Tony Knight’s Chessmen’s gigs 1964-1967

Welcome to another posting of a series of gig listings for 1960s bands. None of these lists is exhaustive and my idea is to add to them in the comments section below over time. They are here for future researchers to draw on.  I have also added a few interesting bits of information and will add images in time.

I’d like to encourage band members to get in touch to share memories, or for anyone to send corrections/clarifications to my email: Warchive@aol.com 

Equally important, if you attended any of the gigs below or played in the support band, please do leave your memories below in the comments section for future historians to use. If you know of any missing gigs, please add them too, if possible, with the sources.

TONY KNIGHT’S CHESSMEN:

Tony Knight (aka Tony Brown) – drums/lead vocals

Lol Coxhill – tenor/soprano saxophone

John Gummer – baritone saxophone/trumpet

Terry Martin – bass/vocals

Jeff Reed – organ

Formed in 1964 by Tony Knight and Terry Martin, who were from Wolverhampton. Lol Coxhill was a seasoned jazzer

1964:

15 November 1964 – North Warnborough Village Hall, Hampshire (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

16 November 1964 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams’ research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book) Billed as The Chessmen

 

19 December 1964 – Corn Exchange, Chelmsford, Essex with Rufus Thomas (Essex Chronicle)

1965:

5 January 1965 – Bluesville, Aylesbury, Bucks (website: http://aylesburymusictown.co.uk/)

 

2 February 1965 – Lorrain Club, Royal Forest Hotel, Chingford, Essex (Leyton, Leytonstone and Waltham Forest Guardian)

16 February 1965 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams’ research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book) Billed as The Chessmen

 

16 March 1965 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams’ research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book) Billed as The Chessmen

Around this time, Johnny Almond joined on baritone sax and John Gummer moved to trumpet

18 April 1965 – Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with Cops ‘N’ Robbers (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

23 April 1965 – Dungeon Club, Nottingham (website: https://dungeonmods.wordpress.com/)

 

8 May 1965 – Flamingo, Soho, London with Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band (Melody Maker)

15 May 1965 – Victoria Hall, Basingstoke, Hampshire (Hampshire & Berkshire Gazette)

30 May 1965 – Agincourt Ballroom, Camberley, Surrey (Aldershot News)

 

7 June 1965 – Redcar Mini Festival, Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with Long John Baldry & The Hoochie Coochie Men, Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band, The Crawdaddies (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

13 June 1965 – Dungeon Club, Nottingham (website: https://dungeonmods.wordpress.com/)

15 June 1965 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams’ research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book) Billed as The Chessmen

 

11 July 1965 – Dungeon Club, Nottingham (website: https://dungeonmods.wordpress.com/)

27 July 1965 – Klooks Kleek, West Hampstead, London (Geoff Williams’ research: Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek book) Billed as The Chessmen

 

6 August 1965 – Pontiac, Zeeta House, Putney, London with The Fetish Crowd (NME)

Around this time, Terry Martin and John Reed departed

Former London Beats members Peter Carney (bass) and John Carroll (Hammond organ) filled the vacant spots. Terry Edmunds also joined on lead guitar

30 August 1965 – Dungeon Club, Nottingham (website: https://dungeonmods.wordpress.com/)

30 August 1965 – Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with Long Joh Baldry, Rod Stewart, Julie Driscoll and Brian Auger Trinity, The Mike Cotton Sound and The Crawdaddies (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

 

23 October 1965 – Agincourt Ballroom, Camberley, Surrey (Aldershot News)

 

5 November 1965 – Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with The Artwoods, Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds and The Crawdaddies (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

14 November 1965 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

Around this time, Johnny Almond left to join Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and John Gummer reverted to baritone trumpet

10 December1965 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

16 December 1965 – Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with Ronnie Jones & The Blue Jays and Steampacket (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

Mojo Club, Sheffield gig with Herbie Goins, 24 December 1965

27 December 1965 – Star Hotel, Croydon, Surrey (Chris Broom book: Rockin’ and Around Croydon)

1966:

9 January 1966 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham (Down at the Boat book)

 

5 March 1966 – Ram Jam, Brixton, London with The Loose Ends (Melody Maker)

4 April 1966 – Woodhall Community Centre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire (Welwyn Times)

12 April 1966 – Borough Assembly Hall, Aylesbury, Bucks (website: http://aylesburymusictown.co.uk/)

 

