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Klooks Kleek (blues club in West Hampstead)

12 Aug 08 - 03:46 AM (#2411248)
Subject: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Going back through my late 60s memorabilia recently (it's what you do when you're getting REALLY old and grey), I came across my membership card for Klooks Kleek - the blues club held in the upstairs room at the Railway Tavern in West Hampstead. (And - no - I don't collect bus tickets...)

Which reminded me of a wonderful session there with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - the line-up being JM, Mick Taylor (guitar), Jon Hiseman (drums), Tony Reeves (bass), Henry Lowther (trumpet) and Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxes). Taylor left shortly afterwards to join the Stones, and Hiseman and Reeve became founder members of Coliseum.

Any old Kleekians around?

12 Aug 08 - 03:54 AM (#2411250)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: The Borchester Echo

I used to go. The membership card was like a tube ticket, IIRC.
Saw Eric Clapton there many a time but it's not often you bump into him in the pub nowadays.

12 Aug 08 - 04:00 AM (#2411251)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Hi Diane - never saw Clapton there, as it happens. By the way, did you ever think West Hampstead was a euphemism for Kilburn?

12 Aug 08 - 04:13 AM (#2411261)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: The Borchester Echo

If you got off at Kilburn by mistake you'd have about a mile to walk.
When I saw Cream there I think it was the first time they'd played out.

12 Aug 08 - 08:18 AM (#2411393)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Big Al Whittle

I didn't keep any 1960's memorabilia - I thought it was always going to be that good.

I used to KK advertised in Melody Maker - and wish I was hanging out with all you London sophisticates.

12 Aug 08 - 08:29 AM (#2411405)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: GUEST,Hootenanny

Nobody so far mentioning seeing the Real Thing at Klooks Kleek; Howling Wolf.
Where were you then?

12 Aug 08 - 08:32 AM (#2411406)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Missed him at Klooks Kleek! But saw him live in Leeds in (I think it was) '64 - the year the Blues Train tour came to the UK. You know the one - Sister Rosetta Tharpe playing on a station siding platform in Manchester...

12 Aug 08 - 08:34 AM (#2411407)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Incidentally, the Wolf told us backstage that, as a young man, he'd been stationed with the US troops in Norfolk, and used to go to the local pubs.

The thought of the Wolf growling "I asked for water but she gave me gasoline" in Norfolk pub is still enthralling...

12 Aug 08 - 04:00 PM (#2411832)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Dave Sutherland

Will, you are the second person I have heard today reminisce about a John Mayall gig (the other was at The Boat Club, Nottingham) Actually the late, great Dick Heckstall - Smith was also a founder member of Colosseum, what a band, and Jon Hiseman actually wanted him as co-leader of the outfit.
Diane, Klooks Kleek was the first London appearance of Cream according to Chris Welch's book "Cream". Prior to that the had played The Twisted Wheel, Manchester and The National Jazz and Blues Festival, Windsor

12 Aug 08 - 04:23 PM (#2411855)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Leadfingers

As my 'home base' was thirty miles out of London and I was only there for short periods , and without transport (Military Service) I was aware of Klooks Kleek , but it was IMHO too Electric for my Trad Jazz and early Folk tastes so I never got there - Something I feel was no great loss to me ! LOL .

12 Aug 08 - 05:06 PM (#2411895)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

I thought that that particular Mayall line-up - while it lasted - was excellent. I saw one of their later gigs, just before John disbanded them, at the old Marquee in Wardrour Street. Good - but not as good as the KK session. I saw Cream around '66 at the Central Pier, Morecambe. Stood right at the front of the stage, with a purple backlight shining through Clapton's afro hair style! He played Gibsons in those days, and there were several SGs and Les Pauls painted in "psychedelic" colours standing on the stage behind him. The set ended with a huge drum solo from Baker, who was then carried offstage by two roadies. Laugh? I thought I'd never stop.

13 Aug 08 - 12:38 PM (#2412601)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Kevin Sheils

Klooks Kleek was an occasional venue for me.

I remember seeing Steam Packet there in particular.

My main memories of Clapton was going to the weekly residency by The Yardbirds at the Marquee (Either Tue or Wed nights, can't recall) support band was The Mark Leeman Five.

13 Aug 08 - 12:43 PM (#2412607)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Roger the Skiffler

Henry Lowther still coaches a big band hereabouts and has appeared at Jagz club in Ascot.


13 Aug 08 - 01:44 PM (#2412659)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Bonzo3legs

"Klooks Kleek was the first London appearance of Cream"

Perhaps this was 15 November 1966 - I was there!

13 Aug 08 - 02:00 PM (#2412678)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: fat B****rd

I thought the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival was Cream's first appearance. The night England won the World Cup !

13 Aug 08 - 03:27 PM (#2412783)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Bonzo3legs

No, their second - I was there too.

