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Memories of the Stourbridge Town Hall Big Beat Sessions in the 1960's

Here is some information on one of the lesser known bands listed on the July program from 1965. I played lead guitar with the group listed as The Motions, but we used that name for a very short time. The group was earlier the Bluetones, and after a brief period as the Motions became The Gentry. We played quite regularly at Stourbridge Town Hall, and many other local dance halls, such as the Richardson Hall in Wordsley, Kidderminster Town Hall, Dudley Town Hall, etc. We disbanded around 1967. I remember Rob Plant fairly well, mostly from drinking coffee at the Swiss Cafe, where he would often be found playing his harmonica ("blues harp") and singing blues songs. Tony Pearson (rec'd 24th June 2011)
Hi there, I can clearly remember those 'Big Beat Sessions' at Stourbridge Town Hall which took place in the mid 60's on a Wednesday evening.  The band which stands out for me was without a doubt CREAM.  I have the flyer which advertises the date they appeared - Wednesday 18th January 1967 for the mere sum of 6/-.  Another band which remains in my memory were The WHO.  I shall never forget those Wednesday evenings.
I am happy to email you the flyer if you so wish to see it.
Jayne Foster (Rec'd 8 Feb 09)

I played bass for 'The Probe' who supported 'The Moody Blues' back in around 1968. A great night, The Moody Blues used all of our equipment and supplied a case of scotch for the privilege. Ray Cutler (rec'd 28 Dec 07)
Many members of The Banned attended King Edward VI School There were also other groups whose origins were the same, e.g. The Jurymen and the Grandisons. I was singer in the Grandisons (64/65) and we played at the Town Hall several times. I remember supporting the Merseybeats and the Pretty Things (who turned up without amplifiers and drums!). Some of the bands I saw were:

The Who (also played Kidderminster TH)
Them (with Van Morrison)
Searchers (with the late Tony Jackson & Chris Curtis)
Small Faces
Freddie & Dreamers
Gene Vincent
Mike Berry & Outlaws
Unit 4 + 2
Farons Flamingos
Dennisons (drummer went on to play Jack Sugden in Emmerdale)
Big Three (with Brian Griffiths - a truly great guitarist)
Pretty Things
Moody Blues
Walker Brothers
Animals (Dave Rowberry replacing Alan Price)
Johnny Kidd & Pirates
Nashville Teens
Wayne Fontana & Mindbenders
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch
Screaming Lord Sutch & Savages

These were great times indeed although the acoustics in the Town Hall left something to be desired. Very often the PA systems were lost so you couldn't hear the vocals at all!
Best wishes, John Woodward
(Rec'd 19 Nov 07)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Greetings to you all,whilst looking at your website for the first time recently,I was both
surprised and pleased to find that on the music general information page there is a copy of a flyer from July 1965, which refers to the Big Beat sessions that were held every week at the Town Hall. I have very fond memories of these,as not only did I attend nearly all of them,but I also played at some,as the drummer of the group Sounds Circle (see listing for July 24th)

The 60's were a fantastic period of time in my life (and many others would agree I guess ). I had a great time as a then 17 year old playing in Sounds Circle,(which was my first group),as we supported groups like The Small Faces,The Yardbirds,The Who and The Kinks with great
excitement and pride, because they were our heroes of the era.

Sorry, but I cant recall The Motions or The Revnicks,who we were billed with on your website flyer for July 24th,but I can confirm that Robert Plant did front the group "The Banned" . I dug around in my loft and found the flyer attached from 15th May (1965 I think) which may be of interest. As I recall, our group played at several venues on the same bill as The Banned,before Robert Plant moved on to "Listen" and "The Band of Joy" (among others),and finally, as we all know Led Zeppelin.He deserved to succeed, as he was ( and still is ) a great singer. Coincidentally,he and I share the same birthday (20/8/48) and I even bought The Banned's group van from them...then promptly had to hand paint over the graffiti that had been written all over it with lipstick and nail varnish, before we could use it as our group van !!

