BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Discuss the early days of the Club with the manager.

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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Sun Jun 03, 2018 11:50 pm

Fantastic discussion in so many ways. I've been trying to sort out the Trad Jazz, Modern Jazz situation in England for a long time.

If I may humbly ask of you people who lived through the days...

First, was the Cavern mostly doing Trad before the Beat groups intervened, or were there Modern jazz bands playing there as well? Second, were musicians playing in the two styles at odds or did they see the scene as variations on a theme?
Third, do either of you know if when John Lennon was talking about jazz as "college students in cheap pull overs drinking pints of beer," and the music always being the same and never going anywhere, was he referring to Trad or jazz as a whole?

I know many rockers had experience playing jazz of both types, e.g. John Entwistle and Pete Townshend played trad, although Townshend was a fan of Modern along with guys like Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. McCartney seemed to be influenced by Trad, or at least Tin Pan Alley. Ringo has expressed admiration for swing drummer Cozy Cole.

I've listened a bit to Chris Barber and Johnny Dankworth, and love the era of pre-Beat and early Beat music. It blends with the British blues boom as well, although that, at least from this American's perspective, seems to have been more of a London phenomonen. Any clarification of these blurry concepts is much appreciated.

Thanks again for providing these discussions.
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (hamilton_square) » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:03 pm

Hopefully for your enlightenment and better understanding of the ‘trad jazz’ movement as it relates to the British read ...

Trad jazz: don't mock it - it's part of British pop's DNA
"Unloved, untrendy and underappreciated, British traditional jazz has a chequered history, but its influence - and its performers - survive and resurface in unlikely places …"

https://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2016/sep/08/british-traditional-jazz-chris-barber-band-humphrey-lyttleton-acker-bilk

And, in particular to the paragraph:
“Skiffle was trad’s errant child, and remade American blues with homemade instruments: scraped washboards providing rhythm, tea chests slung with string becoming a cheap-as-chips double bass substitute. Claiming trad or skiffle as musically radical movements might be a problem; but as the Rolling Stones and the Who gorged on American blues, Donegan had created both the conditions and the appetite.”

First, was the Cavern mostly doing Trad before the Beat groups intervened, or were there Modern jazz bands playing there as well? Second, were musicians playing in the two styles at odds or did they see the scene as variations on a theme?
Third, do either of you know if when John Lennon was talking about jazz as "college students in cheap pull overs drinking pints of beer," and the music always being the same and never going anywhere, was he referring to Trad or jazz as a whole?

First: While it was a bit before my own Cavern and Iron Door Club (then the Storyville Jazz Club) going days. It is my understanding that the idea back in 1957 was to model The Cavern on Paris’s Latin Quarter Le Caveau de la Huchette which became a favourite hangout for many of the Afro-American jazzmen who visited France after the end of World War II. While I don’t think ‘trad jazz’ was the sole musical genre that The Cavern wanted to feature, it soon became apparent that was what Mathew Street audiences wanted – put simply, people could dance to it.
Second: Back then one was either a traditionalist or a modernist. To quote Rudyard Kipling, “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”
Third: John Lennon was referring to English traditional jazz aficionados of the time, many of whom were college students. His “never going anywhere” comment is the reason why trad jazz had only a short period of mass popularity here in the UK. The genre was so strongly rooted in the jazz of New Orleans that it could never develop. One could use the same argument as to why only The Beatles have endured, while other Liverpool groups of the time fell by wayside after only a brief moment in the sun. To advance such a point of view, it’s all about mould breaking. The Beatles well and truly broke out of it, Trad Jazz could never break out of it, Modern Jazz is still trying to break out of it piece by piece.

Anything to add Mr. Hogarth?

P.S.
As an afterthought, below is the still thriving Le Caveau de la Huchette in Paris’s Latin Quarter, the model for the Mathew Street Cavern ...