29 May 1966 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham (Down at the Boat book)

 

9 July 1966 – Bowes Lyon House, Stevenage, Hertfordshire with The Shevells (Welwyn Times)

16 July 1966 – The Dolphin, Marine Court, St Leonards, East Sussex with King Bees (Roger Bistow’s research at Dizzy Tiger Music website)

24 July 1966 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham (Down at the Boat book)

 

5-6 August 1966 – Flamingo, Soho (Melody Maker) Billed as The Chessmen

7 August 1966 – Witchdoctor, Catford, London (South East London Mercury)

Around this time, Peter Carney left to join Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band and Liverpudlian Steve Lucas came in on bass for a few months before Rick Eagles took over

18 August 1966 – Harpenden Public Hall, Harpenden, Hertfordshire (Poster) Billed as The Chessmen

29 August 1966 – Redcar Jazz Club, Redcar, North Yorkshire with Zoot Money & His Big Roll Band, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Crawdaddies (Dennis Weller, Chris Scott Wilson and Graham Lowe’s book)

About this time, Lol Coxhill departed to join The Gass. John Gummer also left and former Mike Rabin Band/Rockhouse members Dave Coxhill (no relation to Lol) and Stan Sulzmann came in on saxophones

23 September 1966 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

24 September 1966 – Britannia Rowing Club, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

 

2 October 1966 – Nottingham Boat Club, Nottingham (Down at the Boat book)

24 October 1966 – Agincourt Ballroom, Camberley, Surrey (Aldershot News)

 

12 November 1966 – Club A Go Go, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear with The Elcort (website: http://www.readysteadygone.co.uk/club-agogo-newcastle-2/)

During November, the band opened the Bag O’Nails in Kingley Street, Soho

1967:

7 January 1967 – Nite Owl, Leicester (Leicester Mercury)

Sometime in early January Rick Eagles left. Later that month, John Carroll landed a job with The Pirates after Rick Eagles told his old friend Nick Simper about the keyboard player. Future Procol Harum keyboard player Matthew Fisher briefly replaced him

Starting in March, Tony Knight’s Chessmen started working on and off with Jamaican singer Owen Grey who’d worked with The Krew in France during 1966. Judging by the gigs below, some of the shows were spent backing Owen Grey while for others Tony Knight’s Chessmen played on their own

18 February 1967 – Manhole, Redhill, Surrey (Crawley Advertiser)

 

18 March 1967 – Gaiety Ballroom, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire with The Friction (website: http://peterboroughimages.co.uk/music/?p=8130)

 

3 April 1967 – Marquee, Wardour Street, Soho, London with The Herd (Tony Bacon’s book: London Live)

 

7 May 1967 – Carlton Club, Warrington, Cheshire (Warrington Guardian)

21 May 1967 – Kirklevington Country Club, Kirklevington, North Yorkshire (Middlesbrough Evening Gazette)

In mid-June Terry Edmunds left to briefly work with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers but it only lasted a few weeks. Around the same time, Dave Coxhill and Stan Sulzmann left

17 June 1967 – California Ballroom, Dunstable, Bedfordshire with The Apex R&B All Stars and The Gods (website: www.california-ballroom.info/gigs/)

28 June 1967 – Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, Cornwall (West Briton & Royal Cornish Gazette)

 

14 August 1967 – Carlton Club, Warrington, Cheshire (Warrington Guardian)

 

The following gigs were billed as Tony Knight’s Chessmen with Owen Grey:

9 March 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, London (Melody Maker)

11 March 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, London (Melody Maker)

19 March 1967 – Roaring 20’s, Carnaby Street, London (Melody Maker)

25 March 1967 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

 

2 April 1967 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

8 April 1967 – Beachcomber, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

8 April 1967 – Britannia Rowing Club, Nottingham (Nottingham Evening Post)

15 April 1967 – Blue Moon, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire (Gloucestershire Echo)

 

26 June 1967 – 100 Club, Oxford Street, London (Melody Maker)

The group undertook some dates in Cornwall (around mid-June) and played at the Piper Club in Viareggio, Italy (likely July). Tenor sax player Terry Ede (ex-Jeff Elroy & The Blue Boys) remembers both and was a member during this time with Tony Knight, a bass player called Keith, a guitarist and a baritone sax player. He says that Owen Grey was with them.

