Prices School Fareham ‘Folk’ Concerts – 1969-75.

The 1960’s and in to the 70’s was a time of great socio-cultural change – as you may have heard, or noticed.   Even Fareham was affected – including Prices Grammar School for Boys.   We were encouraged by the spirit of the times – and by certain seditious teachers in English, Drama and Art – to be creative.  Music was the prime medium. The Beatles, Dylan, Paul Simon, and so on, meant that there was both a new permission and a new demand to be creative.  In any case, it was obviously fabulous/groovy/far out to be able to play the guitar and sing – and there was also the chance that the girls we knew might think so too . . .

And so we learnt to play the guitar and to write songs if we possibly could.

Meanwhile, it was a well known fact that the Headmaster, Mr Eric Poyner, believed that the guitar was ‘the instrument of the devil’.

I can see his point.  As a staunchly upper-middle class member of the Church of England, and of an older generation brought up in very different times, he must have been horrified when faced first with rock and roll and then by the libertine antics of The Rolling Stones and the aggression of The Who.   Worst of all,  the hippies – free love, drugs and long hair.  Even the Beatles had become provocative during the second half of the sixties.  They had grown their long hair even longer.

Meanwhile, a lot of us had learned to play the guitar.

And had long hair.

In May 1969, two sixth formers, Paul Hawes and Pat Gatland – both with relatively short hair – managed to get permission to hold an evening Folk Concert.  Presumably they had the help of one or other of the younger teachers.  Suspicion must fall on Tony Johnson (English and Drama).  By that time, guitars and folk-style songs  were even being heard in church ( Kumbaya, Shalom chevarim) – which must have helped.  Everything was acoustic of course and the songs were both traditional and modern – but folk.  There were even girl performers – Kathy and Rosalind Russell, for example – if not in the very first concert, then soon after.   Another such concert followed in December 1969 but I have no record or recollection of who organised it or who performed.

The next concert was in February 1970.  By this time Paul and Pat had moved on and the responsibility for keeping the ‘tradition’ going had been taken up by Chris Bard (Prices Head Boy, or soon to become so) assisted musically by Dave Cummins (Pricean) and Martin (Tink) Wood (former Pricean?).

Here’s what happened:  in January 1970, Chris and Co began to hire (or possibly just occupy) the Funtley Village Hall on Saturday afternoons in order to create and rehearse for a forthcoming event at Prices which was to be called The Light Show.  In addition to serious rehearsal there was also general music, general hanging out and a pool table.  Chris was good enough to give me a game of pool , and wiped me out in a couple of minutes.  Others present included Andy Vores, Nick Manley, Bob Askew, Nick Kahn, Chris Giles and Lindsey and Carole-Jayne Bird – but there were many others.  When it came to the show itself, my important role was to assist on the lights.

The Light Show introduced two key innovations to the tradition.  One was to add poetry reading and comic sketches to the mix.  Chris led in both.  He wrote and performed obscure poetry and bizarre sketches involving, for example, woodpecker sound-effects and inappropriate French translations.  The second innovation was more fundamental.  Dave and Tink had obtained a P.A. system and an electric guitar.  Andy Vores, meanwhile, was the enthusiastic possessor of a drum kit.   Prices ‘folk’ concerts went electric –  and this was only five years after Dylan had done the very same thing.

Meanwhile, the Saturday afternoon gatherings continued after the show and culminated on April 25th 1970 in an ‘event’ billed as TWEADIFARG –  more music and hanging out as I recall.  It was an acronym for The West End and District Folk Arts Revival Group, so perhaps the whole series of gatherings had been under that banner ?

Another concert/show took place on 6th November 1970.  Dave, Tink and Andy played, but that’s all I can discover.  There  was then another Chris and Co event on the 10th and 11th  December 1970 called Something to Remember.  Music, poetry, sketches, surrealism.  Dave, Tink, Andy and John Cameron played as Gigolo.  I believe I did the lights again.