I continued to play throughout the rest of the 60's and 70's,before moving to Dorset in the 80's,where I still live happily with the Stourbridge girl that I married there back in 1969,and I also still enjoy playing my beloved 60's Premier drum kit with my current band,who recently supported the Groundhogs,Dr.Feelgood and a gig with Chicken Shack coming up soon.They are all good bands and are still going strong after all the years.

Thanks for reminding me, through your website,of my years in the West
Midlands,and all the good times that I had whilst living there.Finally I would like to send my best regards to all my friends,family and to the musicians with whom I have worked with in the past, who may still remember me.

"KEEP MUSIC LIVE" Regards and Best Wishes, Mike Plimbley

I was a regular attender on Wed nights in the 60s, and knew Robert Plant via my brother who was at the Grammar school with him. I remember seeing a band called the Four Pennies who had a hit with 'Juliet' (though I don't think they did much after that.)
Stephanie Shevlin

A long standing school friend of mine sent me details of your website knowing the nostalgic interest it would activate regarding those famous Big Beat sessions on a Wednesday night. For a time, they were the most brilliant musical evenings of the decade and little did we know then we were watching the best available, for a song! did it really cost as much as 5/- I remember vividly the excitement of going with a group of school friends to Stourbridge Town Hall every Wednesday night. A great thrill to see live music played and young people enjoying the music in those halcyon days of the sixties. On my first visit, the main feature was a group named Farons Flamingo's. I remember it well because the lights failed at some point and it left the drummer (Trevor Morrais) to perform a drum solo I have never seen repeated. He later became the drummer for the Pedlers and was acknowledged to be one of the best. I then saw the Redcaps who performed the first version of 'Shout' before Lulu got hold of it. Things then really happened when such up and coming groups as The Hollies and the Searchers came to town. They really were the most popular, exciting to watch and great to listen to. My own particular favourite group of the time was the Big 3. I have attached a copy of their autographs that may be of interest you. They wrote them on the back of a flyer also attached. I have kept this paper ever since and am grateful for the opportunity to share this with you. I remember with great affection the many Wednesday night visits to Stourbridge Town Hall. I can recall seeing other groups such as Freddie and the Dreamers. Screaming Lord Sutch with the Savages - they were awesome! He nearly set the place on fire but what a show. Marti Wilde who whilst out of favour to the new groups gave a very professional performance. Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, the Merseybeats, Shane Fenton and the Fentones plus local hero Denny Lane and the Diplomats. They were terrific times and for those of us that were fortunate to survive the 60's an experience to never forget. I am now living in Evesham and ageing gracefully. Kindest regards, John Barrett

Your web site brought back so many memories and how funny to see the old flyer with admission charges of 5/0d! I lived in Kidderminster at the time and remember bunking off school one day to queue for the Rolling Stones - it was well worth it even though we nearly all got crushed at the front! Am I right in thinking that Stourbridge Town Hall had a sprung floor? I was at Kidderminster College when Robert Plant was there - he used to strum his guitar in the Common Room but, unfortunately, he didn't impress most people and was often told to "shut up" - if only we knew then what we know now!! He was also on the periphery of the Kidderminster "in crowd" - we used to go to all-nighters in Birmingham. My one and only claim to fame is that I once fell off the back of his scooter (he was driving) in a Kidderminster car park.Oh ....................... those were the days.
Best wishes Hilary Whitlock

l was absolutely devastated when my family decided to move to Australia in 1965, every Wednesday night was the highlight of my life, l loved all the fantastic bands...the Animals, Dave Clark Five, Freddy and the Dreamers...the floor would vibrate with the wild dancing, there was no need to dance yourself !! Crazy but so much fun..l was only 17. l have very special memories of Stourbridge Town Hall. In fact l wouldn't speak to my parents on the flight over here, l was so upset. Of course Aussie is a great place, and l settled, but it took me a while.!!!!
Regards Angela Lamude. Mornington, Australia

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