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SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s

GUEST,DAVE ARTHUR 06 Jul 18 - 11:42 AM
Rain Dog 06 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM
John MacKenzie 06 Jul 18 - 12:02 PM
Will Fly 06 Jul 18 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 06 Jul 18 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 06 Jul 18 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 06 Jul 18 - 02:43 PM
GUEST 06 Jul 18 - 06:36 PM
The Sandman 07 Jul 18 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 07 Jul 18 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Jul 18 - 12:19 PM
Will Fly 07 Jul 18 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Jul 18 - 02:43 PM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 07 Jul 18 - 08:55 PM
Will Fly 08 Jul 18 - 04:59 AM
Will Fly 08 Jul 18 - 05:17 AM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 08 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM
Will Fly 08 Jul 18 - 12:37 PM
The Sandman 08 Jul 18 - 03:23 PM
Rusty Dobro 09 Jul 18 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Dave Arthur 10 Jul 18 - 05:46 AM
John MacKenzie 10 Jul 18 - 02:56 PM
Herga Kitty 11 Jul 18 - 03:32 AM
Will Fly 11 Jul 18 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 11 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Eric the viking 12 Jul 18 - 06:16 AM
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Subject: SOHO IN THE 1950s AND 60s
From: GUEST,DAVE ARTHUR
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 11:42 AM

APOLOGIES TO THOSE THAT HAVE ALREADY SEEN THIS REQUEST UNDER MARTIN WINSOR REQUESTS. I'M JUST TRYING TO GET TO AS MANY PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN HELPING AS POSSIBLE.
I am working on a history of Soho, London, in the 1950s and early 60s and would welcome any more information on, amongst others, Martin Winsor, Redd Sullivan, John Hasted, Dominic Behan, Nigel Denver, Alex Campbell, Thameside Four, etc. There are so many myths, stories and anecdotes concerning them that I would love to hear. Funny stories, sad stories, personal memories of things said or done. Impressions of any of them -physically, temperamentally, as performers? Anecdotes of Soho in general at the time - the pubs cafes, clubs, characters, bookshops, record stores, etc. Any memories and impressions that will help bring the place alive and why it was such an interesting and important place in the 50s and 60s.
Your first visit? Did you live there there?
Names of people who were around in Soho at the time -not just the singers but local colourful characters such as Iron-foot Jack, Quentin Crisp, King David etc.
The Star Restaurant? The Nucleus? The Partisan? The SkiffleCellar? Jimmie's Cafe? The A&A? The Gs,
Get your thinking caps on, and trawl your memories. In a few years many of these memories will be lost forever! You can contact me at storyart at america on line dot com as well as here on Mudcat. Thanks so much for any help - Dave
This won't take as long as the Bert Lloyd biog - I haven't got that many years to spare!


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Subject: RE: SOHO IN THE 1950s AND 60s
From: Rain Dog
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM

You are probably already aware of this book

The Surrender of Silence- The Memoir of Ironfoot Jack

I have not read it yet.


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Subject: RE: SOHO IN THE 1950s AND 60s
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 12:02 PM

I used to frequent Les Cousins in Greek Street in the 60's, a few stories attach to that locus, and venue. I well remember both Martin and Redd, along with a few others, like Meg, who used to busk, and turned in Cousins quite often. Curly Goss who ran the Student Prince in Wardour Street, and later emigrated to NZ I believe.


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Subject: RE: SOHO IN THE 1950s AND 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 12:03 PM

What's the latest year of interest, Dave? I was there from '68 onwards (full-time), but only now and then before that.


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Subject: RE: SOHO in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 02:16 PM

Hi Rain Dog - I've got it on order but it's not out till August.
Thanks for replying.