The acoustic tradition had also continued throughout these shows and one of the acoustic performers was Dick Hubbard, an English Teacher at Prices.  He sang traditional ballads such as  the beautiful ‘Geordie’ – while playing the guitar.

Another performer was Nick Manley.  He had become well known for a entertaining us with an anti-war song of the time and another involving Adam and Eve and a snakeAt one or other of the concerts he was forced by audience demand to sing them again.  Unfortunately, on this occasion, Mr Poyner happened to be listening at the back.  “ I was suspended” says Nick “for singing the Fish Cheer/Fixing to Die Rag[1] and The One Eyed Trouser Snake. I don’t know which song caused the most offence.”

Chris and Co moved on.   The next event – not until December 1971 – was back to the concert format.  We called it Reflections of Summer.  I say ‘we’ because now I was a sixth-former and organised the event together with Paul Gateshill and others.  Perhaps that’s why our band – Lonene – had two slots in the programme while everyone else only had one !  Despite having moved on, Dave and Tink also played – as Morningstar – so too did Dick Hubbard, Bob Gilbert (Head of Music), Nick Manley and Springwind – Nick Kahn, Mick Daysh and Dave CledwynThey also supported Andy Vores who had by then become a singer-songwriter-pianist-composer.  In fact most of us were singer-songwriters – Nick Manley, Lonene, Morningstar, Springwind.  We were creating and delivering original songs and music – and our audience was kind enough to respond with enthusiasm.

Next came Gromboolia, in March 1972, organised by Nick Manley and poet Alan Hill.  The line-up was similar to the preceding concert but also included Andy Morely, Steve Cawte, Colin Andrews and a trio of Dave Andrews, Alan Smith and Colin Frances.

Someone organised another concert in May 1973.  It could have been me and others.  I can’t remember.  However, Lonene performed again – Paul Gateshill, Tracey Coles, Dave Cledwyn and myself.  So too did Nick Kahn and Mick Daysh, but now with Jackie White (previously with Lonene); and the Andy Vores band, which incorporated folks promiscuously from other bands and elsewhere.  Kathy and Rosalind Russell also made a reappearance after long absence.  New performers included PINT (among whom were my brother Ivor Bundell) and Tarsus (Chris Nash, Mark Luckham and Andy Sandham ).

This concert was recorded.  I had a cassette recorder which I must have put in front of the PA speakers and pressed play and record.

I also recorded part of the last concert I attended – after I had left Prices – in July 1975.  This was , once again, of the highly promiscuous, now even further expanded, Andy Vores band – which included Ivor Bundell, Tracey Coles,  Mick Daysh, John Cameron, Kate Burleigh and Liz Kearns – who both sang and danced.  These recordings are available now in digital format should you wish – for some reason – to hear them.

What happened to the tradition beyond 1975 I do not know.  Prices was beginning its transition from Grammar school to Sixth Form College and times were [a-]changing.  If anyone knows what happened next please tell us.

*

Dramatis personae.

There seems to be a general consensus still that Dave Cummins was the most talented and creative guitarist of the time.  He also had a wonderful Swedish Hagstrom acoustic guitar with a built-in pick-up – unheard of in those days.  Early on he played with Martin (Min) Gateshill and was thereby an influence on Min’s younger brother Paul Gateshill.  Paul, in turn,  helped me learn how to play the guitar. That is, I had to strum chords for him for hours while he practised his magic-fingered lead.

Martin WoodTink – (Mar(tin K)enneth Wood) also played with Dave from early on.  I was always puzzled that he played a nylon-strung Spanish Guitar rather than steel.  It was even suggested to me once  that Tink was a better guitarist than Dave.  The fact is they were both an inspiration and wrote some great songs together, and with Nick Manley too – see below.

Chris (No-holds) Bard was more a general inspiration to us all – an impresario rather than a musical influence – although I’m told he played the saxophone.  He was a huge creative talent – founder of and contributor to the ‘Black Lion’, organiser of ‘folk’ concerts/shows/’reviews’ and other events, Head Boy at Prices – when he seemed to take over morning Assembly, leaving the Headmaster and staff diminished in his wake.

