Aaron Thibeaux “T-Bone” Walker, an innovator of electric blues, was born on May 28th, 1910 and died on March 16th, 1975. He played at the Dungeon Club twice, on March 28th, 1965 and October 17th, 1965 and each time had played at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester on the previous night. On the first occasion, he was backed by John Mayall’s Blues Breakers.
Here is a preview, published on Friday March 26th, 1965 in the Jazz Column of the Nottingham Evening Post And News prior to the first performance.
Jazz Column by Frank Jones
Nottingham says hail and farewell this weekend to a pioneer of the electric guitar, and one of America’s best known rhythm and blues singers – Aaron T-Bone Walker.
The gritty-voiced Texan winds up his three-week British tour at the Dungeon Club on Sunday, backed by John Mayall’s Blues Breakers.
For a man who helped to popularise the amplified guitar in its infancy, Walker has plenty in common with Britain’s guitar-mad youngsters. He also has a lot to teach them.
It was as a teenage guitarist that Walker first hit the road, accompanying legendary artists like Ida Cox, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Ma Rainey.
He soaked up much of their feeling and style, and eventually succeeded in his own right as a singer with Les Hite’s band in the thirties. Lionel Hampton was a colleague in the group around that time.
When electronics were developed T-Bone was among the first to realise the musical potential of the electric guitar.
He employed it creatively to back his dynamic vocals and by 1943 he was one of the biggest-selling black artists making records.
At one time he had three R and B discs in the ‘Billboard’ magazine’s top ten, enjoying his biggest success with ‘Stormy Monday’.
In the forties and fifties T-Bone led his own band – often as many as nine pieces – but the strain of one-night stands told on his health. He broke up the group in 1955 and since then he has worked as a solo performer.
In Marshall Stearns’ ‘The Story of Jazz’ Walker links the blues harmonies with those of religious songs, which employed the same chords.
“Of course, the blues comes a lot from the church,” he says. “The first time I ever heard a boogie woogie piano was the first time I went to church.
“Lots of people think I’m going to be a preacher when I quit this business, because of the way I sing the blues,” he adds. “They say it sounds like a sermon.”
Steve Banting – “I could have put my house on that one Jo.”
Paul Thorpe – “Which set of Drifters? Both groups were from Nottingham, according to earlier posts on here Josephine …”
Josephine Pate – “Ayup Paul me and my mate Sue saw the Drifters for the first time Wedneday Jan 19th, 1966 and it cost us five bob to get in. We were a bit bummed out cause it cost that much on a week night. Not many in the club that night and we stood in front of the stage and were blown away by them. In my mind I’m still standing there absolutely in awe anytime I hear them. So the Original Drifters were at the raid and at the time, having waited all night to see them, we were a bit taken aback cause it was a different group. They were good but not the right bunch!!”
Siddo Mel Senior – “Was it the Drifters when everyone was ar**d out into the street? But one of my favourites was Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers.”
Barry Cooper – “We thought they were the Drifters, but in fact they were the Invitations.”
Craig Strong – “Didn’t get to see them … so The Invitations as ‘Skiing in the Snow’ Invitations?”
John Murphy – “… and ‘Watch Out Little Girl’. One of the best being played today!”
Barry Cooper – “So I believe Craig, but those days it could have been anyone, Mick Payne knows more on this.”
Mick Hatcher – “Remember seeing Charlie & Inez Foxx. Tightrope was one of my favourites.”
Paul Thorpe – “Me too Mick, they were great, posted about the signed photo I got from them some time ago, sadly lost!! Inez was one of the most beautiful & glamorous women this 15 year old had ever seen, and as you know Mick, I’d seen a lot by then, as I lived in Aspleh …”
Mick Hatcher – “No Paul we had the best in Broxtah.”
Linda Thompson – “I agree with Mick us Broxtah gals were lovelah. Should think so with all the Max Factor I used to slap on me face!!”
Paul Thorpe – “Them girls & boys from the estates wuz the best ‘Acne hiders’ in Nottingham …”
Pete Wardle – “You lot kill me. Love this old dry humour which I think was born on those estates out of a sense of belonging to an elite group known as Mods but basically being raised with very little to brag about only the fact that everyone was in the same boat and just got on with it. Would not have changed that upbringing for diamonds.”
