Site of the Ealing Jazz Club, photo taken December, 2010
|The Ealing Jazz Club (or the Ealing Club as it was more commonly known) was one of London’s most historically important music venues during the 1960s. Situated below the ABC bakery, opposite Ealing Broadway station, in the leafy West London suburb of Ealing, the club became renowned as London’s first significant R&B venue when blues enthusiasts Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies’s band Blues Incorporated debuted in March 1962.|
Nicknamed the “Moist Hoist” because of the condensation that used to drip down the walls, the club hosted many of London’s most distinguished R&B acts, and in April of that year provided the setting for the first meeting between Messrs.’ Jagger and Richard and Brian Jones, who formed the nucleus of The Rolling Stones, a club regular during 1962 and 1963.
A virtual who’s who of famous British R&B enthusiasts appeared on the club’s tiny stage over the next three years, most notably Blues Incorporated members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker (who went on to Cream among others); Eric Clapton; Graham Bond; John Mayall; Long John Baldry; Eric Burdon; and Paul Jones, Manfred Mann’s lead singer, to mention just a few names.
Another of London’s top R&B acts The Who performed their first advertised show at the club in November 1964 and played regularly there during the early part of 1965. Jeff Beck’s band The Tridents also graced the club’s stage and, according to Melody Maker, appeared regularly on the Wednesday and Friday night slots during the summer of 1964.
And let’s not forget Dick Taylor, who left an early incarnation of The Rolling Stones to form his own pioneering R&B band, The Pretty Things. Incidentally, future Rolling Stone, Ron Wood was another famous musician who frequented the club with his band, the unforgettable Birds. His brother, the late Art Wood also appeared there, playing with Blues Incorporated and fronting his own band, The Artwoods.
As an R&B hotbed, the club became a magnet for London’s music crowd, drawing in the likes of Rod Stewart; future Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell; Don Craine and the rest of The Downliners Sect; future Faces keys man Ian McLagan, who was working with Twickenham band, The Muleskinners; and future Deep Purple founder Nick Simper, whose early Sixties outfit, The Delta Five were one of the many acts to appear.
Many of the British musicians that either played at the club or witnessed the burgeoning R&B scene emerging from it, took what they had learnt and/or seen to overseas markets as part of the British invasion.
Locals, the late Frank Kennington, who later managed Motorhead, and lead guitarist Mick Liber, whose band Frankie Reid and The Casuals (with future Episode Six drummer John Kerrison among others) had played at the Ealing Club, headed Down Under and formed one of Australia’s finest R&B groups, the original Python Lee Jackson.
Singer Andy Keiller caught many of the acts, including an embryonic Rolling Stones with Carlo Little on drums and Ricky Brown on bass and was so inspired that he headed off to South Africa and subsequently formed The Upsetters in late 1965.
Keiller’s soon-to-be collaborator, Irish guitarist Louis McKelvey and drummer Malcolm Tomlinson, meanwhile, had played with Jeff Curtis & The Flames, the house band at the Ealing Club during its formative years.
After their brief stint together in South Africa, Andy Keiller and Louis McKelvey amazingly reunited in Canada in the late 1960s, founding the experimental band, Influence.
McKelvey subsequently returned to the UK to pick up Malcolm Tomlinson, who’d been working with a pre-Jethro Tull Martin Barre and then headed back to Toronto to form Milkwood, authors of a soon-to-be released LP, recorded with the legendary Jerry Ragovoy at the NYC’s Hit Factory in summer of 1969.
Likewise, many other not so famous musicians who played the Ealing Club went on to produce fascinating music in the burgeoning psychedelic scene. Locals Chris Jackson and Tom Newman fronted R&B band The Tomcats (who also worked as The Thoughts) and later formed one of Britain’s more interesting psych ventures, July, after a stint in Spain.
Jon Field and Tony Duhig were also members of July and had earlier worked with another Ealing Club regular – The Second Thoughts, alongside future Thunderclap Newman, drummer/vocalist Speedy Keen and Patrick Campbell Lyons, who later formed the core of another top psych act, Nirvana.
Jimmy Royal, yet another local talent, was a club regular and fronted one of the area’s most respected bands, The Hawks, which featured former Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers (the recently deceased) guitarist Mick King (real name Mick Borer) and drummer Terry Mabey among others.
And let’s not forget the many obscure bands that got to play at this prestigious club – groups like The Fairlanes, The Four Sounds, Johnnie Harris and The Shades and The Fantastic Soul Messengers.
With many of these great musicians already gone, Garagehangover would like to use this space to encourage musicians, club regulars, promoters and any others with any memories, memorabilia, photos and details of live dates to share this on the site in the comment box below.
Thank you to Andy Neill for some of the background information on the Ealing Club.
Copyright © Nick Warburton, 2010, All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any from or by any means, without prior permission from the author.
I have tried to ensure the accuracy of this article but I appreciate that there are likely to be errors and omissions. I would appreciate any feedback from anyone who can provide any additions or corrections. Email: Warchive@aol.com