(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments


Carlyle ReedyCarlyle Reedy

(Episode Three) Notting Hill and the Arts 1967-1972: an interview with Dave Russell – Jazz, Psychedelic Rock Bands, Poetry, Frestonia, Release and Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments.

Hello Good People who read and contribute to this blog!

Thanks for waiting, there have been technical problems galore which after complaining to TalkTalk and reformatting the computer are gradually clearing up.

I have finally uploaded the third installment of the Dave Russell interview about The Crypt in Notting Hill . He also tells us a bit about Frestonia and Release.

Episode Three of the Dave Russell interview about The Arts and Community Centre Notting Hill

At the start of this post I have put a photo of Carlyle Reedy who started up and ran the club from 1967 to 1972. She is fairly reclusive at present but I hope to meet her soon.

Dave talks about them charging half a crown which is 2/6 ( two and six) in predecimal money which is 12 and a half pence in today’s money . Here is a poster kindly sent to me by Iain Jacobs for the club which has the price and several other interesting points. If you point your cursor over the picture you can enlarge it and read the details. You will see several well known names in music.

Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments Poster

Pete Brown who is best known for co-writing most of the hits for the band Cream was a performance poet.

Here is a bit I nicked from Wikkipedia:Pete Brown (born December 25, 1940 in Ashtead, Surrey, England) is a British performance poet, lyricist and musical producer, best known for his collaborations with Jack Bruce. He worked also with The Battered Ornaments, and formed his own group Piblokto!. He was part of the poetry scene in Liverpool during the 1960s and in 1964 was the first poet to perform at Morden Tower in Newcastle. In 2004 he formed Brown Waters, an award-winning British film production company[1], with Mark AJ Waters and Miran Hawke….

Brown was originally brought into the Cream fold as a writing partner for drummer Ginger Baker, but the group quickly discovered that he worked better with bassist Jack Bruce. Of the situation, Bruce later remarked “Ginger and Pete were at my flat trying to work on a song but it wasn’t happening. My wife Janet then got with Ginger and they wrote ‘Sweet Wine’ while I started working with Pete.”

Together, Brown and Bruce wrote the majority of Cream’s numbers, including the hits “I Feel Free“, “White Room” and (with Clapton) “Sunshine of Your Love“.

After the breakup of Cream, Bruce and Brown continued to write songs together for Bruce’s solo career. Brown wrote the lyrics for Bruce’s albums Songs For a Tailor, Harmony Row and Into the Storm.”

Chris Spedding is another well-known name who has worked with many people in the music business. Here is a bit taken from his website. It’s a very brief description of his career.

Guitarist/Singer/Songwriter Chris Spedding has been a mainstay of the British session scene since the late 60s, playing with just about everyone from Nucleus, Jack Bruce, John Cale, Elton John, Mike Batt, to Paul McCartney & The Bay City Rollers (anonymously!).
In 1975 Spedding had a hit record called “Motorbikin'”. In the late 70s he moved to the States and worked with Robert Gordon, Jerry Harrison, Dick Rivers and Johnny Hallyday.
Recently, Spedding played with Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, in the summer of 2005 he released a solo album “CLICK CLACK”. And plays The War Of The World tour!”

Chris’ website is http://www.chrisspedding.com/

It’s funny that I had The Wombles on my Christmas blog because I think Chris may have known them well.

I used to think The Wombles were a very lame excuse for people in the music business to make lots of money out of little children. I still think that but now seeing them on youtube makes me smile and they are almost cool…in fact I’d like be one on stage and do the dances etc…ok I’m being really uncool and must carry on.

getting back to the poster..in brief (as it’s late now and I need to lie down) …Jamie Muir was a free form percussionist and later played in King Crimson and is now a painter.

