Meet the Rock Groups - No 9 in the series, The Musical battle of Agincourt.The name "Agincourt" usually conjures up pictures ofa fearsome battle and the figurehead of Henry V. To the residents of Portsmouth's Agincourt Road in Mile End , it signifies the strains of three " rock " groups vying with one another in their practice sessions to privide the most original best rehearsed performance
One of the groups which contributes to the Agincourt mutual evenings is known as The Tennessee Studs, alias The Strangers of three years ago. An old Italian mandolin and a somewhat unusual improvised instrument, a biscuit tin, were all that four Mile End boys could muster between them when the skiffle " craze " started.
But they were determined to get with it, and it was agreed that all spare pocket money should be spent on new instruments. So the Tennessee Studs, under the leadership of 20- year oild Tony Porter,of 33, Agincourt Road, gave up all ideas of 600 c.c. motor cycles in favour of guitars and drums. Tony, an apprentice carpenter with a Southsea building firm, plays the rhythm guitar and sings although he said he was hoping to find a "full-time " singer so that he could concentrate on his guitar playing. Shipwright apprentice in Portsmouth Dockyard, Mike Snowdon (18), who lives at 16, Agincourt Road, plays lead guitar. Bass guitarist is another Mike," 19-year-old Mike Cooper of 72, Deerhurst Crescent, Paulsgrove, who is an upholsterer apprentice. The fourth member of the group is drummer Teddy Robinson (19), of 9, Chapel Street, Buckland, who works for a furniture firm.
ln mission hall
The whole style of the Tennessee Studs, right down to their routine steps, is based on The Shadows, who first achieved. fame through their backing to Cliff Richard's numbers. The Studs' first effort was staged, somewhat surprisingly, In a local mission hall. Then they specialized in skiffle now they vary their programme with a mixture of beat music and sentimental numbers, and aim always to make it possible to hear each instrument, rather than "just a lot of noise." Each has an outfit consisting or light grey trousers, bright lilac Jacket, with white shirt and black bow-tie, and black winkle-picker shoes. The £500 worth of equipment is not allowed to stand idle on Tuesday and Thursday evenings when the group have their two-half-a-half hour weekly practice sessions. Performancess have not been confined to Portsmouth, and visits a been made. to Crawley, Titchfield, Lovedean and Hayling.
As two members are still apprentices an offer of a three-month contract at a holiday camp next summer had to be rejected.
But the end of apprenticeships may herald the start of a professional show business career that, at least, is the hope of these four ambitious young men.