When we were all at school, we were three identifiable boys who all had some interest in music, played together, but were no part of a formal music course. At that point, school music courses were not as defined and specialised as they are today.
Our stable residency was at the Adam & Eve, on Hope Chapel Hill, in Hotwells.
There was scheduled to be some kind of school concert ( probably Christmas ) – we ( the boys ) were asked to perform. Problem! None of us ever fancied singing much. There happened to be a music teacher ( he probably didn’t like us much, he didn’t teach us ), who suggested a young female vocalist from one of his music groups, might ease the situation.
I have a great affection for many of my teachers, this particular guy never taught me, however, his name was Mr. Precious. We rehearsed some songs, probably only three, that might work. Bearing in mind there would be a preponderance of parents in the audience, we chose those songs judiciously: Last Thing On My Mind, Morningtown Ride, Pearly Gates, Plaisir d’ Amour, Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, etc
We had limited technology at the time: linear valve amp/ house system, probably column speakers I think. It all went very well and there became, Folkal Point. It must have got ramped up, but I’m not sure how the whole Folkal Point thing seemed to get so elevated. Obviously, we did further concerts at school. We took time out of school to perform on local radio.
There was an older pupil, who having left school, managed to secure a job with BBC Radio Bristol. His name was Paul Johns. He was also instrumental in our introduction to BBC Radio Bristol. A lot of the gigs, access to non-school activities, garnered that momentum with the age of majority.
We started to play gigs in licensed premises – pubs! We started to go to the Troubadour Club regularly; saw a lot of inspirational performers and we did eventually play there a few times. The Troubadour was not a licensed premise. Our stable residency was at the Adam & Eve, on Hope Chapel Hill, in Hotwells. The pre-show music that played at the Troubadour was always Fairport Convention – Liege and Lief. There was a stylised image of Bob Dylan somewhere above the inside of the entrance/ adjacent to the stage, to the right. It was always under-scored with the appellation, God. We wanted to get to the Fairport Convention take on this kind of music.
Being completely irreligious, I always thought God was something good to go for. Did God create Man, or, did Man create God? In my naivety; Bob Dylan, didn’t come to the Troubadour – he was in a better place. I’ve seen Bob Dylan a few times since. He was great in the the mid 70’s, both live and studio – think, ‘Before the Flood’, ‘Blood on the Tracks’, ‘Desire’. Equally so, ‘Street Legal’ and the unplugged era of the 90’s.
Tracking back ….. Anyhow, at some point, Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention ( before she rejoined, shortly before her death ). There were other comings and goings within that band, over a period of time. Not sure how any of us felt, other than possibly cheated. When you’re young, you don’t understand the complexities of relationships. You kind of want things to be fixed in stone . Maybe, it’s easier that way?
At an early point we’d somehow managed to buy a PA system . We took advantage of this. I remember a specific gig in the upstairs gig at the Alma Tavern, in Clifton. Paul was playing electric bass ( Framus ), aside from the acoustic instruments, Mark also played electric guitar. That was a great gig. It was in the upstairs room, which is now the theatre. We’d taken on traditional material, in the vein of the Fairports.
We’d taken on rock music, in the vein of the F.P.’s, with more than a tip of the hat to; The Band. I remember playing; ‘Long Dark Veil’, ‘The Weight’ and similar material. Maybe we were the original alternative band?
Stuart Amesbury – Folkal Point, 2011