Charlie Hart has also done 10 billion zillion things here is a short extract from the biography on his website featuring a picture of Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments:

” As a student Charlie played organ in the psychedelic band 117. The group appeared frequently at the Middle Earth/UFO clubs and recorded at a legendary session with Mick Jagger and Andrew Oldham at Olympic Studios. By that point, Charlie was heavily into black music and the most sensible plan seemed to go to Africa, so he spent a year in Ghana. Highlife and traditional music became an obsession and the next year Charlie returned to sit in with highlife bands and study marimba.

After college he was asked to join Pete Brown’s Battered Ornaments with Chris Spedding, Dick Hextall-Smith and George Khan and he was introduced to the delights of the M1 and the Blue Boar. At that time he also started playing double bass with the People BandTerry Day, Mel Davis, Lyn Dobson, Mike Figgis, Davey Payne and they toured with the People Show. With Davey Payne and Terry Day he formed OMMU and they toured Holland frequently.

OMMU then joined Ian Dury, the eccentric art-school lyricist and Kilburn and the Highroads were at the front of the early 70s Pub-rock boom, free jazz meets rock and roll. Wreckless Eric was in the same stable, and Charlie played keyboards on his first LP. “

His website is http://www.charliehart.com

George Khan was a tenor saxophonist and all of them I’m sure were great ..I just don’t know them and I have to go to bed now! This took longer than I thought.

Next time maybe a bit of ranting, maybe a bit of Frestonia maybe a bit about Steve Hillage maybe some more posters from the 60s and 70s and 80s that are not published anywhere else or nicked ! I will see ..for now

Thanks for reading and bedtime!

but music before bed

see also

Frestonia-Your essential entertainment & lifestyle guide

Christmas TV….My nightmare!( a personal rant with nothing much to do with hippiecounterculture)


Hello good people who read this blog

I will be bringing you more of the Dave Russell interview on the Arts and Community Centre in Notting Hill sometime soon. At the moment it is proving to be impossible due to the very bad internet connection I have with TalkTalk if it doesn’t get better soon I’ll be changing my connection.

As well as the usual Christmas nonsense, all the stress, shoppers in Central London pushing everyone out of their way with a look of hatred in their eyes and post Christmas party puke on the pavements, there is of course British Christmas TV.

Christmas, Christmas, Christmas , bloody hell it’s Christmas! The most over used phrase on TV is ” let us take the nightmare out of Christmas” then they tell you of some expensive useless present or recipe or chaos or essential wardrobe accessory you never even anticipated and make you worried that you just can’t do enough to get the perfect Christmas.

So here are a few moments emblazoned in my brain of Christmas TV.

I saw an episode of a programme where an Indian woman with a strong Scottish accent went into the home of a Jewish family in the role of a traditional matchmaker to arrange a marriage for 42 year old woman .

In Jewish culture they already have a matchmaker tradition so why bring in a Scottish woman to do it the traditional Indian way? She wanted to find a husband so they were getting the parents and grandmother to find one for her.

Now call me picky or unpolitically correct but would you really trust your parents to pick your perfect husband? NO! I scream NO!

If you really want a nightmare at Christmas imagine your parents introducing you to some totally inappropriate person who is just like your parents and telling you this is the person you will have children with and are stuck with forever. To some this may seem like a very good idea in which case do it but for me and I hope I am not alone ,I’d rather be unmarried forever than have my parents chose my friends let alone my husband!

The nice Indian woman kept telling the “spinster” that she was getting old now and that she was too picky and had to be more flexible. Great. That would boost my self-esteem. “Hey , you’re old now so just go for whatever we dredge up for you or you’ll be a lonely old haggard spinster and no one will ever love you. ”

I also watched a programme called “the mixdown” reviewing music from 2007 . On it they had 2 of the women from “Girls Aloud ” reading through “Hello” and “Heat” magazine to comment about the photos of celebrities and whether they looked good or not. Well of course that’s what musicians do isn’t it? I mean it could have been Beethoven and Mozart sitting there flicking through ” Nuts” and ” Zoo” magazine to compare the size of women’s breasts or something.