The following dates are most likely with this formation:

6 August 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington (Melody Maker)

12 August 1967 – The New All-Star Club, 9a Artillery Passage, E1 (Melody Maker)

19 August 1967 – Cue Club, Paddington (Melody Maker)

9 September 1967 – 007 Sun Valley Club, Dalston, London with Sir Dees Sound (Melody Maker)

By early 1968, the following line-up evolved into The Magicians who cut a lone single for MCA ‘Painting on Wood’ c/w ‘Slow Motion’

Dave Watkins – piano/vocals

Fred d’Albert – guitar

Terry Martin – bass

Tony Brown (aka Tony Knight) – drums/vocals

Huge thanks to David Else for his input

2 thoughts on “Tony Knight’s Chessmen’s gigs 1964-1967”

  1. CHESSMEN

    Brown / Coxhill / Gummer / Martin / Reed recorded 2 tracks in 1964 released c. 2000 on a Lol Coxhill CD.

    Brian Smith (AKA Wes Minster) joined the band on guitar for the Rufus Thomas UK tour (and left at the end of the tour) and guitarists don’t seem to feature until Fred D’Albert joined (or rejoined) in 67.

    Almond left around August/September 65 to replace Clive Burrows when he left Zoot Money to join Alan Price

    During 1965 they backed Martha & Vandellas, Mose Allison & Screaming Jay Hawkins on UK tour dates.

    My notes say that Terry Martin left in late 65, replaced by Pete Carney and Jeff Reed left early 66 replaced by John Carroll.

    Lol Coxhill left late 66 to join The GASS, Terry Ede (x Jeff Elroy & The Boys Blue) joined on tenor sax to replace him. Ede said he was only in the Chessmen ‘for a short stint’.

    John Carroll was briefly replaced by Matthew Fisher (Procul etc.) on organ.

    Dave Watkins (Magicians 1968) was an old friend of Knight & Martin from Wolverhampton

    Tony Brown (Knight), Dave Coxhill & Fred D’Albert all helped form Sweetwater Canal with remnants of Freddie Mack’s band.

    Dates –
    I have a note that they played the Ealing Club in February 64, but no other info.
    Also that they has a Friday night residency at the Scene Club between August 64 and November 64

    Rufus Thomas UK tour – line up Knight / Coxhill / Reed / Gummer / Martin plus Brian Smith on guitar
    all taken from Brian Smiths itinerary included in Wes Minster 5 CD notes.

    09/12/64 rehearsal at Flamingo Club, London, followed by evening gig at Flamingo
    10 Crazy Elephant Club
    11 recording Ready Steady Go TV programme
    Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    12 Chelsea College SW3
    13 Flamingo Club
    Bromel Club, Bromley
    14 Cooks Ferry Inn
    15 BBC Saturday Club recording
    Ricky Tick Club, Aylesbury
    16 Klooks Kleek
    17 Mojo Sheffield
    18 Churchill Hall, Chelsmford
    Flamingo Club (actually morning of 19th)
    19 Corn Exchange, Chelmsford
    Club Noriek (actually morning of 20th)
    20 Chertsey

    Obviously a hard working tour with no time off ! Smith returned to Wes Minster 5 after tour

    Chessmen dates
    09/01/65 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    22/01 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    19/02 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    05/03 Ricky Tick Club, Plaza Guildford
    14/08 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    11/12 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    22/12 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    02/01/66 Ricky Tick Club, Plaza Guildford
    06/05 Ricky Tick Club, Harvest Moon, Guildford
    18/06 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    16/07 Witchdoctor Club, St. Leonards – supported by the King Bees
    18/08 Ricky Tick Club, Public Hall, Harpenden
    10/09 Ricky Tick Club, Clewer Mead, Windsor
    19/11 Ricky Tick Club, Bridge House, Bracknell

  2. should have been photos attached where it says “Gummer/Brown in armour-on horse” and where it says “Terry Ede in Italy” ! – can’t find a way of attaching the photos.

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