From left, JM Davis, Peter Sharp, Jo Battley, Dave Frohnsdorff, in 1971
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Songlist for EEDY Week gig on Tuesday 27th April 1971:
- The Streets of London
- I Can Hear Your Voice
- If I Fell
- Green Stamps
- If I Had A Hammer
Songlist for Sutton Folk Club gig on Friday 17th December 1971:
- The Streets of London
- Pretty Polly
- Winter Lady
- Sally Free and Easy
- The Penny and the Apricot Tree
- Willy O'Winsbury
- Last Train and Ride
- Crazy Man Michael
- Lord Franklin
- Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
- Whip Jamboree
- Whiskey In The Jar
Songlist for Ewell Tech Rag Week gig on Wednesday 19th April 1972:
- All Things Are Quite Silent
- Incest Song
- Pretty Polly
- Crazy Man Michael
- Fisherman's Wife
Songlist for Ewell Tech gig on Thursday 12th October 1972:
- Staines Morris
- Dancing At Whitsun
- My Johnny Was A Shoemaker
- If You'd Been There
- Fisherman's Wife
- The Banks of the Nile
- Sorry The Day I Was Married
- All Things Are Quite Silent
- Pretty Polly
- Cannily, Cannily
- Learning The Game
Before the Beggars' Hill album was produced in 1976, six of the members had been in another group, Flyntlocke, from 1971-2.
Glyn Grammar School - that's where it all began. Well, it did for me at least - perhaps not for Jo or Jane, seeing as it was a boys' school. Little did we know in 1964 at the age of 11, when JM Davis, Peter Sharp, John Bishop, Peter Butcher and I were randomly thrown together in Abbey house, that we would still have a common interest more than 40 years later. Not that we were all close friends at first - that didn't really happen until the sixth form, when the school started to treat us as young adults. We had a sixth form common room, which we could use when we had free periods - oops, I should have said "private study" periods!
Those of us with an interest in music started trying to play instruments ourselves. There was a guy called John Brown in our class, and he could play pretty good finger-style acoustic guitar - I don't know how he learnt it, but he played ragtime and blues solo instrumentals. He was my initial tutor, and while I did evening classes in classical guitar techniques, I was also teaching myself ragtime and blues from a book of guitar tablature by John Pearse. Another inspiration for me was Arlo Guthrie and his song/album/film "Alice's Restaurant" and I taught myself to play the ragtime guitar music which he played throughout the whole 18-minute saga.
JM Davis and Peter Sharp were also learning to play guitar - again, like me, they were mainly self-taught. We all basically copied from each other and from our heroes. We played mainly by ear, or trial and error if you prefer, but occasionally we bought some sheet music to try to play - that wasn't a great help, as you still had to figure out where to put your fingers! I think Marc Isherwood was the exception to this, as I believe he had music lessons.
One painful memory I still have from school was when JM, Peter, Marc, John Bishop and I performed Ralph McTell's "Streets of London" at a sixth form assembly. It was a really cold day, and my bus had been late, so I had been outside in the cold, without gloves, for about 45 minutes, and my hands had turned blue. When we came to perform the song, I had to play a finger-style intro, but my hands were so stiff that my fingers would not move. I think I made two or three false starts before one of the others took over and went straight into the verse. It was sooooooooooooooo embarrassing!
EEDY Week Gig at Ebbisham Hall, Epsom
At the same time, JM, Peter and John had formed a group at Stoneleigh Youth Club with Jo Battley and Jane Gibbens, and they had been asked to perform at a concert for EEDY Week (Epsom and Ewell District Youth Week). They felt they needed a bit more instrumental support, so they asked Marc and me to join them. I think I was just a little ahead of them in guitar technique, and Marc with the benefit of musical training, volunteered to play the school's double bass.
That reminds me - how many people can you get in a Mini as well as a double bass? The answer, I can tell you from personal experience, is three - two in the front, and one plus the double bass and assorted guitars in the back, with the neck of the double bass between the driver and front passenger above the gear stick. I can particularly remember one such journey in Marc's Mini on Ewell By-pass when a stone chip thrown up by the tyres of another car hit the windscreen and although it stayed intact, it cracked so completely that Marc couldn't see through, so he had to punch a hole in it just to be able to safely stop the car. It was as a result of that one incident that windscreens are now made of safety glass - I didn't realise that we were so influential!
Jo Walker remembers more about the Youth Club group. "I have a memory of the very first Stoneleigh youth club group also involving my friend Tricia Chapman - she and I used to sing as a duo around that time. Maybe she dropped out before the rest of you came along."