Best - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 02:38 PM

Hi Will - I'm really interested in the 50s/early 60s. For several reasons, a couple of which are that my own early memories as a young teenager in Soho cover that period, and although a number of books have been written about Soho at the time, very few have the personal impressions and anecdotes of the less well-known (to the general public) Soho characters and places that I want to cover. It's a more general book than just about skiffle, or early folk and blues clubs - although, of course, they will come into it - I want to put those clubs and performers and audiences in a social context. What was going on outside the clubs - what and where were the cafes, pubs, bookshops, record shops etc., that people visited or hung out in; nearly all of which have long gone. So your early visits to Soho might be just the sort of thing. When did you first go to Soho? What took you there? what clubs, coffee bars etc., were around that you visited or were aware of?What was the feeling of the place? What places did you visit? Anything that conjures up memories and impressions. Soho has changed so much from those post-war days, mid-50s was only ten years after the war. There were still bomb-sites in Soho, bookies runners, 'spies and wide boys, crap games in the street, countless all-hours one room drinking clubs, and equally countless girls on thes treets and in 'walk-up' rooms and flats.
I hope that makes sense. Best wishes - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 02:43 PM

Hi John - Any more info on any of the things you mentioned would be great. More on Meg? Physical? Musical?
Yes, Curly Goss did emigrate to New Zealand many years ago. I believe he ran a folk club out there for a while. I wonder if he's still around?

Best - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 18 - 06:36 PM

HI WILL - THAT SHOULD, OF COURSE, HAVE BEEN 'SPIVS AND WIDE-BOYS' NOT SPIES! ALTHOUGH THERE WERE SEVERAL OF THOSE ABOUT AS WELL BOTH SPECIAL BRANCH AND CP MEMBERS /FELLOW TRAVELLERS.

BEST DAVE


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 04:51 AM

Have you thought of contacting Donovan, i have his mobile number and his postal adress


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 12:04 PM

Hi Sandman - No, I hadn't thought of contacting Donovan because I don't remember him being around Soho that early. I became aware of him later in the 60s. Maybe I just missed him!
But it might be worth a try. I wouldn't want you to give his phone number and address out without his permission. Maybe you could check with him if he was, indeed, around Soho in the 50s/early 60s and if so if he wouldn't mind me contacting him.

Thanks for you help.

Best- Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 12:19 PM

Dave,

I believe Donovan Leitch arrived on the scene about 1964


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 01:36 PM

Places I used to frequent on visits were the French House, the Scots Hoose in Cambridge Circus (with resident mynah bird), Bunjies Folk Cellar and the Cousins, of course. We used to buy coffee from the Algerian Coffee Stores in Old Compton Street (still there), and go for a pint of Youngers Scotch Bitter in the Pillars Of Hercules (sawdust on the floor in those days) in Greek Street.

Marshall Street Baths was a popular place at lunchtime - I used to walk there from Broadcasting House - followed by lunch at Cranks almost next door, or a pint at the Coach & Horses.

Remember the old flower seller who, having sold all his flowers and got pissed, used to walk up and down Old Compton Street with a rose behind each ear?

More later...


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 02:43 PM

Yes Will, I do remember the guy with a roses behind his ears, saw him quite often but didn't know he was a flower seller.

Yes the Algerian Coffee Stores is still there.

Re the Scotch House where Bruce Dunnet once ran a folk club and which the IRA once bombed is still there but re-named the Spice of Life. We met up with some friends there recently to go for a meal thinking it was going to be an Indian Restaurant but it was just a meeting point for a pre meal drink. The Mynah Bird has gone.

Will did you ever go to the Swiss House opposite almost the Algerian Coffee Stores. There was a guy there with the appearance of Buffalo Bill that used to eat light bulbs. I think he was a wrestler.


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 07 Jul 18 - 08:55 PM

Great, keep them coming!

Will, you're referring to the French pub not the French coffee house at the end of Old Compton Street?

The Cranks I remember was in Carnaby Street, I presume that's the one you used to lunch in?

You were working for the Beeb then?

Best - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 04:59 AM

Correct on all points Dave! I remember Gaston well at the French House - whose proper name escapes me!

Yes, I worked at the Beeb and was in a jug band with Peter Charlton, producer of Playaway - which should bring back a memory or two...


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 05:17 AM

One of our haunts in Soho was Berwick Street market, and there was a good record shop on a corner of the market - name also forgotten, I'm afraid - which, along with Dobell's, was one of my regular calling-in places. Andy was the name of the guy who ran most of Dobell's at that time, and another regular visitor was George Melly, complete with Fedora and leather coat!

On other occasions, Rose-Morris was the music shop of choice, and there were many lovely s/h guitars which I just couldn't afford! I believe Adrian Legge was working as a techie in the back room in those days.