Sam Moore – “My most memorable act was Inez and Charlie Fox seeing Charlie doing his dance to the Tightrope right across the stage. Can see him now.”
Michael Belshaw – “I remember that. His hair was immaculate when they came out and within 30 seconds of starting it was all over the place.”
Sam Moore – “Another that sticks in mind was The Toys. If I am correct they wore turquoise dresses – absolutely stunning.”
Sandra Buckland – “Great memories of seeing Wilson Pickett at the Dungeon – vividly remember his leather waistcoat!!”
Chris Fensom – “I was leaning on the back wall facing the stage. Fantastic, he’s got to go down as one of the best acts at the Dungeon.”
Suzanne Tindle – “Wilson Picket, Charlie and Inez Foxx and Steampacket were my favourites. I remember that my then boyfriend Graeme (possibly in very sharp dark green suit) went up on stage with Charlie and Inez.”
Chris Fensom – “Small Faces, Steampacket, Wilson Picket but has to be the Temptations.”
Barry Cooper – “Can’t believe I missed the Temptations.”
Tim Northern – “One Sunday afternoon I remember a massive limmo outside and a massive black woman with her minders emerging – Big Maybelle.”
Linda Thompson – “Drifters, Lee Dorsey, Jimmy Cliff, The Steampacket – there were so many. Enjoyed seeing Amen Corner. But I do remember seeing a lady called Big Maybelle who got stuck on the stairs leading to the stage. To my shame, I did find it really funny. The poor lady was mortified and it took ages to get her unstuck.”
Pete Wardle – “Remember her Linda Thompson.”
Murray Frew – “I was there, it was horrendous. They had to jemmy her down the back stage stairs, and all that ankle fat flowing over her fancy high heels. But boy could she belt it out. Sunday marathon I think.”
Linda Thompson – “Yes it was, Murray.”
Pete Wardle – “Remember seeing an act called The Madd Lads or something like that … ?”
Craig Strong – “They were on Stax.”
Craig Strong – “I remember trying to get past these blokes coming up the stairs … it was The Action! I liked The Action.”
Murray Frew – “Edgar Broughton on a Sunday afternoon, no not really but it certainly broadened my horizons. 12 months later I was a massive Groundhogs fan.”
Jenny Slack – “Mickey Finn and the Blue Men. Very early Dungeon.”
Kath Allen – “Too many to mention.”
Michael Johnson – “I missed the really greats at the Dungeon, but I was there for the Amen Corner (Gin House). Drank coke with them upstairs and chatted. Also, remember a guy called Philip Goodhand Tait (Stormsville Shakers), thought they were really good.”
Deanna Fahy – “My first time down the Dungeon is when a date took me there to see the Pretty Things 1964/5-ish. Didn’t like them, not my sort of thing hence no more dates.”
Maurice Moore – “But you liked the place? No bad memories?”
Deanna Fahy – “Yes definitely, a much better experience second time I went with more like minded people. Can’t remember who was on though.”
Linda Thompson – “The first singer I saw was Roy C who sang Shot Gun Wedding. He only knew that and about 2 other songs!!”
Mick Hatcher – “I was there that night Linda.”
Tim Northern – “Did he have the sound effects?!”
Craig Strong – “I recall The Spellbinders only doing a few songs ….”
Murray Frew – “When I first went down I was too young to go at night so only went to Sunday marathon. Saw Jimmy Cliff at least twice, and Big Maybelle, but what must have been the weirdest booking for the Dungeon, the Edgar Broughton Band, really heavy prog rock, folks just went upstairs as you couldn’t dance to it.”
Penny Lambert – “Jimmy Cliff, remember he was very thin, he grabbed me for a bit of a dance.”
Siddo Mel Senior – “Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band with a few others close behind … Steampacket, Spencer Davis and Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers.”
John Murphy – “Spencer Davis Group, much underrated Rob Storm and the Whispers. Believe it or not Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers were brilliant.”
