My first adventures into playing music were inspired by listing to rock and roll transmitted on Radio Luxemburg late at night. I would pick up this station on a home made crystal set when I was supposed to be asleep. A couple of years later, probably around 1963, I would go and listen to bands on Wednesday nights at the Orchid Ballroom on Primrose Hill Street. This was about the time of the Beatles release “With the Beatles” album. I remember there was a large copy of the cover projected on the back of the stage.
There was also the Sombrero coffee bar next to Pool Meadow bus station which had the most amazing juke box. This juke box was fabulous and I’ll never forget hearing Bo Diddly singing Pretty Thing. This would have been around 1962. I discovered a whole other world different from my upbringing.
In 1964 I played bass in a band called the Elements which included Paul Saunders on lead guitar and John Underwood on guitar. After the Elements I played Bass for the Red White and Blues and then in 1966/67 left them to play bass for the Darkness. The Darkness was originally going to be Alex Sun and the Darkness but Alex the singer dropped out.
There were great venues we played at, Chesford Grange on Saturdays, Plough on the London Road the Avonside Country Club and The Navigation Inn. Chesford Grange was great on Saturday nights. It had two stages, as one band took a break the second band came on. This was all going on while ballroom dancing took place upstairs, all very bazaar. After finishing at Chesford Grange around 11pm we would often move to the Avonside Country Club and play there until the early hours.
Began singing on the Coventry folk scene in 1967. In 1969 I formed East Light with Paul Saunders and we moved to London. We played as East Light for a few months before Paul emigrated to Canada. I continued to play in and around London folk clubs for the next few years until I joined a reformed Dando Shaft in the early 70’s with Martin Jenkins, Ted Kay and Bill Bones. Martin Jenkins and I busked in the London underground to rehearse each others songs and earn a few bob. This lasted for about six months until Martin Jenkins and Ted Kay moved back to Coventry. I went back to the folk scene performing on my own until forming the Roger Williamson Band in 1974.
NB. Recordings 1 to 4 feature the recording band, Muffin (see entry) on backing. Muffin were assigned to provide backing for Roger Williamson in the recording studio by arrangement with their management company, Amazing Dog. Amazing Dog Management handled both artists at the time.
Roger Williamson (guitar, vocals), Paul Saunders (percussion).