Like many others, I have vivid memories of the all-nighters at the Cousins - kipping on the floor when it all got too tiring. We all got slung out about 4am and traipsed off to the Crypt to kip until the first tube trains of Sunday morning started to run. There was one memorable night at the Cousins when I jammed with Davy Graham Alexis Korner, Mox the harp player, and Duffy Power. Alexis kept everone going by passing out little brown pills from a box, which I refused, being innocent in those days! The guy serving coffee and cracking jokes was Al Stewart.

It seems both ages ago and like yesterday!


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 11:37 AM

Hi Will - Yes, Playaway does bring back memories!It was Pete's 80th (I think) birthday last weekend but unfortunately I was away on a gig and couldn't get up to see him for his party.

Thanks for the informative memories. If you fancy writing them up (and anything else that comes to mind) and emailing me then please do -storyart at AOL dot com - I didn't ever go into Rose Morris even though Toni and I recorded in Regent Sound Studios in the mid-60s just a few doors up from RoseMorris. In the 50s my guitar shop/s of choice were Scarth's on the corner of Newport Court, Charing Cross Ross Road; pulled down and 'developed' years ago. And from 1958 (when he opened) Ivor Mairant's Music Store in Rathbone Place. He sold the Levin Goliath guitars which some of us bought because they looked quite Martin-like, they were built by Swedes to the standard of very heavy duty wardrobes. I see they're quite collectable now. In which case I might remove all my shirts and suits and put mine on E-bay. The other two guatars of choice for many early folkies were the Harmony Sovereign, and I had a lovely very plain, brown, guitar called a Kessler, whch was a delight to play. I seem to remember that Leon Rosselson also had one. Or maybe it was someone else, but there was another one around Town in the early folk clubs. Whoever it was had it strung up with silk and steel strings for finger-picking.
I look forward to hearing some more of your memories.
Best - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 12:37 PM

Hi Dave - sorry you missed Peter's 80th. I was there, along with other members of the Egbert Sousé All Stars. We had a great day. I filmed Peter doing his "Siege of Troy" act, which you can see here:

Peter Charlton: "The Siege of Troy"

More later...


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Jul 18 - 03:23 PM

Dave, can you contact me at dickmiles77atgmail.com, i contacted Donovan and he told me to pass on his email to you


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 09 Jul 18 - 03:57 PM

My blues band, the Bo-men, had a residency at the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street in 1965. We played on Thursday and Saturday nights from ten until two in the morning, for next to no money, and never quite knew who we were playing for as it was a maze of dark cellars under there.

Round about midnight the ladies of the night used to arrive down the back stairs, which livened up the last couple of hours. I believe the club is now a fashionable yet squalid blues disco run by Gaz Mayall, son of John.

To put this in a Mudcat context, our drummer Bo Bower later changed his name to Bo Foakes, moved to Cornwall, and became a leading light on the folk scene down there. I once asked him to find me a nice friendly pub session, and arrived to find that I was opening for Gordon Giltrap.


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Dave Arthur
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 05:46 AM

Thanks Rusty - The St Moritz sounds an interesting gig! Any more info on the Bo-men, te St Mirtz and 'the lades of the night'!
Best - Dave


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jul 18 - 02:56 PM

Moxie I believe married a French lady and now resides in that country


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 03:32 AM

Dave - it might be worth contacting Hans Fried, if you haven't already. He's on Facebook. I don't know when he started working at Collet's though.

Kitty


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: Will Fly
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 11:41 AM

Moxie - Mox Gowan - does indeed live in France, and still making music. I last saw him play with the Alex Harvey Band in the '70s, still with long red hair and beard, and bandolier of blus harps.


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 11 Jul 18 - 12:01 PM

I worked for an agency that did bookings for various R & B groups in the 60s. Alex Harvey's band being among them. Alex's band was a pretty heavy strong R & B Band as I remember them. They were about to record a single and their "manager" convinced Alex (and the record company obviously)that the ideal song for chart success would be "The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot".
I kid you not. Unsurprisingly it died.


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Subject: RE: SOHO, London, in the 1950s and 60s
From: GUEST,Eric the viking
Date: 12 Jul 18 - 06:16 AM

Bruce also ran the Phoenix folk club in Oxford Circus.


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