Kate Holmes – “Robb Storme and the Whispers were a London group and played regularly at the Dungeon and other clubs in our area. They were a favourite of Mick Parker and in a recent interview on Radio Nottingham Mick requested one of their records to be played … ‘Here Today’ which was a cover of a Beach Boys track. They became The Robb Storme Group and then The Orange Bicycle. For a time they were the backing group for Paul and Barry Ryan and toured with The Small Faces and Roy Orbison. I went to two or three of the tour dates and on one occasion I stood in the wings with Garry Hooper aka Peterson the bass player and watched Roy perform and then I met him. I don’t think I realised what an icon I was meeting at the time!”
Long John Baldry
Christine Tarr – “Steampacket.”
Gillian Williams – “The Steam Packet (Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger and the Trinity), Spencer Davis, just forget what great acts we saw there.”
Sandra Green – “Great times at The Dungeon! Saw Lulu there, Long John Baldry and others my memory has forgotten! I remember the black walls were pouring with sweat and damp. I remember an Irish lad, Seamus, who had a stutter but he was a fantastic dancer; his girlfriend was called Beverley. Also a bloke nicknamed “Jaffa” because his surname was Lemmon!”
Phil Long – “The Soul Agents played at The Dungeon on Sunday 23 August 1964 and then with Rod Stewart on Friday 8 January 1965. Now I have this memory that when the band were due to play with Rod either they were delayed by bad weather or else didn’t turn up at all, in which case Rod played a solo acoustic set, I’m not sure, does anyone else remember? Rod had already played The Dungeon previously as a member of Long John Baldry and the Hoochie Coochie Men and would go on to play three more times with The Steampacket.”
Ann Carlton – “He used to play at the Dancing Slipper. Jenny Slack and her sister and I always laugh. Oh no not Rod the Mod again! He played there a lot on a Friday night.”
Sheila Skinner – “I remember a humdinger of a night at the Beachcomber: The Steampacket and Julie Driscoll. I can still see it all now.”
Veda Bromwich – “I don’t remember that story Phil Long but away back in my memory I can remember you on stage singing with Rod Stewart somewhere. Is my memory right?”
Ann Carlton – “I remember something like that!”
John Boland – “I remember having a singalong with Rod at a Shotgun Express gig at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester with the lead singer of the Gass backstage singing ‘People Get Ready. Awesome, beat that, lol!”
Barry Cooper – “I remember Long John Baldry telling a group of us off at one of his gigs at the Union, saying we were acting like a bunch of Woolies kids … little did he know.”
Sandra Ward – “I remember seeing Dave Berry. He kept disappearing behind a post whilst singing and one of his roadies came over to see if we’d go to a party after the club closed, but we declined.”
Kathleen Notley – “Yes we did Sandra Ward.”
Stephen Jeffery – “Saw the Mojos (Lewis Collins became a member of Stu James and The Mojos together with Aynsley Dunbar).”
John Murphy – “Aynsley was a truly great drummer. I talked him out of a pair of drumsticks which my mum lost when moving house. Cheers ma!”
Stephen Jeffery – “I have to say the best drummers I saw were Moon the Loon and Ginger Baker and Ringo Starr.”
John Murphy – “Stephen Jeffery, knew you were in for a belting night when Ginger started to nail both bass drums to the stage. Standing 5 feet away from that every time they were on at the Beach. No wonder I can’t hear anything!”
Stephen Jeffery – “Saw him with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers along with the late Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton. Climbed on stage and spoke to Eric he was very approachable. No stadium rock then!! How times have changed. It was at the Boat Club.”
Mary Butler – “I used to go to the Dungeon club in 1964 and 1965. The first band I saw there was the Fortunes, and I remember standing very close to Rod Stewart in the coffee bar and not knowing who he was at the time.”
“One rock star tried to sell me some, ‘black bombers’, which I hasten to add I didn’t purchase!”
“Two stars stopped in their car and asked us if we had any pills and cos we said no they drove off disgusted. “Call yourself mods” one said.”
Compiled by Maurice Moore
Here is some music from some of the bands who played at the Club.
Were they really the Good Old Days? Back in the Sixties, we were told “You’ve never had it so good” and people look back on those times with fondness.
One old mod said “It certainly was (a great scene). I can remember being in the Square on my scooter, and really there was no need for clubbing, the activity there alone was buzzing, I couldn’t wait till Friday nights to start the weekend. Great people, good friends made, you can think back and smile.”