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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (13_temple_street) » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:48 pm

Alan Sytner the original owner of the Cavern club in Mathew Street , was strictly a jazz enthusiast ,he promoted Traditional and Modern jazz, he was not adverse to Skiffle, these bands were contracted on the understanding, that under any circumstances they resisted the temptation to perform Rock’n’Roll numbers. Rory Storm and his then band attempted to circumvent this ruling, he performed a Rock’n’Roll number on his set, allegedly Sytner immediately hauled him of the stage and docked him five shillings from his fee, in other words he fined him.
Nathan; I cannot hazard a guess what John Lennon was referring to in your article “College students in cheap pullovers drinking pints of beer” and music always being the same and never going anywhere. If pushed my guess he was referring to skiffle music. Lennon’s own preference was rock’n’roll he was greatly influenced by Elvis Presley.
We promoted Modern jazz at the Iron Door club Temple Street Liverpool 2 one night per week , the musicians were mainly London based , included in this category were bands that specialized in Main Stream Jazz , this genre of music attracted followers of Trad Jazz and Modern.

http://www.jazznorthwest.co.uk/tradjazz.htm

Nathan,welcome to the Iron Door forum, I have posted the jazznorthwest site to illustrate trad jazz is still popular.
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:56 pm

Thank you sirs, for your responses. As a teen I lived inside the Hunter Davies authorized biography of the Beatles and that phrase was soldered into my wiring. As I've grown (older and therefore wiser!?) my tastes have widened. I just went back to page 60 where the words still sit. "We were always anti-jazz...even more stupid than Rock and Roll." Mostly Lennon complaining that they couldn't play the clubs, couldn't win auditions, "because of the jazz bands." Interesting that shortly after the book was published, in 1968, Apple Records released one of my first and favorite jazz albums by the Modern Jazz Quartet! I bought it because it was an Apple product and really had to listen to open my mind to this music the Beatles were promoting through their label.

From what you both have said, the rivalry between different genres of jazz and the battle of Rock and Rollers against jazz points out the commitment people had for the music they believed in. Thanks again, there is much to ponder on these forums' pages!
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (Kiddwad57) » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:40 am

Here's a duet with Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth performing Thieving Boy by writer Alun Owen. Owen wrote the screenplay to A Hard Days Night. Never would have heard it if it weren't for the Beatles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XjdXph57BU
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (hamilton_square) » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:45 pm

Now, there’s a name from my black and white TV watching days, Alun Owen. Arguably, the first playwright to put working-class Liverpool on British television screens with his breakout play No Trams To Lime Street (1959) that made such an impression on John Lennon and Dick Lester, to name but two.

While the tape of the 1959 version has long since been wiped, though there were a couple of later versions of the play that failed to have the impact of the original. The story concerns the intergenerational conflict between fathers and sons in the changing social climate of the late 1950s. Returning to Liverpool after three years away at sea, having left as troublesome adolescents but returned as confident adults, three young men of Irish and Welsh-Liverpool descent find their outlook on life at odds with that of a subservient older working-class generation. A subject that Alun Owen was very well acquainted with having been born in the Welsh speaking part of North Wales, the family moving to Liverpool when he was 8. The No Trams to Lime Street title of the play suggesting a city about to change, being that Liverpool’s electric tram network closed down in 1957 when the three leading male characters of the play were supposedly away at sea.

Alun Owen is perhaps better known for his screen-writing television credits rather than that of the cinema. His output on British TV was prolific up to 1980 when he began having health issues, but in the history of The Beatles Alun Owen will be known for the screen-play writing of A Hard Day's Night and the creation of Paul’s “very clean” other Grandfather …


The scene is a very Alun Owen way of referencing an older working-class Liverpool generation who lived in houses that had no baths. When saying someone is “very clean” implies they don’t smell.

