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David St John presents:
THE SOUTHERN ENTERTAINER!
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These three are amongst my favourite pages as I have been lucky enough to have been sent photocopies of this short-lived but great publication from 63/64. I am grateful to Portsmouth based Mick Cooper- another ex 60s musician who played with several groups in his own area just a few miles down the old A27 from Southampton, including the much respected 'Heaven' whose old recordings are quite collectable. They were a 'progressive' type outfit and included my old pal Eddie Harnett from The Unforgiven who were based in Eastleigh Southampton and his vocal/guitar skills were also complemented by his songwriting skills that feature on the group's LP output. Their greatest moment was appearing at the 1970 Isle Of Wight Festival but I missed them due to arriving for the Saturday and Sunday to enjoy an amazing line-up including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Tyrannosaurus Rex and many more legends. Just check out the Wikipedia entry on this festival and you will find the most awe-inspiring collection of artistes you could wish for! This was Jimi Hendrix's last performance as he sadly died in London just a few weeks after this iconic festival appearance at just 27 years old - Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison and a few more well known musicians also died at the same age so quite poignant for those of us who enjoyed their amazing talent that was cut short by the scourge of a rock n roll lifestyle. I'm a real 'Southern Entertainer' and I knew about it when it was first published all those years ago but never got round to getting a copy........until now!
The Southern Entertainer was the brainchild of the very enterprising Dave Jay, who managed several acts in the Southampton area and who worked within the offices of Avenue Artistes in Southampton. This agency/management company was founded by Len Canham who looked after the Royal Pier Pavilion Ballroom from the late 1950s as well as booking acts all over the South Coast. He also worked with Reg Calvert, whose own story (and Len's) can be found on my other webpages (see Site map) and then joined by Terry Rolph who still runs the company to this day. Avenue Artistes had a fine roster of the best in local groups, singers, DJs and their publicity side was very organised - this can be seen all over my webpages as these managed acts had the best photos, handouts and were also sold onto other promoters in other parts of the country. One of the most notable being Bob Potter who was and is still based on the Hampshire/Surrey border at the world famous Lakeside Club that has seen many of the biggest stars in showbusiness topping the bill as well as the annual World Darts Championships that are staged there.
I was with several freelance groups from 1964 to 1972 and many of these were often booked through A.A. on odd gigs but never had any sole agreements or management deals - sadly resulting in my not having a decent portfolio of old publicity photos as we rarely bothered. I have reproduced all the pages of these three issues in small image files below - large files take up far too much bandwith but I have scanned the text from each page and placed it underneath the individual one. It all makes for very interesting reading and offers a superb insight into the whole mood of that exciting time. If you have read my Groups 11 webpage, then you will note that this magazine coincided with the second major Beatles tour that played the Gaumont theatre in December 1963. Some of the reviews seem quaint to our modern ears but you will hopefully capture a glimmer of the exciting times when there so many groups, singers and many venues in which to play as many a youngster would flock to the local 'hop' and dance the night away to their favourite acts. There may have been a few punchups but you would never hear of any stabbings, drug-taking, binge-drinking and all manner of behaviour that can be seen in recent years. Many venues were youth clubs, church halls, cinemas, drill halls so often 'dry' areas with no booze taking hold and prompting the negative side of a night out. It was an innocent time, with full employment and a sense that the Swinging Sixties would last forever but history soon proved us all wrong. For us youngsters lucky enough to be involved in the pop group scene- it was a great time as we made music, had loads of laughs, pulled the girls and often made lifetime pals and I am lucky enough to keep in touch with so many from some 45 years ago. Most of us never 'made it' but it was fun in trying and I'm sure that most of us would do it all over again if given the chance to use a real Tardis!
So here it is dear reader- after some 46 years you can read all about the movers and shakers of the Southampton music scene as published by Avenue Artistes. It serves as a 'time capsule' taking you back to the start of the Swinging Sixties that really took off over the next few years and we thank everybody for making the music on any level. From the massive hits of each year- just take a look back over the old charts and note how many classic songs are still getting airplay to this day. I am reproducing the scanned text from each page below each image and as it reads so please forgive any spelling mistakes- not mine!!! I have also spread each each across three separate pages so- enjoy another trip back in time! It takes quite a while to do the copying, proof-reading, slight edits etc but enjoyable as I read through each page and smile at familiar names, venues and much more from that evocative time of my life.
SOUTHERN ENTERTAINER ISSUE 1: December 1963 price 6d
Page 9 SOUTHERN ENTERTAINER issue 1
If you enjoyed this first issue, then carry on to the next two at:
A really fascinating glimpse into this Southampton publication that sadly just died away after only three issues but can now be enjoyed by a new wave of readers of all ages. Once again- thanks to Dave Jay, Johnny Dymond and Terry Rolph of Avenue Artistes which must surely have the distinction of being the UKs longest running theatrical agencies under the same name? As always- if you have any input as a result of reading this and and other webpages, then please get in touch with me by e-mail and maybe YOUR story can be added on at some stage.
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