Today these views are questioned. Entertainment and leisure is in your face and has never been so mainstream. We have hundreds of channels on television, access to almost anything on the internet and if we want to go out to see and hear live music, there is plenty about – the big bands in the arenas and large venues along with up to thousands of other people, sometimes seeing your idols on a stage in the far distance; plus generally cover bands or open mic’s in most pubs.
Many of those bands who played in the 60s are still around or have reformed, touring the country with maybe one original member.
Back in those past days, there were only three television channels, no internet, in fact no personal computers or mobile phones. Many did not even have phones in their homes – they had to go to a phone box or just arrange to meet amongst the crowds outside Lyons or by the left lion. People went out for their entertainment to the local pub or one of the many clubs around, some only a little larger than the pubs.
Here is a typical sample of what entertainment was available during one weekend, taken from the ‘Dancing’ column of the Nottingham Evening Post of Thursday February 3rd, 1966.
Thursday – The Small Faces
Saturday – The Pedlars
Sunday noon – The Two Till Five Show
Sunday night – Little Stevie Wonder
Wednesday – The Alan Bown Set
Sunday – The Action
Friday – Dave Anthony’s Moods
Saturday – The Rising Sons
Sunday – Herbie Goins & the Night-Timers
Britannia Rowing Club (the ‘Brit’)
Friday – The Cardinals
Saturday – Sons Of Fred
Sunday – The Herd
The Boat Club
Friday – Blues ‘N’ Roots
Sunday – Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds
The Union Club
Saturday – The Persuasions
Sunday – Davy Sands & The Essex
The Dancing Slipper
Friday – The Dickens Set, also Changing Times
Monday – The Mansfields
The Rainbow Rooms
Saturday – Big Beat Ball with The Mansfields and The Children
Thursday – The Riverside Organisation
Friday – The Mick Carter Trio
Saturday – Stan Robinson Quartet
Sunday lunchtime – Jam session
Sunday night – Richard Hallam Quartet
Peacock Inn, Redmile
Friday – Tony Kent
Saturday – New Olympia Band
Cocked Hat, Aspley
Thursday – Incrowd
Maurice Moore Newspaper cuttings provided by Eddy Barry.
When was your first visit to the Dungeon and what was the first tune you can remember being played or had the biggest impact on you.
Barry Cooper – “If memory serves me right my first visit was in April 1966 and the tune I remember being played was ‘Going To A Go-Go’ by The Miracles … that visit changed my whole life regarding music.
Sharon Wilson – “Loved walking down the stairs hearing this song and straight away wanting to get on the dance floor!”
Barry Cooper – “Another record which brings back a memory on a certain Sunday afternoon all dayer (thanks to Stu Morris for helping me out) is Sam & Dave’s ‘Soothe Me’.”
Craig Strong – “I went Easter Monday 1966 – Must have been a ‘dayer’ and the one I remember was Isleys’ ‘This Old Heart of Mine’.”
Sue Hey – “Four Tops ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’”
Chris Lawson – “1964. Whatever the music was, it was great. 1966 for our Newark mods it was Newquay.”
Pete Wardle – “A Sunday ‘66 think it was Sam and Dave?”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “Me and Sam 1966. The one that sticks out in Sam’s mind was Ebony Keys’ ‘Sitting in a Ring’. I remember ‘Everythings Gonna be Alright’ by Willie Mitchell.”
Michael Johnson – “Four Seasons, ‘Lets Hang On’ about late 1965, but Sam & Dave’s ‘You Don’t Know like I Know’ always reminds of the Dungeon.”
Jenny Slack – “’You Don’t Know Like I Know’ and ‘Soothe Me’ by Sam and Dave remind me of the Dungeon like yesterday.”
Tim Northern – “Hold on I’m Coming!!!”
Craig Strong – “Who remembers ‘It’s A Wonder’ by them?”
Murray Frew – “About every sixth song used to be a Sam & Dave including ‘You Got Me Humming’, and they played to death Joe Tex ‘Show Me’, which was funny cause it was too fast for most of the dancers, and James & Bobby Purify ‘Shake A Tail Feather’.”
Jacqueline Stapleton – “Definitely ‘Shake a Tail Feather’. Loved dancing to it – so fast.”
Sheila Skinner – “Late ‘64. ‘Its not Unusual’ Tom Jones!! Its all a blur. My favourite memory is ‘Little’ Stevie Wonder being led on the stage.”