What the hell has happened to music? “Girls Aloud” seem to be on all the channels this Christmas partly because Robbie Williams is unavailable this year and partly because they are in this new film “St Trinians”. At a time when there is even an outcry from the government to stop sexualising young girls in the media and portraying children as sexually available in childrens TV programmes, on all channels they are promoting this film . “St Trinians” is a girl’s school where it seems that most of them are wearing suspenders , stockings, high heels, caked in make-up and basically tarts!! The band “Girls Aloud” who are in their mid-twenties also play schoolgirls in sexy school uniforms playing in a rock band. Maybe they can get an arranged marriage at the same time? They sing a song claiming to be the”Defenders of Anarchy”. I’m sorry but unless you’ve been beaten up by police for protesting against Global Warming you don’t qualify!

I also have unfortunately seen this new competition with bands being judged by a panel of experts called “Unsigned”. If people want to compete in ballroom dancing that’s one thing but band competitions? No!!!! I have actually been in two competitions without even wanting to and I nearly went on the X-factor ( yes I know, but I was going to do it in a rebellious way and was going to play the guitar and be myself)

The last time I was asked to come along to this thing at “Cargo” in London and to bring a CD of my songs. It was really grim but I smile when I think of it as I was myself and it confused the hell out of the panel. There were all these young guys in bands with their image sales talk honed. Everyone had submitted press packages and one had a publicity pack that filled an entire box file. Everyone had biographies and photos and had recorded their demos with professionals. As for me ,I was an old hippie in my hippie dress and I’d recorded something very experimental that afternoon called ” Pixies” using lots of samples of myself and tons of effects and although maybe it was like me, a bit untidy, I liked it!

When they played all the demos the “Panel of Music Biz Experts” all listened seriously and the young hopefuls were so nervous I thought some would pass out. They had perfectly produced tracks in immaculately copied genres or sub-genres of music. Then they were on trial and the judges criticised the lyrics or said the production wasn’t good enough or told them their image was wrong.

Then they played mine. I was laughing in the audience as they played it. It made Stockhausen sound like pop. It had no lyrics although there were vocals, lots of strange sounds and pretty awful production and I had scrawled my name on the CD. The panel looked annoyed.( but I still think it’s OK for an experimental track and it has a melody and proper guitar playing and I sing harmonies!) Three of them refused to make any comment saying it was a waste of their time and a guy I think the editor of DJ magazine actually liked it…well no he didn’t like it he just didn’t hate it as much as the others did. Then they asked the band responsible to stand up and there was me in my forties in my hippie dress facing the scum of the music biz and trying not to laugh. They said I knew how to use effects well but really not to bother.

I was so glad they didn’t like it and was even gladder when a month later I got one of my experimental tracks played on the Rob da Bank show on Radio One.

All those young guys in bands so nervous and wanting to please and spending a fortune , I’ve never seen or heard of them again and I was the one who got played on Radio One . There is some irony there.

So today as I watched on the TV the Empress Jo Whiley passing judgement on some band who was trying very hard to both look and sound original and to please a panel , I just thought of Hendrix and Lemmy and the 1970s version of Ozzie …I don’t think they would have appeared there and if they did they would have had to write music according to The Music Biz Bible ( I’m sure someone wanting to earn a buck has written one somewhere).

My God what has music come to? Whatever happened to the concept of rebellion in Music?

After watching more of that sad programme “The Mixdown” I realised it’s all like The Emperor’s New Clothes. The media tell you some band are fantastic and great and they become famous for a while but any trained musician can hear that what they are playing on their instruments is very simple , any poet can tell you their lyrics are either cliched or trying too hard to sound deep without any message. It’s all hype and even the musicians seem to believe it.

I also saw Top of The Pops 2 with a collection of awful Christmas singles, more nightmares of Christmas. Including this one. It’s Status Quo in costumes with a Paul McCartney song (well not really but it could be)

Merry Bloody Christmas! This song is growing on me..let’s revive The Wombles!

P.S. I just found out the band who won the “unsigned” competition are called “Revenue” it says it all really , you couldn’t have made it up!