Black & White & Blue(beat)

Robert Nichols has added a very interesting article on the arrival  of West Indian immigrants into Britain in the 50/60's and their influence on the mod scene: Black & White & Blue (beat). I'm sure he would appreciate some feedback on the article and is, as always, keen to continue the discussion.

"The original mod era encompassed the early days of London’s influx of black migrants from the West Indies which started in the 1950s following the initial arrival of the SS Windrush from Jamaica in 1948. By the early 1960s the black presence was progressively impacting London’s clublife. The fact that Mods were listening and dancing to black American music, attending shows and occasionally meeting visiting artists would have helped to diffuse any inherited racism. It was a time of rudimentary racial labeling and we did not make a fine distinction between the black American artists we listened to and the West Indian descendents we came in contact with..."

You should also look up this enlightening article by another face on the scene, Mick Hall:

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  • Good to find references to Roaring Twenties club in Carnaby Street. I was sort of a mod and went there 1962, 1963 with friends to dance and buy dope. I recall lots of Blue Beat (Enjoy Yourself, Judge Dread, Madness, etc) but also Night Train (James Brown), Shout (Isley Bros) and other Soul and RnB classics. I went out for a smoke one night at 2 am and walking back was passed by a group of 20 plain clothes police in raincoats rapidly walking down Carnaby Street. A coach was outside the club and searchlights went on as the plain clothes poured in. I waited as I had checked in my coat. Dozens of white girls were put on the coach (the implication being that they were working girls) and a policeman came out with his helmet full of joints and packets picked off the floor. I heard him say "We're going to have a great time at the station tonight" in a joking manner. I must have gone there over 20 times, having been introduced to it by an older character called Irish Tom. I scored black at £7 oz. I was about 18, and bought my tab collar shirts and tartan trousers in Carnaby Street and boots at Aniello and Davide. That was before I went Face (Ivy League suits and oxfored cotton button down shirst, jackets by John Michael,  shoes by Raoul & Pinet in Bond Street. There was the odd scuffle and one knife fight when I was at Roaring Twenties but it was a wonderful happy mix. Mostly West Indians and a few white kids. Everybody danced and enjoyed themselves

  • Enjoyed you Article about "Bluebeat".I used to go to the "Roaring Twenties" and the "Ram Jam"in Brixton.One of my favourite Jamaican Clubs was the "Limbo" in Soho-where I first got introduced to Rocksteady.This is still my favourite Music.
    • Good to hear from you Colin, one-up for the Roaring Twenties.  Of course, the "Ram Jam" in Brixton was well known, though, being from north of the river, I never went there.  What was it like; did they have live bands at all?  I never heard of the "Limbo" in Soho, maybe it was after my time.  But Rocksteady yes, an appealing music and good to dance to.  “Pressure and Slide” by the Tennors and “Do it to me Baby” by Lloyd and the Groovers were among my favorites.

    • Hi Robert,the "Ram Jam"was hot and sweaty,just the way they should be.You had to get there early as it got packed.I believe there is a picture of Junior Walker appearing at the "Ram Jam"-on Youtube.Cannot miss it,had black and white tiles above the Stage.The "Limbo" was just off D`Arbly Street,W1.Entrance through a Door with which the Doorman could peer through,and if he did not like the look of you you would not get in! This would have been about `68. 
    • My Father went to the Ram Jam club in Brixton' at the time when Ike Turner was Performing there!

      Tina was just about getting her voice known back then!

       

      ... 'OOooohh Great stories from my father!!...

      'Thing is, .....he's getting Bored of questions like.. ''WHAT-WAS-IT-LIKE-BACK-THEN!

    • Hi Rudie,They were great times.I have fond memories of the Clubs,I went to.You cannot describe how it was,because it is so different then.Clubs were still very Basic(compared to what they are like now)plus it was so new to us.I did not see Tina Turner but there were others I did see,including Junior.Years later I had the priviledge of driving Junior Walker around Town-looking for Booze and a Woman.So you can imagine what sort of night it was!
    • Good to hear from you again Rudi, say Hi to Dad.  Didn’t the Ram Jam used to have Sunday afternoon sessions?  Although I never went there, I remember visiting a JA girl friend that I had south of the river around lunchtime one Sunday, and her little brother and his mates had been to the Ram Jam the previous night, and they were getting ready to go back for the afternoon session.  They were only kids, about fourteen of fifteen, and they were all hopped up on pills.

      Colin—-Wow, driving the great Junior Walker around Town looking for booze and women.  That must have been a high time; do you remember much about it?  That’d make a great story.

    • Hi Robert,good to hear from you.I am trying to remember the Venue(all I can remember was it was upstairs) in the West End.Like I said it was later-I would put it about the late 80s/.He was appearing in Concert and had just finished his Set.His Agent was only interested in going back to the Hotel Room.Junior was not ready to go back to his Hotel so we got chatting.During the conversation,he told me he wanted a Drink-and did I know where he could pick-up a Woman"Companion".I remember taking him to a late night Store(along Oxford Street ,7/11,you could drive through there then!)  where we picked a bottle  .All the time he was hyper-chatting, joking etc.We had a drive around.He asked where a certain Area was-Shepherds Market.I think someone from his Entourage might had told him.I certainly did not!I had one my Idols in my Car,and all I wanted to talk about was Him.Anyway,not finding anything I took him back to the Venue-where a Band Member was waiting.I left Junior there. I can see the Venue and it was along Tottenham Court Road but....
  • John: Thanks a million, you’re a real pal. I owe you one! I’ll let you know when they arrive! By the way I’ve ordered the book 'The Influential Factor' by Graham Lentz. I told you I’d found a paperback version on Amazon.com for $213.00! Well I had the good idea of trying the British Amazon at Amazon.co.uk and found a copy for about £60. They wouldn’t mail it the USA so I had them mail it to my sister in Balham who is forwarding it to me here.
    So, I’m getting a few goodies for Christmas! I am looking forward to it. My adult daughter will be arriving from Atlanta to spend a week or so with us to continue the bonding process with her little brother. For the Christmas blahs I’d prescribe the Phil Spector album “A Christmas Gift for You” with those great songs by Darlene Love, Bobby Sox, and everyone

    Paul. That is great information, a black glove for solidarity eh? I hadn’t heard that before but it is a great show of support. I never went to the Twisted Wheel but I’ve heard enough about it to know it was great mod club and very influential, not least in the area of Ska and Reggae. As a musician, I want to thank you for getting a lot of people shaking on the dance floor and bringing them joy.
    • Rob; No problem - just hope they do arrive OK!!
      Glad to hear that you managed to track down Graham's book. I hope you enjoy reading it. I know he put in a lot of hard work and research when putting it together and rather than just research through old files on line etc he went out and spoke to people.
      I am enjoying Jeff Kruger's 'Angels and Assholes' at the moment. Some great memories of the Flamingo and he doesn't pull punches when talking about many so called stars and diva-ish beaviour!
      Sounds like you are going to have a great Christmas with family - that is the way it should be.
      Yeah - I dig out Phil Spectors album every year along with A Motown Xmas.

      I would have loved to visit the Wheel. In the late sixties and early seventies I travelled around the UK quite a bit and visited a lot of clubs but my biggest regrets were that I never made it to the Twisted Wheel or Newcastle's Club A Go Go. I got to many others but those two have a special place in history I believe.
      I have talked to many people who frequented both and they sound every bit as special as La Discotheque,The Scene and The Flamingo were to Londoners.

      John
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