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I wonder if any of you at the Archive site realise the significanceof the 1966 Carnival Programme to the history of pub rock music in the UK and beyond and to Dr Feelgood aficionados in particular.

At that time, I played tea-chest bass in a band called The Hot Street Syncopators, (aka The North Avenue Jug Band), along with John and Malcolm Wilkinson, playing a few functions and busking opposite the Monico in the summer season.
We were engaged by Rodney H Vinall to perform at the "Open Talent Contest" mentioned in the Programme. (My vanity suggests that we were engaged to forestall our entry in the fear that we would sweep all other entries before us.) Malcolm's diary suggests that our payment for the evening was ten shilling tickets for the boxing event.

We bashed out our repertoire of 'Frisco Bay Blues, Ballad of John Hardy, Rock Island Line, Jelly Roll Baker, etc. before the contestants' performances and during the judging, as well as attempting to back 14 year old girls belting out "My Boy Lillipop".

At the end of the evening, we were approached by some younger lads who were interested in our music and we chatted for a while. Two of the lads were a Chris White and a certain Lee Collinson.

Not long after 1966, John Wilkinson went off to Newcastle University, Malcolm to study classical guitar and I moved to London and thence to Leeds. In the meantime, the baton of Canvey Jug Bands was taken up by the guys we had met after the talent contest and their friends, who formed a band that would, in time evolve into the Pigboy Charlie Band.

After a time, John Wilkinson returned from university and a trip to India, taking a teaching post after a spell as bus conductor. He met with Collinson and other members of the Pigboy outfit and was invited to join.The band changed its name to Dr Feelgood, Collinson his name to Lee Brilleaux and John Wilkinson became Wilko Johnson, performing to this day in his own band.

So, you see, the 1966 Programe represents documentary evidence of the first meeting of those tectonic plates, Lee Brilleaux and Wilko Johnson, a collision that sent shock waves throughout the world of Rock.

By Tony Maguire
On 11/04/2009

Thanks Tony for that fascinating piece of Dr Feelgood history. Just wait till I tell my friend Sandra Davis who lent us the program, she will be tickled pink

By Janet Penn
On 12/04/2009

Hi Tony - thanks for this insight - I was only walking round Canvey Island Sea wall with Chris White (Fenwick).

By David Bullock
On 12/04/2009

I was doing a search for my dad, Rodney Vinall (Rodney Horace Vinall) on the internet, and this article came up.

Dad was involved with Canvey Island Youth Club before I was born (May 1966) at least, I don't remember him being involved as I was growing up. As far as I am aware, he took the job to earn a bit of extra money, and my childhood was littered with stories, photos and films concerning the youth club. He often said that he engaged pop groups before they became famous, but, I have never really known if he was "embroidering" the truth to make it all sound a bit more interesting!

Dad was always going round with a camera and a cine camera, although he didn't always remember to put a film in! I think there are still photos of his time running Canvey Island Youth Club, and there are certainly films of Canvey Island carnival that he had put on to videos years ago.

My father was born in October 1915. He was a merchant seaman, and married my Mum in 1960, after which he made do with dry land for a few years. He went back to sea when I was 12. He finally retired when I was 16, but carried on doing small jobs well into his 70's. Mum and Dad moved to Norfolk in 2002, and Dad died of Pancreatic cancer in October 2006, one week after his 91st birthday (they do say that only the good die young). Although, true to form, when he was diagnosed with cancer in March 2006, he was given three weeks to live, in May 2006, he was still driving! and finally went on for seven and a half months - Dad was always a bit of a rebel, and never did what anyone told him to do, so going on for an extra seven months was true to character.
My Mum moved from Norfolk to Kent in 2007 to be closer to me.

Neil Vinall

By Neil Vinall
On 17/08/2009

Hi Neil,
I knew your dad well back in the sixties at the Youth Club at Furtherwick School on Canvey and am sorry to hear of his death. Not only did I play in the Jug Band, mentioned above, I knew most of the bands that played and practised at the club, particularly, with a band called "The Heap", the lead guitarist of which was John Wilkinson "now aka Wilko Johnson" and the band listed as "the fabulous IT group" on the page of Sandra Davis' programme, advertising the Carnival Ball, MCed by Rodney.
I don't believe that any of the bands from the club (and quite a few practised and played there) became big in the form they had then. However, I can think of at least two musicians that achieved some degree of success. The first is Dave Higgs who was in a band at the club, the name of which escapes me. In the mid seventies, with Barrie Masters et al, he formed Eddie and The Hotrods, gaining national and some international fame. A Top of the Pops performance by the Hotrods of "I'm Gonna Quit This Town" can be found on Utube, Dave is the guitarist at the back in the leather jacket. The other is, of course the above mentioned lead guitarist of the Heap who went on to international recognition with Dr Feelgood, Wilko Johnson.
I think the youth club played its part in nurturing the music scene on Canvey and thus the Pub Rock explosion of the seventies. I believe your dad deserves a deal of credit for his encouragement of those young musicians not least for the provision of practice facilities and occasional gigs.
I am fascinated to hear that you have photos and videos of that era. If it is at possible for you to share these, I would be delighted. I'm sure that we could put a lot of names to faces.

