertainment reading the births, deaths and marriages, in your local newspaper, particularly, the deaths! but if you are really determined, and won't take no for an answer,.... here goes!
Early days I was born in St Mary's Hospital, Portsmouth, and have lived here, in Portsmouth, all of my life. My school life was very basic. Photo 1 is me at the age of about two. Photo 2, I am about six. The one with the bird on my arm, number 3, I was about nine, the bird's age is uncertain. then photo 4 in Air Training Corps uniform, I was about twelve. I was only involved with the ATC for a few months, but never flew! When I was 47 years old, I took my first aeroplane flight! I went to a few local junior and secondary schools the last being known as Portsdown Secondary Modern in the late 1950's, but it probably has a different name now! Just before Portsdown, I went to a private school called 'Chivers', and later 'Esplanade House School', it was awful! It wasn't until I was about 27 that I obtained an O level GCE English Language! and that's still the only one I have! At this time I was attempting to pass a horse riding instructors examination, but failed.
The Pass port photos 5 to 8, show me from the age of 17 through to about 25, with various lengths of hair! that's when I had some!!
I started work, age 16, in 1960 with a few shop jobs that are best forgotten, eventually settling with British Rail in their accounts office very close to Fratton Park, in Portsmouth. After seven years, the office was centralised to Southampton and I made the journey there for a further two years. Nothing much to say about this time, other than It was not enjoyable.
The year 1969 saw me setting out as a professional musician. For the best part of nine years I had been semi-pro in groups with such glorious names as "The Four Tunes", later "The Fortunes", then later still The Original Fortunes. The others here were brothers Ron and Ken Hughes, Dave Cawte, Don Golding and Peter Richardson, who was known to all as Richie Peters! see photo 9, which became "The Rampant!" see photo 10.
The next group were "The Soul Society" and as they name suggests we played Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. Names I remember are Phil Freeman, John Davies, Mark Hunter Stuart Ward, and Kenny Hill!, See photo 11.
The next group/band were called "Heaven" comprising, Brian Kemp(Bass Guitarist/Vocalist), Andy Scarisbrick(Guitarist), Ray King(Sax), Ray Holloway(Flute), Dave Gautry(Horns), Nobby Glover(Drums), and me. See photo 12.
Our type of music was once described as 'electric Donovan' My one claim to fame here, is that we were the second group on, on the first day of the 1969 Isle of Wight pop festival! Bob Dylan was on the third day! we never saw him!
After about 18 months there was a split and I left, they went on to record for CBS.
Then came a number of years working as a duo with assorted drummers.
Later I teamed up with Geoff Davis, Jim Armstrong, and Shelley Marden, we played a summer season in 1973 at Highfields Holiday Park in Clacton, Essex, England. See photo 13.
In 1975. Geoff, Jim and I started a residency at the 'Honky Tonk Bar' on the seafront area of Portsmouth, known as Southsea. The group had various names, Geoff Davis and the Gee Dees, Geoff Davis and the Honky Tonk Band. See photo 14 and 15, they show Geoff in action. The personnel changed over the next five years to include Mick King, Fred Illingworth, Chris Lowe, Dave Knight and Nobby Glover, see photos 16 and 17. I eventually ran out the only consistent member of the three and four and five piece groups that were there. The bar closed down in 1980 and turned into a disco. During the 1980's I did two summer seasons on the South Parade Pier, which is situated very close to the Honky Tonk Bar. During the late 1980's I also started working as a solo keyboard player/singer, and still today I am earning my living this way!
Just a few years back I did link up with three other grey haired aging rockers and we played 50s and 60's pop and rock'n'roll but sadly it only lasted about a year. Great songs that I enjoyed playing but it seems I was cut out to be a solo act!
and this I will do as long as I can.
My musical tastes are so varied, anything and everything from Rossini to Little Richard! The only type of music I don't have a lot time for is traditional jazz but I can listen to it in short bursts.
Name dropping time!!!
Whilst with the Fortunes in the early 60's we supported Tom Jones at Camberley, the day he hit number one with "It's not unusual"!!! and others that come to mind are Ronnie Carroll, The Brookes Brothers, The Big Three.
My days in 'Heaven' are memorable for meeting and playing alongside names like Jethro Tull, Idle Race, Move, Deep Purple, Incredible String Band, Juicy Lucy, Bonzo Dog band, Hardin & York, Amen Corner, Status Quo on the day that 'Pictures of Matchstick men' topped the charts!, Edgar Broughton, David Bowie, The real Fortunes, and John Peel! to name but a few!!!
With the Geoff Davis Band, people like comedians Jim Bowen, Charlie Williams, Russ Abbot, Frank Carson and 50's singer Wee Willie Harris, and probably a host of others that have slipped my memory!
When Brian Kemp, the bass player singer in Heaven, died, the remaining Heaven members gathered together again and after a couple of month's rehearsal, gave a re-union performance on South Parade Pier, Southsea in Brian's memory. Money raised on the night was given to the local hospital.
We tried to organise group re-unions of The Fortunes/Rampant. We had a number of rehearsal sessions at my house, but in the end, the idea of playing again seemed less important. However we did get one photo taken. It shows Me, Ron Hughes, Pete Richardson, Ken Hughes, and Dave Cawte. Shortly after the photo was taken we went our separate ways again. Photo to be added soon.
Phil Freeman was the Soul Society singer, and he and I met up again in 2001 as Phil's daughter Emma was married and I took the official wedding photographs. Here's me with the camera and Phil in his fineries, and it was Phil's brother Roger, who took this picture. We appear to be attempting some kind of handshake for the camera, but don't ask what kind!
Life and other things
I am a Capricorn, and have some slight interest in astrology, Capricorns are supposed to be late starters, and in my case that is very true.
Back in the early eighties, I decided that I wouldn't be able to drag loads of heavy music equipment around when I was old a grey, so thought it would be easy to carry a camera around and get paid for it. For the last 15 years I have also been a professional photographer, specialising in Weddings. For all of that time I have been a member of the Portsmouth Camera Club.
My interest in Pompey Football(soccer) Club has been life long. I first saw a game at Fratton Park in about 1953/4ish. I wish I could remember which games. I am planning an update of the 1984 history book that I was a co-author of, but that may not be for a year or so. The greatest joy of my life in recent years are my God children Antony, Rebecca and Mary Sexton, they are beautiful.
I wish I knew!,, although,.. perhaps I'm glad I don't,,,,,.