14 Aug 08 - 02:32 AM (#2413225)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Rasener

I bought an LP a very long time ago (about 1965/6) called Zoot - Live at Klooks Kleek.
I didn't get to see that, but saw Zoot Money,s Big Roll Band at one of the colleges just by Central Fire Station in Brum. The place was heaving and Zoot and his band were brilliant.
Only got to see John Mayalls Blues Breakers live in Birmingham when there was a music club under one of the arches of Snow hill station in Birmingham. Can't remember the name of it now. That was the first time that Mayall had gone out with Peter Green as Lead guitar (Clapton had just left the band).

14 Aug 08 - 03:17 AM (#2413250)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Zoot Money live was a great experience. Saw him at the Floral Hall, Morecambe in the mid-60s. He ended up the set standing on the organ stool, swigging a bottle of brandy and letting his trousers slowly fall down to reveal cavernous underpants with huge red spots on them. The music was pretty good too - he had Paul Williams and Andy Summers in the band at that time. I bought a ZM CD recently - but, after the live experience, it seemed a bit tame.

Zoot, I think it was, when the band finally disbanded - at a gig in Bournemouth - wheeled the band gear to the end of the pier and pushed it into the sea,

14 Aug 08 - 03:24 AM (#2413254)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Rasener

That sounds like him LOL

14 Aug 08 - 06:46 PM (#2414098)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: hobo

In the years 1961-1968 there was a Beat scene around Belsize Park coffee bars (the Witches Cauldron, The Moon & Sixpence, et. al.) & around '63 I recall seeing little black & white handbills stuck to lampposts with the text (in Frontier-syle font), 'Wanted, Dead or alive: Anyone who doesn't go to see The Rolling Stones live at Klooks Kleek'...


05 Oct 13 - 10:38 AM (#3564454)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: GUEST,Dick Weindling

Our book on Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek will be published by The History Press in November 2013. It was written in collaboration with Dick Jordan and Geoff Williams who ran the club at the Railway Hotel from 1961 to 1970. I am sure it will bring back lots of memories for everyone who went to Klooks.

The Appendix has a list of the names and dates of everyone who played there.


05 Oct 13 - 12:16 PM (#3564476)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: Will Fly

Excellent, Dick - thanks for the heads-up.

14 Nov 13 - 12:59 PM (#3575601)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek

Looking forward to seeing and reading this book.
Would anyone have, or know of any photographs of the ARTWOODS at Klooks Kleek or possibly the GEORGE & DRAGON, Acton or any other venue.
Also, does anyone have information and photographs of a band called REDD BLUDD BLUESICIANS or predecessor DON WILSON BAND.
Thanks, Tony.

15 Nov 13 - 05:12 AM (#3575831)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby

I went once, on a trip down from the north-west. Saw Zoot and the boys, - years later I reminded Zoot that he'd done Mabel John's "Your Good Thing" and that I ordered her Stax single as soon as I got home. He couldn't recall ever having it in their set. Anyway - recollections; - A large rambling dark-wood pub, steep steps up to the clubroom, low stage - Health and Safety issues but did we care!?
There's a short and shakey Youtube clip of Zoot there, doing "Your One And Only Love" - trouser removal n' all. Revisited the pub a few years ago; upstairs all shuttered and looking derelict and with staff unaware and uninterested that such a large part of UK music history involved the space above their heads.
Saw Cream on the same trip, - large pub near Manor House tube, easy to get into bandroom to say 'hi' - no security, Ginger's Mum in there with them too, Eric amazed that I'd come all the way down for a week of mod-clubbing.

Thanks for this thread - timeless and very precious memories.

15 Nov 13 - 05:18 AM (#3575836)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby

PS - to previous post.
It was late 1966 when I was there!

15 Nov 13 - 12:18 PM (#3575959)
Subject: R E: Klooks Kleek
From: GUEST,Clive Pownceby

I'm getting quite enthused by this now - a real nostalgia trip! I've been into my scrapbooks!
It would have been the week commencing 16th October when I made my exciting trip to London. Friday 21st saw me at the Cream gig I referred to above - it was a club called 'Bluesville' at the Manor House, now a Costcutter store! That same week, quite apart from the Klooks gig, I was at the Nags Head in Battersea, (demolished now) which used to have a blues club called 'Kilroys' where Savoy Brown (Kim Simmonds - impressive guitar wiz) had a Wednesday residency and a Folk Club on another night - saw Johnny Silvo there and went to Cecil Sharp House another night to see Shirley Collins, Carthy & Swarb, and I think also Anne Briggs and Bob Davenport were on the same bill - all for 12/6d which I recall thinking was a bit pricey!!!!

Not a bad week, 5 gigs in 7 days. What was I doing for the other two?!
Eclectic tastes too, for a young mod!

No longer have my Klooks membership card, which I remember as having quite professional graphics - would love to see a photo or scan or whatever, if anyone could facilitate this?

13 May 24 - 04:47 AM (#4202449)
Subject: RE: Klooks Kleek

Saw John Mayal-Jack Bruce-mickie waller-eric Clapton -ginger Baker -mick taylor-
also saw Rufus (do the dog)
Jimmy James & vagabonds with Jimmy Paige
steam packet Baldry-Driscol-stewart- Brian auger
and early version of Drifters