By Tony Maguire
On 05/09/2009

To Tony Maguire: Do you remember a chap called Peter Mason who was around at that time also? I'm trying to find out a bit about him and his connection to Jackie Ward. The information is hard to come by so any scrap you may have would be helpful.

By Richard Lincoln
On 15/08/2010

To Richard Lincoln: the name does strike some kind of chord although a face does not spring to mind.Perhaps some further context (eg was he part of the music scene?) might Help. Over recent months, I have made contact with a number of good friends from that era and shall ask them. I'll write again if I turn anything up.

By Tony Maguire
On 09/09/2010

Hi can you tell me are you the Sandra Davis that went to school with Julia Marven julia and I are married by the way great pictures

By Andy Buxey
On 06/02/2012

Hi, a bit late I know but I've only just picked up this thread about Canvey Youth Centre bands and Rodney Vinall. Prior to the 'Heap' John Wilkinson, his brother, John Martin( later Big Figure) and another guy from North Ave were the 'Roamers'c.1963/64. At that time there were at least three Canvey bands doing regular gigs at the Youth Centre at Furtherwick Pk School; the Roamers, our band the 'Premiers'( me on vocals, my brother Chris on drums/vocals, Ian Fullicck, lead guitar, Ian Thompson,bass and the late Dave Newitt,rythm) also I think the 'Essex Five were on the scene too. In 1964 a big Pop Group contest was organised, presumably by Canvey Warden Rodney Vinall, between bands from Rochford, Hockley and Canvey Youth Centres.The contestants numbered app 8/9 bands including the aforementioned Canvey outfits and names remembered from the'mainland'; Tim Gentle and the Gentlemen, The Rivals, Jokers Wild, and'Ian and the Dimensions. The Premiers won, probably by default as we were the last band on and a Canvey band to boot! The local support was overwhelming as the majority of the audience ran towards the stage and started screaming before we even played a note. However we had the benefit of two major prizes, again through the good offices of Mr Vinall. 1. A non fee-paying Sunday afternoon gig at the' 2 i's Coffee Bar' in Soho. 2. The opportuny to make a 45 record of a self-penned original number. The '2 i,s' gig generated three suppoting band jobs for top bands of the time; Tony Rivers and the Castaways at the Whitehall, East Grinstead, the Nashville Teens at Haverhill Town and Lulu and the Luvvers at Clacton Town Hall. The recording was made at Curly Claytons studio in Highbury N.London.(Google up Curly he was an 'old school' jazz guitarist whose fame includes producing the first demo by the fledgling Rolling Stones in 1962). Our effort on his Silver Phoenix label was entitled 'Tears, Tears' written by Chris Stevens and we managed to self-finance and sell 500 copies. Nevertheless I think we can claim that we were the first Canvey band to cut vinyl(Thanks to Mr Vinall) Even Force Five didn't release'Don't make my baby blue' or Shaking Postman till 1965. So, Neil I recall your Dad as a bundle of energy at the Youth Centre and he certainly wasn't embroidering the truth ,he must have had some useful contacts on the Pop Scene in the early 60s. Thanks to him we can say '' Oh yes we made a record and supported a few top bands in the 60s.

By Graham Stevens
On 09/02/2012

I remember the Furtherwick Youth Centre well. We were one of the bands that practiced there in the 60s. Our band was the Trolls. I played guitar, Mike Langridge - bass, Vic Collins - Lead guitar and Steve Prout - drums.

At one point we joined up with a vocalist by I cannot remember his name. Then, later still Jim Proops joined as vocalist. Great times.

We played quite a bit around Canvey... the Island Yacht Club and youth clubs and even made it to the Southend Odeon.

I eventually moved to Canada, formed another band and made it to the top of the Canadian and USA charts with few releases.

Love to hear from anyone else who remembers these times, and if anyone remembers the name of the band that played outside the Lobster Smack and had a left handed guitarist.

cheers

Paul Andrew Smith

 

By Paul Andrew Smith
On 06/01/2016

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