Linda Thompson – “I think mine was late ’65. It wasn’t a particular song for me but I stood at the top of Stanford Street and you could feel the atmosphere. Amazing !!”
Trev Poole – “Joe Tex ‘Show Me’ 1966 first sound I heard down the Dungeon.”
Maurice Moore – “I know I first went to the Dungeon in 1965 and I’ve put many of the tracks I remember hearing on my podcast ‘Dungeon Days’. However it is difficult to say what was the first track I heard. Certainly some of the vivid memories come from 1966 (‘Open the Door to Your Heart’ by Darrell Banks and ‘Tell It Like It Is’ by Aaron Neville). But I do remember ‘Night Train’ by James Brown, ‘The Entertainer’ by Tony Clarke and several by Willie Mitchell.”
Alan Jukes – “Late 65 ‘Something About You’ FourTops.”
Kate Cogle – “My first visit was a Sunday afternoon late 1965. ‘Rescue Me’ Fontella Bass … think I have the year right!!”
John Blanche – “First visit October ’65, first record I recall was ‘Walking the Dog’ by Rufus Thomas. The one that had the biggest impact on me a few months later was ‘Going to a G-Go by the Miracles …… not sure when I stopped going early 67?”
Mick Hatcher – “A Sunday in ’65. Willie Mitchell, ‘That Driving Beat’. ’65-‘68 and you didn’t need to go inside to hear the music. I remember the night the Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’ came out, it was played continually all night.”
Paul Thorpe – “Sunday afternoons – We’d get off the bus at the top of St James Street (Maid Marian Way), cut through to Hounds Gate & down the alleyway to Castle Gate opposite the top of Stanford Street … once we got to the alleyway we could hear the Bung music echoing off the walls, can still hear it now, up steps in through the front door, down those stone steps to the basement, blinking all the way to get your eyes focused to the dark, wonder we didn’t fall down those steps sometimes wet from condensation … what memories!!”
Paul Terry Watson – “You paint the picture well, Paul, the walls were damp too.”
Barry Cooper – “So relate to this Paul, walking through that alleyway …”
Paul Thorpe – “My years were late ‘65 to early ‘68 … without doubt, the most formative years of my life, musically & growingupally …
“Here’s some of my memories, added to most of the above;
‘Night Train’ – James Brown,
‘Just a Little Misunderstanding’ – The Contours,
‘First I Look at the Purse’ – The Contours,
‘Let the Good Times Roll’ – Bunny Sigler,
‘Boogaloo Party’ – The Flamingoes,
‘Two Can Have a Party’ – Tammi Terrell
………. the list goes on.”
Kath Shaw – “Late ‘64-‘67 for me. ‘Going to a Go-Go’, smashing the walls of the Dungeon, brill.”
Sam Moore – “Here are some of the ones I remember amongst the more popular ones … from late 1965 till it changed names then only went a few times …
‘Mellow Moonlight’ Roy Docker
‘Sitting in a Ring’ Ebony Keys
‘Do the Teasey’ Joyce Bond
‘Keep off no Trespassing’ Marvelettes
‘Mohair Sam’ Charlie Rich
‘Love is after me’ Charlie Rich”
Jeanette Hutchinson – “My memory of what sticks in my mind …
‘The Philly Freeze’ Alvin Cash
‘Willy Nilly’ Rufus Thomas.
‘Sad Song’ Otis Redding.”
Roger Lowe – “The first track I heard at the bung was Shirley Ellis The Clapping Song.”
Linda Thompson – “Every one of my friends loved that record but I hated it. Really found it irritating.”
Stuart Morris – “Interesting one this. First time I went it was on a Tuesday night in late ’65 with a classmate from school. It was all a blur to be honest. The next time, couple of months later, I took notice. Barry was DJ-ing and I most remember, ‘You’re Not an Ordinary Girl’ by the Temptations, B side of ‘Beauty is Only Skin Deep’.”
Barry Cooper – “Great B side Stu, this still gets played..”
Murray Frew – “I bet not many can remember the first record they heard on their first visit? I was going down all those concrete stairs with the music getting louder and louder, then at the bottom the record changed, and there was this huge bass noise blasting out – ‘It’s All Right’ by JJ Jackson.”