Unfortunately, Chris, Tink and Dave are no longer with us.

You can find an obituary I wrote for Chris at http://www.societyofoldpriceans.co.uk/pupils.htm

I met Tink again when we travelled up to London on the train together in the early 2000s.  He was as delightful, gentle and kind a man as I had always remembered him.  Then timetables changed and we no longer coincided.  Next thing I heard, he had gone.  Tink’s wife Jane (Suter) had also been part of the creativity – the sketches in particular.  She is also gone.

Dave I never knew so well.  He took to writing music for computer games before his never very strong health gave out on him.

Lamentations for each of them, and for the loss to us of their great talents.

Nick Manley emerged for me as a solo performer – as described above.  But he also played in Springwind and, writing songs together with Dave, Tink and others and forming the truly wonderful band Red Shift – https://soundcloud.com/theoriginalredshift   Nick has since had a long and prolific writing and performing career in various bands and solo – much of it in France.

Nick Kahn originally learnt to play classical guitar and this led him to write some beautiful instrumental pieces performed together with Mick Daysh and Jackie White on flutes.  He has since gone on to write and perform fine songs, often accompanied by his daughters Anna on bass and Eleanor on guitar, and by Mick Daysh on flute.

Andy Vores was a prolific composer/song-writer on piano.  Having first been a rock drummer, his piano-playing was often frenetic.  In fact he sometimes played faster than his fingers could follow.  The results were wonderful, and very different from the songs the rest of us wrote on guitars.  He was also a showman and liked to organise large numbers of musicians, singers and even dancers on stage to help perform his creative complexities.  He went on from Prices to study music composition and then moved to the US , where he became a successful modern-classical composer and Chair of Composition, Theory and Music History at the Boston Conservatory.  http://andyvores.com/andyvoresbio.html

Mick/Michael Daysh fluted with most of the above.  It is always good to find someone who plays a real musical instrument – more colours on the palette. Mick still flutes, but nowadays he also writes songs and sings, with guitar or keyboard and a band.  Mick also plays with electro-acoustic classical guitarist Chris Nash.

Chris Nash went on from Prices to take a music degree and to record instrumental music with Andy Sandham.  He has also performed regularly in folk, rock and jazz bands. He currently partakes of an instrumental guitar duet, ‘Nash and Thompson’, playing jazz, acoustic and classical pieces (https://soundcloud.com/search?q=nash%20and%20thompson

Paul Gateshill has never stopped writing and performing – and playing some great lead guitar (owing to my strumming for him for hours you understand).  He has also recorded two solo Albums/CDs and been an essential contributor to the four Albums/CD’s produced by my brother Ivor and I – The Bundell Brothers.  We also all recorded an actual LP in 1976 called Presence, which is now available as a CD.  Details of our various doings – and some of our songs to listen to – can be found at www.bundellbros.co.uk .  I particularly recommend you have a listen to ‘Mr Mitchell’s Angel’.

Paul Gateshill, Ivor and Kevan Bundell, Chris Nash, Michael Daysh, Nick Kahn and Nick Manley have also become regular performers at Tanglefest.   This is an annual Summer Garden Party and Concert event which happens at my place in Curdridge.  2019’s date is yet to be fixed, so please send me an e-mail via www.bundellbros.co.uk or kbundell@yahoo.co.uk  if you’d like to be invited. All old friends/acquaintances/Priceans/others are very welcome.

Kevan Bundell (Prices 1966 – 1973)

PS  Comments, corrections and additions to the above most welcome – kbundell@yahoo.co.uk

PPS  Kathy and Rosalind Russell, where are you ?

*

[1] Country Joe and the Fish’s anti Vietnam War anthem which begins ‘Give us an F ! . . .’

One thought on “Prices School Fareham ‘Folk’ Concerts – 1969-75.

  1. This is a wonderful piece. Great memories which continue with your Tanglewood Festival every year, which has kept the juices flowing and brings many of the above, now crusty old men, together forever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*