Tamworth Bands History : 1970
|January - March||April - June|
|Black Sabbath play Polesworth||Contemporary Music and Cannabis in the town...|
|July - September||October - December|
|Jasper Carrot at the Jolly Sailor...||John Peel|
It’s 1970 – the 60’s are over along with the Summer of Love, Hippies, the Wilson Government and The Beatles. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were both to die from drug overdoses in the coming year, both aged just 27. In March at a Tamworth Conference held by the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers Union, there was a call for a £20 minimum wage, 40-hour working week and 3 weeks holiday.
Well, things had changed quite dramatically as far as local bands were concerned in 1970. No longer did you see regular performances by familiar names such as The Teen Beats, The Loving Kind etc. all these bands were now finished. Kathy and the Crusaders and the Five of Clubs were probably the busiest of local bands and the Discotheque (or Disk-o-Tek) and DJ were becoming very popular. The new ‘progressive’ or ‘contemporary’ music was now the ‘in’ thing and it appears that your average Tamworth teenager wasn’t quite ready to form a local prog-rock band. However, there was one new local band highlighted in the Herald in 1970. In February, under the headline “Local group hope to make charts” we read about Camelot who “describe the music they play as “heavy acid rock” and comprise of Aden Archer (19), drummer from Polesworth, John Snip (21) bass player from Tamworth and Rod Harrison (21) also of Tamworth, who plays lead guitar.
|Camelot - pictured left to right are lead guitarist Rod Harrison, bass player John Snip and drummer Aden Archer.|
In the same month we read about Charlie Harrison first mentioned in 1970 as a member of Paradox and who had also been a member of Chapter 24. Charlie was now a member of Judas Jump, a combination of two chart-topping groups the “Herd” and the “Amen Corner”
Some very big names played little old Tamworth in 1970, Black Sabbath paid a visit twice. On 24th January they played at Polesworth Memorial Hall. The hall was now ‘the’ venue for big-name acts with regular weekly gigs promoted by Millbank Promotions. In March they also played Tamworth College as part of the Students Union Rag Week. The gig was called Ffolly and was a Big Bear Records promotion with a selection of their top-acts, namely: Black Sabbath, Locomotive, Tea and Symphony and New Bakerloo (the ‘old’ Bakerloo being the band of Tamworth’s own Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson).
Another big-name to appear locally was Emperor Rosko (Radio 1 DJ of the time). To quote Barry John an equally big-name DJ in Tamworth “Without a doubt one of the greatest influences on my DJ career was Emperor Rosko. In my opinion he ran the top mobile disco in the whole country.” The Emperor performed at Polesworth Memorial Hall on 25th May 1970 with local top DJ Geoff Owen in support. Barry John was just starting out on his career as a DJ at this time, originally starting out as a mobile disco with the name 'JB Sounds' and the youth club at Amington Bandroom was Barry's practice ground. There was actually an advert in the Tamworth Herald for a Disco at the Bandroom on 22nd August 1970 – no DJ or Disco specified but could this have been Barry John’s first advertised performance? Here you can read, in his own words, the history of Barry John – DJ.
The Nolans, Jasper Carrot and Ruby Murray also played locally. Mr. Carrot performed at a new venue in the town, the Contemporary Music Club (upstairs at the Jolly Sailor). In a feature in the Tamworth Herald of 19th June, we read how “The club is designed to cater for the fans of the blues, folk and progressive types of music.” and “One of the main features of the club is that amplification will only be used when necessary and dancing will not be allowed as the club is for musical appreciation only.”
In the summer of 1970, if you were prepared to travel a bit, you could also go to the Pop ’70 Festival, an open-air gig held at Eton Park Football Ground, Burton-on-Trent where you could see The Move and Dozey, Beaky, Mick and Titch (no Dave!), it went on from 2.00pm ‘til 11.00pm and cost 15/- (75p – Ed.) And then at the end of the year on 17th December, again at Polesworth Memorial Hall, the mighty John Peel appeared with his favourite band of the time, Medicine Head.
The saga of what to do with the Assembly Rooms was still continuing with the Arts Club putting forward an imaginative scheme for improving the building. Talking of the arts, in March of 1970 the plan was proposed to demolish the building (unused at the time) on the corner of Church Street and Lower Gungate, which had been a theatre, malthouse and Baptist chapel and which was in five years time to become Tamworth Arts Centre. (How many bands might never have had the opportunity to perform ‘live’ if this reckless plan had actually come to fruition – Ed.)
The annual ‘New Folk Club for Tamworth’ feature appeared in the Herald and a new club The Bees Club started at Wilnecote Youth Centre. At the Palace Cinema you could see The Beatles splitting up on the big screen in Let it Be and also Carry on Camping, Carry on Spying, Carry on Again Doctor, Carry on Up the Jungle and Carry on Constable - all in one year.
In June of 1970, for the first time the Tamworth Herald carried a news item mentioning cannabis, under the front page headline “Cannabis drug peddled among students” we read how “Cannabis resin bought by a 17-year-old college student at £9 an ounce was peddled among fellow students.” In October it appeared again when the Herald carried the news item: “Jazz drummer on cannabis charge at Tamworth”, we read how “An internationally known jazz drummer appeared before Tamworth magistrates charged with possessing cannabis. Phillip William Seaman had been a member of several international orchestras and was at present leading his own band… it had turned out that he was a registered heroin addict”. And finally on 30th October 1970, cannabis appeared in the Herald again: “Contact at youth club supplied five young men with cannabis – Tamworth court told” A “contact” at Tamworth Youth Club supplied cannabis resin to five young men who appeared before Tamworth magistrates on Tuesday. “This is somewhat disturbing”, said Mr. Gray (prosecuting), “It would appear that cannabis is around in the town”. He hoped that the Bench would reach a decision which would tell other young people in the town of the seriousness of taking the drug.”
And finally, under the headline: “Skinheads” v “Hairies” “Cowardly & brutal attack,” court told…”During a “cowardly and brutal” attack by six ‘skinheads’ on two ‘hairies’ three of the ‘skinheads’ put the boot in on one of their victims as he lay on the ground.” With a hint of surprise, the Herald reported “Two of the ‘skinheads’ were said to be youths of above-average intelligence and to have recently passed Ordinary level examinations in six subjects with high-level markings. Another was said to be an ex-grammar school boy.”