For a detailed bio of Alun Owen read …
http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/482498/index.html
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (13_temple_street) » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:41 pm

It would appear that once again we are heading for yet another diverse adventure into the history connected to the music scene of the 60s. It was a surprise to listen to the rendering by Cleo Lane warbling to Johnny Dankworth her husband playing a composition by Alun Owen ‘Thieving Boy’.
Viewing the short film posted by ‘Peter Hamilton’ of the wonderful interior scenes of the Cavenau de la Huchette. Peter Hamiton appears to have been quite industrial recently posting on the various listings on the Rickenbacker website, as usual all very informative. The outstanding contribution that attracted my attention was the ‘Photographers’, and the part they played in recording the early beginning’s of the’ Beat Boom’ on Merseyside.
I have never knowingly met Cheniston Roland , I have viewed many times the now famous photograph of the Silver Beetles auditioning at the Wyvern club in Liverpool for Larry Parnes , it did not occur to me to enquire who had the presence of mind to take the picture .
Dick Mathews worked for the Inland Revenue, he grabbed at the chance to leave when he was offered early retirement. It wasn’t unusual to see Dick walking around Liverpool City Centre with his camera , in the early 60s occasionally darting into one of the many coffee bars and clubs. It is well documented that Dick was one of the original founder members of the Merseybeat Paper, they established the paper from a rented attic rooms above an Off Licensed shop in Renshaw Street, Liverpool, 2. The paper was a success, the proprietors decided to move down to the first floor, minus Dick Mathews who appeared in the eyes of the other partner’s, surplus to requirements. Dick continued to use the attic rooms as his photographic studio. After the’ Beat Boom’ ended, the main participants, who had enjoyed the trials and trepidations and the excitement of not knowing what was around the corner, suddenly found they were floundering in an unknown world .Dick eventually settled to installing security alarms , becoming a leader in this type of work ,he discovered a method of transplanting a simple circuit board into a mortise lock, this resulted in the burglar alarm active until the key was turned in the lock which de-activated the door. During this period I used to see Dick on a regular basis, he never married, lived with his brother in the house where they were born, I called on Dick one morning he was feverishly searching two tea chests in his living room ‘What are you up to Dick’ he replied ‘The man from Apple is coming tomorrow to view my photographs maybe to purchase, they are unhappy that I have allowed people from all over the world using my photo’s, and not paying a copyright fee’, A short time after this meeting Dick informed me that the man from Apple Corps turned up and offered Dick Twenty Five Thousand Pounds for all his photographs ,which Dick accepted .
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Re: BEATLES FIRST PUBLIC APPEARANCE

Postby (hamilton_square) » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:56 pm

13_temple_street wrote:It would appear that once again we are heading for yet another diverse adventure into the history connected to the music scene of the 60s.

Geoff; you have to admit that it’s more interesting and entertaining to go on the occasional “diverse adventure” – one never knows where it will take us. And anyway, when you get to our age it’s good mental exercise attempting, as best we can, to interpret and explain events that happened more than half-a-century ago to those who either weren’t there or weren’t yet around.

Thanks for filling in a few blank spaces about Dick Matthews. I couldn’t discover what his day-job was – now I know he worked for the tax-man. I did come across some mention he got a lump sum pay-out from Apple Corps but no mention of the amount. As Sam Leach alluded to, it could have been millions if he’d copyrighted the images he took.

13_temple_street wrote:It is well documented that Dick was one of the original founder members of the Merseybeat Paper, they established the paper from a rented attic rooms above an Off Licensed shop in Renshaw Street, Liverpool, 2. The paper was a success, the proprietors decided to move down to the first floor, minus Dick Mathews who appeared in the eyes of the other partner’s, surplus to requirements. Dick continued to use the attic rooms as his photographic studio. After the’ Beat Boom’ ended, the main participants, who had enjoyed the trials and trepidations and the excitement of not knowing what was around the corner, suddenly found they were floundering in an unknown world .

I tend to share your sentiments concerning the Mersey Beat. Fun while it lasted, but Bill Harry & Co didn’t have a Plan B when the bottom fell out of the Mersey Beat scene. The publication was always viewed as being too parochial to appeal to a wider audience outside of the North-West of England.
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