Peter Sharp remembers more about the problem of the double bass. "I well remember JM carrying the double bass to aforementioned EEDY Week rehearsals in his ?early 1930s Austin 7. The neck of the unfortunate [school] instrument was stuck out of the sun-roof."
Anyway, EEDY Week arrived and we played at Epsom's Ebbisham Hall as a seven-piece group on 27th April 1971, our first gig. Following that, we were asked by various church, youth and social clubs to perform for them over the next few months, and we were then called The Shades. Fairly soon, however, Jane and John decided to drop out of the group, and the remaining five of us, Jo, JM, Peter, Marc and I continued under our new name, Flyntlocke.
John Bishop remembers how we chose our name:
"I remember a good deal about the time before Beggars' Hill - and I remember coming up with the name Flyntlocke whilst we were sitting in a pub (can't remember the name) at the end of Stoneleigh Broadway: there was a gun of this description hanging on the wall opposite me. Visual cue etc. It was a bt of a brainstorming session and I was delighted that the name was taken up.
During early gigs, I was the one who got to introduce us and speak to the audience - thereby making me realise that I was perfectly happy to talk to audiences and paving the way for a career in teaching!
Of course, I resigned from the group fairly early on because of my lack of any musical or vocal talent ..... "
Jo Walker adds "The pub in Stoneleigh was called 'The Stoneleigh' (!) - we went there recently for a 25th wedding do and it was very strange to see it again".
Residency at The Plough, Leatherhead
We had a lucky break when we played for Epsom 18+ Group at a private function at The Plough public house in Leatherhead. The licensee was so impressed that he asked us to play there every Sunday evening - I think he realised that we would generate some extra customers who would not normally go there. Certainly for the seven weeks we played there, from 17th September to 3rd December 1971, many of our friends and relations came along to support us, and we seemed to fill the small bar each week. That residency was very beneficial for us, as it meant that we had to perform 20 or more songs every week (and preferably not the same 20 or more songs each time). So it forced us to enlarge our repertoire and to rehearse regularly, if only to avoid looking completely hopeless!
As young amateurs, our repertoire was based almost entirely on copying our heroes, and included songs by Fairport Convention (Farewell Farewell, Crazy Man Michael, Fotheringay, Who Knows Where The Time Goes), Pentangle (Once I Had A Sweetheart, Lord Franklin, Willy O'Winsbury), Joni Mitchell (I Don't Know Where I Stand), Magna Carta (Airport Song, Elizabethan), Incredible String Band (Painting Box), Fotheringay (The Banks of the Nile), The Spinners (A-Roving), Ralph McTell (The Streets of London, Last Train and Ride), Judy Collins (Pretty Polly), Trees (The Garden of Jane Delawney) and Joan Baez (All My Trials).
During the residency, we put the £10 per week towards buying some equipment, including an amplifier, speakers and microphones. Marc bought an electric bass guitar to avoid the problem of the Mini and the double bass borrowed from school, and this was much more convenient. Peter bought an electric guitar and practised like mad, and soon at least a couple of songs every gig featured the electric guitar.
Main Act and Residency at Sutton Folk Club
I can't remember how it came about, although I think it may have involved Fluff (Ned Clamp), a fellow folk singer/entertainer who we'd met at previous gigs, but somehow we were invited to be the main act at Sutton Folk Club on Friday 17th December 1971. This went pretty well, particularly as we were by then on friendly terms with the organisers and some of the regular floor singers. My favourite memory of the evening, fortunately recorded on cassette, was when somebody dropped a metal tray onto a hard floor with an enormous crash, just as JM sang the words "... and why are you (CRASH!!) so quiet now ..." from Leonard Cohen's Winter Lady. The timing was just perfect, and we all had a quiet laugh while JM recovered from the shock and finished the song. We finished the evening with Whip Jamboree and Whiskey In The Jar, a couple of up-tempo songs for the audience to clap, stamp and sing along with, and from that high point we were asked to play there each week.
Peter Sharp has other memories of that evening. "I also remember our first gig at Sutton Folk Club. I was drunk, not having recovered at all from the traditional Ewell Tec booze up at lunchtime on the last day of term. More than that, the gig was of course attended by sundry old friends & acquaintances, mostly in the front row. After the first number they all held up their scores, ice skating style. They were none too complementary, if memory serves.....thanks, guys".
Our residency at Sutton Folk Club lasted for five more weeks, from 21st January to 17th March 1972, and during this time our instrumentation was evolving. From the original line-up of three acoustic guitars and bass, we varied this for some songs with electric guitar (Peter) and violin (Marc). The biggest change was the addition of Pete Roberts on drums, percussion and bongos, initially in rehearsals and later on stage. So we became a six-piece group with a bigger variety of instruments and three male singers to accompany Jo, our female lead singer.
We also found some excellent new sources of songs to learn, Steeleye Span's first album Hark! The Village Wait (All Things Are Quite Silent, Fisherman's Wife, My Johnny Was A Shoemaker), Tim Hart & Maddy Prior's Summer Solstice (Cannily Cannily, Dancing At Whitsun, Sorry the Day I Was Married), and Morris On (Staines Morris) - all these were newly-produced at that time and contained many songs which we could adapt to suit our capabilities.
Two Gigs at Ewell Technical College
With Jo, Peter S and Pete R all attending Ewell Technical College, it was perhaps not surprising that we were asked to play at the evening concert for their Rag Week on Wednesday 19th April 1972. Heading the bill that evening were Gryphon
, described on the poster as a medieval, renaissance, baroque, folk band! This was the year before Gryphon issued their first album, and they were not yet very well known. They produced four albums for Transatlantic, before disbanding by the end of the 1970s, having gained a progressive rock/art rock audience and touring North America with Yes. Graeme Taylor went on to play with the Albion Band and Home Service, while Richard Harvey has had a highly successful career in television and film music. But back in 1972 they were just a bunch of friendly guys who lent us their roadie and let us use their P.A. system for the Rag Week gig.
The Rag Week gig was our first with Pete Roberts on drums. Photos 2 to 5 (click here for photos, then maximise window)
were taken at the gig by Peter McCreanor, who was Jo's boyfriend at that time. The concert was held in the Adrian Mann Theatre at the college, and the other acts on the bill were Bitter Green (folk), Colours (Country & Western) and Chris Wilson (sitar). We performed seven songs (see list on the left).
In rehearsals, JM was starting to play whistle, dulcimer and banjo, and I started to play autoharp and concertina, and these were gradually introduced to our live performances over the next few months. Incidentally, this reminds me that JM actually made the dulcimer himself. In fact, he made several dulcimers to order for other people. I remember he also made a bowed psaltery, but tuning was rather tricky and I don't think he ever played it in live performances.
Our second gig at Ewell Tech on Thursday 12th October 1972 was as support act to Jonathan Kelly and Gryphon. Photos 6 to 8 (click here for photos, then maximise window)
were also taken at this gig by Peter McCreanor. Jonathan Kelly
was top of the bill. At the time of the concert, he was a singer-songwriter who had already made two albums, and went on to make three more before disappearing from public view. I can't tell you any more about Jonathan Kelly because I can't remember whether we actually met him, bearing in mind that Gryphon followed us on stage about an hour before Jonathan was due.
Our set had more variety than any we'd done before. JM played whistle, dulcimer and banjo, as well as his usual 12-string guitar. Peter played electric guitar on Pretty Polly, and acoustic guitar on the other accompanied songs. Marc played bass, Pete drums and I played mainly acoustic guitar, except for concertina on Cannily Cannily. Vocally, Jo sang on all the songs, mainly lead vocals, with vocal harmonies from JM, Peter and I on Staines Morris and Fisherman's Wife. There were also two unaccompanied duets, Jo and JM on My Johnny Was A Shoemaker, and Jo and Peter on Sorry The Day I Was Married. For this gig, we used our own P.A. and Chris Walker balanced the sound levels for us.
This set was probably Flyntlocke's best performance, and although we didn't know it then, it also proved to be our last. For the next part of the story, click here for the King Bill Folk Club
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Flyntlocke - Songlist
All 89 songs Flyntlocke performed live (plus number of gigs, and who we learnt them from, if known):
- Airport Song - 8, Magna Carta
- All My Trials - 2, Joan Baez
- All Things Are Quite Silent - 7, Steeleye Span
- And I Love Her - 1, The Beatles
- A-Roving - 6, The Spinners
- Baby Tree - 1, via Neil Stanford
- Back To Stay - 1, John Martyn
- Banks of the Nile - 5, Fotheringay
- Black Is The Colour - 4, Anne Briggs/Joan Baez
- Blackwaterside - 2, Sandy Denny
- Brian Boru - 5, via unknown Irish singer at Sutton Folk Club
- Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound - 1, Tom Paxton
- Cannily, Cannily - 2, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior
- Carolina In My Mind - 3, James Taylor
- Catch The Wind - 2, Donovan
- Cosher Bailey - 2, JM Davis "Learned it at school, but not from the teachers…"
- Crazy Man Michael - 9, Fairport Convention
- The Cuckoo - 2, Pentangle
- Dancing At Whitsun - 2, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior
- Dandelion Blues - 1, Incredible String Band
- Daybreak - 1, by JM Davis/John Donne
- Early Morning Rain - 2, Gordon Lightfoot
- East Virginia - 2, Joan Baez
- Elizabethan - 6, Magna Carta
- Farewell, Farewell - 8, Fairport Convention
- Fisherman's Wife - 7, Steeleye Span
- Five Hundred Miles - 7, Peter Paul & Mary
- Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall - 1, Simon & Garfunkel
- Follow Me - 4, Paddy Roberts
- Fotheringay - 12, Fairport Convention
- Garden of Jane Delawney - 11, Trees
- Geordie - 12, Joan Baez
- Gold Watch Blues - 5, Donovan
- Green Stamps - 8, via Marc Isherwood
- Henry Martin - 1, Joan Baez
- High Barbary - 1, Burl Ives
- House of the Rising Sun - 1, Joan Baez, The Animals
- I Can Hear Your Voice - 2, via Marc Isherwood
- I Don't Know Where I Stand - 6, Joni Mitchell
- I Loved A Lass - 1, Pentangle
- If I Fell - 2, The Beatles
- If I Had A Hammer - 3, Trini Lopez
- If You'd Been There - 2, Bridget St John
- Incest Song - 5, Buffy Sainte-Marie
- Is She Waiting?/Terminus - 1/2, MacDonald & Giles/Ralph McTell
- Isn't It Grand, Boys? - 3, John Townsend?
- Last Thing On My Mind - 2, Tom Paxton
- Last Train and Ride - 3, Ralph McTell
- Learning The Game - 2, The Bunch
- Liverpool Packet - 1, The Spinners
- Log Cabin Home In The Sky - 2, Incredible String Band
- Lonesome Day Blues - 2, instrumental by Dave Frohnsdorff
- Lord Franklin - 3, Pentangle
- Maids When You're Young - 1, Dubliners
- Mrs Adlam's Angels - 1, Ralph McTell
- My Johnny Was A Shoemaker - 2, Steeleye Span
- Naked Ladies With Electric Ragtime - 3, Michael Chapman
- Nellie The Elephant - 1, via Pisces
- Once I Had A Sweetheart - 7, Pentangle
- Outlandish Knight - 1, Nic Jones
- Painting Box - 3, Incredible String Band
- Penny and the Apricot Tree - 2, John Renbourn
- Plaisir d'Amour - 1, Francoise Hardy, Joan Baez
- Pretty Polly - 11, Judy Collins
- Rambler - 2, by Dave Frohnsdorff
- Sally Free and Easy - 4, Cyril Tawney
- San Francisco Bay Blues - 6, via school friend, John Brown
- Seems So Long Ago, Nancy - 2, Leonard Cohen
- She Moves Through The Fair - 11, Fairport Convention
- She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain - 2, Pete Seeger
- Smoke Shovelling Song - 1, Incredible String Band
- Sorry The Day I Was Married - 3, Tim Hart & Maddy Prior
- Staines Morris - 3, Shirley Collins (Morris On)
- Streets of London - 14, Ralph McTell
- The Time Has Come - 2, Pentangle
- There But For Fortune - 1, Joan Baez
- Time For The Leaving - 1, Magna Carta
- Tonight In Some Way I Loved You - 1, Ralph McTell
- Unquiet Grave - 1, Gryphon
- When The King Enjoys His Own Again/Over The Hills and Far Away - 1, Martyn Wyndham-Read (Songs & Music of the Redcoats)
- Whip Jamboree - 14, John Townsend?
- Whiskey In The Jar - 6, John Townsend?
- Who Knows Where The Time Goes? - 6, Fairport Convention
- Wild Rover - 10, John Townsend?
- Wild Mountain Thyme - 5, via unknown Irish singer at Sutton Folk Club
- Willy O'Winsbury - 4, Pentangle
- Winter Is Gone - 1, Nick Drake
- Winter Lady - 3, Leonard Cohen
- You Know Who I Am - 1, Leonard Cohen